But they are rotten. Just rotten to the core.
They're always testing you. Always tip toeing right up to the edge of those behavioral boundaries that you put in place for them.
Like I'll put the kid down for a nap, and I'll tell him "You stay in that bed, or we're going to have a problem."
And so what he does is he'll dangle one foot off the bed so that it's hovering a fraction of a millimeter above the floor. And I know, I KNOW that as soon as I walk out the door, he's pushing stuff around with his foot. His cars, his blocks, his Elmo, whatever he can reach without technically violating the nap order.
And I think it's times like that when, as a parent, you really have to reach back and remember maybe the five or six worst things you ever did when you were a kid.
Like one time, my friend John, his dad built a teepee in the backyard for us. A real live teeepee. And John told me "Tonight, after everybody goes to bed, sneak out of the house and meet me here. In the teepee. We're going to have a secret meeting."
Well, of course. I was five. It sounded like the most reasonable thing in the world to me. You got a teepee. You're going to sneak out of the house and have a secret meeting. Just seemed to follow logically.
So that night my parents put me to bed. I waited until the house was completely quiet. I got out of bed, put on my bathrobe, walked down the street to John's house, let myself in the backyard and sat down in the teepee.
John stood me up (and neglected to mention the sprinkler system in the backyard), but that's a story for another post.
The point is, in all likelihood, your kids aren't any rottener than you were when you were that age, and you turned out OK, so don't feel like you have to address every single little incident of rottenness that comes up. Some of it you just have to let it slide or just put it behind you and forget about it.
Like the time the kid threw his shoe at my head while I was driving. I figured he's tired, he's cranky, I'm letting that one slide.
And to be honest, I was pretty darned impressed with his marksmanship.