Bedtime always brings out the rowdy in the Denizens. It’s like, “Quick! This is our last chance to drive Mommy crazy for, like, EIGHT WHOLE HOURS!”
So tonight in the middle twain’s bedroom, I put forth the nightly command to lie down, head on pillow, feet under covers. I reminded them to be quiet. Said no to about thirty requests for water, juice, snack, more mashed potatoes, and cookies.
And ice cream.
And also going to grandma’s house tomorrow.
Or the day after.
Eventually, I slam the iron gate on the whole deal with the dreaded, “If you make one more sound, that’s it – no story, lights out.”
Reluctant silence fell. I opened the book and found our place: The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.
There I am, happily reading along, the tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck unfolding word by word…when suddenly…I become aware that I’m hearing other voices…
I look up, and the two of them each have their noses in a book and are reading, out loud. To themselves. Different stories. And they are getting louder and louder, competing with each other…
Hokay, obviously, we’re not interested in Jemima Puddle-Duck and so why should I bother? I have a sore throat anyway, so less talking works for me!
I bid them goodnight, take the books away, and snap off the light.
There are wails of protest. What about their stooooooorrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeee?
What? Excuse me, but what?! Are these the same two girls who just picked up different books and began reading them out loud while I was reading to them? Now suddenly they have a great and undying passion for Jemima Puddle-Duck?
I don’t think so. Enough is enough, and I’ve gone past enough and into the land of I Don’t Care If It Scars You For Life, I’m Not Your Personal Slave and You Blew Your Chance For Tonight So There.
This is where I really question how a child’s mind works. Because Danger Mouse looked me dead in the eye and said, “I didn’t think you’d stop reading the story just because I was reading a different one at the same time!”
First of all, I don’t recall saying “If you make one more sound, that’s it – no story, lights out. Unless of course you’re reading a different story out loud, in which case carry on.”
Also, in what reality would anyone carry on reading a story out loud to someone who was so deeply disinterested that they were reading Ten Apples On Top over it?
And finally, this isn’t a new thing. It isn’t like, 99% of the time, mommy says these things but then doesn’t mean them. I’ve learned my lesson on that – if I say something is going to lead to a certain event, then by $DEITY it will.
So for them to be genuinely surprised that their actions led to the abrupt ending of story-time and lights out just…rather floors me.
As does the fact that they still, though they have had many, many, many examples to the contrary, believe that once I have left the room, I can no longer hear them when they start yelling at each other about whose fault it all is.
Or that they think coming downstairs and announcing that they think they’re going to throw up and that ice cream is maybe the proper treatment for this is going to get them anything but a brisk escort back to bed.
The mind of a child, people, works in extremely mysterious ways.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
23 hours ago