Misguided Pride

by doodaddy on September 17, 2009

I am proud of the weirdest things.

I’m proud that Fern just hit 40 pounds and 3’ 6” tall (or 2.85 stone, 10.5 hands). So what if at a bare three-and-a-half years old she has already grown out of kiddie rides? I glow at her 93rd percentile scores, the ones the doctors say you shouldn’t read too much into. Score her a solid A-minus!


Fern and her experimental subject

The fact is, I take pride because a) I need it, and b) I assume that something we’ve done as parents accounts for everything positive about Fern. Her failures are caused by random mutations in her genes, cosmic rays and all that, but her successes — well, her mom and I, we did that. We made her tall by, um, stretching her. And giving her all those goldfish instead of dinner.

And that dovetails right into being proud that she’s so stubborn. It’s a pain in my ass, but it makes me feel great. Somewhere deep, deep inside. As long as I don’t get too involved.

Fern insisted on sitting next to her sister today, despite the habit of said sister to pull at any interesting thing within reach, like, for example, the birthday party hat Fern also insisted on wearing.

Pull, snap. "Aaaah! Claudia! Stop!"
   "Maybe you should sit farther away?"
"Noooooo, I want to sit next to Claudia!"
   "Maybe you should take the hat off?"
"Noooooo, I want to wear my hat!"
Pull, snap. "Aaaah! Claudia! Stop!”

Repeat that, oh, say nine times, until the pathetic cardboard hat finally tore itself to pieces just to defuse the conflict.

I’ll confess, too, that I was a little proud of myself for not snapping out some boring old dad-line, like “Told you so!” or “Just put the hat away, already!” It’s a baseless pride, though, because no matter what my reaction, Fern would have completed her little sister-probing experiment, anyway.

I don’t miss those days when Fern would do what I told her, unquestioning, simply out of trust for me — stubborn and independent is better. Still, sometimes I wish I’d bottled some of that obedience back then so I could dole it out judiciously now.

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in behavior,pride ·

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rayne of Terror September 17, 2009 at 5:17 am

I too have that pride in my son’s height that has absolutely nothing to do with my parenting. He’s off the charts! Off the charts, hear me. He’s not an early reader and he’s going through a hateful period, but his height, that’s something I can take pride in. In fact he’s SO tall we’re taking him to a doctor about it this morning. I predict the doctor will pronounce him perfect and tall.


doodaddy September 17, 2009 at 5:20 am

@Rayne of Terror – Don’t even get me started on hair, too…


Keith Wilcox September 17, 2009 at 10:24 pm

My youngest boy is 42 lbs and he’s 5 years old 🙂 He’s still little so I expect him to be the same obedient guy he’s always been. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that way. The old he gets the more defiant he becomes. He’s still just as cute as ever, except now he’s cute while saying “screw you dad!” HAHAHA. I hear ya.


doodaddy September 17, 2009 at 10:27 pm

@Keith Wilcox – Hm, cute indeed. Having girls, I expect moody, condescending stares, possibly combined with black clothing and lipstick, rather than open defiance. But maybe I’ll get lucky.


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