Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coming to a Head

Kailey and I had a rough day yesterday. She was in one of her crazy, manic, non-listening moods that no amount of time-outs seem to cure. In fact, she acted as though time-out was a big joke which put me over the edge. "Does it LOOK like I'm joking?" I lashed out with veins bulging from my forehead. That alone was probably worth a laugh, but Kailey wisely shook her head "no". This situation repeated at least three times last night. I'd repeatedly tell her to do something or not to do something, each time going unheeded. I was mad and things seemed to snowball from there as I started taking her disobedience personally. Almost every word I spoke to her from there on out was cross. And when Diane got home from her trip, I washed my hands of the situation. "Welcome home, Hon. Here's your girls. Have fun."

This morning, Kailey took over where she left off from last night. The girls can't be in the same bathroom to brush their teeth without some sort of altercation, even though we have a double vanity. So I usually give them very specific instructions on who makes their bed and who brushes their teeth. This morning was no different, yet Kailey decided to do her own thing and brush her teeth while Kyra was already in the bathroom. A fight broke out and I nearly lost my mind. I sent Kailey to her room to make her bed, then I retreated to the family room to count to ten before placing my hands on my child.

Kailey came in shortly thereafter and she was hot. "Why are you mad?" I asked.

"Because you are always angry at me," she fumed.

It was like a slap across the face. I don't want either of my girls to have the impression of me as an angry father. I coaxed her over to me and sat her down on my lap. I told her that I didn't like yelling at her and apologized if I had hurt her feelings. But I also explained that I would discipline her when she did something wrong or didn't listen to me, both of which she had been doing a lot of in the past 24 hours. I gave her a hug and told her I loved her, and asked her to work harder on her listening.

I did the right thing in making sure we were OK before she went to school, but the whole situation still lingers in my head. Lately I feel like I spend more time fuming about the girls' behavior than I do just enjoying my time with them. I don't know why that is, but I know that I don't like it.

I think part of it is battling the feeling of being rushed all the time. We're constantly moving or getting ready to go to the next thing: tutoring, gymnastics, softball, etc. Throw in homework, dinner, and the bedtime routine, and there's not much family time leftover. But that's just family life these days, and I don't want to spend the little time I have with the girls blowing my top because they are acting like maniacs as I try to corral them from activity to activity. I guess I'll just consider this an opportunity to step back and reflect upon what kind of father I really want to be.

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