We'd been out all day. We had a fun time. The girls wanted more. They always do. I don't blame them. It was a holiday weekend and with no school Monday and a Sunday that felt like a Saturday, they wanted to go out at night too. There was a special night event at the aquarium. They wanted to go. In a moment of weakness, we gave them a "maybe" and said it depended on how they behaved the rest of the day. In a moment of weakness, mom and dad regretted that "maybe" a nano-second after it was uttered and the word left our lips and if I could have inhaled the words back up into my body, I would have. In a moment of weakness, we tried to figure a way out of this mess. And it was in that moment, backed up against the parental wall, with no real way out of the situation, that I realized I was the Pete Rose of parenting.
In that moment, I bet against my kids.
Yes, we all knew whether we went out at night was dependent on whether the kids behaved well the rest of the day. Of course, behavior is subjective. On some days, if they don't kill each other, I say the kids behaved great and better-than-expected. On other days, when they battle over dolls, or rebel against cleaning their room, or make a collossal mess of the house, I think they're behaving like devils. So, on this day, unbeknownst to them, I placed my bet and I placed it on misbehavior. Truth be told, the kids were up late the night before and my spider senses were tingling (those mom and dad super hero instincts) and told me that these kids would be headed for a total meltdown if we did indeed go out at night. But, super-secretly, I was hoping we never got there in the first place because let's face it, no one likes a meltdown.
It didn't take long for the misbehavior to begin. They didn't want to shower. They didn't want to eat the dinner we made. They weren't listening. They weren't sharing. I was headed for a big payday. We explained to the kids that they weren't behaving well enough to go to the aquarium, that we knew they were tired, that it would be better if we spent the night in and got an early bedtime. The roulette wheel stopped on misbehavior and I cashed in my chips. Pete Rose of parenting won.
I guess this means I'll never be getting in to the Hall of Fame. And yes, if I'm being honest with you, I feel pretty guilty about the entire thing. I probably should have just measured my words in the first place, and come out with a firm "No, we can't go to the aquarium." On the flip side, If they had behaved stellar all afternoon, we would have been at the aquarium that night watching a bunch of fish swim around. Instead, we all got in pajamas and watched a little TV, and spent a little family time together. I guess it was a win-win, but don't ask me to give back my other winnings.
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