People suck. They can be selfish, entitled, thoughtless, rude and the more you are around them, the greater the chance they will piss you off. In adult relationships there are many options on how to deal with asshole behavior. You can avoid the person, write a snarly text message, confront them after a few drinks when feeling belligerent, pee on their lawn, or simply resentment the person and never talk to them again. When dealing with a young child, you don’t have these options because they don’t have a yard, can’t read, and it’s frowned upon to get wasted with them. You actually have to be the mature one and lead by example.
Children are moody daughters of dicks. (Why does that not have the same ring to it as sons of bitches?) Their emotions fluctuate like climate change induced storms and it’s hard to anticipate when they are going to fly into a fit of fury. And as quickly as kids shit in your mouth with their emotional bile, they turn around and are as sweet as cancer-causing aspartame.
This afternoon started out with The Munch acting like a gentle creature, similar to a friendly giant on pot brownies. She was considerate, wanted to help making a sandwich, and was generally in a dreamy state of lovingness. Until she wasn’t.
I sat down on the couch to tell Munch a story, but she wanted to be where I was sitting, and for me to sit across from her on this wooden chair.
Munch: Mamma, move over so I and sit here and you can sit there.
Toni: Dude, I don’t want to move over. I am already sitting here.
Munch: But I want to sit there!! I want you to sit across from me so I can look at you!
Toni: Well then you sit on the wooden chair. I am comfy on the couch.
Munch: No Mamma… you sit on that chair and I want to sit on the couch!
Toni: No way.
Munch: Okay fine. I will put these pillows on the chair and now you can sit on it.
Toni: I want to sit here… you can sit there.
Munch: NO MAMMA NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAHHHHAHHHAHHHAAAAAAHHHAAA!!! You sit there!
Munch then cried like she was going for the Oscar, while I wondered why my kid was such a little twerp. Her whole logic was so egocentric. Did she really want me to be uncomfortable so she could live her OCD moment and frame the perfect shot for story time?
Then I sat on the stupid wooden chair because I am a weak.
Munch of course immediately stopped weeping and happily wanted me to tell her a story – but I was bitter at that point. Even though I could have stood my ground, I acquiesced and then begrudged her for it. Despite the fact that I wanted to pout, I couldn’t sulk because it was my own damn fault for catering to her demands. I put my big girl pants on, let it go, and moved on.
Then later we got into an argument over treats because as you may know, I am living with a sugar addict.
Munch: Mamma, can I have a treat. I had healthy stuff for lunch remember?
Toni: Sure, what do you want?
Munch: A chocolate popsicle.
Toni: Ummmm we don’t have that. So you want a mango popsicle?
Munch: No. A chocolate popsicle.
Toni: I just told you we don’t have that. But I can give you some pieces of a special chocolate bar?
Toni: Here you go. Four pieces because you are four years old.
Munch: I actually want a big bar of chocolate.
Toni: But you are already eating the pieces I gave you.
Munch: Yeah, but I want just one big piece of chocolate bar. Not little pieces.
Toni: Dude, you just ate all the pieces I gave you. You stuffed them in your mouth the whole time you were demanding more?
Munch: I want a mango popsicle now.
Toni: No way. I just gave you a delicious special treat because you didn’t want the mango popsicle.
Munch: Waahhhhaaaa!!!!!!!!!! I WANT A MANGO POPSICLE!!
She cried for ten minutes, threw her headband across the room, and stomped her feet while staring me in the face. This time I didn’t comply to her desires because that would be insane. The Munch had to play out her rebellion, while I managed her snarky comments.
Munch: Mamma, if you don’t give me a treat I am going to throw you outside.
Toni: I would like to see you try.
Munch: Fine, then I will just spit in your face.
Toni: Go ahead and see what happens.
Munch: Fine. Just give me a treat then and I won’t do any of those things.
Toni: Dude, there is no way.
She continued to cry until she finally accepted she had lost the battle.
Munch: Mamma, I love you so much. I’m so lucky.
There is no way you can stay angry with someone after a proposition like that.
Parents have these dynamics with their kids everyday, and forgiveness is an hourly affair. You both have to forgive each other constantly because there is so much tension and conflict when raising children. They want what they want because they are tyrants and parents have to keep them in check so they don’t stay that way.
Most relationships and our larger society could benefit from this level of fluidity. If we admit we are basically are all just big babies trying to make it in this cruel world, we’ll remember that we are all always growing and evolving.