I just needed 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes of quiet. No yelling. No bickering. No name-calling. No scolding. No lecturing. No fighting. I had a headache tittering on becoming a migraine. I just needed quiet and caffeine. Since we were leaving Sean’s school, I would settle for quiet. And I had an idea!
The Quiet Contest! Perfect! No. Wait. Not perfect. They don’t compete well, and I want them all to be quiet. What if- What if everyone can win? Is this a bribe? No, a prize! Everyone gets a prize for being quiet in the car from Sean’s school to home. What could go wrong?
Me: Ok, boys. We’re going to play a game. What prize do you want 50 cents or a piece of candy?
Sean: 50 cents!
Hmmm. Should they all agree? Should we vote? No, it doesn’t matter.
Me: Ok, everyone is able to earn his own prize. Candy for Evan. Candy for Aidan. 50 cents for Sean.
Evan: I changed my mind. I want 50 cents. Can I spend it?
Me: You can do what ever you want with it.
Evan: When can I spend it?
Me: When we go to a store. Maybe tomorrow.
Evan: Ok, 50 cents.
I get everyone in the car and buckled.
Me: The game is who ever is quiet from the school to the house gets their prize. So no talking or making noise until we get home, and, then Aidan gets candy, and Sean and Evan get 50 cents each. (I looked them all in the eye to make sure they understood.) Oh, and one rule. No one is allowed to make anyone else make a noise, or he is out of the game. Got it?
Three boys: YES!
Me: Ok, it starts now.
I turned on the car. We left the parking lot.
Me: Sean, remember the game.
Sean: But I want to tell you something.
Me: Sean. The game.
Sean started to whine. And he’s out.
Evan: Sean, stop crying.
Me: Et tu, Evan?
Evan is out of the game.
Sean: (Whining) But I want to tell you something. I changed my mind. I want to talk to you.
Me: The game, Sean. We were playing a game.
Sean: (Whining) It’s not fair! We need to start over!
Evan: Sean, be quiet!
Sean whined more.
We pull into the garage.
Me: Aidan gets candy!
Huh. I totally thought Aidan would lose. I wonder if I should try it again another time.
Aidan and I left the older two whining in the car and went and got candy.
God, I needed caffeine. And chocolate. And silence.