It turns out, there may be a reason I refer to my daughter as Pea.
Like most guys, I have a Pea-ter Pan complex. (Get it?) Growing up is not a thing I am eager to do, and I’ve relished every moment of fatherhood as an opportunity to enjoy playing rather than doing the things I should be doing as an adult.
Anyone who has read a small selection of my blog posts will immediately recognize this as a recurring theme in my writing, and thus, in my life.
As keen as I am to stay young at heart, lately I’ve been wondering whether the green tights are getting a little too small and if I look goofy in the felt cap.
Pea is WELL into her terrible twos. Asking her not to do something, for her own good or safety, is essentially an invitation for her to do all that and then some. Where I used to be willing to give her some leeway to discover her surroundings (read give her the chance to be a kid), I find myself chastising her more and more for her inquisitive ways (read discipline her like a stodgy, crotchety, curmudgeonly old man).
I always thought I would be a lenient father. When people find out I have a daughter, they immediately assume that she’ll have me wrapped around her finger and have the run of the house. I didn’t have much of an argument against this theory, since I sort of assumed that would actually be the outcome.
But the truth is nothing of the sort. I am well on my way to running a strict and stern household.
The question I am asking myself now is, ‘Is this how I want things to be?’ Is this my ideal of a loving household? One where what Dad says goes, and terror reigns.
The answer is a clear, ‘No.’
I am struggling to find the right balance, between letting Pea explore her surroundings and keeping her safe. I’m also trying to establish a hierarchy of decision-making, in which Pea knows that when I ask her to do something, it is for her own good.
Pea, on the other hand, is struggling to touch every single dangerous thing in our house and (seemingly) trying to have me pull out all my hair well before it is ready to fall out on its own.
This tightrope act has resulted in some anxious moments lately. Like when Pea threw a box at me while I was driving the car, narrowly missing my head. We knew she recognized that what she did was wrong, and it was a tense stand-off as we waited for her to apologize under the threat of a shower sans Piggy Piggy, Dr. Duck and Swiper the Fox.
She did, eventually, apologize on her own. But I felt horrible for threatening to take away her toys. She’s only two for God’s sake.
As you can tell, the terrible twos have been extremely hard for me, and are changing how I see myself as a playmate and a parent. I’m sure I am not alone.
What was your experience during this awkward transition? Or, are you currently there yourself, and in need of advice?
Any tips on walking this fine line, and creating a fun environment for our kids while still maintaining respect and authority, are greatly appreciated.
Holler at your boy. (See, I told you I don’t want to grow up.)