Monday, March 31, 2014

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7 Things I Don’t Understand About My Kids


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I came into having kids with the stupid assumption that I was once a kid, so I should know all about them. But over the years I’ve learned that kids are mysterious little creatures. I have two of them now (Tristan, age 6, and Norah, age 4) and one on the way. Every day they confuse the hell out of me. Here are a few reasons why.

How they can so quickly forgive: A few years ago Tristan’s friend punched him in the face and then stole his string cheese. About fifteen minutes later they were playing in the living room as if nothing happened. If a friend of mine punched me in the face and stole my string cheese, I’d need at least a year and probably a legal settlement to get over it.

Be completely comfortable after peeing their pants: There are times that Norah has peed her pants and it has gone un-noticed for an hour or more. Mostly because she just doesn’t care. Neither the smell nor the wet feeling changes her mood. And once it dries and gets itchy, well, that doesn’t faze her either. She simply plays it off with a cool collective face that seems to say, Nothing wrong here.

How they can be 100% shameless: Both my kids have strutted out into the front yard naked during high noon, and they have dropped their pants in front of guests. Mel and I have had many discussions with them about decency, but it doesn’t seem to matter. If they are tired of itchy pants and a cramped shirt, they come off.

How they can eat boogers: Sadly I don’t think this requires much explanation beyond, yuck!

How they can block out everything but the TV: If a show is on that they really enjoy, they exhibit a concentration that is worthy of Albert Einstein. They can out tune almost anything: my voice, fire engines, a nuclear blast... One time I was trying to get Tristan’s attention while he was watching Pokémon. I tried yelling, snapping my fingers, and clapping. I even banged a pot with a wooden spoon. Nothing worked. Eventually I shut off the TV and he nearly shit himself.

Why they always choose mom over me: It doesn’t matter what I bribe them with, how much fun we had together that day, if I’ve been their primary care giver for the past several months, or if I am the closest person to the accident, if Mom is with in view, she is always picked over me. I try not to take this personally, because let’s face it, my wife is amazing, but I cannot help but feel a little jealous when Norah is hurt and I try to help her, but she puts her hand on my face, pushes me away, and cries for mommy.

How they can so easily warm my heart: I know this sounds cheesy, but there is something about the simple phrase, “I love you daddy,” that wins me over every time. For example: once Norah drew on the only nice chair we have in our living room with permanent red marker. I was flaming pissed. But when I confronted her about it, she looked up at me with big blue eyes and said, “I’m sowry, Daddy,” in a voice that was a mix between Minnie Mouse and a song bird. A switch flipped inside me from rage to tender, and all I wanted to do was give her a hug. I call this ability to change my mood Norah’s Cute Powers, and I wonder if God gave children the ability to melt their parent’s heart to keep us from killing them.

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times Motherlode, Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley