Making forts out of blankets is one of the most nostalgic childhood activities you can do with your kids. It’s always the first thing that pops in my head when the troops are growing restless and I’ve had enough of the Power Rangers. The boys will start to grab all the biggest blankets in the house they can find while I drag the kitchen chairs into the living room and strategically begin the placement process. Without fail, the minute I start to put the blankets over the chairs the 4 year old asshole Project Manager takes over. “No! Don’t put that there, put it here!” As the most tenured person in the room, I know that if I follow his orders the blanket will most definitely not stay in place, so here I am faced with a very difficult decision. Do I voice my concerns at the risk of undermining my boss? Or do I simply do as I am told and deal with the repercussions when the whole thing inevitably comes crashing down? Either way, this isn’t going to end well.
Now I didn’t get this far in life by staying quiet, but experience has taught me the key is to ask questions that come from a place of trying to understand, versus poking holes in the process. “Okay, I’ll put it there, but what do you think we should use to secure it so it doesn’t fall?” I see his wheels turning so I jump up before he can overthink it and grab a pile of chip clips from the kitchen. “Do you think these will work?” I exclaim. I could sense his skepticism, but he let me put them on all the corners without interjecting. When I was done I stood back to admire my handy work expecting to receive some sort of positive reinforcement for so perfectly securing the blanket over the chairs. Instead of giving me the recognition I deserved, Deklan demanded I take the clips off because they “don’t look cool”. It’s a textbook power struggle move where he simply doesn’t like it because it wasn’t his idea. I’ve seen it a thousand times.
I did what I was told because, pick your battles. Deklan managed to keep the fort intact (sans clips) as he crawled inside, and then invited me to join him – so long as I said the password. 32 guesses later, and I’m staring at the tiny opening trying to figure out how I can squeeze my grown ass through it without bringing down the house.
I somehow manage to get in, but as soon as I turn to close the pillow door behind me the blanket falls onto our heads and Deklan lets out a scream as if his entire life’s work was nothing more than a pile on the floor. *sigh* I resisted the urge to tell him I told you so and instead tried to use the story of the 3 Little Pigs to explain why the blankets will never stay put unless secured.
Me: “Deklan, it’s just like the 3 Little Pigs. Remember the pig who built his house out of straw? What happened to it when the wolf came huffing and puffing at the door? He blew it down because it wasn’t a strong foundation!”
Deklan: “NO! STOP TALKING! THAT’S NOT WHY IT FELL! IT FELL BECAUSE YOU KNOCKED IT OVER. I’M NOT PLAYING WITH YOU ANYMORE!”
Like I said, this wasn’t going to end well…