Okay, I need to ask a question.Do you have kids?Do they, at times, annoy the hell out of you? Do you, at times, need ways tokeep them busy so you can actually get something done with your day? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the aforementioned questions then ponder this next question for me a moment. Is it wrong to punish one kid by making them play with the other one? Now, if I were a bettin’ woman and you do indeed have kids capable of driving youto the brink ofcertifiable madnesslike mine do I’d go all in that your immediate response would be a resounding “Hell, NO!” Sometimes we need to do whatever we can to make life just a smidge easier, right? But, let’s think about this for a minute. Allow me to explain…
It all started at around 9:30 in the morning when we got a very insistent knock on our door. Our little neighbor had caught himself a frog and was excited to show Avery (the 6 year old). She headed out the door, her brother Jack (the almost 3 year old) right at herheels. That is until I dragged him back into the house kicking and screaming. Literally.So then I spent the nexthour trying to keep him occupied as he repeatedly tried to escape out the front door. I just got him settled in when Avery came back home to grab her bike and helmet. The earlier scene (the kicking/screaming one)was repeated. I told Avery, “Hey, make sure youdon’t come back inunless you really need something. It’s driving your brother crazy.”She agreed. She wasgone for about 10minutes. She needed to kiss Lewis (the dog)goodbye. Repeat earlier Jack scene. I said,”Avery, I”m absolutely serious.Please quit coming in here forthings like kissing the dog. Please.” Agreed. She”s gone for exactly 5 minutes. Why does she come back? Because she needed some lipstick. She’s 6. She won’t NEED lipstickfor at least a good 7 years. At this point I’d lost my patience with the whole thing and with the fact that Avery paid no heed to anything I had said to her. I mean,lipstick?!? Under normal circumstances, no big deal. She should be able to come and go as she pleases. But these are not normal circumstances, people. Did I mention the kicking and screaming? And, yes, I recognize that this in itself is a problem but I will cover it another day. So, back to the story.Itold Avery she had to stay home and play with her brother. Of course,Avery is devastated but Jack looks like he’s won the friggin’ lottery.
This is where I started to feel bad. Essentially, I have disciplined Avery for not listening to me. Had she actually stayed gone likeI asked her she would have been blissfully spending her day amid frogs, Bratz dolls and bicycles. Instead, her punishment? She has to actually spend time with her brother. Can you imagine that? Can you even imagine someone being punished by hanging out with you? It’s a little humiliating, yes? I know. That’s exactly what I was thinking as I looked down at my son, a dopey grin plastered all over his dirty little face, pure excitement sending shivers through his tiny little body. And this is her punishment. I might as well have looked down at him and said, “Listen, Jack. Since you can be so annoying and a tiny bit naughty and mommy would like to actually finish her laundry without you repeatedly unfolding all my clean towels,sissy has to play with you now because she’s in trouble. So go ahead and expect covering this in your therapy sessions when you get older, alrighty? Good!”
Not good. But, yet, I still did it. And I will probably do it all over again. Soon. Sometimes I wish during labor moms pushed out a crystal ball right after the babies. It would be so helpful to see what kind of irreparable damage we are doing to our kids and their unforeseen futures.Parenthood is such a “wait and see” kind of game. Just “wait and see” how badly you are going to screw up your kids!
So, next time you are being driven to the brink of madness and you send your unwilling kids off to play with each otherthink about what you are doing. And then do it anyway. God, you need a break! Right?
Love to all, Mindy