I became a mother at the ripe old age of eighteen. I soon learned I knew nothing about raising a child. Three years later, I decided I needed two children to show off my child rearing abilities. I had a beautiful son and daughter.
My son, Allan, was the best boy. He loved to hunt, fish, and played Evil Kenivel on his bike. The trips to the hospital are another story. This story is about my little princess, Stephanie. She taught me an extremely valuable lesson about bluffing.
For some reason during her first year of school, Stephanie decided to stretch her independence. From a mother’s point of view, a six-year-old, in the first grade needs a great deal of motherly love and guidance.
This beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed, little girl was a bit hard-headed. That came from her father’s side of the family, of course. I’d ask her to do something, and she would stand with her hands on her hips and tell me no. She got her tail busted a few times, but it didn’t seem to matter to her. (By the way, you have to remember, back in the 70’s, busting tail wasn’t considered abuse.) I had to think of a creative way to get my daughter to behave. I came up with the perfect idea.
When Stephanie misbehaved, I would explain to her I was sending her to a convent run by Nuns, who would make her behave. We weren’t Catholic, and I’m sure she didn’t have a clue of what a convent was. All she knew I was going to send her away from home and that was all she needed to behave. I had my well-behaved daughter back. That is until October.
One Thursday evening in October, my little angel reverted to an obstinate, hateful, child. She pushed me to my limit. You know they do learn at a remarkably early age what buttons to push to send you near to the breaking point and then back off. With my control being reached, I yelled, “All right, little girl, I have had it with you. Come Monday morning you will be enrolled at the convent.” Of course, I didn’t have any intention of taking her anywhere, much less the fact I wasn’t even sure there was a convent in Oklahoma.
Stephanie believed me, settled down, and began watching TV with her brother. It ended up a real,enjoyable evening, and not even problems going to bed. I patted myself on the back, one more time for controlling my daughter without having to bust her tail.
Friday morning, the kids got up without any problem, had breakfast and headed out the door to school. I headed to work. I was the Director of Nursing at a nursing home. My day was going well, that is until 1:00 PM and I heard an overhead page announcing a phone call for me.
“Hello”, this is Shirley. How can I help you?” I’m thinking it’s a doctor’s office calling with orders. That’s the usual calls I received.
“Shirley, this is Amanda Jenkins, Stephanie’s teacher.”
“Is Stephanie hurt? What’s wrong?” I asked. I felt panic.
“Oh, nothing is wrong. I just wanted to ask you to come by the school and sign Stephanie’s transfer papers.”
“What? She’s not transferring anywhere.” I had forgotten about the night before.
“Stephanie came to me this afternoon and turned her books in. She said you were transferring her from here today, and she would start on Monday at another school.”
My darling called my bluff. I had to explain to the teacher what happened. I didn’t think she was going to stop laughing. I felt like an idiot. I never bluffed my daughter again. She taught me a good lesson about bluffing. Don’t do it unless you’re willing to follow through and accept the consequences. My consequences were, I had to eat crow.