Thursday, December 23, 2004

Best Laid Plans

My hair was still wet from the shower when Lucy and the kids showed up. We were going to get Christmas gifts for her family.

Lucy and I had created a list and plotted a course. We would drive to a few places in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and make fast work of this.

But the best laid plans of Moms and Dads often go awry. All it takes is a recalcitrant five year old.

Lillie was bored, and miffed that Collie had a toy he refused to share. She whined and moaned about this. It was darned irritating. Sitting in the back seat between them, I tried to get her involved with something else, beseeching Collie to put the toy away.

Lucy sharply told Lillie to stop acting out, that we needed to work together to get things done.

The battle was joined.

The generals in this battle had many tactics in their arsenals. I tried distraction, humor, reason. Lucy cajoled, bribed, reasoned. Collie gave the toy to Lillie, for keeps, forever. But that was no longer the issue.

All volleys were futile. Lillie would best her mom, damn the torpedoes.

In exasperation, Lucy said, “Lillie, I am not going to talk with you for the rest of the day. When we get home, you are staying in your room. I won’t put up with you.”

The car was quiet. We all knew this outburst. We all knew the power of the Silent Treatment.

Lillie looked out the window. I heard her mutter, “She will forget. She always does.”

Lucy’s anger no longer affects me as it once did. But I know its force.

I watch out for the kids.

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