Brushing teeth has to be Noah's least favourite daily activity, and I have used many ways to make sure he behaved during each session. For the last week or so, I 'threatened' to leave him alone in the room, but two nights ago, it stopped working. So, I started to switch off the lights before leaving the room to make it more 'scary' for him, which did the trick.
Last night, Noah decided to play punk and asked me to leave the room even before I flashed the toothbrush at him. I was a little taken aback by his rudeness, so decided to switch off the lights and walk out immediately, closing the door behind me.
Alas, when I turned back to open the door to confront him, the door was locked! Noah was stuck, keys in the room, lights off, laying on a new mattress that measured at least 70cm off the floor. My wife, understandably, became very worried, and Noah soon started wailing. I was never a handyman myself, so it was fortunate that we stayed in a condominium with technicians standing by 24hours. I frantically rushed out to call for assistance, and within 10-15 minutes, with the help of a kind neighbour and the resident technician, the lock was broken. Thankfully Noah was still sobbing on the bed, unscathed.
Looking back at the whole incident, I can only count my blessings that the only tangible result of it is a couple of days with a lock-less door. Honestly, it could have been worse, I mean, really really bad. I cannot imagine what would have happened if Noah fell off the bed, tripped in the dark while making his way to the door, or suffered prolonged trauma if I did not find skilled help in time (or worse still, a combination of all of the above).
This has served as a shocking reminder of the level of ineptitude I have as a husband and father. 2013 was an exceptionally challenging year for the family, with Noah going through a difficult growing phase and both Li Li and myself forced to adjust our lifestyles to accommodate him.
It did not help that the Thailand economy and politics went through a disastrous patch and I was given the added responsibility of setting up a 2nd company during this non-ideal period. Whenever I thought I was really doing my best to balance everything and make them my absolute priority regardless, things happen to bring me back down to earth. What happened last night was no doubt my rudest awakening.
Over the last 3 years, be it through my utter ignorance, severe lack of tact when I say things, or sheer carelessness, I have never failed to continually cause immense pressure to my wife or trauma to my son, no matter how hard I had been trying make everything else as perfect as possible.
I am never going to un-Eddie myself, but my wife and son are here solely because of me, shouldn't I buck up and consciously do a better job to make their sacrifice worthwhile?
So here's my 1 and only resolution for 2014, that is to minimize my shortcomings and maximize my potential to become the perfect husband and Daddy (if I had any in the first place).
The hard work starts now, I hope it's not too late.