Tonight was my dad’s last night in town, so rather than make dinner at home we figured we’d enjoy dinner out.
Despite having been skiing for most of the day, the kids were fairly wired in the late afternoon – wrestling, yelling, jumping… the usual, really. After many requests to get dressed, put coats on, stop hitting your brother/sister/self, we were finally streaming out the door to the truck.
Standing at the door of the truck, the boys were still bickering and I lost my temper. I grabbed each one by an arm (or maybe the scruff of their necks? Who can remember, really) and marched them back into the house. I stood in the door and told them that I was done, I didn’t care what they did and that we were going out for dinner without them. I turned on my heel and slammed the door.
Now, normally, in situations like these (what — you think I’ve never made this threat before?) one or both of them come barreling behind me with tears in their eyes, begging some form of forgiveness and blaming the other for “starting it.” End of story, usually.
This time, it was eerily quiet as I walked back to the truck. I told Jay to wait a minute – I wanted to “teach the boys a lesson.”
Oh, such famous last words.
Jay said, “Get in the truck, we’ll drive away, they’ll think we’ve gone and that will teach them”, or something to that effect. And so we did. We drove a few hundred meters from the house but… nothing happened. The front door remained closed and the TV remained off (we know, because we can see it from the road). Back to the driveway we go, I tell Jay to go in and get the boys and tell them that “Mum is too mad to come and get you.”
Right about now, the term “backfire” starts to come to mind…
As Jay quietly crept up the stairs, he could hear a very important conversation happening:
“Ok, so what goes in a Mr. Spiff sandwich? Ham! Ok, got that. Where’s the mayo? Oh, here! Do you think we need relish? I dunno – grab it anyway.”
In those few minutes we’d left them to “learn their lesson”, they’d decided they were going to make sandwiches (although they said they wanted spaghetti but didn’t know how to work the microwave for leftovers), have gingerbread cookies for dessert and then watch TV till we got back from dinner. In their minds, a perfect night.
So yes, someone learned their lesson tonight. I learned not to underestimate my boys independence and resourcefulness.