Against the judgment of other people, the boys have a TV in their playroom. It is a small television set with a built in VHS that I took with me to college back in the day. We have the DVD player hooked up to it but no dish/cable connection. It is strictly for movie watching. Most of the time, even if it is on, they are busy playing firefighter (if they’re watching their firefighter DVD) or train conductor (Thomas, obviously) or super heroes (The Incredibles or Toy Story). They’re normally really good about choosing one DVD in the morning.
Normally. Today was not one of those days.
They argued. They came halfway upstairs to plead their case to me, wanting me to choose one side or another. I told them that they were going to have to work it out because we don’t argue about TV. We just don’t. Just like we don’t whine about it. They went downstairs. They argued some more, again pleading for me to step in. I warned them that if they didn’t stop fighting over the television, I would take away their privileges for said TV for the rest of the day. The fighting escalated.
“That’s enough, guys. Turn off the TV and the DVD player. You have lost privileges for the day.”
BigBrother yelled at me, “NO! It’s OUR TV!”
Like heck it is!
I walked down the steps, turned off the power buttons, unplugged the TV from the wall, unplugged the DVD player from the TV and carried it by its handle (I said it was small) into the storage room in our basement. Upon entering the playroom again, I said, “No, it’s my TV. You are allowed to use it when you use it properly. You have lost TV privileges for the week.”
Upon uttering that sentence, I became my father.
I wasn’t the best at keeping my room clean as a teenager. I was busy, involved in everything from musical theater to sports to academic games. My lack of room organization drove my parents absolutely insane. My father would threaten me: “If you don’t clean your room, I’m going to take a trash bag in there and throw out everything on the floor.” To which I would reply, “It’s MY room.” To which he would reply, “Like heck it is! This is MY house. You are using MY room.” He didn’t say heck.
I swore I would never be that parent.
But, man, we’re not going to argue over television in this household. And we’re not going to leave clothes all over the floor. Or toys. Or even books. And, ohmygoodness, we’re not going to yell at mommy or daddy and/or have a sense of entitlement. Because my head might explode. And, really, I understand what he was saying so much better now. It’s really not a horrible parent to be, the one who works hard to ensure that the children are raised with an understanding and respect for people and things. So maybe it’s okay that I have become my father.
As long as I don’t grow his mustache.