Monday, August 23, 2010

108. Punishment

We are finishing another busy week-end. I did some preliminary sorting of the kids’ clothes and assessed their back-to-school needs. The nice thing about having two sons is that you get twice the opportunity to see a child in a cute (read: expensive) outfit. You don’t agonize quite so much about the cost as long as both of them got to cycle through the Janie & Jack sailboat sweater. At dinner, The Husband and I try to discuss our plans for Monday: “Well, we have our monthly meeting of all our division heads tomorrow. This time it’s....." "Pop, I hate salad! Here, YOU eat it." "Tall, stop interrupting! I'm trying to discuss some things with your mother." "Fine. I'm sorry," Tall sulks as he says it. "So, anyway, like I was saying, it's going to be held at ‘Type A Café’ so obviously I’m really looking forward to it.” I look up from my pasta. “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have told you that.” The Husband looks sheepish now, as he knows I have been dying to go to “Type A Café”. It is a new trendy bistro that just opened near Crazy Town. Why is it that he gets to enjoy these leisurely “work” lunches and I’m lucky if I remember to scarf down a few crackers? “Don’t even tell me if you..." I begin. "He kicked me!" screeches Short. "I didn't even DO anything to him!" "Tall, did you kick him?" I initiate the interrogation. "No," he retorts. "Tall........?" I coax. "Well, I did sort of, you know, rest my feet on him, and then I might have moved my feet a little, like to practice dancing. But I know it was NOT a kick!" I catch The Husband out of the corner of my eye smirking at me: to practice dancing? "Tall, you just lost 2 smiley faces on your chart." This time I am the one to dole out the anticipated punishment. I walk over to the refrigerator where we keep the boys' reward charts and I take a pen out of a nearby drawer to neatly "x" out the hard-won smileys. "NOOOOO! That is so unfair," Tall pouts. He know he is now two steps further away from a special prize-- like those silly bands shaped like animals. The husband starts to open his mouth. I give him the look: the look that says, "Don't you dare undermine my punishment!" "MOV?" he semi-whispers, "Don't you think you might have jumped the gun a little? Aren't you supposed to give a warning first? Because you didn't. And don't you think two smileys is a bit excessive?" I open my eyes very wide, as if to say, please come inside my brain Dear Husband, so we can go over the tapes together. The tapes where we say, whichever one of us happens to give out the consequences, the other parent will 100% without fail support the decision. "Okay, okay. I know what you are thinking," concedes The Husband, who after being stuck with me for over a decade has gotten really really good at mind-reading. "All right, what were you saying before, Honey? I think the boys cut you off. Something about 'Type A Cafe'?" "Just that I am insanely jealous and would it be okay if the boys and I crash your work luncheon? No, I'm just kidding. But, if you get the lobster salad, I won’t speak to you for a week,” I tease. “If I eat two lobster salads, does that mean I’ll get peace and quiet for two weeks?” he volleys back. “Ha ha. No actually, you know what? It doesn’t matter anyway. Tomorrow’s the day before the charity pick-up and I’m going to need the entire day to finish getting all the boys’ old clothes and toys together. Camp is over, so it’ll be tough—the boys are just going to have to entertain themselves. We’ll probably be watching lots of videos,” I say with a sigh. Tall squeals, "Mommmm! Now he is kicking ME!" “Ugh, I don’t think I’d want to trade places with you. Thank God for Cartoon Network!” The Husband smiles. I am trying to decipher if it is a smile of sympathy directed at me, or if it is a smile of sheer happiness at Going Out To Lunch With The Grown-Ups tomorrow. We get the boys ready for bed. After a quick bath, they brush their teeth amidst much punching and stepping on each other’s toes (literally). We struggle to get them in their pajamas. Why the resistance?! They have been playing outside most of the day; they should be worn out. We read two books to them, and they’re still not sleepy. Finally, we get them into bed, give a good night kiss, and turn the lights out. Over the course of the next 10—15 minutes, they get up (between the two of them) no fewer than five times. The Husband is starting to lose his patience. He just wants to finish his beer and watch a couple minutes of Sports Channel. I can’t say that I blame him: we are both exhausted. Tall appears yet again. “Pop, can I ge—“ “GO TO BED!” The Husband bellows. “IT IS 9 PM AND WAY PAST YOUR BED-TIME!” and then, impulsively, “This is the 100th time I have had to tell you! You know what? That’s it: absolutely NO TV for you or your brother tomorrow! None! All day!” Tall frowns and slinks away. The consequences of this drastic action are not lost on me. I give The Husband a withering look, which he either doesn’t see or wisely chooses to ignore. “Hello?!?” I begin, sarcastically. “You could have taken away their Lego’s or their sticker books or their Star Wars people or more smileys on their charts …………… were you not listening to a word I said at dinner? I have about a gazillion things to do tomorrow and I was counting on the Electronic Babysitter to help me out, and you place a ban on TV?!?” Which begs the question: who is being punished exactly? MOV (“Mom’s Out Videos”)

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely! I have learned to take everything else away first...and finally the electric babysitter. It is on now as I read and write this! Thank God! Love this blog!


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