I have been finding new ways to explain words like ‘spoiled’ and ‘brat’ around our house lately, without actually calling the offending child (not to mention any names—Ellie) a brat to their face.
Laura Ingalls Wilder has been helping, though she doesn’t know it.
I tell Ellie, “Oh, my, Laura would never do that” or “What would happen to Laura if she talked to her Ma like that?” (I am so sly).
When her room was a mess, I would say “Laura always kept a tidy space in the attic.”
When she pouted about sharing a room, I would caution, “Laura not only shared her room, but her bed and blanket with her sister.”
And each time she complained about picking up her toys, I scolded, “Laura only had a corn-cob doll wrapped in a scrap of flour sack cloth to play with!” (that was my favorite.)
It worked like a charm for about 6 days. And just as the Great Creation of the earth came to an end on the seventh day, so did Laura’s help. Geez, thanks, Laura.
Ellie got cheeky with me, and I, beating the dead-prairie horse, crooned “If Laura talked to her Ma like that, she would get a switch to the behind.”
Ellie shrugged passively.
“Yeah, I don’t wanna be like Laura anymore.”
Dang. I pushed it too far. Now I am all alone. Laura has abandoned me. I need some new ammo. Or at least a new literary figure I can unscrupulously manipulate as a pawn in my diabolical scheme.