I will preface this by saying: My kids are weird. They are from Uranus (I've always wanted to work that into a blog post, so congratulations to me!) and hubby and I are not from Uranus (thankfully).
I don't usually write about Girl 2 because there is not a whole lot to say. I love her as much as I love all the others, but she's fairly "easy." I can trace this "ease" back to when she first popped out and didn't ever cry. Since I was used to the Boy and his, shall we say, unique personality, and Girl 1 who cried The First Sixteen Months of Her Life And Then A Whole Lot, I was immediately alarmed by Girl 2. While I was enjoying my two day quiet recovery from giving birth, I mentioned my concern to a nurse at the hospital and she laughed and said, "Baby, do you have other kids?" When I said I had two others who cried 24/7 for all reasons or sometimes no reasons she said, "Well, it looks like you finally got lucky!"
Now, lucky was probably ambitious. But, I must say of all my kids, Girl 2 is probably the most easy-going. She's a lot like hubby. They roll with the punches for a long time and then either blow-up, or become extremely agitated for No Good Reason. What follows is an example of the latter.
Example of a Blow-Up for No Good Reason
There is a lovely Reward System at the kids' school called Caught You Being Good. If you have kids, you might be familiar with this reward system since it dates back to Tyrannosaurus Rex and Baby T-Rex and is more American than apple pie. (I got that from Wikipedia, so I am sure it's true.) If you are not familiar with this system, it's pretty easy to learn. The kids act "good" and if they are randomly seen by an adult doing anything "good" they get a ticket that says, "Caught You Being Good!" It's not like going to Disneyland, but oddly the kids seem highly motivated by this system (which is probably why it has survived the Roman Inquisition, the plague, the Trail of Tears, and the Royal Wedding (not in that order because remember I Don't Know History).
So, fast forward to last Friday when I got a note from the Principal saying both Girl 1 and 2 would be eating lunch with the Principal compliments of the Principal. AND they would be getting a dessert. SA-WEET!
If you are a regular you know that one of the things I hate most in life is making school lunches. It's not because I am not good at it - as you will see later - I can make the hell out of a school lunch. It's just because I am lazy and a Slacker Mom. Making 3 to 4 school lunches each and every day wears me out.
I do it because: 1. We cannot afford school lunches ($1.80) for each of our children every school day, and 2. Despite Jamie Oliver's best efforts I remain seriously frightened of school lunches (this dates back to My Used to Be Life).
So, my kids get homemade lunches (all four of them) each and every day.
This is super fine with the girls. The girls are terrified of school lunches, the lunch line, and the cafeteria workers (I take no responsibility for this neurosis). The Boy (for reasons we have yet to figure out) loves preservatives, chemicals, grease, and salt. So, he will happily save his money and buy a lunch at least once a month. Since I am all for him living, I don't allow it more than that (or he would buy it every day - since most days he has more money in his wallet than I do).
So, here's how it mostly (I have taken some author's privilege with details) went down last Friday:
Girl 1 and 2 squealing in high pitched voices: MOM, GUESS WHAT!!! WE BOTH GOT PICKED FOR CAUGHTYOUBEINGGOOD TO EAT LUNCH WITH THE PRINCIPAL!!! ISN'T THAT GREAT, MOM!!!
Me: Yes, that's awesome. I am so proud of you. And, even more super sweet is that I won't have to make lunches that day!!! So, yippee!!! Great job, girls!!!
Girl 1: Wait. So, we have to eat the school lunch?
Me: Well, yes. That's what the note says. Principal is buying you a school lunch and a school dessert. So, YIPPEE, right???
Girl 1: But, we hate school lunches, mom. They are gross. AND we are scared of the lunch line, remember? AND the ladies frighten us a little, too. So, no this is not good news.
Girl 2 (who has been eerily quiet on the matter): So, does this mean we have to eat a school lunch??? MOM, DOES IT??? DOES IT MEAN WE WON'T BE GETTING A SANDWICH, FRUIT, CHIPS, A NUTRITIOUS SNACK, AND A COOKIE??? (Her voice has somehow managed to raise in pitch so that now all the dogs within a five mile radius have their ears perched up.)
Suddenly I felt like this situation was spinning out of control, but similar to when you are about to lock your keys in your car, or eat dark chocolate when you know you shouldn't - I was powerless against it.
Me: Yes, babies, you are going to have to eat the school lunch, but just for one day and you get a dessert, and THIS IS A REWARD YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO LIKE IT!!! NOW LET'S STOP SCREAMING AND BE HAPPY!!!
Girl 1: Okay. I guess it's not that bad. Skips off while I say a quick prayer of Thanksgiving.
Girl 2: Now, pay attention because this is one of those zero to sixty Parenting Moments. I AM NOT GOING TO EAT A SCHOOL LUNCH, MOMMA. I REFUSE TO DO CAUGHT YOU BEING GOOD. I WAS NOT REALLY GOOD ANYWAY. I HATE THE SCHOOL LUNCHES. THIS IS AWFUL. I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL THAT DAY. CALL DAD. I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL. NO MATTER WHAT THE PUNISHMENT.
You get the picture - and, yes, it was that BIG. I'll spare you the details except to say this fit lasted about one hour. The fit contained high pitched wailing and screaming, moaning incoherent words, flailing, and possibly foaming from the mouth. And the simple reason: A lovely reward from the principal for good behavior.
The moral of the story? I have no idea. Let me know if you figure it out. I remain skeptical and more than a little frightened of school lunches and Caught You Being Good as a staple of Reward Systems in America.