“Get that frog out of here! I’m telling you for the last time!” I hollered.
My boys scrambled out the back patio door to bring Gordon onto the deck.
My daughter and I found the frog earlier that day when I dug up an overgrown patch of lavender in the garden.
I called the boys out to see him and, as little boys always do, they wanted to keep him as a pet.
They started making a “habitat” for the frog they named Gordon in a large canning jar. They soon realized Gordon could jump out and found a more suitable cage with a lid with holes.
I told them Gordon had to live outside, because if he ever escaped, our cat would eat him.
But they were determined to bring him out of the elements and into my oldest’s bedroom.
In my college years my mother admitted to me that she had read a book called “The Strong Willed Child,” when I was growing up. It supposedly gave her insight into how to deal with a single-minded, determined young girl.
In recent years she has recommended I also read it.
She’s probably right. Mothers usually are.
The one trait all three of my children seemed to have gotten from me is persistence.
No matter how many times I tell them they can not have a Popsicle/popcorn/cookie/piece of candy, because they just finished a Rice Krispy treat, they will continue to bug me about it.
“Please???!!!” they whine.
“But I’m still hungry!” they shout.
Until I pull out the fruit. Then, of course, they have changed their minds.
But I’ll be darned if sometimes I don’t catch them trying to sneak the treat they were just begging for out of the pantry a few minutes later.
They are determined.
One afternoon last week, while trying to absorb a little sunshine in an otherwise series of rainy days, we were all sitting outside in the backyard.
Well, I was sitting and talking on the phone to my girlfriend. The kids were playing. My daughter was pretending to drive to the store in her little car. The boys were playing baseball with a Wiffle Ball.
Except, all of a sudden I noticed, only my 9-year-old was playing baseball.
I looked around the yard for my 7-year-old. I spotted him standing on the fence, peeking over into the neighbor’s yard.
“Get down!” I told him.
A few minutes later, he was right back up on the fence.
“Get down and stay off that fence,” I said.
“Yeesh,” I told my girlfriend. “If their friend from next door is busy with family or company, my boys will stand on the fence and literally watch them. Talk about irritating.”
“It’s rude!” I called out to my son.
“Tell them they are being bugaboos,” my girlfriend said with a giggle.
I am embarrassed to say that my children are the type to call four times in a row while a parent is on the phone, because they want to talk to their friend.
They are the kind of kids to ring the doorbell twice in an hour to see if their friends are finished with chores or dinner.
They are the type to take out paint in the garage for a second time after I blew my top off the first time I caught them getting into it.
They are persistent. They are strong-willed children.
I guess I can’t complain too much, since they get it from me. It’s frustrating telling them no over and over again.
But I’m also interested to see how far their determination gets them.
When my 9-year-old wants to learn something – like how to catch a football pass while running or long division – he will keep at it until he does it proficiently. It’s a trait he’s teaching to his younger brother and sister, for better or for worse.
I suppose I just have to make time to get to the library and check out my mother’s recommended reading, before they hit their teenage years.
• Mommy Talk is written by reporter Marci Laehr Tenuta. Her column can be found online at www.journaltimes.com/mom