Who’s the Boss?

We’ve known for a long while now that Lillian is going to challenge us. She has a will and a voice and a stubbornness, which add up to the occasional butting of heads. I’ll return to this in a moment.

I just finally finished a fantastic book by Pamela Druckerman, an American woman who is raising her children in Paris. She compares and contrasts the cultures of parenting in America and France. Not only is it a delightful read, but it also offers eye-opening nuggets of sound parenting wisdom. I decided to practice one of these on Lillian today.

According to Druckerman, French parents have a saying that translates, “It’s me who decides.” She says, “Parents say [this] to remind both their kids and themselves who’s the boss” (p. 226).

So, on our way home this afternoon after lunch with Jeff’s parents, Lillian was talking about things she wanted to do this afternoon. I said, “The very first thing we do when we get home is quiet room time, remember?”

She said, “No. I don’t want to do quiet room time.”

[My kids always always always protest quiet room time, but they pretty regularly seem to enjoy the alone time once it is forced upon them.]

I gave her my best Mommy-is-the-boss look, then said, “It’s Mommy who decides.”

She stared right back at me and responded, “It’s Lillian who decides.”

And Jeff, trying to drive, was in silent hysterics.

***

Do you ever have a project on your to-do list that just doesn’t get done? This little nagging task that weighs on your mind, but you feel either too lazy or too incompetent or too busy to face it? This seems to happen frequently at our house. High on my list of neglected household tasks has been installing more smoke detectors in our home. We have one in the hallway by all the bedrooms that was here before we bought the house … and that’s it. Long ago we did buy additional smoke detectors, but they remained in unopened packages. Last year some time, I did prop one up in Lillian’s room when she decided she wanted to close her door at night. But that preference was short-lived. Finally last night, after scribbling this task on countless to-do lists over the past few years, I convinced Jeff to install them. And now it’s done! Just like that! As Lillian would say, “Y’hoo!”

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4 responses to “Who’s the Boss?

  1. Do you own the Druckerman book, Jess? I’d love to borrow it sometime. I’ve read a lot about it and it sounds intriguing.

  2. I’m reading the same book right now! You’re right that it’s brimming with little nuggets to apply. I haven’t gotten to the ‘mom’s the boss and that’s that’ chapter, but hearing there is one makes me want to plow on ahead because we are in a BIG Avery’s the boss stage. Not cool. Is it any wonder those tiny household tasks remain undone when we’re responsible for raising brilliant citizens?

  3. Shell, I love that last thought! I’ll cling to that when we’re all digging through baskets of clean laundry to find underwear since Mommy can’t find time to put anything away! (At least it’s clean and folded, right?)
    So you’re telling me Lillian won’t outgrow this preteen phase anytime soon? Ugh.
    Let me know what you think of the book!

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