Monday, March 15, 2010


When I used to picture myself as a Father, it was always as the stern authority figure, smoking a pipe in my easy chair, aloofly reading the paper and only looking up to cast a withering glare at my misbehaving son, who would immediately snap into shape out of his immeasurable respect for his head of household. I would rule with an iron fist, as my sole intent is to raise a Man. One that exhibits impeccable manners and above all, respects his elders.

How have I done so far? Let's see...
  • Pick Finn up and carry him the minute he complains about walking - even if it's down the back steps behind our house? CHECK!
  • Let him go to bed without brushing his teeth if he starts whining about not wanting to do it? CHECK!
  • In general, allow him to push me around like a production assistant/intern/Frenchman? CHECK!
Turns out that I am more addicted to the power of Cute than I am to my preconceived Fatherly Ideal. The minute that Cute is replaced by Toddler, I will drop everything to set things right again. If there is anything standing between my son and Manhood, it is clearly me.

And so it is with much shaking-of-head that Kitty is trying to whip me into shape. I'm doing better with the picking-up/carrying thing and I've learned how to sneak in a couple of swipes of tooth-brushing around the tooth/tongue/tears defense, but I'm now up against a fearsome opponent. One that threatens to take down not just me, but also the immovable object of the Mommy.

Getting dressed.

Do you recall hating getting dressed? I don't. I recall not being very good at it - in fact, I'm still not very good at it - but I don't recall hating it. Well, this kid hates it. So much so that he preferred to stay in his room by himself for well over an hour on Saturday morning - prime rock throwing time - rather than get himself dressed.

And I should clarify, it's not that he hates being dressed. He just hates having to do it himself. He'll happily hop over to me if he thinks I'm going to put his shirt or pants on, but ask him to try to put his legs in those same pants himself and it's as if you've forced him into the most degrading act imaginable. If he could only figure out how to use the phone to call anyone other than Layla, he'd have Child Services over here in a heartbeat.

Oddly enough, he enjoys putting on my clothes, as evidenced from the picture above.

So this has become our first great battle of the verbal era, and one that I am determined to use to reset my fate as the authoritarian Father of my pre-child imagination. I can only hope that this battle of wills goes better than previous wars waged against our cats.

In other words, I hope that Finn doesn't poop in my shoes.


Stacy said...

Since I know you're not adverse to manipulation: Just tell him Layla likes a man who can dress himself. And one that brushes his teeth. Of course, since they recently partied naked in just their diaps, you may be screwed...

Keith Wilcox said...

Yeah, pooping in the shoe might be one straw too many. I don't remember really hating to do anything in particular when I was a kid. But, my youngest boy really hates to brush his teeth -- which I don't really understand because It's not like he's been traumatized by a big giant ugly toothbrush in his life. Well, I guess we'll just chalk it up to a finicky nature, right?

Diana said...

Holy crap! Eli's supposed to dress himself? I missed that PEPS meeting.