Matt and I work very hard to be a united front for our kids. We try not to give them conflicting information on things and we make an effort to support one another when it comes to discipline. Let me emphasize again, we TRY. I admit that like many other parents we are not always successful. Tuesday was one of those times when we failed miserably.
It all started as we were finishing up dinner. Brendan had asked if he could play Skylanders after dinner. I said no, and then announced so that the entire family could hear that we would be taking a break from video games for the night because they had played so many video games over the weekend. I had no problem with the fact that they had played so much this past weekend, Matt was making an effort to spend some one on one time with the kids since he’d been gone so long and that was what each of them wanted to do. Despite that bit of understanding I still felt it was appropriate to just have them take the night off and find something more constructive to do.
Once everyone was finished eating I sat down at the kitchen table and put together a snack he needed to celebrate his 100th day of school, and then took Brendan into my bedroom to do his reading for the night. Brendan and I only read for about 20 minutes that night. We had gotten started later than I intended and rather than skip it all together we just read for a shorter amount of time. We head back into the living room to finish up the evening routine and I discover that Matt and Cameron are playing Skylanders together.
Brendan and I were both pretty frustrated with the situation. He was because when he asked I had said no, and I was because I made sure everyone understood that there would be no video games tonight and it appeared that both Matt and Cameron had chosen to ignore that. Matt swore up and down that he never heard me announce that, but turned off the video game immediately since I had said no.
With all the kids homework out of the way we sat them back down at the kitchen table to serve dessert before bed. The kids were very excited about dessert because we’d bought Hostess chocolate cupcakes. Kaylee, now perched on Matt’s lap, asked him if she got a cupcake too. Matt loves to tease the kids and does so at every available opportunity including this one. He looked her square in the face and just simply said, “No.”
Most of the time our kids, who know daddy loves to joke, will just laugh in his face and say, “You’re joking daddy!!” But not this time. This time Kaylee opened her mouth and began to wail. Matt was completely taken aback by this attitude and immediately began to back pedal. He assured her 100 times over that she was definitely getting a cupcake for dessert and that he’d only been joking. Nothing consoled her, she just kept bawling. Then Matt said something that he would later come to regret. He told Kaylee that if she’d stop crying that she could have as many cupcakes as she wanted.
Well of course Kaylee stopped crying and we served up the cupcakes. It seemed as though the incident was over so Matt and I went about our business while the kids devoured the cupcakes. We’d gone to the basement and it was at least 10 minutes before any of the kids started making their way down there. When Kaylee came down she announced that she was done with her cupcake and wanted 6 more. We laughed lightly about it and told her she wasn’t getting any more cupcakes that night.
A bit later I went upstairs to tuck the kids into bed while Matt continued on with what we were working on. The boys went down pretty easily, with Cameron only moaning a little bit that he wasn’t yet tired. I went in to Kaylee’s room next and found a very disgruntled princess sitting in her bed. She was cross and surly in every answer she gave me. When I finally asked what was wrong she began to bawl again that she never got her extra cupcakes.
Knowing that there wasn’t going to be an easy way out of this I stood firm and told her daddy had been kidding about that and that she’d had her one cupcake for the night. After 5 minutes or so I had her semi-calm though still crying and left her room. I told Matt he owed me for taking care of that because it was really his fault she was upset.
He headed upstairs to see what he could do to calm her down and the next thing I know Kaylee has another cupcake in her possession. He had decided that the best way to fix the problem that he’d caused was to give her the promised cupcake. When I came around the corner and discovered what he’d done I just about lost my cool. Whether he’d intended to or not that was the second time in just a couple of hours that Matt had undermined me.
There was nothing to do then but let Kaylee finish her cupcake, so Matt and I headed back downstairs and I vented my frustration out to him. He apologized for giving her the cupcake. He didn’t realize that when I was in her bedroom I’d already said no. He had thought that I was asking him to fix the situation which to him meant making good on his promise to Kaylee.
I couldn’t stay mad at him for too long, he meant well and does all he can to be the best dad possible for our kids. We agreed to regroup from that point and do everything we could to stay on the same page going forward. Will we be perfect 100% of the time? Heck no, but at least we are making the effort. And really that’s all that matters.