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Yet Another Reason Not to Argue in Front of the Kids

In one of those Moments of Mommy Guilt That I Will Revisit in My Mind for Years to Come, I inexplicably opted to watch an episode of Twin Peaks last night without bringing the baby monitor to the TV room. It was only forty-five minutes long, I reasoned, the kids had just gone to bed, and they almost never woke that early in the night. Of course, you know what’s coming next.

I came out of the playroom at the end of the program and immediately heard screaming. Bruiser was ugly crying in his crib, and he’d been at it so long that he’d set Punky off, too. I quickly made Bruiser a bottle of warm milk (after two sips, he passed back out) and we decided to let Punky sleep in our room after she told us between sobs that, “In the dark, all the things in here look like monsters!”

We pulled together some blankets and pillows for her at the foot of our bed, tucked her in and kissed her goodnight. After a few (hundred thousand) whispered “Mommy?” from Punky’s makeshift bed, she finally grew quiet, leaving Hubs and I to continue a (completely ridiculous) argument that had been flaring up all day.

“[Insert cliched argumentative insult of your choice here],” Hubs whispered angrily.

“[Insert immature response to cliched argumentative insult here]!” I fired back.

“Mommy! Daddy!” Punky called at our feet. “You need to go to bed! It is way past your bed time!”

We shut up. But Hubs couldn’t resist a parting shot.

“[Insert lame blanket statement that isn’t even true here],” he said quietly.

“Hey!” Punky shouted. “I said be! Quiet! You’re just wasting your time!”

Despite myself, I burst out laughing. How can anyone argue with a four-year-old around to mediate?

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