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Thursday, September 29, 2011

But Dad Let's Me Do It!

When a kid is raised in two different houses, there are bound to be two different sets of rules. For the most part, Casey's mother and I are on the same page. We picked out her daycare together. We're both on board with her learning to swim (drownings are common in Arizona with a pool in every back yard). We both believe in signing her up for classes that will help her learn things and become more social, such as dance or sports. When Casey is in trouble with one of us, she's in trouble with both of us.

That's all great, but there are things that we don't always agree on. Her mom feeds her more processed food than I like. I know we can't avoid it completely in the real world, and yes, that means I don't see the vegan lifestyle as being relevant. Sorry, but tofu tastes like a hunk of oatmeal that somebody sucked the flavor out of. On top of that, when you're flavoring your food to taste like meat, you're just lying to yourselves. The point is that sometimes you can make homemade meatballs and save a ton of sodium. That's good for a kid whose dad suffers from kidney stones. I don't want her to suffer through that.

A big thing we don't agree on is thumb sucking. I did it until I was around five, and Casey still does it at three. I don't even care. Her mother scolds her constantly for doing it. She always tells Casey to get her fingers out of her mouth. She's worried about germs. I was a thumb sucker, and I rarely get sick. Just to step it up a notch, Casey eats her boogers. If she keeps that up, she'll be impervious to cholera. I think she does that just to gross me out, because she gets a huge laugh out of me cringing.

That's where my most important rule comes in. If it's funny, and it doesn't hurt anyone else, it's fair game. Eating boogers: gross, but funny. She used to say dammit in the proper context: impressive and funny. She likes to lick me when I think she's giving me a kiss on the cheek: funny, and I can easily return fire. That's a new one her mother doesn't like. I heard her scold the kid over the phone for that. A time out was even threatened. Maybe she just doesn't like it personally, but I think it's not a punishment-worthy offense.

I guess when it comes to having a sense of humor about things, this will be the place to do it. I'm good with that. I feel like the dumb jokes are our little thing. It's not that her mother is humorless, but she's not at the intense level of silliness that I share with the littler me. I know how to reel her in when things get out of hand, but I like to let the line out a little just to see how far out she'll swim.

So there might be two sets of rules, but it should be expected that different people will create different environments. I can't promise that we'll agree on everything, but I can at least hope that we agree to let Casey be her crazy self most of the time.

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