Once, when Poss was about 4, after a long drawn out argument, we told her that we were cancelling Christmas. I still remember the way she looked at us. Absolute derision. She knew we’d gone too far. She knew we couldn’t back that up. She had won.
And at that moment, we would forever be her bitch.
Since then there’s been a long line of empty threats. It’s hard enough finding something she actually cares enough about to leverage (she simply doesn’t care about stuff enough to care if it’s missing), let alone then having the courage to follow it through.
We’ve threatened cancelling the big things; her birthday and holidays, as well as the small things. While the small things are infinitely easier to stick to, they often slip my mind and when I forget, she’s instantly won again.
That’s not to say I’ve never followed through. There was the time I bundled up most of her possessions (bar her bedding, books and clothes) into big black garbage bags and took them out to the garage, with the instruction she would have to earn it all back again.
Her care factor was so low, that in the end I had to bring them back inside, as the cats had decided they would make a comfortable bed. Another fail.
This week, after an over the phone melt-down that found me sitting at my desk surrounded by co-workers trying to convince Poss to stop screaming at me and go to gymnastics, I declared that the iPad would be taken away for the whole weekend if she didn’t go.
Her response? “You haven’t really thought that through, have you?” followed quickly by “I accept your terms. No gymnastics, no iPad”.
So the iPad is living on top of the fridge this weekend. And so far she’s only requested it a bajillion times. I’m holding strong. The line has to be drawn somewhere, or this tween dictator will have us pinned in her teen years ahead.
Send me strength. And gin. Or better yet, tell me when you’ve made a stupid threat?