Monday, November 06, 2006


Today I've had the stomping.

Without warning I see it come, the plumber takes a leap and I know with a sole grinding punctuation it will land squarely to flatten me into squishy goomba paste. It's not the same as being assaulted in a way that allows me room to recover or defend myself. It's not like someone hurling cows and chickens over the wall that I can run away from, or at least devise a plan. It just doesn't matter what you do. There is no escaping the wrath of the stomp.

Usually after the stomping, I gather up what's left and try to make it home where I put myself together the best I can, but I'm basically down for the rest of the night. The next day I'm usually fine. Someone has hit the reset button and I've popped back into play. Until the next time when I blindly march onward.

Stomp. Reset. Repeat.

The stomping is never about work or friends or relationships, or even heavy world issues. It consistently involves my time with the boys. It doesn't happen all the time. For the most part, it's a good routine we've got that let's me still see them equally even though they don't stay with me but one night a week. Even with sit down explanations and reminders of love for them, I often wonder how much all the separation of mom and dad affects them. Sometimes it just doesn't feel right putting them to bed, singing them goodnight in another house and then coming back to my cave.

Usually the beginning of stomping days begin with a Homework Meltdown. After an hour of play to "unwind" from school, it's an unpredictable thing whether or not the Elder Monkey will be into his reading and writing or whether he'll have the grace of Godzilla. Mad as hell and once again we have to rebuild Tokyo in the aftermath.

And then there's Lord of the Toy, much like the quest for the One Ring but much more screaming and bitemarks. It will magically flip from a hobbit and elf team up one minute to the quibbling rage of orcs in an instant. I usually have to ride in and claim it for myself until peace has returned to the land.

I try to keep my cool, I put monkeys in time out, I take things away, I do what it takes. Then I remember, they are six and five and that means they are out see how far they can push things. Every parent needs a break from their kids, it's not selfish, it's simply burn out prevention. All those natural things that come with raising kids.

I try to ask what's wrong. It's always "Nothing." I know it's a great big nothing that at it's root is confusion about why we aren't together.

It's on these days of the stomping, when there are tears and nothing will console, that for a split second I twitch and wonder if I did the right thing in the long run. If perhaps trying to at least live together would have been the best solution. It never lasts very long but I still think it.

Stomped I tell you. I must now look for something to rub this footprint off my forehead. Damn plumbers.


Anonymous said...

I too have days like this, thoughts like this. But then I remind myself how depressed I was, how dark things were, and how much worse things would be had I stayed and kept pretending.

I don't know if what I did was exactly right, but I do know that the choice kept me alive, helped me realize how sad I had really become, and how that was hurting those I loved.

You did the right thing. Putting them to bed and singing them goodnight in another house is way more "right" than trying to make something work that you know isn't.

Six Shooter said...

You just need someone to rub your shoulders and help you relax. Maybe rub your back while you spoon. That always does it for me.

Not that it happens very often.

Flip said...

Of course you're the only one who can decide what's best for all involved. I do know that monkeys will find any weakness in their keepers and then pick, pick, pick until they get the desired reaction.

One question I have is how are YOU feeling about the way things are going...not just with the monkeys but with the other aspects of your life? Just because you think the central issue of your life is the main cause of trouble with the monkeys doesn't necessarily make it so. Perhaps they are sensing some disconnect in some other aspect of your lives. Or perhaps they are only being monkeys.

Is there anything you need to do to make Alden more at peace? In my experience it takes a lot of difficult soul-searching to get honest enough to convince myself I am being true to myself. And no one else can really assist me with that.

Hang in there. You are a good person doing the best you can. That's what the monkeys need and have in a father.


Michael said...

When stomped, my suggestion is simply this...know that you have a friend who will listen, try to say the right words, and be there for you when ya need them. [and they're skype-able :)]

Tuna Girl said...

I've found a lot of consolation in blog land this week. It seems like everyone's kids are putting the stomp to them. Mine included.

I don't think it really matters what choices and decisions we make, big or small. We all doubt them. Maybe the fact that we care enough to doubt them is what makes us good parents.

Hang in there, Monkey Dad. Eep. Eep.