Saturday, June 7, 2008


Since school got out, the kids have gotten spoiled. I'm not sure how it happened. I think it was me. I always want them to be happy. And I never really want to say no.

Don't get me wrong. I say no a LOT more than some of the parents I know. No TVs in their rooms. No games consoles at all. And they get a tiny allowance and they're expected to pay for all the stuff that they want. And they have chores, too. Even Zoe has to help load and unload the dish washer and put the wet clothes in the dryer.

But I always want them to get to DO everything. Can I go to Grandma's? Yes. Can I go to the movies? Yes. Can I invite a friend to spend the night? Stay up late? Go swimming? Go to the drive in? Sign up for this camp? Sign up for that camp? Go on this trip? Yes, yes, yes. I always want to say yes. And I have GOT to stop.

Because tonight I belatedly remembered it was the free swim hours at the brand new water park they just opened in Richmond. So I told them to grab their gear and even though it was mostly over, I'd take them so they could catch the last half hour. I warned them on the way that we wouldn't be there long, that I'd need help with the kids, and that I'd take them back another day when we had more time. We'd been tense all week because we've been sorting summer and winter clothes because the average temperature just went up 15 degrees from what it had been. Caly's birthday party is Tuesday and the house is a mess and we're not at all ready... but we needed a break. So I thought this would ease things up a bit.

And wouldn't you know, Caly complained about it. She didn't get to do anything because she had to help with the babies and Zaven took too long to come back and just when she was next in line for the big water slide the park closed. And I told her to stop. But she had to finish her complaints. And I told her to apologize to me. But she did it in a sing-song voice while she rolled her eyes. So when we left I drove them over to the playground and let Zaven and Zoe play while I made her cry. No, I didn't yell. But I didn't back down either. This week she complained about having to try on new clothes that she loves and wanted. She complained about how she was having to help clean the house. The whole family had been cleaning the house and yard all week so she could have a party. And she complained about having to stay at Wal-mart for so long while we bought a new TV that's much nicer than the one we have now. I told her I didn't want to hear one word of complaint about her party, her presents, her cake, any of it. And I made her tell me what she was grateful for and say thank you for the things we'd been doing recently.

And of course Quinn was listening to all of it and started saying "Tank OOH!" every time she did. But I think this time they may have both meant it. Maybe.

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