“Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow!!! Kallan, I am injured! Kallan, stop that! OWWWWW!”
We are getting organized to spend the day at an indoor swimming and rock-climbing facility, and the girls have been skirmishing by the front door. They are impatient to get going, but they are driving me crazy. I am upstairs hunting down a matching pair of clean socks when this latest tragedy befalls Maj.
Maj comes pounding up the stairs, wailing and crying, “She hurt me! I was just standing there being innocent and she hurt me!”
Seriously? Why can’t this family ever just walk out of the house in normal fashion? So annoying.
Maj wails and throws herself into a bedroom chair, “She hooped me, Mother! I am permanently scarred!”
I am about to yell at Kallan for being such an enormous pain in the ass when Maj’s words register. “Wait, what? What do you mean she hooped you?”
Kallan yells up the stairs helpfully, “I was doing my hula hoop and I bonked her with it as I was hooping. She is crazy, I believe.”
I turn back to Maj incredulously, “You are screaming because the hula hoop brushed against you? Are you kidding me?”
Maj is livid, “I am injured! I am seriously injured. There is a mark, I am certain. Here, let me show you.” She stands and wiggles out of her pants to show me a bright red circular mark on her thigh, “Look, Mother! LOOK! This is permanent!”
I examine her leg. “Don’t be ridiculous, Maj. No way a hula hoop did that.”
“ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR?”
“I am so calling you a liar. Pull up your pants and own the lie. This is a stupid lie. Own the lie, and let’s move on.”
Maj buttons her jeans, “Oh, I would be happy to do that, Mother, except I AM NOT LYING! Kallan hooped me! I am injured and you do not even care!”
“Own the lie or stay home. I am not even kidding. Your sister did not leave that mark with a hula hoop. No way that’s what happened. Own the lie or stay home.”
She is defiant, “There is no lie to own, Mother.”
Maj turns to Mark, “Daddy, Mother is being mean to me! She says I can’t go to the party unless I TELL HER A LIE. She wants me to LIE TO HER! She says I can only go to the party if I LIE!”
Mark wisely decides to stay out of this conversation.
Maj stomps from the room and into her own bedroom. I follow her and stand in her doorway, “I am not joking, Maj. I am sick of this nonsense. Own the lie or stay home. I am happy to stay home. Daddy can take Kallan, and you can stay in your room for the day.”
“I AM NOT LYING! I DON’T KNOW HOW IT HAPPENED, BUT THE HULA HOOP LEFT THIS MARK AND IT HURTS! I AM INJURED!! YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR ABOUT HOW KALLAN IS BAD, BUT GUESS WHAT? SHE IS SOMETIMES BAD, MOTHER. SHE HURT ME AND NOW I HAVE TO LIE ABOUT IT IN ORDER TO GO TO A PARTY!”
“Whatever, Maj. You have about two minutes to make your decision. Own the lie or stay home.”
She throws herself down on her bed, turns a rage-contorted face to me, and screams, “HOW CAN YOU ASK ME TO LIE? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I WANT TO GO TO THE PARTY! FINE! I WILL LIE! I AM NOT INJURED. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, MOTHER? GOOD JOB MAKING ME INTO A LIE-TELLER, MOTHER. I WILL REMEMBER THIS DAY FOREVER. GOOD JOB!”
“OK, so let me just tell Daddy and Kallan to head out without us. You start cleaning your room.”
“REALLY, MOTHER? THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I HAVE TOLD THE LIE YOU WANTED, MOTHER! WILL NOTHING MAKE YOU HAPPY?”
Sometimes being Maj’s mother is really tiring. I stand in her doorway and stare at her for a minute. She flops about on her bed, all filled with spikey incredulous self-righteous rage.
“Last chance, Maj. This is it. LAST CHANCE. Own the lie or stay home.”
She stops flopping. Stares up at me.
She is suddenly calm and reasonable. She walks over to me and takes my hands with hers, “Here’s the thing, Mother. I am not really comfortable admitting the lie. So can we just pretend I did that part already and then we all go to the party?”
I stare into her gray-blue eyes, “I do not care how comfortable you are admitting the lie, Maj. Not even a tiny bit. Admit the lie or miss the party.”
Maj’s eyes flash with anger, “You drive me crazy. You just want me to agree to your version of the truth. Your version is not all that matters, you know.”
She sighs, “And maybe I didn’t get hurt by the hula hoop.”
“And maybe I pinched my own leg to leave a mark when you weren’t looking.”
“And then I lied about it and blamed Kallan and threw a huge fit.”
“And whose version of the truth is this?”
“OK, then! Off we go to the party! Yay!”
Maj walks past me, “Mother, you are possibly a little bit stubborn.”
“Yes, well . . . I would say you come by it honestly, but turns out you are a big fat liar.”
“No need to be rude, Mother.”
“No need to lie all fat and big, either.”
“No need to be grudgy, Mother.”
“No need to keep talking, Maj.”
She looks at me, “I will just say nothing then.”
“No words required to say nothing, Maj. Try just saying nothing.”
She says nothing.
For about 30 seconds.