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The Mean One

My husband is better than me at lots of things, and by "better" I mean "a better PERSON.” He's generous, thoughtful and never says no when someone asks for a favor. He's a calm and measured person, slow to anger and quick to understand another point of view. One of his best qualities is his seemingly infinite amount of patience, especially with our kids.

You can see how this makes me out to be The Mean One in our parenting team.

As much as I'd love to tell you that Jackson, my almost two-year-old, is the most well-behaved boy on the planet, he's actually spending a lot of time in the corner these days. Hurling toys down the stairs, making his sister cry, dropping food off the high chair tray when Mommy SPECIFICALLY told him NOT to -- these are all offenses punishable by a few minutes of corner time. Does it have any effect on him? I haven't been able to tell, but it sure does make ME feel better.

Since I'm in charge of little Whiny McWhinerPants for most of his waking hours, I'm the one doing most of the discipline. It's hard work, you know, trying to stay consistent in your expectations for Toddler Behavior and following through on your various threats and bribes. The days when Jack wakes up on the Let's-Pretend-I-Can't-Hear-Mommy days and takes a swig of Whine Juice with his breakfast are so exhausting that I'm deliriously delighted when Phillip finally gets home and can take over the disciplinarian role.

But "Just wait till your father gets home!" sort of loses its bite when Father's response to catapulting peas across the kitchen is to gently remove the boy from his high chair, slowly walk him to the corner and gently explain why throwing food is objectionable. Meanwhile the criminal is turning around and grinning and Mother is going slightly berserk.

I grew up with four younger brothers and sisters, and fighting and shouting were an every day (if not every hour!) occurrence. My parents were the farthest thing from pushovers and a combination of us were almost always in trouble for something. My mom had a Scary Raised Voice and an Evil Eye in her arsenal, but when my dad brought out the Quiet Don't-Mess-With-Me Growl we knew we were in for it.

My husband, on the other hand, was a nice little boy with one much older brother. With his quiet easygoing nature and no siblings to fight with, I'm sure the most Phillip ever received in terms of discipline was a Stern Look. I can't even imagine his parents raising their voices. When Phillip gets angry with Jack I can barely tell he's angry. And sometimes it sounds like he's NOT angry, he's just trying to SOUND angry in hopes that Jack will stop spitting or hitting or putting yogurt in his hair.

When I'm angry I'm ANGRY. And you can bet my almost two-year-old knows it.

A quick cross check of my mom friends shows there's usually a Nice One and a Mean One. Which category do you fall into?

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