My daughter has a dance class at 4:00 on Tuesdays which is a tough time because it interrupts the flow of the afternoon. Usually it’s school pick-up, snack, homework, enriching activity, dinner, after-dinner merriment, bed. But on Tuesdays it’s pick-up, fast-fast-fast-eat-your-snack-so-that-you-can-start-homework, a tiny bit of homework, race to dance, finish homework, oh-crap-look-how-late-it-is-what-are-we-going-to-have-for-dinner, etc., etc.
Tensions run a little higher on Tuesdays and if the dance class were anything less than transcendent, I’d never put up with it.
My kids sat in the back while driving home from dance, verbally imitating bodily functions.
I hate that. I’m sure that some parenting book somewhere extols the virtues of making farting noises with one’s mouth as the path to well-rounded, non-anal children, but I simply wasn’t in the mood.
Me: Stop that.
I was at a light so I glanced back at them. They sealed their lips and looked at each other.
My daughter. My daughter is the one who always pushes it. With a smile. With a dimple.
Daughter: What if we don’t?
My son cracked up, silently, with his eyes.
Me: If you don’t I’ll take away everything you care about.
It’s a threat I’ve made before, emerging from previous conversations that went along the lines of “Well, if you take away that, then I’ll still have this.” I’ve yet to take away everything they care about and it usually boils down to losing iPod privileges. This conversation went the same way.
Daughter: How long will you keep my iPod?
Daughter: Not forever. How long?
Me: Ten years.
Daughter: In ten years I can have my iPod back?
And I swear to you, she pursed her lips and made a farting noise.
It wasn’t even a loud, glorified farting noise. She didn’t revel in it, she just made it. Her eyes, grinning, on me in the rear-view mirror.
The rest of the story is fallout, her realizing exactly how long ten years is and me desperately trying to stick to my guns, but wondering why at the same time. There were tears. There was delayed homework and uncooked meat.
But that moment, that one moment, when she looked at me and decided that losing her iPod for ten years was totally worth it… I wish I could keep that forever.