For anyone keeping track, my husband and I got past the Wal-Mart incident. He apologized profusely and sincerely and even bought me flowers (even though his recollection of events differs from mine). But then we got into an even worse fight several days later, this time about disciplining the kids, something that is, I understand, one of the biggest causes of divorce in second marriages.
Actually, this is technically only my first marriage, and my husband has been married lots of times before, but only because he feels the obligation to “do right” by a woman if he goes out with her more than twice. For us, the third date was right about the time my adjustable-rate-doubled-mortgage-payment foreclosure nightmare was unfolding, so who was I to question his tradition? So yes, we are a blended family, just like the Brady Bunch,
except without Cindy, Marsha, Bobby, Peter, Alice, or Tiger. Or an orange kitchen. Or the simplicity of having deceased ex-spouses.
Anyway, controversy over discipline is a hot-button issue in our household. So we started seeing a family counselor last week so we can decide who is right (though I’m pretty sure the counselor would frown on such a characterization of the process). I think my husband is too strict, and he thinks I’m too lenient. He told the counselor, “My son was raised in a household where there are rules, and those rules are followed.” And yeah, he did sound a bit like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. Then he went on to describe how he perceives my childrearing. “Her daughter was raised in a household where anything goes.” I wouldn’t put it quite that way, but he would, apparently, so we probably still have a ways to go before we’ll see eye to eye.
But despite that, it’s smooth sailing right now. As I type this, I’m in bed next to my polar bear of a husband.
And I say that with nothing but affection. My husband is big and imposing, and he makes chuffing noises like a bear. I imagine that sleeping with him is a lot like snuggling up with a polar bear, but a little less furry, a lot less gamy, and with fewer concerns about being consumed as a bedtime snack. And we’re on a luxurious memory foam mattress instead of a block of ice. Life’s good.
We even went to Wal-Mart again over the weekend. There were a few tense moments, but we made it out okay. I like to leisurely stroll through the store, but my husband is, as he put it, “a man with a plan” (and he wasn’t amused when I responded by saying, “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama?”).
I’m too easily distracted from the task at hand, especially by the kids. So it helped that this time my daughter was off visiting my sister. But I suspect that our son is actually the biggest distraction because I’m a very appreciative audience when he performs surprisingly humorous impressions of people who have been mortally wounded or otherwise suffered some great catastrophe . . . in the grocery store. His comedy style is a cross between Mike Myers and Monty Python.
My son is also fond of pretending that he’s Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter), and I’m a wild animal he’s tracking. I’ll be making dinner, and he’ll come up and say (in an outrageously authentic Aussie accent), “There’s a D, the most dangerous animal in the world. She can kill a man in two seconds with her bare hands. I think I’ll go poke her with a stick.” But then as he pokes me with his Nintendo sword, he’ll see what I’m cooking, and he’ll seamlessly shift into a Scottish accent (think Shrek or Sean Connery) and say sternly, “I don’t like meatloaf.” When I look over at him with a bit of annoyance (he’s the fussiest eater in the world), he goes back into being Steve Irwin, poking me and saying, “Oh! She’s angry! She’s angry!”
How can you get after a kid like that?
In the grocery store, our son’s line of humor often involves trying to figure out how to take advantage of the polyester grocery-cart wheels to generate the most painful static shock possible on his dad (hmm, maybe that’s why Dad gets grumpy at Wal-Mart), which is even more distracting than watching him act like he’s being crushed by a mountain of cans. Either way, you can see the problem.
So when we went shopping this weekend and my husband asked me which package of frozen corn I wanted to get, but I was watching our son do his impression of someone locked in a freezer, hubby sent him off to the electronics department to look at video games. And I must admit, our shopping went a lot more quickly after that.