Wednesday, May 4, 2011
*Disclaimer: My hubby, Ben, is the best person I know. Bar none. He's a doting dad and husband. He is my best friend.
That being said, something that he...struggles with... is overreacting to things.
I know, I am the pot calling the kettle black. Honestly, maybe the reason we get along so well is that we're the same person. We're both horribly forgetful; we're both a little bit dramatic. Right now, my mom is saying, "Who, KAR??? Dramatic? Nawwwww." She's always told me how dramatic I am. I really, really try not to be. It's just...innate.
For instance, when I'm mad, I don't quietly seethe. Apparently, I have "muppet arms." My brother-in-law, Pete, says that I have "muppet arms" when I'm mad. I guess I kind of throw my arms up in the air and wildly wave them around??? Which is what the muppets do when they're mad. Or excitedly yelling.
Anyways. Back to Ben. When the kids do something naughty (which is A LOT), sometimes the punishments he thinks of are really weird/don't really fit the crime. Or they're really, really over-the-top. I'm no softie, right? I don't let things go unpunished; not by any means. But Ben really lays the punishment on pretty thick.
Example #1: The Great Marker Incident of '11. (This happened like two days ago.)
I was at work. Of course. Most of these incidents happen when I'm not around to diffuse the situation. Apparently, Sadie left the markers out. She had been coloring. We have to keep the markers up high because Micah has a tendency to color walls with them. He knows it's wrong. He is just totally COMPELLED to color on his walls. To him, the pleasure of coloring on his bedroom walls far outweighs the risk of punishment. He just has to do it.
So, of course, when Ben was busy with the baby, or busy helping Dylan with homework, or whatever else, Micah snuck a marker into his room, shut his door, and went hog-wild, adding further marker decoration to his already scribbled-on walls. Now, if it had been me, when I discovered what Micah had done, I would have made him scrub it off. Not Ben. When Ben discovered what Micah had done, this was the punishment he came up with - to color with marker all over Micah's face.
Oh, there's more. Not only did he color on Micah's face with marker, he also took Micah's sheets off his bed, stripped Micah down until he was naked, and made him go to bed like that. Bare naked, on a cold mattress. I really don't see the correlation between sheets, nakedness, and markers. But whatever.
Now, before you call CPS on us, I have to tell you that Ben felt badly after like ten minutes and gave Micah a bath, washed the marker off his face, remade his bed, put him in jammies, and put him back to bed.
That's his pattern, or as Sadie calls it, his "patterent." He overreacts, then feels bad and tries to undo the damage.
Example #2: The Great Homework Catastrophe of '11. (This also happened a few days ago. Apparently, it's been a hard week for Ben.)
Ben made this rule that Dylan is supposed to do his homework immediately after he gets home from school. However, he made this rule without really consulting with me. I usually have to be the one to enforce that rule with Dylan, which is hard, because his ADHD medicine has worn off by the time he has gotten home. He is a tornado/tazmanian devil for about an hour, until his "homework pills" have taken effect. So sometimes I sneak around the rule. Maybe "sneak" is the wrong word. I just... kept forgetting to talk to Ben about it. I let Dylan get onto the computer and play for an hour before I make him start his homework. It's easier on both him and me. Have you ever tried to get an ADHD kid to do his homework? It's haaaaaaaard. Like pulling teeth. Like wrestling an alligator. Like boxing for ten rounds in the ring. So he plays on the computer until his medicine kicks in, and then he's ready to cooperate and do his homework.
Yes, I shouldn't have snuck about it. I should have just told Ben that his little rule doesn't work for me. I think I just kept forgetting. We see each other so little, and I forget to tell him stuff all the time. He goes to work, gets home, then I immediately go to work out and then to work. I get home, we brush our teeth, we go to bed. And then it all begins again the next day.
Sometimes my afternoons are hectic, and sometimes I forget to tell Dylan it's time to get off the computer and get started with homework. So then Ben has to kind of oversee homework while I work at night. And I guess he hates having to do that? It sucks, but Dylan just is not a self-starter. I have a feeling I will have to remind him to do his homework every single night until he leaves for college.
So anyways. Monday, Sadie had dress rehearsal on the stage in preparation for her upcoming dance recital. Dylan didn't want to go, so I told him he could stay at home while I took the other three with me. I trust him to be safe. He's old enough to be by himself for one hour. I forgot to say, "Do your homework." I just left.
So then Ben got home, saw that Dylan hadn't done his homework and that he'd been on the computer all that time, and he did what? That's right; he overreacted.
He told Dylan that he can't play on the computer for a month.
To me, this is a little over-the-top. It really was my fault. I should have reminded him to do it. I shouldn't have snuck around Ben's little rule all this time. (Do you like how I keep calling it a "little rule?" Funny.)
Ben and I finally sat down and talked about it yesterday. I told him my bottom line - that it's impossible to get Dylan to do his homework when his pills aren't in his system yet. That I need that hour. That Dylan shouldn't be punished for something I failed to communicate about. So Ben lifted the ridiculous punishment.
I have been really good this week, though - I have made Dyl do his homework first thing when he gets home. And he's been really good about it, which is weird and very nice.
Example #3: The Computer Virus Meltdown of '11. This happened a couple of weeks ago. And there are two witnesses to this overreaction, besides me and the kids - Nat and Megs.
Kay. So I do my ward bulletin, right? And I like to have a picture on the front, with a scripture or a quote or whatever. Lds.org's media library has been down for the past few months - they keep reassuring us that it will be up and running soon, but I haven't seen any sign of life over there in many moons. So I've had to do Google searches for the images I want to use on my bulletins. There are lots of religious blogs out there that have fantastic images that I've used.
So a few weeks ago, I knew we were learning in Sunday School about Christ and his love of children, and all the things he says in the scriptures about how we need to become as little children, etc. I wanted an image of Christ and children. Badda-bing, badda-boom. I type "Christ" and "children" in the little box, and up pop thousands of images. I wanted to see a particular image closer, so I clicked on it.
Maybe there are some Jesus Haters out there? I got this pop-up window that was like, "Uh-oh. The computer has detected a threat in your computer now. Do you want to run this anti-virus thing?" I know from past experience that I don't necessarily want to run it. I'm really bad at computer stuff, so I was like, dude. I'm not touching this until Ben sees it. Ben was at work. Then Nat and Megs came over to visit and I was distracted. (In a good way. I love visitors.) Dylan comes in, hops on the computer, wants to get out of the things Mommy has been working on, so he pushes "run."
Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!! I caught him right after he pushed it. Dang it. So the computer was doing all kinds of crazy things, and I was like, oh, Ben is going to be so pissed.
So he gets home, and I'm like, "JustsoyouknowIdidn'tmessupthecomputerit'sDylan'sfault." I explained what I had done and what Dylan had done, and Ben did what?
Altogether now: He OVERREACTED!!
He was like, "That's it!!! I'm blocking both the kids and YOU from using the computer EVER AGAIN!!" Megs and Nat glanced at each other and awkwardly made their way to the front door. I rolled my eyes at them, like, "No worries, girls. I've got this." They left, I shut the door, I walked into the living room, I gave Ben my best Former Eighth Grade Teacher look, and I said, "Oh no you di'int."
He looked at me sheepishly.
And then he put access back on for both me and the kids. See? He may rant and rave, but who wins in the end? Me.
I told Dylan to always ask before getting out of anything of mine or Ben's that is up on the screen. I explained that our computer got a little messed up because he pushed "run" on something he didn't understand. He felt bad. I told him it was an honest mistake.
Poor Megs was so concerned. She called me later that night, like, "Did Ben really block you from the computer???" I assured her that it was just an overreaction and that the seas were calm once more.
Men. You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em.