Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Showdown at the Elementary Corral

Sometimes being a parent plays out like a scene from an old western movie or a showdown at high noon, but in our case yesterday (the first day back at school) it was more like 4:45 p.m. I stood my ground in the school room doorway, she hers in front of the teacher’s desk. “Time to go now little lady,” I almost drawled. She retorted with an icy stare and these fighting words: “But when’s my play date with D?” “I reckon I don’t know” would have been the fancier way to say it but I again held to my line, “It’s time to go…. NOW.” Could have seen the next part coming… “But when’s my play date with D?” This eloquent battle of retorts (if you can call them that) went back and forth a few more times before I raised my weapon (in this case my voice) and almost shouted (but not quite) – “The longer it takes for you to come with us, the longer it will be until you ever get to play with D…5…..4….3…2..1”!

At this point D, who had been the faithful sidekick, folded much like a house of cards. “I think maybe you should go now” she whispered to my girl. The gun slinging strong-willed girl who had pulled out all her stops: begging, crying, promising, defying, repetition as a form of torture – was without an army. She caved in her own persistent way… with much ado, stomping, huffing, a bit of shoving and nose in the air. And even though I managed to guide her huffily to our faithful steed (the van) to make the trek home, she held out on hooking her seat belt insisting to do so only with the overhead light on, much difficulty and a slow and decidedly growly Puh-lEaSe!

About halfway home, I suspect she figured out just what she’d done, so she tried in her way to fix it. I can just picture her little cowgirl mind thinking “if I just get Mama to do math with me, it will all be O.K.” And so she did. “What is 2+2+5?” she said. I politely responded that I didn’t feel like answering her math question. “What is 2+2+5?” she said again and again and again and again and yet AGAIN (as you can imagine this went on for some time).

After dinner and some parental consultation, the girl got 2 weeks in the pokey (translated from the original old western, that means “no play dates” until your sentence is up). Sadly this morning, I realized that sometimes that old adage of “this will hurt me more than it hurts you” may well just be true. I received a cheery play date scheduling text from another parent of a young gal who wanted to take my girl off my hands tomorrow afternoon – ah the girl would be happy and I’d only have one child to deal with… sounded like heaven – until …

I realized that: she couldn’tgrounded.

Funny thing in all this is just how upset I was when this all went down. Boy howdy. I was roaming the school halls with her brother who was gosh honest worried we wouldn’t find her at all. I felt like this was the worse thing ever and that no other parent had gone through such a thing…. Oh yeah right.

Today, of course, things seem much … well… less. The little cowgirl for her part well… she still needs her consequence and so… we’ll be spending lots of quality time together for the next couple of weeks. Yes it hurts me, but it also isn’t any fun for her and I think, just maybe she’ll begin to see that her actions have consequences. Gosh golly. Let’s hope so.

I don’t want to have to call in the cavalry.


  1. she's a spunky one.

  2. Oh yes Norma ... she really is! I just keep trying to remember it will probably be a great trait as she gets older (maybe after her teens years).

  3. Oh the strong willed child, gotta love them.

  4. Nike - and I do love her.

  5. hafidha sofia1/06/2010

    It's funny how these conflicts can seem like such a big deal while they're occurring, then as soon as they're over - they're over. And maybe there's a lesson in there to be learned, or humor to be laughed at, but the frustration and anxiety is hard to hold onto.