Monday, September 23, 2013

You Want Space? You Got It.

It's been one of those days, where nobody seems to have a tact filter or a volume control, where common sense and niceness have apparently taken a long vacation, and where the best decision I can make as a parent is to exile my kids to their bedrooms for the rest of the evening before I say something to them that I'll really, really regret.  

I try to operate on the philosophy that if my kids respect me, and I respect them, we should get along okay, keeping in mind that I'm the parent, and my kids are NOT.  That's never been easy, since from the get-go our son has never seen why he shouldn't have a equal say in everything that goes on in the house, and why he should respect and listen to his parents.  (I've heard that this is a common Asperger trait.  How many of you see it in your aspie kids, friends, or spouses?) 

It's not like we haven't given both kids consistent, regular discipline.  It's not like they doesn't know the meaning of the word "NO."  It's not like I'm a doormat, or a pushover.  But some days Safety Guy just DOESN'T CARE, and lets me have it verbally as if I were his equal, or even his minion, and not his mother.  As our daughter has hit her tween years, she has been acting more and more that way too.  (Which tells me that either our son has ALWAYS been a bratty, know-it-all teen at heart, and that our daughter is just catching up with a vengeance, or that our daughter has been taking notes on our son's behavior all these years and figures that if he can act that way, she can too, and she's making up for lost time.  Either way, it sucks.)

They've had any number of run-ins this past year over their shared "turf" in the bathroom.  Honestly, if I could build a house right now, they'd each have their own bathroom, so they could be totally responsible for them and not blame the other for dropped towels, left-behind socks, or whatever was supposed to be in the little garbage can but is beside it instead.  

Today Safety Guy went ballistic on his sister for leaving socks and clothes in the bathroom when he went to take a shower after his fitness class.  She, in turn, yelled at him for yelling at her.  He yelled at me for not making her clean up her stuff that very instant, and then she yelled at me for not making him pick up the half-dozen toy cars sitting beside the couch downstairs.  I banned both of them from the TV and computers for the evening.  They're upstairs for the night.  I'm done.

Safety Guy wanted space from his sister tonight, and he got it.  The Princess doesn't want to have to deal with her brother's stuff, and that's not an issue for tonight.  Maybe a nice, long, boring evening of nothing but homework and whatever books they find will make a point.  

They wanted space; so did I.  It's not quite how I wanted to get it, but I'll take what I can get at this point.

I just wish it didn't feel so crappy.

Two hours later:  The Princess came down for a bite of dinner, and while I wasn't paying attention, she started making homemade bread.  By the time I caught on to what she was doing, she had the yeast proofed in the warm water, and the bread board out, so I let her keep going, rather than waste what she'd started.  When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I'm apologizing for my crappy behavior."  Okay, then.  She did her homework and read a book while the bread baked.  It came out of the oven half an hour ago, and we just had some slices with honey.  Safety Guy apologized to his sister (without being prompted), and complimented her on her baking skills.  The Princess apologized to her brother (with a prompt), and all was well again.