“Natalie, you’ve got to get your pants on. Someone is coming over to check on the heater and you can’t greet him in your underpants!” I shrieked, waving her jeans in the air.
Since I live on base housing, someone comes out to do a yearly maintenance checkup on the heater and fire alarms. I didn’t want the worker to be shocked by my kid with no pants though I’m sure he’s probably seen worse.
“No pants!” Natalie shouted in return. “I don’t like my pants and I don’t WANT my pants.”
She’d fit in with those starlets in Hollywood who like to stroll along in dresses that I swear are just oversized t-shirts since they barely cover their thighs. I wonder if they dress that way because their parents never emphasized the importance of pants.
“You will wear your pants,” I said firmly. I grabbed a hold of Natalie and tried to wrestle her pants on. I figured this would work out because I’m bigger than her. But no, she squirmed, she tried to bite, and she managed to wiggle under my arm to freedom. She raced to the end of the hall.
“NOOOOOOOOO PANTS!” she bellowed.
I rubbed my temples. I was so not in the mood for this. It had been a long morning of scrubbing the floor where the heater was because I didn’t want the worker to think we were pigs. Then I had to make sure the other rooms looked presentable, since there are fire alarms in each of those. Now my daughter was refusing to wear her pants.
“I am the parent and I say you will wear your pants!” I boomed. I held her jeans in the air like they were a trophy.
“Nope,” Natalie said simply, crossing her arms over her chest. “Nope, nope, and nope.”
I could feel my anger start to boil. I always thought that I had a lot of patience. But this was before I had children.
I charged at Natalie like a bull and she darted away. I managed to grab her waist and held her down with my leg.
“NOOOOOOOO PANTS!” Natalie screamed. Her face was red. “NOOOO PANTS!”
Then the doorbell rang.
The worker was here. And he probably heard Natalie freaking out. I stood up and Natalie rushed off. Her pants were only on one leg.
“Hello,” I said in what I hoped was a cheerful tone as I pulled open the front door.
“What’s that man for?” Natalie asked, sidling up beside me. She still just had her pants on one leg.
The worker blinked at us.
“Well, come on in,” I said brightly, acting as though I wasn’t just begging for my three-year-old to put on her pants a minute ago.
The worker stepped in and surveyed the room. It had been clean ten minutes earlier. But then Natalie decided that all her stuffed animals needed to form a line across the living room.
“It’s a party in here,” I joked.
“Huh?” the worker answered.
“It’s a—never mind, the heater is down the hall,” I said dumbly.
The worker gave me one last puzzled glance and headed for the heater.
I stared at Natalie. “Will you put your pants on properly now?”
“All I want is my princess dress,” she said.
Fine. I guess that was better than nothing. I helped her into her Snow White dress and reminded her to stay away from the man and let him work. She actually listened but Max the cat kept popping his head into the room the man was in and then he’d startle himself, backing up with his fur on end.
The good news is that everything is working perfectly.
The bad news is, I still can’t get Natalie to wear pants.