The Fun Parent

This week marks what has become an annual occurrence that I call “Kidcation.” The kids get a vacation from cleaning their rooms, milking goats, feeding animals and doing other chores; and they get to spend a week with their Mema, where the order of the day is as much fun as possible, as little “no” as can be managed, and absolutely whatever they want to eat whenever they want to eat it (I swear Mema missed her calling as a short order cook). It’s also a week that I get a vacation from trying to keep three kids entertained on a budget, as well as a break from the fighting, whining and he-said-she-saids that often accompany summer boredom.

So to start off this year’s kidcation, we took a mini-road-trip, a 3-hour drive to meet Mema at the halfway point and have lunch before sending the kiddos off for the week. While sitting at Pizza Hut, Wonder Boy had to use the bathroom. Now, anyone who’s gone anywhere with Wonder Boy knows that his bathroom trips aren’t brief. Bryan, having already gone in the bathroom when we arrived to wash his hands, had commented on the smell and was not too keen on returning for an extended visit. So he did what any self-respecting father would do, he tried to push it off on one of the kids. He spent a good solid minute arguing with Boy Genius about who was going to escort Wonder Boy into the smelly bathroom before I stepped in with the voice of reason (i.e., the captain’s order). As Bryan huffed and walked away with Wonder Boy, I rolled my eyes and said to Mema, “You sure you don’t want all four kids this week?” And the following conversation ensued:

Boy Genius: Who’s the fourth kid?
Me: Who do you think? Your dad.
Boy Genius: I thought it might be you.
Me: Really? Who acts more like a kid – me or daddy?
The Girl: Well you’re the one who gets all excited about Superman and comic books and movies.
Boy Genius: And daddy’s always saying no to stuff.
Me: Daddy says no more than me?
The Girl: Yeah, he’s always like, “No more soda.” “No sugar.”
Boy Genius: Or “No butter.”
Me: Wait, so you’re saying I’m the fun parent.
Together: Yeah.
Me: But I’m always saying no or telling you to clean your rooms.
The Girl: Not really.
Boy Genius: And butter is fun.
Me: Oh. My. Gosh. I need to record this. You have to tell your daddy I’m the fun parent. Let me bask in it.
 

Neither, especially the Girl, was too happy about sharing this with daddy (she doesn’t like to hurt feelings). But I couldn’t let it go. So when Bryan and Wonder Boy returned from the marathon bathroom trip, I said, in my giddy voice of course: “Guess who’s the fun parent?!” He was clearly taken aback at my being the fun parent and exaggerated the hurt a little, despite the Girl’s efforts to downplay my superiority. At which point, Mema stepped in to try to soothe his ego:

Bryan: Just because I don’t let y’all eat a bunch of sugar … [“Or butter,” BG interjected.] Y’all think I’m not fun?
Mema: No, they’re not saying that. Right, kids?
The kids nodded as I sat quietly, barely containing my glee.
Mema: They’re just saying momma’s funner.
The kids in unison: Funner’s not a word.
Boy Genius: Momma draws the line at grammar.
 

A few high-fives across the table to let my kiddos know I was proud was met with a mumble from daddy, “Well, I’m still not letting you have sugar.”

So, who’d have guessed it? I’m the fun parent. Just use the right words.

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