Right, so remember how I hate the drama? Here is my letter to my brother telling him I’m not going to put up with his any more. Because, hello, I’m 35 and I get to say when you do something that is hurtful and offensive. Even if we have the same parents.
I’ve been thinking about our conversation Monday morning and wanted to write and tell you what it’s made me realize. Firstly, I got the distinct impression that you hadn’t talked with your wife before offering to keep the boys on Sunday. I got the distinct impression that she felt put upon, and unable to say anything about it to me. Secondly, I phoned twice on Sunday to check in, and asked that you call me if there were any problems. Not once was any misbehavior mentioned, nor did you care to go “all the way upstairs” to give me the chance to tell the kids goodnight and ask how their day was.
I appreciated your offer to keep the kids all day and night, but I am writing this to tell you that because of these and other things, my children and I will not be going to Park City next month.
I don’t know what you intended to accomplish by locking a child out of the bathroom at night; I do know that when Jack tried to go in the middle of the night and found the door locked, he was scared and confused and upset. Of course he wet himself. Your assertion that he should have gone downstairs was absurd and unreasonable, punishing him (teaching him a lesson?) for something which happened much earlier.
There should absolutely have been consequences for plugging up the sink in the bathroom–for all children involved–consequences which were immediate and relevant. Locking a half-asleep child out of a bathroom when he has to pee is not appropriate, and in my opinion, borders on being cruel. He doesn’t, as you asserted, have the ability to reason–in a semi-sleeping state, in a totally dark, unfamiliar house–that he might try the downstairs bath. These are the kinds of things that kids remember into adulthood, and I hope this particular one doesn’t carry over. Because in his mind it wasn’t a logical consequence, it was scary and mean.
He was upset, embarrassed and humiliated, and I wanted nothing more than to get us and our things out of your and your wife’s way. And yes, I was angry that you’d locked the door. I wanted to clean the mattress, but having no idea where you keep your cleansers, and wanting to avoid waking anyone, I stripped the bed and decided to call once we were on the road and it was a bit later. When your wife told me you’d locked the door I was exceedingly mad. Rather than stay and scrub the mattress I decided it was best for us to just go, so clear was it that she’d had enough.
I realize that we have different parenting styles, but I don’t criticize your choices, and I don’t appreciate you criticizing mine. It comes down, in my mind, to this: You have the right to make whatever rules you want for your house, but you then have the responsibility to supervise a group of kids (it’s different than having just one) and to tell me the truth when i ask if my children are behaving. Following that, phoning the next day to tell me that my children not only “trashed” your house by getting out toys and games that they then had to be asked to put away, but that they have “serious discipline issues and that we need to talk about how things are going to ‘go down’ in Park City” is not cool.
Your comment about how my children might “trash” the condo in Utah sealed my decision to stay home. You are not responsible for my boys. They are not your children. And if they damaged anything, I would have paid the repair or replacement cost. But your attitude of being the one “in charge” is something I’m not willing to abide. Yes, you made the arrangements. Yes, your name is on the lease. But your controlling attitude since last December has sucked the joy out of this vacation. For me, at least. People in this family have been walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting or offending you for a long time. I’m not doing that anymore.
I am sorry if your daughter will be the only kid on this vacation, but I have given this a lot of thought and I am doing what I believe is in the best interests of my children and myself. I hope that this is not a permanent solution, but it is the only one I can live with for the time being.
In sending this, my entire family is up in arms about vacation. Turns out they were all going because I was going and bringing the boys. Apparently nobody wants to be stuck in a condo for five days with Captain Control Freak.
Oh, it’s so awesome to be responsible for everyone else’s happiness. Please. If people could just be nice, these things wouldn’t happen.