Thursday, 11 October 2012
So another extended period of time spent with my children is over and I can finally talk about it. Here we just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving which, like in the States, is a long-weekend family affair about eating and giving thanks. It's basically the same celebration but earlier in the year. The other classic Canadian difference is that supposedly it comes from the expedition of Martin Frobisher's 1578 fruitless search for the Northwest Passage in an expedition plagued by ice storms, loss of ships and death. They held a celebration of thanks while anchored at Frobisher Bay. For what they were thankful, I'm not sure. Frobisher later returned to England with ships piled high with fool's gold. Give thanks indeed.
There's a one-way competion with the U.S. over which Thanksgiving is best or first. I will say this: we Canadian have more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas (another time spent with family) and this is no small advantage. I need that amount of time to recover as these holidays increasingly bring out the worst in me. And by holidays I mean time with my children.
Now let me explain something, I'm a loud fella. When I'm happy, I yell. When I'm hurt, I yell. When I'm angry or upset, I also yell. Excited? Yell. Guess what I do when I'm frustrated? You betcha - yell. And so since my children create each of those feelings in me I often yell at them. Say It Loud, I'm a Dad and I'm Proud. (Note: gratuitous James Brown reference)
This is very wrong, I know. It affects their emotional and possibly even their brain development.Will I change? Unlikely. Even worse, I don't usually feel very bad about it either. It's practically the title of a love song: It May Be Wrong But It Feels So Good. On a side note, there is a profound gap in popular music. There is an untapped market for songs where people sing about the emotional roller coaster which is parenting. It would be huge. I want to shake those skinny, hairy, pierced, hairy popsters crooning about heartbreak and unrequited love and snarl at them, "You don't know nuthin', punk. Wait until you're a parent."
My wife was concerned about me at the end of the weekend. Was it too much for me? (We had her family visiting) I seemed grouchy by Monday. Well, yeah. I was grouchy - I had an extra day of child management. This working from home has had a strange effect on typical holidays. They are not a break or a change or a rest - they are just more of the same. Imagine it's like you had to work an extra day at your office but to make things more fun you had your kids and in-laws there and a large traditional meal had to get made. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
Now my wife does all the holiday cooking and I gave up trying to get any outside work done during periods like this but it's still not the same as when I got a break from the office for three days. We did have lots of fun of course. But it is tiring. And kids are not rational or sane creatures. I often sink to their level. I have new insight into how Vice cops can go bad. After hanging around with that criminal element you start to think and act like them. If they made a sequel to Kindergarten Cop that could be good angle - Kindergarten Cop II: VICE Principal.
A couple of years ago, I went to my younger and single sister's birthday bash at a local bar. It was fun. I was regaling her and her friends about some nutty thing my kid had done - like flushing his underwear down the toilet thus blocking it and flooding the bathroom. I was riffing on how I was yelling at my kid for his boneheaded move while wading around in my boots avoiding floating turds -or something like that, all my stories tend to have a certain theme these days - when one of her friends interupted my story (BTW don't interupt my stories - I might yell at you) when she said, "Oh, you must never yell at your children." Silence.
"Do you have children?"
"No. But I LOVE children. Nature's Greatest gift. Cherish. Someday I hope. Love and Kindness. Hearts. Flowers. Rainbows. Etc."
As you can see I wasn't listening too closely but I waited until she finished.
"You don't know what you're talking about. I love my kids. I kiss and hug and play and joke around with them non stop. But they drive me crazy. And I will continue to yell at them."
And I do.