It is amazing how different children respond to each parent. I mean, my husband and I agree on our parenting philosophy as a whole – we have the same beliefs, value system, ethical views, moral compasses, etc…but our execution of said philosophy could not be more different.
For example, I am pretty much with our three year old ALL THE TIME. So during the week we have a certain rhythm…a dance if you will. There are rarely any serious confilcts. We paint, we color, work on letters/numbers/shapes, talk about being kind to others and how we use our words and hands, we take fieldtrips to dairy farms, airforce bases, children’s museums, fire stations, we play dress up and have puppet shows and run lots of errands (we can get though any store check-out line and several of the aisles without tantrums or having to buy a toy, snack, candy to appease our son’s impulse control disorder). In fact, I am at the computer right now and have been for more than fifteen minutes and my son is playing. Not at my side, not on my lap, not poking at me, not saying “mommy, mommy, mommy…” Just playing independently in the room next to me. Yes, there are the random “mommy, look at this,” or “I need help.” But for the most part, I have a bit (emphasis on bit) of time each day to waste my time on facebook or check e-mail or even blog.
My husband is not so lucky. There is a price to pay when you are the fun parent. And the effect that has on our child is like being wired on caffeine! My husband works all day, but is a champ when he comes home. He plays with our son while I cook dinner, he gets him in the bath and he even reads him stories before bedtime. I love that I get a little break, although I miss that I don’t get to do the bedtime routine as much – the little warrior prefers Daddy to “read stories” now that he’s older. He is completely aware that he is more like Daddy than he is like Mommy and although he is my favorite little buddy and my little snuggler, it is Daddy he wants to be…not Mommy.
Anyway, what I have noticed is that when they are together there are usually no naps, there is a LOT of sugar, there are sporadic meals (mostly fast food – he actually TAKES HIM into the PLAYGROUNDS at McDonalds – ick!), there are tantrums, there is NON-STOP action. It’s like watching a hummingbird flit from flower to flower becoming more and more energized by each sugary sip! Whew. Exhausting! The more tired they get, the more delirious they get and the more energized they get! It’s completely the opposite of how I function.
I am more of a marathon runner (even though you will NEVER catch me running – running a marathon has never been a goal of mine and NEVER will be) when it comes to getting through the week. I have a certain number of miles I’d like to get done each day. The workouts build on each other. I actually build my stamina by pacing myself during the week and being sure I take at least one day to let my body rest. Of course there is no real rest in my profession, but I “run” less on some days than I do on other days. My husband is a sprinter. He does not pace himself. He is the human caffeine. He creates energy in my child that I couldn’t DREAM of creating. Human caffeine is FUN. Human caffeine does not do BORING. Human caffeine would never go to the grocery store…with a list…and a budget. Human caffeine goes on adventures, builds stuff out of boxes and empty paper towel rolls, makes race car sounds and takes laps around the kitchen island while Mommy cooks, it lays in the grass and talks about camping (and how “Mommy’s don’t camp, just Daddy’s and boys”), it talks about dragons and dinosaurs, it makes messes and doesn’t clean them up and it energizes other people like nobody’s business.
At night when it’s time to “wind down” and get in bed, it’s hard to shake the human caffeine. After his bath, he gets in his pj’s and Daddy reads stories. Then he lays in bed like he’s got ants in his pants and when we turn out the light the power of human caffeine is still strong. He starts to sing about everything he’s done all day. “I like my mom, I like my dad. I play with trucks.” About forty five minutes later, it goes silent. It must be hard to fall asleep under the influence of such a powerful substance.