There are some aspects of parenting I think I’m probably pretty good at. Of course, they are mostly the fun ones; I’m kind of like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire before dressing in drag teaches him to be a responsible parent.
I guess that makes my wife Sally Field, which is at least a little true, because my son really really likes her. As in prefers her to everyone else.
Which is okay. It seems pretty normal at this point, and comes in handy when my son hurts himself, because playing nurse is not one of the fun things.
Yesterday, my son fell down outside my parents house and scraped his knee. I saw him fall, and my initial reaction was the same one I have when I see a nasty tackle in a football game: I got in my son’s face and screamed “You got JACKED UP!”
Okay, not really. But I couldn’t prevent myself from letting out a little “oooh!” when his knee hit the pavement, because it was a hard fall and I knew it hurt. My wife immediately scolded me, because such a reaction can serve to both frighten my son (“Am I really hurt bad?”) and validate his fear (“This must be a big deal if Daddy’s scared!”). She’s right – the last we want to do is train him to overreact to this kind of thing – but it was a reflex. I haven’t gotten the hang of modulating my reactions to this kind of thing yet.
I imagine that comes with repetition, which is not a happy thought. It sucks to see your kid get hurt, but when you have a toddler it’s basically a daily occurrence. So you get used to it, or you force yourself to. But it’s still no fun, especially when it’s the kind of pain that needs tending to, even more especially if I’m the one who needs to tend to it.
That’s not what happened yesterday; MomandBuried was ready with the kisses and the comfort while I gathered the supplies and did my best not to look at the blood pooling on my kid’s knee. She washed and bandaged him up and both he and I had recovered in a few short minutes.
I dodged that bullet, but it’s just a matter of time that I’ll be forced to handle triage duties by myself. I know I won’t hesitate; I’ll fight through my own discomfort and get the job done in the name of taking care of my kid, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
Contrary to Dalton’s famous proclamation, pain does hurt. I don’t like it, and I never have, and I especially don’t like seeing my son in pain, especially if there’s blood involved, which there was yesterday. He turned out to be fine, thankfully, but he did scrape his knee pretty bad, and blood immediately started flowing, and it was then I realized I’d made a mistake when I had a kid. I don’t want to deal with this stuff!
I feel the same way about vomiting. I don’t like it. I don’t like doing it, I don’t like seeing other people do it, and I definitely don’t like cleaning it up. Unfortunately he’s my son, and he’s my responsibility, so I’ll have to bandage his cuts and clean his puke whether I like it or not. I don’t like it. But I’ll do it. Because I’m a dad.
This parenting stuff is some bullshit.