Managing the ins and outs of two daughters is a full time job. It requires you to be constantly on your toes, on step ahead, and always prepared with a Plan B, or C, or even Z. No one tells you when you become a parent that there will come a day when you realize your sweet darlings have not outsmarted you, but hello, they've done it WELL. It goes right along with that whole thing your mother tells you about "reaping what you've sown." Whatever THAT means.
As Sarah Beth has grown, matured, and developed a mouth that will stop traffic, I have struggled with exactly how to "impress" her with my Mother status. Sending her to her room is not nearly as effective as it was when I was a child... and taking away privileges never seems to last long enough for her to care.... and grounding her? No problem. She'll happily spend that entire two weeks in her room.
A challenge, to say the least.
Jordin, on the other hand, is easily impressed. Sending her to her room is a death sentence, and entails lots of stomping and huffing and puffing. Little effort required to make lasting impression. Just the kind of kid we all dream about. Not to say she's better or easier than Sarah... just in this one way I am allowed to push the big fat EASY button I was issued when I became a mother. Trust me, one doesn't use it often.
This week, the girls are away at their dad's house... an entire week of having their own bedrooms, visiting with Grammy and acting camp. A total vacation from my dictatorship. They have been shopping and painting and gnoshing on delicious Grammy food, I am certain.
All this being said about all the wonderfulness of Dad's House and all, you can imagine my sheer delight when my conversation with him this morning turned to discuss a little bickering that had been going on between Sarah and Jordin. WHAT? THEY BICKER POINTLESSLY? ARE YOU SEEEEERIOUS?
After eavesdropping momentarily, Jim, in all his calm, collected glory (this is the place where I would have been screaming and telling them to both pack a bag for their move to Abudabe) decided to sit each child down and hear their side of the story. This is where Jim is so much better than I am. And I mean that.
Jordin got to speak first, and wove a tale of name-calling and hurt feelings that would surely make anyone shed a tear. Afterwards, Sarah Beth was allowed to admit to or deny Jordin's accusations. She of course forgot that she could plead the fifth, and admitted to the name-calling and "I hate you"ing. From this point forward, she was doomed to a fate beyond anything I could have ever dreamed up.
First, Jim promised that he would be punishing her for the "I hate you" comment, since, as a family (albeit a dysfunctional one) we've decided that's pretty much off limits. This is where it gets good... while he did promise punishment, he let her know he'd be thinking about it for a while before he decided. I imagine that SB must have been sweating real live bullets all day long. Nothing is worse than knowing a punishment is pending.
In the end, Jim decided on a good ole fashioned lecture. What could be worse, after all, than making her sit still and listen to her father for almost fifteen minutes straight? Dude. Why I haven't I thought of this before? Futher, she was required to write a letter of apology to Jordin, including WHY she was sorry for saying such hurtful things, and including a list of reasons WHY Sarah loves Jordin.
And the best part of all? The final draft of the letter? Oh yeah. It had to be GRAMMY approved.
Notes to self : get Grammy on speed dial. Also. Catch up with Jim on the whole "get your goat" side of parenting. Quickly.