Daddying

Well, what has been going on?

For one thing, I find myself answering the following question a lot, lately:

“What’s that, Daddy?”

“Daddy, what’s that?”

But a lot of other stuff has been going on, too. Like potty training. And getting used to Danielle being on sea duty, again.

And putting Sean back in bed—over and over and over again.

It’s this last part that I’m finding most difficult to deal with. By the end of the day, my Patience Meter is about at empty, so following the experts’ advice (don’t talk to him, don’t make eye contact, just take him back to bed) is hard to follow.

How can this be fun for Sean? He’s gotten out of bed nine times since I started writing this blog post. Ten. Seriously: what kind of satisfaction does he get from this little game? And when I eventually lose my temper? How is that incentive for him to continue?

Eleven.

It must be some perverse quirk (twelve) of the toddler psyche. Somehow, it’s a game (thirteen). A game he’s very good at, and I’m very bad at (fourteen).

(Fifteen.)

It must have some kind of point system (sixteen).

Make it out of my room: 1 pt.
Make it down the hall: 2 pts.
Make it (seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, 21, 22, 23) into Mum and Dad’s room: 5 pts.
Jump up on Mum and Dad’s bed: 10 pts.
Make it downstairs: 50 pts. (24)
Make Dad shout: a million pts. (25)
(26, 27, 28)
Cry and make Dad come back and tell me he’s sorry: win.
(29, 30, 31, 32)

I earn points on (33) a different scale: (34) Every time I successfully put (35) him back in bed without speaking or shouting or making eye contact, I score (36). The number of points I score increases as the game goes on because the difficulty of the one maneuver I have at my disposal also increases with time, according to some algorithm I don’t have the (37) mathematical wherewithal to (38) work out.

I win when he goes to sleep. That’s worth (39) infinite points.

Sean just scored 50 points by making it downstairs (40). I figure my (41) successful retrieval was worth (42) about (43) a hundred thousand points, based on my level of irritation, right now.

He’s now bringing different things out of his room (44) every time: his blanket, his giant stuffed duck, his water bottle, his blanket and his stuffed duck (45). In his mind, that must be worth something. Perhaps I should assign point values to the various (46) things he could bring with him with each successive escape….but, really, who’s keeping score? (47)

The incredible part is, after almost 50 returns to his bed, he has the balls to ask me if he can watch TV. Astonishing.

48, 49, 50, and…

I win.

UPDATE: 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57… (I’m still winning, though).

4 Replies to “Daddying”

  1. Lock his door and then don’t tell anyone you lock his door. If there is no lock, make a hook lock. Any attention (even negative) is fun for toddlers, as you are aware at this point.

  2. Everyone locks the kid’s door at some point, even if it’s just with one of those doorknob safety doo-hickies. No shame in it. Once he knows the game is over he’ll give up.

  3. I laughed so hard reading this post (incredibly well written!) and then I cried a little…because I know my day is coming soon with little Susanna!

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