Monday, February 27, 2012

Kids just know...

Saturday we got the kids in the car and headed south to Greendale--Ferch's Malt Shoppe to be more specific.  We got wonderful (terrible) lunches of burgers and fries and onion rings and soda. Then we took our children over to the park to play in the snow.

A little boy was there, about three years old, and he immediately walked up to me, fashioned a snowball and threw it at me.  What gives?! How did he know I was the sucker? 

I am terrible at discipline; I was a substitute teacher for MPS for two years in my twenties and was very nearly eaten alive.  I am clearly the pushover parent in our house. Sometimes when I come home late and Tad's already put the kids to bed, I'll go up to give Coen a kiss and he'll try to work me over for a snack!  I never give in to that one but the fact that he thinks it might work is quite telling. Both kids know how to ask me in a way that will at least give me pause, if not make me say yes. Coen's is with puppy dog eyes and a cocked head.  Lucy says "Pleaaaaaasse" while waggling her bottom jaw back and forth.  I'm actually not sure why she thinks this is the irresistible way of asking, but it's become so by virtue of her thinking it I suppose.  I am working hard on adding "firm" to my other qualities as a parent.  When other people's kids are out of line, I think telling them so might be the most frightening thing I can imagine doing. (Which is funny since I've done such brave things as given drug-free birth to two kids, ridden in an old Russian military vehicle to an island across the shallow parts of the Baltic sea driven by a man who was unquestionably drunk, and gone head to head with an angry ostrich [well, he was behind a fence, but still], among other things....

Anyway, so this kid hits me with a snowball and I say weakly, "Oh, I don't think you should be throwing snow at me..."  And of course he fashions another snowball and does it again.  I look to Tad for help. He is clearly very amused with my predicament.  I say, "Oh, please don't throw snow at me." I hear my own voice. I sound like a meek-cartoon-turtle version of myself.  Tad laughs and does a spot-on impression of me which makes me want to throw snow at him.  The little boy's next target is Coen.  After being pelted in the side, Coen looks surprised, then looks at Tad and then says, "Oh, that's okay." and laughs.  The boy doesn't even consider getting Tad. He tentatively approaches Lucy with a snowball  in his hand. She gives him one look and says "NO!" He retreats immediately.  The next time the boy goes to throw snow, Tad reprimands him.  Then his dad, who is sitting on a bench, takes notice and says, "We're going to go home!"  Coen looks over at the dad. "Why?" He asks. Tad and I both laugh.  The next time the little boy throws a snowball at me, Tad tells him to stop throwing snow at us. I suggest he tries to hit the nearby tree with a snowball.  His dad yells again from the bench "We're going home!"  The little boy joins Coen and Lucy at the teeter totter and there is throw free fun for all three for a while.

They eventually do leave and then Tad, Coen, Lucy and I engage in a full-on snowball fight of our own.  Tad asks the children what they want the safe word to be if we want someone to stop throwing snow at us.  "Peace!" yells Coen. "Potty!" Yells Lucy.  We have a nice battle and then head out.  Below is a wonderful picture Tad took of Coen jumping off the swings. Our offending little snowball thrower is beneath him.  On the way home, the kids sing along to the Beatles and I contemplate my assertiveness skills.

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