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Monday, March 15, 2010

Do You See Yourself in Your Kids?

"I think I know why she did it," she whispers into my ear.

"Huh?" I look at the clock. It's well after midnight. I'd been asleep.

My wife scoots a little closer to me, glad I'm awake. "I can't sleep. I think I know why she got back on the potty right before bath. She's like you: She's a routine person and she always goes potty before bath."

"Huh." I pretend I don't care. I need to go back to sleep. Thinking about it would hurt too much. And, besides, I don't have a good response.

'Maybe I'll blog about this tomorrow,' I tell myself as I drift off to sleep, leaving my wife to her thoughts.

Six hours earlier the older child had just finished going potty. She got off to get ready for the coming bath. I started the water and she ran back into the bathroom. Her sister was heading in and looked like she might need to go.

"I need to go potty," the older one said.

I eye her suspiciously. She has a history of claiming to need to go potty when she really is just trying to kill time or stall. On top of this, her sister is walking a little cross-legged, which isn't a good sign. But the older one is already back on the pot. Guess I'll wait and see.

And wait we do as the steam slowly fills the bathroom along with the chatter of two excited little girls.

I'm waiting. There's no way she's going to go again. My suspicious are confirmed:

"All my pee-pees are out!" she proudly announces.

I'm furious. We've been working with her on this. We've been trying to communicate that she needs to tell the truth, that this is unacceptable behavior. On top of that, her sister looked more than a little uncomfortable waiting for her to finish the business she didn't need to do.


I've heard it said that the things we hate the most in others are the very things we do. And if it's true that she got back on the potty because of our routine, then all my assumptions and frustrations were unfounded.

The possibility brings tears to my eyes. The possibility that she and I are too much alike and, because of that frustrating fact, I couldn't see what was happening. I couldn't help her and encourage her to become a little more open to change. I was too busy focusing on what I was sure was going on that I might have missed a glimpse into who she is.

It's a good thing I have a wife who can look at both of us and see the similarities.

Some days the wife and kids teach me more about myself than I could possibly offer them: I'm a pretty poor husband and surrogate father. How many more times do I need to climb onto the proverbial potty before I get that out of my system?

Homeschooling, it's not just for the kids. I've still got a lot to learn as well.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father


se7en said...

Oh I so hear you!!! I see all my bad traits very clearly in my poor kids, some of them were really rotten luck to inherit... and as I write that I think - hmmmm I never blame the good traits on me!!! There is a lot of good in them but we tend to focus on the bad!!! Isn't it so much easier to see others faults!!! Hope your routine boat doesn't get too rocked this week!!!

Contemplating Cadie said...

This is my daily battle. And it really hurts. I hope you can find the cure and then of course, 'blog about it in the morning'.

Stefanie said...

So true! Homeschooling might prevent our precious babies from picking up the "not-so-great" habits of the 30 other kids in the classroom, but it doesn't stop them from picking up ours. (And aren't we glad that there isn't 28 extra people's bad habits to choose from? LOL)

My husband and I often see our "less-then-stellar" traits in our children. I often say that I'm the type of person who needs God to "hit me over the head with something" before I'll "get it." Seeing some of my behaviors in my children is always a huge "whack" for me.

But remember, they see the good stuff too. =o) Homeschooling is a great character-builder for the whole family.

So hang in there, you might not have encouraged her yesterday but you CAN today.

Luke Holzmann said...

Thanks for taking the time to encourage me. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. And, yes, I should focus on the good things they pick up from me as well...



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