Monday, January 10, 2011

Tell Her No

A sound came from the computer.

“Your Daddy is calling,” I said to the kids, accepting the phone call from Skype.

“I’ve been calling for like ten minutes,” Tom’s face came onto the screen. “What were you doing?”

Um. Taking care of two children. Two loud children. And…

“We were dancing to Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension,” I admitted.

Tom frowned. “What?” He doesn’t get the music I listen to. He listens to rap or music where the singer screams at you. I don’t want to listen to music where people scream at me. I get that enough from my children.

“You know.” I swallowed, cleared my throat, and started to sing. “BILL! I love you soooo, I always will...”

“Who is Bill?” Tom wanted to know.

I shrugged. “Not sure. I just like the song.”

“It sounds awful,” Tom, ever the tactful male, said.

“It’s better than what you listen to,” I argued. “But anyhow, I’m glad you’re here. You need to talk to Natalie. She’s been naughty the past few days.”

“Tell her no,” Tom answered as though it were that easy. I hate when I tell him that the kids aren’t listening because he immediately goes, ‘Tell them no.’ Well, duh, I’ve tried that.

“Tell her no,” I repeated. “What a wonderful idea, Tom. I did not think of that.”

“You don’t have to be sarcastic. Here, I’ll talk to her,” Tom volunteered.

I plopped Natalie in the computer chair. She was dressed in her Rapunzel dress and she waved at Tom. “Hi, Daddy!”

“Daddy has something to talk to you about,” I explained and then left the room. It hit me that I had space! I had real, actual space. I didn’t have a kid attached to my ankle. I didn’t have a kid asking me for something. I was free! Freee! I mean, only for a few minutes, but still. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Maybe I could read a few pages of my book. Yes! I can’t do that during the day. I settled down on the living room chair and opened my book. I could hear Tom’s muffled voice.

Ahhh…it was so nice having another parent in the house again.

Sort of.

I began to read and then...


Tom. Ugh, what? Was he already done?

I shut my book reluctantly and then went back to the computer.

“She told me that she loved me,” Tom said, looking panicked. “I tried to be stern with her and she told me she loved me.”

“And?” I’m used to Natalie doing that. If I’m chastising her, she’ll go, “But I love you. Very much,” and I’m all, “If you love me very much, show it. Plopping down in the middle of the store and refusing to get up does not show love.”

“It’s just…I don’t want her mad at me when I’m halfway across the world. She said she’d be good though. Surely she couldn’t have been too bad,” Tom said.

“Oh, she was bad. I took her to the mall and she screamed at the top of her lungs because she wanted to play in the mall playground. I told her no, she freaked out some more to the point where people were leaning out of the stores, wanting to know what was going on. They probably thought someone was dying. It was mortifying, Tom. I tried everything, I told her to stop it, I even tried Supernanny’s ‘this is unacceptable behavior’ line, complete with a British accent, but that just confused her. She’s just extra stubborn these days so taking her out can be a nightmare,” I rambled.

Seriously, that mall trip was awful. I had to carry her out kicking and screaming and one store worker had the nerve to go, “She has lungs, doesn’t she?” I was tempted to reply, “Really? I have no clue, do you want a daughter? I so wanted a daughter because I thought they were quiet and dainty but the one I got won’t shut up.”

“Did you get upset at the mall, sweetie?” Tom asked Natalie.

Sweetie? SWEETIE?

“Tell her not to do that, Tom. She’ll take it better from you, she doesn’t like disappointing you. Me, she could care less,” I urged.

“Listen to your mother,” Tom said blandly. It was as though he were saying something like, “Isn’t the weather lovely today?” and “Kumquat is a funny word to say.”

“I will, Daddy,” Natalie said sweetly. “I love you, Daddy. Look, I’m a Princess.” She stood up in the chair, swooshing her dress back and forth.

“You’re beautiful,” Tom replied.

“And loud. Don’t forget that she’s loud. Not all the time but a good portion of the time,” I cut in. He hasn’t really seen a meltdown from Natalie. Sure, she got upset when he was around, but nothing like she has been doing. He never saw her stomp one of her feet down and go, “I won’t!” He never had to witness her settling down in the middle of the store, arranging her skirt neatly around her and announcing, “I’m staying here.”

I guess I’m on my own for now.

Until Tom comes back and sees that his daughter isn’t as angelic as he thinks.

Of course, with my luck, Natalie will only ever be on her best behavior around him and then leave the tantrums for me.

Aren’t I lucky?


  1. Oh, do I remember days like that. I was the mean parent, and my husband was "fun dad." Hang in there. It gets better for a few years, and then you've got teenagers!

  2. I think I actually laughed throughout this whole post. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear though. Little girls always have dad wrapped around their little finger.

  3. My boys are the same way. They are monsters for me and then become little angels when their dad gets home. Little turds!

  4. ugh deployments are awful. This is pretty classic deployment behavior from a kid her age - I think when Tom comes home and after he is readjusted to the family schedule you need to take a deployment recovery week away!

  5. My little girl is just starting this super fun phase. Boo. I've carried her out of many a store tucked under my arm like a football while she SCREAMS and kicks and flails. My husband? Doesn't see it because for him she is perfect. Double boo.

  6. I always feel so bad for the parents of the kids throwing tantrums at the mall.

  7. I hope you have some nice trip alone or with girlfriends planned for a little bit after he comes home. You need a break.

  8. Kids just love to do things like that!
    I agree, you need at LEAST a week away after he gets back!! Or make it a couple of long weekends!! ;-)

    Hang in there!!

  9. Sounds like Tom is like my husband. My stepdaughter can be acting out and she bats her eyelashes and calls him Daddy (she's 14) and he caves. I am evil stepmom. A lot.

  10. Don't you just love the way they do that? Sly little devils.

  11. I think that men are just wimps when it comes to little girls. I played my dad a many a time with "But I love you daddy"

  12. heehee, mine always has behaved better for her dad then she does me, too. But. . .well, at least she's cute!

  13. My daughter Sheila used to throw 'hissy fits" complete with turning rigid on the ground as she screamed her lungs out. There was nothing that could make her stop. Look at the bright side Amber. She's 40 now and she doesn't do that any more.

  14. There must be something in the air. Bella is being a big brat too and now I have to have yet another "meeting" at school. *sigh* I'm alone too, but only for a week. All these TDY's are getting so old!!

  15. I hate tantrums, they're the worst!

    Have you tried using positive reinforcement techniques with Natalie? Set up a sticker chart and she gets stickers for keeping her cool and not tantrumming. The stickers go toward whatever motivators you think will work with her?

    Just a thought!

  16. Our granddaughter did that too at three. Only thing I can say is that she'll grow out of it, because once she got started there was no way to stop but carry her out to the car.
    She'll probably stop the day he gets back.

  17. i dont have a daughter so i know this is from a blissfully ignorant angle but that little girl sounds like a cute little shit disturber!

    i used to be a cute little shit disturber, but i remember if i had a meltdown in the middle of the mall all my mom had to say was "you want me to tell your father?"
    and id shut my trap so quick!

    too bad that doesnt seem to work in this case! im telling you, scarying your kids works!!! and no i didnt grow up to have issues.... okay well....a few obviously! like for example i hate going to the mall... still makes me want to sit in the middle of it and scream!

  18. Ah....girls always seem to wrap their daddies right around their fingers don't they?

  19. I don't mean to laugh at your pain ... because I feel you, trust me ... but that is too funny. My husband would get sucked into the same scheme. Sucker.

  20. wow...she has him wrapped TIGHT!!! haha -- I'm sorry she's being difficult. I have ZERO advice for you =/ I hope things get better. And just think -- Tom comes home this year =)

  21. Oh Linda - that doesn't help! I have a screaming princess too! Gah!

  22. My daughter works me and my wife the same way. And she's the only one I have a hard time being stern with. The other day I made my wife be the bad guy because I couldn't.

    Daddies & daughters....there's a special bond.

  23. I love your writing! It has to be so hard to be a "single parent". I know i'm calling my husband some days, and he gets home around 5 everyday. Sigh...why do we always have to be the bad guys?

  24. Ha! I just watched my granddaughter sit in the snow and refuse to walk to the car because her daddy... did or didn't do whatever it was she wanted. Her grandpa and I were thinking, thank goodness she doesn't just do it to us. Her brother grew out of it (mostly) and so will she, and so will Natalie. (And if she stops just as Tom comes least she'll be on the the next phase.)

  25. Oh gosh I feel your pain with the crazy tantrum in public.

    You seriously had me cracking up this entire post. I am sorry I am laughing at your story. But the way you retell it and then Natlaie's response like look I'm a princess ..I love you daddy.. ROFL!

    I need to show this to my hubby he will get a kick out of it and then go..Omg you don't think sofia will be like that.. heh he just doesn't have a clue that one.

    Hope it gets better.!

  26. Dude that sucks. I can see Tom not wanting to be stern since he can't be there. I hate fits.

  27. You may need to try my Mum's trick for dealing with this- walk away. This worked with me and my youngest brother (both of us ceased having tantrums in stores the very first time Mum did this). However, middle brother required a more devious tactic. Middle brother was told that for every store he had a tantrum in and had to be taken out of, that we were going to 2 more stores. For every store we had to leave that I behaved in, I got a lollipop because she wanted me to know that although I was being dragged along, I wasn't being punished (middle brother LOVED lollipops, so that may have factored in too). We spent an entire day going from store to store (walking because we lived in the city and walked everywhere). Some stores we visited multiple, multiple times. Generally the store clerks at these stores actually helped Mum out by praising my behavior and offering me a lollipop for being so good. I remember that my feet hurt at the end of the day, but I don't ever remember my brother having another tantrum in a store....

  28. That's rough! Obviously you want and need his help and support, yet he just wants her to be sweet and smile while he has time to talk with her.

  29. When husband was traveling for a year I got to be both the good and bad cop, but now that he's back I always end up being the bad cop. You need a vacation...the second he walks through the door!


  30. Your daughter DOES have the face of an angel though, seriously she is so cute. But I know what you mean, I am definitely Mean Mom, and my husband is Fun Dad. Maybe now that he is off work recovering from surgery my husband will see my girl's true colors and finally learn to say no to them? A girl can hope, right?

  31. Maybe she'll grow out of it, hopefully soon.

  32. Oh my gosh. That sounds like a pretty bad fit. I would probably never take her anywhere again. Or at least for a VERY long time.

  33. My girls are the opposite....they dont listen to their dad at all!

  34. Take a video to show his when he gets home! Or, if you're tech savvy enough, send it to him over Skype. ;)

  35. Isn't it adorable/ridiculous how easily little girls wrap their dads around their little finger?

    I did it, too, except mine came in a different form.

    "Dad, can I have another Egg McMuffin?"
    "Are you really still hungry?"
    "Yes, Dad, I'm starving!"


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