Casper, the Friendly Disciplinarian

Jane has reached the age where she quickly hides whatever she is doing anytime I unexpectedly walk into the room. It doesn’t even matter if she’s doing something wrong or not. The phone gets tucked under the blanket. The Kindle gets hidden behind the bathroom cabinet. The hands go quickly behind the back.

Yesterday, I walked into her room and the paper she was writing on was suddenly turned upside down and her hand was placed firmly over it.

“What are you writing?”


“Yes, you are. What are you writing?”

“Nothing. It doesn’t apply to you. It’s nothing.”

Jane’s mother is an insanely curious person. Being none of my business does little to quench the curiosity. I sat down on her bed. “Who is it to?”

“No one. It’s nothing.” At this point she crumpled the paper up and clenched it in her fist. Oh, boy, now the curiosity was racing.

“If it’s nothing then why can’t I see it? Who are you writing to?”

“Myself. I’m writing to myself and it’s nothing.”

At this point, the mother part of me realized that she was very uncomfortable and I shouldn’t push. She wasn’t acting like she had done something wrong. She just seemed embarrassed. The curious part of me idly wondered if I might be able to sneak in and find it after she went to bed. “Ok, fine. If you don’t want me to read it, I won’t.”

She pressed the paper back out on her table and picked up the marker she was using. I walked out the door, wondering if I could live with not knowing what she was writing.

Today, I asked her again what she wrote about.

“Do you want to read it?” she asked.


“OK. You can read it.” She left the room and returned with the paper ball, which she threw at me with a smile. I read it and started laughing. Her father, grandmother, aunt, and her aunt’s boyfriend were all around the table. With her permission, I wadded the paper up and threw it to her dad, who read it and then wadded it up to throw it to her aunt, and so on until everyone had read it.

I got her permission to share it here after telling her that I found it very creative and a cute attempt to motivate herself. Before I share it, you must know that Jane has an imaginary friend named Casper. She knows he’s not real. At least, I think she does. Here’s the paper:


In case you can’t read it through the wrinkles, it says “Make your bed or you aren’t allowed to txt for 20 days!! I mean it! Love, Casper”

Her bed, by the way, was very nicely made this morning. I guess I need to take a page from Casper’s playbook. The threat of a texting ban was obviously effective.

Shower Conversations

I love our new shower. We spent ten years sharing the one down the hall with the kids. Our bathroom still lacks a sink as the remodeling process stretches on, but I can now happily shower away from the kids. Usually.

Shortly after we installed it, Jane walks in to use the toilet. As she sits there, she watches me take a shower. “Isn’t it kind of weird to take a shower where everyone can see you?”

“Well, honey, most people don’t open closed doors to come into my bathroom so it’s usually not a problem.”

“Oh. Right.”

Sometimes I think a light must go on in the hallway whenever I turn on the water. That light signals to the children that now would be an excellent time to try to talk to me. I can count on Hal opening the door and whining about whatever is going on in the house that he objects to. Daryl has tried to bring me school papers to sign.

Just this morning, Jane pokes her head in. I hear, “Mommy, where is your {words lost in the drone of the water}”

“Jane, you will have to come in here if you want to talk to me. I can’t hear you. And close the door. You are letting in all the cold air.” (The heater is another item still missing in the remodel and I despise being cold.)

She walks right up beside the shower door. “Where is your leg blower?”

I stare back at her. “WHAT?!

“Where is your leg blower?”

I stop moving and ask again. “What?”

Getting frustrated, she moves her hand up and down her leg, almost as if she’s shaving, and repeats herself.

Replaying the words carefully, contemplating her pantomime, and studying her attire (she’s wearing black pants), I figure it out: “Where is your leg roller?”

She wants to know where the lint roller is. I give her some suggestions on where to look (my bathroom is still in disarray, remember?). She heads out and I resume my ablutions.

My husband soon walks in and I repeat the exchange to him. I comment that I don’t know why the kids try to talk to me in the shower. Then I start telling him about how the previous day had gone for me. While talking about a woman in my yoga-at-work class, I say, “We always park next to each other.”

“You park next to each other?” He sounds surprised.

“Yes, every day. It’s kind of funny.”

He begins to laugh.

Encouraged, I continue, “Whichever of us gets there first parks at the very end. The other one then parks…”

I trail off because he is laughing harder now. “You didn’t hear what I said, did you?” he asks.

“You asked if we park next to each other.”

“No, I asked if you FART next to each other and then you said, ‘Yes, every day. It’s kind of funny.'” He laughs some more. “I think maybe you shouldn’t have ANY conversations while in the shower.”