In the 45 seconds it takes to put the kitchen trash outside and get back to the cabinet with a new bag, somebody has deposited an empty silver Pop Tart wrapper, with enough crumbs left inside to leave a small spray of sugary gravel underneath.
In the living room, Boy, Esq. is sprawled across the chair, two unwrapped Pop Tarts on his lap.
(Yes, I know, Pop Tarts. Bad Mommy. But this isn't about that. Can we please just focus?)
"Did you throw your wrapper under the sink?" I ask.
"She had Pop Tarts too," he says. The non-denial denial.
"Whose wrapper is under the sink?" I say.
"I threw mine away," he parries.
"Under the sink?" I say. "There is no bag under the sink so you decide to scatter your trash where the bag should be?"
"No," he says.
"Where is your wrapper?" I ask.
"I threw it out."
"In the bathroom. Or outside."
And there it is. His final answer. It is not even a good lie.
Later, she and I are playing a game of Sorry. She is red, because she always gets to pick her color first. Plus she goes first. Plus she shuffles the cards. Even so, I have two green pieces way out in front and she is stuck at start, waiting to draw a card that lets her move out.
She is tired of waiting. She draws a 10 and begins to move her piece.
"I think you can only get out with a one or a two," I say.
"Well there is a 1 in 10," she says.
"I don't think that is what they mean," I say. "Give me the box and I will read the rules."
"Fine, " she says, handing me the box lid. "We'll start over."
"We don't have to start over," I say. "Just give me a minute to read this."
But she has already swept my pieces off the board.
Photo: How Sorry Must My Parenting Skills Be?
Does she attend the Johnnie Cochran School Of Reasoning?
Posted by: BOSSY | June 04, 2007 at 03:44 PM
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.”
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.
ILP: You are kidding me, right? It’s a pair of shoes.
ILP: Molly, the shoes please.
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.)
Posted by: Robert K | June 08, 2007 at 08:07 AM