Tag Archives: Habituated

Charlotte Parent: Boiling Frogs

Dudes can get used to just about anything.

Consider the door that swells in the summer and won’t open quietly unless you pull to the right while opening it. At the start of the summer, it’s a pain in the nether regions. By the time autumn rolls boiled_frogaround and the humidity drops enough to reduce the swelling and noise, it’s become just something you do when you open the door.

What seems shocking or horrifying at first, can often become just another everyday thing over time.

Which, when you’re taking care of a baby, can be a really good thing.

Today, over at Charlotte Parent, I’ll be talking a really horrible metaphor for this sort of thing as well as pointing out a few times when it’s a good thing we can become habituated to even the most disgusting things. As usual, I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name.

Join us, won’t you?

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Cruel And Unusual

by Richard

In my bedside table, hidden under a load of (mostly clean) superhero-themed underwear, there’s a plastic cockroach. It’s not a little plastic cockroach. This is more the size of a Palmetto Bug. If you missed it, you can find my first adventures with a Palmetto Bug by scrolling down to yesterday’s post. This part is where I share the misery.

You see, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Have The Patience Of A Saint (At Times), absolutely despises and fears cockroaches of any and all sizes and varieties. I am not at all exaggerating when I say she despises them with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. And she fears them even more.

I can always tell when there’s been a cockroach sighting by the fact that she’s using the power of her scream to send her levitating body rushing from a room. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to repair windows cracked from the sheer volume and hatred in her screams.

All of which goes a long way toward explaining why, a number of years ago, I went out and bought about a dozen large, plastic, lifelike cockroaches.

I know. I know. I really am a bad person.

It’s just that fear is really, really funny. Well, it is as long as that fear is happening to another person. Which, in this case, it is.

Setting out one of my plastic cockroaches used to be a lot more funny, but She Who Must Be Getting Tired Of This Sort Of Thing, has become a bit habituated to the whole thing. Which is why I had switched to leaving them on her pillow. Much funnier.

Of course, this isn’t the sort of thing you can do all the time. For one thing, it takes a while for the bruises to heal up. For another, familiarity breeds contempt. Still, this sort of thing can lead you to understand why I sometimes call my lovely wife, She Who Must Sleep With One Eye Open.

Which makes the fact that the little dudes find this whole thing hilarious even better. It used to be all three of them, but now only Hyper Lad still thinks its funny. The problem is, they’re not the most observant kids in the world.

I sleep on the left side of the bed. She sleeps on the right. We’ve always done it that way. So why do I keep finding plastic cockroaches on my pillow? And not hers? Okay, yes, I’ll admit it. I did mutter a few, possibly, maybe high and squeaky squeals. Maybe.

I’ve tried explaining the difference between left and right to Hyper Lad, but he keeps getting it wrong.

Or maybe not. As I write this, I’m beginning to get the sinking sensation that possibly Hyper Lad is taking his marching orders from someone else. Someone who should, perhaps, now be known as She Who Must Get The Last Laugh.

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