Thursday, January 17, 2013

Well, DUH!

Here's a bit about me, not that you asked:

I've never been in a fight.  Not even a proper shoving match.  Ever.

I'm a total pussy cat.  Erin has used similar language to describe me, minus the feline reference.  Most men who hear that I've never been in a fight are genuinely surprised.  "Not even when you were a kid?" they ask.  Nope, not even then.  I attribute this entirely to cowardice.  I remember the few instances in my youth when a fight seemed likely, but was thwarted by my long stride.  Most women who hear this say they admire my aversion to violence.  "Men are such animals!" they say, while secretly concealing the fact that they are completely turned-on by this quality in men, and completely turned-off by guys like me.

I consider myself lucky for two reason.  Nature has helped keep my record clean.  At 6'8" and 230 lbs. most of the a-holes who go out looking for a fight, look elsewhere, and that's just fine with me.  The other lucky gift nature has given me is a long fuse.  I don't really get that mad at anyone.  Even in high school, when life was at it's most infuriating for the gangly-unloved types like me, I had an English teacher who described me as "perpetually insouciant".  He was kind of pompous.  This was before Google so I had to use a dictionary, but when I did I realized he'd nailed it.  I just don't really get angry.

But I do get frustrated, which is different.  For example, if I wake up late because I forgot to set the alarm and I smack my head on an open cupboard while searching for my lost keys, I completely lose my shit.  It's pathetic.  I turn into the Inconsolable Hulk.

I was thinking about this fact after my first day back at preschool.  Liam and I are back on our Monday morning routine of dropping Finn by daycare and spending our mornings eating "ants on a log" with paint covered fingers.  I was excited to get back.  I hadn't been in class with Liam since mid-December and was eager to see how he'd progressed.  I was wary too, because it had been weeks since I'd been on "outside duty" (I always get outside duty) and I hadn't dealt with the difficult kids in awhile.  The difficult kids aren't bad kids, per se.  They're just the screaming, hitting, rock and tantrum throwing types, who revel in doing exactly the opposite of what I say.

Here's the rub.  Liam is the difficult kid now.  The worst in the class.

At least on my first day back he was.  He made the usual difficult kids look cherubic.  I even think one of them gave another difficult kid the "get a load of this guy" side-eye.  Burn.

At one point during circle-time, after Liam had shared with the class the egg-timer he wanted to bring and insisted on setting off every ten seconds (I promised a quieter contribution to next week's sharing time), he was sitting in my lap having a fit that Teacher Julie described as "pure frustration".

Ah yes.  The frustration.  I knew it well.  I'd hoped he would just inherit my curly hair or something, not this.  Teacher Julie asked me if anything had "happened" over the break.  She had never seen this from Liam before and had me racking my brain to think of what could have drawn out this new challenging part of his personality.  Was it the potty training?  Santa?  Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Just after the spell
Later in the day while we were driving around town I happened to glance back at Liam in my rear-view mirror while Finn was in the seat next to him screaming to let me know he was sleepy.  What I saw on Liam's face was a look that I can only describe as pure distilled frustration.  Jaw clenched, hands-shaking, wild-eyed, and desperate for the little nugget in the seat next to him to please find a new family.

Of course! FINN!! Over the break Finn became the brother Liam never wanted.  He started walking, playing with all of Liam's toys, demanding more of our attention, and basically hoarding in on Liam's gig in a way he never had before.

I don't know why I didn't see it before.  Probably because the reason it vexes Liam the way it does is because, as a result of Finn's new needs, I've been neglecting Liam.  Bad bad dad.

Well I'm on it.  I've got this long weekend off with the boys and Liam is getting more than he bargained for.  It's going to be a five-day overcompensation bender! 

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