Every night before bed, Rachel asks if she can color, without fail. Sometimes she screams it as we're dragging her off to bed like it's some kind of plea for help and we're really dragging her off to the gallows.
"Col-col!" she screams, "Col-col! Col-col!" *
Sometimes we let her stay up and color for a few more minutes, and sometimes we don't. We have a timer that we used to use. It worked for a while. I'd set the timer and say,
"Alright, we can color until the timer goes off and then it's time for bed."
The first few times we used it things went just fine, but then she started throwing the most wild temper tantrums when it went off that we stopped using it altogether.
We started bedtime a little later than usual tonight. We went swimming at Maadi House and then our home teachers came and we didn't even eat dinner until 8:30 PM. It was well past 9:30 when we told Rachel it was time to start getting ready for bed. She, of course, panicked and started whining about this and that.
Somehow we managed to wrestle her into her pyjamas and brush her teeth, despite all her protesting. It wasn't until we announced that it was time for scriptures that she really lost it.
"Col-col!" she demanded, racing over to her drawing table.
We explained that it was late and that she couldn't color right now. She was equally as insistant that she should be able to color right then. So, while Andrew was distracting her, I went and got a big, hairy spider from her toy box and put it on top of her coloring supplies.
She has a love-hate relationship with that spider. She cowers from it and screams whenever it comes near her; sometimes, though, she'll bring it to us and ask us to wiggle it in front of her face. Every now and then when things aren't exciting enough around our household, she needs an adrenaline rush, I guess. I wouldn't be surprised if she took up skydiving or bungee jumping one day for the same reason.
To her credit, it's a pretty scary spider. And it jumps. So that makes it even more scary.
After I had demoniacally placed the spider, I told her that she could have her own way. Am I mean?
"Fine, go ahead and color," I suggested.
"Yeah," she sniffed indignantly and began the short march to her coloring table.
She had already reached her arm out and was only a pace or two away from reaching her destination when she stopped short.
"Ahhhh!" she screamed and flapped her arms wildly in the air, signifying that something was very, very wrong.
"What's wrong?" I asked innocently.
"Ahhhhhh!" she screamed again and pointed at the spider, still flapping her arms, obviously too perplexed to bother with signing "spider."
"Oh, that's too bad. The mean ol' spider is sitting on your stuff. We'll just have to go to bed without coloring, I guess."
"Do you want me to make the spider get off?"
"Alright, spider, get off! Oh, dear. The spider won't listen to me. Maybe if you move the spider then you can color."
She took a step closer and then gave up.
"Ahhhh!" she screamed before running over to me so she could cuddle safely in my lap, far, far away from that awful spider.
Am I mean?
* Linguistic note: she doesn't actually say the el. She says co-co, but with such a strong lateral coloring on the o that it sounds like she's almost saying the el. But she's not.