Did my mother have to deal with this?
In 1981, I was 11. I wish my mother was alive (for many reasons) but so I could call her after a morning like yesterday’s and say, “I’m so sorry!”
I’ll set the scene – my kitchen, Friday morning. Few inches of snow on the ground so schools were closed. It was seriously cold at 16 degrees. The first middle school ski club trip was planned but cancelled because of the sub-freezing temperatures and, oh, the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. You know. Everyday perils for kids.
Caroline was really disappointed. Very disappointed.
Caroline: Can we still ski today?
Me: Sure. But it will be really, really cold. Dangerously cold.
Caroline: Never mind. Forget it.
Me: No, I don’t mind, but maybe you guys take your lesson for an hour and see how you feel.
Caroline: My friends don’t want to take lessons and it’s stupid to go there for a lesson then leave.
Me: Okay, but if you’re going to be alone on the slopes without an adult, wouldn’t you feel safer having brushed up on skiing?
Caroline: You always tell me what to do.
Caroline: And you always tell me what the weather is.
Me: Okay, well, skiing is certainly an option. If not, Jack has a hockey game scheduled – we could go do that.
Jack: I measured the snow with my tongue because my tongue is two inches long.
Caroline: I don’t want to go to hockey, I want to ski.
Jack: We have three inches.
Me: Okay, let’s ski.
Caroline: But I’m not taking a lesson.
Me, brightly: Okay! (In my head: Bad choice.)
Caroline: Didn’t you hear me? None of my friends want to ski.
Me, brightly: Okay! (In my head: Here we go.)
Caroline: I want to ski.
Caroline: But I don’t want to take a lesson.
Caroline: But it might be too cold.
Caroline, near tears: Stop telling me what to do!
Me, smiling brightly but not saying a word. (In my head: I didn’t say a word.)
Caroline: UGH! This is the worst snow day ever!
Caroline, stomping up the stairs: WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO?????
(In my head: Oh, Mom. This is what you meant by payback kid.)
(In my head, as an afterthought: Isn't two inches abnormally long for the tongue of a third grader?)