Give The Kid A Mulligan
Sometimes it’s not always appropriate to fire off a consequence on your kid for poor behavior. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh. Case in point:
Things were nice and mellow as we drove down the street a few days ago. The entire family was in the car. Noble and Alistair were harnessed in their car seats like NASA astronauts preparing for launch, while Gayle and I enjoyed our primitively chincy “seatbelts” in the front. I can’t remember exactly what we were talking about while I drove, but it was probably something related to a nose hair that I haven’t trimmed that Gayle can’t stop talking about. And then I was probably yelling at her for touching it, causing my brain to tickle. And then there was probably a lecture about proper etiquette and keeping our hands to ourselves while someone is driving…something like that, I’m not sure exactly.
Out of nowhere, Gayle lunges forward and in a panicked voice cries out, “Is there a spider in my hair?!”
As helpful as I would have liked to be, I was driving. So my imperative to keep everyone safe could have easily been misinterpreted as an “I don’t give a crap.” But I tried. I shot quick glances over her way and came up with nothing. No spider.
Gayle, in a desperate but well placed brush of her hair, came upon the “bug.” She slowly raised her head up and looks at me like a person who just realized they stepped in a pile of dog poop. Through her teeth, “It’s a booger.”
I couldn’t stop from laughing. I tried to cover my entire face with the palm of my hand and turned my head towards the window. It was impossible to conceal that I was laughing my ass off. Even Gayle couldn’t help seeing the hilarity. Noble must have picked a big ol booger and then flicked it off his finger….resulting in an inadvertently perfect landing on Gayle’s head. Thus the sensation that a large spider hand “jumped” into her hair.
We both looked back to verify. “Did you flick a booger into mom’s hair?”
I tried to get Noble to recreate the face for the camera, because it was priceless. This is pretty close. Just imagine him nodding his reply while making this face and you’ll have it.
We had no choice but to grant this disgusting behavior a mulligan. How could we, as parents, laugh our ass off and then give a consequence? I think in times like these it’s better to embrace the idea that we had a car full of pure enjoyment going on. Even Alistair was loving the laughter. Why on earth would we want to record scratch that into “firm but fair” parenting where Noble ends up losing big time. Sure, there’s a right and wrong way to get rid of a booger. We know that an inner car flicking with pure disregard for the booger’s final destination is not the “right” way. But in this case, laughter trumped all.
So we laughed. And we happily told Noble that if he ever does that again, the car will be filled with seething rage, not laughter. He acknowledged. And then we laughed some more.