Laying Down the Law

Sophie has been going through one of those dreaded kid stages again.  She’s around the corner from her 8th birthday and pushing all of our buttons.  Adorable and kind one minute, angry and manipulative the next.


It’s hard to believe that someone so cute can be such a devil.  My new nickname for her (unbeknownst to her) is “Mag,” which is short for “moans and groans.”  That’s because when we ask her to do something, she moans and groans. When we ask her to repeat something’s she said, she moans and groans. When we ask her what she wants to eat, she moans and groans.  You get my drift.

Talking reason with her doesn’t work. No child likes the word ‘no.” I get it.  I’ve been around the block.   But she refuses to acknowledge some of the wisest words in rock ‘n roll: she can’t always get what she wants.

Before we left for Ithaca this weekend, I let both Chloe and Sophie know that as much as I loved them, I was sick of their bickering, sick of their inability to do what we ask them to do when we ask them to do it, sick of them pretending to be deaf and sick of hearing myself sound like a broken record.  Which, by the way, is now a useless simile because kids today have no idea what a record is.


Sophie was a little shocked by my speech, particularly since I remained icily calm when I let her know how tired I was of the drama.  I usually react to the girls’ misbehavior by raising my voice (if not yelling – something I’ve been working on correcting with extremely limited success) and she really didn’t know how to respond to the combination of harsh words and restrained delivery of said words.  So at first she said absolutely nothing and probably wondered if her mom was going off the deep end.

But a few minutes later, she came to me of her own volition (although I suppose it’s possible her Papa encouraged her to do it because he, too, was worried that I was going off the deep end) and apologized. And told me that she’d try to do better.  Chloe also vowed to make an effort after I repeated the speech to her.

And since we’ve arrived in Ithaca, it has been better.  Mind you, better does not equal perfect. The girls seem to have reached a truce.  They’re mostly keeping to themselves (Chloe buried in books, Sophie buried in beads as she creates earrings to sell).  Sophie and I both regressed a bit this evening after I told her I would not buy her the shoddily made furry monster backpack she saw in the store.  It was truly a piece of shit.  Because she needs a new backpack for school, I made a genuine effort to compromise and said I’d buy her one of the many other deeply discounted better quality backpacks instead.  But she was having none of it.  With tears in her overtired eyes, she explained that they were all either too big, too ugly or too strappy.  I huffed off in frustration.

After we both had calmed down, Sophie apologized (a step in the right direction). I told her we’d continue to look for a backpack next week and gave her a hug. When she hugged me back, I knew we were back on the right path, however temporarily.  Sure enough, it lasted another 30 minutes, until I asked her to get ready for bed…

I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again and again:  I cannot wait for my girls to have kids of their own.

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