Yesterday Kevin followed through on a threat. He was trying to get the kids to clean up the living room, and of course, they were not excited about it. There was much whining and complaining and "Why do we have to?" (a question to which the answer never changes). We've been noticing that Katie, however, is a bit quieter in her method to avoid the work; she just mills around and tries to look busy without actually doing anything.
So Kevin was really on top of her yesterday. He told her that if she didn't pick up the toys off the floor and put them where they belong that he was going to throw them in the garbage. She just stood there and stared at him with those enormous blue eyes, silently daring him to follow through. And he did. He grabbed up one of the smallest toys on the floor, marched to the kitchen trash can, and disposed of it.
Well, you would have thought that he had thrown a newborn puppy in the garbage, the way Callie began carrying on. That's right--Callie, not Katie. Katie did get to work, mind you, but she didn't seem to be all that bothered by the discarded item. But Callie! She was wailing and accusing Kevin of not caring about any of their toys and how special they are to them, intermixed with barking at Katie, "Well, I hope you're happy!" This was followed by threats of retrieving the treasure from the garbage, even if it meant sneaking out and digging through the trash bag once it was put out by the curb.
We really tried not to laugh at the dramatic rantings by our seven-and-a-half-year-old, but it was hard. Really, really hard. And I'd have to say we weren't completely successful, though we didn't do it to her face. I asked Kevin if we should put a time limit on the theatrical piece, but he said we should just let her get it out. So on it went. (At least she was still cleaning! Granted, it was done in fear of more toys being done away with. But hey--mission accomplished.)
A few hours later--the rantings somewhat forgotten-- we were sitting in the living room with our Small Group (our church). While listening to the discussion, I noticed Callie sit down quietly near me and open up a folded piece of notebook paper. Looking out of the corner of her eye, she made sure I was watching. After she let out a deep sigh, complete with a heave of the shoulders, I decided to give in and ask her what she was looking at. She handed me the piece of paper, while maintaining the forlorn look on her face. Curiously I opened up the paper but then wasn't sure what I was observing. When I asked Callie what it was, she said--forlorn look still in place--, "It's a picture of the baby Daddy threw away." It was so hard to contain my laughter at my melodramatic daughter.
The irony of it all: What had been thrown away was a tiny, tiny (smaller than even Callie's little finger) plastic figurine of a little girl . . . and it was MINE. Oh well. I'll sacrifice an old toy for a lesson well-learned by my children.
P.S. Since some of you might find us to be cruel, unfeeling parents through reading this, I would like to invite you to visit our home sometime. There you can observe Callie's theatrics-- as well as the explosion of a multitude of little plastic toys--for yourself!
P.P.S. Those of you who find us to be cruel, unfeeling parents, I am going to guess, do not have small children and all their toys in your home.