Mummy is not very clever

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Screaming child

HM, my almost four year old, is a clever girl. I’ve always known that.

For the past few weeks, she has refused to go to preschool. (BTW–if you haven’t read my biog, HM stands for high maintenance or her majesty, both are relevant).

This has been going on since Scottish Grandma’s visit, which ended last Thursday. Scottish Grandma, whom is nearly 80, is a saint and spends hours with HM — drawing pictures of butterflies, reading “Princess Poppy” on repeat, or re-arranging the doll house furniture for the hundredth time.

HM was so absorbed in Scottish Grandma’s attention, that she declared she was spending the rest of the day with Scottish Grandma and was not going to her three hour preschool session. (Keep in mind that Scottish Grandma comes down often and was staying with us for three weeks.)

HM told me this just as we walked into school and I had 15 minutes to rush home for a conference call. To extricate myself, I had to resort to bribery, and (stupidly) offered her a lollipop on my return.

Back to this morning — after Alexandra emptied her half digested breakfast on to the sofa and Emily hid the hairbrush in an attempt to escape the daily grooming torture — we finally made off for school.

The walk to school was fine, but as soon as HM saw the school gate, she started her protest.

“I don’t want to go to school mummy.”

My body tensed. I knew what was coming.

“I know you don’t sweetie, but today is a school day.”

“I don’t like school mummy.”

“Why sweetie?” (it occurs to me maybe I should explore this further.)

“I want to stay home with you mummy.”

“Mummy’s not at home today, sweetie.”  I catch the eye of a fellow mum, she gives me a “been there smile” and I feel myself begin to glow with guilt.

When I tell her she IS going to school, HM jumps out of the push chair and bolts to the gate with the determination of a prison escapee.

I struggle to catch her, and as I try to pick her up, she arches her back and screams at the top of her lungs: “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL MUMMY!”  Tears run down her face.

It’s just a few minutes before school starts, and most of the mums are crowded in the waiting area, eagerly awaiting my response.

I whisper very softly in her ear, “I’ll bring you a lollipop when I pick you up.”

It was like I had flipped THE HAPPY CHILD SWITCH.

I’d like two please,” she said with a smug smile.

Photo credit: Keynote

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  1. 27/10/2008 / 15:20

    They know exactly how to milk things, don’t they? I think girls are particularly good at this – this coming from a mom of 2, one drama queen and one princess (who will occasionally swap roles).
    Evil geniuses, that’s what they are. Gotta love them 😉

  2. 25/10/2008 / 22:06

    Not bribery–INCENTIVE:):)

  3. 25/10/2008 / 21:10

    ah, the guilt of working mothers.
    nothing worse than coddling grandmothers and “mean” mommy days.

  4. 25/10/2008 / 19:16

    I always love your stories, but this one is particularly amusing. Your daughter’s future husband needs to be on his guard. . .save this post for him!

  5. 24/10/2008 / 19:05

    Oh, I know the feeling. With a 3-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl, I’ll do anything sometimes to get the boy to acquiesce.
    Luckily, preschool isn’t such an issue so far, but he is SO enjoying the knock-down-drag-out-all-out-screaming tantrum these days. I’m all for expressing oneself, but they are so tiresome.
    A friend told me that she rewards her (same age) son with a single Tic-Tac (a tiny candy, half the size of an M&M) if he is well-behaved in the store. Her son is a much more docile kid than my little bulldozer/talk-show-host, so it works for them.
    Gullible me thought, “Oh! This is a great idea. He’ll anticipate the reward and behave nicely.”
    Ha! Now, all I hear when we are in the car is, “Can I have some candy? I’m good! I behave! Can I have some candy? Can I have some candy? Mama, I want some candy!”
    I chose to stick with it, only because I don’t want to switch gears on him and be wishy-washy.
    Every so often, when he’s been unconsciously sweet and well-behaved in public, I’ll present him with this tiny white or orange ellipsoidal treat and he’s euphoric. “CANDY!”
    He holds it reverently between his thumb and finger and gazes lovingly at it while licking it gently and talking about it. If we’re walking, he either drops it, crunches it up, or swallows it by accident. One Tic-Tac lasts between 5 and 10 minutes when he’s in the car! Now that’s bliss.
    Hey, Mummy, thanks for your blog! I’m posting this response on my own blog, now that you got me thinking about it. 🙂

  6. Iota
    24/10/2008 / 17:44

    Bribery. It’s the only way.