Fred and I have an unspoken policy when it comes to our large family. We decided years ago unfortunately, that we should do the same things with the youngest kids, that we had the energy to do with the older kids. Being #11 of 12 gave me a curious vantage point on this philosophy. My brother Mark and I definitely seemed to miss out on a few of the finer things our older siblings enjoyed.
Which brings me to our current situation. We were looking back at some photos, trying to pick out some for our Christmas card. We came across Christmas pageant photos with the five older boys all dressed up for the parts. After a few smiles, I gasped horrified. The younger five kids have not ever been in a Christmas pageant. The ones we participated in when the boys were younger were at the Grotto, and they don't do that any more, so technically I am off the hook right? I told Fred I felt badly the younger ones hadn't been in a pageant- he told me I already had too much on my plate and that I shouldn't take anything else on, in fact I was being foolish to even consider it now. Did this help. No such luck. My conscience would not let me sleep that night. The next day, I contacted the DRE of our parish and asked if my home-schooled, unsocialized, misfit kids, could possibly be snuck into the parish pageant. She was, as always, thrilled we wanted to be a part. Practice was this past Saturday, with a mini rehearsal for the Sunday school parents the next day.
Thomas and Michael are kings, Sarah is a star over the manger, and Mary and Lolo ( aka Sophia) are sheep. Lolo tugged at my coat when we got there and said "I feel a little scared". I assured her she'd be fine and she could stay close to Mary. Michael, who didn't want to take part at all, agreed when Thomas said he'd be a king with him. After finding out he was to carry myrrh, he then became indignant and announced loudly to me "Oh great, now I'm supposed to carry deodorant for dead bodies in front of everyone???" The practice went without a hitch. I was very proud of myself indeed. Ha-ha to Fred, not so foolish after all!
Next morning I woke the kids for the dress rehearsal and we drove over to begin. All the kids took their places and I leaned down to Lolo and said "You are going to be so terrific as a sheep today!" and then Lolo answered calmly and determinedly "No, I'm not going to be a sheep anymore. Today I'm going to be a star."
Lolo, is not easily swayed once she sets her mind to an idea. She is so stubborn I would rather wrestle with a lion, than try to move her will once she has made it up. I began to beg and plead with her "Oh Lolo, there are no more star costumes, and you made such a good sheep!" She didn't say another word. She just crossed her arms and sat down on the floor.
This was bad.
She only does that when she is finished-totally and utterly finished, with negotiations. She wont cry, scream, or make a fuss. She will just not move another inch.
I was in a panic. Forget family history, if Lolo didn't do this Fred would say "I told you so!" smugly, and he would be soooo right to gloat! What was I thinking? Fool, fool, fool.
And then I did it. I did that thing no parent is supposed to do to properly handle a child. I resorted to bribery. "Lolo, I'll buy you something!" She still didn't move. "Come on, if you be a sheep today, I'll buy you WHATEVER you want!" and then those sweet manipulative little eyes turned towards me and Lolo said "will you buy me a stuffed animal?"
"Sure!" says I.
"OK" says Lolo, and off she goes to the stage. Fred watched happily and all the children were terrific. The real deal is on Christmas Eve, directly before mass. Lolo walked off stage and I picked her up and told her how great she was and she immediately said "So, where's that stuffed animal?" Fred looked at me quizzically. "Nothing!" I mouthed silently, sticking my tongue out at him. And while the other children are now getting more excited by the day to perform, Lolo has asked me dozens of times when she'll get that stuffed animal. She is holding it over me. All.Day.Long.
Making fudge, she reminded me several time. Making sugar cookies, She reminded me again. before bedtime... you get the idea. It is a total affront to my many years of mothering. How dare she pull my string this way/ "Remember Mom, I'll be a sheep if you get me that stuffed animal!"
I finally fessed up to Fred, much to his delight.
Tonight, I got the stuffed animal. And I aim to show her him in the morning, but I will not give it to her until after her final performance. I intend to exact my revenge from now until Christmas Eve. That'll teach her. Or me. One of us had better learn something.