Quite a Performance

Last night, Phoebe unearthed a stuffed bear that had been moldering, unloved and unwanted, in the stuffed animal pile for at least a year. Mallory saw it and shouted, "I want to sleep with that bear tonight!" Phoebe protested that she wanted the bear to cuddle, and since she was the one who found it, I awarded her the cuddling privileges.

Mallory was inconsolable. She went to bed and cried for five minutes, declaring over and over again that "It's not fair! I never get a chance! Phoebe's so mean!" Then, realizing that the standard fare was having no effect, she changed tack.

"I know why Phoebe won't give me the bear," she said in a quavery voice. "It's because I'm nothing but a big jerk."

"What?" I said, startled.

"It's true. I'm a bad big sister. No wonder she doesn't like me. I never do anything nice for her. Even at school, I'm a bad person. I'm always the last to pack up my backpack when it's time to go. When people are mean to me on the playground, it's just what I observe."

"What?" I said again.

"I observe it when people are mean to me," she continued, and I realized that she meant "deserve." "I totally observe it because I'm a big jerk."

"Now Mallory," I said, "this is just not true. You're not a big jerk. You're a good big sister and a good friend and lots of people love you."

"I just don't know how much more I can take," she said in despair. "This life, it's just so hard for me."

This went on for some time. I was trying to decide whether to laugh or to be concerned about her mental well-being when she played her final card.

"Do you know what would make me feel better about this hard life that I have?" she asked weepily.

"No, tell me," I said.

"If Phoebe...would just...give me the bear!"

Phoebe did not give her the bear. But if I'd had one handy, I would've given her an Oscar.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm! Wonder where she gets the gift for drama?


aimee said...

You weren't implying any of your kids, were you Mom?