Yesterday Thing Two (she is not yet 9) did something that should have merited a consequence. You know, the 2013 PC word for punishment. The opposite of a reward, which is really the 2013 PC version of a bribe. My parents would have laughed and reminded me that children should not be rewarded for doing what they were supposed to be doing in the first place.
Here’s what happened. I picked Thing Two up at school yesterday. She was in a night gown. And her suede, fringed boots. Thing Two is very into her boots this school year. It’s 80 degrees out. Other kids had pajamas on, so it was a safe assumption that it was pajama day at school. My first response, which I unexpectedly said out loud to the teacher in charge of parent pick up and sign out, was, “I hope her father made her put shorts on under that!” (The Hubs gets her ready for school and drives her, while I have already hustled Thing One out the door after a long and protracted 6 am wake up and morning routine). This poor woman hears my daily comments my daughter’s appearance as supervised by her father.
Thing Two was grinning when she sees me. “Nice night gown”, I said, and then asked ” did Daddy remind you to wear shorts under that?”
“oh, Daddy doesn’t know I wore a night gown to school”, as she pulled up the night gown to show me the shorts underneath. Sigh.
“what do you mean, Daddy doesn’t know you wore a night gown to school?”
“well, he didn’t believe me when I told him it was Pajama Day”
“So, why do you have a night gown on?”
Here comes the part where my parenting skills took a dive. I knew what was coming, and with a certain amount of disbelief (she’s only 8!) I was also a little amazed and amused because I know what we are in for with this child… I smirked. Not a full blown grin, but nonetheless, I smirked. I wasn’t exactly proud of her. But here’s more proof that she is, after all, my daughter.
“I snuck it into my back pack”. She had this amazing Cheshire Cat smile going.
At this point, my smirk grew into a full blown grin, with accompanying laughter. I couldn’t help it. Of course, I immediately tried to suppress both the grin and the laughter, but it was too late. Thing Two was laughing as well. Damn.
“you snuck your night gown into your back pack”
“behind your father’s back, against his wishes”.
“where did you change?” but we know the answer to this, don’t we?
Again, oh my god. Visions of too-short skirts, forbidden make up and hoochie mama (our family adjective for clothes or make up that are too slutty) off the shoulder, too tight, belly shirts were careening through my brain. She changed in the bathroom. Into a contraband, forbidden outfit. I had visions of Pinky Tuscadero dancing through my head.
And then I questioned, why not her sister, Leather Tuscadero? Suzi Quatro was just that much cooler. Even if Pinky was Fonzie’s girlfriend…
The inner dialogue continued: Am I dating myself? I am so dating myself. Would it have been better or worse to picture Thing Two as Betty Rizzo?”
This is an entirely new level of amusement. And perhaps horror at my 48 year old self, and my 35 year old cultural references. I totally needed to get a grip. “Must pull self together, now”, I silently screamed to my addled self.
“You know”, I firmly said to Thing Two, finally stifling my laughter, hoping I’ve wiped the grin off my face, “that was very wrong. You did something Daddy specifically told you not to do. That was not acceptable”. Finally! Some responsible parenting! If only I wasn’t still so amused. I reminded myself that in a few years, her transgressions would most likely be far less entertaining. I reminded myself that I needed to nip this one in the bud, right now.
“I know. But he didn’t believe that it was Pajama Day”. She informed me that it wasn’t on the weekly newsflash from the teacher. As if that would make the whole thing better.
“so you really snuck pajamas into school, and changed in the bathroom”. Uh oh, the amusement was coming back. Must resist giggles. Deep breath. Ok then.
All of this resulted in a Serious Talk. It was a first transgression. Thing Two understood why her choice was wrong.
There were lessons to be learned by all. She was reminded that children should never, ever go behind their parents’ back. And I was reminded that despite my lack of maturity, I really needed to step up to the responsible parenting plate a little more. And giggle a little less.
Secretly, I am still pretty amused. And wondering if I should be saving this up for my speech at her Bat Mitzvah (maybe not so much?) or even better… I’ll drag it out during a moment when she is having the same issue parenting her child. Heh heh.