Sunday, March 8, 2009

All That Pouting

The day started well. I decided to make Evan and Bryan a big Sunday morning breakfast. I thought of the smiles on my boys' faces as I peeled and sliced the potatoes and pulled out the bread for the French toast. I smiled when I heard Evan heading down the hall to wake Bryan up knowing within a few minutes we'd all be sitting down to the breakfast I'd so lovingly prepared.

Then, it happened. Reality. Sometimes I hate reality so much I can't stand it. I burned the final piece of French toast--not the kind where it was just a little too done, the kind that makes the whole house stink. Next, Evan didn't want to eat breakfast. Oh no, he wanted to play trains. Bryan and I doubled up on him and got him in his booster seat. I had made a nice breakfast and we were going to sit down and enjoy it if it was the last thing we did all day.

Evan was finally at the table, but the two-year-old in him refused to eat. We begged, we pleaded, we played little games. Then, Bryan gave Evan a choice. He had to take two more bites of his breakfast or else he couldn't go on a bike ride with Bryan. My ears started ringing. I had been looking forward to the bike ride all week! Three hours to get some work done was a glorious prospect for me! Anything but that.

I started trying to will Evan telepathically. Eat two bites. Eat two bites. Eat two bites. Eat two bites. Evan has a stubborn streak a mile along and he refused to take two bites. Not of his French toast, not of his hash browns, not of his grapes and not of the slice of plain bread I'd offered up as an alternative (he likes plain bread, so I wasn't being mean). He wouldn't even take a sip of the Orange Julius drink I had made to go along with our meal.

Finally, it was done. No bike ride. I am a firm believer that you have to follow through on the threat, even though it was hurting me just as much as it was hurting him. Bryan showered, loaded up the bike and left me with a very unhappy toddler. Boo! It wasn't the morning I had planned. Now Evan and I were both being punished. So much for planning a nice breakfast for everyone. I should have just put out some cereal and been done with it.

Next, I did what anyone being punished does...or at least what I do when I'm being punished...I pouted. I pouted because I had longed for a morning to get my work done. I pouted because I wanted Evan to have a fun morning outside without me being the one to oversee it. I pouted because I really needed to work on a story about fuel taxes my editor had sent back to me for some tweaking. I pouted because I had another story I needed to write about tires and I really didn't feel like writing about tires and I knew I would feel even less like writing about tires later in the day. I pouted because I was home alone with a cranky toddler and I pouted just because I felt like it. Then I pouted because all that pouting was taking up way too much time.

I pouted until 3:00 when I finally decided to start letting it all go. And you know what I realized? That pouting did absolutely no good. I should have let it go earlier in the day and just gotten on with things. Evan woke up happy from his nap, Bryan got home from his bike ride and we all had a much better afternoon. I even got in a little bit of time writing about tires. I'm still bummed about our unpleasant morning, but at least the second half of the day went well. And next time, I'll try not to pout as much.

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