In an effort to have some family togetherness these Summer holidays, Dave suggested we go to the State Library of Victoria, where there is currently a "Heroes and Villains" exhibition, a history of Australian Comics (books, that is)... Not only do we know a number of the people who's work was on exhibition (Dillon, Jayne :)), but one of Dave's publications was in the exhibition, plus two or three he had worked on back in the Inkspots and Fox days...
It started out ok. We talked to the boys beforehand about how we were going out to see Dad's work at the Library, and then we'd have lunch out, do some grocery shopping and come home. We explained to them that we needed them to behave, not run away from us, to walk with us at all times, sit still on the train and not to argue with us or each other...
The boys were pretty good at the bus stop with a few reminders, and on the train to the city. We went and got a drink before going into the exhibit and Erik started to argue over wanting something other than bottled water to drink. Luey also started arguing about wanting something to eat right away. We managed to talk each of them down, standing firm on the "it's water or nothing" front.
We got into the exhibit and Luey immediately started running around. It was like turning a switch. We each tried to get him to cme back to us and walk with us, but he wasn't going to listen. Then Erik tries to drag him over to us, and we're trying to get Erik to stop that and let us deal with Luey, but he won't stop either.
I managed to corale both the boys and herd them outside. Standing outside I'm lecturing them about how we'd talked about how we expected them to behave and how much Dad was looking forward to showing them his stuff on exhibition, and so on. Luey is just giving me attitude, and wanting to run off... So, out come the big guns, "If you can't stop and listen and have respect for the fact that we're trying to have a good time out together, and Dad is trying to look at this exhibition, then you are going to lose one of you toys, your Yugio board, because you're not listening to reason"... He pulled his head in.
Erik pleads their case, can they please go in again and have another look? I end up saying, that if they promise to hold my hand and walk with me, then yes we can. They promise, and in we go. They're great for a good 10 minutes, we're nearly at the end of the exhibition, just one little section to go, right near the exit, and again Luey just goes off, and Erik goes off with him... Again I take them out and this time seat them on the seats in the hallways, but Luey is determined NOT to listen this time, and within a couple of minutes, and several warnings, he looses his Yuigo board...
Then he is upset about that, and starts going off like a siren about that, and only under threat of losing his Batman figurine (he already lost the car yesterday), does he pipe down.
We go and have lunch. There are minor scuffles at lunch about little people not wanting sandwiches and wanting McDonalds instead, but we work through that.
Then we get on the train to go home, and Luey get pissed off that he can't sit next to the window facing forward. We explain that he got to do that on the way in, and now it's Erik's turn. He's not going to listen to that, and starts to go off. Then I remind him that he's already lost his Yugio board and does he also want to lose his Batman figurine now too, over a window seat facing forward when he can see out the window right where he is and he is facing forward (sitting in the seat next to Erik)... Then he starts to lose it over the Yugio board again, and goes to hit me.
I give him another warning about the Batman figurine, and he's not interested it in hearing it. So, I tell him the Batman figurine is gone too... Of course, now he's really mad. Dave tells me that at the next stop he and Luey are getting off the train and he'll meet us at home. He carries a kicking and screaming Luey off the train.
I'm feeling angry, resentful and defeated.
Dave hates family outings, and this is why, and now it'll probably be ages before there's another one.
I ring Dave when Erik and I get to our stop. He and Luey are about to catch the next train, so I decide that Erik and I will do the grocery shopping and meet Dave and Luey afterwards.
We meet them about 30 minutes later. We all go home with little event. I take Luey's toys away. Luey doesn't seem upset about it now, and in a way I'm relieved. I'm also wondering if this will make any impact. Is this the right way to go? The "punishment" is in no way related to the "crime". I feel so much at sea. I wonder if it's even worth getting the boys anything if we're just going to be taking it off them in another two weeks times, or less... Why does EVERYTHING have to be an argument. Why do they always have to "negotiate" for something "better" or "more"... Are they spoilt? Are we just mean parents?
All these thoughts swirl in my head and this little voice keeps saying, just stick this out, it isn't going to do them any harm to learn there are consequences for their actions. Not having stuff won't harm them either. They have to know you mean what you say and it's important to you, even if they don't really understand it yet. Gods I hope that voice is right!
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