Yesterday after work the boys and I had plans to meet up with another friend and her family for a little mid-week dinner. Only about half an hour before my work day was through, she called to say she wasn't feeling well and asked if we could reschedule. No problem...
Shortly after, I drove to my ex's house to get the boys. Not wanting them (nor myself, lets be honest) to be disappointed by the lack of seeing our friends, I figured the three of us could still do something fun. Being the kind of Mom I am, I let them have their choice.
"So boys. Should we go to the splash park or to the pond to swim?" Both being stellar choices because it was 95°F outside.
After much more discussion than I would have thought necessary, and trying to weasel in options C and D, Nick said splash park. Will said pond. I also thought the pond was a better choice. As is our family usual, two against one meant Will and I got our way. Typically, the person who didn't get their choice knows better than to be upset, reassured that more likely than not they'll get their choice next time. I figure its a small way to teach a bigger life lesson.
Now, either should have been a good choice. Either would have been fun. I mean, kids + water = happy, right?
Nick decided he was going to pout like pouting was an Olympic sport.
I was more than a little upset. My day had been long, plans had been changed last minute, the weather was hot and here I was offering to take my kids somewhere fun. He was acting like I was going to make him sit through the Stations of the Cross or something.
I explained that he was being ungrateful, and what that meant. I said that there were kids in this world who didn't have fun Mommies who took them to parks to swim. Told him that some kids don't have Mommies period, let alone Mommies who could shell out $10 to take them swimming. (Silly, yes, but they charge there.)
"I. DON'T. CARE!!!" he bellowed, crossing his little muppet arms over his skinny chest.
My mind? Was lost.
I pulled over so that I could turn around when I yelled that only good kids got to go swimming. As Nick began to cry, I shouted that we were going to start going to work in soup kitchens or clothing pantries so that they could both learn what it meant to be without things. I told them that the idea that my children were going to take nice things for granted was unacceptable.
"WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO SWIMMING OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO HOME?!?" I bellowed.
(Not my best parenting moment, by the way.)
sniff... "Swimming please." sniff sniff...
And because I was so clearly hot and bothered and I wanted to go swimming, we headed off once again toward the park.
The car was silent in that way that cars often are after melt downs have been had. You could still feel tension from the residual anger and embarrassment lingering in the air.
I was glad to be moving again. A breeze swirled in through the open windows, replacing some of the stifling hotness that had accumulated in just a few short minutes, and I was deciding we were going to get past the little snafu of an argument and we could still have fun when a small voice broke the silence from the backseat. It was Will.
"Mom? Why do girls have vaginas?"