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.
Her: YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING I WANT TO DO!
[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.