Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Reprimand, or Not

Lest you think this life I lead is all just a cheap romance novel (in which Our Heroine is kept by the Lord of the Manor for his personal, private pleasure, [tingle, tingle]), I do work. I get up, make breakfast, dress children, assemble them in a van, take two of them to a school, and care for the toddler. This includes diaper changes, meals, play, reading aloud, nap, reading aloud, doing laundry, picking up toys, assembling lunch, making grocery and supply lists, and generally making sure that the house is safe, clear, clean and stocked.
Also I break up arguments, remind them to share, and I hug, console, and discipline.
It sounds like a lot, but these guys a very self-sufficient. They’re satisfied to come home, and start building and playing with space ships and satellites. When they get rowdy or fussy they’re usually ready for snack. Neither Middlest Boy nor Bigglest Boy has ever hit anyone, to my knowledge, as long as I’ve been here. Littlest Boy has been known to bite.
Yesterday Monsieur got onto Bigglest Boy for muttering to me under his breath in a rather disrespectful way. I usually let that go, or I say, “That hurts my feelings,” or something that avoids confrontation with him. I don’t want to butt heads with the kids. Well, Monsieur is a little more strict, and he got onto Bigglest Boy for it. Monsieur told Bigglest Boy if he ever heard him speak to a lady like that again, his life would be a misery. Then he took away TV for ALL boys until Saturday. Whew.

Later, the children were all asleep and as Monsieur was getting out of the shower, I asked him if he thought I was handling things wrong with Bigglest Boy.
He got onto me a little for not being stricter about respect from them. I felt reprimanded. I lower my eyes and said, “Yes, Monsieur,” like a good girl. His voice got gentler and he said, “I really think it’s important for you to be more firm with them, and for them to be aware of certain limitations with regards to behavior. I want that they grow up to be gentlemen.”
“I want that, too, Monsieur. I guess I am afraid of confronting them. [BB] is very strong-willed.”
“So he is, and that is all the more important that he does not behave badly, as he did. I know that most children are not raised quite so strictly but these children are very intelligent and very likely to figure out how to get the better of both of us. If you want to care for them, you must be vigilant that they give you the respect that you deserve.”
“Yes, Monsieur,” I said, my eyes lowered. My face was hot.
“I am not reprimanding you, [YH], I am trying to give you advice rather than telling you what you did wrong. Have I mentioned that you are doing wonderfully in what is a demanding, thankless and overwhelming set of circumstances?”
“Am I really?” I asked.
“Of course, and I really can not do without you now. That is why I want them to respect you, as they will remain in your care as long as you choose to remain. It is really the better for them.”
He needs me. I was floating on air.
“Can I ask you something else, unrelated to this?” I lowered my voice.
“Yes, go ahead,” he replied.
“The other night was … magical,” I continued. He looked embarrassed, poor thing. “Now, don’t look like that. I just wanted to know, if I can ever … expect it. Again. From you,” I added.
Embrace “…as I hugged him tighter he kissed me on my cheek.”
He looked stricken. My god, I thought, I went too far this time. I put my arms around him and hugged him. “It’s all right,” I whispered. “I just want you to know that I need it, a lot. And if you do too, then, well, please don’t hesitate to get it from me.”
“I’ll um, I’ll remember that, [YH]. I may not be able to give you as much as you need, but I assure you I give you as much as I can, and as often as I can.”
I grinned. “That’s good enough for me, darling Monsieur,” and as I hugged him tighter he kissed me on my cheek.

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