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Have you ever had an evening go from blissfully pleasant to shitty in the space of about 90 seconds?
We were having a fantastic day. Jake doesn’t have Tae Kwon Do on Mondays so there’s no running around, no rushing. We always have time on Mondays for a slow dinner, a board game, whatever. Tonight Jake wanted to make paper airplanes – something I’m really good at, BTW – so we did that for a couple of hours. Daddy came home, all remained pleasant. There were a few close calls with paper airplanes landing near flames and buzzing close to eyes, but no actual damage.
Then Jake got in trouble, doing something he’s done before and definitely knows he’s not supposed to do. One of those things that just gets an instant punishment, no warnings. It was about half an hour until he was supposed to get ready for bed anyway, so I told him he was done and was going to bed early. I told him to say goodnight and go get ready.
I calmly listed the punishments he would receive if he didn’t go upstairs right away and get ready for bed. I warned him not to do anything stubborn or stupid, to just go upstairs. Probably a poor choice of words. I can see the distinction between calling his behavior stupid and calling him stupid, but he didn’t, and shot right back with “I’m not stupid, you’re stupid, and I’m not going upstairs.”
So that was that. I told him he had all of the punishments I had just listed, and if he didn’t go upstairs they’d be doubled. He went.
I don’t understand what happened. I don’t bluff about punishments, and he knows that. He knows that. He knows that if I threaten a punishment I always follow through.
This is not how it’s supposed to work. This is not how it usually works. He gets in trouble all the time for things he’s already done, but I can usually stop him from doing the next thing. Not this time. And honestly, I wouldn’t have threatened such a huge punishment if I had thought for a second I would have to follow through on it. But I did, and I do. Sometimes being a parent just sucks. I guess the only thing worse is being eight.