Disaster struck tonight when, in his zeal, The Boy ripped the card down its bend.
"It broke. It broke! Fix it, Momma. Help me."
I was distracted, cleaning up after dinner, and said, "I can't fix it, sweetie." Of course, two seconds later, I thought how easy it would be to get the packing tape and solve The Boy's problem. But by then, he already was sobbing over his broken "book," and I figured, what the hell. If we're having a meltdown, let's make it count. So, I pulled him up on my lap and told him to take a deep breath. He did and stopped crying. I wiped his tears and showed him his ripped card.
"You're sad you ripped it, right?"
"Well, that's why we have to be careful with our books. We have to be careful so we don't rip them, because when they rip, they're broken. We can't always fix them."
He buried his head in my chest. This was not a temper tantrum. This was a woe-is-me, I-screwed-up fit. It was another moment where I felt like I was parenting myself.
"Hey, look at Momma. Deep breath. See, you can still use it, you just have to be extra careful so you don't rip it more. And we have to be extra careful with the rest of our books, too."
"Yeah. Read 'nother book?"
We read another book, and The Boy went to bed, mostly OK with the situation. I sort of feel like a mean momma, but I figure it's better he learn not to rip and snort on a cheap card than on one of his favorite books. If Hop on Pop gets destroyed, I don't think his tears would disappear so quickly.
The husband just asked what I was blogging about.
"Whether I'm a mean momma or a good one," I said.
"Can't you be both?" he said. "Don't you kind of have to be."
I think that sums it up nicely.