Tonawanda News

December 31, 2012

Parenting is all about the give and take

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A big part of parenthood is learning how to strike a balance between give and take.

Specifically, your children find out how much the can take. Then you give it.

Don’t get me wrong. Having children is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

But man, it has its moments that leave you questioning — well, pretty much everything.

And you give pretty much everything you have, as well. Even when trying to sneak in a few moments for yourself, there is a price to pay.

GET: An enjoyable afternoon at the zoo with my son.

GIVE: My pride, after Rigby swings the door open of the bathroom stall I’m using, and the first person we see all day just happens to enter the bathroom just as I step out — pants at my ankles — to close it.

GET: Fifteen minutes of peace in the shower.

GIVE: The following 30 minutes cleaning up the cereal, Buzz Lightyear toys, dog treats or whatever else Rigby might have gotten into.

GET: To watch a few minutes of a program I enjoy.

GIVE: The health and well-being of any number of body parts, each of which Rigby climbs on, pokes and stomps after he quickly grows bored with a show that isn’t animated. I also give a slice of my daughter’s innocence after a naughty word accidentally gets through the censors and she immediately asks me to define it.

GET: To pick up Penny from school and take her to the store for a bit of father-daughter time.

GIVE: My patience. Apparently unhappy our destination does not have “Chuck E. Cheese” or “McDonald’s” in its title, Penny proceeds to inform me how boring the things we do together are and how horrible I made her life. The irony of her saying this as she chews the pretzel I bought her and zips up the coat I got her to keep warm is lost on her.

GET: The satisfaction of seeing my boy become potty trained. He’s even started going into the bathroom voluntarily.

GIVE: To the plumber, $300. Rigby discovered tossing toys down the toilet is way more fun that using it for its intended purpose. Seeing that little Elmo come soaked and coated in goo out of the sewage pump in the basement, I’m sure glad I didn’t have to make his journey. Oh, and the moment they can both complete every necessary task in the bathroom by themselves will be a joyous occasion, to be sure.

GET: A nice dinner out with my brother and sister-in-law.

GIVE: Twenty minutes of my time and a small piece of sanity after having to pull over and take both of them to the bathroom in a coffee shop. You ever try putting one of those diaper/underwear things on a 3-year-old who has no interest in putting it on and instead is trying to throw anything he can grab into the toilet?

GET: A Christmas card in the mail from Penny.

GIVE: Well, I’m not sure. I’m not sure what I did to make this little girl kind enough to think to have Christmas cards mailed to our house from her. Glad I did it, though.

GET: A giant hug from Rigby, the kind where he latches himself around my neck and doesn’t want to let go.

GIVE: I took him out to lunch. But he appreciated it. He’s learning to be thankful for the things he had. He’s GETTING it.

GET: A group hug from Penny and Rigby when I wake up in the morning.

GIVE: Rest. I can’t see the clock, but it’s pitch black dark outside, and my eyes have no desire to join the rest of me in waking up. And my back kills from the position I had to crowd into on the bed after RIgby joined us in bed sometime during the night. But after the 15th kiss from Rigby on the cheek, I’m considering this price one well paid.

Moments like this make the minor annoyances and inconveniences worth it — once you’re in a position to be able to process rational thought through the haze of fatigue and blindness of rage. At these moments, you can gather, regroup and find something even more to give.

Contact Paul Lane