When the girls sit at my kitchen table doing their homework after school, they generally work peacefully; that is, until I leave the room. Don’t get me wrong, they are “chatty Cathies”, who I have to prompt to stop talking; but in general they are able to get their work done. Except when I leave the room for any reason. Then all bets and gloves are off. The main culprits in these fights are Mary and the doll. Occasionally, Elle will throw her two cents into the mix, just to rile her sister further. Then the boy pipes in to try to act as a “mediator”, which is not appreciated anyone.
Yesterday I stepped out of the room only for a minute before I heard the strands of a fight begin… “You did too!” Mary said. “I did not!” the doll responded. “You take it back doll!” “I didn’t say it to begin with, besides….” This is my favorite part, because the kids use this excuse incessantly, “You’re not the boss of me I can do or say anything I want!” The doll retort. Looking at her sister, Mary asked, “Elle, didn’t she call me that?” “Well…” Elle answers, but she can’t be heard because the doll talks over her and says, “How would she know, she wasn’t even in the room. Besides, I know what I said and you’re wrong!” Meanwhile their voices rise to decibel rates usually only heard at concert venues. “No I’m not, you’re lying!” Mary challenges. “Aunt Marsha, the doll called me weird!” she says as I re-enter the room to stop the fight.
“Is that all”? I wonder to myself. From all the commotion, you would have thought the doll had called her something more incriminating….you know like “in love” with a certain boy at school. Walking into the kitchen I looked at all three girls and in a voice louder than them all, I said, “She’s right, you are weird. And so is the doll, Elle and the boy. But out of all of you, I’m the biggest weirdo of all! Now stop arguing and finish your homework.” Taken aback the girls offer small giggles before the doll asked, “What do you mean by that?”
“Well, Mary is a weirdo because every time I turn around she’s tattling on someone for saying something she doesn’t like…. Elle’s a weirdo because every day after school she asks if I’ll make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and she likes to start every sentence with “Guess what?” The boy is a weirdo because, well, because he’s a boy…” From the other room the boy gave out a “Hey!” to voice his displeasure for being included with the girls, but I continued on. “The doll is a weirdo because she cannot tell me anything without mentioning every single, solitary detail, regardless whether it matters or not…” “Oh poo!” the doll said, as she harmlessly swatted at the air toward me. “Which leaves me and I must be the biggest weirdo of them all because I have all of you in my house yelling and screaming at one another like maniacal weirdos! Can we please just agree to disagree please?”
The girls looked at me and laughed. “Mary I’m sorry you think I called you weird. What I said was, “that was weird” to you. “Well that’s calling me weird” Mary replied. “But that’s not what I said…” the doll returned before I finally put my foot down on this subject. “That’s enough! Mary unless the doll actually says to you, “Mary you’re weird” stop believing she implied it. Doll, keep your opinions to yourself, get it?” the girls shook their heads up and down. “Got it?” they continued shaking their heads. “Good!”
Yet who am I kidding? Those kids are much bigger weirdos than I could ever be…unless compared to my husband…but then that’s a whole different animal all together.