I worry a lot about what kind of father I am.
Alastair is a great child. Really, he is. He's easy-going, well-mannered, and very gentle. He apologizes for his wrongs, shares well, and tells me all the time how much he loves me.
So I feel bad when I reprimand him, but then I wonder if maybe the reprimanding is why he's so well-behaved. It's a catch-22: I want to be lax and non-restrictive with him, but that is exactly what I think leads to ill behavior. I distinctly recall some early interactions with my mother as being very negative, and I don't want him growing up afraid of me, but I also don't want him growing up with today's whacked-out sense of entitlement. Respect must be earned. Privileges may be revoked. These are truths of life, and treating a child like a prince or princess will not prepare them for the world.
On the other hand, I want my little boy to be my little prince forever. I shower him with love and hugs and affection. He's all I have, and the only reason I'm still even remotely sane after 11 months without Amanda. Hell, he's probably the only reason I didn't kill myself after she died.
So I hate myself whenever I'm short with him. TV shows and movies don't help, where they always show a father and son who've grown distant. I couldn't bear to be distant from him.
And yet he apologized to me the other day for "always making me angry." Oh how I died inside! Have I become what I fear most? Overbearing and unyielding? I try to pick my battles carefully, and I told him that he doesn't always make me angry--that I only get upset with him when he doesn't listen (just like his sitters, his grandparents, and everyone else in his life). And my being upset is nowhere near as vehement as it was a few months ago.
I've said before that this is going to be Alastair's year. I mean it. He's not gonna be little for much longer, and I don't want to miss a moment. We got a Wii recently, and now, in addition to our nightly monster truck racing and wrestling, we try to sneak in a game of Mario Kart or a bit of flying in Sports Resort. He loves it, and both games force me to relax and let him just be a crazy little kid.
And this morning he learned that what works in the games does not always work in the real world. In Mario Kart, it's just fine to slam into things. In the kitchen, on his Lightning McQueen ride-on, slamming into things hurts his crotch. So yay for learning!
Right now my poor little guy is suffering from a bit of a fever. Yesterday he had his 4-year checkup, and he had to get 4 shots, including his MMR, which made me the sickest I've ever been in my life. But he got great marks everywhere else, weighing in at 41lbs and measuring 41.125" tall. His vision is like mine: 20/30, and he's my sweet angel.
I love my boy.