Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bursting That Bubble

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on June 16 2011.]

Do you ever feel petty, as a parent? When looking at your kids, do you ever think, “serves you right... ha! Glad you’re angry, you deserve it!”

No? Just me, then? I’m the only one who laughs when my kid does something jerky and is hit in the face by instant karma?

Perhaps this is better illustrated by an anecdote.


Yes, bubbles. We go through a lot of bubble mix in this house. We have a plethora of bubble wands. Big, little, square.

(Seriously, check out the pic. But it doesn’t make square bubbles, it just makes you feel your brain is leaking out of your ears while you explain to the four year old every time you take it out why it DOESN’T make square bubbles, in spite of being, clearly, square. Uh huh. Square bubble wand designer? Yeah, watch your back. I don’t care how freaking funny you think you are, I’m coming for you and it won’t be pretty.).

Anyhow... we have a lot of bubble wands. This year, we invested in a battery powered wand, sanity included. Up to 800 bubbles in a minute, or so the package claims. I’ve seen it in action, and I wouldn’t wager against it (though I think the makers were kind of relying on no one willing to count the bubbles, but that’s the cynic in me speaking...). So, guess what’s the darling of the collection right now?

Of course!

Back to me (silently) being a jerk to my kids when they are (not so silently) being a jerk in general.

Picture: sunny day, hot, but not mind-numbingly-hot (let’s say 25c/77F), nice breeze, excellent weather to toss the kids in the backyard for a bit and get a little housework done, right?

So, I grab the bubble mix, fill the bowls. I grab the bag of bubble wands, and my five-year-old is rudely reaching over my hands(!) to grab the coveted battery powered bubble maker. His friends, of course, are left with the rest of the old school collection, and they rifle through without complaint, grabbing the large oval, the cool little puffing frog who blows his own bubbles, the wand that makes baby-sized bubbles, and yes, even the odd-ball square wand.

Imagine my five-year-old’s shock when he discovers (click, click, click on the button) that the wand has run out of batteries!

Oh yes, he wailed. Threw back his head, slumped his shoulders, and wailed.

I loved it. Want to sneak ahead and grab the mightiest wand in the bunch? Not so cool when it’s powerless, is it now?

Muahahahahahha! (I laughed internally, of course, as I stood with brows raised watching the Oscar-worthy meltdown.)

Then he stopped long enough to see that his buddies had all the secondarily cool implements, and proceeded to wail some more, until I told him, unsympathetically, to “shut it off.”

(Which, for non-believers, works every time. It also doubles as a great trick in crowded malls, when your kid is trying to mortify you into submission. Please note, children: Mommy always wins. — She also occasionally earns free coffee from bystanders who are impressed with her blunt parenting skills. True story. Too bad I drink tea...)

See, me? If I’m honest, I know I have the ability to be a world-class jerk. I try not to be, especially to my kids, but sometimes? Sometimes they’re jerks, too, and I can’t help but be happy when life teaches them a lesson I had no hand in.



  1. Yay for blunt parenting! After 15 years of teaching grade 8 I can't say I know any other way of doing it. Small one already has a real dislike of the saying 'it is, what it is.' C;

  2. EricisnotagiantsquidJune 6, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I seriously don't see the problem here. My parents watched with delighted enthusiasm as I fell, crashed, broke, and basically "learned the hard way". I, apparently, am not as circumspect. My kids see the look on my face as they are doing things and say, "This isn't going to work is it?" Poker face. "Dad says it's not gonna work!" And then they run off and learn from someone else's mistakes. Damn it.

  3. Nice! The boys are known to finish this sentence for me: "You get what you get... [and you don't get upset.]"