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BOSSY

Does she attend the Johnnie Cochran School Of Reasoning?

Robert K

Twenty years ago. Before kids of my own. House/babysitting for dear friends with three daughters, then aged 7, 5 and 2.

House rule: At the end of the day, on the way to bed, each girl collects whatever of her clothes or toys or books or junk has migrated out into the rest of the house, and carries it with her to her bedroom.

Aim of house rule: Even though each girl’s room may be an impenetrable mass of clutter, rest of house will be passable and presentable.

Day is ending; older girls are heading to bed. My wife and I, in loco parentis, are enforcing House Rule.

In loco parentis: “Molly, don’t forget to grab your shoes on the way.”

Molly: No

ILP: Molly, that’s silly. You’re going that way, take your shoes.

M: I don’t want to.

ILP: I don’t care. It’s a House Rule. A good one, too.

M: No.

ILP: You are kidding me, right? It’s a pair of shoes.

M: ::thinking::

ILP: Molly, the shoes please.

M: ::thinking::

ILP: Young lady, pick up the shoes this instant or . . .

M: . . . Can I just take them as far as the dining room?

Jerry and Faye, graciously, did not complain when they returned home to find I had emptied their last bottle of Jack Daniels. And they never said anything about Molly’s bruises, either, which I think was nice of them.

(Epilogue: Molly, after a stint with Teach America, is now headed to med school.)

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