Monday, February 28, 2011
the meanest mom in the world
We hit a new milestone on Sunday afternoon. My boys became fed up with how "mean" I am and decided to run away to dad's (or as Bubba puts it "escape to dad's"). The tipping point was when I gave them a choice between riding their scooters outside in the sunshiny, inversion-free air or helping me sort out the toy room. TV watching was not on the list, which bummed them out considerably. There was wailing and teeth gnashing and unnecessary stomping as they got their boots and jackets on, but they were smart enough to know which option to pick. 20 minutes later, Junior approached me and let me know that they would be leaving for J's imminently and on foot. Each boy had a wal-mart bag looped over a stick with one pair of pajamas, one set of clothes, clean underwear, Raffi and Monkey (respectively) and their baby blankets. I gave them each a kiss and told them that I loved them and would miss them and would really like it if they stayed but to put on jackets either way.
I watched from the window, gambling on Junior's inborn obedience compulsion. He knows that leaving the cul-de-sac is Verboden and while he tends to test me on many of the little things, one of the things I love most about him is his willingness to obey. He was 4 years old before he even figured out lying. True to form, he hesitated at the corner and stopped his brother (who does not possess an inborn obedience compulsion.) Ultimately, they returned to the house and asked for paper to draw a map to J's. There was a lot of whispering and refusing me entry to the kitchen while this was going on.
Among other things that they thought I couldn't hear, they discussed their strategy. When Mom is mean, they will take off for Dad's and then when Dad gets grumpy, they will just head home again. Below is Junior's map. It contains my house as a starting point and J's as an ending point. To the right and the left, you will find Montana and New York. Junior figured J's house to be roughly "six blocks or maybe six miles away" (it's more like 30.) By the time they were done with their maps, they set foot outside to realize the sun had gone down and with it, the temperature. Instead, they told me it was too cold and left their loaded sacks by the door. They made me promise not to unpack them because they intended to try "escaping" tomorrow.
Although we will genuinely have to have a talk about the dangers of really 'running away' I took at least two things from this episode. The first is that their blatantly cartoony hobo version of running way a la sacks tied to sticks over their shoulders suggests that I was totally right in refusing any more TV. The other is that I am absurdly pleased that they did such a good job packing on their own. It was a Mom win (you know, aside from the whole 'running away' thing ;-)