You know that idiom about not being able to have your cake and eat it too? Generally, I think it’s true, but last weekend we proved it wrong, if only for 90 minutes.
We had a date night dinner with two other couples…that included our kids. No sitters, no guilt! While we were upstairs enjoying adult conversation, drinks, dinner and even dessert, our collective kids were enjoying a buffet of mac & cheese, chicken strips, Halloween crafts, a movie and all the Sprite they could drink, in the basement. We live in a small town with a little hokey small-town country club, but I have to say they got this one right. It was awesome.
When we first arrived we sent our kids and two others off to find their evening entertainment. It seemed as though the situation was well-supervised and the kids were going to be happy as clams. About 15 minutes later I decided to go downstairs and check-in when the third family arrived and their kids were joining the festivities. It had really just at that moment occurred to me that Thomas was likely to be the odd man out in this group of older kids. Imagine, then, how
surprising it was to hear Thomas crying as soon as I rounded the corner toward the basement.
When I got downstairs I found Andrew and a friend double-fisting sugary drinks and Thomas sobbing and swinging at his brother. Needless to say the college student in charge looked happy to see me. I stepped in between the boys and asked for some form of explanation. Thomas was so upset that I could not understand his crazed rant through his tears and Andrew, shockingly, had nothing to offer beyond a guilty grin. I pulled Thomas away from the other kids and asked him to please stop sobbing and tell me what was wrong. That’s when he explained that Andrew was “putting stickers” on him. It wasn’t immediately clear to me why that was offensive so I called Andrew over to get his side of the story. Thomas was still – quite loudly – maintaining that Andrew was calling names with stickers on his back.
I turned to Andrew and asked if this was true. He vigorously asserted that he had done no such thing. I almost believed him. But, the smirk on his buddy’s face and Thomas choosing that moment to turn his back on me gave him away. This was stuck squarely in the middle of Thomas’ cute little back:
Gosh. I wonder why Thomas would think Andrew was calling him names?
I hauled Andrew upstairs, marched him past the other parents, and sat him in a chair in the dark recess of an empty room. On the way I told him that he shouldn’t use words if he doesn’t know what they mean. That’s when he accurately told me that a Neanderthal was kind of like a caveman. While he sat in solitary, the dads all got a good laugh out of this and Mark took a picture. The educator in our group suggested that he should get a commuted sentence if he had spelled it correctly. Damn if he hadn’t.
I’m pleased to report that the rest of the evening went uphill but I can assure you that the next time Mark misbehaves I’m breaking this one out of the verbal toolbox.