A couple weeks ago, Mom and Dad had tickets for a Bruins Playoff game- on Friday night. SCORE! Overtime for Tea, coupled with the rare opportunity for a night with the kids, following which they would have no plans. Friday night. We could stay up late, maybe watch a movie. I would surprise them. We would do something special.
I really wanted to write this post when I got home that Friday, but the stupor into which I had to drink myself to forget the apocalypse that was the evening rendered that unlikely.
Day was going well. Sweetpea had a good day at school, we read and he settled to and completed quiet time without incident. We picked up #1, had snack, and they headed to #1's room to play together- (he often wants alone time in the afternoons, which #2 finds intolerable). I remained downstairs for a bit, doing chorey things. All was well.
Not being an idiot, I knew they were up to something. It was quiet. Alarm bells.
I crept up the stairs, trying to ascertain just what sort of trouble might be brewing. There are whispers. Aww, shit!
The last whisper I heard before I decided to look was #1 telling #2 if they were quiet, Tea wouldn't know. Double shit!
I walked into the room to find them playing Star Wars Legos. The problem is, ALL the Star Wars Legos are out, including #2's totes, which I know have been taken away from him, and have been residing in a corner of #1's room all week. Apparently, #1 wanted - needed, I'm sure- some of #2's guys to play the way he wanted to. So, he prodded #2 to play with confiscated toys.
Four Effing Thirty! and they are both in BIG trouble. 'Get on your bed, and do not move. You, too. NOW.' The fact that I proceeded to begin picking up all the toys, coupled with the quiet voice of death, let them know they were goners. There was no argument, just compliance. I quickly recovered my senses and stopped picking up, checked to see that each was on his bed, sans books, toys, or animals, and went back downstairs, figuring if my head exploded, it would make less of a mess in the kitchen.
When I had reigned in my internal- and extremely profane- dialogue concerning my disbelief of the circumstances- our special Friday had just been ruined by a Plo Koon Lego (THAT took nearly ten minutes), I climbed the stairs to deal with them.
Number 2 tried his newest tactic- a big soppy smile and 'I love you, Tea' greeted me and was met with my stony silence. I waited until he dropped it, then we went over the absolute nature of having toys taken away, and speculated on exactly how long they would NOW remain confiscated. I told him to get ONE book, and stay put until further notice.
I had to give him something- dinner was well over an hour away, and I couldn't face any further degeneration of the evening. Bad, I know, but I was trying to salvage- for myself, I admit- bedtime stories.
Besides, being the nanny, I'm loathe to deny them dinner, as I know they will then wake up hours early- on their parents' time- the following morning.
Knowing his goose was cooked, he asked only if he'd still be allowed to eat dinner, and have stories. 'If you behave until I call you.' (I walked away, fingers crossed, praying he would make it.)
Number 1 had an attitude. He knew not to voice it, but at 6, he's not yet had any success hiding its physical and expressionistic manifestations. We had a talk about collusion (we always supply the proper terms)- sort of like felony murder accomplice rulings, dialed back to knowingly playing with a sibling's confiscated toys. He had hoped to argue that- since they weren't toys taken away from him, he should skate. Nope. His problem was much larger.
'I know we tell you not to tattle unless something is hurting someone or is dangerous'- I could see this argument rolling around his crafty little head- 'but that does not apply here. I was on the stairs, listening, before I came in here.' (Now he's wearing the Aww, shit! look.) 'I heard you tell him to play with them, and explain how you'd avoid consequences. You weren't just with him, it was your idea. He wouldn't have done it, if you hadn't told him to. (So, he's not an accomplice, he's the head of the conspiracy.)
I explained that the instigator is just as guilty, and added the caveat (which he's already beginning to dread) that as the oldest, he has a responsibility to set the example . Since he had not only failed to stop his brother, and further had,in fact, caused the incident , he was going to bear the brunt.
He, of course, burst into tears when he inquired about TV and was turned down. I heard him muttering about me as I left, but ignored it. He was not allowed a book.
Okay, 4:50. I'm alone, kids are in trouble, dinner's over an hour off, and I don't even work Fridays. This B.L.O.W.S. No movie, no cuddling on the couch, no dance party. Just angry/sad boys. And I now NEED a drink, but can't have one, as I'm at work. (See- it is sometimes better to be the parent, you can't leave, but you can have a calming drink to sustain yourself for the storm ahead.)
The rest of the night was fine. They completed the cleanup, we enjoyed a lovely dinner, had a fun bath time, and I cuddled with both of them and read stories- albeit abbreviated, due to their earlier transgressions. Still, that left me alone, wounded, and drained- not to mention sober- from 7:30 until the 'rents turned up around 10:30.
Date night from Hell. Believe me, we've had far worse days. This was truly unspectacular in scope. And, yet, I was soo disappointed. It wouldn't have been anything extrordinary, had it not been my only Friday night with them, ever.
They ruined all my plans (by being kids, I do realise).
It happens to all of us- the kids ruin the good time we plan with them, but we have to suck it up if we want them to grow up to be good people. One of the eternal conundrums of parenting.