Geek at the cool table, cool at the geek table. (aspiring2live) wrote,
Geek at the cool table, cool at the geek table.

Parenting: So easy a caveman could do it...

Evan is 12. I've given him some daily responsibilities. Not many, mind you, but things that are more important than making his bed. One of these is that he is responsible each day when he gets up to put all three dogs outside, feed them, and give them fresh water. It isn't a hard chore, but it's tedious and not very thrilling. He doesn't fuss about it, but he doesn't realize the importance of it either, nor the amount of trust I am placing in him. He doesn't realize how much the dogs are dependent on him to provide for them. In short, I am attempting to instill in him the sense of responsibility to others he will need as he advances in life.

Yesterday, he "forgot" to let them out and feed/water them. He's done this before, and been reprimanded for it, but this was worse. We usually let Toby, the only "indoor" dog, out before Evan gets up. Toby used to yipe when he got bored to remind us to either let him in or let the other dogs out. In recent weeks, he no longer does that. He'll just lay around outside, quietly, alone, until one of us figures it out for ourselves. Like at 5pm, when we are about to leave to go pick Allie up from work, and I notice Toby comes around to the side of the house alone.


"Evan, did you let the big dogs out?" See, they are crated inside the basement at night, so they've been in there since at least 2am, if not earlier (I can't remember). He goes to let them out, poor things, and feed/water them. When he returns to the car, it's time to parent. I settle on the idea that to teach him the importance of this job, he will not be allowed to eat, drink, or use the bathroom, until FIVE PM!. Now, obviously, I don't intend to make him wait that long, but I want him to fear that he is going to have to pee himself because of these restrictions. I want him to have to use the bathroom so bad that he can't concentrate on his work. I want his mouth to be dry. Parched. And I want his stomach to hurt with emptiness.

At the same time, I admit to you here, my heart hurts at the thought of putting him through any of that. I want to believe that he's learned his lesson without such punishment. But I can't, because this isn't the first time this has happened. So, lesson it is. After describing to him how it must feel to be confined to a cage without being able to eat, drink, or use the bathroom, I think making him experience that in a small way will bring to reality the great responsibility that he has, and why it's important to all of us. I asked him to imagine how the dogs must have felt, not being able to ask for help; having to wait and wait for someone to remember them.

Now, the truth is, if the dogs even so much as scramble or whimper in the crate downstairs, we can hear them up here, and I didn't hear them all day long. (Hence, my own fumbling of responsibility to make sure they were cared for.) I don't think they "suffered" so much as they slept a lot. Still.

I don't "fuss" at Evan very much. I usually talk to him like he was a man, because he will be sooner than I am ready. I could tell he took this lapse seriously and my hope is that him having to pee really bad for 30 minutes or so will make sure it NEVER happens again.

My advice to any of you who are comtemplating having children is, don't do it!! But, once you've decided to do it anyway, have lots, love them fiercely, and be prepared to understand that old saying, "This is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you."

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