It’s funny how there are certain lines that we, as parents, simply won’t cross. For example, once I’ve given one of the kids a piece of candy, I don’t take it back. There’s something about that – taking candy from a baby – that just seems wrong.
Not too long ago, J was having a showdown with C. It was the typical argument that all parents go through. He wanted to be bad, she wanted him to behave. He was rebelling, she was casting about for some punishment that would make an impact.
I was at the stove cooking while they were having their battle. In general, we’ve found that things work better if the parent that gets into the power struggle resolves it. Of course we back each other up, but we both generally prefer to take care of these sorts of issues ourselves.
So I was cooking, N was playing in the den, and they were having their showdown.
All was right with the world – until C grabbed a lollipop. It was on the counter, in C’s stash of candy. When the kids get candy (from birthday parties, halloween, or whatever) we put it in a spot on the counter where they can see it but can’t gobble it all up at once. We dole it out as they ask for it or as treats.
Of course, J immediately took the lollipop away from him. Remember that I said I was at the stove? Well, I didn’t see who had grabbed the candy first. When I glanced back, I just saw J holding it.
The candy stash is, to my way of thinking, sacrosanct. You just don’t take candy from a baby. I’m sure I read that in a parenting book somewhere – or maybe a Superman comic. I don’t know which.
In any case, the little guy became very quiet, watching the lollipop. J now had an extremely attentive audience while she made her point. Unfortunately, C still refused to do whatever it was that he was supposed to do.
J held the lollipop over the trash can threateningly, and, after one more try at getting C to cooperate, dropped it in.
He let out a single prodigious wail, and then quieted, glaring at her. His little brother came running in from the den to stand by his side. I’d never seen them present a united front like that before.
There was a brief period of quiet as they both glared at Momma, and then C said to me, “Daddy! Lollipop! She – she – she threw it out!” He was sniffling and teary, and having trouble getting the words out.
N chimed in with a desperate “Pop! Pop!” and pointed to the trash can. Both were looking pleadingly at me.
J turned to face me with a stern “don’t you dare take their side” sort of look. Normally, I back J up – but this was the first time I’d ever seen the two kids present a united front, and she had crossed a very big line. You don’t take a child’s candy. It’s just not right.
“It was his lollipop.” I said quietly. “I mean, it was his lollipop.”
Have you ever seen a bear hesitate just before it rips open some poor defenseless deer? Me neither. However, I’d imagine that its expression would look something like J’s did at that moment. She said very quietly ”Don’t you dare…”
I’m ashamed to admit that I was weak. I caved. I looked at C and said “you have to listen to your momma. It’s very important to do what she says.” My heart wasn’t in it, but I said the words, and that was all that was needed.
The boys were crushed. They turned away, dejected, and started to cry. J pushed her point home, and C finally did whatever it was that she wanted him to do.
Me? I snuck them lollipops – two each – later in the day when momma bear wasn’t around.