Monday, April 1, 2013

Behavior modification in Husbands.

My husband (Raknar the caveman) and I have been together for nearly 21 years now. We are opposites in many many ways. That's usually what makes a relationship work. He makes up where I am short and vice-a-versa.

When it comes to parenting Raknar and I are pretty much on the same page. We have rules, but we aren't strict. You must have respect for other people, behave in a civilized manner, eat with utensils instead of your fingers... you know the basic rules of society.

For the longest time I wondered why it was that I was always the bitch and he was the cool parent if we really do see things the same. We don't argue about this and if something comes up we both usually automatically react with the same response. So, why is it that I am the bitch parent and he's cool? It's gotten so bad that the 15 year old and I do NOT see eye to eye. To him? I am not just the bitch but Bitch with a capital B and the word SUPER before it. We'll name that 15 year old Leopold. It sounds good. And the 13 year old spare? Let's call him Theodore after the chipmunk of the same name. Because he reminds me of Theodore.

Today I finally figured it out. Not bad after 2 1/2 of our own and one spare are all grown. It's only taken me almost 21 years! Speeding right along there! What is it, you ask? He doesn't even hear it! I never realized how much he blocks everything out except for what he is concentrating on until today.

Spring break has begun and it launched with a snow storm. Which means the teenagers are stuck inside. I used to go tanning for spring break. What's up with this??? ANYWAY. Teens are inside. So they have been playing video games on and off between helping dad with the current construction project.

Raknar, Leopold and Theodore all come down from the attic after a couple of hours of work to take a much deserved break. Raknar sits down in his recliner and pulls out his iPad. The boys hop on the PS3 for a game. I was in the other room doing some laundry. Out of sight out of mind. The boys get to playing and laughing and generally having a good ol' time. As they get more excited they get louder and louder. That's when I can hear this those words come out of Leopold's mouth. I march my not so insignificant and rather indignant girth out there to give the boys hell and guess what? Raknar is still sitting in the recliner. With the two boys sitting LITERALLY at his feet. HE DIDN'T EVEN HEAR IT! He thought I was full of imagination. I was in the laundry room so he thought I must have mis-heard what the boy had said. After all,  there is a wall there to interfere in the syllables as they come to my aging ears.

Sitting on the floor playing PS3 acting all innocent with a smirk on his face is Leopold who knows that I did't mis-hear anything. I can see the child silently chuckling to himself. Do you think Raknar can see that? NOPE! He can only see me standing next to said child giving Raknar hell for not taking the child to task for his vastly inappropriate mouth.

Not that I can't block them out when I choose to. The noise level in this house is off the charts on days when everyone is home. Squawking birds, children with no volume control, Raknar talking over the noise, music, TV, pellet stove, phones, drama queen daughter... EVERYTHING here makes noise. I tune it out. Unfortunately for me, even when I tune it all out my Mom Sense automatically picks up on bad behavior-and they know it. If they know I am within hearing distance? They're model children. If they think it's only Raknar? They know they don't have to bother. They can scream the F word at full volume if they want to because he wouldn't hear it anyway. Not that they do, they really are genuinely pretty good kids.

If you are going to light into the lecture that they shouldn't even know those words-don't even go there. 1. We do not shelter them. They hear it ALL. Difference is we take the time to explain to them how it's bad, wrong or disrespectful and why it's unacceptable. 2. They aren't filthy mouthed little heathens. 3. Do not think that when your teen children are with their own kind they don't swear. They do. Every one of them. When they are all together with their friends do you know who is the worst offender? The preacher's kid. The one who doesn't hear it at home and doesn't get taught about those bad things. How do I know? I am a nosy mom. I EAVESDROP! Shame on me, I know! But I also know what my kids are doing because I am such an evil parent. So, let's not have that lecture. You raise your children your way, I'll raise mine. As long as I get compliments on their well mannered respect I'll go with what I am doing. If they start being nasty little curs? Then I'll ask for some advice on that.

Back to my solution for Raknar (the DEAF caveman.) I keep spray bottles in the living room to mist down the birds when they are stressed; to curb bad behavior in the animals. Raknar qualifies as an animal. The Human Animal. Right? You know what's coming don't you? I'm going to use that squirt bottle on Raknar. When Leopold mouths back to Raknar it's not Leo-boy who is in trouble. It's Raknar who will get soaked. I am no longer stepping in to end the mouthing back immediately. I am just squirting Raknar.

Anyone want to take bets on how long before he figures it out?

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