Sunday, January 31, 2010

Children of Implacable Will

It normally starts a few days before the weekend. One of my nephews will text Bar Mitzvahzilla, the message always the same: can you sleep over on Saturday night?

And then that's the end of my life and all my peace and tranquility for the week.
Once the invitation's been issued, Bar Mitzvahzilla goes through a complete transformation. He is single-minded, of implacable will, a heat-seeking missile with one target only: he must go to his cousins' house this weekend. This is for several reasons. There's the video game reason, there's the awesome violent movie reason, and there's the fact that in a household with no sensitive ten-year-old sister around who would be traumatized by three gigantic boys stalking her with knives clutched in their teeth, the boys can do anything they want to each other.

Husband and I look at each other wonderingly - why can't he be this driven about school work? As a matter of fact, if he wants an answer on whether he can go, we want an answer about whether he's brought up his grades. He brings us over to the computer, pulls up the school website and points proudly to math, which is a 79.3%. This is made up of an A on classwork, where he is watched like a hawk, and a D on homework, where he is on his own. The two scores average out, teetering at the edge of a B, something he's pretty proud of. Husband and I sigh but we say yes, he can go.

Then we start getting a little optimistic. After all, we're one kid down and one to go. We are almost Kid Free here. Bar Mitzvahzilla sleeping out, all we have to do is dump Daughter on one of our unwitting friends and we could - gulp - almost have a honeymoon night.

But not so fast there, fella.

Daughter is not going anywhere. She, too, has an implacable will and she's not budging an inch until she has to leave for college - and that's eight years away. She prefers her playdates at our house. There are no sleepovers, not her at her friends' houses or of them at ours - they are all perfectly matched chickens. Her best friend comes over for the evening.

So Bar Mitzvahzilla ends up across town at my sister's house. Husband and I? We go on a date with two ten-year-olds.

Do your children have implacable will? Are you getting the hints already of a will stronger than your own? Are you torn between admiring their inner tyrant and laying down the law? 


  1. yup.
    Well, maybe you all could find a sitter and whoop it up.
    That's what my hubby and I want to do this coming friday.
    Go out, alone.

  2. We'd better go out this weekend, Chris. It's our 17th anniversary. This might necessitate a call to the best friend/bridesmaid from 17 years ago. I joke with my son about getting him a 12-year-old babysitter sometimes (he's 14...). Or maybe he'd enjoy that?

  3. my 20 year old brings his band to the house
    four days a week plus Sunday afternoons...for
    a "short five hour practice...don't worry mom"

    no sleepovers here... :-))

    **celebrating our 24th on the 14th

    Mazal Tov, Michal (poetica)

  4. Linda - even once they leave, they tend to come back. I never wanted to believe that but have found it to be true. I have a 25 year old with a full-time job 72 miles away that has moved home. I don't get it!

  5. Happy almost 17th anniversary!

    My girls have wills that I NEVER had. They are so bullheaded. Sometimes I am proud of that; most of the time, it sends me running for the wine bottle.

  6. I had to laugh at your final question. 2 year-old Big Boy already has a nickname in our house: "S.T." - short for "small tyrant." Then again, Husband and I are both pretty strong-willed so I guess he comes by it honestly!

  7. ahh.. it doesn't get better

    my 24 y/o daughter is a fighter
    came back home from Colorado with
    a 60 pound dog

    we could talorate his hair for
    just about a day and asked my daughter
    to get her own place(such a mean mother)

    no arguments...thank God

    no big dog to scare my little fluffy Jimmy

    no hair

    my beautiful garden is safe


  8. Michal, Of course they think everything you have is theirs, including your house. I can see this being a future problem with my kids already. Honestly, just getting them off to college will be a challenge. They'll probably want me to be Dorm Mom. (Little do they know that Husband and I will be sneaking off to Europe!)

  9. Nicki, that is astounding! I like how you know exactly - to the mile - how far away the job is, like you're calculating the gas mileage vs. renting an apartment!

  10. TKW, thanks for the anniversary wishes! Our daughters seem remarkably similar, even budding cooks. Although mine thinks soy sauce belongs on everything.

  11. Kristen, a question for future posts: can I be bullied by my own children? Yes.

  12. Oh, forgive me - but all I can do is laugh!

    I've weathered two such creatures (each with a different style of implacable will), and frankly, I know it will serve them well in life.

    Honeymoon night? I do love a woman with a dream. . . By the time you hit Bat Mitzvahzilla, I'm thinking you may get your wish.

  13. My kids have wills of steel. They never let up. Ever. I sometimes get asked questions 600 times before I threaten imminent destruction if the topic is brought up.

    They are getting more creative with their arguments, too. I'm raising a household of future lawyers or politicians.

  14. Look on the bright side- peaceful date with two ten year old girls beats boy-crazy XBox extravaganza any day!

  15. Yes, my kids refuse to leave me for the weekend. I just don't understand why my 17-month does not want to stay at her friend's house overnight. I know I did, at her age. Kid's these days.

  16. The dream of children NOT IN YOUR HOUSE on a weekend. Oh the dream. The dream, the dream, the dream.

    I absolutely adore--as always--your storytelling mode. Wonderful, Linda.

  17. Linda - He lived in the city where he works for three years. I do not understand the drive. I realize he wants to find a new job but staying close to work - especially now it is tax season and the hours are long - would make some sense.

    Funniest thing is I do not hide my dismay at this move. He knows I think he should move out again - finally!

  18. BLW - You're right, the future BAT Mitzvahzilla makes me shiver with the terror that awaits me when I plan her big event. She's already mentioned that she wants the kids' table in the shape of an "R" (her name is Rachel). Can I run for the hills now?

  19. Charlotte - 600 times. Sounds like when my son asks for fast food after school. Easily 600 times. He knows eventually he'll wear me down. I'm supposed to be the naggy wife, but guess what? The kids are the nags!

    And Lisa - You're right! The girls played restaurant (though they surprisingly had a few irate imaginary customers...). Boys? Bloodshed and gun battles. The girls are chatty, the boys? What are they thinking about?

  20. Sarah, When you long for a free night, everyone with kids who have left home says, "They grow up so fast. Enjoy it!" It doesn't seem so fast to me, honestly.

  21. Nicki, very funny! Well, at least he has a job! Where there's a job, there's hope (that he'll move back to it!)

  22. Amber, really, 17 months and not sleeping out yet? Isn't she driving either? :)
    Maybe the grandparents need to offer you and Mr. B a romantic weekend!