Since it was Father’s Day on Sunday, the boy spent a lot of time over the weekend asking me questions about my dad and about my dad’s dad. The boy asked me if my dad and my granddad were nice to me when I was a kid. I told the boy that my dad was awight and that my granddad was pretty good, but I purposefully kept my critiques of their parenting and grandparenting styles somewhat vague. The boy asked, “Did your dad like to spend time with you when you were little?” And I said, I dunno, I guess, at least maybe a little bit. And the boy asked, “Did your dad cook for you?” And I said, No, my mom did all of the cooking when I was growing up.
Then the boy asked, “What was your grandpa like?” And I said, He was a nice man, kinda like a big teddy bear. He used to dress up like Santa Claus during Christmas. And the boy said, “Your grandpa sounds nice.” And I said, He was.
The boy said, “I’m lucky that I have a dad and a daddy, and a birth father, too.” And I said, We’re lucky that you’re our son. And the boy said, “Well, I’m lucky to have a real dad like you and a real daddy like daddy.” And I said, You birth father is your real dad, too. And the boy said, “Yeah, but my real dad is the dad who cooks for me and takes care of me.” And I said, Yeah.
Before I became a dad, I told myself that any of my future kid(s) would be able to consume as much electronic media as he or she wanted. Now that I’m actually a dad, and I have a son who is obsessed with electronic media, I’m starting to have second thoughts. I mean, it was fine when the boy was little, like, before he was in school and stuff, but I think his consumption of electronic media is starting to get in the way of him being a productive member of second-grade society. Plus, I’m starting to have visions of my son at age 20, and he’s living in my basement playing Minecraft all-day-long.
So I’m trying out this new parenting technique that I like to call “limited screen time after dinner.” Here’s how it works:
- After homework and dinner, the boy is allowed a set amount of screen time before bedtime.
- I’ll set a timer, say, for 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off, the boy’s screen time is done.
- Once the timer goes off after 15 minutes, the boy will renegotiate for additional screen time, at which point I’ll add 10 minutes to the clock.
- After 10 minutes, I’ll tell the boy that he’s done with screen time, and he’ll invariably ask for five more minutes of time.
- I’ll concede and give him five more minutes of screen time.
- Once five minutes have passed, and the boy has used a total of 30 minutes of screen time for the evening, I’ll turn off all of the lights in the house and hide in my bedroom while the boy begrudgingly brushes his teeth and gets ready for bed.
I’ll readily admit that it’s not a very well-thought-out technique. So sue me, sheesh!
Not long after the nanny dropped off the boy at school, I got a call from the school’s nurse telling me that the boy had vomited in his classroom and I needed to take him home. That was 9:30 AM this morning.
The boy has been feeling a bit under the weather for the past week or so with Strep Throat, but I think the antibiotics have mostly quashed that bug. Last night, though, the boy complained of an upset stomach, then he woke up in the middle of the night to vomit in the bathroom. He seemed to be back to normal when he was getting ready for school this morning, but it’s hard to tell with him because he tends to be pretty tight lipped about how he’s feeling and stuff.
I dunno, I felt like the boy was stalling when he was walking out the door this morning cuz tomorrow is the first day of winter break, but I guess he has another bug or something. Hopefully it’s just a 24 hour thing.
When I was a kid, my sisters and I could be projectile vomiting and have blood shooting out of our eyes and ears, and our parents would say, “Just put a Kleenex on it,” and they’d send us to school. I don’t think I missed more than three days of elementary school when I was a kid, and my parents only let me call out from school because of Serious Injury and/or Life-Threatening Illness.
I’m desperately trying not to be like my parents when it comes to letting my son have a stay-at-home sick day (especially when he’s really sick, obvs), but a small part of me wants to say to him, When I was your age, I had to get 15 stitches on my leg or a broken arm just to get a half day off from school, sheesh.
Sometimes it’s hard to undo a lifetime of nurture, even when I know better now.