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I stumbled upon a parenting trick this week that might change my life. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but so far it’s been quite successful and I’m planning to wring every ounce of usefulness I can out of it.
Here’s what happened:
On Tuesday Eli got mad at me because I wouldn’t let him play the iPad. During his tirade the following three sentences were uttered:
“You’re the worst mommy in the world.”
“I wish I had a different mommy.”
(And my personal favorite) “I’m going to tell on you!”
I think I’m kind of weird (heartless?!) because while a lot of moms get upset when their kids tell them that they’re awful, I find it funny. Maybe that will change when the kids are teenagers and I know that they really believe it, but right now I know it’s just the current crisis compelling their words and in a few minutes they’ll be back to loving me. So anyway, things like that usually roll off my back and this time was no different.
I went upstairs to find Eli packing a bag, intent on running away to a better home. I pointed out some flaws in his plan (Where was he going? He didn’t know. How did he plan to get there when he’s not allowed to go past the crack at the end of the driveway? He would live in our play house. Should I bring him a blanket because it was sure to get cold out there tonight? He decided to unpack and stick around a while. Crisis averted.)
On Thursday Eli got mad at me because I wouldn’t let him play the iPad (see a theme developing here?). During his tirade, he once again informed me that I was “the worst mommy ever!”
And that’s when it happened. My flash of brilliance.
“Oh good,” I responded, “I’m going for the Worst Mommy Award and the judges give me points every time you say I’m the worst mommy.”
Both boys were in the kitchen with me and this news made Eli stop in his tracks and Samuel look up in curiosity. When I saw their reaction, I knew I was onto something.
“In fact, I’m really hoping I win this year, so tonight when you go to bed, I have a lot of things planned to make me the worst mommy in the world.”
“Like what??” both boys asked in excited horror. They were pretty sure I was joking, but part of them didn’t really know.
“Well, first I’m going to hide all your toys. That’s gonna be hard because you have a lot of toys and where will I put them all? So maybe I’ll just shove everything in the bonus room and lock the door. Then I’m going to replace all of your clothes with girls’ clothes so when you get dressed tomorrow, you’ll have to wear pink sparkly skirts. And then I’m going to take both of our TVs and drop them out an upstairs window to be sure that they smash. Oh, and the iPad too!”
By this time, Samuel was giggling away, but Eli was starting to get worked up, which is funny because he’s usually pretty good at knowing when I’m joking, even when I’m being sarcastic. It was probably the mention of the iPad that set him off again.
At that very moment, Eric walked in the door from work and Eli cried, “I’m telling on you!”
“That’s perfect!” I declared excitedly, “The judges give me extra points for getting told on!!”
When Friday rolled around, a conversation with my sister prompted a last minute trip to her house for the day. Her kids are two of my kids favorite people in the whole world. As soon as I told Eli what we were doing, he said, “I guess you’re not getting the Worst Mommy Award now.” And later that day when we were all worn out and I let them eat supper in the living room instead of at the table, he said it again.
Suddenly every action I take that’s even a little bit nice or fun is not only noticed, but pointed out.
“Mom, you are definitely not getting the Worst Mommy Award.”
Oh yes, I’ve stumbled onto something great.
And now the part of the post where I share pictures of our real everyday life.
On Sunday morning, I couldn’t find my flip flop. Finally it was discovered under the ottoman with this banana on it… from the day before. Apparently daily checks under the furniture for rotting food need to be done.
I went upstairs for LESS THAN 5 MINUTES and returned to find this: Annelise playing in a tub of butter. She filled that orange bowl with it and, as you can see, got a bunch on herself as well. Good times.
Have a great week and remember to keep it real!
Sneaky little mommy aren’t you? Nice reverse psychology with a air of nonchalance. I’m employing this strategy pronto. You need to teach a parenting class btw…
LOL, that would be scary. Maybe I could entitle it “10 Ways NOT to Parent Your Child”.