Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Paris practices the dark art of button-pushing.
She always starts so innocently.
It is a lovely day. I am collecting her from after-school care. There is joy to be had at home in Paradise, together all as a family while the sun still shines. We are blessed.
And then… its not even like she was instrumental in causing the first frisson of the afternoon.
Interruption to the reverie came with a flapping paper - about a long ago skinned-knee incident and bureaucracy. The irritation was amplified with a shriek as Paris' tomfoolery tumble so akin to the knee-skinning moment all those weeks ago is enjoyed.
“Come along” as the mists of that perfect afternoon vanish and blow away with the list of THINGS TO DO steady inflation. Come along she does not, and the request is repeated – again, again – with her cries to her friend to join her in brave new adventures ignoring my entreaties.
Expletive-deleted (because I am a decent mother) “it, I am going” I yell, with a spin on my heel and a huff ricocheting off the playground angles and she suddenly pays a little attention in fear that the threat will be carried out.
But its Mu-um.
Paris knows that Mu-um is tired from her day and Mu-um’s concentration span is always frayed by the sawing of too much to do and too little time, with a twist of too bleeding lazy to be superwoman.
Well, she probably doesn’t know that, but Mu-um does and Mu-um’s mind can be read so darned easily when it is the end of the day.
Figuratively, Paris is the nymph forever poking at Mu-um’s sanity, checking to see what she can get away with and what invokes the best reaction. I love her so much, she is a beautiful joy in my life, Holy Mother of God give both of us guidance in not engaging!
I am sure it is worse some weeks more than others.
That being said, she started at the car.
“When we go to the shops, I’m not getting out of the car.”
Translated reads “this is my superpower. I am stating my will. I throw down my gauntlet in a challenge to you, you power-hungry matron.”
I am all logic and love in my reply. “That is a pity, dear, because when WE get to the shops, I have to get out because I need to get bread and milk at the shops, and you have to get out of the car with me because you are five years old and it is illegal for me to leave you in the car all by yourself.”
See, I could be hired to negotiate with expletive-deleted-ists. I did not engage. I was showing her open palms, my powerlessness in this society, its not that I don’t want to help her, my hands are tied.
And see, this is how my daughter could be hired to send expletive-deleted-ists unhinged, because she then ups the ante.
“What does illegal mean?”
Ha, easy question kid. I got that under my belt in year six social studies. Of course, in those days illegal was basically breaking any commandments and drink driving. They had just brought in the latter.
But I have half a brain and I am a mother, therefore the target market for all things related to what is RIGHT or WRONG in raising YOUR CHILD. Therefore “illegal” in terms of leaving a stroppy child of any age up until such time as they are taller (and therefore that much harder to drag from the car) than you means that you are BREAKING the LAW (and if God, the police and the justice system doesn’t get you, I dare you to try it on with a jury of your peering parents over at Perfectville, a space that some people inhabit just for recreational purposes).
I didn’t say all of that, of course. I deal in conciseness when required. “Illegal means it is against the law. Now, hop into the car.”
She dawdles as she climbs ever so tentatively into the car, stretching out the external moments as long as she can, eyeing me at all times to identify that moment where patience snaps.
“What does illegal mean?” she asks.
Expletive-deleted. It is a muddy morass once you start to try to define, knowing every definition will then be questioned. I don’t have a dictionary, I have a strong desire to get home to caffeine and downtime and I just know that whatever the response is given to her, it will come back as a question so fast my head will spin.
“Illegal means doing something that is against the rules.” And I wait for the inevitable response – but she surprises me with a twist for the winner.
“Why do they call them rules?”
at which point I break down and admit that I just DO NOT KNOW...
Labels: Parissienne Culture