Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Just Saying “No”

One of the most powerful influences a parent can have on a child, is to say the word, “no”.  It is perhaps possible that parents do not say “no” enough to their children.  It is not that I get any pleasure out of saying it to my daughters, but rather I get much satisfaction in seeing my daughters smile.  I would rather surprise them with a “yes” than disappoint them with a “no”.

The best example is one that is the smallest of worth – those damn claw machines.  Most are rigged not to allow a player to win – either the prizes are packed to tightly, or are too heavy for the claw.  For the longest time, I had Madison convinced that every impulse machine whether the claw, gumball, novelty toy machines, were all broken.  It became even more challenging as I would make this statement just as a player had walked away from the machine victorious.

One particular example came to play while visiting close friends in Pittsburg.  Our hosts had told us of a neighbor  who mistook a pregnant female for a male, until the kittens were born.  While the gesture may seem harmless, “come on, come see the kittens”, it ends up being nothing less than a set-up.  Madison is very powerful when it comes to making your crack.  I have earned my stripes learning to stand straight versus her will.  But we came home with an extra passenger from Pittsburg after a nearly 20 minute breakdown and guilt trip.  I learned a very powerful lesson that day, not to underestimate her ability to use those around me, to put pressure on me to get her way.  This would not be the last time that she would test me.

Today was Christmas Eve.  Midnight was less than two hours away, as Wendy’s cousin feels it is important to show some baby bunnies that they had not been counting on being born, and needed a home.  No-brainer for me, I simply say, “no”.  But Madison is prepared for my answer and knows that she must get her mother involved, as well as her young cousins who also believe that they will be taking a baby bunny home that evening.

All I have to do is hear Wendy say, “I’m not saying yes, I’m saying I will think about it.”  That is enough for Madison to believe it will be a done deal.  All she has to do is come up with a name for the newest resident in our home.  The infant rabbit is handled by multiple sets of hands hoping for an opportunity to take one home.  And then the assault on Dad begins.  Madison goes as far as grabbing my hand and dragging me to a separate room asking to have a talk with me.  She has already heard my answer, and feels that she can pursuade me.

Wendy is upset with me because I gave absolutely no hope to Madison.  Wendy would have preferred for me to have dragged it out and then let Maddy down gracefully.  So tonight, Santa could be bringing Madison the world, but my rationalization of why another animal coming into our house could not, should not, and would not work.  I was single handedly going to destroy Madison’s Christmas this year just of my own selfhishness.

Though the answer was quite easy to get out, honestly, it was not without deep thought as more than half a dozen reasons came to mind as to “why not”.  An increase in animal allergens was evident when we had picked up the Pittsburg kitten.  Also, current feed and bedding bill for all of our pets is close to $150/month not including the vet bills.  Then of course, there is the labor, me.  I have been responsible for all the feeding and cleaning up of feces.  And there are more reasons.

And so, there it was, a battle that lasted close to four hours.  I am not proud in the stance I had to take.  I know it hurt Madison’s feelings which are genuine, she only wanted to provide a good home for the baby bunny.  Madison usually endures when she is surrounded by a strong supporting cast of people who cannot handle such a beautiful child bleeding her heart out for all to see.  I definitely get played in the role of an Ogre.

It is my hope, that when the girls wake up this morning, and see the bounty that Santa had brought them, they will forget about the bunny.  At least until we return back to Wendy’s cousin’s house for Part 2 of the Christmas celebration.  My answer will still be “no”.

no to new pets

no to claw machine

tears that follow

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