Why Weekends Suck

by doodaddy on May 19, 2008

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Who could give those eyes a timeout? Me, I guess.
(Photo by Mike.)

We don’t do timeouts.

When Boobaby acts like a jerk (an age-appropriate jerk, to be fair, but a jerk no less), we give her one chance to straighten up and then it’s up into her bedroom to “think about it.” A few minutes later, when the crying subsides, one of us goes in to talk about why she had to go up there.

In other words, we give her a timeout.

We don’t use that word, though, and we haven’t since the day Boo dropped her fork and told me that it — the fork, now — needed a timeout. She also gave three warnings to her shoe once, so we dropped that habit, too — now it’s one strike and out. We saw how badly we’d failed as disciplinarians the day that she asked to have a timeout, and furthermore, wanted me to take the timeout with her.

Happily, the topic doesn’t come up very often — I go days without resorting to the “go-to-your-room-and-think-about-it” sanction. One punitive morning I can count on, though, is Monday.

This morning, like nearly every single Monday, Boo pretended to be unmanageable. She tossed Cheerios on the ground. She tearfully insisted on shorts and a T-shirt instead of the parka more appropriate to a San Francisco summer.

She wouldn’t even let me teach her this week’s new joke. (Today it was “What kind of clothes does a house wear?”)

So she got a timeout went to her room to think about it and a scant five minutes later, she was back to her normal joyful self, and stayed that way the rest of the day.

I have a lot of theories about why weekends wreak this horrible transformation in Boo. Our weekday routine is frequently upset by baby parties or dinner guests. I could blame Working Mom, but the truth is that she sticks to schedules better than I do. Maybe the problem is me. I’m usually around the house on weekends but mostly not engaging with our daughter — I’m busy with laundry, installing light fixtures, and scraping dried cracker paste out of my diaper bag. It wouldn’t surprise me if that pisses off Boobaby.

For whatever reason, Boo is much more pleasant — much more herself — when there’s just one parent around. I’ve always thought that coparenting (and co-teaching, for that matter) isn’t about interacting with kids jointly so much as tag-teaming: you’re the chief parent for a few minutes, then I take over, then you, then me. The trick is knowing how to signal that you’re ready for the changeover and then pass the parenting baton.

Just a year ago, being a dad felt mostly like being an animal husbandry technician. Get the poop in the right chute, wipe, and you’re done.

Now, suddenly, I have to become expert in psychology mine and the baby’s.

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in behavior,whining ·

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Marie May 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm

hey dude!!! I am back and reading.. missed you and teh little boo baby.. hope you are both doing GREAT.

Reply

doodaddy May 19, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Good to hear from you again! We’re having a great time, thanks!

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Xbox4NappyRash May 19, 2008 at 10:18 pm

now THAT’S the doodaddy that kicks ass.

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doodaddy May 19, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Awwww. Thanks.

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Michele Shores May 20, 2008 at 9:02 am

My older daughter had tantrums all the time but my younger one is more compliant. Although she just threw herself on the floor so that was my cue that it is nap time. Good luck! I wish they came with manuals but every kid and discipline technique is different.

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doodaddy May 20, 2008 at 10:44 am

Ours seem different day-to-day, too… we must be in a growth spurt!

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Chris May 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Disciplining and parenting in general is a lot of trial by error. The key is to constantly assess and improve. Disciplining together is also a trial and error thing. The one thing that I learned however is to never question each other in front of the children…

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Backpacking Dad May 20, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I feel your pain. But I don’t try to be an amateur psychologist. Instead, I e-mail Baby Shrink and ask for advice.

My daughter has been throwing separation anxiety fits at the gym daycare lately and I’ve just about had it.

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Jessica May 22, 2008 at 9:51 am

Baby Bum is really starting to act out. I know that it is just that he knows what he wants and that is the only way to say it when your 11 months old but it is still frustrating. I wish he understood the time out concept.

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Rattling the Kettle May 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm

What’s the punchline?

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doodaddy May 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

You’re funny. A friend of mine tried to figure it out for three days…

Address.

Reply

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