You’ve been pouting a lot lately. I know it’s a bummer to not get your way. What’s worse, for someone like you who wants to party 24/7, there’s going to be an abundance of you not getting what you want, when you want it.
Despite what you may believe, this is not going to be a lecture on appreciating what you have. You get plenty of those. This, my youngest son, is a lesson on tactics.
Scenario 1- You don’t want to go home and take a nap, which you have deduced is the next logical step in us leaving the restaurant we’re at.
Your play: Tuck yourself under the table away from our grasp, make a sad face.
What you should do: Nothing. Act normal. Pouting in response to an announcement of nap-time only reinforces and emboldens your parents on their initial decision. When you act out in this manner, your mother and I practically high-five each other, because we assume that for once, we have actually made the correct parenting decision.
Scenario 2- You’re at the park/play-place. It is time to go home.
Your play: Cry. Kick. Scream.
What you should do: Climb. We’re not only out of shape, we have zero interest in attempting to scale a play-place and risk death, or worse, humiliation. We have Facebook on our phones. While you stall, we can wait at the bottom of the slide for a few minutes and find out what our friends from high school ate for lunch today. Everyone wins.
Scenario 3- You spent the night at Grandma/Grandpa’s. You have to come home with us now.
Your play: Lose your ever-loving mind. Transform into Linda Blair from the Exorcist.
What you should do: Are you kidding me right now? ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GET IN THE CAR! You want to come back here, right? With the toys, and the fun, and the adult that doesn’t follow you around the house and snap your underwear waistband… yeah, well guess what? WE DON’T WANT TO LOSE OUR OVERNIGHT SITTER PRIVILEGES! Letting the demon come out in full view of them not only proves ineffective, it hurts your chances of being invited back. We don’t want that either, trust me. It isn’t fun not knowing what the hell anyone at work is talking about when they bring up the latest blockbuster film, or trendy local restaurant. Overnight visits are our one chance to make epic plans, only to accidentally fall asleep at 7pm because making epic plans is exhausting. Don’t ruin that for us. Get in the car.
Just be patient. Wait long enough, and the world will find a way to solve all of the things that cause you to goofily and temporarily mourn your existence. I’m living proof. Right now, both Howard the Duck, and My Cousin Vinny are on television simultaneously. 10 years ago I would have agonized over this decision, and likely tried to flip back and forth at commercial, ruining both movies and wasting my Sunday night. Now, thanks to the wonders of technology, all I have to do is delete a couple of unwatched episodes of some show called America’s Next Top Model, and I can record them both while writing you a letter.
Trust me, It gets better. Turn that frown upside-down.