Please Review the Chart, Doctor

Posted: September 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting, Sleep | 4 Comments »

Yard sales reveal people’s souls.

I mean, aside from seeing someone’s chipped dishes and pilly wool sweaters, you see their cast-off books. And that’s really where it’s all laid bare.

I mean, I laughed about this when I was selling crap in front of my old SF swingles pad years ago. I had a slew of dealing-with-the-loss-of-a-loved-one tomes. None that I actually ever read, mind you. Even my mother’s death couldn’t bring me to read a self-help book.

The story my yard sale items conveyed to folks stopping by my stoop seemed to be, “This girl needs help, but she’s not getting it.” At least not from these books with un-cracked binders.

Of course, noting this with with my friends delighted me. A couple beers into our sale I was making people volume-discount offers. “You want that coffee maker? How about we toss in this Donna Karan tank top, and a copy of Rabbi Grollman’s Living With Loss, Healing With Hope? I’ll make you a deal you can’t resist!”

It’s this kind of thing that I find funny.

Anyway, if you want to get your finger on the pulse of the McClusky family’s current issues, go no further than our refrigerator. That’s where, amidst the birthday party invitations, emergency contact numbers, and magnetic letters, you’ll find our charts.  Specifically, Kate’s ‘Putting On Shoes’ chart.

Because, when Kate is required to wear anything other than flip flops or Crocs, well, let’s just say it’s not pretty. Not at all pretty. But aside from my fears that a lifetime of Croc-wearin’ will cause her feet to splay into ungainly knobby troll feet, there are also (blessedly) school rules about footwear.

But making the switch is brutally painful. Anything remotely binding—shoes or clothing—sets Miss Kate off into fits, as if we, her loving parents, are burying her alive.

We’ve tried pleading, coaxing, and buying expensive sparkly sneakers that were acceptable in stores then rejected later at home. And we’ve tried good old-fashioned might too. “You WILL put those shoes on this instant!”

Turns out, none of those tactics work.

So, we’ve made a chart. Which is to say, we’ve resorted to long-range bribery. If she puts her shoes on in the morning with no screaming, wailing, or other full-head-rotation Exorcist-like behavior, she gets to put a sticker on her chart. Get ten and we’ll buy her a new book. (It’s no Barbie Dream House, but it seems to be sufficient incentive to make the system work.)

And hopefully by the point the end-goal is reached, putting on shoes will have become an easy-breezy part of Kate’s morning ritual.

Although Mark’s mother is coming to visit next week, and I seem to remember Kate having had another shoe-puttin’-on chart when she was here once before… Ah well.

The other chart on the fridge is Paigey’s. Her issue? Popping out of her Big Girl Bed. Calling out to us in endlessly repeating cycles through the night. General night-time hell-raising. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but Feel. My. Pain. Please.

Mark labeled Paigey’s chart her Sleep Chart, but when he blearily made it yesterday morning, I know he really wanted to call it ‘Paige’s Stay the Fuck in Bed Chart.’

This is Paige’s first chart and it’s giving Kate one more big-sis opportunity to show little Wigs the ropes. Because, in case you were unaware, Kate is the authority on everything. Absolutely everything.

So our breakfast conversation yesterday went something like, “When you get ten stickers you get something, Paigey.” (This in Kate’s patronizing sing-songy voice.) “Maybe you want a Mickey Mouse toy? You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Paige? Well you just need to get ALL the stickers, then we’ll go out and you can pick out ANY Mickey Mouse—”

At which point I jumped in with my oft-spoken “I’M the mother! Thanks, Kate” refrain.

God knows I could use a few charts of my own. But I prefer to keep my self-improvement on the down low.

Besides, I shudder at the thought of Mark emerging from the basement office with a print-out and sitting me down. “Now, Kristen. This is your new chart, and this is how it’s going to work…”


4 Comments on “Please Review the Chart, Doctor”

  1. 1 Kelle said at 9:16 am on September 17th, 2010:

    While, I.Feel. Your. Pain. I’m glad we’re not alone with the popping out of big girl bed drama.We just might start a Sleep Chart!

  2. 2 Jeff said at 3:57 pm on September 17th, 2010:

    I can’t quite. Feel. Your. Pain. But, I feel like I can learn from your pain and chart system. Duly noted.

  3. 3 Mary said at 5:37 pm on September 17th, 2010:

    So true, so funny all of it. I like Mark’s name for the chart.

  4. 4 Brooke said at 7:46 pm on September 17th, 2010:

    I hear yu, had many charts, m&ms, cookies, toys and what ever I could figure out to manage the issue of the day…now that they are 19 and 25 no worries-not!

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