Saturday, May 11, 2013

You live, you learn

Imagine me at the kitchen sink, washing cilantro, when daughter "A" bursts into the room full of ardor and excitement.  Her dreams have come true. Finally, the birthday party that her friend has talked about for months, the one with the Panda Bear theme, and the pizza, and the games, and best of all the slumber party element, has come to fruition.  An invitation has arrived, complete with a smiling panda bear head on it.  

If you know my kids, you know that they live for birthday parties.  They start planning their own birthday parties 364 days before the event.  

And then it dawns on her.  Just yesterday, her other good friend invited her to a birthday slumber party.  And can you believe it, it's the SAME DAY.    She has only been to one birthday slumber party in her whole life.  So, this is a big deal.  Now she has to miss out on one of them.  How can she possibly choose?

Hmmmmm. These are the incidents of life that spawn conversations between a mom and her girl.  How do you choose?  How about diplomacy?  Not volunteering information is different from lying.  You can tell girl #1 you can't attend her party without telling her that you picked girl #2's party over hers.  How can we best avoid hurt feelings and girl drama?

Flash forward a few minutes.  The cilantro made it to the fridge, but is barely below room temperature at this point.  

Three kids burst through the door offering to wash my car.  "Where are the supplies, Mrs. Koons?"

Well, that's nice kids.  But despite the fact that my car does need washing, I don't know if you are the people up for the task.  (I imagined streaks of dirt and Windex running down the side of my van.)  

Speaking of which ...  Why do you want to wash my car at this particular moment?  

What?!!  Daughter "B" did what?!!!!  She painted neon green nail polish on my van?!!!!

All of this might have been easier to handle if I had not just finished my utterly exhausting weekly Costco/Super Target circuit (yes, with three kids in tow) and all I wanted to do was take five.

Daughter "B" was promptly sent to her room while I investigated.  Thankfully she had painted on the glass.  A stupid choice, but not as bad as it could have been. 

It boils down to this.  My children will learn to govern themselves, by displaying that they can make wise choices, or I am going to have to keep on being the main person to govern them.  (And, I do expect that at their tender ages, that will generally be the case, anyway!  But daughter "B" is definitely old enough to have known better.)  So, daughter "B" is going to have to stay by my side for the next two days--no playtime with friends, which will be excruciating for her--so I can monitor her choices and she can earn back my trust.  

Because, at this time of the year, the neighborhood kids all roam freely in the common area behind our backyard, not playing with friends for two days is a big deal.  She acted like I told her she'd have to skip Christmas. 

These life lessons can be hard to learn sometimes.  Yes, there were tears.  But if they are not learned now, they will be more painful to learn as an adult.  

Now, what am I going to do with all this quality time with my girl for the next 48 hours? Other than talk about good choices and supervise her cleaning green nail polish off the van window?

1 comment:

Diary of an Autodidact said...

Good thing it was the windows. If you have a flat razor blade, it should come off rather quickly. Although I'm not sure I would let a small child do it - at least not *my* feckless 2nd daughter...