Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Come, Witness My Failure

And yet again I'm sitting here contemplating the extreme altitude of my level of suckiness as a mother.

My kids are good kids--for the most part they are well-behaved, kind and funny. They listen to me often.

And then some days, over the simplest tasks, I am completely drawn up by my inability to negotiate a desired outcome.

Mr. 5 was in desperate need of hosing down this evening. I mean I can excuse a little dirt, but he was on the verge of being "the dirty kid" in his class. A shower or bath was in order. He agreed. All was fine.

And then the time to get wet and sudsy came, and he refused my proposition.

Now granted, this child probably can't be held responsible for his skills in the ways of obstinance. Being adopted we're not so sure of the genetics I brought to the table, but considering only the known players it would be entirely accurate to describe my son as the Vortex of Stubbornness.

Case in point--the flip flops.

On a lark a few years ago, I bought my then two and half year old a pair of flip flops from Old Navy for the Fourth of July. I had no idea at the time that he would wear those flip flops for the next 18 months to the exclusion of all other shoes. That is until I was required to purchase two new pairs in the next size. He decided to mix the new pairs and wear one army green flop and one red, white and blue flop for the next twelve months after that. And god forbid I try to bring him the other set of mates. THOSE were not his flops.

But you live in Virginia Mamma, don't you? I can hear you saying that now. Yes we do. And it does get cold here in the winter (for at least a week or two).

You most certainly didn't let him out of the house in flops in the cold weather, did you Mamma? Listen kids, tonight isn't the first time I've decided I suck as a parent. But no, I didn't let him go out in flops. I had to buy him slip-on rubber sandals that looked like Birkenstocks (pre-Crocs days) so he could at least have socks on under the sandals.

Sheesh! I may take a certain amount of joy in the fact that my son asserts his individuality through the wearing of two different flip flops, but I will not allow his toes to freeze. I mean how would he get a date in high school if he didn't have any toes?!

Now there was one little snow storm we had during one of the "flop winters." Mother Nature treated us to eight inches of the lovely white stuff. School was cancelled, we stayed home from work (it is Virginia after all) and we ran to the closets and pulled boxes out from under the beds in search of our snow clothes.

And then I pulled out the boots for Mr. Stubborn.

Oh no! He was not going to wear those boots. They covered his toes for christ sake!

And so the rest of the family trudged out in the snow to frolic and Mr. Stubborn stood at the kitchen door watching us have our fun--with tears streaking down his face. I offered him the boots. He wanted to come out. But he was not about to cover his toes with SHOES.

And so he missed playing in the one decent snow fall we'd had in a long while.

Anyway...

Tonight the Vortex raised its ugly head. He was not going to bathe. He didn't want to go to bed. And that was that. I tried to reason with him. I tried to be tough. I left him alone for a few minutes. I counted to five. I gave him options. I started the shower. I turned off the shower.

I failed.

And then the hubs went upstairs. And I heard the water come on. And then a chipper little guy came downstairs all clean and shiny.

Fucking husband! Parenting guru freak!

17 Deserve Mamma's Love:

pootandcubby said...

What? What did he do to get him clean? I hate it when shit like that happens!

-andi

Nancy said...

The upside? Sounds to me like hubs has a new job in the parenting department, which gives you few extra minutes to yourself =)

Paige Jennifer said...

I agree with Nancy. And if anything, I'd go so far as to hope the stubborn streak continues. "Honey, I can't get Mr. 5 to do X. By the way, I'm leaving in ten minutes for a spa day."

coolbeans said...

I'm with Nancy and Paige on this one. You just discovered a whole lotta "me time". Congratulations!

Mamma said...

Me time, maybe, but all the bitching I'm going to have to hear about he does everything??? No thanks.

Karly said...

"Parenting guru freak!" Ha!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I have a theory on this. I think that children can completely tune out a mother voice.

A father's voice is something else completely.

Grrrrrrr.

Beth said...

You're no failure and your son sounds unique and adorable. (I can say that because I'm not his mother.)
If your husband took over that particular parenting chore for good, he'd run into the same problem you did. The novelty would soon wear off!

the end of motherhood said...

Look at it this way...you just got out of bath duty for a while and your hubs is now on duty. What's not to like?

Jennifer, Le Binky Bitch said...

This is why Mother's Day should be a monthly event...for all the shit we have to take.

Mrs. Chicken said...

I say use it to your advantage. Abdicate from bathtime - hand it over to the hubby, since he is such a zen master. What say you?

Redneck Mommy said...

My husband is the same way.

Bugs the shit out of me.

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

My husband, too, have a way with the children. It's like a centered calmness that he exudes that they respond to. Me, on the other hand, exude frustration. That, or they just don't like me.

Becky said...

What Sarah said. Luckily, mothers can hear each other.

Gunfighter said...

Well, it works for me, too: "Hey! Didn't moommy just tell you do get in the shower?" "yes, daddy" "Then get in there, right now!"

Done.

karrie said...

I have the opposite problem with baths---M always wants to take one and I have to drag him out screaming---but I feel your pain with shoes. The kid has more shoes--and now mittens for it is impossible to find a mitten that does not offend---than Imelda Marcos.

When I finally found sneakers he would wear, I bought them in the next 3 sizes.

~JJ! said...

When my husband comes in and swoops down his fatherly fantastics, I let him. It's not very often he does it 'right'...

Just look at it as you didn't have to give the bath and hear the vortex.

I'd then delineate bathroom duties to the hubs until death do us part.

I'd pour some wine for myself at that point.

(You are not a failure, you are a wonderful mom....)