(Read THIS POST FIRST to understand today’s post in context.)
I am married to a comfortably predictable husband.
Not in a monotonous, boring, he-always-reacts-the-same-kind-of-way predictable, but in the comfortable way we can often complete each other’s sentences, calculate each other’s responses, and yes, at times, anticipate each other’s thoughts…read each other’s minds. His beautiful blue eyes captured my attention at 19, and by 24 the rest of him had invaded my heart and soul…and eventually my body………
(Rats……rats…….THIS IS A STORY ABOUT RATS! Focus woman!)
We’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, and by this stage in the game, there are some things that go without saying. He knows he’s married to (in HIS words) a complex, complicated woman, and while I can pretend my inconsistencies are endearing and charming and that that characterization is a compliment, I know what he’s really saying. It boils down to sometimes he loves me BECAUSE of those things, sometimes he loves me IN SPITE OF those things. Regardless, the love is consistent and I chose well when I webbed him with my womanly wiles.
His predictability can be used to my advantage when necessary. Like the other week when Thomas was bouncing off the pet store walls about Fancy Rats. Please note, "fancy rats" is not MY characterization, it’s what Pet Smart calls them so you’ll think they’re something other than what they really are: beady-eyed, fur-encased, doo-doo-dropping mini-demons (or as Erin so aptly put it, "giant mice with snakes for tails").
While I certainly believe that "NO!" means "NO!", especially when said from parent to child, the rules can fly out the door when your Bambi-eyed son penetrates the cracks in your steely armour; kids are natural gamblers, they know when to roll the dice…when to persist.
Thomas took full advantage of me, the kid knew what he was doing. He KNEW I was distracted and occupied with Stephen. He KNOWS I love beasts of all shapes and sizes. He KNOWS when he can pay for something himself, that’s half the battle won. He KNOWS timing is EVERYTHING, and if I walked out the door, there was NO WAY we’d come back for the rats. He KNEW that he had to CARPE MOMENTUM like he never had before. Smart kid, makes me want to beat him with a stick. A big one.
So, as I’ve already mentioned, I took the singular action I KNEW would end the conversation, and get me out the door with my kids and fishes only.
Let Daddy-O play the bad guy.
I’m not afraid to be the "bad guy" sometimes, it’s necessary for successful parenting. My children are decent kids you wouldn’t mind being around, proof to me that I must be a good "bad guy" at least some of the time. But sometimes….SOMETIMES… my resolve is weak, and I NEED Tad’s help.
After handing Thomas the phone to call his dad, I head back to Stephen and the fishes (silently but loudly praying, "PLEASE, GOD, LET HIM HAVE MADE UP HIS MIND BY NOW!").
No one could have been more shocked than me, when Thomas tiggered back to me, excitedly and victoriously proclaiming, "HE SAID GO FOR IT!".
My head snaps in a comic double-take. "WHAT??!" (I can assure you, my thoughts were much less tame.) I wanted to smack that smug winner’s look right off his fair freckled tween face.
"I’m not kidding mom, he said ‘Go for it’," and then he proceeded to tell me verbatim the entire conversation, which really didn’t amount to much. I’m shaking my head in disbelief. I gambled this time and LOST. Why I didn’t call Tad to get his version of the conversation STILL confounds me now–must’ve been the shock. See, I KNOW Thomas, I understand that sometimes he hears "differently" than the rest of the listening world.
And, yet, STILL we proceeded with the purchase of two fancy rats, and a kit with all the fixin’s.
Get this…….there’s still more! I haven’t even gotten to the "good" part, lol :).