Yesterday we sat around waiting for it to rain. There always seems to be a threat of rain in the Netherlands- and the weather internet gods tend to agree. The actual weather, on the other hand- just likes to mess with you.
We hemmed and hawed over what to do with the boys- there was a festival making the rounds (Kermis) in a nearby village- but that would be pretty miserable in the rain. Instead we decided to shop on our ‘one Sunday a month’ with open stores in the centrum, and watch How To Train Your Dragon at home in order to get ready for the sequel that we’ll see once the boys are out of school next week.
I thought it was a really good plan. We went downtown and picked out snacks and treats to watch with the movie. I even found myself a fancy smoked cheese, some spiced olives and pistachios. We were all really pumped. We had dinner early and planned to watch the movie afterwards.
Well, I don’t know if it was the weather, the end of the school year or what, but the boys were TOTAL JERKS for almost the entire day. At dinner their behavior seemed to peak and just kept going. L was calling my husband ‘Stupid Daddy’, C and B were being loud and obnoxious, fighting, and really being the type of kids you see and think ‘Omg. I’m so glad those aren’t MY kids’. It was bad.
Being the responsible parents that we are- my husband and I said. ‘Ok, forget it. No movie. Your behavior today has been awful- and you know it. You don’t deserve a movie with treats.’ They weren’t impressed. They have figured out that punishments like that hurt US as much them, so we usually give in. This time, however, and going forward- we will NOT give in and I said absolutely no movie.
What to do? It was 5pm. We didn’t want to entertain them, but we needed to do something. Since my husband was planning to go out on his nightly run later- I asked if he could go now and we’d follow along in the bike. Of course this gathered up more interest than even the movie- and I was fearful that my entire plan had backfired and this was instead was turning into a reward. Not my intention at all.
So we left the house- the boys insisting to run with Daddy down the street to start. By the end of the block they were tired, and into the bike they went. I paid the dark clouds rolling in no mind since they always seem to threaten to downpour and never end up doing so. We rode/ran farther and farther into the forest and past the extravagant homes of Oisterwijk. The boys ran and rested, and I was getting quite ornery that this was all turning into a big fat parenting fail. Even I was enjoying myself.
But then it started to rain. At first it was a misty and pittering rain, so we turned around and started to head back without much to-do. That’s when the clouds opened and decided to dump all of the rain upon us that has been threatening to do so for weeks. The times when we were under the canopy of trees weren’t so bad, but even then we were getting drenched. The boys were not happy. Not happy at all. C started with his ambulance siren wail, and B began yelling. It wasn’t cold, or lightning, or thundering. I was not in fear for their safety (well, until I became blinded by the rain) so I just rode on- laughing like a crazy woman. I was enjoying this. They were not. Score! Punishment at last.
Unlike my children, I took in the situation with the wisdom of an adult. I appreciated the warm summer rain (although pretty darn heavy for a summer ‘sprinkle’), while riding my bike in Europe on a Sunday evening. I thought how fantastic it was that I was able to do this- and socked away the moment for my memory bank. And for once, we won! The rain pretty much ruined the boys’ good fun (as most punishments should) and none were worse for wear. We were all soaked through to the skin and they were miserable. In their minds, this was the worst evening out ever.
Once we finally arrived home they were sobbing and being rather dramatic. It was still quite warm, but they said they were freezing. The worst part for them was that it was time to pop right into the bath and get ready for bed. Something tells me that as time goes on I will remember this afternoon much more fondly than will my children, should remember it at all. But honestly, I don’t care. It was their punishment.