I decide that for the time being at least, a benign dictatorship rather than democracy, shall rule in my American household.
I practice during the afternoon whilst she is away with her pal for a play date. When the telephone call comes from my daughter, as surely as night follows day, I explain that it not convenient for her to have a sleepover. I do not explain further nor add 'not here, not there, not anywhere, ever.'
Her demands border on the hysterical. I lose my footing in response to the ‘why?’ and flail with ‘because your father is coming home tomorrow.’ Oh course she remembers that his flight lands in the evening. I recall two things; I may be a wimp but I am also supposed to be the adult, so I revert to ‘inconvenient’ and stick to it. She negotiates a further hour of play date amid copious shovelfuls of whining, but she will return.
I already know that she is amassing her counter arguments to my objections. Whilst I consider that my objections are reasonable, I can already anticipate her rivalry. Better by far just to not become embroiled.
I would prefer her not to consume dinner with almost a full pound of cheese on a Family Size pizza topped with 80 slices of premium pepperoni. It's easy to remember 'all things in moderation,' but I doubt that her protestations of ‘only one slice’ are likely to be honoured without parental supervision, specifically my own parental supervision.
I appreciate that she is confident that she is immune to the silent father swilling beer on the sofa in front of the telly. I am partial to a drink myself and addicted to Law and Order once everyone is safely tucked up.
I have no doubt that she would willingly resist the temptation of all night U-tube, wouldn’t we all? Maybe she will help them install firewalls?
She is used to the issue of smearing. Surely their household and ours are all too similar, water off a ducks back to the hail and hearty youth of today.
Obviously she will happily entertain herself for several hours the following morning whilst the rest of the household slumbers. She’s more than capable of occupying herself with no adult eye upon her. She's unlikely to starve without breakfast.
It’s not any one thing that makes me uncomfortable, it’s the collective. I have a sudden new appreciation that the 'typical' can be so much more difficult than the 'atypical.'
I fear my holding pattern will be short lived though. I do have an alternative solution but I need to check it out with an etiquette guru, a Miss Manners of America. My alternative plan is to hire a baby sitter for the boys and accompany her as chaperon, sort of invite myself, so I can sit on her shoulder like a parrot, a very loud and colourful one.
But I hope I’m always open to other suggestions.
5 hours ago