You know that plaque that hangs in your hallway? The Good Parent of the Year plaque? Yes? No? Yeah, it’s not in my house either. In fact, I would venture to say today wouldn’t even make my top THOUSAND list of “Days I’ve enjoyed being a parent.”
It started out innocently enough. It’s Wednesday, after all, which is one of my favorite days of the week. Last fall, when school started, we realized that in between soccer, piano, choir, homework, and all the other stuff that tends to take over our lives when we’re not paying attention, we realized our family time was getting squished out the middle. So Blaine and I designated Wednesdays as “Family Fun Nights”, and we spend them together as a family, doing (hopefully) fun things. Otherwise, it would be “Family Boring Night” or “Family Let’s Watch Mom Do Some More Laundry Night” or whatever.
Some nights we go out to dinner, some nights we go out for ice cream, some nights we take bike rides, some nights we go to a park, some nights we stay home and play games …. It depends on the weather and our moods and our wallet. But we’ve stuck pretty faithfully to the plan and I think the kids enjoy it as much as Blaine and I do. The school doesn’t give homework on Wednesdays and the kids know not to ask for playdates …. Wednesdays are reserved. And I like it that way.
Today when I picked the kids up after school, I was excited to tell them our Family Fun Night tonight would be going to a matinee of “Hotel for Dogs”. They have been begging to see the movie ever since the very first time they saw the trailer of the dogs pooping on the conveyer belt --- ahhhhh, Oscar-worthy material, for sure. Then we would come home and have dinner together (God bless the person who invented the crock pot) and watch tonight’s episode of American Idol. Because I believe in exposing my children to educational television and all that.
Sure enough, when I told them, squeals abounded. There might have even been an excited jump or two in the air. Even better was that Dad would be meeting us at the movie … so, a true “Family” Fun Night.
We stopped at Wal-Greens on the way to buy candy (NOT that we are the kind of people who sneak candy into movies because that would be cheating and WRONG) and all three kids said they had to go to the bathroom first. So I took them to the back of the store where the bathroom is located, where for some reason, the heat had obviously gotten stuck on “Super Nova HIGH” and it was about 120 degrees. Brayden immediately starts exclaiming and gasping and clutching her throat like someone who has crawled across the Sahara Desert. At high noon. In July. With no water.
She is in such a rush to get out, vocalizing all the time about how “She cannot BREATHE in this heat!!!” that she literally almost knocks me over in the doorway. No “excuse me”, no “pardon me”, no “move over, would you …” just shoves me out of the way and pushes past. Which I thought was incredibly rude. Then she wandered off to browse the store without my permission.
I take Kellen and Kendrie to the candy aisle, where Kellen promptly picks out his candy and Kendrie asks if she can have popcorn instead. I say yes. Then I have to find Brayden, who is two aisles over looking at the #(*$ Webkinz, and remind her we only have a few minutes to get to the theater.
She comes over and gets her candy, grumbling about how I always rush her, and we head to the checkout. After we lay the candy on the counter and the cashier starts ringing it up, Kendrie asks, “What about pop at the movie?” and like always, I say no. I don’t know why she keeps asking, the answer is always no. Of course then she starts complaining about how the popcorn will make her thirsty and she will NEED something to drink. So, being the awesome spectacular mom that I am, I tell all three kids they can pick a soda out of the case by the checkout. I say simply, “You won’t be able to take it in, but you can drink it before and after ….”
Well, that’s clearly not good enough. Brayden says they don’t have the kind she likes in the case. Kendrie is still complaining that it won’t help her when she’s inside eating popcorn, and a line is starting to form behind me as I remind them that in a nutshell, I am too darn cheap to pay twelve dollars so they can each have a small drink during the movie.
Kendrie gets mad and walks about ten feet away, arms folded across her chest, pouting. (No, mom, she doesn’t remind me of anyone --- why do you ask???) Kellen and Brayden have both made their choices and are standing to the side, making fun of her. Which makes me even more annoyed because I don’t need to hear it from them.
I turn to one side to tell Kendrie that she has ten seconds to either pick out her drink or she won’t get one, and then I turn to my other side to tell Brayden and Kellen to hush, and as I turn back to pay, I catch the very last nanosecond of the cashier exchanging “a look” with the customer in line behind me. I TOTALLY didn’t blame her, they were being completely obnoxious. But still, how embarrassing, because she was right.
We pay, and Kendrie is doing that pouting-dragging-feet-walk to the van, the entire time I’m telling them to come on, we have to go. Right before we reach the van Kellen says, “Wait, you mean we’re going to the movie right now?” and when I said yes, why did he think we were in such a hurry, he fires back with, “Well, great. By the time we get home it will be dark and I won’t even get to play outside. Do I HAVE to go to the movie??”
And that was the moment I had had it. Ungrateful, unappreciative little brats. I was trying to take them to a movie, that THEY wanted to see, not me, and buy them candy and soda before hand, and they’re giving me grief about every step of the process???
We got in the van, I made sure everyone was buckled up, and then made a very clear point of calling Blaine on the cell and telling him, “Don’t bother meeting us at the movies. The kids are not appreciating what I’m trying to do here and we won’t be going today.”
Oh, the fits that ensued. Kendrie went pretty much into total melt-down mode and had she been able, might have actually thrown herself on the floor, such was her despair. Brayden immediately started blaming everyone else and hurling accusations about how it was all THEIR fault, and then Kellen did that annoying pre-teen thing and said, “Fine! I’d rather go home anyway than watch that stupid movie!”
The whole way home I had to listen to them argue, complain, apologize, whine, and beg me to change my mind. I kept saying to them, “I know you’re sorry you acted ugly … I’m sorry, too. But it is what it is and we’re not going. I don’t do nice things for kids who act like that.”
Finally, after we got home, and they realized holy SHIT, mom is really not turning the van around and giving us another chance, things got accusatory, with Brayden informing me that the entire thing was MY FAULT for taking them to Wal-Greens anyway.
A short while later Blaine came home, having taken off early to go to the movie. Immediately they all three starting telling him how mean I was, how it was all my fault, how Family Fun Night is NEVER any fun because I ruin it all the time, and then Kendrie threw in the coup de grace, “I WISH I LIVED WITH ANOTHER FAMILY!!!!”
I said to Blaine, “Dinner is in the crockpot. I am done with these people.” and went to bed and took a two-hour nap. When I woke up, the girls apologized. You know what? I didn’t want to accept it. Is that terrible of me? I stayed annoyed with all three of them all evening. They were rude, they were ungrateful, they were argumentative, and they were blame-shifters. They never take responsibility for their actions or behavior, even if it’s hurtful, and it seems the more we do for them, the more they expect it.
How come nobody told me this was how some days would go? I know things will be better again tomorrow and I’ll remember how much I love them and just want to squeeze them and kiss them and talk to them and spend time with them because they are oh so cute and all mine and I adore them. But today? They’re brats.
And I don’t even WANT a plaque on the wall if this is the crap I have to put up with.