This morning our oldest woke us up at 6:30 a.m. He does this quite often because, well, he has massive impulse control issues. At any rate, we sent him and his brother downstairs (presumably to watch Phineas and Ferb quietly so we could continue sleeping). A few minutes later, however, I hear Joe’s whiny cry. It’s not a true cry but a sort of cry/whine hybrid whereby he sounds not unlike a tornado siren. Actually, they should substitute the current tornado siren with Joe’s whiny cry. It might get people to run for cover more quickly. I sensed that any moment his problem would become ours. He burst back into our room, still whining.
“I didn’t get to my crossbreed fast enough, and he got sick,” he whined, referring to his Tiny Zoo app.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. That sucks,” I replied, trying as hard as possible to sound truly sympathetic.
“I had to abandon him because I knew you wouldn’t give me even $1 to save him. Now I need $20 to buy more coins to breed him again, but I know you won’t give me that money either.” Tru dat. “And I had to spend all my coins to get him. Now I don’t have any left. I’ll never get enough coins to buy this crossbreed again.” Drama queen.
“Oh, Joe. You will get enough coins eventually. Just keep saving. You’ll get there.”
“No I won’t. If you would just spend the money this would all be fixed.” Ha. This kid is delusional.
“I’m not buying imaginary coins to save a fake animal on an app, sweetie. Sorry.”
His cry became louder and more desperate but, sensing that he was getting nowhere with this discussion, he charged out the room letting the door close a bit too loudly. I put a pillow over my head to drown out his whining, tried to remember that it was early and his ADHD meds had not yet kicked in, and attempted to go back to sleep. A few minutes later, there was a light knock on the door. It was Luke this time.
“Mom,” he whispered, “I just thought you should know that Joe deleted you from his friends list on Tiny Zoo. Don’t tell him I told you.” This was getting hysterical.
“Thanks for the heads up, Luke.” And, with that, the informant exited as stealthily as he had entered.
“Wow, hon. I’ve been unfriended by my own son,” I told Steve.
“Thank God we haven’t given him his own Facebook account yet,” he replied, “or he could unfriend you there too.”
The whining steadily grew louder again. Clearly he was on his way back upstairs to have a second go at me. Apparently unfriending me was not punishment enough. He reappeared in our room.
“Joe, before you say anything, let me remind you that this was your mistake and no one else’s,” I said, trying to curtail his complaints quickly. “You knew what time you would have to collect that animal and you didn’t make it back in time.”
“But, you never TOLD me that crossbreed animals could get sick if you didn’t get them fast enough. I didn’t know. Maybe if I had known….”
“Stop right there. You made a mistake. It’s okay. In a day or so you will be able to get that animal for your zoo again. No worries. And,” I added, “I still love you even though you unfriended me.” I smiled brightly at him.
Exasperated, he moaned out loud and then turned and left, ushering his way out with his whiny cry once again. He hates it when I love on him when he’s angry with me. I may go on record as the meanest mother ever for today. But by tomorrow when his zoo has a brand spanking new axolotl, a gilled salamander nearing extinction in Mexico, I’ll be back in his good graces and on his friend list once again. And he will understand (at least on some level) these two things: 1) Tiny Zoo is a game and not a life or death situation (even if the game plays out that way) and 2) the world doesn’t come to an end when you don’t get what you want at the exact moment you want it. I figure that lesson is plenty worth being unfriended over.