It’s Friday which usually means pizza or chicken nuggets for dinner because I’m more concerned with what I’m going to pour myself to drink when I get home, than I am with what I’m going to make for dinner. The boys are equally as drained by the end of the week and in rare form, so you can see why the adult beverage is priority. Tonight when I called Deklan to the table for dinner, he took one look at the nuggets, dropped to the floor and sobbed because, unbeknownst to me, he doesn’t like them.
Deklan: “I don’t like those! Why would you give me those? You should know I don’t like them!”
Side note, Deklan’s new favorite phrase these days is: “You should have known that! Why didn’t you know that?” and it’s in relation to the most ridiculous things that we would never know unless we could somehow read his mind – as illustrated above.
Me: “You’ve definitely eaten them before, so I didn’t know that you wouldn’t like them today. Instead of crying about it, can you just tell me what you would like instead?”
Deklan: “NO! I don’t want to talk about it! I shouldn’t have to tell you.”
Me: “Okay, well, clearly that didn’t work out well the first time so how about toast? Can you tell me if you want toast?”
Deklan: “Ugh. Fine! Make me toast!”
Me:*Takes a giant sip of vodka tonic and a deep breath* “What is a better way we could ask for toast?”
Deklan: “I don’t have to ask nicely, JUST DO IT!”
Me: “Daddy, Deklan would like toast please.” -> see what I did there?
Chris butters the toast, leaves it uncut, tosses it carelessly on his plate right on top of the chicken nuggets, and calls Deklan back over to the table. Like, are you trying to escalate the situation or have you just given up entirely?
Deklan: *Strolls over with a chip on his shoulder and notices the toast is uncut* “NOT A BIG PIECE! WHY DIDN’T YOU KNOW THAT I DIDN’T WANT A BIG PIECE?”
Me to Chris in a very judgmental voice: “How did you not see that one coming?”
Chris gets up and cuts the toast in half and then puts it on a new plate before setting it back in front of Deklan.
Deklan: *Falls off chair onto the floor* “I didn’t say I wanted a different plate! Why did you put it on that plate?”
Me: *Now regretting putting Chris in charge of the toast in the first place*”There is ranch on your old plate so daddy got you a new one so the ranch wouldn’t get on your toast.”
Deklan: “I don’t want chicken nuggets! I never had a piece of them so why would you give them to me?”
Me: “I’m confused by several things here: 1) I thought we’ve moved on from the nuggets and were focused on the toast. 2) Isn’t your favorite meal at McDonald’s chicken nuggets?”
Deklan: “Yes, but those are good nuggets, not THESE ONES!”
To be fair, that’s actually probably true since these are gluten free from a freezer bag, so I’ll give him that much.
Carter enters the ring: “Mommy, Deklan’s not eating!”
Deklan to Carter: “AGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”
Me: “Deklan, that is not okay to yell at your brother for no reason!”
Deklan to me: “AGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Without saying a word I get up and grab the apple cider vinegar out of the cabinet and set it on the table in front of him. Insider tip: Whenever he’s really mean or naughty I put a shot of it in a syringe and squirt it in his mouth like a cat. He HATES it so even just the threat of it is enough to turn things around sometimes. Little does he know, it’s actually good for him. WHO’S THE BOSS NOW, SON?
Me: “If you yell one more time you are getting vinegar – I’ve had enough! You can be sad, but you cannot yell at us.”
Deklan: *hands covering his mouth* “I don’t want that! I won’t say anything else EVER! Take it away!”
I give him one final look that says “I ain’t playin”, put it back in the cabinet and returned to sipping on my cold beverage while he ate his toast in silence. And that, folks, is how you parent by fear.
5 minutes later, he asked me to come snuggle with him on the couch and I swear I heard him mumble under his breath, “Who’s the boss now, Mommy?” as I settled in.