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Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The alarm went off at 6:35am and by 6:44am I was finally opening my eyes and beginning to stretch when I hear it.  Crying. I looked at the clock again and decided that I would indeed be facing this day whether I wanted to or not. Sitting up in bed, I looked up to see my youngest child sniffling and crying. Ready to comfort her from a bad dream or mediate some sort of sibling dispute, I began to ask her what happened when out of her mouth came the statement, " I WANT A DOUGHNUT!"

Shocked and confused as to why the pursuit of a tasty sugared breakfast pastry would make a 6 year old sob, I asked calmly for her to repeat her statement. " I SAID....I WANT A DOUGHNUT."

OK. This is a new one. I have not in 14 years of being a parent ever been roused from bed by a crying child demanding pastry. I have no idea where she got the idea that I had a doughnut to give her in my bed. Perhaps she thought I have a secret stash under my pillow?  After explaining that I do NOT, in fact, posess such a treasure and that if I did I certainly would not deny anyone in such a state of distress, I asked her why in the world she wanted a doughnut.

Apparently 6:47am is not the time for a 6 year old to articulate the rationale for anything as the question made her bawl harder and frankly she became down right angry.  "Because they are GOOD! And I REALLY WANT ONE."'s hard to argue with such logic and I certainly wasn't going to win any debates without coffee. I tried the old standby....distraction.  "Why don't you go watch some TV? I'm so glad you are up early and you even got all dressed. OH I like your new sweater. Isn't it nice? The one Nana got you for Christmas.  Since you were so good at getting dressed, I'll let you watch TV while I shower."

This seemed to confuse her a bit. Mission accomplished. She was only sniffling now and cast a glance at me that said, I  KNOW what you're doing. But....I really want to watch my show. (generally TV in the morning is NOT allowed in my house)  Somewhat reluctantly, she headed off to the living room.  Another parental crisis averted.

Feeling quite impressed with myself and my incredibly intelligent and skilled parenting expertise, I headed off to shower and dress. Fifteen minutes later I emerged clean and dressed and mostly just ready for coffee.  She was sitting on the sofa happily watching some cartoon on PBS, still red eyed from crying, but calm.  My middle daughter had now joined her and was pleased to see the TV on.  I asked the question thinking that it was now safe. "What do you guys want for breakfast?"

Suddenly it was clear to me that my expertise in parenting was not nearly as refined as I had thought. If I had thought that moment through, I would have just quietly gone to the kitchen and prepared her favorite oatmeal. It probably would have done the trick. But, the question.......that question was at once a trigger for what I can only describe as a meltdown.

She looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. Obviuosly she'd been quite clear in her requests for breakfast foods that morning. What the heck was wrong with mom anyway? Had she forgotten English? Did she not KNOW what a doughnut was? WHY is it so hard to understand?  Doughnuts are good. I like them. I want one. And I want it NOW.

Of course none of the above was articulated, but CLEARLY it was implied by the crying and sobbing and chanting of "I want a doughnut. PLEASE I want a doughnut, Mommy."

I calmly sat down next to her on the sofa. I looked lovingly into her eyes and took her into my arms. I told her how much I understood that doughnuts are yummy. I also explained that they are not good for our bodies and they are for special occasions. Today was a Wednesday like any other and did not warrant such recognition.  To this she responded that to HER it was a special day because for HER it was ART day and ART day is SPECIAL!

Alright. Right about now, I've had just about enough of the logical parent tactic. Didn't seem to be working anyway. Time for phase 2: The because I said so.

I told her she was NOT getting a doughnut.  I reminded her that we do NOT eat doughnuts regularly in this house. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last year this child had doughnuts for breakfast. I explained that there is no such thing as a pastry deficiency and that nobody NEEDS a doughnut. Our body needs healthy nutritious food and by God, she was going to have a HEALTHY breakfast before school.

I am happy to say that she seemed to recognize her defeat. She was contemplating all of this and seemed to accept it. We decided  on oatmeal and orange juice. Mission accomplished.  And then.....

"Mommy.  Can I have hot chocolate?"


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