It all started with a punch.
Admittedly, she was annoying him because he was trying to do a jigsaw and she wanted to skate on the pieces, but we all know that you can’t go around smacking everyone that exasperates you otherwise we’d all be punching the shit out of people all the time because people are inherently annoying.
So, he allegedly jabbed her in ribs. There was some tears. Which was when I started paying attention and that’s the story I heard. I wasn’t actually watching because I was trying to write an article about being a good parent to teenagers about to thrash themselves at schoolies while my foolies attacked each other on the floor two metres from me.
The irony is not lost on me.
So I started my usual “you can’t hit your sister” rant and then I suggested a punishment for his behaviour.
He wasn’t entirely fond of the one I chose, so he said “what about no story at bedtime tonight?”
I thought it was fair, and off we all went on our merry way for the afternoon. Dinner was lovely if you like watching someone eat noodles one at a time with their bare hands, whilst repeating sentences about cutlery to deaf ears for 35 minutes, and bathtime was mostly uneventful.
Then it was bedtime.
Of course, I thought we all understood what the deal was, however, it would appear that this was not the case at all.
Not. Even. Close.
He assumed that no one was getting a story tonight, but I explained calmly that because he hit his sister, and he chose his own punishment Kiks would still get a story (which she was secretly pumped about because she still wants the babyish books, but he wants older stuff and I bulk speed-read to the pair of them to get it done so it ends up being something in the middle.)
When he realised that I was actually going to hold him to the deal, the wheels fell off.
They didn’t fall off a little bit like a shopping trolley where one wheel wobbles for an aisle giving the damned thing a mind of its own then slips off before lazily rolling under the cereal aisle, no, they fell off like a frickin’ freight train, going around a sheer mountain, with five million locals and their goats dangling from the roof that careens down into an abyss.
I’m a reasonably okay disciplinarian usually, but I have to add at this juncture that my Minstrels are on the way and my hormones are making me homicidal, my anxiety has been kind of on the high side and I have a little personal stuff going on in my life that’s putting me rather on edge, so he picked the wrong day to be messing with the Mama Bear.
The meltdown was excruciating and endless. I tried ignoring it, but my blood pressure was rising and all of my ignore tactics were failing and I started having visions of throttling him Homer Simpson style –
“Why you little!!!”
I finally stalked in there not exactly knowing what I was going to do or say and something rather unexpected happened, quite by accident, and I think I may have terrified the child into pre-teen therapy.
I lost it.
I don’t mean I lost my cool and yelled at him because he’s seen that five million times and is all like “Whatevs. There is that crazy lady popping out of the old bag again.”
I mean I burst into massive sobs and I lay on his bed next to him and cuddled him. He immediately froze stiff on his back as I tried to curl my pathetic self around his soft warmth. His circus act was forgotten at the mere site of the Ringmaster suddenly pulling rank.
I don’t think it’s bad if your kids see you cry, I mean, we’re all human and shit, but the poor kid didn’t know where to look.
I took a few deep breaths and reeled my monkeys back in and said, “Don’t hit your sister, ok?”
I’d like to say it ended there with a stiff, weird life lesson that he’ll one day look back on and think “What the actual fuck was that?”, but it didn’t…. but it did end shortly after and I poured a stiff gin and tonic and wrote this for you instead of doing the five tonnes of work I should be addressing.
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