Revenge can be wonderful when it feels like it restores the natural balance of things. I’m talking mostly about sleep here—children and sleep, specifically. When my children become teenagers, I imagine I will find great enjoyment in hauling their butts out of bed each morning. I will talk and talk and talk. I will tell them about what I dreamt about, what I’m excited about for the coming day, maybe my life goals. It will be so so sweet—that revenge.
As wonderful as kids are, they are also little heathens who wipe their noses on our favorite shirts and puke into our bare hands and roll their eyes at our choices in clothing. But we parents can even the scales a bit in tiny, non-hurtful ways.
Here are some examples of subtle ways we parents can get revenge on our children:
1. Tell them that their eyes change color when they are lying and then watch them struggle to look you in the eye. Sometimes being a parent is fun.
2. Give them a job that you hate and convince them that they do it better than anyone else. I swear this works, and now my son thinks he loves scrubbing toilets.
3. Demonstrate wet willies, wedgies, and the wonders of punch-buggy (just so they can defend themselves out there—not because you enjoy it or anything).
4. Create an elaborate lie about this old dude who comes once a year to give them presents. Tell them that he watches them all year to see if they are behaving. Feel totally OK about this.
5. Change places with them for five minutes. Say, “I’ll be the kid, and you be the mom.” They will think this is an awesome game until you are hanging on their legs and crying hysterically about the tag in your shirt.
6. When they are about 16, tell them how and where they were conceived. I should say “try to tell them,” because you probably won’t be able to hear yourself talk over all of the barfing noises. Bonus points if their friends are present.
7. Drop them off for school while you wear Spandex and a bathrobe. You know, for all those days in the grocery store when they insisted on looking like a homeless cat.
8. Give them a grapefruit when they think it’s an orange. I did this. It was awesome. My child had never even heard of a grapefruit before and thought that something was very wrong with her orange.
9. Feel a little too much glee when you wake them up early to go on a trip. Sing loudly, maybe dance.
10. Become a grandparent. This, I think, will be the ultimate revenge. At least that’s how I feel when I get my kids back from their grandparents all hopped up on Lemonheads and Netflix. My mother smiles at me as she hands them back, and I don’t think I’m imagining that twinkle in her eye.
Sometimes it feels like the kids are winning. Okay, it always feels that way. It helps just a little to realize that we can get back at them one embarrassing moment at a time.