In an earlier post I wrote about the pleasure I get from having a lot of playtime with my daughter. Every now and then though, things gets a little strained and it’s not all giggles and happiness.
This morning was a stark reminder of how being a parent can transform your mood in an instant from a happy Dad playing with his daughter to a stroppy Dad exasperated by his daughters lack of capacity to listen and understand.
We’d had a fairly typical morning. It was my turn to be up early with iBear (Mammy and I take it in turns on a weekend so the other can have an hour extra in bed) and we’d gone through the usual routine of games that accompany a weekend morning. The babies were at nursery, Teacher iBear came to visit and we had a check on the zoo.
After a couple of hours I needed to get cracking with a few things. Mundane stuff like dishes, packing the washing machine, generally sorting things out for the day and iBear starts following me around asking me to play with her. “In minute I say”, “Once I’ve done my jobs”, “I’ve just got to do this”. All of which fall on deaf ears and the questions turn into whinges and cries which continue to follow me around whilst I attempt to hold my nerve. A brief respite comes as I go into the utility room but she appears again with the same monotone complaining voice and I just lost it. Shouting at her I tell her to be quiet and understand that Daddy sometimes has to do jobs. I attempt reasoning and guilt trips by telling her I always play as much as I can but sometimes I just need to do other things but I may as well be speaking to her doll Katy. There’s more shouting, there’s tears there’s falling on the floor that kids seem to excel at and my only escape is outside in the garden where I water the plants. iBear now wants to help but I’m still angry so it’s a resounding no and there we go again. She really really really wanted to help water the plants and has gone crying upstairs to Mammy.
What now follows is the guilt. I knew she’d love doing that, but I told her no anyway as I wanted to punish her, teach her cause and effect, that kind of thing. I slope off to do some ironing and think about how I’m the worst parent in the world. In iBears mind all she wants is her Daddy to play with her and it’s so flattering having this human being that has you on top of this huge pedestal. But at the same time, lifes crappy jobs need doing and as parents we need that little break, don’t we? It’s hard keeping up the constant playtime levels.
A few minutes go by and iBear appears looking up at me and offering me a heartfelt apology instantly melting my heart. We’re friends again and all is right with the world. Four year olds don’t hold grudges and once again I wish she’d stay like this forever.
Post originally written in my offline journal: 30/04/17.