A conscience. It’s that little voice that tells you when you did something wrong. When you should feel bad about it. Reminds you what you should do to fix it and make amends. A conscience is an important thing. Heck, if I didn’t have one, I would be way meaner than I am now. I would have doped my screaming babies on panadol every nite so I could sleep. Instead of only every now and then. Think about all the things you would be doing if you didnt have a conscience…*shudder*.
So yeah, a conscience is a good thing. But sometimes, too much conscience can drive you nuts. Or more particularly, drive your mother nuts.
Little Daughter has a freakazoid conscience. And its driving me nuts. A while back, she tells me, ‘I think I lost my school library book.’
I tell her, ‘Dont worry. Its around somewhere. Im sure it will turn up.’ (Translation: In the universal scheme of things, I dont really care but I’m going to pretend that I do. In the meantime, I hope you turn on the TV and get distracted by Hannah Montana.)
Time goes by. I forget all about lost library books. Then one night, she wakes me up. Distraught. Tears. Sobs, ‘I can’t sleep.’
Its 3am. I’m not impressed with being woken up. Especially since i just went to sleep at 1am. But Little Daughter is crying. In a very heart-rending way. A kinder, gentler mother takes over. ‘Oh no, what’s wrong? Don’t cry. Come, let me give you a hug. Did you have a bad dream?’
Little Daughter chokes out, ‘No. I can’t sleep because I feel so bad about my lost library book. I’m scared to walk past the library. I feel so bad. The librarian is going to look at me and know that I’m a bad person who loses library books. I’ve been searching everywhere in the house and I cant find my book. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t be happy anymore about anything.’
Oh gimme a break. I roll my eyes. (But it’s ok, because it’s dark and she can’t see me.) #MeanMother is fighting to take over #KindGentleMother. I take a deep breath. ‘Don’t worry. I will rip this house apart and find that library book for you. What is it called?’
More sobs. Dramatic pause. She wails. ‘I don’t know. I can’t remember!’ It seems this is the pinnacle of the massive summit which is the towering accumulation of all her sins. Not only has she lost the freakin book and proven her disrepute, but she has also FORGOTTEN what the freakin book is called. A true sign of her ill-worth.
I’m very tired. But #KindGentleMother is winning this battle tonight. ‘I have an idea that will fix everything. Tomorrow, you will go to the library and tell them you’ve lost it. Ask how much it costs and I will pay for it.’
‘But I’m scared.’
‘Why? Is the librarian a demon witch who yells at children and steals their lunchmoney?’
‘No, she’s a nice lady.’
‘So dont worry. She will understand. The important thing is that I’m going to pay for the book. So nobody is going to hate you.’ This child is soo freaked out. An emotional mess. No confidence, assertiveness, or kick-butt strength at all. I must be a crap mother. Why didn’t I pay more attention to The Help? You is kind. You is smart. You is important. Dammnit. I need to make a sign and stick it in her room. Or tape it on her head.
Actually, I could definitely use a sign like that myself. Tattooed on MY brain…but i digress.
Finally, finally Little Daughter’s spirit is appeased. She goes back to sleep. Thank you. The next day, I give her lots of positive vibes. Extra hugs and smiles. Cookies in her lunchbox. (Hey, they always work for me…) She goes to school. I spend the morning tearing the place UP looking for school library books. I find chocolate wrappers in Big Son’s room, eighteen ‘lost’ hair ties, a pair of shoes I didn’t even know that I had, but no library books. I am annoyed.
At school, Little Daughter confesses her sins to the librarian. The librarian checks her computer and tells Little Daughter, “No. You dont have any books out. You returned all your books long time ago.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Little Daughter spent weeks, sleepless nights, guilt-ridden hours – fretting about a lost library book that wasnt lost at all. She comes home with a gigantic smile on her face to share this glorious news with me. I have spent hours rearranging the mess in my house (when I was perfectly happy with the mess the way it was) – searching for a library book that doesnt exist. I am not happy. I grit my teeth and #MeanMother struggles to say, ‘You DERWIT DER-BRAIN!’
But #KindGentleMother chants in my brain… You is kind, You is smart. You is important.
I know I must be thankful for a child with a functioning
freakazoid conscience. But sometimes, it just makes me want to get doped on too much Vicodin panadol and sink into a sleep so deep that even library-book-guilt cant wake me. …cos Im in a faraway place, bustin a move with Thor and Capt America…