Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's a Dad to Do?

Yesterday was one of those rare days. A day where Cooper really frustrated me, to the point that I didn't want to talk to him anymore. I knew that if I did talk to him I was probably going to use a tone that he wouldn't understand and therefore I could hurt his feelings badly or damage his heart in a way that would be tough to repair. So I let him talk and I simply didn't respond.

As is the case with most days, I got to Cooper's day care while they were in the rainy day room. This is a large, open room that the kids play in when it is raining or too wet to play outside. As is also the case with most days, when Cooper saw me at the door he started crying because he was having so much fun he didn't want to leave to go home. (I don't really understand because when his mommy is there he doesn't do this) So by coaxing him to leave with pizza and the prospect of picking up mommy, he sort of acted like he wanted to go with me...sort of. Finally I picked him up which began the all-out wailing and crying "mommy." By the time we made it to his classroom to go to the potty and sign out he had stopped crying, but had a REALLY bad attitude. While in the bathroom he was very growly and even decided he was going to raise his voice at me. I told him that he wasn't to use that tone with me again, and if he did, we weren't stopping at the water fountain (another one of his favorite things to do one the way out). He raised his voice again so I picked him up, walked past the water fountain and through the door.

As we made our way through the center he began to really cry, loudly. I put him down to walk and he tried to refuse to hold my hand. Because we were in a parking lot I refused to let go. We made it to the car all the while he's crying and really starting to throw a fit. As I picked him up to get in the car he started yelling. I can't remember what he said, but it was the loudest he had gotten. I told him if he did that again that he would not get any gum when we picked up his mommy (gum is typically his treat for no accidents throughout the day). He yelled again and therefore I told him, "No gum, I am going to tell you mommy that you aren't to get any."

By this time I was very frustrated with him. I can't really understand why he hates it when I pick him up, but when his mommy is there he jumping for joy to go home. I wish he didn't act up in front of people of school. I wish he didn't think raising his voice will get him what he wants. However, this time was different. I don't know if it was just the combination of all events or what, but I was very frustrated. All the way to get Allison he said over and over, "I want gum daddy." However, I chose not to respond in hopes that he would simply quit asking. He finally did, however that gave way to total sobbing.

When Allison got in the car, obviously she didn't know what was going on so I gave her the quick version. She told him that he wasn't getting gum because he was mean to his daddy and that he needed to apologize. He sat in silence for about 5 minutes and then I hear him say to Allison,"I want to say I'm sorry." She told him okay and then he said, in the sweetest little voice, "I'm sorry daddy." I said that's okay and then he asked for gum. Allison again told him "no, that he didn't get gum just because he apologized." He started crying again, saying "but I said I'm sorry." This was definitely when my irritation began to wear off. Soon after that he quit crying, but I could tell he was still upset. I leaned over and put my hand on his leg. He quickly grabbed my hand and I thought he was going to push it away. However, he grabbed it very tightly and looked at his mommy saying, "I just want to hold his hand."

To this I say, what's a dad supposed to do? There's no way a person could stay frustrated at that. He obviously was sorry and obviously was glad that I made the decision to try to console him. His response of grabbing my hand so tightly was one that I will not forget for a long time, maybe never. I love that little boy with all my heart.