Saturday: day 7

An add-on to last night: Jerry says to me, “So let me get this straight, next week there will be no more missing school, right?” “Uh, well, I’m not going back to ‘you must go to school’ and dragging them to the car. We have to figure out, what will it take for them to choose school every day?…And I think we can do it.” We shall see….

Meanwhile, this morning is Charlotte’s last karate class of the week starting at 9am. This is another weak spot for me–to do nothing and say nothing in the face of just having written a check for over $100 to sign her up. Again, I couldn’t contain myself: “Charlotte, Karate starts at 9:00 this morning, and daddy would love to take you.” “Aw, but I’m still in my pajamas.” “Right. So how much time do you need to get changed before you leave?” “Mmm…I don’t know yet.”

Ok, plan B. A bit later I said, “Charlotte, if you want to be on time for karate, you have to get dressed now.” And then I went downstairs. The minutes ticked by. I barely restrained myself. I went out to the car to get something and noticed her shoes and coat left in the back seat. I thought: I’ll just put these in the mudroom for her because otherwise that could derail the whole thing! I carried them in the mudroom and looked around. Well…she does have those other shoes that are right there, and there are some extra coats, but they’re hanging on the upper hooks where she can’t reach and she’s never worn those coats before, she won’t even recognize them …hmm…. ok, ok, I’m putting these back in the car where I found them. (Sooooo tired of me always cleaning all their stuff out of the car! Have to make a change!)

Finally, she came down the stairs … very slowly … stopped to pet the cat …. “Charlotte, daddy’s waiting in the car.” “Well, I don’t want to go right this minute.” And she walked into the living room where her sisters were watching TV. Aaaaaahhh!  I could just hear the loud sucking sound of the TV taking over her brain. It wasn’t looking good. I couldn’t stand it. “Charlotte? What you’re showing me is that maybe I need to cancel karate.” She looked up with raised eyebrows. “Ok, ok, I’m coming.” She sat on the steps and slowly put her socks on. “Now you will be late,” I said. “I know.” Then she started saying goodbye to the cats. I had to leave. I went out to the car and sat with Jerry. “What’s happening?” he said. “Noodling. I can’t watch.” Back at the house, Charlotte opened the door and shot me a look and then closed it again. “I’ll go see what’s up.” She had been looking for her coat, but by the time I got to the mudroom, she had noticed those other coats on the upper hooks and figured out how to jump up in just the right way to get one down. “I couldn’t find a coat,” she said. “Look what you did find!” “Yeah, I think it’s my size,” she said as she put it on. I asked, “How did you get it down from up there?” “Like this!” she said and she jumped and got another one down. “Bye, mom!” She closed the door. A second later it opened again. “Love you!” she said, and blew me a kiss goodbye.

As I’m writing this about Charlotte, the other two are in the kitchen. They want pancakes and the questions keep coming: “Mom, where’s that pan?…Where’s the hot grease thing? [I have no idea what she means] … How do we work the oven? … Hey, the thingy won’t turn! … “Mooooommm can you pleeeaase show us?”

“I’m sorry girls, this is the last day of no help. I know it’s hard and you’re frustrated, but I’m learning a lot by seeing what you can figure out on your own.” “You’re mean!!!” said Fenner and marched away. Ellen stayed in the kitchen and I could hear her moving around and doing things. Then she started dialing the phone. She was using the speaker so I heard a strange answering machine pick up. Then she got out the phone book. “Mom, I can’t find Nan in the phone book!” “Where are you looking?” “In the Es.” (My mother’s name is Elizabeth.) “Hmm, she has two names, you know, so where else could you look?” I gave her a couple more hints and made a mental note: Need training on how to use a phone book. She eventually got it and got my dad on the phone and he managed to talk her through how to turn on one of the stove burners.

But the trouble was not over. “What’s wrong?! They’re just lumps of batter!” “I know! That’s what pancakes are! You just have to wait! …” “Stop pushing me! Why are you pushing me out of the way and not letting me help!” “Because I have to do things!…Here, I’ll let you help, take a towel and pat the grease … not THAT towel!…no, PAT the grease! … Mom! What temperature should they be at? Will you please tell us just one thing, please!”

“Girls, this is the last day. I promise we will teach you how to make pancakes, but not today.” Fenner wiped tears from her eyes. “Well, I don’t care if you want pancakes, I’m not making any for YOU!!!”

Twenty minutes later she said softly, “Mom, there’s pancake batter in the kitchen if you’d like to make some for yourself.”

“Ok, thanks honey.”

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

4 Comments on “Saturday: day 7”

  1. Jerry Lamm Says:

    I am so glad we took this class last week. I have little idea about what I’m doing and so glad Catha has decided to take this on whole-heartedly.

    Thanks Vicki!!!!

  2. Vicki Says:

    Glad to be of assistance. Your wife is amazing. I trust that within days you will be well on your way to establishing some new and interesting routines. Have fun. Yell if you need anything.


  3. Slawebb Says:

    Flockmother, you are AMAZING!! You are made of some tough stuff. Just reading all this made me anxious. I think I would have lost it at the punching. Thanks for sharing your success. It helps me feel like maybe I can do it again, too.

    • flockmother Says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad it’s helpful. I’m not sure what made me so determined. I just wanted change so badly from where we were stuck — it felt good to do something radically different!

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