Still got it

By Mir
November 22, 2006

Today Chickadee snarled and grumped her way through the morning, moving at top glacial speed and crying at any and all of the following suggestions: That she get out of bed, that she get dressed, that she move a little faster, that she select a food for breakfast, that she join us for breakfast, that she remember to take her backpack upon leaving the house.

It was a really splendid way to start out the day. My favorite was when I called up the stairs to see if she was on her way down and she screamed back “I’m brushing my hair! Do you WANT me to look like it has birds’ nests in it??”

I sort of wanted to see that, but I didn’t think she’d appreciate me saying so.

Eventually the kids made it out the door and onto the bus, and I hoped that whatever bug had climbed up her butt in the night would be shaken out while at school. My hopes were dashed when the school nurse called midday to report that Chickadee was complaining of a stomach ache but had no verifiable symptoms.

Well, then. I got on the phone with her and gently reminded her that today was the last day of school for the entire week, and that if she could make it through the day that would probably be a good idea. She grunted assent and put the nurse back on, and we agreed she could go back to class.

[I always suffer a moment or two or panic, after that happens, because one of these days I will tell her to knock it off and move along and then they will call me fifteen minutes later to report that she just puked everywhere, I am sure of it.]

Afternoon rolled around and the kids came running up the driveway, both of them appearing to be healthy. But five minutes later the girl child was stomping and huffing around, again, so I suggested she watch some TV and STOP TALKING for a little while. All was well until it was time to leave for Tae Kwon Do, at which point Chickadee put on her windbreaker.

Me: Chickadee, it’s 30 degrees outside. Put on your parka, please.
Her: It’s TOO HOT! I was just JUST OUTSIDE and I don’t want it. It’s fine out there!
Me: It’s getting dark and that means it’s getting colder. You need the heavier jacket. Put it on, now.
Her: But I don’t want it.
Me: I don’t care. Put it on and let’s go.

[Monkey’s comment: “Wow, I guess she doesn’t like you today, Mama. That’s okay, because I still love you!” Such a suck-up, that one.]

I waited until we were underway in the car to calmly point out that insisting she wear a weather-appropriate jacket was hardly large-scale oppression, and that it was clear she was angry at me about SOMETHING, but I had no idea what, and as such, I couldn’t help her. If she wanted to talk to me about something, that was fine, but I was getting awfully tired of being yelled at when I had no idea why she was so upset.

Chickadee glowered at me from the backseat and finally spat out, “I didn’t like those pants you took out for me this morning.”

I bit down on the inside of my cheek and chose my words carefully. “THAT’s why you’ve been angry at me all day? Because of your pants?” She nodded. “Ummm, Chickie? Why didn’t you just wear a different pair?”

“Because you— because I— I don’t KNOW!” she wailed.

But, apparently, it was still all my fault. And lately I’d been a bit worried that I’d gone sort of soft, so this exchange was a welcome relief. It showed me that I am still a Terrible Mother.

Which means everything is coming together according to my nefarious plan. It starts with the pants, you know.


  1. InterstellarLass

    I think it must be the phase of the moon or something.

    Elle suffers from the same malady as Chickadee…the puking 15 minutes after going back to class part. Then, once she pukes, she’s all better. Except the school doesn’t see it that way.

  2. Irene

    the pants!!!!! NOW I GET IT!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  3. barbex

    I’m soo glad I have boys!

  4. lili

    Oh dear, welcome to the very start of mood-swing puberty.
    With all the other exciting things going on in your life, you just really needed this little extra.

  5. Two Sirius

    Thank goddess for terrible mothers.

    Look at it this way: at least you now have a reason to yell “Pants!” At random intervals to no apparent purpose. That’s always fun.

  6. Kendra

    Dear lord…she sounds like me when I’m PMSing. Oh the torment of being a moody pre-teen…it can’t be any fun (I certainly hate the torment of being a moody 30 year old).

    I realize my comment was in no way helpful, it was a kind of “stream of consciousness” writing…

    I will second the comments above…I’m so glad I have 2 boys.

  7. Brigitte

    I didn’t even dare go to the nurse as a kid, because my mom would send me back even with a fever if it was under 102 . . . so of course, I was one of those kids who puked all over the place, several times. Thank goodness that wasn’t it this time – or would illness perhaps have been better to deal with than the pants-angst? After all, the illness goes away in a couple days, while the pants are forever.

  8. Rae

    I too have a daughter like Chickie — maybe we’re both supposed to learn something from them — except that my darling daughter never has a reason for me (not even a clothes choice) for her huffing, puffing, stomping and otherwise making this house a difficult place to be.

    Cheers to you, Mir — and to all single moms like ourselves struggling to make some sense of our wonderful yet difficult children.

    PS – I just found your blog yesterday and I’m addicted! Help me…I shouldn’t be reading blogs at work, maybe I should be (gasp) working…?

  9. Barb

    Hey, at least your school nurse sends them home if they puke. Ours has a policy of they only get to go home if they puke AND have a fever! I’ve been known to sneak off and call parents on my cell phone “Yes, hi, this is Jenny’s teacher and she just threw up all over my rug. The nurse isn’t going to call you because she’s not running a fever but I thought you should know”. 9 times out of 10 the parent shows up right away to take the obviously miserable but NOT FEVERISH child out of my classroom. Want to guess who isn’t one of the nurse’s favorite teachers, lol? I’m all for kids being at school as much as possible but have a firm belief that puking = go home!

    As for the pants, I know you secretly spent hours that morning debating over exactly which pair would most ruin Chickie’s day and then rubbed your hands in glee that your plan had gone so beautifully!

  10. Kimberly

    I think the same bug crawled up both Ladies’ butts this morning. *Nothing* is acceptable. Cereal, pants, hair, juice…nothing is right, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, and general agreement that I am the worst. mommy. ever.

    I’ve done the dismissed symptoms puke. At a school I worked at, no less. It’s embarrassing and the guilt is crippling, but you get over it. After all, if she hadn’t made Ferris Bueller her personal hero to begin with, it wouldn’t have been an issue.

  11. tori

    I usually am all for the puking=going home thing, but my son pukes at least once every day (still working on that with the doctors…it’s been almost a year). The days it happens at school, he comes home and runs around and feels fine all day. Because of him, I am somewhat immune to the whole “I’m sick” complaints from my kids. I too live in fear that I will ignore/downplay one of my girls and it will happen to them.

    I have an almost 9 year old daughter who sounds just like Chickadee. At least they both still eventually tell us why they are mad even if it is after an entire day of being grumpy. I hear when they get a little older, they will be mad about pants or in my daughters case pajamas and toothpaste (I totally bought the wrong kind, who knew) and never end up telling us.

  12. Sara

    It starts with the pants?! Rats! And all this time I thought it started with the hairstyle. No wonder my plans for total domicile domination have been falling apart! Pants….it starts with the pants….

  13. Karen Rani

    Oh you can so have a good laugh at my expense when Dylan and Thomas act like that. After Dylan slammed his bedroom door, in a HUGE huff, I calmly opened his door and asked, “Are you trying out for the role of 15 year old girl?”

    Parenting with Sarcasm: the only way to raise ’em up right.

  14. Suebob

    Perhaps you can get a job interrogating terrorists – “tell me where the captives are, or you get THE PANTS! Bwaaaa haaaa haaaa!”

  15. Bob

    Is it too early for the “I hope you grow up to have a daughter just like you” speech? I was talking to my mom a few days ago and mentioned that I didn’t know what my daughter had been up to lately as she hadn’t come home the past few weekends. Mom cackled – yes, cackled – and said that now I knew what it felt like. I’ve been getting the cackle for the past 21 years.

  16. Rebecca

    Whew! It really IS a girl thing. And here I thought I was using the wrong detergent or something and poisoning my daughter’s attitude brain cells, causing her to stomp and scream and slam. El yay!

  17. ishouldbeworking

    Yep, it starts with the pants. Just wait until you get yelled at and accused of “not caring about my education because you won’t help me with my homework!!!!!” AFTER the accuser has procrastinated and ignored said homework for TWO HOURS and only notices it and remembers she needs help when you get up to take a shower and go to bed…..Then you will look upon this pants episode and have a good laugh.

  18. Niki

    We have pants issues at our house too. My youngest swears she only owns 2 pairs that fit her (try 10 or so!), and she will wear either capris or rolled-up jeans when it’s 40 out. Or run around the house in a tank top and shorts and complain that she’s cold. I blame her dad – he’s the same way! My other daughter never wears socks – NEVER. Even the hand-knitted ones she begged me to make. I have taken to letting them pack their own suitcases (such as for this weekend – 4 days without them!) and having only themselves to be upset with when they don’t have the appropriate clothes. Such as 5 pair of socks (for the no-socks-wearer) but only 2 pair of underwear. Again, I blame their dad. He passed along his defective packing gene.

    Oh – and joy of joys – youngest has started rolling her eyes at me. Arghh! Teen and pre-teen girls – let’s lock them all up.

  19. Cele

    Oh I love being a grandmother. Have a better tomorrow Mir…. er and Chickie too.

  20. Rachael

    So thankful I only have boys to deal with.

  21. Jenn2

    Oh my gosh! We SOOOO have the same kid! I know we’ve laughed about this before, but every time you write one of these posts it brings it all home. I took Drama Queen to the airport (Thanksgiving at her Dad’s) and she was a little witchie-poo the whole way. I finally parked and looked at her and said, “Hon, I sense you’re angry and I hate for you to leave on a bad note. Do you want to talk? Have I done something?” Apparently, because I packed her up Thursday night (after asking her repeatedly to do it herself), I don’t trust her to pack her own bags. Like she’s a “total toddler or something.” I didn’t point out that she had the chance, I merely apologized and promised to consult her next time. Sigh.

  22. Keryn

    “…calmly point out that insisting she wear a weather-appropriate jacket was hardly large-scale oppression, and that it was clear she was angry at me about SOMETHING, but I had no idea what, and as such, I couldn’t help her. If she wanted to talk to me about something, that was fine, but I was getting awfully tired of being yelled at when I had no idea why she was so upset.”

    I am seriously taking notes. That is such a marvelous way of asking the question instead of yelling, “Why are you being such a brat today?” My oldest is only three but I really am going to try to remember this example. I really admire you!

  23. Daisy

    I came for the blog and stayed for the comments. Without the blogosphere, I wouldn’t know there are so many kindred spirits out there!

  24. Mel

    Really, you should read “Parenting with Love and Logic.” You’ll love it. They’d tell you that if you’d allow her to choose whether or not to wear a coat, she’d learn from the natural consequences (being cold). I love that book. Makes my life as a mom so much easier since I stopped worrying about things the KIDS ought to be worrying about.

  25. Chewie

    I swear it is the whole freaking holiday season…my kids are already getting worked up and horrible. It just settles into their bones around mid Nov., and I’m in holiday hell till we finally emerge in mid Jan. ugh. bahumbug.


  26. Gillian

    I don’t know about the natural consequences of not wearing a coat, they generally end up involving snot everywhere, no sleep and the fact that any illness is mamma’s fault. That and the rules about streets and parking lots are dear to my heart. Maybe you are just lucky and the Chickie will go into adolescence early! Then she could be in agony if you exist when she goes anywhere in public. Usually you have to invest in a disguise to wear so you look like a chauffer or other paid minion. Take it from me though, the mustache and glasses thing may seem economical but it will never fly.

  27. Tracey

    Hurrah for school uniforms! is all I can say.

    However, despite the wonderfulness of not having to figure out what they are going to wear every day of the week, we still get ‘clothes’ issues. When my middlest was about Chickadee’s age it was socks. Tears about socks. At least she would just break down and cry and not take it out on me all day.

    But my eldest was already a bit of a drama queen at 9.. and we’re having some veeerrrry interesting times now at 13. Take dash of ‘feisty’.. add hormones and stir. Good luck!!

  28. Kendra

    If you let her find the natural consequences of not wearing a coat, you always end up being the loser. Because you have to listen to her whine non-stop for hours about how cold she is. I can already tell my little girl is going to be a handful at that age and she’s only 2 months old. But I’m glad you figured it out. Next time you’ll be more careful about reading her mind before you pick her pants.

  29. Kestralyn

    Y’know, the more I read from your life, hear from the other commenters and spend time around kids, the more amazed I am that ANY of us survived our childhood! I look at my friends’ 12 and 13-year old girls and see waaaay too much of myself at that age. And me-now would gladly stick me-then in a barrel and dumped her over Niagra Falls! And I know I’m not the only one who can look back at themselves and go “EWWWW!!! I was a brat!”

  30. angela

    I can’t believe you forced her to wear such awful pants! And a parka? You must really have it out for her.

  31. TrudyJ

    I don’t think it’s totally a girl thing. My almost 9 y.o. son sounds JUST like Chickadee with the smart mouth, and also with the calling home from school semi-sick (this went on for weeks before I took him to a dr and learned he had strep, just because he is such a complainer I didn’t believe him). And my 6 y.o. daughter is pure Monkey-style suck-up, providing self-righteous commentary on all her brother’s misdemeanors.

    Putting down all the unhappiness to The Wrong Trousers, though … that part’s all-girl, I think.

  32. Amy

    Gawd, you’re evil. The WRONG PANTS! That puts you right up there with Cruella deVille. Sheesh. The wrong pants. You’re lucky you’re not going to get reported for this, Missy. (As a former drama queen, I’m only an aunt to a drama queen. I can jest about such things.)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  33. Kathy

    Don’t forget – you’re all going through some changes and she may be at that age (I know my 8 year old is) where she worries and overthinks e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest