Any parent knows that the "grandparents" are unlikely to discipline your child in the same way that you would. Specifically, they're not usually as firm or likely to make consequences stick, right? And with good reason; there's no need for them to be as firm, and I do think to a mild degree, it's good for kids to be a little spoiled by their grandparents. Makes for great memories and a special bond between grandkid and grandparent.
With that said, I have a story that is still making me laugh when I think about it. It has to do with the difference between what a grandparent and a parent consider "appropriate discipline." And the characters in this story are me and my mom.
My family loaded up the van for our first trip out of town since Connor was born. We were heading to Atlanta to 1) pick up Lucy who had been with my parents for almost two weeks! (She had a blast visiting Colorado for Spring Break and then spending some time alone with Lady in Atlanta. A million thanks mom and dad!) and 2) to celebrate Easter with my brothers, dad, and mom in Atlanta.
My mom has a friend, Jill, who lives on a beautiful piece of land, complete with a chicken coop, lambs, coy pond, and LOTS of chickens walking around. Lucy had already been to see this before we arrived in town, but Jack wanted to go see the chickens too.
Before heading out, I was feeding Connor and Lucy and Jack were playing outside on top of the hot tub, running across the cover and swinging on some sort of bar that stretched across the top. My dad kept telling them to get down, and no surprise, they weren't obeying. I encouraged my dad to be a bit firmer and tell them to "get down now!" As is always the case, it was hard for him, but he told them. Tails tucked, they staggered back inside; Jack moved on immediately, but Lucy took on quite an attitude. She put on a sour face and threw herself on a chair while I scolded her for not listening to Papa. And she started with those three-year-old retorts, "No...no...no!"
Me: "Lucy, you're being disrespectful. That's not okay."
Me: "Papa told you to get off the hot tub, and you should have done what he said the first time he told you."
Me: "Say 'no' again and see what happens!"
(Now, I realize that was not the best thing to say; provoking your child isn't going to end up being productive, but that's what came out of my mouth... ;-)
Lucy: (no hesitation) "No!"
Me: "Fine, you're not going to see the chickens. You will stay here while we go."
Thrashing about begins immediately. Fortunately, Connor is done eating, so I get up and begin to load up my boys in their car seats, ignoring her antics.
Meanwhile, my dad is looking at me like a lost puppy, sad that Lucy won't be coming with us. "Are you sure she can't come," he quietly says to me. "Absolutely not," I reply, "She was being completely disrespectful - to you and to be."
While Lucy's tantrum is reaching new levels inside the house, my dad and I get in the car with Connor and Jack. I turn on the car, and as I begin to back up, my mom stomps out onto the driveway, approaching the car with a determined look on her face.
my mom: "Are you really going to make her stay home!?!"
My dad has already heard the explanation for the punishment and why I feel it's just, and now I explain to her.
mom: (arms crossed) "Well, you better be sure to punish Jack when he does something like that! (Spews out some more things, but I can't remember exactly) to which I reply...
Me: "And if he did, mom, then he'll not go see the chickens."
Mom: Well, Lucy is inside just sobbing."
me: "I'm sure she is..."
(I think my dad chimes in at this point, agreeing with my mom...)
Mom: (practically seething at me by now) "This. Is. EXCESSIVE. ABUSE!!!!"
me: I fall toward the steering wheel in laughter. "Excessive abuse? Is she kidding?!?" I can't hear what she's saying anymore I'm laughing so hard.
As I recover, I realize we're not going to even come close to a compromise. So, I decide to give in. I'm mad that I've been put in this position, so as I go inside to talk to Lucy, I shout, "I'm going to talk to her; let me talk to her!"
I walk into the house, and it's SILENT...there's no crying, no hysterical sobbing whatsoever. I throw up my hands, turn right around to my dad who was following me, and I tell him to get back in the car...we're leaving...obviously, Lucy was not very upset. But then my brother Brendan says that she was crying really hard...apparently, Lucy was just catching her breath. ;-)
Ugh! So, I turn around again, heading toward the den to go talk to Lucy.
Me: "Lucy, come here."
Lucy: eyes are red and rimmed with big tears, face streaked and pink
Me: "You misbehaved and were disrespectful, Lucy, and I think you should stay home and not go see the chickens...But Papa and Lady are mad at mommy for doing that, and because I love them, I'm going to let you come see the chickens with us."
Lucy: smile reappears as this information soaks in..."Papa and Lady are mad at you?!?" She giggles.
Me: "Whatever...Come on, let's go."
And thus is the story...One for the books. And I didn't hesitate to make sarcastic remarks the rest of the weekend regarding myself as an "excessive abuser!" LOL! ;-)