I knew the truth. This abillity to weed out lies and exaggerations is something one learns through years of experience. I was lucky to be a teacher before I became a wife and mother.
Daddy was wrong.
Pet responsibilities are divided amongst the three kids. While the littlest at five years old may not be able to fill the giant water bowl, she still does her share. The older two take turns cleaning up after the pets and giving them food and water.
Last night the kids were going to spend the night in the living room, watching movies with Daddy. As I walked up to my room for the night, I asked the middle child A to feed the dogs. I didn’t know this but she proceeded to pass the buck to the youngest who had fed the cats earlier. The boy fed the dogs this morning.
When the youngest L said she was too tired (she was almost asleep on the couch), my husband told M to feed the dogs.
And he did.
But he was very upset.
He even came up to my room where I was enjoying knitting by myself while a book on CD played in the background. “Mommy, before you say anything, please don’t tell me that I’m just tired!”
So I listened his story and didn’t say he was tired (even though he was). I said I’d take care of it. He cried very loudly and retreated to his room. I yelled down the stairs to A to feed the dogs.
She did. Immediately.
R came up the stairs as soon as he heard the dramatic crying and I whispered what had happened. R went to M’s room and admitted he was wrong. He tried to talk more but M was too upset.
My husband came back to see me with a tired look on his face. He shook his head. “How do you deal with this? I feel so bad!”
I had to share my newfound knowledge in a nutshell. The girls were calling him downstairs. M’s behavior was normal. Our guilt was normal. His temper flares will appear quickly but disappear just as fast. He’ll probably go back to his normal self in the morning. (He did. He needed rest. Ha! I knew it!)
“You’re a great dad,” I reassured him. “I only know all this because I’ve done a lot of reading! See?” I pointed to a couple of parenting books on our dresser.
He sighed. We both know we have a lot to learn, especially him when he retires from the Navy and becomes a full-time father.
As he left the room, I said, “Can you imagine? We get to do this two more times! And with GIRLS!”
Yep, I’m pretty sure he groaned.