A few weeks ago, the girls and I were coming home from another long day of school and activities. As we trooped into the house, shedding bags and sweaters and such, I started reminding them what needed to be done in order to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible.
They’re hungry when they come home from school. They’re especially hungry when they come home from school when they’ve had piano or tennis or tutoring or whatever else I’ve got them doing to make sure they are well rounded individuals. They’re so hungry, they “literally can’t do anything, Mom, until dinner is ready.”
I, however, am not the only person living in this house, as I like to remind them. It takes all hands to make things run smoothly and efficiently. So, if you want to eat dinner before your stomach begins to think your throat is cut, put down that copy of “Big Nate” or “The School For Good and Evil” and put “Crossy Road” and “Bunny Buns” on pause (you shouldn’t be having screen time anyway) and come set the table.
On this particular evening, I was doling out the chores as the girls made their way upstairs. M headed up first with a reminder to empty the trashes. C was hot on her heels with instructions to bring all of the laundry downstairs. Bringing up the rear was V, trying to dip, dodge, duck, dive and dodge in-between her sisters in order to avoid her marching orders.
No luck for her, though. I called her back downstairs and she met me in the kitchen, adamant that she couldn’t possibly do what I was about to ask her to do because: life. It ain’t easy being six.
“I wanna rest, and go to school, and have peace and quiet.”
We had some back and forth and back and forth before I remembered,”Oh, wait a second! I’m the mom!”, whereupon, I got down in her face. Speaking lowly and slowly, reminded her to fix her face and fix her attitude before I fixed my foot up in her behind. Normally, I’m all bark and no bite, but V has tested me in ways her older sisters have not. I actually have to follow through with tough talk.
Thankfully, this chick got hip to the game and stomped up the stairs to pull herself together before handling her chores. Minutes went by and I called up to her, “V, come down and empty the dishwasher!”
Down the stairs and into the kitchen she comes, planting herself between me and the dishwasher.
“Do you see my earrings?” she asks.
I look at her recently pierced ears. In one ear, she has a small gold ball, about the size of pinhead. In the other ear, she has a blue flower, its tiny petals splayed open. “Yes,” I say. “I see them.”
“When you’re mean to me? And when you yell at me? It makes me feel small. . .and blue.” And as she speaks, she touches each ear in turn to make sure I understand.
Her eyes are dancing. The expressions on her face are warring. On the one hand, she knows she ought to look pitiful; on the other hand, she is pretty flippin’ pleased with herself.
The thing with having a smart kid like V is that you can’t let them know you find them hilarious. If you do, they’ve got you. And V is hilarious.
I know it.
You know it.
She knows we know it. And as the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.