When being right goes so wrong

By Mir
January 12, 2005

Lest you are still feeling dewy-eyed from my daughter’s compassion this morning, I have a cure for what ails ya.


You know I love her. I do. I would lay down my life for her, without a second thought. Largely due to the brain damage I have sustained whilst slamming my head into the wall repeatedly.

There is no greater frustration than locking horns with the younger version of oneself.

Today when we picked Monkey up from school, they were giving out these fiber optic wand thingies to the kids in his class, for some reason. Chickadee’s eyes got big, and she asked me if she could ask the teacher if she could have one. I told her she could ask, politely, but that she might be told no and if that was the case, she needed to accept that answer gracefully.

The damn teacher gave her one. Alright; fine. Now there will be no fighting. Right? Wrong.

Back in the car, both children are waving their wands and admiring the multicolored frond thingies and chattering with great excitement. “I hope it never breaks!” Monkey proclaimed.

“Don’t worry, Monkey,” Chickadee said, looking closely at her wand. “I think it takes batteries. So when it stops working, we put new batteries in.” So innocent. On the surface. As her mother, I was hit with a wave of precognition and gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. Here’s what came next:

Me: Chickadee, do not open that wand.
Her: It’s okay, it just unscrews–
Me: CHICKADEE. What did I just say to you?
Her: But it unscrews so it–
Me: CHICK. A. DEE. What I said was DO NOT OPEN IT.
Her: Mama, I just want to look and see–
Me: Last time: DO. NOT. OPEN. THAT. WAND.
Her: But WHY NOT?
Me: Because you will end up losing pieces and then it won’t work anymore and then you will cry. DON’T.
Her: I won’t lose anything–
Me: Chickadee.
Her: But why can’t I?
Me: BECAUSE I SAID SO. I’m done talking about this.
Her: See, Monkey, it has batteries!
Me: *pointedly silent*
Him: Oooooh!
Her: See, it’s okay. And now I’m going to close it up again.
Me: *just waiting*
Her: See, it works just fine! You were wrong, Mama.
Me: *still waiting*
Him: Uhhhh, Chickie? Your lights are gone.
Her: What? No, it’s lighting up.
Him: Your lights are white. Mine are colored.
Her: Wha–? Hey! What happened??
Me: *breathing very slowly, in and out*
Her: Mama! What happened to my colors??
Me: What did I tell you?
Her: But. You. I. You said not to open it!
Me: Right. What did you do?
Her: I opened it.
Me: Right. Why did I say you shouldn’t open it?
Her: Because I’d lose a piece.
Me: Right. Why do you think the color is gone?
Her: I don’t KNOW why!
Me: You lost a piece. Look for a tiny colored disc, it’s probably in your lap.
Her: I can’t fiiiiiiind it! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

After this exchange, I of course helped her find the missing piece, dried her tears, repaired the wand, and then we all enjoyed a 5-course supper in the greatest of harmony.

Or I, you know, snapped “I tried to tell you, but of course you never listen!” and stomped inside and threw a frozen pizza in the oven while she sobbed and snuffled and eventually talked her brother into trading wands.

I, um, don’t recall, Your Honor.


  1. rudolf

    I think the 2nd response is entirely the more appropriate myself!

  2. Jules

    I was totally believeing the first one until the whole “we all enjoyed a 5-course supper” part…cuz I was sure there weren’t that many varieties of mac-n-cheese :) But then it coulda been sundae night and then that could totally have worked out.

  3. Amanda B.

    Hey darlin. I’m sorry if my mouth proceeded my common sense. Forgive.

    You are purrty! Does that help?

  4. Psycho Kitty

    Oh, oh, oh. I think I gave birth to your daughter’s soul mate. Oy.

  5. Mad

    You got a gullible one too? I’m forever yelling at my 11 year old for trading things with my 13 year old when she and I both KNOW said 13 year old would NEVER EVER trade anything with her that still worked. Kids! :)

  6. ben

    I’ve got one that loves to “make deals” too.

    Big Brother: “But the broken thingamajig is SO COOL. You can use it as a doorstop.”

    Lil’ Brother: “Okay.”


  7. savtadotty

    “There is no greater frustration than locking horns with the younger version of oneself.” Amen. Just hang in there until the younger version of oneself gets to contend with a younger version of herself. It’s awesome!

  8. Peek

    They have cloned your daughter and placed her in my house. They NEVER listen!!!!

  9. Shiz

    Frustrating. She’s gotta learn, though.


  10. Cece

    And I thought I was the only one.

  11. Jenny

    Yeah, well. My oldest is the mini-version of MY MOTHER. Try locking horns with that.

    Seriously, though, I think I’ve had that exact same conversation. 500 times, in fact.


  12. chris

    Oh I have the 8yr old male version of chickadee at my house.

    Perhaps we can arrange a marriage ;-)

  13. Micheline P.

    Target has fiber optic wands in their $1 bins and those change 8 different colors in slow motion!

    OOOooooh, my bad…I shouldn’t be encouraging you to go to Target! Should I?


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