This week has been a dramatic one in our household. The week started out with fun house guests, including our 1 year old goddaughter. We applied to send both girls to Catholic school next year. (That's another post for another day.) We learned that we're expecting a third GIRL! And then our other two girls gave us a sneak peak at what the teen years will be like. OH, the DRAMA!
Our first moment of teen-preview angst was on Monday, right before the gender-revealing ultrasound. The girls and I met BestestHusband for lunch, at a bagel shop between the ultrasound office and the office where he was scheduled to get a root canal. I agreed to let HeyMama and MeToo pick out bags of chips for lunch, as a special treat. HeyMama handed me hers so I could pay for them. MeToo refused. I tried reasoning with her. Before we eat chips, we have to pay for them. You picked them out, now we have to give them to the cashier. JUST LIKE ALWAYS. This usually isn't a problem at the grocery store. This day, it was. She pouted. I counted to three. She threw the chips down on the floor instead of giving them to me. So I declared the chips ALL DONE. Then the crying and screaming began. Now, keep in mind that this is all happening while I'm trying to order our soup, salad, and sandwich. The cashier was extremely patient and gracious about it. Other patrons? Well, it was a mixed bag. I interjected my conversation with the cashier with "When you're done screaming, I'll understand what you want." This is my standard tantrum routine. I don't negotiate with terrorists. When the screaming's done, then we'll talk. I continued to manage obtaining our lunch, and the screaming escalated. She loves to do this in public. I think she actually has a future on the stage.
One elderly gentleman across the shop came over and offered to pick MeToo up. Ok, that scared her. She stopped flailing and clung to my legs, still screaming.
The elderly gentleman in front of me was supportive of me sticking to my guns. "She's a strong one. You're stronger."
But the frumpy middle-aged guy across the shop? He came over in the midst of the hubbub to inform me, "You know, your kid's really being annoying!" "Yes, I know." was my response. I tried to have a conversation with him. "What would you like me to do?" I asked. "Spank her? And have someone call Protective Services on me? Would you like to spank her? And have someone call Protective Services on you? What would you like me to do?" Not surprisingly, he didn't have much of an answer. He just stalked off, muttering something about "make her stop."
The most productive of all interveners was the elderly gentleman trying to pick her up. It scared her enough to start asking me for "Up up up!" Ok, those were words. We could work from that. And we did. The tantrum wound down. The cashier was horrified about the middle-aged guy, and apologized profusely. I'm thankful for the patience not to deck the frumpy guy. I'm sorry, but you just don't tell a pregnant woman dealing with a tantrum that her child's annoying. I guarantee you, she knows. He's lucky he doesn't have a bloody nose to show for it. It's proof that the patience was given by God, and not from me. He's also lucky I didn't point him out to BestestHusband when he arrived. I"m not sure what would have happened there...
Our next moment of teen-preview angst was yesterday evening. The girls' preschool teacher surprised the kids with an Easter Egg Hunt on the playground. The eggs were filled with chocolates. Dove chocolate eggs, to be exact. That teacher has good taste. On the way home, the girls talked very excitedly about their eggs and chocolates. I agreed to let them eat a few. I know they'd been waiting all day. I have a hard time waiting all day to eat chocolate. I can't expect my daughters to be able to do it. So after eating a few, MeToo asked for a video. I said yes. It allows me to prep dinner in peace. HeyMama asked if she could have more chocolate. I said she needed to save them for after dinner. She seemed ok with that. We do typically eat dessert AFTER dinner.
But a few minutes later, the fireworks went off. "I want more chocolate! I wish I'd never eaten those chocolates!" Chocolate regret had set in. She's a bit too young to understand the conundrum of "you can't have your cake and eat it too". Or maybe not. She cried. She screamed. "I wish I hadn't eaten them! I'll never eat chocolate again! I hope Easter never comes!" The regrets streamed out, veering towards the absurd. Now, I can sympathize with this to some extent. I love chocolate. In a truly unhealthy way. I love to eat it. I always want more. And sometimes I regret eating it. Mostly because I want to have more. And eating all of your chocolate means you don't have more to eat. I was sympathetic to her hysteria until she threw her bag of chocolates against the wall and behind the couch. That's when I sent her to timeout. Regret is one thing. Chocolate abuse is another. And it's inexcusable, if you ask me... She raged in her room for a while, screaming random things. "No more eggs! No more candy! I don't like paper! I'm going to rip down all of the art in my room." When she calmed down and was ready to talk, we discussed chocolate regrets. Because I do truly understand. And then she did rip down some of the artwork in her room. Which I also understand. When I get upset, that can be a good catalyst for cleaning and redecoration.
Oh Heaven help us when the girls are teenagers. By my estimation, the teen years will directly co-incide with menopause for me. BestestHusband is screwed. I see a "mancave" in our future. And maybe a few Academy Awards in our girls'...