Tuesday, September 19, 2006

8:31 a.m., Tuesday, September 19

Sitting in our home office, banging out an e-mail. I vaguely notice Ava in the doorway, her hands working on some little blue package. I finish my sentence, look over, and find her about 95 percent of the way through unwrapping a piece of Bazooka bubble gum. This is not a normal occurrence in our house at 8:31 a.m.

Gwen is in the next room helping Madison get dressed for school. The "united front" parenting philosophy/approach is something we try to maintain, so just to make sure I didn't miss some previous side-deal I call out, "why is Ava opening up a piece of bubble gum? Did someone say it was OK for her to have gum first thing in the morning?"

Gwen shares my sense of dismay over the development, so I tell Ava we are not going to have a piece of gum at this moment. I grab a tissue and as she approaches with the gum, now completely liberated from its packaging, I wrap it up neatly, hand it back to her and say, "Here, Ava, this is your gum. I'm not taking it away, you just can't have it right now. Go put it somewhere in your room..."

Ava nods, she's getting it, she understands, we're on the same page. She carefully takes the little white bundle and walks off in the direction of her room. I call out, "you can have it later in the day."

The response booms through the second floor of our house within a millisecond:



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