Friday, May 30, 2014

Road to an Imperfect Life: Week 10 - When the Line is Drawn Over a Mother Effing Lollipop #itsarevolutionbitches

What is the right response when your 2-year-old starts violently crying and screaming and writhing in anger... in public? When her mouth is open so wide you could see her little punching bag throat thingy?
When she loses her sh^t while you are out to dinner - albeit a casual dinner- with a big group of friends?

What is the right response when the anger convulsion is over a fucking lollipop?

There isn't much that could take out this daughter of mine. She's the kind of happy that is so certain it doesn't need to be shown through smiles and giggles all of the time. She's independent and super resilient. Sometimes I tell her she's un torro, a bull - strong and fierce. But put a lollipop in the ring with this bull? Superman to Kryptonite.

The public scene of murderous rage the night before last could have been solved easily. Give the kid a lollipop. I'm not a parent who thinks lollipops are the spawn of the sugar devil. She's had lollipops before. It's not like she is deprived of lollipop luxuries but lollipops are just that - a child luxury - not a toddler right. The line had been drawn. The lollipop aggression would not stand.

As a teacher, I would watch other teachers read their classroom "expectations" with strict disciplined voices the first day of school only to have them wash their hands of those rules by day 12. "The kids don't follow the rules," they'd complain but I'd silently know that some teachers also never followed through. Kids are going to push the boundaries and they're going to wait for you to either draw the line in the sand or move the line back. Most of the teachers I knew then, always moved the line back.

Ricardo, one of my first-year students taught me one of the greatest lessons I'll ever learn as a teacher. I asked him to tuck in his shirt and properly wear his uniform since those were the school rules. He responded, "Why? In a few weeks you'll forget about it like all the other teachers do." Major aha moment! I realized this little f^cker would wait me out, wear me down until I was too tired to fight that fight any longer and gave in. He was trying to give me a Shoots and Ladders shortcut to the inevitable end. Poor Ricardo had no idea that what he actually gave me was resolve, the strength to stick to my standard no matter how exhausting the struggle. No shoot for me thankyouverymuch. I'll take the ladders. Builds character and ass muscles.

When I became a parent I set out to live the same principle. Don't just say yes (or no) because it's easier; push through the struggle to pass on to your kids what is important to you. But when I have a migraine and I use the iPad as the in-house, free babysitter, I know I am not pushing through the struggle, I am submitting to it. Most times I hold the line, but sometimes I don't. 

At dinner last night, I didn't want her to cry and scream and make a scene - both for her sake and mine - and I also selfishly wanted to stay out with our friends and enjoy a little more of our evening. That damn lollipop would fix all of that but it meant I'd be moving my line in the sand back and I wasn't moving that line back... not for an orange, sugary, balloon-shaped lollipop.


It turns out that I don't have the answer to what the right response is, I just have the response right for me... in that moment. Sometimes I hold the line and sometimes the line will be moved - reviewed, molded, changed. Like the great Kenny Rogers once said, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." My line position on another night might have been different but the night before last, with the mother effing balloon lollipop, I wasn't willing to fold.

So we went home. 

Which lines are you willing to hold and which are you willing to fold?

Photo Credits:
Rules - Erin Nekervis


  1. Love it. I don't do lines drawn in sand. I say what I mean. Consistency with non-negotiable boundaries means when they are 10 and they start their "negotiating" for something in public, ONE eye-brow raised side-look from across the table immediately incites pre-teen-retreat. YES, I know your vocabulary is that of a 2nd semester 9th grader, and you could give me a proverbial "run for my money." But, I am the adult. And when you've gone home enough times over a lollipop-scale meltdown, they realize that the next phrase uttered will be "tell your friends you'll see them at school, darling." And that is *the* worst embarrassment of pre-teen existence. Lol. Stick to your guns, Mommy Dears.....because the "Yes, but *her* Mommy isn't *your* Mommy, now *is* she?" stage is coming soon! :) Always love your entries, Legs....and you've always got a "Hear, Hear" from this side of the planet! xoxo

  2. Ha! Lines? what are those? It really depends on the situation and my patience level for the day. There are those days - you know those days - where she can have all the lollipops she wants I just need a second of crying. They're few and far between and mostly I can hold strong but on THOSE DAYS I give in. We do what we have to do to survive. One of BFFs, on the other hand, is stronger and tougher than I am. She will straight up leave a situation once her kid steps out of line. And then there's the friend who SHOULD, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TAKE YOUR KID UP OUT OF HERE!!! Because her kid is so bad and doesn't listen to a word her mother says. Ever.

    Dammit, now I want a lollipop.


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