When the kids know dad’s a softy

The VIEW from here

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

I’ll admit it: I’m not a tough a disciplinarian when it comes to my kids.

Let me first say I have improved in the past few years, but ultimately I’m a huge softy when it comes to my kids. I love them and I try to be tough on them, but I have a major soft spot for them and, unfortunately, they know it.

My daughter was the pioneer in this area. She wrapped daddy around her little finger as a baby with her cute little pout, chubby cheeks and warm hugs.

I worked nights when Lucy was a baby and would often come home late to have her get out of bed, wide awake at 2 or 3 a.m. and be ready to rock in the chair and watch television until 5 or 6 a.m. As hard as it was to stay awake I indulged the little night owl and let her keep me up.

As a teenager she still knows how to work old dad, though I have to say her skills are starting to slip a little bit. When she wants something now it’s a little easier to catch her trying to push my buttons, but she’s still a hard one to say no to.

Her brother, however, is carrying on the torch for old sis as he learns the ways to tug at dad’s heart-strings. At 7, Sam is trying really hard to learn the “control dad” routine from his sister and he’s definitely got game. Where his sister knew just how to use a pout or a teardrop here and there, Sam is all about theatrics.

Recently we ran into some Girl Scouts selling cookies at a gas station and, of course, both children had to have some. I couldn’t tell them no because I was determined to have me a box of Thin Mints so I offered them each a box as well. Lucy selected the lemon cookies. Sam looked over the selection, pondered his choices, and ultimately settled on the lemon cookies as well.

I bought the three boxes, took the kids home and was pleased to see Lucy happily squirrel her box of cookies away to her room. As the weekend progressed I offered Sam his box several times and each time he declined. Finally, he tells me he really doesn’t want the cookies.

“I just asked you to buy them to help out the Girl Scouts,” he said.

Needless to say his sister’s stash of cookies grew and I decided he was done with Girl Scout cookies from now on.

In another recent incident he was throwing his ball around the house and after I told him repeatedly to stop, he finally struck me with the ball while I was washing dishes. I took the ball and promptly threw it out into the snow, much to his chagrin.

Sam then retreated to his bedroom and I saw he was in there drawing. A few minutes later he came to me with a drawing he’d made of a colorful heart with the words: “Dad, I am sorry for throwing the ball at you but can you please go get it?”

I had to hide a smile and I told him I accepted his apology, but he would still have to wait. A few minutes later I got him the ball and for the rest of the day, at least, he didn’t throw it again.

Like I said, big softy, but all in all, they’re good kids and I love them.

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