At 8:25, 9 minutes before the school bus comes to the end of our driveway:
Phoebe, you still need to brush your hair. Did you use the bathroom yet?
She said she hadn’t, but then instead of heading to use the bathroom, she came up close to me. She stood in front of me, looking up at me with her giant blue eyes wide, arms stretched down and slightly behind her in some sort of gesture I couldn’t interpret.
What is it Phoebe?
She silently continued the wide stare and the apparent gesture.
I don’t know what you’re doing, Phoebe. Use words.
She followed me around, doing the same thing.
Phoebe, I have no idea what you are doing. Tell me what’s going on. You need to brush your hair and use the bathroom.
This went on and on while the minutes ticked away.
We need to hurry, the bus is coming in just a couple minutes.
Still no progress.
This is infuriating. That means you are making me really, really mad.
She still wouldn’t talk.
If you do something and it doesn’t work, and you try it again the same way and it still doesn’t work, it doesn’t help to keep doing the same thing over and over and over.
She still did the same thing.
If we miss the bus because of this, you have no idea how angry I’ll be!
I need you to talk!
I hurriedly tried to find the hairbrush that we keep downstairs. I threw some coats out of the way. I threw aside other coats that weren’t even in the way. I yelled some more.
I was the scary mommy.
In the end, Phoebe used the bathroom and I brushed her hair. She was in tears and I was livid. We ran out the door as the bus passed into view. We ran up the driveway, me carrying her backpack.
I hugged her and told her I loved her before she climbed onto the bus. I asked if she could quickly tell me what was going on. I got nothing. She climbed on to the bus, tears still on her cheeks. And I went back inside, still baffled and angry.
I found the whole thing to be deeply unsettling. That I could miss what she was getting at, perhaps trying to remind me of something. That she would continue so stubbornly to do something when I asked her to stop. And that she managed to make me so very mad by doing so little.
Not the best start to the day.