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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When Good Moms Go Mean

I got into a somewhat heated debate with my 11-year-old daughter the other day. She flat out told me I was being mean. I didn’t get into the parenting business to be friends with 11-year-olds, so it didn’t strike me as an upsetting statement as she intended.

The argument was about scissors. No, not running with them, because I may have encouraged her. We went school supply shopping. I pushed the cart and she held the list. One thing I hate about schools is the fact that they can’t purchase their own baby wipes. I hoped to be finished with the baby crap aisle at the store when my kids could make it to the crapper on their own. But no. The school list had baby wipes listed as a must have.

I dropped about 100 bucks on baby wipes, Kleenex, loose-leaf paper, Ziploc baggies; gallon and quart size, notebooks, assignment book, pencils, pens; red ones, black ones, blue ones, gel ones, crayons, markers, thin and thick, colored pencils, glue; bottle and stick, Scotch tape, protractor, compass, calculator, backpack, school box, binders and folders.

As I tallied the cart contents mathematically in my head, I thought about the other costs I had incurred for this one child, whom I really wanted “left behind” at my local department store. I thought about the cost of registration and tuition, uniform fees and knee pads for volleyball, the rates for hot lunch that had to be purchased in advance, the yearbook that also had to be purchased in advance, the expense of the new wardrobe, shoes; two pair, one for gym and the other for fashion, and teeth cleaning, plus a required school exam at the doctor’s and dentist’s office.

I was spent!

My mind was on overload and my wallet on empty when the child told me she “had to have Fiskars Scissors” because they were on her list. Funny how a tiny thing like that can make a seemingly normal Mom snap.

“Where are the scissors I bought for you last year?”

“I don’t know.”

“How about the pair I bought the year before last?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you realize I have bought you seven pair of scissors for school alone. That doesn’t include all the ones I bought to keep at the house. Where did all the scissors go?”

“I don’t know.”

“Between you and your brother,” I paused to count on my fingers, “I have bought 16 pairs of school scissors, Fiskars. In. Nine. Years. Sixteen. I’m done buying scissors. You are going to have to look through that mess of a room of yours and find an old pair.”

“But Mom, they are on my list. I have to have them.”

“Have to? You get out of school all week at 11 a.m.. How much cutting do you think a 6th grader is going to HAVE to do in those hours?”

“But, it’s on the list.”

“But I bought you plenty already.”

“But Mom, I need them.”

“What you need is to find the pair from last year. It’s not like they were broken or you outgrew them, or they spoiled. There is no expiration date on scissors, sweetheart. When we get home I’ll help you look for them.”

“But Mommy,” she always calls my Mommy when she wants something. Then she gave me her sad face. I think that was when I was supposed to start feeling bad and cave-in, but I didn’t. And my little angel dropped the bomb, “You’re mean.”

And there you have it. I am mean and because I wouldn’t fork over another couple of bucks, for yet another pair of scissors, my little girl is going to be a cut and paste dropout. I’m sure it is only the beginning of a long history of criminal activity in her future.

Keep your eye out for my world premier on Spike TV’s, When Good Moms Go Mean, or maybe Liftime, television for women will pick this story up for their Snapped show.