Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mean Mom

I'm having one of those days.

I'm being a mean mom and it's hard to tell whether I'm helping my kids learn valuable life lessons or just consistently forcing myself to follow through with poorly thought-out threats.

Mean Mom Episode #1 occurred this morning at breakfast. I had to get Jonah out the door and on his way to summer reading camp and was trying to get him to eat a super nutritious breakfast of Eggo freezer waffles in 10 minutes or less. Isaac was also being served a plate of waffles.

As I was plating the waffles, there was some debate about who would get which plate. The individual waffles, although absolutely identical, were also being anxiously claimed. I spent 20 seconds switching plates and waffles, waffles and plates, until I was sure I had the combination right.

I set the waffles in front of the boys. Isaac was appeased but Jonah was not. "I don't want this plate." Jonah said. "I want the pumpkin plate."

I explained to Jonah that he could eat with his eyes closed and pretend he had the plate he wanted. I told him the waffles would taste the same on the plate he had. I reasoned to his sense of urgency and told him that we only had a short amount of time before we had to leave. (Mental note: Jonah has no sense of urgency.)

None of these logical methods worked and Jonah was becoming more and more vocal about his displeasure.

I then suggested that maybe NO plate would be better than the one he had. I said he had until the count of three to start eating off the plate he had or he could eat his waffles off the floor.

"1......2.................come on Jonah, I'm gonna say it comes..........3!"

I took the plate, dumped the waffles on the floor, and put the plate in the dish washer. I put the fork next to the pile of waffles so he would have something to eat with.

I expected, and got, a big reaction from Jonah, but completely unexpected was the equally big reaction from my sweet Isaac. He sobbed and sobbed like I'd just dumped his own plate of waffles on the floor. It broke my heart.

Surprisingly, Jonah calmed down after a minute and ate a few waffles off the floor before we left for reading camp.

Mean Mom Episode #2 occurred when I entered Ethan's room. To make a long story short, a room that was supposed to be cleaned this weekend and looked clean on Saturday was in actuality a room with a closet jam packed with junk.

In addition, there was hamster food spilled on the floor and a wide variety of other things, which if you have boys, or kids, or even destructive dogs, you can just use your imagination to figure out what kinds of things I'm talking about.

Finally, I smelled, among other things, the hamster cage which had not been cleaned for a while. In fact, the last few times it has been cleaned, it's been done by me.

I think this is called "reaching critical mass."

I immediately called a friend and asked if she would mind keeping the hamster for a few days while Ethan learned a lesson. Since the simple requirements for Ethan to have a hamster were that he keep his room clean and that he take care of the hamster by cleaning the cage, I figured this was a logical consequence.

I picked up the hamster cage and walked right over to my friend's house and, even as I type (about 1 hour after the hamster hand-off), Ethan has no clue that his little friend is gone. I have no doubt he will be devastated.

And to be honest, I have a bit of a pit in my stomach too. I'm kind of sad to loose the little guy, even though it's hopefully temporary. However, I really need to be prepared to go all the way with this and list the thing on Craig's List if Ethan can't keep his end of the bargain.

Why do I feel so crappy? Did I do the right thing?

About one thing I am sure: I'm having the last piece of blueberry pie for lunch--I deserve it!


I-Shuan said...

We really should have a "Mean Mom" contest! I think you did the right thing. Nice job with the follow-through. That's always the hardest part for me. And it sounds like you definitely deserved the last piece of blueberry pie!

Jonah and Isaac are here playing and don't seem to be scarred from this morning in any way. :)

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

What a funny entry! I was laughing really hard! Good job on the follow thru! So, what has happened since, did Ethan get his hamster back?

Afton said...

He will get it back on Tuesday. That will be almost one week and he's kept his room spotless and made his bed and done other things to show me he is responsible.

Marah said...

Yeah, good luck getting rid of a hamster...let me know if you find two takers.