The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is our latest bit of bedtime reading, and we all love it. I think my kids were meant to live in the 1800's. Tom does all the things that the boys love: warring, frolicking naked, catching bugs, playing pirates, meditating, smoking, and although they have never swung a dead rat from a string, I wish they would... it seems like a sad bit of boyhood that no one's doing that any more.
Okay, technically, they do not smoke. Even yesterday when I tried to diffuse a little kid anger by handing them all pretend peace pipes and inhale, exhale, let the anger smoke rise up to the ceiling and float away, they still refused to smoke. This parenting tactic, by the way, was a massive failure. Boy One was twitching on the floor apparently dead from smoke inhalation. Boy Two was still mad. Boy Three just pulled out his junk and suggested they have "wiener time" which seemed to calm them all down. But the fake pipe definitely soothed me, and I'm pretty sure that's the most important thing.
My mantra for the last week or so has been: "Minger, don't be an asshole" because in the inimitable words of Tom Hank's character in Apollo 13, "We're not doing this, gentlemen. We are *not* going to do this. We're not going to go bouncing off the walls for ten minutes, 'cause we're just going to end up back here with the same problems!"
So that's it. I can be an asshole (to the kids) and ten minutes later, we'll all still be here, or I can not be an asshole, and ten minutes later, we'll still be here... probably in a better head space to boot. So I guess, note to myself: walk away, grab your fake peace pipe, and re-approach the kids when you're ready to act like an adult non-asshole. These little mirrors (the kids) reflect all of my faults so I may as well try not to have so damn many.
P.S. Here is my favorite line from Tom Sawyer so far. The line refers to a boy that Tom is approaching and Tom is criticizing the boy's too fancy looks (keep in mind that my poor kid got pulled out of Karate to wash his feet which I hadn't noticed were black and it was Saturday and he probably hadn't worn shoes since Monday):
He had shoes on -- and it was only Friday.