Let them eat cake...

>> Friday, 16 May 2014

Boy #2 left home on Sunday afternoon.

This happened following an argument about how much lunch needed to be eaten to qualify for a piece of cake for dessert.  On being told that it was more than he had consumed, he announced that he wasn't hungry for pudding anyway, so didn't need the cake thankyou very much.

Five minutes later, of course, when what was left on his plate had been tipped into the bin, he changed his mind - but the damage had been done.  There WAS no more lunch for him to eat to qualify for the cake.

Oh dear.

What followed was one of those classic parenting moments that you see happening but are powerless to stop if you have any hope of showing a consistent approach to discipline.  We were treated to a downward spiral of disbelief and outrage that he was being treated so much more unfairly than his older brother, lots of railing against the fact that we are always, ALWAYS, so strict with him, and then, when none of this changed the fact that no cake had magically materialised on the table in front of him, horror that we were going to carry through.

So, after stamping upstairs, slamming his bedroom door a few times, and throwing himself around a bit, my 8 year old son packed a rucksack with 2 pairs each of socks, pants (underwear), and t-shirts, a spare pair of trousers, and a spare pair of trainers, put it on his back, and cycled off up the road*.

And we let him go.

Friends tell me that they too did this sort of stuff around his age, and I know for sure that my sis did, but crucially, I never did - so this was very hard for me to let happen.

However, Husband - from the sofa, where he appeared a great deal more sanguine and relaxed about the whole experience than I was, mainly due to the fact that he too had hoisted his backpack on his shoulder at about 8 - told me I had to step back and let Boy #2 make his protest.  Although he did agree that a phone call to the guards on the gates to make sure they didn't let our son 'out' onto the streets would be a good a idea.

Of course, Boy #2 never got that far.  He cycled about 100m up the road, thought better of it, doubled back and went and hid in a hedge for around 15 minutes.  Then he got back on his bike and cycled around the house a couple of times.  Then, he abandoned his bike, and snuck around on foot for a bit longer.

Finally, he reappeared at the back door, where I met him and welcomed him home, before he proceeded to empty his rucksack to show me just how well he had packed for himself.  I congratulated him and commented that perhaps the next time we go away he could do the same thing, he agreed, and then we kissed, made up, and he took his supplies back up to his bedroom.  His Big Adventure (as my sister in law called it through her tears of laughter) had lasted about 30 minutes.

And then, an hour later, he could be found sitting at the kitchen table eating the cake that I gave him.

Bugger.  So much for consistency.

* For the record, I would like to state that we live in a gated compound with between 30 and 40 houses.  There was nowhere for him to go, other than the playground.  Not that that made it any easier to watch him leave...


Sammie Oliver,  16 May 2014 at 11:46  

I normally help them pack - don't forget your roller blades and several favorite heavy toys etc..

Toni Hargis 16 May 2014 at 14:31  

Aw bless. But perhaps that was his ploy to get the cake all along. You've been played Missus.

pottymummy,  16 May 2014 at 14:42  

I know it, Toni. I know it...

Sarah Ebner,  21 May 2014 at 14:51  

I'm sure this is something all children need to go through - and the fact that there was cake when he came home must have impressed him!

retiredandcrazy.com,  22 May 2014 at 09:45  

And do you know, things don't change. Your children will have children who will stay over with you and you will have the same issues with them as you did with their parents, and then your grandchildren will have children etc. etc. I know, because I am living this life!

pottymummy,  22 May 2014 at 11:47  

MsC - who needs the cake when you get the cake mix? (You KNOW it makes sense...)
Sarah - never knowingly undercaked, that's our household. Not sure it's anything to shout about, mind you.
R&C - But I'm sure my children never behave like this at my parents. Much...

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