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It's bad to torture kids, but it's fun

Oh to come home to my little girls diving off the couch--THUD--and screaming at an earsplitting pitch that only girls can master. What fun. My hair has been sufficiently brushed and slathered with the latest trend in styling products--2 percent cottage cheese and tiny bits of Velveeta.

You never know around here what will happen from one minute to the next. SURPRISE--Ashlyn colored herself green for St. Patrick's Day. SURPRISE--Ashlyn's wearing 10 pairs of underwear, AND she peed. SURPRISE--Lily's standing on the kitchen counter. SURPRISE--Daddy's asleep downstairs and the girls are running wild with pantyhose on their heads.

"Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, what are you doing?"

"I'll tell you what Mommy is doing if you'll just shut up for five minutes--are you ready?"

"Mommy is making a list of all the people she wants to stick it to -- people who teased her or stole from her or lied to her or annoyed her or wronged her in any way shape or form. Mommy is plotting her revenge."

"You don't want to make it on Mommy's list, do you?"

Here is where my daughters' personalities stand apart. Lily shakes her head, "Absolutely not, I don't want to be on your list, Mommy," while Ashlyn--the strong-willed, cantankerous one--looks me right in the eyes, smiles wickedly and nods, "Oh yes, Mommy. I dare you to put me on that list of yours. I double-dog dare you."

Errrrm--I don't believe I've contemplated revenge on someone so little before, but I'm no bluffer. Ashlyn will get her comeuppance. 

She won't turn 3 for another 6 months. I've got 15 years and then some to prove to her beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am crazy and way more stubborn than she is. That's the really fabulous thing about parenting--isn't it? 

My parents thought so.

"Oops," Mom said. "Did I put salt on your oatmeal instead of sugar?"

"Oops," she said again. "Did I put chilly powder on your French toast instead of cinnamon?"

In fairness to her I did put Nair hair-removing foam on her scotty dog sweater so I probably had it coming.

I know it's wrong to say so, but my children's tears are a frequent source of amusement--the defeated scream I heard from downstairs when Ashlyn discovered the markers she used to draw on the wall and the carpet were moved to a different hiding place; the remorseful expression I watched Lily practice in mirror before she begged me to conjure up the stuffed animals I put in storage after weeks of nagging her to clean her room.

I can't slash the tires of the guy who cut me off and drove down the center of a two-lane on ramp to get through the meter signal faster. I can't bump off the friend who sold me his car for $900 and disappeared from the face of the earth with the title and my money. I can't toss flaming bags of dog shit on the doorsteps of every jerk who hurt my feelings in grammar school.

I can, however, torment my children from time to time. I can laugh when Ashlyn throws herself on the floor to protest the vile purple socks I picked out for her. I can laugh when Lily tells me sobbing--"I couldn't clean my room, Mama, because my stomach was hurting, and I was afraid that you would be mad at me that I wasn't cleaning my room."


  1. Might I suggest that the stuffed animals go straight to Goodwill, if you're serious. I recall you had yours back out of the garage within a frighteningly short period of time after I had cleaned your room. And don't get me started on the age differences.

  2. The last picture is pretty disturbing...


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