April 24, 2002 - Wednesday
It seems to me that good parenting could be pretty easy. All you need is to be 100% focused on the desires of the child all the time. Of course, that means giving up most work, relaxation, little time for bodily needs like sleep, and, of course, no personal time. And, it seems, each step toward selfishness is another percentage point away from being a truly responsible and responsive parent.
Today, the boys' mother was away the entire afternoon and early evening for business and that left me with Jeremy for several hours. I picked up Harry from daycare and the three of us had a wonderfully pleasant dinner, almost begging the question why any of this is so hard. The answer is that it was just for today. I knew my role and I cleared my schedule and my brain for an afternoon with one boy, then two. The only time Jeremy got upset with me all day is when we were outside and I was trying to setup and figure out the lawn sprinkler. And, there, it seems to me, begins the problem with good parenting. My mind wandered to something of my own, in this case something that needed to be done around the house, but that did not directly involve the baby. I thought I might have fooled him into distraction by taking him outside and sitting him in the stroller, but it didn't work; at least not long enough. What's more, as I couldn't get the sprinkler to work initially, my focused drifted far from Jeremy to troubleshooting and my mind started working on something else. Of course, not having that happen ever is, ultimately, impossible with good parenting in the balance. I did pretty well for a day and I've done that before with Harry many times. But, of course, good parenting isn't one hour or one day.