I had to get tough shortly before bedtime tonight. First, Ryan and Keira were engaged in a not-so-friendly pillow fight. Ryan decided to get one more swing in after being told to stop, and whacked Keira right in her little glasses-wearing face. Then, he chose to argue when he was told to go to his room. I can't even remember everything that he said, but I ended up telling him he was going to bed without any ice cream.
The next thing I know, Luke is crying, and I know from his wail, that he's hurt. And, there goes Keira, running down the hall toward her room; a sure sign of guilt. Luke explained that Keira scratched his face with a comb. Apparently, she went straight from one altercation to the next. So, I go after her, snatch away the popsicle she was eating, and tell her that she is going straight to bed, too.
So, now, I've got two enraged and crying kids, and one who's still hurting. I would mention that their daddy was home, laying on his bed, ignoring the chaos, as he dozed and watched some totally inconsequential women's softball game, but I'd be digressing. Ryan wailed so much, I almost forgot I was dealing with a child who will be eight in a couple of months.
When the dust finally settled, I explained to Keira why I was upset with her, and reminded her that I love her very much. She had already forgotten about the stolen popsicle, so she cuddled right up to me. Ryan was a little trickier. He eventually came near me; I could tell he wanted his bedtime back scratch and "God Kisses", but didn't want to ask. I finally got him next to me, and told him how much I love him, even when I get upset with him. Just from his body language, I could tell he'd accepted his fate, and no longer resented me for inflicting such a horrific punishment on him.
Once Keira was asleep, I went back to check on the boys. Luke was fast asleep, but Ry was still awake. He lovingly told me goodnight and sweet dreams. A tiny voice inside of me suggested I let him get up and have something to eat. I'm proud to say I ignored that voice and stuck to the consequence I'd given him. Still, sometimes, it's hard to be the "bad cop". It hurts to hear the words, "I don't love you anymore!", even when you know they are coming from the uncensored mouth of a young child who feels like he's the injured party. I can only hope that the lessons from today will lead my kids to make better choices tomorrow.