Trials and Tribulations in Parenting

December 07, 2015

Posted By: Shaunescy


With three children and a never-ending stream of playdates, my house is usually full of kids.

And if one pays close attention, it always seems to play out in the following way: If the youngest has a friend over, the friend generally gravitates to the middle child. If the middle child has a friend over, they gravitate to the oldest. If the oldest has a friend over, all the young ones inevitably stalk her.

Recently, the oldest had a friend over and, as usual, the younger kids were shadowing her. In an effort to have some alone 12-year-old time, my oldest and her pal locked themselves away in her room for a good portion of the afternoon. Eventually emerging for some trampoline time, the 9-year-old and my surrogate child (read: neighbor who spends most afternoons at my house) sniffed her out. And so it began: the yelling, chasing, door slamming and, eventually bloodcurdling screams.

The middle child then appeared in the kitchen with a tear-stained face and bulging, swollen red eyes.

“What happened?!” I asked.

“She sprayed me in the face with blue body shimmer spray!” She replied.

Apparently my oldest hid behind a closed door, waiting for the 9-year-old to open it, and then blasted her in the face with said blue body shimmer spray when she did.

OK, so very bad behavior. But, worse than the act itself was the chosen weapon (toxic spray) and its target (the eyeballs).

I’ve been working hard on not reacting ?by ranting and raving and throwing out useless consequences, so I decided to take a minute and really figure out how to hit her where it would hurt. And then it dawned on me.

If you have a tween girl, then you know how important their hair is. So that’s where I decided to go. After the friend left, I informed the 12-year-old that I would be taking her blow-dryer, curling iron, flat iron and hair spray for a week. Yes. She would have to go to school with bad hair.

She wore a ponytail for three days and then began showering at night and French braiding her hair so it would be wavy in the morning and she could wear it down. I considered taking away the hair bands at this point but it was too late, we were halfway through the week (I will remember it for the next time though).

On day seven, she appeared in my bedroom and asked for her hair products back. I asked if she missed her things and she replied, “It was awful.”

I then asked if she had learned anything from this experience.

Her reply, “I need back-up hair stuff. And, if I ever shoot body spray at someone again, don’t aim for the eyes.”

Leigh Ripley lives in Bozeman with her husband, three daughters, a mother-in-law upstairs and her parents across the street. There’s a lot of family bonding going on.

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