I blew it tonight….

by Rod Smith

Nate is 7

Nate is 7

My stress spikes in fine restaurants. In Mastro’s last night Nathanael (7) was all over the place. Up. Down. Sitting. Standing. He was tired. And tiring. He drummed on the table, put his head down. He pulled his shirt over his head then over the back of his chair. And more.

Let me focus on my behavior: I’m trying to engage adults, monitor children, exude patience, and LOOK good. Classic triangle. I talk quietly. I’m hearing myself use a harsh, desperate whisper. I feel HIS behavior all over MY body. I march him out and tell him there’ll be no candy or snow cones (he LOVES both) for the next few days unless he behaves like the other 200 people in the restaurant. He gives me a military “Yes, Daddy” and he’s a changed child – for three minutes!

Dessert arrives. My saner self talks: “You should know better,” says a less desperate internal whisper. “It’s you, not your friends, who choose the context – time, place, activity – for your children. This is not a good context for Nate?” “I know, I know.” I reply, “My choices set the stage for his.”

I blew it. It’s fine place. Nathanael should wait a decade or two before returning – unless we’ve both been banned forever.

6 Comments to “I blew it tonight….”

  1. to some degree i like to believe that we all respond to our “internal stimuli” in diff’t sorta ways… you just found a healthy way to responding to it! 😉 Amen to those moments! PS. I’m enroute to India with a very long layover here at Singapore Airport. Ready or not…

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience and reflections here, Rod.

  3. You now know that Nathanael is not ready for fancy restaurants yet, what a good experience for both of you. Maybe cut back on the sugars (candy and Snow cones) before you dine at a fine restaurant.

  4. As you already know, perfection isn’t the standard … you don’t think it ‘should’ be, don’t talk like it is, don’t behave like it is, don’t use it as a yard stick for yourself, don’t use it as a yard stick for others and don’t teach it to your kids.

    Thanks for reaffirming the lessons (“perfection isn’t the standard” and “in order to avoid disappointment manage your own expectations”) … and thanks for the laugh !

  5. I feel like I know a celebrity when I read these things and see people comment on them.

  6. ….. and Brian, it is indeed I who is the one who knows the celebrity-to-be. You, Brian, are a leader among the brightest of students I have ever had the joy of teaching.

    PLEASE get and read IGNORE EVERYONE by Hugh McCleod. I will even buy it for you if you will read it. I long for the day I see YOUR best seller outselling anything by David Barry or by the guy you have been reading of late (Bryson, I think).

    I regard it as a fabulous joy that you ever read my posts at all.

    Thanks, Brian – by the way, your shoes and shirt are still in my classroom after you guys and girls painted that wall.

    Mr. Smith
    (Remember, the manners book told you’d I’d be “Mr. Smith” until you got married – I think that is what I wrote)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s