Okay friends, and especially Jan, it is time for an Ellie story.
Once upon a time two weeks ago, Ellie had a friend over for a play date. Her friend was the truly adorable “pocket Pearl,” an itty bitty first grader with the cutest little voice who endures me calling her “the Black Pearl,” and has been overheard refering to bacon as “my favorite vegetable.” How could we not love her?
Alas, at some point in the playdate she did something Ellie didn’t like. I missed what it was, what I did catch was Ellie yelling at the top of her (impressively powerful) lungs, “I hate you and I never want to have a playdate with you again!”
I knew a good mom would interfere at this point, but what would said mom do? I tried explaining to her about treating our friends nicely and apologizing. It got me all of nowhere. So in an effort to have the punishment fit the crime and whatnot I blurted out that she would have “no more playdates for the rest of this week young lady!”
Ah, way to punish me along with her.
The next day when I picked her up from school she climbed in the van and asked, as she does everyday, “Mommy, can I have a playdate?”
And I said, “No.”
And she said, “Why not?”
“Because you can’t have any playdates this week because of how you treated your friend yesterday.” I explained gently or smugly. One of them.
“WHAT?” she screamed. Then she went on a screaming tirade about how it wasn’t FAIR, and it was the WORST day of her life, indeed!
So I tried to express sympathy and reinforce the lesson (?) at the same time by saying, “you must feel upset with yourself that this happened.”
To which she firmly replied, “I’m not mad at me, I’m mad at YOU!”
And then I helpfully explained that I was not the one who yelled “I hate you,” at my friend, and I wasn’t the one who wouldn’t apologize, so it was not MY fault that she couldn’t have a playdate. Can I parent or what?
And then she helpfully explained that I am a “meanie bo-feanie,” and that she NEVER wanted to have a playdate again and she was going to stay in her room forever and, “I am never going to eat again and when you wake up tomorrow you will have a DEAD CHILD!”
And yes, I did laugh.