Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands

I was woken up at 5am last night-morning by Dan palming my face like a basketball he’d lost in a dark closet. His hand was flapping around on my face and I just finally said, “Stop. Stop. Seriously. What are you doing?”

The clock said 5:00am and I was super confused.

“I’m sorry,” He whispered. “I was just getting back in bed and it’s dark in here and I was trying to find where you were.”

“By hitting me in the face?” I am grumpy like that when I’m awoken in the middle of the night-morning.

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly, “I was trying to cuddle you and I thought you were facing the other way.”

“It’s okay, but why are the lights on downstairs?”


Laylee had gotten up and was downstairs fully dressed, eating cereal and reading a book. She’s become more and more of a morning person lately, setting her alarm and getting up before anyone else so she can have some alone time in the stillness before everyone starts running around throwing peanut butter sandwiches at each other and yelling, “YES, BUT DID YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH?!!”

I get it. Sort of. If I weren’t so grouchy in the night-morning, I’d get up then too. But 5AM? Dan said he went down and she’d been up for a while. He told her she could stay up but we’d have a talk about when was an acceptable time to get up in the future. She’d fallen asleep the night before after 10pm, which meant she’d had less than 7 hours of sleep, which is not enough for an eleven-year-old. And in the day-morning she had a field trip planned with a lot of walking, followed by a band rehearsal and she would be exhausted.

And when she’s exhausted, she feels awful and when she feels awful, she is mean to me, because obviously everything is my fault. Because when she is tired, everything I do is suddenly jerkish with jerkishly rude motivations. I didn’t want her to be mean to me and I didn’t want her to feel awful all day, so I went downstairs and told her to go back to bed. Then I laid with her and stroked her back to get her to sleep again.

Tonight, we talked about appropriate waking hours. Let’s just say her alarm is no longer set for 4:30 AM. FOUR THIRTY AM, PEOPLE!!!

Laylee’s not the only child in this family who likes to take control of her own destiny while simultaneously blaming me for her problems.

I’ve been telling Wanda that I would frame her hot air balloon watercolor and hang it on our gallery wall for weeks now. I finally got the frame but it’s taken me a few days to actually put the picture in the frame.

Today she brought it to me like this:



“You never did it so I put it in here myself. Can you hang it up for me?”


And as far as blaming goes, yesterday Wanda and I had the following conversation.

Wanda – Why are my bubbles empty?

Me – Because you left the open bottle lying on its side on the top shoe shelf and now my running shoe is full of bubble solution.

Wanda – But I wanted to USE those bubbles! I need them back.

Me – You can’t have them back. I am rinsing them out of my shoe.

Wanda – But those were my bubbles.

This is when I disengage. I’m not going to fight with Wanda about how I stole the bubbles that she poured into my shoes or with Laylee about how I could possibly be so mean as to ask her whether she’s practiced the piano.

Sometimes motherhood is about molding young people and other times it’s about choosing your battles. Sometimes it’s just about keeping a spare pair of running shoes in the garage.

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One Response to Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands

  1. mo says:

    This is great. I appreciate Wanda’s do-it-myselfness. Reframe the blame as you giving her the opportunity to practice self-reliance. Yup, that’s it.

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