Monday, March 14, 2011

Fixing a door

I’m beginning to wonder if Elijah keeps a secret list of stuff that drives me nuts. And he just goes down the list item by item in an attempt to make me lose it. Because me freaking out is kind of hilarious.

But yesterday I made a pact with myself that I would not yell. No matter what he did, I would be Mr. Rogers. He started off at 6am by attempting to shove his brother off the daybed onto his head. I grabbed him by the arm and shouted, “NO PUSHING YOUR BROTHER!!!”

Damn it. I played a Mulligan and started over.

I made it through a kicking fit at the park. I made it through a refusal to eat lunch combined with a “I’m starving” whining bout an hour later. I made it through 1,000 requests to watch TV, play on the computer or watch TV on the computer. I made it through at least 12 pushes of his brother to the floor.

But then Diana asked me to put together a picnic table in the back yard. With Eli. I knew this would be a test like no other. I plastered on a smile and went to work. I tried to keep him busy with meaningless tasks like sorting screws and washers (there were, literally, over a hundred of each for the picnic table).

3 vital screws and 2 vital washers immediately went permanently missing in the grass. My fault. My fault. Don’t let a 3 year old sort building equipment. I took a deep, deep breath and asked him to collect the packing plastic. In the process, he stepping in every Grover poop in the yard. My fault. My fault. Should have given the dog to gypsies before we started.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in as calm a voice as I could saying, “Please don’t hang on that please don’t take that please don’t push your brother please don’t touch the Grover poop please don’t touch that please don’t poke your brother with that.”

As the sun set, I actually completed the picnic table, minus one bench that required the vital screws and vital washers. And I also managed to do it without screaming at my son. Diana handed me a well deserved beer and I sat on my creation while she got the kids ready for bed.

I walked downstairs, feeling like I was actually a good dad. I heard Diana say, “There’s your dada. Maybe he can help.”

It turns out, Eli had locked our bedroom door and closed it. A lock that was unpickable.

I could hear a spring pop lose in my head. I put on a pair of hiking boots and kicked our door in. I screamed that birthdays were off in this house. No one would ever get a birthday present ever ever ever because we had to buy a new door.

Later that night, I crawled into bed with Eli and said I was sorry for being so mad. His birthday would, in fact, happen and I loved him very much. It was just that sometimes he does stuff that just gets me really wound up.

He looked at me with genuine curiosity and said, “Stuff like what?”

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