My children don’t listen to me. Nope. Instead they have figured out when to nod, when to say yes or no, and how to wait to roll their eyes until I’ve turned my head, all in such a way that makes me believe they are listening to me and soaking in the wisdom that as a parent I am suddenly dispensing so liberally.
Today was an example of such sly behavior from my children, Emily in particular. Each year we go up to “open camp” for Greg’s family’s campsite, a job which entails raking up a year’s worth of pine needles over a good chunk of land and disposing of them, taking down the 5th wheel’s winter roof, and setting up the outdoor sitting area. Yeah, I know, some of you are probably thinking camping and 5th wheel don’t belong in the same sentence. To that I say, “Get your Grizzly Adams lovin’ self out of my face and leave city-loving folk like me to their own kind of camping. Pfffft.”
Back to why my children are atrocious listeners… On our way up to camp this morning, Greg needed to nurse a hangover with some greasy food, so we stopped at the place that serves grease with a side of breakfast better than anywhere. McDonald’s. As Greg hopped out of the car, the kids said they wanted hash browns, aka grease served in an golden oval piece of potato-ish substance. The kids had already had breakfast. And a snack. It was 9:45 in the morning, but they still wanted something from the “lunch house.” Greg walked away, and I told the kids that they might have to share a hash brown. Emily, three-year-old Emily, Emily with a fierce stubborn streak, wasn’t down with that. She insisted that she wanted her OWN hash brown. Our “conversation” went like this:
Emily: I want my *own* hash brown.
Me: Emily, you and Braedyn may have to share a hash brown. You’ve already eaten. This is just a treat.
Emily: But, I want my own hash brown. I want my own hash brown, Mommy. Mommy, I want my *own* hash brown.
Me: Emily. You will get what you get and you will appreciate it. Whatever Daddy…
Emily: But I want my own hash brown.
Me: EMILY. You will get what you get and you will be appreciative of whatever Daddy brings...
Emily: But I want my own hash brown. Mommy, um, I want my own hash brown.
Me: EMILY! I don’t know what Daddy is going to get, but whatever he brings back, you will tell him “thank you.” Do you under…
Emily: I’m trying to talk to you, Mommy. Mommy, I want my own…
Me: Emily! Do you understand what I am saying?
Emily: I’m trying to talk to you, Mommy!
Me: You can talk to me AFTER you let me know you understand what I am telling you. Do you understand what I said?
Me: Do you understand?
Me: OK, now you can talk to me, Emily. Thank you.
Emily: Mommy? Um. I want my own hash brown.
Greg came back with a hash brown for each kid. So, spoiled, STUBBORN Emily got this:
And after that, I so needed this: