Sometimes it feels like parenting is either a manipulate or be manipulated endeavor. I feel like I'm never on top of my game enough to get the better of these three clever/stubborn/independent offspring. Sometimes, every once in a while, I am triumphant though.
It's the small victories, people. Very small.
Yesterday I had a texting battle with Braeden. He wanted to skip school--for about the 35th time this year. (Why he texted for permission is sort of beyond me and endearing all at the same time.) I told him to go ask the attendance secretary. I knew that wouldn't work. She is slightly scary and has lectured me many times because I don't always comply properly to her attendance parameters. He texted me back that she wouldn't go for it. (Sorry, Braeden. It just amused me to think of you asking her.)
Last Friday he had dropped out of sight and hung out in one of his teacher's classrooms instead of going to class. He texted wondering if I'd received a call that day that he was unexcused. I hadn't. I felt my power slipping. He texted me that he was going to leave school. I had to think fast. I had already texted him, "No. Don't do it. I'm serious." But guess what? The boy has car keys. I texted that I would be mad if he left school. Godzilla mad. (He has plans to see the midnight showing of the movie this weekend with his friends.)
My stubborn son with car keys and the will to leave school, turned into a kitten. He texted back a meek little, "OK. But I hate this place."
And I was OK with that.
One of my parenting mantras, instilled by my own parents is, "You don't have to like it."
Emma is a completely different case. (Wouldn't that be easy if they were all the same?) She won't go clothes shopping. Really. And she's a teenage girl. It is mystifying. There are no threats that would convince her to go--even though she could really use new clothes. Her friend Freja is the secret weapon. If Freja comes, it's suddenly fun. Also, if Freja mentions she likes something, Emma is willing to try it on. (If I mention I like something, it is immediately disqualified as a viable option.)
Friday we are taking Freja shopping. Emma has even consented to go to multiple stores.
And then there's Mark. Mark hates the piano. He flat out refused a while ago to take piano lessons. No way. But here's the thing, he is musical. Also I think piano lessons are good for him. Also he has a LOT of free time. I let him quit piano lessons from his teacher (who he liked a lot, it was the piano he was against). He is still having piano lessons (from me) but I think he doesn't quite realize it. I let him pick the songs. I have him work on just the top hand, then add the second hand a week later. It is a slow and inefficient pace but he is practicing every day and getting better.
Three examples of wins. Outsmarting my children exhausts me. I won't tell you about all the battles I've lost.