Monday, November 8, 2010

Ah, the arguing

I had to wait to write a more detailed post on fighting with your partner til I wasn't fighting with mine.  Writing in the heat of the moment tends to make people either reveal too much, or oversimplify (why do we fight?  because he's an asshole, that's why).  But I know that's not true- I married a good man who loves his wife and kid, but we do have our moments.

I think a big part of that is that Ben and I are both really independent people, which can be really good-we don't need to constantly be around each other, we both have our own lives, jealousy has never really been an issue between us- but it also can be bad.  Neither one of us likes to admit that we're wrong, or that we could have handled something better.  Hell, most of our fights are over stupid stuff and never have any resolution, they just kind of fizzle out over a few days.  I realize this probably isn't healthy but hey, it's working so far.

I think at first I was afraid to be away from the baby, and had a much easier time adapting to taking care of him.  Let's face it-for women, life changes completely as soon as you find out you're pregnant, so you have more time to adjust to it.  Sometimes I think dads don't have a really good grasp on what's going on.  Ben likes to think that things will work themselves out.  He almost gave me a stroke during our wedding planning, because he kept insisting that things would fall into place on their own, and I kept insisting that no, a party involving over a hundred people traveling from hundreds of miles away did not "just happen".

So the baby came and I think he was pretty intimidated by it.  Ben's a fix-it guy, which is a big part of the reason why I married him.  Anything that breaks on a car or a house is no problem.  But babies are another story-they don't respond to any sort of rational process, and what worked yesterday probably won't work today.

I remember the first time I left him alone with Henry.  It was Father's Day, and Henry was about three weeks old.  I ran out to get some dinner for Ben, and stopped to pick him up some beer.  I was pulling onto our road when my phone started to ring.  I saw it was him and didn't answer, because I was almost there.  I pulled into the driveway and see Ben standing on the porch.  As I get out of the car, I hear the baby crying, and Ben looks at me and says "Aren't you going to come inside???"

Being a smartass, I responded "No, it's 95 degrees out, I thought I'd spend the night in the yard."

Not helpful.

So I get inside and he runs through the list of things he's tried, and the baby is still crying, and Ben is looking at me like there's a mark of the beast on the kid somewhere and it's my fault, so I asked if he'd fed him.  Nope.  I told him that was always the go-to with a newborn-if they're crying, it's not like they're upset about world events.

But between his frustration and my sarcasm, sometimes we run into problems.  It's getting better as Henry gets a bit older, and I think will improve more once the kid can talk and tell us what he wants.  So keep in mind that everybody's new at this at one point, and the kid's had ten months to get used to Mom, and vice versa, before they even come out.  Don't take it too personally, dads.

Not that the arguing stops, unless you're one of those irritating couples that calls each other "babe" and are constantly falling all over each other years after you met.  But quite frankly, I think a couple who never argues is headed for a major blowout.  That's where stories like "And then he left the toothpaste cap off, so I stabbed him with a pitchfork" originate.

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