Softy Mom, the Sucker

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How is it that I allow my kids’ to “work” me?

“Mom, my stomach doesn’t feel good. I can’t go to school!”

“Come on, now, you’re OK. We have a nice lunch packed, and your hair is fixed, and you have plenty of time to get the bus.”

“But I don’t feel good; I’m tired!”

Well, I believed that! My two are always up past the bedtime that would be best for their health. Why can’t I be more forceful and make them stick to it?

The thing is I enjoy my kids’ company, and, since we like to watch certain television programs together and read books together (sometimes even things they are working with for school), it is tempting to have them up that extra hour – not just because they want to be; it’s my pleasure, too.

So this morning, what about the school bus? She’s still balking about going out the door. I took her temperature. Normal for her is always below normal.

“I spit up a little.” She knows the school rule about not sending a child within a day’s time after throwing up.

“You mean you lost all the orange juice and English muffin?”

She nodded weakly. How would I ever know for sure? I heard the air brakes of the school bus as it pulled away from our drive. I could still take her to school within the next half hour. Was it worth the effort to try and work my way around her wiles?

“Well, you have to rest, and you’re not watching TV all day, or running around playing with the cat.”

“OK.” She was careful not to look too relieved and happy as she quickly returned to her room.

I put the perishables from her lunch in the fridge, then joined her on her bed. She was tucked in with her clothes on.

“Let’s change your clothes. You can wear those tomorrow. “I suggested. “Once you’ve rested a little I’d like you to pick out a book to use for your book report (she has one due for school at the first of every month) and read it today.”

I’m still questioning my reasoning that morning, but we all need times when we don’t do what we are supposed or expected to do (even if we’re not really sick) and know things will turn out all right in spite of it. Those times become fewer and less possible as we make commitments and grow up.

She lounged on the bed all day with Henry and the Clubhouse by Beverly Cleary.

She finished it that afternoon. Oh, to be young, and be governed by a mom who allows the benefit of the doubt.

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