I’ve always hated interrupting naps. It’s sick and wrong. I’ve always hated long lines. I know they’re divine retribution for my attention span, one comparable to that of a border collie on meth.
So I understand why Wee Man is such a beast when I pull him from his new big boy bed and carry him to his booster seat to idle in the elementary school car pool line. It’s just rude.
That said, I have little patience for his most common reaction: 20 minutes of crying that he hates the car pool. Yesterday, he kicked it up a notch. He called me an idiot. So I very calmly told him that the consequence of saying hateful things to me was that he could not watch TV for the rest of the day.
Of course the idea there was to get his attention, show him I’m serious about good behavior and end the tantrum. But he had a different idea, one likely inspired by the demons fleeing the mega-church next door to the school who recognized my SUV as an welcoming watering hole.
“I hope you get crunched up by the trash truck!” he screamed as he kicked the back of my seat. I’m pretty sure his head spun around.
As far as curses go, I’ve certainly had nastier ones slung at me. But it basically boiled down to him calling for my untimely and very messy death, two things I wish to avoid. And honestly, I was hurt. I somewhat less calmly told him he could go two days with no TV.
That got his attention. He’s still in that preschool time warp where a half-hour lasts a century. I’d doomed him to an eternity free of moving pictures on a screen. Basically, the hell from whence came those demons.
He absolutely lost it. He screamed for the rest of the car pool wait. He screamed while his sister and play date pal climbed in. He screamed all the way home. He repeatedly begged me to make it just one day. He offered to tell me he loved me if I’d cut his punishment in half.
I had the very, very brief thought that if it would just make him shut up, perhaps it would be worth it to commute the sentence. We all know that would be wrong from a long-term discipline standpoint. But maybe if he’d stop screaming for just five minutes, the clouds would part, the sun would shine, the angels would banish those demons and I could hear those guardians from on high singing once again.
But I held my ground. I knew I’d pay for it later if I didn’t. And what’s another 20 minutes of screaming at this point any way? I took it as a sign that my words finally hit home.
That made it music to my ears.