Yesterday while we were sitting in our family room hanging out with friends, the Little Man dumped onto the carpet a bowl of apple chips he was munching on. I picked them up and returned them to his bowl (5-second rule) and gave him the bowl, reminding him not to dump his food on the floor. He grinned at me with his Evil Grinchy Smile and proceeded to dump the chips once again.
I did my best impersonation of a stern parent and I said (without raising my voice), “Zip, NO! We don’t spill our food on the floor.”
It was at that point that the little fiend turned out his lower lip and burst into tears. I mean the waterworks were really running. He was terribly upset. And it was at that point that the usually even-keeled Kelly had to bury her head in a couch pillow because she was laughing so hard. Of course, her laughter made me start to laugh and I had to turn away from the Little Man so as not to laugh in his face. I pleaded with Kelly, “I didn’t do anything wrong?”
“No,” she said, “you handled that just right, it was just so funny, I couldn’t help laughing.”
It made me realize just how difficult it can be to be a parent sometimes. I wasn’t angry at the Little Man and I didn’t raise my voice, but he knew he’d done something wrong. I felt terrible for making him cry (and he knew that I felt terrible, believe me), but it was the right thing to do, regardless.
My parents must have had it easy, what with such constantly well-behaved children as we were. I’m certain they will object to this characterization, but I recall my parents friends and extended family members constantly commenting on how well-behaved we were, and I submit that into evidence as exhibits A, B and C and rest my case.