Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Tale of Mrs. Mean Guy and How I Learned I Am NOT Mrs. Brady

This is not news, but there are aspects of parenting that really suck rocks. One of my least favorite parts of the job is having to e the bad guy. There are days, weeks, maybe even months, when I swear every other word out of my mouth is "don't" or "no" or "stop-it!" to one or both of my children. It's so tiring and frankly sucks the joy from my most inner core.

As an aside, my sister and I didn't always get along, but I can't believe we would have survived to see 10 if we had behaved the way my kids do. In my fantasies my girls are best of friends and ultimately these fantasy children of mine become strong, polite young women who have a deep bond. I am even OK with the idea that they will gang up on us, their parents. I picture a happy Jan and Marcia Brady, sure they fight but within 20 minutes they are sharing sweaters and working at the ice cream parlor together. Is it really too much to ask?



Sorry, now back to reality. This past April after hosting a birthday party my 7yo daughter got a coupon for the Build-a-Bear Workshop down by Disneyland. Today was the expiration date. Earlier this week I told both girls that we could go and use this coupon along with the left over gift cards I had from the party, today, Saturday. The caveat? They needed to behave. I thought I was setting the bar low. Honestly I did. I didn't want to let this discount expire any more than they wanted to skip a trip to BaB. I should also add that nearly every Saturday the kids and I go to a restaurant about 10 miles from our house and meet family members for breakfast.

Here was the basic plan when I got up this morning. Let the kids sleep in. Get them dressed and out the door by 8am, be to breakfast by 8:30, then from there if all has gone well we would go over to BaB.

It started going south about 15 minutes after they got up.  From the start they were arguing and grumpy with each other (strike 1). They didn't do what I asked them to do in preparation for leaving the house but instead said "hold on I am doing…." (strike 2). They constantly interrupted the adults at breakfast, didn't eat the meals they ordered and refused to sit in their seats (3, 4 and 5). I could go on. The 4yo took her sisters 1 Direction trading cards and colored on them (strike 6!) There was crying, there was baby talk (OMG I HATE BABY TALK!) and there was basic rudeness. I swear I reminded them over and over again about the promised trip and the consequences of their behavior. Honestly I did, before, during, and after.

Finally breakfast was over and we got in the car. The first thing out of both their mouths was "let's go to Build-a-Bear!" I'm sorry. WHAT? Somebody needed a reality check, for sure! Had we come from the same restaurant? Did they even understand what the expectations had been? Who did they think they were fooling with this sunny declaration? Had they recently been hit in the head and lost their memory? Why, oh why, could they not just behave?!

I know that I am not Mrs. Brady because if I were I would have been able to make some sweet and simple statement and they would have had a total attitude adjustment. Instead we had this….
Me "Girls, what did I say you needed to do to earn the visit to BaB?"
Them "We needed to get ready quick, listen and be good."
Me "How do you think you did?'
Them silence
Me "Honestly, how do you think you did?
7yo "badly"
Me "….I am sorry to have to say this but we can't go to BaB today or I would be teaching you the wrong thing."
Them crying and begging lots of "we will be good now!" and disingenuous promises that involved the rest of the day 
Me "Please stop. I am not changing my mind, we will do it another time, IF you shape up."

And so instead of going and having a fun morning building stuffed animals we filled up the gas tank and drove through the car wash. Sadly they have continued to bicker and jump all over each other for the slightest offense and so as of now they have also lost TV (although I would pay anything to be able to just chill on the sofa in front of some cartoons right now.) It is honestly hurting me as much as it is hurting them.

Fingers crossed they start getting their act together. We have three more days until they are out of school and the prospect of being home with them fighting and baby-talking for the next few months makes me want to run away and join the circus.

Portrait of me by 4yo- I named it Mad Mommy
Well readers? Do you have any parenting advice? Over the counter meds I should try on days like this?