Living Examples: The Horribles

Living Examples: The Horribles

“In the car, Patty. We’re late. I mean now. All that dawdling is going to cost you.”

“You’re not the boss of me,” four-year old Patty squawked.

“Wanna bet?”

Patty tried to resist her father’s grasp. Jeb picked up his daughter, put her in her car seat, and snapped down its lock.

“Getting the picture now, right Patty? I AM the boss of you.”

Jeb got into his seat quickly. He looked in the rear view mirror. Patty was sticking her tongue out.

“Where’s my iPad? Did you forget it?” Patty accused.

“You know what, we’re only getting Mommy at the train. You certainly don’t need anymore screen time today.” 

Jeb sped down the road. The light turned red. 

“Mommy’s train is due right now and she won’t be happy if we aren’t there to meet her. You made us be late.” 

The light turned green and Jeb instantly leaned hard on the car horn. “Come on buddy, pick it up,” he yelled at the driver in front of him. 

Patty began to kick the back of the passenger’s seat chanting, “Dumb Dumb Daddy.” 

The next light was yellow and Jeb went right through it. As they pulled into the station, Randi Swanson was looking at her phone. 

Jeb called out, “Wake up Randi. We’re here.” 

“Oh really? Like I hadn’t seen you. I have to finish my text to Max. Be right there, if YOU can stand to wait a minute.” 

Patty said, “See, Mommy isn’t mad at us.” 

Randi opened the car door. “You’re late. I never get how you can’t be on time.” 

“Ask Patty why.” 

“Jeb you’re the parent.” 

“Mommy, do your seat belt. Your hair looks funny. Did you bring me a surprise?” 

“I am doing it Patty. It was windy in the city. Guess what? I have absolutely nothing for you.” 

“Another happy night at home. Can’t wait!” mewed Jeb. 

Patty gave another kick to the back of her mother’s seat.

“Looks like it,” Randi agreed, looking back at her phone. 

Children learn what they see and hear. Parents, whether they are aware of it or not, are naturally providing examples of how to behave. The Swansons were edgy and sarcastic to each other, and their daughter learned to be that way too. She deserved better.

Anne Martine Cook has 39 years experience teaching nursery school children. We welcome your comments and questions.