All parents need a safe word; I'm not being porny or weird, a safe word is a word that can be called out in a time of stress to let the other person know that the wheels are falling off. This word is a great way to remind your other half that they have they crazy look in their eyes, without actually shouting out, "Hey, Honey.. you look like you are about to effing lose it!" Two reasons for this; everyone obviously knows when they are about to lose it, and don't need to be reminded of it. Also, if your kids get wind that you are losing control of the situation, you can go ahead and just make your dramatic exit, because any sign of weakness will be manipulated to their advantage immediately.
Last summer, I was pregnant (a common theme in my life) and we decided to head to the Camden Aquarium. I was looking forward to heading over the bridge to Philly to get cheesesteaks for dinner, and that was the main focus of my day. We were strolling along, looking at all of the exhibits, really enjoying our last big outing as a family of three. That is, until we came to the shark tank. There was a shallow pond with tiny, tiny sharks in it that the patrons could touch.
The problem, however, is that Princess Particular didn't want to touch a shark, and Mr. Wonderful basically said we would be sleeping at the Aquarium if she didn't touch a shark. I have to explain to you that Mr. Wonderful and Princess Particular are two of the most stubborn people I have ever met; I say this lovingly... I wish I had the balls of steel these two have. They know what they want, when they want it, and won't back down. It's a very admirable quality, unless of course they are on opposing sides. Mr. Wonderful wanted her to get the full experience, and try something new and exciting. Princess Particular didn't want to touch an effing shark, even though fully grown, it was the size of a teacup poodle. There were tears, whisper threats, bribes, and people stared. The lady who just loved her job as the shark info lady assured her about five billion times that the sharks didn't even have teeth. I touched the shark, Mr. Wonderful touched the shark, and I was literally ready to lay down and float in the tank if it meant that I could go have a cheesesteak.
These are literally the great white sharks that would certainly bite our arms off. Tadpoles.
Finally, an hour later out of desperation, I grabbed her hand, shoved it in the tank, and just prayed a shark would swim by and touch her . I'm sure all the sharks were terrified, because her hand was thrashing around like it had been attacked by a shark that actually had teeth. Low and behold, a shark swam up and courteously rubbed her hand, and the whole fiasco was done with. We all were exhausted, and later over cheesesteaks (and cheese fries... so delicious!!!!) Mr. Wonderful and I decided that we need to pick a point in which to walk away from any battle royale with the kids; and from that day forward our word to indicate that we were flirting with disaster would be "Sharks". It immediately diffuses any situation in which Mr. Wonderful or I start to go a little wonky, and we giggle and remind ourselves of the fact that we are battling tiny tiny people, and we are the ones in charge. Because we said so.