Obviously our three year old son has years of schooling and life lessons ahead of him, but I’ve also noticed that he’s already picked up some positive behaviors that many of us have either forgotten or never learned ourselves. And by “many of us,” I mean my husband.
Of course, I love my husband and his good traits far outweigh the not so good. But I have been seeing some behaviors in our son that I wish my husband would adopt more frequently (and to be honest, I could probably use a refresher course on as well). Like these…
1. When all else fails, try giving a compliment. At my wit’s end, I recently yelled at my son “Why can’t you sit still?” He replied, “Because, Mommy, I love your hair.” Bad behavior? What bad behavior? I was swooning. Damn! A little itty bitty compliment and I forgot why I was upset. Hubby can learn to do this, too. Compliments won’t make my head swell to proportions he cannot live with. Instead, they will make me feel loved, like a schoolgirl whose crush notices her. And, it would turn my frown upside down. Every. Single. Time.
2. Say you’re sorry first, ask questions later (or never). When I am upset, really upset, justified or not, rational or irrational, just say you are sorry. Maybe add in an “I love you” or “Can I give you a hug?” It makes everything better. My son freely says he’s sorry when he sees me upset. My husband, however, needs to understand why I am upset and have a reason to justify an apology before he will offer one. Needless to say, his inquiries don’t usually end with a happier wife.
3. Ask for help. My husband is too proud to ask for help and will spend hours bashing his head against a problem that I might be able to fix in a jiffy. My son feels no such shame. He doesn’t hesitate to ask for help and only feels appreciation for a helping hand.
4. Cuddling is not foreplay. It has a purpose in and of itself. My son has no ulterior motive when he gives or requests affection. Why does my husband think that every hug, kiss, or cuddle is an invitation to pounce on me? On the other hand, I am so grateful he still wants to jump my bones!
5. Fess up. My son is not yet potty trained, but he loudly and proudly announces when he has pooped or tooted. By letting me know, I can run the other way. I wish my hubby did this as well. He needs to start owning his toots, maybe even give me some warning beforehand rather than blaming them on his imaginary friend “Not Me”. While we’re at it, I also wish he’d learn that the air freshener spray in the bathroom isn’t there for decoration purposes only. (I did enjoy a little payback during my pregnancies, however, when I had more gas than the Goodyear Blimp).
6. Seek out my presence and attention. For whatever reason, my son thinks I am a rock star and he is my groupie. He often just wants me to sit next to him no matter what he is doing, and he will also pull up a chair to my desk and hang out while I’m working. As clingy and overbearing as this might seem sometimes, it makes me feel special and loved. My husband, though, prefers to go to his man cave for some alone time. I do understand, encourage, and respect this. However, he only seems to emerge whenever he thinks it’s feeding time or mating season. A little more of wanting to just be in the same room as me because he enjoys my company would be nice for a change. With the chaos that surrounds us, though, I can’t exactly blame him. Maybe I’m just envious I don’t have a cave to retreat into myself.
7. Let loose and have fun. My son can switch gears in an instant to let loose and have fun. I think my husband could stand to join more of our impromptu dance parties. I think we all have to consciously let go of our worries sometimes and just have fun. My husband works so hard to support our family that I want him to be able to enjoy the fruits of his labors.
8. Show some sympathy. If I’m not feeling well or scream in pain when I step on a friggin’ Lego, my son will stroke my hair, sing “sana sana” (a cute little Spanish nursery rhyme), and kiss my boo boo so it will feel better. But unless I have a gaping wound that is gushing blood into a visibly growing pool on the floor, my husband thinks I should grit my teeth and get on with it.
9. Don’t be a drama queen. My little man is one tough toddler. He bumps into solid objects, knows the ground intimately, and gets bumped, bruised, and bitten during playtime. Yet, even though he sometimes looks like Evel Knievel’s stunt double, he never complains. That does have its downside. One time, he had an ear infection that went unnoticed for two weeks because he never let on that his ear hurt. On the other hand, my husband puts on a show every time he stubs his toe. Jumping up and down, howling in (supposed) pain, you would think he’d been trained by a personal injury lawyer.
10. Express gratitude. My son says thank you all the time, even when it’s not necessary. Me: “I love you.” Him: “Thank you, mommy!” But to get my husband to say thank you for a meal I cooked, it feels like I’m fishing for compliments…with dynamite.
11. The best things to share are laughs and smiles. It doesn’t take much to make my son laugh. He’s pretty much having fun all the time, except when he’s not. My husband has one of the best laughs I know – a cackling, hearty guffaw that is totally infectious. I just wish he would share it more often! I am hoping when we start getting some sleep that we will both lighten up a bit.
12. Be a cheerleader for your family. My son likes to watch his daddy play games on the iPad, and whenever daddy gets a high score he will yell at the top of his lungs, “Good job, daddy!” But that’s not enough. He will then interrupt me, “Mommy, mommy! Excuse me, mommy! Daddy got three stars!” Wow, what I wouldn’t give for that kind of acclaim! This is what a typical conversation looks like with my husband… Me: “I just got published on Scary Mommy! I’m so excited! Can you like it on Facebook?” Husband: “Uuuuuugh. Can you just log in as me and like it yourself?”
13. Wake up happy. My son pops up in the morning like a jack in the box, bursting with joy. He greets every new day with wonder. His father, not so much. Until he has his cup of coffee, he’s a grump monster. Problem is, he’s not really a coffee drinker. However, he makes me my coffee every morning so at least we both won’t be grouchy.