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Sunday, February 20, 2011

When the sprinkles hit the fan.

Friday was dress down day at school, which is a big deal for my uniform wearing boys.  The night before, I laid their clothes out next to their beds (as usual) in the order it will be donned.  I had noticed that Fin had also laid out an outfit. Blue socks, blue running pants, blue shirt, and blue underwear, all a slightly different shade. I disregarded this, but left the shirt for him to wear. The next morning he came downstairs wearing his smurf inspired outfit. I quickly told him to go back up to his room and change. His reaction was slightly more calm than the "leave Brittney Alone" guy on youtube. He was crushed.  This went on for about 30 minutes and as I could still hear his cries as I stood in the shower. I got to thinking, why does his inept fashion sense bother me so much?  Did I feel the control slipping away? Was I that worried the statement of his monochromatic outfit was going to  be a reflection on my style?  When I got out of the shower I told him he could wear the outfit, but I packed a sweatshirt (grey) in his backpack in case he got chilled.
Although this was one small crisis of the morning, something about it had me thinking of it on my walk to work.  I didn't see him planning and executing his perfect outfit the night before. I didn't see him lay it out or his face when he discovered the outfit that I had laid over his outfit, and disregarded.  I thought about what he must have felt when he proudly walked down the stairs and I immediately voiced my disdain for his effort.  No wonder he was crushed.  Just one more thing to add to the guilt rainy day fund.  The one I can dip into whenever I haven't felt guilty for a day or so.
That afternoon I attended a "lunchtime talk" at Jack's school about sibling conflict.  What I found interesting, besides the odd fact that the woman next to me had an only child, is every parent feels that they are doing something wrong. And there is always some kind of book to back that fact up.  What I took away from that talk was that we interfere entirely too much in their sibling crisis' and that we should let the negotiation talks begin before we get all Presidential on them and deliver a verdict or solution. The only problem with this, is that usually it escalates until someone gets bit, punched or kicked in the "tenders".   The psychologist leading the talk was bright, and had sons herself, but her demeanor and mine couldn't be more different. She is calm and collected, I'm... well, caffeinated and crazy, so I'm sure her boys listen to her. I think my voice must hit a certain pitch that gets undetected by all males when it hits a certain pitch of anger.
To make up for my mistake on Friday I decided to do something fun with them this weekend. Saturday, we had company and I was too busy to think of anything, so this morning I decided to take them out for donuts after church.
There is nothing sugar can't suppress in my opinion.
All was good in the world until someone said their donut was bigger than someone elses long john and as Don tried to calm the argument with a definition of circumference vs. length,  anarchy had already set in and although Jack was not part of the discussion he took this opportunity to riot by throwing a sugar packet off the balcony to the people dining below and somehow a donut ended up on my dress. I was clearly practising the technique I had learned and was letting them "talk" it out.
A family with 3 children, who btw, were all wearing stripes, even the parents, were a few tables a way. I glanced at the mother as she glanced at the father, and I could feel the judgement.  I collected my now, sprinkled covered self and wrangled in the boys.  Don  had taken someone down to do our mandatory public restroom poop, and I was alone with 3.  I grabbed everyone, almost forgot the baby, ( I was blinded by the glare of this woman) and went downstairs confidently knowing that my parenting choice to let them fight, was going to be less detrimental than the long time therapy her kids are going to need from the matching stripes.
Those who judge  and are without sins should be the first to cast the first stone..or in this case the first donut.

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