Thursday, February 28, 2008
I was recently reading an article about how many of today's parents do everything they can to shield their child from life's natural disappointments. Then I Came to My Senses and re-read last month's issue of PEOPLE, which made me feel much better since I AM NOT LYNN SPEARS.
I am an INDULGENT PARENT. I know this, I accept this, and I spoil my children even MORE in an effort to MAKE UP FOR IT.
The other day Annie greeted me at the door sobbing. It seems that during school, she had been chatting instead of listening during a very Important game of Pre K Bingo, and as a result the entire class was given cupcakes while she was not.
Well this just CHAFFED MY ASS. In my mind, the punishment for not listening during Bingo should be....NOT WINNING BINGO. She is 4. Withholding sugar from a 4 year old is like telling someone like me that the liquor store is closed: IT'S JUST NOT FAIR. And so I did what any self respecting parent who wants their child to learn a lesson does: I offered to buy her CASES OF CUPCAKES. But that didn't stop the tears, the sniffles, the PAIN, THE AGONY, and she only settled down after I agreed to buy her a car. And of course--Talk To The Teacher.
I marched into school with her hand in hand the next day, prepared to tell her teacher What's What and How Dare You Not Give My Baby Girl A Cupcake and What's The Big Deal About Listening In School Anyway. The teacher met us at the door. I could tell she had powered up her light saber and her phasers were set to stun. We both took 10 paces backwards.
"Life is HARD" were the first words she said--spoken to Annie but directed at me; "It is HARD, sometimes you will be DISAPPOINTED." I ducked, faked left--the words "Cupcake Police" poised on the tip of my tongue. Then she got down at Annie's level, took her by the arms and said "But TODAY...TODAY you will EARN a cupcake. I know that Today you will be a really great listener, and will be having a cupcake this afternoon."
At this, Annie had an epiphany of sorts; "IS TODAY TOMORROW???" She asked--as if she COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS BRAND NEW SPANKING DAY WAS FULL OF HOPE AND THE POSSIBILITY OF PINK FROSTING. And she put her tiny hand into the hand of the teacher and they went into the classroom together, into the realm of endless possibilities and what could turn out to be a Really Great Day.