In The Absence of Patience, I Have Persistence

In a moment of what must’ve been temporary insanity, I gave in to my younger son’s big blue-eyed pleas to have his best friend spend the night.  I called to invite the boy over.  We worked out a time for him to be dropped off on Saturday.

In hindsight, I realize I missed a few red flags.

  • He’d just showed up at our house the week before to spend the night- but no one knew about it but him.
  • His mom was going to be at someone else’s house that didn’t have good cell reception, but texts could go through.  (Hello- should’ve asked if that person had a home phone number.)
  • I had smiled and nodded when she described her son as, “very active, and all boy.”  I have two sons, so I get that…or so I thought.

I didn’t realize at the time that “very active” and “all boy” were code for “under-developed listening skills” and “over-developed skills involving lying and sneaking his way out of obeying rules.”

Gave up on "you need shoes" command...
Gave up on “you need shoes” instruction…

The evening routine was a bit comical, with him claiming he didn’t have toothpaste and wasn’t allowed to borrow any from us.  When he insisted on going home after I denied his plea to play a video game before bed, I texted his mom.  I waited ten minutes as the kid stood at my door insisting I drive him to a place he didn’t know the address of, but knew how to get there.

He wouldn’t budge, so I brought out the big guns:  I woke my husband.

At his command, the kid got in bed- and stayed there.  Two hours later, I got a text response from the kid’s mom, but the crisis was already over.

The next morning, I busted him twice sneaking food upstairs (we only allow food downstairs, at the table.)  Both times he lied about it.  Perhaps he didn’t look closely enough to see all my wrinkles, which would have revealed that I was indeed, not born yesterday.

“Do you have food in your pockets?”  I asked.

“No,” he said with a charming smile.  (I’m immune to that, by the way.)

“Really?  I heard crinkling when you walked.  Let’s try this again:  Do you have food in your pocket?”

Both times he thought about whether or not to fess up.

“I’ll search your pockets if I need to.”

Both times, he made a wise choice:  he handed the snacks over.

“But I’m hungry,” he said.

“If you want a snack, all you have to do is ask and I’ll fix something for you to eat at the table.  You don’t have to steal food and sneak it upstairs.”

Our seven-year-old visitor taught me much in the twenty six hours and seventeen minutes he spent at our house.  He left me exhausted, with a migraine, and a respect for tenacity (of both adult and child.)  He is also a reminder of a prayer for patience that I said many years ago.  Although I’ve long since retracted that prayer, I believe this was another of God’s attempts to break me into a more patient person.  I’m not sure it worked.  I may be a bit wiser, though.

In the wake of his presence were trees with aching branches, not strong enough to be climbed; an assortment of broken toys; a relieved Lizzy (who hissed often, but didn’t scratch his eyes out as he lugged her around the house… after repeated warnings to let her go;) a car sick frog who will be more careful when hopping around our yard (I’d told him several times that the frog didn’t want to die- I mean ride in the remote controlled car;) and two brothers who were too tired to fight (hey, that’s one good thing that came of it!)

Ahhh...I can finally chill in peace!
Ahhh…I can finally chill in peace!

After our visitor left, my older son asked if his friend could spend the night next weekend.  I just stared at him, uncertain if he was serious, or if this was his sick sense of humor coming out to play.  Either way, I suspect this might be part of a diabolical plan to nudge me into the abyss of insanity.

Update:  My sanity is hanging by a thread, but still in place.  We have not had any more young overnight visitors since that memorable night.  And, since I told my son his friend is never, ever coming over again, he has made a few new friends.  Whew!


38 thoughts on “In The Absence of Patience, I Have Persistence

  1. nrhatch September 22, 2013 / 9:11 AM

    “Both times he lied about it. Perhaps he didn’t look closely enough to see all my wrinkles, which would have revealed that I was indeed, not born yesterday.” ~ Bwahaha!

    1. I bet you have a new appreciation for your two darling boys after dealing with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for twenty six hours and seventeen minutes.

    2. Poor Froggie . . . were the boys recreating Toad’s Wild Ride?

    3. You older son has a diabolical sense of humor . . . I mean, “diabolical plan to nudge [you] into the abyss of insanity.”

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 8:03 PM

      I’m glad you found the humor in this, Nancy. I’d hoped the time passage and editing took the rant feel out it 🙂

      Yes, I do appreciate my boys’ behavior, even though it isn’t perfect, I can work with it 🙂

      My kids tried to get him to release the frog, but he wasn’t having any of it. Poor thing.

      My older son just might be trying to drive me insane, but at least the friend he wants to have over seems very polite – he introduced himself to me and shook my hand when I met him and his parents.

  2. chlost September 22, 2013 / 9:18 AM

    And this is exactly the kind of boy who needs a parent/adult figure like you. Perhaps this is part of why he was put with you for those long hours.

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 8:04 PM

      I don’t think I’m the right parent for that job again 🙂 Since that visit, my son told me the kid has to sit by himself in class because he misbehaves and thinks it’s fun to get in trouble on the bus. Eeeps.

  3. yarnspinnerr September 22, 2013 / 9:44 AM

    Keeping up with children is becoming difficult.

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 8:05 PM

      Yes, it is. So much easier with my own because I don’t have the worries of crossing over another parents’ discipline.

      • yarnspinnerr September 22, 2013 / 10:14 PM

        Nowadays I find it difficult to even understand their logic 😦

        • jannatwrites September 23, 2013 / 9:14 PM

          I hear you. I think understanding is too much to expect these days, Yarnspinnerr.

  4. Anja September 22, 2013 / 9:54 AM

    I am sorry but this made me laugh. 🙂 I work with special needs children so I really know how trying they can be. If you ever want your patience tested, take in a ummmm….challenging child. I am happy your house and family survived. My children are now 17 and 18 so I no longer have to face these dilemmas. You will be better prepared for the next “active boy” that comes along.

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 8:17 PM

      I’m glad you found the humor, Anja. It’s more funny now than it was two weeks ago 🙂 He had another friend over for six hours last week and that went okay. I do feel bad for the family because there are three boys and the dad has been out-of-state training for a job for several months. When he gets back, maybe the boys will shape up…

  5. Carl D'Agostino September 22, 2013 / 10:57 AM

    In a few years get ready for “can my girlfriend…….” At that age they are very finessed at clandestine arrangements anyway. I must disagree on the food issue as I have been sneaking candy and chocolate and cake and cookies for six decades despite being a Presbyterian steeped in the most rigid conformity , but it is definitely of my own purchase. On the other hand the bed full of crumbs next morning make me wish I had followed the “at the table ” rule. But I cannot be reprimanded for sleepwalking. Right?

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 8:24 PM

      Better put a lock on that cupboard, Carl 😀 Hey, once they are out of my house, they can ‘sneak’ food all they want to! My kids don’t push the food-in-the-room issue (thankfully.)

  6. Debbie September 22, 2013 / 12:29 PM

    Nothing like a pint-sized visitor from Hell to make a parent appreciate whatever his/her own kids can come up with, Janna! Sorry, but I had to laugh at your description. This little boy sounds like he’s gonna need years of therapy — it’s sad, but his mom can’t expect you and your family to provide it. Stealing food, refusing to mind, terrorizing the family pets, wearying you into a migraine — all signs of a bad house guest. Glad #2 with the blue eyes has found a new group of buds!

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 8:53 PM

      I’m glad you got a laugh from it, Debbie. This was a good lesson for my kids- we talked about it when it was over as a how-not-to-behave when visiting someone’s house. It was funny because that night, my older son wasn’t listening so I called him by the kid’s name – he grinned…then did what I asked him to. I hope the new friends work out better than this one did.

  7. Lance September 22, 2013 / 4:41 PM

    Last year, for my 2 youngest girls (then turning 8 & (, now 9 & 10) we had a birthday party/sleepover. About 8 girls under the age of 9. It didn’t go well.

    I don’t know what it is about being inside someone else’s house that turn good children into brats or less than good children into prison urchins.

    Never again. No more sleepovers . What is normal and mannered in some homes is ohmygodiwillchokeouthiskidandmakeitlooklikeanaccident” in others.

    glad you made it through

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 9:02 PM

      Hahaha….that’s a lot of girls in one place, Lance. I’m sorry it didn’t go well. Maybe things have changed, but when I was a kid, I was better behaved at friends’ houses than my own. I let things slide for guests that I normally wouldn’t accept, but I do have limits 🙂

  8. Widdershins September 22, 2013 / 7:49 PM

    Glad you, and the kid, survived. Although I’m guessing it was a close thing with the kid!

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 9:04 PM

      😛 Widdershins, if it would’ve lasted much longer, I think my teeth would’ve been gritted down to nearly nothing!

  9. momsomniac September 22, 2013 / 8:14 PM

    We agreed to let my oldest invite over 8 of his closes friends for a sleep-over for his 8th birthday. The parents were astonished and delighted when we told them pick-up was at 11 the next day. Do you feel less foolish yet?

    Hmmm, if not, imagine what prompted me saying this later that weekend: “M, did your friends bring chocolate cake back to your room? You know food is not allowed in the bedroom. Please tell me that’s chocolate cake?”

    • jannatwrites September 22, 2013 / 9:07 PM

      Eight kids…I broke into a sweat reading that, Momsomniac. No way could I do it! About the cake…ew, but hahaha!!

      I should’ve set a specific pick up time. I’d talked to the mom around 8:30 am and he was going to stay and play a little longer. I thought that would be an hour or two…not over six hours! Live and learn…

  10. Eric Alagan September 22, 2013 / 9:38 PM

    Okay, Janna – I get what you were trying to convey ever so politely in your earlier post.

    1. I would have sent that brat packing home
    2. Insisted that his parents pick him up right away
    3. Drowned him in a pail of water – I believe he must have tripped, hit his head and fell into the pail, officer.

    Okay, I exaggerated on that last one. I would have got Myrtle to do that 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 23, 2013 / 9:14 PM

      Haha…3. cracked me up, Eric. Why didn’t I think of that? 😛 Myrtle could do it…but she much prefers her Louisville Slugger!

  11. I Am Jasmine Kyle September 23, 2013 / 5:26 AM

    we had a girl try to hang out with our daughter who was like this… lets just say the friendship ended quickly. GOOD MOM!

    • jannatwrites September 23, 2013 / 9:15 PM

      I didn’t tell him he couldn’t be friends, but I did let him know that if I saw that behavior from him there would be consequences. So far, it seems to have worked out okay. I’m glad your situation worked out as well, Jasmine!

      • I Am Jasmine Kyle September 24, 2013 / 4:06 AM

        I’m glad yours worked out too!!!

  12. Sandra September 23, 2013 / 1:12 PM

    Oh, you poor thing!! This was such a funny read, although I can only imagine the horror you had to go through! CARSICK frog? REALLY? Wow. Never again. I’m glad your son made new friends. Hope you’re feeling much better by now…

    • jannatwrites September 23, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      I’m glad it was entertaining – that’s what I was going for, Sandra. Well, I don’t know for sure if the frog was carsick, but when the car did stop, he was slow moving. It was awful. Soooo glad it’s over 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 23, 2013 / 9:40 PM

      Brave or insane…not sure which. Is there really a thick line between? 🙂

  13. pattisj September 24, 2013 / 2:36 PM

    Cute post, Janna. Glad your sanity remained intact. I like how you knew the hours and minutes–obviously a very long day. Hopefully your boys won’t have any new “skills” to unlearn.

    • jannatwrites September 24, 2013 / 9:56 PM

      It was such a long day, Patti. So far, the boys have only the bad habits they already had…no new ones 🙂

  14. Tessa September 25, 2013 / 7:53 AM

    Ah yes, sleepovers. That is all I am saying. I had girls and a boy.

    • Tessa September 25, 2013 / 7:53 AM

      I meant my children were 2 girls and a boy LOL!

    • jannatwrites September 26, 2013 / 9:44 PM

      Haha…I know what you meant, Tessa!

      My older son had a friend sleep over when he was in first grade…that was a trying experience, too. Maybe third time is the charm…

  15. pattyabr September 29, 2013 / 5:02 PM

    Oh I get it and remember it well….I wish I had more patience. You get a star for living through and writing about it objectively.

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 12:49 AM

      I’m glad I’m not the only one, Patty. My older son is spending the night at a friend’s house on Friday…I hope it doesn’t cause that boy’s mom to write a blog post 🙂

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