Fortitude...

Before we go anywhere else, I'd like the record to show that I stinking hate olives. Now that we're clear...we can continue.

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This is as happy as Ava looked on Saturday. She was "pee-ohed" at me big time. It would seem that the idea of being temperate as mentioned in 1 Timothy 3 was being lost on me that day. Mom was at work and it was just us.

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You see Ava has a thing for wielding unwieldy objects. One of her favorites is the broom. She seeks out our broom at least once daily and carries it around the house, knocking about clumsily. Nothing is safe when Ava has a broom in her hands. Inevitably, she'll turn around in a cartoon fashion, unaware of her broomstick radius, and smash into a picture on the wall...a glass on the counter...and so on and so fourth.

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"Ava. Put that broom down before you break something."

"Ava! Put that broom down before you break something!"

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I had the stove and buffet cabinet moved out so I could clean behind them. Sometimes you just get an itch to clean something and there's only one way to scratch it. As I vacuumed and scrubbed, I heard Ava in the kitchen with the broom that I had just put away...again. I had already told her twice to put it back, but research shows that 2 year old humans don't always listen when you want them to.

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Just as I turned to plead my case with a 27 month girl she knocked something of insignificance off of the table with the broomstick. Out of my built-in superhero reactionary D.N.A. I jumped to save whatever was about to break. When I jumped, my foot caught the power cord of the vacuum which was very conveniently wrapped around one of these things:



It was (as in past tense) filled with kalamata olives, anise (aka nasty black licorice flavor), and some really sour smelling vinegar. It crashed on the floor spilling out approximately 730 terrible little flavor bombs and about a gallon of vinegar...on the rug. I was not pleased at this.

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I turned towards Ava, who by the deer-in-the-headlights look knew something bad had just happened, and I fired off.

"DAMMIT!! GIVE ME THAT DAMN BROOM!!!"

I grabbed the broom from her and I hurled it down the hallway where it crashed into the laundry room door. I looked down at Ava, probably looking monstrous, and terrified, she just ran into the living room.

I cleaned up the mess of broken glass, olives and vinegar for about 20 minutes and when I was cooled off I went in to see if Ava was okay. She was curled up on the couch with tears in her eyes and when she saw me she apologized immediately saying, "I'm sorry Dada, I'm so sorry...I'm sorry Dada."

This apology made me feel just above Adolf Hitler on the scale of morality.

I told her there was nothing to be sorry about and that it was my fault for breaking the glass. I told her I was sorry for yelling and sorry for cussing and sorry for throwing the broom across the house.

She hugged me and told me it was okay and then she kissed me on the cheek.

Thank God kids are so resilient. Ava got over it much faster than I did. I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be that guy who blows up and cusses at a 2 year old. I don't want to be that guy who throws things. I guess I'm just confessing this publicly so you'll hold me to it...don't let me be that guy.

I want to be that guy I was on Sunday. That guy who builds amazing forts with his little girl and never wants to stop playing with her.

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38 waggish utterances thus far...:

Erin said...

I can just imagine that smell! Pleh.

It's funny how when we sometimes we slip and immediately feel so guilty and horrible, while the other person is so quick to forgive. That's like me and my husband, I don't freak out often, him less than me. And whenever I do I feel that tinge of "dangit why'd I do that?". If only we could slow down even more so it never even got to the tip of our tongues.

T5M said...

Thanks for your transparency. We've all been there.

Just be glad that our Father is a much more patient parent to us, than we are with our kids. Otherwise I would've been wiped off the earth many time over by now.

Kimberly said...

Thank you Ryan... not just for being transparent, but for allowing us to hold you accountable. We all need to hold each other up in the Lord.

Neat imagery too. (-;

Darth Mom said...

I've been "that mom" plenty of times, unfortunately. Thank God kids are so quick to forgive! They're quick to forgive but then they give you "funny" nicknames based on evil fictional characters.

Cheri said...

Thanks for really being real with us. My kids wouldn't hesitate to tell you (or anyone else) about the crazy times I "lost it" with them. However, now that they are young adults we can laugh about it -- which I'm pretty sure is due to the fact that I apologized and asked forgiveness.....keep that part up for sure!

Keep up the great fort making too!

Kelly said...

First I have to say that I laughed till I had tears in my eyes reading this. Been there, done that sort of thing. Second, I would HIGHLY reccomend you purchase a child's broom. They do make such things. Jonathan also loved brooms, and the child's broom proved to be a wonderful thing in our household. I'm sure Toy's r Us wuold have them.
Aren't kids the best when it comes to forgiveness? Kind of reminds me of God, He forgives and forgets.

DanThoms said...

You do realize the irony of wanting to clean your house so badly that you moved the stove and then got mad because you now REALLY had something to clean up. I think God was just giving you the desires of your heart. I imagine he said, "Here you go Ryan, something to clean."

ps. way to take fort building to a whole new level.

Jen Higgins said...

I understand. Parenting is hard stuff. I've been there too, even writing about it on my blog. I think it's important to be real.
Here's my 'confession'
http://jeniferhiggins.blogspot.com/2008/07/that-mom.html

J.Danger said...

I must admit that is one fine lookin fort. An EZ-up, in the house huh. That puts all my forts to shame. TO SHAME.

Tracie said...

The best thing you did for her was to apologize. I am a yeller and have been praying for wisdom to parent my kids without yelling at them. It is a LONG road, but I'm getting there with His grace. And it's always such a blessing to have them forgive me when I apologize to them. Thanks for your honesty.

Snobound said...

We serve an awesome God who pointed out in his Word the wisdom that is found in a child's heart! Thanks for sharing your experience with us - every parent has been in your shoes. And even those of us who haven't been parents have had similarly frustrating situations with a spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, etc. More times than I want to think about I've blown up at my beloved husband over something that was completely accidental - and every time I've said ugly things that I've immediately regretted. Oh human nature...it's so putrid.

Sonja Chandler said...

It is good to be wrong.
As a parent you are going to be wrong a lot. I have been wrong for a good long time now and it's ok.
I'm learning to get comfortable with it. It helps me grow, it will help you too.
You are with your daughter and that my friend is one extraordinary gift you are giving to her.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the day.

Valarie said...

Thank You for letting people know that you are human. Sometimes people put others on pedestals, and we normally fall off of those. It happens, and how we react really shows your true character. :)

Denise said...

I love olives (though not in the form pictured in your blog) and I love your honesty. All of us parents have had that Hitleresque feeling, and it's awful, but made it right and you learned something from your mistake. And your fort is spectacular.

Bridge said...

She'll remember the fort way longer than the broom incident. May you accumulate an abundance of more and more moments of being the person and father you want to be and fewer moments daily of falling a little short!

Not Too Old said...

Isn't it funny how easily we accept forgiveness from someone else, but refuse to forgive OURSELVES?

You're an awesome Dad-every human bit of you. If you were perfect, then your child wouldn't feel comfortable being imperfect and would be afraid to say "I'm sorry."

Laurie said...

I am trying to stop the cussing thing. My current explicatives now include "CRAP ON A DOG!", "SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL!", and "FART KNOCKER!" Yeah, you wish you were so cool.

There are times when I've felt my only two options were to;
A. Throw an object.
B. Throw a child.
Thankfully so far I've chosen objects instead of children.
I know neither are really good choices but at least I'm honest.

mdvelazquez said...

Sacrilege! You don't like olives! I'm with you on the anise though.

I think "that guy" isn't self aware. You obviously are. I second Kelly on the child size broom. Those aren't nearly as long or heavy and will likely do less damage. Also, since it will be more manageable for her, she might handle it differently than she does the adult size. My sister did.

Debbie said...

Welcome to parenthood Ryan! We all lose our patience from time to time but it is how you handle the aftermath. Kids are forgiving and they can sense sincerity. As someone else already pointed out, kids will remember the forts of childhood not the little mistakes we make.

Auntie Em said...

Ah, yes, a walk through the parenting hall of shame. Every parent you know/see has been there. (I've got 4 ages 2-9, and I visit there more than I care to remember!) I once read somewhere, that God designed parenting to be so humbling that the only place to go is to our knees. Amen to that. I "know" so much less now about parenting than when I started. God surely will get all the glory in my parenting journey. Thanks as always for your honest, beautiful blog.

Ellyn said...

First off, that was an awesome fort. Awesome!
Second, I think every parent has those moments. That is why kids are so tough.
Third, your daughter is so beautiful.

Cheryl said...

One tiny slip, everyone has them. I dont know you and you don't seem to have any desire to know me, but I do read your blog and it would appear you are a pretty amazing human bean.

Holly said...

Every parent becomes "that guy" once in awhile... I used to think I was pretty good at controlling my demeanor around my daughter.. that is until I started really looking at all the pictures she draws of her family. Daddy always has a nice, big grin... Mommy has a short little wavy line.. hmmmm..

panykattack said...

This took me back to my own childhood. I have a distinct memory of the only time my mother swore. All 4 children were fighting all day and driving her up the wall, and suddenly from the basement we hear her yell "Stop it! Just stop it, dammit!" Complete silence. We were in total shock. All 4 of us started crying because we had never heard her say that word and it scared us. But what I remember even more clearly than the fear and sadness we felt, was what she did afterwards. The next sound we heard was her sobbing. She came upstairs and held all of us, as all 5 of us cried, and told us how sorry she was and asked us to forgive her. Her regret made much more of an impression on me than her anger and I'm sure your little girl will feel the same way anytime you're 'that guy.'

Mom on a coulee said...

God uses our weaknesses to show us powerful truths. What I see in this is the power of forgiveness, something a little 2 year old can teach, how easily she forgave, shouldn't we all be so much more like that because God is and does forgive.
Thanks for your honesty, we do all have moments like this we're just not all so blatantly honest to ourselves, others or God that yes they do happen.

Kellee said...

You brought tears to my eyes. My ex-husband was (and still is, I'm afraid) "that guy." It kills me that I made him the father of my children.

robinrane said...

You know what's great? You told her you were sorry. I made thousands of mistakes with my 4, now grown kids, but what they remember is that I ALWAYS said I was sorry...still do. After 27 years I'm still blowing it and still turning on a dime and asking forgiveness.
(That's why you're not "that man" you don't want to be~)

alpineflower said...

Delurking to say...glad it's not just me. With the yelling, I mean. I like olives alright.

My daughter's a couple months younger than yours, and I can tell you that the kid-sized broom did nothing - all she wants is the big one. Fortunately, we have little in the way of breakables in our house.

Megan @ Hold it Up to the Light said...

I had SUCH a similar thing happen to me this morning!

Mornings are crazy, hectic at my house, and today, I was a lunatic mom! I was yelling a screaming, and just being crazy (we woke up late, and I was tired...blah, blah, blah).

I was brushing Lucy's hair, and she just burst into tears...

"I KNEW it was going to be a bad day!" She said!

Feeling bad, I said "Why Lucy?"

"BECAUSE OF YOU!"

That just about Broke. My. Heart.

Needless to say, I slowed down and did damage control. Amazingly, we ended up having a GREAT day!

Bonnie said...

Man, we all have those moments, don't we. And it's amazing how kids are so ready to understand that you got a little upset but it doesn't mean you don't love them.

Helen Ann said...

I have had similar moments with Sketch. Once I was so frustrated I spanked him on his hind end hard enough that my hand stung and probably 2 spanks more than I needed. I felt soooo bad. I very rarely spank him and when I do its just a quick swat. I was frustrated because he kept "going terrier" on Bentley and attacking him. At the moment I felt justified because, after all, he was just violent to an old dog with heart disease and I had to physically pull him off. But I felt really bad. I've not done that again. I guilted over it for days and thought "I'm an animal abuuuseerrr!" and as a rescue person I am supposed to be above that sort of thing!!

Pesky Settler said...

What about getting her an "Ava-sized" broom and dustpan? And either keep the broom hanging on a hook so she can't walk around with it or keep it closed up in a pantry.

I remember one time, as a single mom, coming home from a long day of work, my daughters were already home. I walked in and the house was a disaster - more than usual. And I lost it. I went ballistic, yelling at them like a madwoman.

And when I finally heard myself (after a couple of minutes of ranting), I stopped, walked out of the house, came back in and smiled at my daughters, said hello and apologized for the yelling.

Then ordered them to get the mess cleaned up.

Jessica said...

Thanks for being so honest, it's very refreshing. It's awesome that you want to be held accountable to being a great dad.
Side note - I also HATE olives and anise.
2nd side note - rad fort!

klskiles said...

The 20-min "time-out" was probably the best thing. I'm glad Ava forgave you, but you also have to forgive yourself --but not forget. :)

By apologizing to Ava, I think you are giving her the capacity to make her own mistakes and to apologize when she is wrong. My dad and I have been through this when I was young and it has helped both of us grow.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Twinmommy2boys said...

OY! I've been that girl before and it was over the same thing. The stupid broom. Except try two, two year olds fighing over the broom and screaming. I've threatened to chunk the thing out the back door before.

mollie said...

Wow, this post brought tears to my eyes, because the SAME THING happened in my house this week. I seriously cursed at my 5 and 2 year olds. great days in parenting, eh? I think they still like me:)
We are all human and thank god they are forgiving little souls!

Brad Ruggles said...

Awww, what a great story Ryan. I can really identify with it because, unfortunately, I've been on the giving end of swearing and stern correction only to have my little one break down in tears.

My story had to do with a brand new wine decanter we had just bought and a $15 bottle of wine I was looking forward to having with my steaks that night. The wine was in the decanter on the counter and I was grilling outside when I heard a crash of glass. I came into the house with a look on my face that could probably be used as a model reference for a monster in a horror movie. I let Chloe know how upset I was even though it was an accident.

*sigh*

I guess all of us Dads have a long way to go, huh? Thank God for forgiving children and a merciful Heavenly Father.

UNCHEWABLE said...

love this post appreciate the honesty everyone can identify