Friday, October 3, 2008

Helping Out Or Passing Judgement?

When did my oldest decide to take on the role of backup parent? I'm not sure if I should be happy or offended. It's nice that she wants to help her little sister but it does kind of give the impression that she thought to herself "oh jeez, this idiot needs someone to step in." Funny how it's not diaper changing time when she steps up. I guess she has been paying attention to me. I'll have to be more discreet from now on when I smell a stinky bottom and check the clock to see if it's almost time for Mom to be home from work. A kid comes running to give you a hug with a smelly diaper, you have to change it. I don't make the rules, I just exploit them.

Back to the big one parenting the little one though. Yesterday we went to their Thursday play class. The plan had been to go from there to another play group. I learned last week that if you take them to two different play groups and then spend a couple hours at a playground bedtime is super easy. Comes in handy when, as an example, you want some peace and quiet so you can the season premiere of The Office, for example. So we're in the van leaving play class number one and the little one is freaking out. All sorts of crying and yelling that doesn't seem to have any conceivable cause or solution. That's when the older one stepped up and started asking her sister where she'd like to go. She's listing all sort of places like the museum, the mall, the park, and even somewhere to go see animals. Each one is met with a negative response. Finally, she asks "do you just want to go home?"

"Yeah."

"Ok, we'll just go home then."

Thanks for letting me be apart of the decision making process guys. I thought being in the driver's seat meant I was in control but apparently I'm nothing more than a glorified chauffeur. The ride home it continued.

"Just calm down, we're almost home. We just have to stop at those lights and then turn and we'll be home. When you feel the bumps you'll know we're home."

Is she reassuring her sister or giving me directions? She thinks I'm an incompetent parent with no sense of direction? She might be right on the first one but my sense of direction is at least good enough to find my way home. It's not like I'm the sort of person who gets lost in a Christmas tree display at Canadian Tire. That would be my Mom. She was leaving Canadian Tire with Dad one holiday season. He turned right and she turned left, right into a bunch of fake Christmas trees. He turned around when he heard her calling from the middle of the trees "Darryl, how do I get out of these things?" Needless to say we no longer let her go into a garden centre without a compass and a fully charged cell phone.

I wish I could say our van ride was the only example of being second parented by a toddler but I can't. The little one has somehow gotten the idea lately that she's the only one who should be allowed to watch tv. She'll stand right against the screen so no one else gets to see. That of course angers her sister and fighting ensues. Generally, they like to do that when I leave them alone so I can get stuff done. I'll be in the laundry room or kitchen and hear the two of them yelling, screaming, and eventually crying. I come running as quick as I can to break it up. I'm usually tempted to Terry Tate one of them to separate them but I've resisted that urge, so far. Once I've got them separated I have to try and explain to the little one why she can't stand right in front of the TV. Since 20 month olds are all about logic an reason that usually goes smashing. I'm doing my best with no luck when her big sister, seated calmly on the couch, says "tell her to look at my face", as she makes the saddest face you've ever seen.

"See, it makes your sister sad when you don't share the TV with her." That seemed to make a bit of an impact and eventually led to the end of the whole TV hostage situation. Just glad I had backup to help talk her down so I didn't have to let the snipers take their shot.

So that's where I am. Stuck with a 21 month old who feels it's her responsibility to decide who gets access to entertainment and her older sister who seems to believe I need her help when it comes to parenting. Not sure that's the kind of path I want to be on but my oldest tells me it's a good idea so it must be. Her guidance and cues have been pretty good so far.

2 comments:

June said...

Okay, I finally had to say something. That is SOOOO her mother

Anonymous said...

Terry Tate . . . . LMAO!!!!!