Me to the kids:
"Here’s a new word. Extortion.
It means someone giving you their things because you threaten them. Repeat the word."
Now let’s use it in a sentence. “Caroline practices extortion on Jack.”
Let’s back up. Anyone who has spent a while with Jack and Caroline will tell you there is an abnormal absence of fighting between the two of them. When someone comments on how beautifully my children get along with each other, I usually smile modestly, subtly taking the credit for excellent child-rearing skills.
But if you want to know a secret, it’s not that I’m a good mom. It’s certainly not that Caroline is some angelic sister.
It’s that Jack appears to absolutely adore Caroline, and will thus do whatever she asks. Without question, argument or hesitation.
They deny it, but she must be threatening him.
I’ll tell you what I see, and you tell me if you agree there’s got to be some extortion going on.
Caroline and her friends set up a snow-cone stand over the weekend. Their first customer was my dad, who I think paid them $5 to not give him a snow cone, and to just leave him alone. The second customer was Jack, who flew up the stairs to plow through his piggy bank. I told him the fact that he was standing in the hot sun, dancing to “YMCA” to attract customers (sadly, that was his idea, and there was no coercion involved) earned him a free snow cone. “No, Mommy, they need customers. Caroline said so.”
As another example, the kid sat and watched “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” rather than “Dino Dan,” which was turned off when Caroline walked in. He claims he didn't mind. But please. Sharpay? Seriously?
As yet another example, Caroline decided she would save up for an iTouch. (I don’t really know what that is, but I’m fairly certain she’s never getting one.) She asked for donations. From Jack. Who ran back to his piggy bank and donated. At this point, I think he’s blowing through the money he got when he was born. I can’t believe he’d willingly part with all that cash.
So what prompted this morning’s vocabulary lesson?
Well, Jack doesn’t have school tomorrow, and I told him he could pick a special Mommy/Jack activity. Caroline quicky requested a private conference with Jack, after which he came in to the kitchen and said decisively, “I want to go to Build-A-Bear. Then I want to give the bear to Caroline.”
There’s my evidence. The conference clearly indicates foul play. The clarity of the request clearly indicates coaching.
That's it! I've had enough! No Build-A-Bear!
Jack shrugged and said, "Okay. We'll get ice cream."
But then, remember how I’m passive aggressive? I just took all her snow-cone earnings and put them in Jack’s piggy bank. I always root for the underdog.