Sunday, 21 September 2014

Don't Take Over! Teach Don't Tell.

Does anyone else’s other half do that really unhelpful way of helping where they take over and do it instead of showing you what to do / how to do it so that next time you don’t need their assistance? I know Grandma P will agree with me on this one because we’ve had conversations about it in the past and in fact the other week I was quite upset with Daddy P for the way he spoke to her when she asked for his assistance and he tried to take over. He does it all the time – he’s not the only culprit – my cousin also has the nasty knack of doing it as well. The worst part when Daddy P does it is that in his mind, doing it himself is showing you, so next time when you’re still no wiser to what you’re meant to do and you ask him again, you get the eye roll and the huff and it’s such a big deal to show you again because after all he showed you last time.

If that were the end of it, maybe it wouldn’t be quite so annoying, but to add insult to injury it’s the way he’ll talk to you that really grates. Like he’s the only one with enough brain cells to be able to deal with this particularly difficult task (EG building a Lego elephant …) and so this gives him the right to talk to you like an idiot (which, to be fair, while I know I’m not the most technical minded of people, I’m not as dumb as soup, either …) He says it’s not the way he talks to me in those instances, it’s the way I take it – once again placing the blame firmly at my feet. It can’t possibly be his attitude that’s wanting – it’s obviously my fault for being such an idiot. And he wonders why, time and time again, it results in me eye rolling and getting annoyed with him. I find the easiest way to avoid a row is to walk away and try to figure it out myself at a time when he’s not around – but I’m noticing now how he does it with J and I’m not very keen.

I like to try and talk to J as an equal. I’ve never been one for baby talking and ‘ducky-wuckys’ and all of that nonsense. So when Daddy P starts talking to J in a way which makes me bristle it really presses my buttons. He doesn’t do baby talk but he talks to him sometimes in the same way he talks to me as if J’s stupid. He’s four years old, don’t talk to him like that. I want this child to be confident, have self worth, know that he is an intelligent being with valuable thoughts and valid emotions and not feel stupid every time he needs to ask a question, which is exactly how the reaction comes across most of the time. I ask Daddy P to take a deep breath and stay calm rather than snapping but then all I get is the “I can’t do anything right” comment which is normally followed by a huff, an eye roll and him leaving the room.

He always used to be such a patient man. Endless, boundless, limitless patience and I used to think he’d be such a laid back, patient father. I don’t know where or when his patience departed, or even why, but he can be short, snappish and impatient even over the smallest, simplest and most straightforward of things. I know how frustrating it is when you’re in a rush and J is taking forever to brush his teeth – trust me, I do. I get him ready four mornings out of five for school, remember? But of course I’m not allowed to voice my opinion on this matter, because it seems to me that parenting is a competition rather than a team sport as far as he’s concerned. However tired I am, he’s more tired; However badly I slept, he slept worse; However busy my day has been, his day was busier, and so on. Along this line, regardless of how many times I reasoned, argued, explained, bribed and talked to J about something for five or six out of seven days, the one or two times he did it was a million times more dramatic.

Yesterday I wondered if the Guitar Hero games on the PS2 would be something J could play now he’s a bit older, on the basic level, now he understands better how to play games like that. So Daddy P got the system and the games down and set it up in the front room, but it’s still a bit advanced for J and he ended up getting the hump with it (Daddy P ended up playing it and J watched) Then we tried racing games where the point is to crash – but again J wasn’t entertained. We had a part time winner with Crash Bandicoot but the novelty wore off for J after he’d died a couple of times. Instead of moving on to doing something else (get off the computer for a change, maybe?!) Daddy P instead tried a game where you’re a giant ape destroying a city (which he took over because J couldn’t make it do what he wanted) and now he’s loaded up Sega Bass Fishing on the Wii. Again, to ‘show’ J how to play it means he’s standing there playing it and to be honest J doesn’t seem overly fussed about it though he is watching (as he lies on the floor in his onesie, as is Sunday lunchtime tradition in this house) Once he’s tired of this or wants to concentrate on his own thing (at the moment he’s playing Clash of the Clans a lot on his mobile) he’ll get the hump because J won’t be able to play alone as he doesn’t quite understand what he needs to do / hasn’t quite got the hang of it but he’ll complain about J complaining he’s bored.

Yesterday I got ready all of the equipment J will need to do his homework and told Daddy P it was all sorted out but he’d need to do the homework with J. He acknowledged this comment but so far he has not made any mention of the homework, doing the homework or even thinking about the homework. I wonder if he will remember to do it or whether he’s deliberately leaving it for me to sort out, the same thing it would appear he does for most other things that need doing. EG his washing – I keep saying all he needs to do is bring it down from upstairs and put it in the washing box and I’ll sort it through. He says yes regularly yet time and time again doesn’t bring his washing down. More often than not he’ll have a mad rush on Monday while I’m in the office and he’ll cram everything into two loads and hang it to dry either in our bedroom or in the airing cupboard in order for it to be ready to wear on Tuesday. For some reason, mid-way through the week, he’ll run out of underwear or socks and ask me if I’ve washed any. I’ll ask if he’s brought any downstairs for me to wash and he’ll say no, and come to the realisation that he must have about 20 pairs of dirty socks lurking about upstairs.

I suppose I’d better go to the supermarket then, as despite the fact he wants to cook a chicken roast dinner this afternoon he’s made no move to head to the shop and get a chicken so looks like I’d best do that or we’ll be going hungry! *sigh*

Love, Mummy P

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