I took the kids bowling yesterday. Among other things, we were trying to see whether they wanted to have their birthday party at the bowling alley instead of the skating rink. Not sure how things would go, we only paid for one game, and after figuring out the right shoe size and finding a ball for each of them--one that would not pull their arms from the sockets--we got to bowling. Since the bumpers were up, I thought we were headed for a stress-free game.
Well, kind of. The first game actually went pretty well. Sky, Pink, and Sky's friend from school had a pretty close game. Pink scored two spares and Sky a strike. All might have been perfect had it not all come down to Pink P's final ball. Because, on that final ball, she rolled a highly improbable spare, moving ahead of her brother by a mere two points, snatching the victory from his exuberant grasp. To add insult to Sky's injury, because she "spared" on the final ball, she got to roll one more than he did.
To Sky, who was only beginning to grasp the nuances of the game, this was simply too much. I could see him beginning to come unhinged, so I made a quick and ultimately fatal split-second decision. I declared we should play another game, figuring he had a good chance of winning the second game.
After all, how lucky could Pink P be?
Oh, you laugh, surely by now Moe knows better than to tempt the fates like this. Surely she knows better than to rely on the laws of probability.
You're right, I should have known better.
But, I didn't.
And on the second game, Pink P bowled a 111. That's right, on her second ever game of bowling, my twirling, prancing, ballet-loving four year-old daughter broke one hundred.
Sky lost it. And he couldn't regain it. He yelled. He pinched his sister. He cried. He flailed about. He angrily hurled his ball down the lane.
And I failed to stop it. I tried soothing him. I tried reasoning with him. I tried reprimanding him. I tried giving him squeezes for compression. I tried removing him from the situation. He weighs over 60 pounds now. When he loses it, I can't contain him. I can't keep him safe, and I can't really keep him from hurting others.
And it makes me furious.
In the end, I gave him my iPhone and he was able to zone out playing a marble labyrinth game. To the observer, I'm sure it looked like I was rewarding absolutely horrendous behavior with video games. Awesome parenting, lady. Way to go!
The iPhone game got Sky back to a place where he could hear what I was saying. He managed to tell his friend, "Good game," even if he didn't entirely appear to mean it.
But I left the bowling alley feeling utterly defeated in a way I've felt so very many times before.
But way more than that.
Once again, I'd failed to protect Pink P. Instead of being able to celebrate her accomplishment, we had to do damage control. Instead of joy, we had fear and sadness. Pink says she doesn't mind, that she understands. But I doubt it. How can anyone understand the barrage that is life with her brother. I don't.
I have no doubt that Pink P will be okay. She's got spunk and determination and sheer grit. She's also got a spring in her step, a wiggle in her behind, and the most infectious laugh. And for all these things, I am very, very grateful.
But, for the other stuff, there are no words.