Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Like Mother, like daughter

The other evening Brad was leading the youth in an outdoors Church activity [that is, if your definition of 'leading' entails tipping the Scouts and Mia Maids out of their canoes], so it fell to me to fill his routine role of putting Grace to bed. I am not good at this role. Which is why Brad does it: he can be firm. I am sort of wishy-washy when it comes to bedtime [although I really prefer the term compassionate]. Grace senses this. 

That is a nice way of saying that she takes advantage of me. 

So I spent most of the evening getting drinks and snacks and extra blankets. I also sang many songs. And I repeated, "Good night, I love you; see you in the morning; see you when you wake up" over and over and over. [That is from Grace's self-written bedtime script. I get in trouble when I forget a part or say it out of order.] 

I left her room after each errand only to come back two minutes later. Leave, come back. Leave. Come back. Leave, come back, come back, come back.

That's annoying.

So after an hour of obedience to my three-year-old, I stopped listening to her and started doing the dishes. [Which is to say that I put an end to one form of self-torture and started a new one.] 

But Grace was not giving up. Her whining got impossibly louder and louder, until she realized I wasn't responding. Then she was silent. And that is when I noticed a bulging blanket inching down the hall toward me.

And suddenly, I had a very vivid recollection of pulling an identical stunt on my own mother. My mom was sitting on the cold tile floor of our hallway, reading her scriptures, keeping watch. I was plotting escape. I figured that if I put my blanket over my head and moved at an imperceptible pace, she wouldn't notice me. She would of course look up to see my blanket eventually, but would believe it had been there the whole time, since it was obviously not moving and I was obviously not under it. 

It may surprise you to learn that this plan didn't work. It failed miserably. I got spanked and carried to bed.

But my punishment is not the important thing here. What is important is that Grace might be like me. And that makes me nervous. Very nervous.

But not nervous enough to let Grace get away with her prank entirely. So, I responded the only way I knew she wouldn't expect: I ignored her. I ignored her when she reached the end of the hall. I ignored her when she crawled onto my feet. I ignored her when she pulled the blanket off of her head and bragged "Mom! I'm out of bed." I ignored her when she tugged at my pajamas and angrily insisted, "Mom! Listen to me!" I ignored her until her dad came in the front door, sopping wet. And then I made him put her to bed.

He loves me.


  1. Elise, this made me so hard laugh. It cracks me up when I see my own daughter doing stuff that I used to do, and I think now I know why my parents said I was their hardest child. But Seriously I hope she turns out just like you!

  2. That was cute. I do not look foward to this task with my kids. I have watched too many super-nannnies to known that is usually doesn't go down without a fight!

  3. That cracks me up! And well told, Elise. You're writing is my favorite.

  4. Elise, girl...you know how to write like few others I have ever known. I LOVE to see new postings on your blog, because I know I am in for a treat. Just hilarious, may I add. THANK YOU!!

  5. Well it looks like all those hours of sitting in the writing lab in the JKHB have paid off wonderfully. Taylor often tells me to read your latest post when I come through the door. Last night I was too tired and it's a good thing I waited -- HILARIOUS is all I can say. We miss having you guys around.

  6. Funny story! I have a feeling things are going to be the same way with Nate and I when it comes to getting our kids to sleep. He's firm and I'm a wuss... I mean, I'm a little too compassionate. :)

  7. Opposite day in our family! I'm the mean one. I mean, firm. But it's true, you are a great writer!

  8. Elise, If all my kids turned out like you I would be the happiest mother in the world. You are absolutely amazing, and so talented! I loved your post, I can picture Grace trying that one! haha