When Being a Bad Mom is Good
So yesterday afternoon Little D and I made the Sisters Gourmet brownies I spoke of earlier this week. It was a fun and easy little project and we all basked in the heavenly scent of them baking while we prepped for dinner (did I mention they were chocolate overload flavor??) and talked about how delicious they were going to be. In true mommy mode, I kept reminding both Little D and Kai that they would have to finish their dinners before they could have one and both nodded enthusiastically. It was Taco Tuesday, after all. I didn’t anticipate a problem.
Lesson number one in parenthood: just because you don’t anticipate a problem, doesn’t mean one won’t pop up.
So Kai had some issues finishing his dinner. He’s two, so we’re used to him being a bundle of energy during dinnertime and going back and forth between his plate and his Legos and we’re fine with it. In the end, he usually manages to eat fairly well. We kept reminding him that he wouldn’t get a brownie if he didn’t work on more of his tacos, but it didn’t seem to matter. He was in more of a Lego mood than a taco mood. Little D loved it and took it upon herself to keep threatening him, while she busily cleaned her plate, “too bad little Kai, you’re not going to get a brownie if you don’t eat.”
But he didn’t.
So we got to clearing plates and I started serving up dessert for everyone, except Kai. And of course, he got upset. And I reminded him that he didn’t eat his dinner and you only get dessert if you finish your dinner (and I balked, yet again, at the fact that I have become my mother)…and his little lower lip started to quiver. And his chocolate brown eyes melted with big, fat wet tears. And he whispered, “I want to eat my dinner now. I want a brownie.” And his little two-year-old face showed so much emotion, so much sadness, so much disappointment, that my darn heart basically split open onto the floor.
I knew what I “should” do. I knew I should prove my point. I knew I should teach him a lesson. I knew I should show Little D that rules aren’t meant to be broken and reinforce her good behavior by not giving in. I knew it all.
So I cut him a brownie.
Half a brownie, actually. To tell myself I was being tough. And he loved that half of a brownie. He ate it up with a smile from ear to ear. He asked his sister for an extra bite of hers. She said no. He washed it down with milk and that almost comical satisfied sigh only a two-year-old can give you.
And I realized in that moment that sometimes the “rules” of parenting are in fact meant to be broken. Sometimes we have to give in a little. Sometimes we have to bend. Sometimes we have to realize that while we may think we are doing damage, we are actually doing a world of good. Sometimes you have to just give them the brownie, even if the green beans (or in this case, tacos) are still on their plate.
Because hopefully life will give them some happy surprises down the road as well. And where better to celebrate them than at home with a big glass of cold milk?
*image above via Saltbox House — hope you are in the mood for brownies now*