Two really tough things for me as a parent are consistency and follow-through. My grandmother once said the hardest thing you will ever have to do as a parent is say NO. Boy, was she right! Today we were all supposed to go to a birthday party, depending on whether or not Nathan behaved himself earlier in the day. From the minute he got up this morning, he fussed, whined, moaned, griped and cried. About what? Who knows. We had repeatedly told him that if he couldn't act better than that, he would be staying home with me. He was actually fairly calm when Joe and Keira left--it wasn't until he realized where they were going did he start to get upset. As it turns out, he and I had a nice afternoon. We played with (little) Legos and his magnetic balls and sticks, both of which he can't play with when Keira is nearby. I got to putter in the yard for a while which is incredibly therapeutic for me. He had a dinner of his choice (mini corn dogs and fries) along with Disney's Robin Hood as a movie. When Keira gets home it will be bath night, and then off to bed with prayers, stories and lullabies. And all will be right with the world again, as my children turn into heavenly creatures as they sleep.
I hate telling him (or Keira) no--it makes me feel bad. However, I know that I am doing the right thing: I set boundaries and established rules, and I follow through with the appropriate consequences. It's true--children do thrive when there is stability and constancy, both in their daily routines and in the world around them. For a child like Nathan, who doesn't tolerate change well, it is even more critical. So while I may feel lousy for saying "No" I know that I am doing the best for my child, and for me. And that's all that matters.