The Joy and Stress of Parenting

After work around 4pm, I usually picked up Dao from JCC and headed over Dana’s sister’s house. Dana came in around 7pm then we had dinner before heading home. Since lil Dan stays with grandma during the day, it would give me an hour or two with him before he goes to sleep. I don’t get to spend much time with them on weekdays. The problem was that Dao misbehaved when he knew that he was surrounded by a group of people who loved him.

Yesterday I took him straight home, and as always, he was very well behaved when we were alone. I fed him sweet rice I bought for lunch and he loved it. We played together and watched some TV. Then we headed over to my sister-in-law’s house for dinner. Dana had a headache and Dan was sleeping so they stayed there. I took Dao back home. We showered, brushed our teeth, read two books and went to sleep. It was the most wonderful day I had all week.

The thing is I can’t repeat that pattern with Dao. His mood varies from day to day, but he behaves much better with only the two of us. As much as I am going to miss hanging out with Dan, I am going to have to just be alone with Dao until he gets over this behavior. I really hope that we won’t have to go through this again with Dan. He has been a very calm kid and I am loving his personality. I was even able to to work from home on Friday while keeping an eye on him.

Dao has his good and not-so-good moments. When he’s good he could get me to do anything for him. When he wants something he would say, “Daddy can you get me something special? I am listening to you. I am a good boy.” Last Saturday, four of us went to Wegman’s for breakfast. Somehow I really dig Wegman’s inauthentic version of Pho, which has shrimp dumplings and all type of veggies including carrot and broccoli. The clear broth is a winner for me since I can no longer tolerate the level MSG in Vietnamese Pho. In any rate, Dao spoke the whole time he was there asking us everything he saw in the store. He drove both us really crazy, but we can not ignore him. If I don’t even answer him fast enough, sometimes I have to think about the item that he asked me, he would say, “Daddy, I am talking to you.”

The other day, he and I were driving home from the bookstore and he told me, “Daddy, drive faster.” I responded to him, “I can not drive fast, the police will catch me.” He thought for a minute and said, “Me too… and they take the car away… That’s not nice.” I laughed and thought to myself, “I never told him all that.” Yes, there are plenty of things that I couldn’t recall telling him, yet he already knew. He must have picked them up from JCC.

At times, Dao stresses me the hell out, but he also is a joy to be with at times. I am pretty sure both joy and stress of being a parent will be with us for the rest of our lives.