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Friday, August 26, 2011

stand your ground mama! stand your ground!

Do you remember that scene from The Princess Bride where Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley go to storm the castle?

Fezzik pulls out a cloak from Magic Max "Fits so nice, he said I could keep it!" and away they go, with Inigo (somehow) pushing Fesik in a cart closer and closer to the castle (while carrying Westley on his back?).

All the men around the castle look nervous, waiting for the attack.

And then they hear it. A booming voice. "I am the Dread Pirate Roberts! There will be no survivors!"

Doom is certainly upon them.

And their brave captain yells out, desperately, "STAND YOUR GROUND MEN, STAND YOUR GROUND!!"

Yes. This scene. This is what flashed before my eyes this morning as I had the following conversation with little man.

As every morning since being sick last week..."Mom, can I watch morning cartoons now?"

(Fezzik is approaching the castle, the men are apprehensive, looking into the darkness in terror.)

"No buddy. Remember how you screamed at me when I turned the TV off yesterday?"

(Westley and Inigo light the magic cloak on fire, the men gasp and panic. Fezzik yells out "MY MEN ARE HERE, AND I AM HERE, BUT SOON YOU WILL NOT BE HERE)



"Well, I told you no TV today as a consequence."


"BUT MOM??!!!" Whine, whine, whine, snivel, snivel, snivel.

And so the day begins. It is approximately 7:42am. This is going to continue in 15 minute increments for the rest of the day.


I find there are very few things in parenting worth this kind of effort. I was raised to eat all the food on my plate. I dont make my children do this. If they are hungry later they can have a carrot. If my kids want to sleep with me, okay. There must be a reason. I let them wear there pajamas all day if they put up a fight about changing into daytime clothes, even to the store sometimes. I JUST DONT CARE. It's not worth the hassle, I would say 75% of the time.

I never thought I would be this kind of parent. But the fact is, I value peace in my household. A lot. Its not that I let them walk over me. They are good kids. Respectful. Kind. (for the most part) But I think that a lot of times finding the "yes" in a situation is best for everyone all around. Give your kids a way out. Some of the best parenting advice I have heard. In the middle of a battle over whether or not you get to play with the big toy car set in the middle of the freshly picked up living room? Well, if you help pick it up when you are done, then sure. Etc. etc.

I think we often default to a "no" without cause. I know I used to, a lot. For example. Kids want to cut out strips of paper (birthday decorations) and hang them in random places around the house. In the past this kind of thing would make me crazy. But now, well, sure. Why not? Kids want to play outside more, while you want to go start dinner? In the grand scheme of things starting dinner 15 minutes later isnt THAT big of a deal.

You see what I mean.

But sometimes, well. A mama has to put her foot down. My children have developed an unappreciated (by me) early morning cartoon habit (that frequently stretches into an all morning habit) since being sick in the past few weeks (just colds nothing serious but they were sleeping so poorly and so crabby sitting them in front of the tv was just, well, easier, you know how it is).

Its just PBS Kids. Not the end of the world. But I don't like it. I like having them play around me as I drink my morning coffee. Cuddling. Reading books. Chasing each other around the house with their little pushcarts, playing ambulance. Not sitting mindlessly in front of Super Why. (Also, I was rather disturbed to listen to little miss recite all the catch phrases of show after show the other day)

And when I told him to turn it off yesterday and come put on his shoes (to go get daddy and get Happy Meals for dinner! fun right?!) and he screamed at me hysterically, well, I lost it. I reacted badly. (I was crabby, in the middle of a contraction and not feeling terribly patient) And that is when the consequence came out. NO TV TOMORROW. Ugh? I thought. What did I just DO??

("Give us the gate key." "What gatekey? I have no gatekey." "Fezzik, tear his arms off." "Oh, you mean this gatekey?")

No. No. Stand your ground mama.

And so far, well, its 9:08. The morning sun is streaming in the windows. Little man is listening to A Muppet Christmas album. Little miss is having a picnic with her breakfast on the floor. And I have only gotten two comments about YOU-KNOW-WHAT ("Mom. Its not going to be a nice fun day if you dont let me watch tv." "Mom, but WHY NOT??")

Hopefully I wont get my arms ripped off. Ha.


  1. It's hard, but it's SO important! I let my oldest whine and negotiate more than I should have, until I realized it can really bring me down and make simple things a huge effort. So I would say, from personal experience, *yes* you picked the right battle when he screamed at you.


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