Circs, tonight, allowed/required me to take Rory and Sam to dinner, then to Sam’s hockey practice. Rory had a chicken and cheese quesadilla, which she has had before and liked, and continued to like until she saw that with my soup, I had been given chips. I offered her the chips, not thinking much of it, but now she would not eat the quesadilla. We didn’t have much time, and I didn’t really care, but it’s important to note for the purposes of this story that although she had ample time to eat her dinner, she ate two bites of quesadilla and three tortilla chips.
We put the chips in a bag to take with us, and went next door for a much promised ice cream bar, which you can see her eating at the rink in the photo below. Immediately after that photo, she abandoned the ice cream bar in favor of jumping down the full set of bleachers, one giant step at a time, over and over again. She threw the ice cream bar away herself.Â (If you take nothing else away from this blog, ever, just remember–most of you surely know this–never throw away a child’s ice cream, no matter what they say. They must drop it in the trash can themselves. No exceptions.)
Practice passed, Lily and Wyatt arrived, and pajamas were donned, this being a practice that didn’t end until 7:30 and about 1/2 hour’s drive from home, and we got in the car, and Sam received his ice cream, which had been waiting for him.
Now, Rory knows that, with very rare and pretty predictable exceptions, I don’t let kids eat in the car, and that sometimes, as here, the exceptions don’t apply across the board. In other words, Sam getting to eat and her (as well as Lily and Wyatt) not: not unusual or perceived as unfair at our house. She also knows that if you don’t eat dinner, and dessert if there is any, at dinner, there is no additional food after dinner. None, never, no exceptions. Well, I guess we had popcorn for a movie night once. And she knew that was dinner.
But: “I wan’ my chips.”
Nope. Â Full explanation resembling the above, only shorter and tailored to Rory. Small amount of wailing. “But I hungy! I so hungy! I wan’ my chips!”Â
Nope. More complaints. But to her credit, she took it on the chin, after only five minutes or so of repeated demands, wails and request for chips. (For Rory, that’s fortitude.)
But I replayed it the whole way home, and am, of course, replaying it now–because when Rory’s involved, I examine every motive, every interaction, for some vestige of favoritism, or reverse favoritism, or just about anything objectionable. There’s an invisible audience in my head for all of my questionable parenting moments, as well as all the moments which leave a kid feeling less than thrilled with his or her lot in life, and for Rory, it’s magnified. Why is your little blonde daughter skiing in braids, like you, while the little black-haired daughter has only piggytails? Because the little black-haired daughter doesn’t like braids, I swear! Braids make her angry! If she reaches up to her head and touches them when she thought I was doing piggytails she cries and I have to redo it! I like braids!
You know, you just like them, love them, and deal with them, in different ways. Fair is not always equal. But I struggle with this often. I wish somebody would give me a gold star on the days I know I got it right.