After the wife leaves for work in the morning, it’s me and the kid (11) on our own. My job is to feed the kid and make her lunch and get myself ready for work. Her job, according to me, is to get dressed, brush her teeth and her hair and then pack up her school bag. Her job, according to the tiny fairies that flit about inside her brain, is to do all those things as well. Unless, of course, they see something shiny or notices something more interesting i.e. almost anything else. Lets take the dog for an example. He’s lived with us for 3 years now and he has been cute the entire time.
We’ve literally seen all the possible permutations of cute that he has to offer, yet when asked to do something, the kid will suddenly see the dog, notice how cute he is and then be compelled to pet him. This almost always flicks on one of my get impatient and angry switches. It shouldn’t. But it does.
In the morning, I can’t understand why the kid can’t
get herself ready get herself ready in a straight line. The rest of the time, I’m very much aware that she doesn’t always do anything in a straight line. I’m aware that she takes medication, every day, to help her stay focused and on-task, to help keep her frustration down and her emotions in a little more balance. Apparently in the morning I can’t remember that. I am forever taking the special needs of children into account in my dealings with them but I can’t consistently do that for my own daughter. What the fuck’s my problem?
Don’t answer that. I generally know what the answer is, most of the time, yet sometimes I’m still shocked by my reactions to my daughter. I want everything that is good to happen to her. I want her to be calm and happy and to enjoy everything. When I can’t make it happen for her, I get angry and upset. When I’m the reason I can’t make it happen for her, I get angry and upset. When I let that boil over and take it out on her, I get angry and upset.
I see myself in her. So much so that it’s kind of amazing. When I was a kid, I know that I drove my mother around the bend with my inability to do a few simple things, or forgetting what I was doing and walking away. My mother would get furious over the illogic and seeming randomness to how I did things and now I’m doing the same thing with the kid. She’d get so mad. I can still see it clearly and now I know that my mom was feeling the way that I feel.
The kid is the amazing and beautiful result of mine and the wife’s genetics. I should, in no way, be surprised that she has difficulty thinking and doing things in a straight line, that she gets distracted moving from one room to another.
I know that any failure to the morning routine is mine. I know this because my experience working with children tells me this. She’ll do what she needs to do if I give her the tools and skills necessary to do what she needs to do. She’s not blameless at home, but I need to make sure that I’ve given her the opportunity to succeed before I blame her. Do I think that she’s kind of an asshole sometimes? Hells yeah. Both the wife and I have found ourselves giving the finger to the back of the kid’s head, on numerous occasions. My anger in the mornings, is anger at me, for not having done what I need to do to make sure that the kid can do what she needs to do. She intends to do what I ask. She has the best of intentions every time. I know this and I’m going to try like hell to make sure that she knows that I know this.