Which Path Leads to Perdition?

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

I've been having a struggle this morning. Toddler is involved, but the struggle is really with myself. See, when I was young, my mother always had a set of stock phrases she used whenever I wasn't toeing the line. I always swore up and down, left and right that I would never, ever, EVER say those things to my kids. Actually, I said I would never, ever say them at all, but I broke that about 8 years ago when I got irate with my oldest niece and told her to "do what you're told when you're told to do it." Oh how my tongue burned that day. I still give her grief for driving me to it.

Today I've been turning somersaults to try to find another phrase that does the same thing. So far this morning I've said, "When mommy tells you to do something you don't say 'No.'" I've tried, "You don't say, 'No' when mommy asks you to do something. Instead you just do it." I've tried, "You don't get to say no to mommy." (Then I thought that was a little much since I ask him his opinion a lot, so I quickly abandoned that one.) I tried, "Come here when mommy calls you." These all work, but the problem is none of them are generic enough. They won't work in all circumstances like my mother's stock phrase.

So now I'm starting to doubt myself. Let me explain. Have you ever had one of those, "Why didn't I think of that/see that" epiphany moments that make you wonder whether you were blind or daft? I've had several in the past few days. For example, I was playing a quick computer game, and I couldn't find a valid move. I had to wait for the computer to prompt me, and there was this huge move, right in front of my eyes. How didn't I see it? Was I blind? Something similar happened when I made myself a cup of coffee this morning. I have my "coffee supplies" in three rectangle green vases next to the machine. The vases are three different heights, small, medium, and large. I had the individual coffee K cups in the smallest one, the creamers and powdered cream in the medium one, and the sweeteners were in the largest. I've had them this way for about 2 months. The problem was, the coffee K cups didn't fit in the smallest vase, so I had them stacked alongside it too, and a few were sitting on top of the creamers. This morning I looked at them as I was digging past the K cups to get at the creamers, and it finally dawned on me that this was stupid. I should move the creamers to the small vase and put all (yes all) of the K cups in the medium container. How on earth did I not see that before? Was I daft?

So, with these things being so crazy obvious, I'm wondering if I have made a mistake. Maybe my mother was right all along. Maybe it is just best to use her phrase, "Do what you're told when you're told to do it." Maybe I am just fighting an epiphany.

On the other hand, before I give in, I have to remember to ask her what HER mother said that she refused to ever repeat. I don't remember my grandmother ever telling me to do what I was told, "when I was told to do it." I think she must have had a different line. This theory gives me hope. Maybe I will come up with my own perfect phrase to annoy the crap out of my children. I'm sure I can do it if I try hard enough.


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