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Incident report

For some time I’ve been harboring a suspicion that Bun Bun is more of a jerk with my husband than she is with me. I’ve been fighting it off because I know that a) it’s quite possibly related to my general grumpiness towards my husband, which has little to do with him and a lot to do with me being hormonal and just generally a bitch and perhaps a smidgen of the fact that our marriage has mild ups and downs and this is a DOWN and b) our silly little minds are designed to trick us in these areas, like when my husband fails it’s because he’s not a good parent while when I fail it’s because Bun Bun is particularly horrible–see the fundamental attribution error. On the other hand, I KNOW there are some things she and I don’t have conflict over while they DO. Like getting in the stroller. And I almost prefer bedtime when he’s not home because with just me and the babies it’s a lot of work, but usually smooth, and with him there’s all this refusing and shrieking and running around. I also try to keep in mind that I don’t know what it’s like when I’m not there–perhaps it’s not HIM or ME but two parents versus one parent. There’s also the fact that he takes care of both kids every Friday, but for the past three weeks there’s been some reason why he couldn’t (Oh, I’m so overworked, I need to get the nanny to come in! Never mind the fact that I took three hours off yesterday for myself! Look at me sneaking some bitching in… It doesn’t affect me in ANY way, yet I resent him for it. Blech!), so he may be out of practice.

And of COURSE I think that my parenting style is more effective at times. Surely every co-parent thinks that. I’m not afraid of conflict with her and that seems to result in certain things not happening. (Like she’s fond of ripping his glasses off and flinging them on the ground, which I must say does not happen with mine. It has nothing to do with the fact that I only wear glasses in the morning and at night.)

Anyway, I try to be just, and I try to maintain perspective, but it’s hard. So I’ve concluded the solution is mental incident reports. The best way to get an accurate fix on how much whining happens on my watch is to actually pay attention to it.

It has been 5 HOURS since last incident.*

Incident 1
Time: 7:15 am.
Cause: Disagreement about lemur diaper vs. Bun Bun diaper. After consultation with Toddler, operator initiated Lemur diaper THEN Bun Bun diaper routine. Lemur diaper successful, but attempt at Bun Bun diaper resulted in whining incident of 15 seconds duration.
Resolution: Operator reminded Toddler of previous consultation, then initiated Ignore routine. Toddler compliance restored and diaper routine completed within 2 minutes.

Incident 2
Time: 7:22 am
Cause: Disagreement about cozy pants vs. soft pants. Operator initiated application of pants routine with do it yourself subroutine. Whining incident of 30 seconds duration. Precise cause unknown because operator did not know what the fuck toddler was yowling about, but something about soft pants suspected.
Resolution: Operator initiated Ignore routine immediately, citing lack of sleep due to randomly-shrieking-in-the-middle-of-the-night-several-times-toddler. Operator claims that had sleep quality been better, attempt to ascertain nature and location of so-called soft pants would have been undertaken. Toddler compliance restored and pants routine completed within 30 seconds, though further whining incident of 2 sec duration when Toddler could not get pants on alone. Help requested and provided.

Let’s see what tonight brings…


A parenting question. Because Bun Bun no longer eats at dinner, she finishes first and wants to get down. Not a problem. We’ve been telling her she can read a book at her designated area (5 feet away) but has to leave us alone until we finish. That worked great for a while and still does if she’s in the right mood, but lately she’s been coming over and trying to climb up on the bench or on Mr. Bunny’s lap, etc. I don’t want to rush through my dinner just to keep her entertained. There’s no way I can keep up with her, plus modeling a family meal is important to me, plus Bunlet needs someone to help him eat his mango. Options we’ve discussed. Giving her a book at the table. Not keen on that, though not sure why. Not sure it will work if what she wants is to get down. Putting her in the playroom, which is gated, and not visible from the kitchen. Not keen on that. Seems too punitive. Suggestions?

*But only because I went to work. HA!

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. The fact that you took the time to prepare incident reports is hilarious….plus they themselves are hilarious.

    I can only model a family meal like twice a week, but we let Jack down and off to go play in the other room if he wants. Most of the time he will bring ride his cars around the dining room/kitchen and make lots of noise, but we try to be leisurely about taking our time and not rushing and what not.

    My parenting advice is simply do what works and what you’re comfortable with. No suggestions for you beyond that…..maybe you could have her do the dishes though? LOL

    April 26, 2013
    • Also – marriage Low point happening on this end as well. I guess not Low, just like middle. Not up not down…..I just feel zero energy to put much in….which I recognize is sad….also counterintuitive considering how much BBT/OPK/herbs/acupuncture/etc. I am doing to seemingly conceive a second child…..weird state of mind to try to conceive a child in…..solution unknown at this time. – operator will keep trying.

      April 26, 2013
  2. After he moans about how much his stomach hurts, I occasionally point out to Joel that I simply don’t let Gwen bounce on my stomach. If she wants to bounce on me, I position her over my pelvic bone since that doesn’t bother me for the couple of bounces it takes her to realize that that’s not comfortable for her.

    Looking forward to hearing the resolution of the short dinners. I’ve lately seen signs that we might reach a stage like that with Gwen in the future; this morning, for instance, she didn’t eat much breakfast, and then wanted to get down, and then wanted to sit on my lap and eat my breakfast. Cute occasionally, but definitely not something I want to encourage.

    I, on the other hand, am pretty sure I would have no problem with books at the table, so long as the food has been removed and the hands are clean. In fact, I might try this the next time she starts fussing to get down before we’re done eating. Thanks for the (inadvertent) tip.

    April 26, 2013
  3. I know there was a stage where we set a timer for dinner. And there was another one with a lot of annoying up and down. And there was another one where we were like “screw it, go play.” And there’s a recurring one where Bug goes to his room for ten minutes and the spouse and I eat in peace (when he exceeds maximum operator tolerances, as it were). What I can’t remember is when all of these stages happened, or the sequence.

    I’d be against book at the table because the book would end up covered in mango sooner or later, and most books are not really engineered for those conditions.

    Do you have a giant ugly gate you can use to block off the kitchen? I have one, and I have to tell you, the blocking ability is almost not worth the ugly.

    April 26, 2013
    • I would LOVE the wanders off and plays by herself option, just in case it sounds like I want her to stay in the kitchen…No. That would be ideal, really. Not sure how to foster it.

      April 26, 2013
      • Just to be clear ours was more like “Go play… no really, go play… GO! PLAY! STOP BOTHERING MOMMY! Okay, fine, go to your room.” For a while, at least.

        April 29, 2013
  4. P.S. Bug bites the toothbrush and closes his mouth for Dr. S and he never, ever, ever does that to me.

    April 26, 2013
  5. nicole #

    Not sure what to do about the toddler after dinner. I have thst issue with my five year old. I make her stay on carpet which is in the other room or sit in her chair if she wants to come back.

    April 27, 2013
  6. Angel Mom #

    It kind of sounds like you might have been writing this one from my house!! We’ve had this discussion numerous times about “Well…they don’t do that when I’m watching them…” Needless to say, that doesn’t end well. But what we have noticed, is that there may be something to the “Two parents present vs one” hypothesis because he claims that they are much better behaved when I’m not in the picture…that remains to be seen!

    April 27, 2013
  7. I have noticed that, as in a marriage, there are ups and downs in a relationship with one’s child. Take teeth brushing, mentioned above. With my husband, who narrates the entire procedure, and then starts quoting the Tooth Book, it all goes nice and smooth. I tend to get grumpy and overtired at nights, so when I have to ensure teeth are clean, much wailing and screaming ensues. Drat. I am persuaded that teeth are cleaner under my supervision (see fundamental attribution error above), but I think I resent that I can’t be as good as husband at narrating stuff, which I suspect plays a major role in keeping things calm (however I remain a better parent, just because obviously).

    The dinner situation went through ups and downs too. First, George ate everything and was happy being strapped in the high chair. Then he started grumbling. After being done with food, he would happily go do whatever (he may not know how to sleep, but he is so independent and can play by himself for hours, only needing adult presence in the house; I sadly did not have any influence this in any way, he was just born this way, and I happily obliged, since when we try playing together, both of us think the other is doing it wrong, no matter what that is). Then he started doing whatever skipping food, and I would freak out. And then food became good again, but still cannot sit still throughout dinner. Which is fine, since you know, he EATS. So after he has had enough, he goes play with the trains or sth, periodically comes to update us on what he is building, and when we are done, he does a happy dance, because now he can get daddy to build the tracks, only to have it ruined by the baby two seconds afterwards. I do not know how you could foster independent play, since this is one thing I did not need to do. Yet, I must add. But I surely wish you the best of luck with that. And please share what you do. Books at table work for us insofar the kid meal is done and there is enough clean place on the table. But the need to talk and explain is greater than when just food in the main topic. Which does not make a nice dinner end discussion between adults. So off to play he goes.

    I am going to risk it here and suggest some toddler age appropriate tv shows playing after her dinner is done. Especially since it is not something common, and it is a treat-reward for having finished all the food (more or less), when the going went tough, we used. And it worked.

    April 27, 2013
  8. In our house, the toddler is better behaved for Daddy. She’s much more clingy with me (and I get more stressed by clinginess). I am slightly jealous that you’re experiencing the opposite.

    I have no clue about mealtimes and getting down. We also have the trouble of children clambering over us (my daughter to sit in my lap, and my son poking his head over our arms piping “Are you nearly done?”), and although I have made it a rule that we be left alone to eat in peace, I’ve never figured out how to enforce it. Both children take longer than we do anyway, so it’s not a frequent problem, but lately my daughter has taken to getting down when she’s bored of eating (after a few bites), so things are getting worse!

    April 27, 2013
  9. I think you have made a mistake… the example of a fundamental attribution error that you gave I’m just certain is actually fact. Child misbehaving in our care = horrible child, child misbehaving in partner’s care = bad parenting. Yes, definite fact.


    We do allow one small toy at the table per child at meals to occupy them if they finish before everyone else. But they also generally just end up throwing the toy on the floor and singing loud songs/entertaining themselves once they’re done, so I’m not much help.

    April 27, 2013
  10. Oh my god. I love your ability to narrate familial/parenting scenes in clinicalspeak/researchese. I agree with previous commenters that some things seem to work better for one parent than the other.

    April 28, 2013
  11. At the moment we make Monkey stay in his highchair at dinner until we’re all finished. We’re not very slow eaters though and don’t hang around so dinner is usually reasonably short. Usually he is OK with this. Tonight he screamed (he tries occasionally to see if that will work). But he still had to stay in his chair until we were done.

    April 28, 2013
  12. I got a great book for you….

    April 28, 2013
  13. Ana #

    We have the dinner problem, no idea what to do. If only he’d go play by himself, but L gets all clingy and wants to sit on me and stick his hand down my shirt and throw my food in my water glass and UGGGH I’m trying to shovel my food in my pie-hole so I can go on to bath & stories.
    Ours go through phases of being better for mommy vs. daddy vs. NEITHER. L in general does way better with G during bath and brushing these days so I leave them to it.
    I love that you wrote out these “incident reports”. I need to file one for the abuse B unleashed on me this morning. I think I have bruises.

    April 29, 2013
  14. uh-oh! i’m not sure where my comment went (sorry!) but it was long so i won’t try to rehash it 🙂
    but i forgot two things: one, that i’m impressed and jealous that Bun Bun can get her pants on by herself, even with help! I’m now motivated to help my children gain a new independent skill! And two, we have the same “it’s easier without you here” phenomenon at our house and i think i’ve decided that it is in many ways simply due to the two-parent dynamic. He does things his way, i do them mine, and those ways may or may not be especially similar, but i feel like neither presents a lot of problems in and of themselves. But somehow, when all children and parents are involved, problems just materialize out of thin air. Which kind of sucks, i guess.

    May 1, 2013
  15. I think mostly when the kid is shitty, he’s shitty, and it doesn’t matter who’s there. Although we do often seem to have a meltdown moment about three minutes before The Boy walks in the door on the days we spend at home by ourselves, regardless of how peaceful and collaborative the entire rest of the day might have been. So then The Boy gets to see mama shrieking and the kid throwing playdough and he swoops in and takes him outside for like an hour and I feel bad and great at the same time.

    Re: dinnertime, we make the kid stay where he is until we’re done. We try and get him involved in a conversation (which often then results in absent-minded picking at the food he utterly refused to eat not two minutes earlier), and when that doesn’t work, we get him to sing. Luckily he’s a little showpony and will happily sing the ABC song and the Jingle Jangle Scarecrow and Hickory Dickory Dock and Five Little Ducks ad infinitum, so long as we clap at the end of each rendition. I don’t know who the fuck taught him how to bow, but he likes to throw a few of those in too, even while strapped into the high chair. Apparently I was mainlining Glee for the term of his incubation.

    May 1, 2013
  16. I have to say I know for certain that my boys are much better with me than they are with my husband. Bee knows how to push his buttons and put on a show for him over something as simple as a diaper change, yet he will give me no trouble with such things. My personal take is that I am better at tuning into his emotional nuances while my husband has real issues with that in general. Plus on most days I have more patience than he does. I could keep saying how great of a Mom I am but it doesn’t help my case. My husband is a good Dad just in different ways. Co-parenting is hard.

    We also struggle with the dinner table scenario that you described. When you find a solution please share.

    May 4, 2013

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