Monday, August 25, 2008

"Have I just entered a parallel universe?"

Family meal scene 1 - M's family

Child (8 y.o.): *trying to get more bread*
Dad: You need to eat your food! No more bread.
Child: *pouts a little, waits an appropriately distracting period of time, and tries again to get more bread*
Aunt: Ah ah ah! Your dad said no!
Child: *looks stricken*
Mom: Do you want more bread? You can have it if you want it.
Child: *makes up an excuse about the bathroom, and runs off*
Mom: I'm stuck in this booth and can't go after her.
Dad: *goes after child*
Mom: *after several minutes, goes after dad and child*
Aunt: *thinks to herself that child is having an overly long pouting session in the bathroom, and continues to calmly eat yummy dinner. Leans over to husband and says* Just so you know, when we have kids, I will always back you!
Dad: *comes back to table* I couldn't find her. She ran off!
Mom: *returns to table with child, everyone resumes their seats, and mom leans over to aunt* She's really hurt because you got all over her. She's very sensitive when someone other than her parents say anything to her. Would you please say something to her?
Aunt: ???? *enters internal dialogue which starts off "what the. . . .?"*
Child: *puts her white, cloth dinner napkin to her eyes, sobs, and milks it good*
Aunt: *waits until child removes napkin from her eyes* I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'm sorry. I was just trying to respect what your dad said.
Mom: And she didn't want you to waste your food.
Aunt: ?????? [aside to mom]: I'm sorry. I didn't realize that would make her upset. In my family, we group parent. I can say anything to my nieces and nephews and it's ok.
Child: But she hurt my feelings!
Dad: Everyone gets their feelings hurt sometimes. She said she's sorry.
Mom: She said she's sorry. It's over. You need to get over it or you're going to get in trouble.
Child: *continues to pout for a full 10 minutes, and now has grandma fussing over her. continues to eat lots and lots of bread and does not touch her "real" food again, complaining it has too much cheese*
Aunt [later in the car to poor, unsuspecting, very tired husband]: rant rave rant rave rave about how child was confused about the expected behavior because mom basically called dad and aunt liars!

Family meal scene 2 - N's family

Child (8 y.o.): *trying to get more bread*
Dad: You need to eat your food! No more bread.
Child: *pouts a little, waits an appropriately distracting period of time, and tries again to get more bread*
Aunt: Ah ah ah! Your dad said no!
Child: *looks stricken and starts to pout*
Mom [to child]: What's the deal?
Aunt: His dad said no more bread and I caught him getting more bread and told him no.
Mom: Is that true?
Child: Yes. But . . .
Mom: So, you knew what you were doing was wrong. When an adult tells you to do something, you do it. No more bread! Eat the rest of your dinner - NOW! And you better quit pouting or you're not getting dessert!

SEE THE DIFFERENCE???

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to huff warm air onto my knuckles and rub them on my chest. . . and think about how I love my family!

[Title quote is from "What a Girl Wants"]

4 comments:

Jen said...

that would drive me crazy, I don't know if I could have "apologized" to the 8 year old. my family is like yours, it works well!

Danielle said...

My family is like yours too, thank goodness!

Kimberly said...

Oh my...they're nuts!

Lisa said...

I can't wait for a followup story when that 8-year old is 13! These parents don't get that they are making up a very thorny bed to lie in...

 
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