Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Parenting on Display

Let me set the scene for you.  Wednesdays are a very busy day.  The girls come home from school and have an hour to have snack and get homework done before we leave for choir.  We pick Rehm up from school and arrive at church, 30 minutes away, about 10 minutes late for choir.  Following choir we have church dinner and then Bible Study for me and mid-week programming for the kids.  It is a busy day.  There is no good way to do it.  And no way to skip it because all four kids love choir and their respective programming.

Today, when we were leaving the house I had to insist that Ruby bring a coat.  Not, wear it, just bring it.  She didn't want to but I knew she would need it before we got home as the lows are in the upper 20s this week.  She was not happy.  We get to choir and all the kids hop out of the car.  Ruby left her coat in the car.  I wasn't surprised since she didn't want to bring it with her in the first place. 

When I picked Ruby up from choir the first thing she asked is, "where's my coat?"  I asked if she brought it to choir.  She said she didn't.  I replied, "well, that means it is in the car."  She lost it!  According to her I was supposed to have known she wanted me to bring it in, even though she did not ask me to.  Then she insisted that we go immediately to the car to get it.

Of course, if I had brought the coat in we could have just as easily had a fit because I was supposed to know she wanted it left in the car.  You just never know what Ruby will be personally offended by at any given moment.

I had four hungry kids and food on the table waiting for all of them.  I explained that it wasn't a choice to get the coat right then but I would be happy to walk with her to get it after dinner. 

She proceeded to cry, yell and generally be mad at me.  By this time we were in the fellowship hall filled with other diners.  She started hitting me with a stuffed bunny she had with her just to make sure I really understood how upset she was with me.  I took the bunny away.  Of course, that made her madder.  She refused to eat.  She yelled while hiding under my chair.  She decided to eat a little bit but didn't like the way it was plated.  And on, and on, and on. 

All this time, we are sitting at a table with my Mother and Father in law and surrounded by many people.  My parenting was very much on display.  It was embarrassing and I felt like everyone in the room was staring at me and judging my fitness as a parent.  I know my perception and reality were not in sync.  But there is nothing like a misbehaving kid to make you feel like the whole world is judging you.

I remained firm in my expectations and weathered the Wrath of Ruby.  Finally, she had earned the privilege of having her bunny back and had met the requirements for me to walk her to the car for her coat.  She berated me on the way to the car for not being able to read her mind and know she wanted me to bring her coat.  I explained that we had had a miscommunication but she was not excepting any responsibility for the fiasco that had transpired. 

Once we retrieved the coat we had about two minutes of happy, tranquil Ruby.  Then I said something, I don't even remember what, that got her started again. 

At this point she was upset that I was going to Bible Study.  She told me I did too much and I needed to quit something so I would be home more nights.  I explained that my Bible Study takes place while she is at What-A-Wednesday.  It didn't matter.  I needed to quit something!

We get back in the building and she insists that I have to take her bunny to Bible Study with me.  Yes, the bunny that she got mad at me for taking away from her a half an hour earlier.  Now she could only survive the evening if it went with me.

We went to the restroom before taking her to class.  In the restroom, she informed me that I needed to stop embarrassing her!  All I had done all evening was embarrass her. 

I was very happy to drop her off at her class and told her teachers that I hope her behavior was much better for them than it had been for me.  Of course, she was an angel for them and her happy sunny self when we picked her up. 

Parenting this child sure is a tiring, full-time job.  She is worth every minute of it.  And, deep down I would not change her one tiny bit.  She is perfect and she is Ruby. 

 All my classmates loved that bunny joined us for study tonight.


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