It was a typical weekday morning: I had been up for at least an hour and was now attempting to cajole the children into getting dressed and ready for school and they were busy pretending that I didn’t exist.
I was able to finally get the smallest one to acknowledge my presence by using my “outdoor voice.” She wasn’t in trouble and all I wanted was to put her socks and shoes on. However, because she had ignored me successfully for several minutes, when I raised my voice to a volume I was sure she would hear, it caused her to burst into tears and sobs normally reserved for the unexpected loss of a favorite puppy.
Shortly after this I realized that with 5 minutes to go until we headed out the door, the Hobbit had yet to actually get out of bed so I marched into her room, grabbed a foot, and walked back to the living room. Needless to say, the Hobbit instantly came awake and began yelling at me to let her go, that I was being mean, unfair, and generally ruining her life.
While riding in the car on our way to school I had to yell at each of the children in turn in order to get them to stop pinching, spitting, taunting, and slapping each other.
It was of course at this very moment when one of my favorite songs from college started playing on the radio. I think that everyone likes hearing songs from their college days even if they didn’t like them at the time because it reminds us all of sunnier days when we were idealistic, naive, and much more attractive.
When I was in school I tended to hang out with wannabe hippies and musicians, mostly because their parents had money (beer!) and they were a generally peaceful group who enjoyed camping and “being chill.”
As I sat in the car reflecting on that kid with my name, I realized that somehow I had taken a left turn somewhere and now I’m a complete asshole. Seriously, in the space of 2 hours I made 2 little kids cry and threatened all and sundry with unspecified punishments if they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. The absolute worst part of it is that when I see my children today I know for a fact that if they misbehave, I’ll be an asshole again!
What the hell happened? I used to be cool, easy-going, and (if occasionally sarcastic) relatively accepting of other people’s flaws? How could things have gone so wrong so completely?
Clearly this is not my fault. Perhaps children do something to you besides make you fat and tired? Is it possible that they mess with your head as well? At the very least this deserves more careful study. If you know parents who are not assholes (particularly around their children) please ask them if they would be willing to undergo some basic tests so that we can get to the bottom of this problem. For my part, Mrs. RW and I are going into hiding the weekend of our anniversary in the hopes that with 24 straight hours without children we’ll be able to determine if the effects are reversible. It is entirely possible that if it does appear that the effects of whatever the children did to us are reversible, we may be on to something momentous… I’ll keep you posted.