The Outer Limits

January 31st, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  4 Comments

Last Friday, as the F train rolled into Brooklyn, Sasha took off her hat. Ah, crap, not again. It was chilly out, the kid needed a hat, but I didn’t have the energy to fight with her. We got off the train, and I let her start walking home bareheaded. Irresponsible? Maybe, but it was the right decision. After all, this child is her mother’s daughter.

What I mean is, little Sasha already acts like big Jean in many ways, displaying a kind of stubbornness that I’ve given up all hope of fighting. The way it works is this:

  1. There’s something Jean should really do, like go to the emergency room and get that gaping wound in her shoulder checked out. (This is fiction, but only slightly.)
  2. Jean will refuse. She’s tired, she’ll say, or she doesn’t like the local E.R. And but she won’t go online to find another E.R. she does like—that’s my job.
  3. I nag.
  4. I give up nagging.
  5. Eventually, sometime before gangrene sets in, Jean either goes online to find a new, better E.R. or just heads to the perfectly fine one she already knows. Gaping flesh wound cured!

And so, now I see signs of this same psychology in Sasha, and luckily I know how to deal with it—I’m practically an old pro. The thing is, Jean doesn’t. She’ll fight and fight to get the kid to put on her mittens or her hat, to no avail and much crying. It could be for a three-minute walk home, or a half-hour jaunt. In the first case, the Jean-Sasha war is pointless. In the second case, it’s also pointless, because at some point Sasha will realize she’s cold and wants mittens. She might even ask for them.

Which is pretty much what happened on Friday. Halfway down the first block, she looked cold, and I asked if I could put her hat on. She said nothing, but stopped, and I put the hat on. Then she ran home. Mission accomplished!

Now, there’s one last thing to add, of course, which is that I’m sure Sasha has inherited my annoying, awful behaviors as well. But me being me, I can’t see them, and I don’t know how to deal with them. So, Jean, the comments are below—nag away!


  1. karen says:

    January 31st, 2011at 4:55 pm(#)

    That, my dear friend, is what is going to get you through the THREEs. Trust me.

  2. Matt says:

    January 31st, 2011at 5:38 pm(#)

    It got me through Jean’s 20s all right!

  3. karen says:

    February 1st, 2011at 1:58 am(#)

    Excellent. If only I’da taken my parenting course for Alec’s 20s … and 30s … and 40s … OH NO WAY! You can’t tell me it doesn’t drive you crazy every once in a blue moon with Jean … I almost fell for that!


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