Monday, May 28, 2012

Sometimes the Blog Writes Itself

Kids sometimes fall into habits.  Bad habits.  One of the most annoying/frequent type of habits I deal with, is tattlitis.  Tattlitis for the uninitiated, is the compulsion to tell a parent (usually Mom) on everything that another person or possibly every other person does, even when it is not an offense or the parent is standing right there.

There is a presumption that is two-fold in tattlitis: 1) Mom is asleep on the job and 2) has left the tattler in charge.  While it is true that if I had left the tattler in charge, it would only be because Mom is asleep on the job, rest assured, I have never done this, even when very very tired. 

So yesterday, when we were loading the car for mass, I said, "Everyone who can, get in the van."  My six year old was finishing a drawing by signing her name but she was dressed and ready to go.  I was still getting younger people shod.  Some of the older children began ushering younger ones out when a middle child fresh of the end of my sentence, before the last waves of sound that came forth from my vocal cords had stilled, said, "MOM! She's NOT GETTING IN THE CAR!" 

Mind you, I was across the table from said child not getting in the car and could see all that was happening, and it was within the window of compliance with a parental request, i.e. in this case, less than ten seconds from the actual request when the offense was reported.  I pointed out to tattler in question. "You don't have to tell me.  I'm right here." 

"But I can." was her response.  She then gave me a meaningful look that could be roughly translated as "Why don't you pounce like a crazed rabid Bengal Tiger? I said Sic 'em."

"Out.  Out to the car now."  I ended the discussion and thanked the six year old for her artwork where she had been laboring to write her full name and I love you Mom.  I resolved to make sure she didn't sit too close to the tattler en route to mass, as my lack of discipline of the artist would surely be a source of disappointment to the child in question. 

Sure enough, when I got in the car.  "MOM, she's sitting in my spot. I claimed that spot when I got in the car."

"You got in the car before her."
"But I claimed that spot."
"Then why are you sitting where you are sitting?"
"I just wanted to look around first."

Now that our oldest is home, we need the second car to go anywhere as a whole family, so I opted for the divide and conquer approach.  "Dad needs passengers.  You (tattler) and you (offending non offensive child) and you (bigger child who would appreciate the leg room), to the other car.  They sat next to Dad in mass. With the catalyst kid on one side, and the tattler on the other, we made it through the feast of Pentecost with relative peace.  No "She's not singing. She's still kneeling. She didn't say all the words of the prayer. She squeezed my hand too hard at peace..." though I'm fairly certain my daughter kept a mental list for later use.

So this morning, I woke to the same dulcet sounds of tattles.  "MOM....She's taking..." and she held up her hand to show four fingers,"whole minutes to brush her teeth." 

This was my Good Morning.  

"You timed her?"
"No.  I counted to sixty.  FOUR TIMES."
"You need a new hobby."
"MOM! She's taking the bathroom.  She's using it for FOUR WHOLE Minutes. You're NOT DOING YOUR JOB."
"Which is to time the time your sister spends in the bathroom before I get up?"  Clearly I needed to read the fine print of my job description as Mom.

"No but..."
 "Is she's done now?"

"So the bathroom is free for your use?"

"Well, I'll tell you how you can really show her. You can waste even more time.  Brush for FIVE whole minutes. Then you win."
"But she doesn't need to use the bathroom now."

"But you do need to brush your teeth."
"Do I HAVE to do FIVE minutes?"
"No. You can do two if that would make you happy."

"It won't make me happy."
"Well, I'm sorry it will make you sad, but you still have to brush your teeth."
Mentally praying for the willingness not to grit my teeth and for wisdom from the Holy Spirit on this one as she started to stomp her foot in protest of my again, not striking with vengeful Mom holy wrath on her sister, I remembered Sunday.

"If you would like a different ruling on the issue of time in the bathroom, you can always try DAD. He's already up and outside working on the garden and I'm sure would love to hear all about the problems with how much time your sister spends brushing her teeth." and with that, she's off and back upstairs in a flash.

I completely attribute that inspiration to the Holy Spirit.  Thank God for Dad....and Pentecost.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Ha ha, I love it! Yesterday I got this from my two teenage boys: "Mom, he's wearing my shirt!" ", you already have on a shirt, so what's the problem?" "I HATE it when he wears my shirts!" "He wears that one all the time. I assumed it was his." Offending boy: "All my shirts are too small, Mom. That's why I have to wear his." Guess I need to buy him more shirts.

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