Gotta say, it was a proud moment for me. When my beloved and cherished daughter hurled those words at me.
So it’s a gorgeous day, and I pack up my cherubs (Lilli (10) Sarah (8) Jessica (6) Harrison and Sam (both two) up to go down to Cricket Park. Which isn’t a park at all, and in reality is called Elm Street Community School, but it’s very close, with a huge fenced in field and parts of it are paved. We brought bubbles, two baby dolls with their carriages, chalk and a big wagon to lug it all in. Today’s gorgeous – but wicked windy, so after about 10 minutes, I was ready to go. I soldiered on, because everyone was having fun, the boys were running and running and blowing bubbles and just hollering into the wind, and the girls were drawing these elaborate hop scotch games.
One of my time honored techniques for parenting is what I like to call bribery. Although it’s not really bribery, more of a distraction. I wanted them to get going, because I was cold and it was lunch time, so I suggested that we all stop at the little store and I’d get a big bag of potato chips to go with the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At which point, four of the five kids screamed with joy, and one started sobbing uncontrollably. Turns out that Jess doesn’t LIKE potato chips (news to me, as she’s been eating them since she was about six months old) and really wanted Doritos. I was not amused – total spoiled brat behavior, no way was she going to get her way, so I sent her to go stand against the wall for a time out. This proved to be stunningly inefficient, as she calmed down enough to walk back over to me, but started wailing again as she pointed out how much she doesn’t want potato chips and nothing will do except for Doritos.
Now I’m just mad, because really? Is she that entitled that she feels okay throwing back a generous offer of junk food and flipping out because she’s not getting the exact brand of chips she wants. No WAY am I getting this child what she wants, but I had to follow thru for the other kids. So off we went to the store, with her screaming and sobbing the whole way. We went into the store, bought chips, walked all the way home, screaming and sobbing. I’m ignoring her, except for when I paused briefly to tell her that I found her behavior to be throughly unacceptable and she would be going directly to her room until she could apologize. We finally get home, I get everyone inside, and Jess sits down on the bottom step, says she’s never, never ever coming home again because I’m the meanest mother in the whole world. I ignore her and go inside anyway. She came in, and I immediately pointed to the bedroom. She screams as loud as she could, stomps into the bedroom. Comes out ten minutes later, sobbing and hyperventilating. I say to her in the gentlest, kindest of voices, “are you ready to apologize for your behavior?” She looked at me and said “You need to apologize to ME!” You guessed it, back to her room she went.
She did finally come out and apologize and gracefully accepted some potato chips with her lunch. Score one point for me.