Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pants on Fire

Some time ago, I spent a few years giving birth to these creatures:

Aren't they cute? Cuddly, even. I have some very fond memories of those creatures. Sadly, they grew up to be these creatures:Look how MAD they look! On EASTER, for crying out loud! How does that even happen? How do sweet babies become angry teens? Actually, I have a theory- I think God makes babies cute and sweet so you don't throw them out when they wake you in the middle of the night, and then he causes teenagers to be surly and difficult so it will be easier to let them go off and have lives of their own. And the reward for not killing them is that they complete the cycle and bring you cute and cuddly grandchildren. See? Not a bad plan, actually.

My Middle Child is a beautiful, brilliant girl who has recently reached the stage my aunt and uncle lovingly call "Mean-ager". A fitting moniker, I think. Anyway, the Man and I have made a decision to confiscate an article of clothing every time this child is disrespectful, and make her earn the clothes back via some mundane task she'll hate. (I think the hatred of the task is an important part of this plan!)

Yesterday was the first time we implemented this new punishment. She mouthed off to her stepdad, he went into her room and removed her new black jeans from her closet, and we informed her that she could get them back by writing an essay on what it means to respect your parents. Her response? How shall I explain it? Remember that part of the story "Rumpelstiltskin", where he finds out the queen knows his name, and he throws such a big fit he ends up stomping through the floor and never being seen or heard from again? It was sort of like that, but with a less satisfactory result, because I can still see her.

I'll spare you most of the gory details, but I will say that by the time it was time to go to bed, she had not written the essay. She had voiced her opinions on people who take other people's clothes rather loudly, and she'd even written a delightful poem entitled "Ode to My Pants", which ended with the line "I WILL avenge you!", but she was still maintaining that an essay on respect was too harsh a task. She came back to my room and we had the following conversation:

Middle Child- I'm going to need those pants for church in the morning.

Me- Well, then, you should hurry up and do your essay.

MC- I'll do it tomorrow. I need my pants NOW.

Me- Well, then, you should hurry up and do your essay.

MC- That's really stupid. (here she begins explaining it to me as though I'm not bright enough to understand her position, and that's the problem) I'm SUPPOSED to wear black pants for our dance troupe performance tomorrow morning. Do YOU have any black pants you can loan me? No you do not. So you need to give me back my pants.

Me- Well, then, you should hurry up and do your essay. (Remember that scene in Dangerous Liaisons? Where John Malkovich kept repeating the same thing over and over, and Michelle Pfeiffer went nuts? That's what I was going for.)

MC- It's IMPOSSIBLE! I CAN'T WRITE IT! IT'S TOO HARD! I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO WRITE IT!

Me- I guess you're never getting your pants back, then. In fact, one more word out of your mouth and I think I may set fire to those pants.

MC- This isn't FAIR! Those are MY PANTS!

At this point... can you guess? Yes, I picked up the pants, went into the bathroom, threw them in the sink, and got out the matches. Lit a match and held it dangerously close to the fabric, at which point she became a LOT more cooperative.

She wrote a lovely essay, by the way. And no pants were actually harmed in the writing of this blog.

9 comments:

Sara Lou said...

I Freakin' LOVE teenage girls.

I can't wait until I have 2 of them at the same time!!!!!!!!

WHeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

siouxbhoney said...

Fantastic. I'm buying you some lighter fluid for an even more DRAMATIC approach.

Kat said...

You need to read Mariah's blog: http://helpihaveateenager.blogspot.com/

I think you might find yourself a partner in crime :-)

amy said...

Sara- Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins. ;o)

Sioux- Nah, I think I've got it. Good thought, though!

Kat- She may be even meaner than I am! LOL! Glad to have you as a reader!

Kathleen said...

Oh, the the joys my future holds...

perfect just like mommy said...

OH MY GOD, GENIUS!! I am totally recommending that clothing removal thing to my brother in law, who is having trouble with smart alecky kids. Any tips on how to motivate a kid who is doing poorly in school?

Miss Coffey said...

hahha...I totally forgot that part in Rumpelstiltskin!! So fitting and hilarious! Do you keep the essays to read to hear when she's 30 and needs a laugh? ;)

Kate said...

I need to take some parenting tips from you :) lol. I love reading your blog!!

Marie said...

eat your wheaties! sounds like you need them. keep writing!