Monday, May 7, 2012

This Story Does Not Make Me Look Good

The Bean has hated getting water in his eyes since he was old enough to sit up in the bath.  To this very day, he complains whenever he gets splashed while bathing.  Though he doesn’t seem to have this problem when he’s swimming.  I don’t know why, but this has always bothered me.  I guess that getting splashed in the eye is one of those details that is so minor to me it should be minor to him.  I mean it’s just water.  And he couldn't be complaining about shampoo in his eyes because it’s not supposed to sting.  It says so right on the bottle.  His sister even confirmed that it didn't hurt.  

I was giving the Bean his bath when water splashed in his face.  As per his custom, he freaked out and asked for a rag to wipe his eyes.  Even though the rags were in a container that was literally right outside of the bathroom door, I rejected his request.  I’m not sure what compelled me to do this.  Ignoring the fact that he's six, I wanted him to stop being so dramatic over a little water.  I figured in a minute he'd forget about his eye and continue on with his washing.  Hee began to get really upset—the screaming, red-eyed, nose-running, sloppy sobbing kind of upset.  Instead of nurturing the problem that I created and getting the boy a rag, I made it worse by calmly telling him to stop crying.  The sobbing continued all the way through the bath and only calmed down after a hug from his mom and some Ninjago

I felt really shitty about it.    

At bedtime, I tucked the Bean under his covers and sat down on the bed. 

I inhaled deeply and said, “In the bath tonight, you asked for a rag to wipe your eye and I didn’t give it to you.  I was wrong and I’m sorry.  I should have given you what you were asking for and the next time I will.”

The Bean looked visibly relieved and a slight smile crept on his face.  We hugged.  We kissed.  We were good again.  And I walked out of his room learning a very valuable lesson—if it’s important to him, it doesn’t matter if it’s not important to me. 


Anonymous said...

Same goes for it it's scary to you but not to me.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Excellent point.

Chris @ CleverFather said...

Oh man, I am guilty of this as well. Not my proudest moment.

Sometimes it seems like a perfectly logical response at the time. Then you think back later... what the hell was I thinking?

At least you turned it into a positive and showed him that we all make mistakes, and the right thing to do is apologize!

Brian said...

Doesn't crow taste wonderful?!

I too have had to eat that stuff often. More often than I care to admit. And yet it is in those moments, when we admit we do stupid shit and hurt people, that we are the most loving and affecting as parents. As your kids age, these conversations will lengthen, and deepen, and carry more weight.

Hang in there, pop . . .

neal said...

It's hard to tell where you need to take a stand. Sometimes it feels like you've just got to put your foot down sometimes so that they can learn to be obedient, independent of what the issue is. But man, when it backfires... it's the trickiest thing to know when to back down, and when to follow through to the end.

But more than anything, I think the apology matters a lot more than refusing the washcloth. I think it can teach a kid a lot that people make mistakes, maybe even a lot of the time, but that you always apologize, you always try to make it right.

To me, it's maybe worth the screw up just to be able to show your kid that when you screw up, you say you're sorry and you hold your arms out in love. I don't think we can teach them to be perfect...but we can teach them to right wrongs.

OneZenMom said...

You know, DGB, I think this story actually does make you look pretty good.

Because, yes, you had a little parenting/empathy stumbling block. But you recognized it, you admitted it, you made amends as best you could for it ... you LEARNED from it.

That is more rare and impressive that you give yourself credit for.

As is the respect you show your child as a person by your willingness to apologize to him and show that you respected his feelings. There are parents who simply would not.

I'd say The Bean has a pretty good role model of what it means to be a good dad - not a perfect dad, because we all know such as thing doesn't exist. But a good dad, nonetheless.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Chris...Yeah, in the heat of the moment when all you want to do is win, logic can be ignored.

Brian...Crow--it's up there with the best slabs of bacon.

Neal...I think when it comes to bigger issues or behavioral things putting a foot down is important. If it's something as trivial as shampoo in an eye, perhaps a strong hand isn't the best tactic. But you're right, the lesson that it's okay to apologize will hopefully be the thing he remembers and takes with him.

Zen...Thank you for that. Though the intent of this post was not to reward myself in some sort of a backhanded way. This was a raw moment as a dad that I felt compelled to share. What's nice is the support I've been getting both on here and Facebook that I'm not alone in this kind of a situation. This is another common theme amongst us parent folk.

James (SeattleDad) said...

That is a tough line for a parent sometimes, isn't it? I think you handled it nicely by apologizing.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

James...Thanks. And I've been trying to take this lesson with me going forward too.