We went to a sushi restaurant tonight, but not because the birthday girl wanted to. In fact, she technically wasn’t invited.
Last week our oldest managed to get herself grounded. Grounding however, is not as easy to do as it sounds as going to school requires her to go out and her club often keeps her late which makes a fixed early curfew difficult to enforce; the public transportation system makes it easy for her to get around without a vehicle; and because of the Japanese New Year’s money tradition, combined with being one of only two grand kids/nieces, she has a shockingly large slush fund at her disposal.
Now, in a different world, we’d force her to stay home from club, but that would cause both her and us problems with the school. The slush fund has cost her an allowance until she turns over a chunk of the money to be saved. We tried to get the family to play along with a plan to save most of the money but “oldest of only two grandchildren” ensued.
All this has led to frequent arguments between our oldest and She Who Must Be Obeyed. (Argument, in this case meaning: SWMBO rants whilst our oldest listens to music via headphones.)
Adding further complications, our oldest declared she wanted neither presents nor cake nor a special dinner for her birthday. She only wanted cash. SWMBO obliged her by doing nothing for her birthday. Instead, she let our youngest choose the restaurant.
I invited our oldest along and paid for everything. We all managed to have a good time, even if it, technically, wasn’t a proper birthday dinner.
Our oldest is doing dishes for a month and I’ve set a hard curfew. I’ve been putting off the nuclear option: seizing her smartphone and holding it hostage in a bank bag and/or just cancelling the plan. (The latter is problematic, as it is nice to be able to spam her phone with texts and calls when she’s out.)
Now we have six months to prepare for our youngest’s birthday. She’s perfecting her backtalk techniques. Actually, she’s perfected them, so our oldest may get to choose the restaurant next time.
Sweet Sixteen, indeed.