Don’t let these innocent expressions fool you.
Oh Daddy. Sweet, sweet Daddy. He tried to get all fancy with his parenting tonight, using examples and what not. It was beyond precious. It started with us daring to send the girls back to school, after 2 weeks of staying up late and partying like rock stars. I’m assuming everyone is in the same boat, because the Lower School hallway looks like a confetti/snow gear/backpack machine blew up and scattered its remains from 1st grade all the way down to 4th. When I think of the hard work the Plant Management Team put into the school (I can attest it was spotless last Friday), I just want to hug them for the mere 30 minutes it lasted.
Needless to say, our evenings are not pleasant this week. Ears are off and attitudes are on. I don’t know how I became the center of the Winter Of Their Disrespect, but it’s not been pretty. Daddy decided to intercede this evening at the dinner table:
Daddy: Imagine a new kid comes to school, and starts being really rude to your best friend.
Kelly: The new kid in my class?
Daddy: No, no. An imaginary new kid. This is an example.
Sara: Good, because I’ve met the new kid in Kelly’s class, and he’d never be mean. He’s really sweet.
Daddy: Imaginary new kid. Starts being mean to your best friend. What would you do?
Sara: I’d go tell a teacher.
Daddy: A teacher isn’t around.
Sara: Wow. Where are we?
Daddy: A teacher is around, just out of earshot.
Sara: I’d try to calm them down and work it out.
Kelly: My best friend wouldn’t stand for it. Nobody is mean to her.
Daddy: But let’s say someone WAS mean. Would it make you mad?
Sara: Oh no. I wouldn’t start there. Let’s get to the bottom of this. Surely a compromise can be reached.
Daddy: What if you tried to be nice to this person, but they weren’t having it?
Kelly: Well, if we were working on a puzzle…
Daddy: Yes! You are working on a puzzle, and this new kid isn’t being respectful of your space!
Kelly (holding up her hand, and gently laying it on Daddy’s to indicate she’d like to finish her monologue): If we were working on a puzzle, I’d nicely ask the new person to go to the puzzle shelf and find another puzzle and put it together near us. I’d let them know we are here if she needs help. If all the puzzles were taken, then of course we’d invite her to join in on our puzzle.
Daddy (growing exasperated): Mommy, do you have anything to add?
Mommy: Oh YES! Take this conversation, do it as a full-time job, and you’ll have some idea as to what my day is like! I’m enjoying this whole thing thoroughly.
Daddy: Sara, you’ve tried everything, and they are just RUDE, RUDE, RUDE, with no reason whatsoever, to your best friend!
Sara: I’ve tried everything? Really? And no compromise could be found? I just find this hard to believe. I’d need the help of a grown up at this point.
Daddy: At no point would you get frustrated with this rude person and not want to be mad at them?
Sara: No. That’s just no way to go. It won’t help.
Mommy (laughing uncontrollably at this point): You are paying for their education. For this, you get superlative negotiation skills. We’re getting our money’s worth! They are model citizens at school!
Kelly: I might finally have to say “STOP”, but I’d try to be kind. It’s their first day and all.
Daddy: Well, here’s my point. You’re both being rude to my best friend.
Sara: Oh Daddy. You don’t have a best friend.
Daddy: MOMMY! Mommy is my best friend and you are being mean to her!
Sara: What?! No one is mean to Mommy!’
Kelly: DADDY! No one is EVER mean to Mommy! Everyone speaks to her so nicely!
Daddy: You 2! You two are being disrespectful, which is the same as rude! It won’t stand.
Sara and Kelly (heads down): Oh that. Hmm. Yes. That stuff. Yep, that was us.
Mommy:….(no words, I had stopped breathing from laughter….)….
After working outside, Daddy sat down only to be attacked by Sara’s “New Year Confetti Surprise”! Lucky Daddy!
We love you Sweetie. Don’t quit your day job.