One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Friday, January 20, 2006

I've Failed as a Parent

I have failed both as a biological and a host father. Let me start with Kate.

We got home a bit late last night, so the girls were cranky, tired, and hungry. After a delicious dinner (that I prepared!) I gave the twins a bath. Both of them love bath time. When it is time to get out and I approach the tub with the towels in hand, they always point to the other twin and say "How about Genna/Kate?" Last night it was Kate's turn to go first. This provoked an epic fit.

Trying to contain a tweaking-out child while she is soaking wet and slippery is never easy. I quickly bundled her up in the towel and walked over to stand in front of our full length mirror. I was trying to be funny and make her laugh, thereby short-circuiting the fit. It didn't work. She kept at it. So, I began swinging her back and forth. After about the third swing I began to hear water splattering noises on the floor. Guess what? Kate was peeing. On me. Literally. I got her so mad that she began to pee on me! I had failed. Annie believes that her tantrum simply distracted her from maintaining proper bladder control. I don't think so. I think it was anger-pee.

But I also failed as a host parent to my Japanese students. We have had them for almost two weeks now. During that time we have fed them beef stroganoff, tacos, tatertot casserole, spaghetti, cheeseburgers, and several other wonderful dishes. They have always made a point of letting us know how much they like the food - usually by nodding several times and going back in for seconds. Last night was different.

Since we got in so late, I whipped up a pile of grilled cheese sandwiches and a pot of tomato soup. Who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich? I know who - Ryo. After I got the twins hooked up with some food, I fed him next. He ate the first sandwich without comment, along with the soup. But then I placed the second sandwich on his plate. Now, for those of you who don't know - Japanese men (especially the ones who have stayed at our house) eat a lot. But not last night. Ryo actually walked back into the kitchen and placed the grilled cheese sandwich back on my tray! He didn't like it! Then Yuki came home, and I presented the food to him. Ryo began talking to him in Japanese, which made me nervous. I can only imagine that he was warning his fellow student against the gaijin sandwich I had made.

Annie suggested that next time, I add some hotdogs to the grilled cheese sandwiches - they'll be sure to enjoy them then. That made me laugh - the one bright moment in an otherwise urine and disappointment stained evening.

See, I failed as a parent. I made Kate so angry that she peed on me, and then I disappointed my students with my inadequate culinary skills. I only hope that my students aren't also angry with me. And if they are, I hope they don't decide to pee on me, too. That would be too much.

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