File Under PIFH

You know . . . Parenting is fucking hard.

One of the hardest parts of parenting for me is when the kids get in trouble, and I have to revoke a privilege that was to beneficial to me. Example A:

I am working on a work project AND the school newsletter today. Todd is working late all week, and so it seemed a perfect evening for us to attend the elementary school Spirit Night at a local pizza place. The kids love it, because they get to see their friends. Parents love it because they don’t have to cook. Restaurant gets free publicity, and the school makes money off the whole gig. A win-win-win-win, if you will.

Except that while i am trying to wrap up my work, Tiller figures out how to turn on the damn singing dog.

He sings that “City Sidewalks” song . . . “Silver Bells,” I think. He sings it in a really annoying St. Bernard voice, and there is barking in the background. My mama loves these things, and thought it would be funny to give us one.

Yeah, mom, hysterical.

So, the kids push his little paw, and he barks and sings Silver Bells. The kids love it. They love it a LOT. They love it every time they push the button, which is approximately four times a minute. Over and over.

And the gift that keeps on giving is that they then proceed to fight over who gets to push the button, who gets to hold the dog, etc. So, i am trying to finish my work downstairs in the office, and the kids are upstairs trying to kill each other over a battery-operated St. Bernard that sings (and woofs!) Silver Bells. I hear the mocking tone in Rollie’s voice. I am sure he has Silver Bells dog overhead and tiller is below, jumping to reach it. I hear the thumping on the hardwoods. I hear the shriek. Nope, not pain. The shriek of anger. Pure, unadulterated four year old ire. It is blood-curdling. I fear for Rollie’s life. Then i hear the all-too-familiar sound of tinkling glass.

I run upstairs to lift them, both in their socks, out of the wreckage of two glass ornaments they have knocked off the tree. Except that they didn’t get knocked off. Upon further questioning, it seems that Tiller, in her little temper tantrum, punched two of the Christmas ornaments.

I have to hide a smile at this. I get tickled at the thought of little Tiller – wearing a red polka dot dress with pastel-striped tights and pink dora shoes that light up, a ponytail on top of her head, and enough makeup from our earlier dressup session to work at a whorehouse – throwing a fit and then punching the Christmas tree. I manage to hold it together.

I had told them to stop fighting. I had warned them that children who fight and are mean to each other don’t get to go to Spirit Night. And now i have to put my money where my mouth is. UGH. Terrible parenting feeling. It is the same feeling i get when I have to leave a restaurant with a kid who is being a jerk. Or the grocery store when I have a full cart.

Rollie, upon hearing that they lost the privilege of going to Spirit Night, went up to his room and pitched his own fit, throwing his bobble head Braves guy (Hudson, i think) against the door so hard that it broke. He wailed even harder when I went in calmly, picked up the pieces, and tossed the whole thing in the trash. I guess he thought that if he threw his stuff, mama would whip out the Krazy Glue and fix it up again. WRONG.

So, here I sit, with two kids in their rooms, sobbing their guts out, tearing their rooms up, and me downstairs working until i have to cook them dinner. All because I have to keep my word and be consistent.


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