Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Tom brought the girls into town and met me at the orthodontist’s office for an appointment for Alyssa. Because it was after school, he was able to bring them to me instead of me leaving work, going to the school (twenty miles away), picking Alyssa up and bringing her back to town for the appointment. On those days, Tom has to be at home when Liv gets off the bus.

But yesterday he was able to bring them to me. It was a nice change.

Olivia and I went back with Alyssa and sat in the chairs provided to watch the fun of having braces wires changed.

We chatted, as we do and finally, Olivia said, quite matter-of-factly, “I have a yellow slip at home.”

I gave her a curious look, “What did you do to get a yellow slip?”

There was no anger in my voice. We were still just having a conversation.

She shrugged and answered, “I didn’t write a number on my line when Mrs. A told me to.”

“Why didn’t you write the number?” I wanted to know.

She shrugged again. She often doesn’t know why she’s misbehaving, she just does it.

I told her, still with no anger in my voice, “When we get home, you can’t be on your tablet. You have to wait until tomorrow after school when you can show us that you can follow your teacher’s directions.”

She nodded and went back to reading the book she’d brought from home.

Sigh. This girl…she’s so amazing and so exasperating all at the same time.

Sunday morning, as I was preparing for guests, she came to me very casually and showed me her new Barbie (a Monster’s High doll with two heads.)

She’d drawn on both faces with an ink pen.

“I did this and now I’m going to wash it off,” she declared, heading for the downstairs bathroom.

I stopped her mid-stride and said, “No, let’s go upstairs. That is not going to just come off with soap and water.”

When we got upstairs, I first tried washing the doll’s faces with a Magic Eraser. None of the ink budged from those faces. Then I tried nail polish remover.


I told Olivia that she’d made a very bad choice.

Then I did what any self-respecting mother in the year 2016 does when they have a dilemma. I googled ‘how to get ink off a doll’s face.’

I found a youtube video of a woman who drew on her doll’s face deliberately just to show how well pimple cream works to get it off. This woman wrote on that doll’s face twice to show two different applications. Then, when she was done, she said, “And if that application doesn’t work, well, you’re on your own.”

That last sentence kind of pissed me off, but I was already pissed off by O’s bad choice (I was trying hard not to yell at her, because, well, what good would that have done?) so I took it out on the youtube lady and hissed, “Thanks for nothing, you hag!” Then I shut the browsing window and got to work trying what she’d suggested.

And what do you know? It worked! I had to apply it twice (we have Zapzyt, which is 10% benzoyl peroxide), put plastic over the faces and lay them in the sun but it worked. One of the dolls, Peri, the one with the bluer hair, had her lipstick smeared a little across the left side of her face but other than that they’re fine. Olivia was quite relieved and promised to never hide behind the recliner again with a doll and a pen.

So we’re working on things over here. Every day, we work on them. Together, we work toward maturity and growth and a sense of personal accountability.

When we got home from the orthodontist last night, I went through O’s backpack and found the yellow slip from her teacher. Mrs. A wrote that instead of following instructions, Liv wanted to argue about the instructions and why she even had to do what was being asked of her.

So we had another discussion on what it meant to follow directions and how when Mrs. A or Mrs. P or even Miss S. told her to do something, she HAD to do it because they were the boss of her. They’re the adults, they want to teach her something and that’s why they’re giving her direction.

Yes, I want her to be independent but I also want her to learn and being defiant at school will impede her education.

She listened, she nodded and she promised that today, she’d follow her teachers’ instructions.

We’ll see.

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