Friday pm

When Charlotte saw me at pick-up time at school she ran into my arms and gave me a loooong bear hug. It occurred to me that she hadn’t done that in a long time. I said softly into her ear, “Charlotte, it’s such a beautiful day, and now it’s even more beautiful because you’re here.” (I know that sounds corny, but I think taking the time to say stuff like that is going to help Charlotte reinvent herself.) And when I said that she hugged me a little tighter.

After a while she leaned back and said, “Mom? Can I get my coat?” I put her down and she ran over to get the coat she left under a tree nearby. She went to tell Fenner it was time to go and then the trouble began: Charlotte chasing Fenner around trying to spit on her and Fenner swinging her heavy back pack at Charlotte. I looked away and pretended not to notice.

After a few minutes, Fenner was invited to a friend’s house and left, and Charlotte was out on the playground stepping around in the mud. Ellen picked up her backpack and walked over to me. “Where’s the little twerp?” she said. Sigh.

At home, Ellen approached the door with her hands full. I turned the knob for her. “Mom, you’re not supposed to help.” “Oh, well, I think the little tiny things are ok.” “How do you know?” she asked. “Uhh…I don’t…” Then I walked into the kitchen and announced, “Any Doritos left in the car will be eaten by Mom!” Charlotte thought for a second and then shrugged and said, “I don’t care.” So I said, “Oh, good, I get Doritos!” (I meant it, I love Doritos.)

Jerry got home from his business trip and cringed a bit at the mess. Just now he came into my office and said, “So do they now think that it’s ok to eat in the living room?” I looked at him carefully. “Ummm…I don’t know how to answer that….” “Well, do they think they’re getting away with something, or do they think the rules have changed?” “Uhhhh…so it bugs you that they might think they’re getting away with something?” “I don’t know…I guess I think they should know better and that it’s disrespectful, so I’m wondering what’s going on in their heads.” “Well, I can tell you what’s going on in my head and that is, ‘Hmm, look at that. We have not inspired them to pick up after themselves.’ So that just goes in the file for this week as good information.” He said ok and went upstairs. It’s got to be hard to walk back into this after four days away.

Fenner came home and now they’re all upstairs. I hear running, screaming, and yelling. Ellen’s voice: “You’re so annoying, and no one likes it! Why?!!” And then Charlotte: “I HATE IT!” I hear Fenner say, “Go, go, go!” and then slam her door. It’s ok, it’s ok … we’re doin’ the Obama: hope and change…hope and change….

Ellen seems exhausted from staying up late so many nights. And her hair is disgusting. And Charlotte’s hair is more disgusting. In fact, this is a weak spot for me. I really don’t like looking at or touching dirty hair, especially when it’s on my own daughter’s head. I mean, come on, I get it already. The current situation is that if I don’t make it happen, Charlotte will go indefinitely without attending to personal hygiene. That’s loud and clear by now, and no, it’s not a good way to go in the outside world. So I decided to give myself permission to try out the “As soon as” approach. I filled up the bathtub and announced, “Charlotte, your body and your hair are very dirty, and the bathtub is full. Do you want bubbles or no bubbles?” She frowned at me, paused, and said, “Bubbles.” Now I don’t expect that she will now march upstairs and get in. Definitely not. So the next time she wants something, I’ll say, “Yes! As soon as you take a bath and wash your hair.” To be continued…

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 1: Do nothing. Say nothing

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