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Day 2 of my SABBATICAL

See, I can be positive. I have chosen to replace my "strike" with the more meaningful "sabbatical." Big V laughs, promising it's not that hard to clean the house and assures me I will find the house in better order than when I did it alone. Before "Bite Me" escaped my lips, I managed to put together this distorted thought process: "Stop. It's a trap. He's trying to tell you that you failed, thus playing into your natural stubbornness to prove him wrong, prompting you to jump up like Super Mom with Six Arms and attack the dishes, make dinner, sign Bean's permission slip, pick out Dotter's clothes for tomorrow, wash the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink, and sweep up the dog hair. It is most certainly a trap!"

In the end, I smiled sweetly and said in my most sincere and encouraging voice, "I sure hope so, honey." (I think the "honey" was a bit much, but he knew what I really meant: "I will be watching you like a hawk waiting for the moment where you fall to the floor, dust rag in hand, screaming out I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT! YOUR SACRIFICES MAKE ME FEEL UNWORTHY!")

So Day 2 of the Sabbatical started with the usual: Dog left out to lounge around on the couch, shower curtain shoved to one side (this is important because we have no form of exhaust in the bathroom - no fan; no window - and mold grows rampant on the bunched up shower curtain when it isn't given a chance to dry out). I went to work per usual, afterwards picked up the girls and watched them dump school bags, scatter papers, and leave shoes in the middle of the kitchen... and I didn't say a word. Not one single reminder... not even 'the look' towards the pile of debris needing to be picked up. I was SO GOOD!

Both girls had play dates that I was more than thrilled to deliver them to, so I left Big V to do whatever he wanted to do, if anything, around the house. When I got home Big V was spraying pesticides on the lawn in an attempt to eliminate the dandelions and the dog was sequestered in the house. With free reign. See, Big V felt bad that Satan the dog was locked up all day so while he was outside he thought it best to allow the dog to have full control over the house, completely unsupervised.

Satan decided to knock over a table, break the flower pot Dotter made me for Mother's Day, knock over a vase of flowers (water EVERYWHERE), tear up a book, and was obviously on the bed (my side) based on the messed up blankets.

Now, before you think, "but the poor dog had been locked up all day long" let me explain our definition of "locked up."

The entire sun room belongs to the dog. The whole thing. It's a 12' by 15' room with large windows on one side and a patio door on the other. Her kennel is in the room, should she decide to enter and leave at will. She has water and food and about twenty-seven dog bones and toys to entertain her. She has a chair that she, and she alone, can hop up and lounge on. She also has a rug in the closet she can lay on, because, yes, she likes cozy spaces so we leave the closet doors open for her. The dog can do cartwheels in the sun room all day of she wants. The simple fact is, when left alone this dog is destructive. And its owner (that would be Big V if you're confused) does little more than make excuses.

Big V has a great heart. He empathizes and sympathizes with everyone and everything he sees. He absolutely hates conflict and confrontation. V would do anything, ANYTHING to not be the bad guy. I think he's afraid if he ever does put his foot down loved ones will scatter, friends will disown him, and dogs will refuse to acknowledge him. He is, without a doubt, my complete opposite in this manner.

Where I would tell a child to sit still and be quiet, Big V would give the child paper, pens, candy, his wallet - anything to make the child happy... not because he doesn't want to deal with the child, but because he doesn't want to be the source of the child's unhappiness. Same with the dog. He has told me before (Big V, not the dog. The dog can't talk...) that he's afraid if he disciplines the dog then the dog won't feel that V loves her. (This was after the second couch was completely destroyed by the dog. We're on the third couch, and while slightly destroyed, at least you can still sit on it.)

I love Big V with all my heart... but I need him to realize that part of being a grown up is being a leader and leading even when the children and/or animals don't want to go where you're taking them. This means staying on kids until they clean up their mess. This means defining guidelines and boundaries that must be enforced.

Last night the Bean decided she wanted Kentucky Fried Chicken -- at 9:30 at night. I am not about to go out and get KFC for a 13 year old's craving. Rediculous. I told her it was a foolish request at best and to grab something out of the fridge if she was that hungry. Big V went....


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