I'm writing this longhand (because blogging from my iPhone when the post is longer than a Twitter entry is tedious) and will post it when I get home tomorrow night. We're in NYC visiting Al's brother's family for the weekend; Cousin H's school fair was this afternoon, and we drove up to join in the fun. The roasted corn was tasty, the fishing in the Little Mermaid blow-up pool was fruitful, the cupcake decorating was a sparkly, sugary hit, and we came home with two toys that I would have said were a little young for the Beaner, but that he and Cousin H have been playing with ever since.

grass skirt cupcake smile balloon abc horse

After some bike-riding in the park by the boys (supervised by the dads), we had a yummy dinner at Graciela's on Columbus, marred a bit by the Beaner's harrassment of his cousin and his refusal to listen to me when I told him to stop. "How many times do I have to tell you to STOP IT?" I demanded. "Three," he said petulantly, and was instantly dragged outside for a time out. (I asked Al to do it, because I was too angry to do it myself. This was the final escalation point of a long "keep your hands to yourself!/no bathroom language at the table" battle.)

Al brought him back in about 10 minutes later, but he refused to apologize and immediately started in with his cousin again, so Al did an about-face and took him outside again. When I realized that Al hadn't finished his dinner and I had, however, I went out to relieve him. After a couple minutes more of silence, I asked the Beaner what he needed to do differently. "Be responsible," he said, which is nice and all, but it's a stock answer that wasn't exactly appropriate to the situation. "Being responsible is good," I said, "but you need to CONTROL YOUR BODY AND YOUR MOUTH, and above all, you need to do what?"

"Listen," he said, correctly this time. "To whom do you need to listen?" I asked. "What?" he responded. "Who are you going to listen to?" I rephrased. "H____!" he giggled. I spun him around by the shoulder and up against the wall again. "WRONG. We're going to be out here until you get it right." I then surreptitiously took two photos of him, one with my film camera, and one with the iPhone. He was so petulant and put out that he didn't even notice, which was perfect for my purposes. I wanted to capture his defiant, bad-boy persona.

in trouble

After a few minutes he turned his attention back to me, and I said, "who are you going to listen to?" "Mommy," he said. "Right," I said. "And Daddy." "And Uncle Carl and Aunt Tris," he added. "Yep," I said. "And while we're at it, Ms. Erwin and Ms. Beck as well." I took his hand, and we went back inside, and the rest of the evening went a bit better.

Well, until the cousins tried to sleep in the same room, that is. After going in a couple times to tell them to get in their own beds and GO TO SLEEP, and a couple living room visits from Cousin H to report that the Beaner would not be quiet or stop saying he was thirsty, I finally separated them. Al is now sitting with the Beaner in our room, waiting for him to fall asleep.

Posted by Lori in parenthood and travel at 9:26 PM on May 10, 2008