Continuing the theme of lessons we accidentally learn via having children – this story is about my second son. I have three so this makes him ‘the disadvantaged middle child’. As he always felt free to complain about the fact that he was suffering from this syndrome, I figured he wasn’t quite as disadvantaged by his position in the family as he made out. Anyway, always a perceptive child he also taught me quite a lot.
The pivotal conversation with this child – let’s call him Two-of-Three – happened in the aftermath of him getting into trouble for something or other. This was not a rare occurrence, he was a bit of a crazy boy when he was a kid and common words out of my mouth to him were often along the lines of – “Seriously?” and, “What were you thinking!” and “Please think before you act…” – he was maybe nine or ten at the time of this incident and it went something like this –
Two-of-Three – “I don’t think it’s fair that you punish me twice when I do something wrong.”
Me – “I never do that.”
Two-of-Three – “Yes you do. You always do that.”
Me – “No. You know that’s not true – you know you shouldn’t have done x, y or z and now you’re grounded and that’s just one punishment.” (N.B. – I’m pretty sure this is historically accurate and that he was grounded no matter what his transgression as it was my go-to sanction)
Two-of-Three – “No – you’re mad at me as well and that means you’re not as friendly as you are the rest of the time – that’s two punishments.”
Me – ………..deafening silence……………
The truth has that effect on me sometimes – especially when it comes out of the mouth of babes – even badly behaved ones.
He was right. I was nothing as forgiving and straightforward as I believed myself to be.
So this is what I said when I recovered –
He was nicer than me and therefore didn’t punish me twice.