Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Maybe you could make me a list."

A few weeks ago I walked into Caroline's room and noticed lots of clothes and hangers on her closet floor. She had been in the habit of pulling items down off the hangers (which are way above her head) so she could change clothes and "dress up." This usually resulted in broken hangers, previously clean clothes in a heap on the floor, and shirt necks stretched and buttons popped from being pulled on so hard.

I had already explained to Caroline that she shouldn't pull clothes down from the closet, but, apparently, had not been specific enough. I think I had said something like, "don't pull on your dresses--you'll ruin them," or, "you've got to stop making such a mess by pulling all these clothes out of the closet." I had said things like this more than once, so that day when I walked in and saw the mess I started to get frustrated.

"Caroline, look at this mess in your closet," I said, very sternly.

She looked at all the clothes and shook her head side to side, as if in agreement with me that, yes, this was quite a mess. I think she assumed I would be less upset with her if we were on the same page right away.

"What has mommy told you about taking clothes down?"

She explained herself: "I didn't pull them. I stood on my car--see--and I just got them down like that. I didn't pull them."

"But I told you not to even take them down, didn't I?"

She thought about it with a very cute thinking face and then said, "Oops, I forgot."

I gave her the benefit of the doubt, figuring it was possible she had misunderstood something. And I realized, as I have many times since becoming a mom and going through the whole discipline thing, that I have to be especially clear by spelling out everything I mean.

So I said, "Okay, for next time you need to remember--

  • don't pull your clothes down and make a mess on the floor,
  • don't pull your clothes down at all--don't stand on the floor and pull them down, don't climb on something to reach them and pull them down,
  • don't take any clothes out of your closet--not any--you can play with the ones that are in your dresser, only the ones that are in your dresser . . .
Can you remember that for next time so you don't get in trouble?"

She had the cute thinking face on again. She touched her pointer finger to her chin and said thoughtfully, "maybe you could make me a list."

I said, "A list??"

"Yeah, like [she started to list on her fingers] don't pull on the clothes, don't stand on my car, don't take bologna out the fridgerator, don't take money out my piggy bank, don't use your chapstick 'out asking first . . ."

And she went on. Apparently, she can remember a whole lot of things. But it would be really helpful to her to have a list. :)


  1. That is way, way too much. What a bolt of lightning she is! I don't know how you even stand having a kid that cute.

  2. I always laugh out loud after reading each post. Then, it follows with me making Ben mute the TV while I read it to him.

  3. She is so cute--and fierce:).

    I love this page!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Perhaps aliens attacked her room and made the mess. I remember that happened to you in college once :)


  5. Are you sure only once?? :)

    Like mother, like daughter, I guess.