“Rise and shine sweetheart, it’s time for school”
“NOOOOO!!! It’s supposed to be a snow day. I’M NOT GOING TO SCHOOL!”
Yeah, that’s how my Friday morning started. You would have thought that I just told The Hare today was the day we were going to amputate the arms of all of her favorite Polly Pockets and then use their tiny plastic hands to dig graves for her Littlest Pet Shop animals in the backyard. The temper tantrum erupting stank of toddler and not almost 9 years old.
“I’m going to walk out of your room and then walk back in to give you time to respond differently. If you continue to respond like this, it will result in a spanking.”
“Only preschoolers get spankings! I’m not a preschooler.”
“Um, well, if you keep acting like a preschooler then I will have to punish you like a preschooler.”
I left the room, came back in and tried again, handing her a sweatshirt and a pair of pants.
“I’ll go to school, but I’m not happy about it.”
I shake a very unsure, constantly second-guessing and frazzled middle finger to this thing called Tough Love. I hate it. It requires follow through and hard choices, decisions that sometimes feel like I’m punishing myself. Choices that usually make my children uncomfortable. Last night was one of those moments. For the first time ever The Hare handed me a spelling test that required a parent signature. She is a straight A student.
“How in the world did you fail this?”
“I didn’t study.”
“You’ve never failed a spelling test.”
“YEAH! I KNOW! But this time I had different words than everybody else.”
It appears that my talk with her teacher about not being challenged enough resulted in a new spelling list specifically for her, which was exactly what I had wanted. Unfortunately it wasn’t received well, and The Hare thought she could skate by with just showing up like she has all year. She never even showed me the new list, which is weird since I always go through her Friday folder.
“Why didn’t you show me the list?”
“I didn’t want to practice it.”
Points for honesty.
This morning I walked her into class early and made her apologize to Mrs. G for being unprepared. The Hare cried and cried, tears staining her pink cheeks, boogers oozing out her nose. She admitted that she tossed the list aside and purposely blew it off because she has never needed to study before. She also explained to Mrs. G that she was going to learn the words at home anyway and take another spelling test from mom.
As angry as I was, it hurt to see her so upset. But how else is she going to be an accountable adult if I don’t make her be accountable now? Mrs. G seemed surprised but genuinely thankful for the apology. She accepted the signed test but also let her know that the grade she got would not be changed. She got what she earned. Tough Love.
Another wrinkly, sun-potted, Depends wearing flip off goes to trying to act like a kid last weekend. While my brother and his wife were here, we decided to try a couple of games of Laser Tag. The first game was a blast. It was our family against another family of about equal size, age, and ability. However, the second game was against TWO other teams of dads and their diversely aged boys. Boys that run around screaming Rambo like howls and ambush you while you try to escape their laser blasts. Boys that hide behind walls and strategize while you simply scream like a girl and shoot everything in sight. Boys that suddenly jump out of the dark and pounce on you, causing your old bladder to pee a little in fear for your life.
And last but not least, I seriously double solute all of you loud talkers while I am trying to have a nice breakfast. It’s not that I can’t think above your un-muffled murmuring, but your conversations are really inappropriate said in public. Here are a few of my favorites, and believe me, I can’t make this crap up:
- The gentleman behind me on the phone said, “Yes, I’d like to make an appointment for me and my wife. We found living parasites in her bloody stool last night and now I am starting to have stomach cramps too.”
- A man across the room on the phone said, “No, I don’t think I can meet you at _____ bar tonight. I’ve only been sober for a week. Maybe in about a month.”
- The man and woman having a business meeting a couple of tables away, “I might have shared my bed with you but I’m not sharing my territory with you. Ever. I work harder than you do.”
- A couple standing in line ordering food, “We’ll have to pick a different restaurant next time, too many of my wife’s friends come here and might recognize us.”