Tonawanda News — Today was one of those days as a father they’d make a second-rate comedy out of featuring Diane Lane (no relation, in case you were curious) and Steve Martin.
Rigby went all “Three Bears” on me this morning when he was getting dressed (first pair of pants too small, second pair too big, third one just right). He and Penny helped me with some baking when they got home from school — and by “help” I mostly mean argue over who got to crack the eggs and hurl batter bits at each other.
Rigby wanted cereal for dinner, which is easy enough unless you make the conscious choice to drop it on yourself. That in itself isn’t the worst offense, but it’s exacerbated when you just gave your son a bath 30 minutes prior (after, incidentally, he had not just one toilet accident but two).
Well, actually, that number should be 2.5. His third incident wasn’t technically an accident, but telling your father you have to go to the bathroom and then peeing into the bathroom garbage can is sort of in that gray area, so I will count it. So — after prying him away from the cupcakes we’d just baked — I had no recourse but to send him up for an early bedtime as punishment.
He seemed contrite after the initial disappointment of the punishment wore off. I even read him “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” while he laid down, seemingly content to drift off into a good night’s sleep.
Instead, the little bugger Trojan horsed me.
I went in to give him one last hug at his request. He grabbed my arm and and got a death grip on it with his teeth that’s still throbbing as I write this hours later. I forced him back into bed again ... and again ... and again. It took 30 more minutes of cajoling to get him back in bed and calmly waiting for sleep to come.
Then Penny chimed in. Not to blame her for anything, as it was her bedtime by this point, but her inquiry as to whether Rigby wanted one of her bears for the night ignited the Rigger Man’s furies as though someone had told him “Shrek” was better than “Toy Story.” He swatted one out of her hands, which sent Penny into a tad of a tailspin. Never a fan of bruin bashing, Penny reclaimed both toys and went into her bed.
And Rigby decided to join her.
This story is getting long. The long and short of it is three kicks, five chucked Matchbox cars, two more bed changes and one Penny thirst tantrum later, Mom is upstairs with the kids and I am still trying to talk myself down from yanking my eyeballs out through my ears.
Holy heck, what a night. These are the types of happenings that made childless couples swear off breeding off for life ... or until nature inevitably strikes. Some of my colleagues and friends who are without children actually consider parenthood lunacy upon hearing stories such as this.
When you take it out of context, they make a good point. A great one, actually. You would not endure such behavior as a babysitter for the heartiest of hearty babysitting salaries.
But even during those moments you most strenuously test your sanity as a parent, there’s something there in the back of your mind.
You know the reward will be far better. That reward may be days away, but it’s coming.
You’ve seen the best from your kids. You’ve seen your daughter work at tee ball for months until she could confidently knock out a single.
You’ve seen your son overcome ailments that were supposed to stick with him into adulthood.
You’ve seen the pride in your kids’ faces the first time they counted to 20. And to 100. And correctly identified Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader (oh, wait, that might have been more prideful for me).
You help your kids learn from their worst in order to achieve their best. We all make mistakes, after all. Theirs are just ... louder. And generally end in a child walking into the living room pantsless for some reason.
Parents know nights like this, as horrific as they may seem, will lead to better days. So we persevere.
Because in spite of it all, when I go up to bed in a couple hours and Penny has a bad dream, she will need me.
When Rigby is in a better mood, he will work on his soccer skills. Maybe cure cancer some day.
And me? I’ll be the proud father. Whose arm is lined with Band-Aids.Contact Paul Lane at email@example.com.