Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why is saying "no" so hard?

On Sunday it was pouring with cold, hard rain, from the moment we woke up until late afternoon.  I kind of didn't get my act together to make it to church on time ("gets me to the church on time..."church on time"!, ah Modern Love), so I had to think of some other way to entertain the boys.  I'm not very good about staying in and tolerating their preferred indoor activities: wrestling, taking all the cushions off the couch and then sliding down them, demanding bottomless bowls of Cheerio's, eventually deteriorating into an all-out war that would stump even the UN.  My modus operandi is to get out and about - so we headed down to a soft play area in Brixton.  Where, of course, half the population of southeast London had also headed.  When it comes to pastimes driven by extreme weather conditions, it's hard to be original around here.

The queuing system was unique and entirely unsophisticated: I was given a slip of paper at the front desk with the number two on it (did that mean second in line, or that there were two of them who wanted to get in?), and then we went and loitered around the entrance to the soft play area.  I didn't even have to encourage the boys to peer longingly through the glass doors to make others feel guilty - they did that just fine without any prompts from me.  When some people finally left, we had to head back to the front desk because we hadn't yet paid, their theory no doubt being that people would possibly get bored of waiting, or their kid would have a meltdown from ball pit envy, so you wouldn't want to take their money until entrance was a sure thing.  Finally we could go in.  My socks were soaked from the walk from the car and the place was freezing, but the boys headed off into the expansive and complicated sets of nets and foam structures where they played happily for about 30 minutes without needing my assistance at all.  It was cool.

After picking up a KitKat for each of them from the vending machine - it was, by this point, probably lunchtime and they'd already eaten the healthy snacks I'd brought, during the time time while we were waiting to get in - we made an ill-fated stop at the local TK Maxx because I am in the market for some low-cost workout clothes.  [for those US readers, no, that isn't a typo, but yes, it's the same store.  Pretty much, apart from the "K" instead of the "J" in the name].  What a mistake that was.  Noah immediately found the collection of random toys and proceeded to present the one he wanted to me; Blake then did the same.  I had no choice but to say "no" - for one, payday was still a few days off and these were like £20 items, but the second, more important one, was that I needed to teach them a lesson.  That lesson being that sometimes, you can't always get what you want.  Man, this did not go down well.  There were protests, defense arguments about fairness, suggestions that these be early Christmas presents, howling and rolling around on the floor, tears, pretty much everything apart from acquiescence on my part.  I had to stick to my guns here.  In the end the best compromise I could come up with was to tell them I'd take a picture of the toys to remember what they were, with a possibility that we could further explore whether these would be appropriate Christmas toys.  I think you'll detect a tiny bit of disappointment on their faces in the photo (ha ha, just a tiny bit...!).

But, we got out of the store (no, I did not get any workout clothes; I was ridiculous to even think I might find something, let alone with those two in tow), and they both fell asleep on the car ride home.  Naps sure do often follow closely after these large tantrums, it must be noted.  Later that afternoon Blake made and decorated about half a dozen paper airplanes, at the cost of probably 1p a plane.  My goal has got to be to spoil them rotten with love, but make them understand that they can't have whatever they spy in a store that takes their fancy. Not, then, modern love, but momma love.  It's not always easy. 

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