Friday, November 30, 2007

mortal combat

There is almost nothing that makes me as angry as badly behaved children, especially when they are mine.

It has been an autumn of testing boundaries and our expectations. I'd like to think of it as a season, as in "there is a season for everything, a time to be born, a time to die..." A time to try to kick mama's ass with months-long, non-stop verbal torrents of hate speech and beatings applied to the siblings. Also, it has been a season of using all flat surfaces as a toilet, instead of using the actual toilet, making it a season of me wanting to spank the children with a rolled-up newspaper while rubbing their noses in it. However, since they are human babies and not dog babies, I have restrained myself.

Getting Olivia to preschool today was maddening. She was ready to go to school. All that she needed was to put on her shoes, coat and mittens, and walk out the door. Chaos ensued upon receiving the information that is was below 20 degrees outside and she could not wear sandals. I was so proud of myself for setting good limits (she could wear sneakers or her boots) and if she didn't want to cooperate, she could go back to her bed and have time-out until the time school ended, an agonizing 2.5 hours. It took a while for her to get the sneakers on, mostly due to the whining, kicking and screaming the phrase, "I am not living here with you if you make me wear shoes." We walked out the door and literally shuffled down the street to school. (I walked like a normal person; Olivia stomp/shuffled like an angry nursing home patient with a full diaper.) All that, and only 20 minutes late. Not too bad..

Not too bad until I went to pick her up. While I spoke with her teacher, she ran to where her sneakers were, hid them, and came back all in a dither, shouting, "MOM, MOM! SOMEBODY STOLE MY SNEAKERS!!! My BS-ometer was screeching off the charts. I don't need to replay the drama that ensued, but we were at school sorting out the sneaker situation for more than a half an hour. Oddly enough, Olivia was able to locate the stolen items almost immediately after being given the option to retrieve the footwear or receive a spanking in the lobby of the school. We eventually got home, and the ridiculous behavior continued.

Why is it that times like this make me perceive bad parenting as the golden carrot being dangled in front of my nose? Probably because I was four years old once, and the whiff of instant gratification still smells sweet. Lucky for everyone, I have a box of Stever's Dark Chocolate Meltaways stashed in the kitchen for just such an occasion, when I need something just plain nice to keep bad things from happening.

The tall will prevail.

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