Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My standards drop to an all time low

I am sitting in the dark at a desk in a motel room in Carson City, Nevada. The locks are locked, the chain is chained, and for once the dogs actually serve a purpose because I feel much safer with them here. Although what they will probably do is bark at innocent people walking by at 1:00 a.m. and wake us all up.

This was our second day in a row of driving all day long. It was also our second night in a row of having Dominos pizza delivered to our hotel room.

Tonight I let my kids drink Coke. I never let them drink Coke.

I didn’t even insist that they actually eat any of the pizza. I ate most of it myself, and the dogs finished the rest.

My toddler sprinkled parmesan cheese all over the pizza, the table, and her chair and I didn’t bat an eye.

She dumped a cup of water on the floor and I nonchalantly tossed her a towel and said, “Clean it up.”

Then I let the boys fall asleep watching a movie. I never let them do that either.

Today was not one of my glory days of parenting. Yesterday was better. Yesterday we sat in the breakfast room at the hotel and all the children were eating and drinking and not spilling, and my 5-year-old son correctly identified Omar Khadafi on the news and then it switched to a story about gas prices so that my 3-year-old said “Oma Khaffi is putting gas in his car!” And then my oldest said, “No, silly. That’s not him. He’s the leader of Libya!”

Then the couple at the table next to us got up to leave and the woman smiled at me and said I had such well-behaved children, and I said thank you and added my disclaimer that they are not always well-behaved, because no children are always well-behaved and I try not to take undue credit for their good behavior so that I won’t feel overly responsible when they act rotten.

Now this morning, we sat in the breakfast room at the hotel and one child ate one-fourth of a waffle and my daughter spilled a bowl of Cheerios and then she crushed them with her shoes as I was trying to clean them up, and my son complained that the butter tasted funny, which was because it was real butter. No one told me I had such well-behaved children.

Then we were leaving the hotel and my 3-year-old threw a fit by the vending machine because he wanted chocolate milk and I didn’t want to pay two dollars for chocolate milk so I told him he could have some later and he threw himself on the floor and refused to get up so that I ended up having to lug him kicking and screaming down the hallway.

Then we drove and drove, through the salty desert and the rugged terrain of Utah and Nevada, cheering when we saw signs of civilization, stopping for lunch and snacks and gas and potty breaks, until finally we ended up here. After a long day of complaining and bickering and discomfort and boredom the kids were just happy to be out of the car. I was even happier.

So, all bets were off, rules forgotten, standards relaxed. After all, our long journey was nearly complete, and a celebration was in order.

Plus, I was just too tired to care.


Angela said...

Ohhh... your rough day sounds awful. I'm sorry. I know you, though, with the patience of Job... handling it all without raising your voice and I was just griping at my kids for not cleaning up when I asked them to (over and over) Oooh. Your bad day made me put it all in perspective. I could learn so much from you! I do learn a lot from you! I just heard of a book recommendation: Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids. I thought of you. I thought "I should buy that" and then I thought "or...I could just continue to learn from Ruth."
I love you, my friend.

Ruth said...

All without raising my voice, huh?
Hmmmm....just don't ask my kids about that...