Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A child’s mind works mysteriously

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!”

Let’s review.

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.


Anonymous said...

You can say that youngest is the king of "Just one more question, Mommy!" Doesn't matter that I've told him he's through, finished, kaput for the evening. He will somehow, in his twisted little-boy mind, come up with something VITALLY IMPORTANT that he has to get out of bed and ask me. Something like "Why does (insert name) always do (insert action) to me? And can I play my DS? And eat cookies? And play air hockey?" Yeah. Kids' brains are just WEIRD. Thank God we grow out of it. (Hey, can I have another cup of coffee? Please?)

Anonymous said...

Ha! My spawn are masters of emotional blackmail. They appear, all wobbly bottom lips and teary eyed at the door (having got out of bed and come down the corridor despite dire threats) to tell me that they miss me SO much and that they will cry if they can't have just one more kiss and a 'lift-up hug'. Daddy, of course, falls for this every time. Mummy, (evil heartless crone that she is) knows full well that the moment they are embraced they will sniff pathetically (they have a brilliant career ahead of them onstage) and say pitifully "I'm still sad Daddy... a cookie would make me happy."

What truly amazes me is that my mother (who had granite where her heart should be when I was a child) will not only carry them back to bed, but will also bring the biscuit tin and read them stories until they have stuffed themselves on chocolate chip shortbread! Which only encourages them.

Oh, wait. Now I get it.

Gosh, thanks Mum.

So Not Organized said...

Well, my children left the sink faucet on in the bathroom so that they could play with some cheap little boat they found somewhere. Mommy didn't hear any water running while tending to baby, goes to check on them and MY BATHROOM IS FLOODED! They know not to be playing the in the bathroom. So, they were sent to bed and it was met with "but I want to be with you Mommy." Yeah, you didn't want to be with me when you were running water all over the bathroom. From some reason, they knew I meant business this time and it only took about two trips back to their rooms and they fell asleep--at 7p.m. So they were up really early this morning.

froggiemeanie said...

The follow-through is so hard. As of yesterday I decided that I'm going to ask/tell ONE TIME and that little mite had better be acting on the first request/demand or there is going to be Trouble (yes, with a capital T). II get soooo tired of hearing my own voice saying "Claire, you need to listen to Mommy and.....". Can you tell we had a bad day yesterday?

buffi said...

Lord, we have the same children, too.