Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/13/12 Gaming the system

One thing they warn you about with two households is kids manipulating the parents against each other. Actually, they do that in one household too, but it's easier to get away with in two. Gabriel and Katrina aren't crafty types by nature, but Julian has a little of that in him. And he's learning to work it.

Yesterday morning, the boys got into a horrendous conflict, involving an old camera phone that dad gave Julian. The boys were messing around taking pictures of their below-the-waist parts instead of getting dressed for school. I scolded them numerous times to stop and get dressed, but they just kept laughing and showing each other their porn pictures. Next thing I knew, something had gone wrong and Julian was shrieking because Gabriel had attacked him, and they were going at it fighting. It was now past 8:00am and still weren't dressed.

I took the camera phone and ordered them both to get dressed. I had to stand over Gabriel while he seethed, something about Julian breaking a promise. I stood guard between them until Gabriel was dressed and out of the room.

Downstairs, Gabriel attacked Julian again -- again something about a broken promise -- more fist exchanges, shoving, name-calling. I had to stand guard again between them again as the clock ticked away on a rainy morning, which always adds 5 precious minutes to drop-off time.

Gabriel left the breakfast table, but held us up again when it was time to go -- where was he? I ran upstairs to find him hiding in my bathroom -- with Julian's phone, deleting a photo or something. I must have set it down and he found it. And he still wasn't ready for school.

I took Julian's phone from Gabriel and stuck it in my pocket, then told him that if he hadn't been attacking Julian, I'd be talking to him now about his complaint. I told him I understood that he was very upset about something Julian did, but we really had to leave and would have to settle it later.

Somehow I got the boys piled into the car (Katrina was peacefully waiting, buckled in) and we drove to school in stony silence, arriving just in time. It had been a bad morning. I hate that, because I had to say goodbye to them: dad was picking them up that night and I wouldn't see them again until Friday night.

That night, I got a text from dad. Julian had been talking to dad about his phone. The message said that the camera phone dad gave to Julian is very special to him (Julian), that Julian was proud to show it to me, and that Julian said it'd been taken from him -- could we please have it returned.

Nice going, kid!

I love the twist about how he was proud to show me his phone. Hardly -- he was using it to take butthole photos!

Actually, for once I hadn't even officially confiscated it -- I hadn't gotten that far. Usually my confiscations are a grandiose affair, with big gestures and grim pronouncements and stern ultimatums -- a big show. This time, I just stuck the thing in my pocket when I found Gabriel with it.

And thank goodness I did. Imagine if Julian had taken it to school, and it had been discovered filled with photos of little-boy-private-parts?! Cripes.

But Julian knew what to do. Leaving out the part where he and Gabriel were doing toe-touches to shoot their best version of a colonscopy, he wailed to dad to swoop in on his white horse and rescue him from Mean Old Mother (hmm, now we know the acronym expansion for "mom"!). This isn't the first time he's fudged facts in his favor and and tried to undermine the authority and decisions of the other parent. It's just so much easier now.

Of course, I'm not buying it. Julian has to work out the return of his phone with me. That discussion will start with what constitutes appropriate photography (let's just say...leave out the anatomically-correct fraternal 'X's please!), and end with yet another token agreement from him to get ready for school without being told 100 times. And maybe one about making promises to your fist-wielding older brother.



DaVE said...

Gaming the system is easier when they know that one parent isn't communicating with the other. And that's why I read this blog.

mommieN. said...

Indeed....guess he knew you wouldn't verify his story first. Well, next time!