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I think Nora has been sneaking extra TV-time. C-SPAN, to be exact. Or maybe just a little MSNBC. It’s either that or Congressman Wilson astrally projected onto my five year-old last week.

“You lied to me! You lied!” Nora shouted, stomping her Mary Janes. Her eyes glittered with outrage.

“Honey, honey, no. I didn’t lie!” I was practically stammering in the face of her fury.

“You did so! You lied!”

Heads swiveled in the elementary school cafeteria. Other parents were turning to watch the drama—surreptitiously, of course. No parent wants to admit it, but it can be gratifying to see someone else struggling with their child in public. It’s like watching an episode of Supernanny—your problems seem small compared to those people’s.

And Nora was staging a good show. When she has a tantrum, she pulls out all the stops. I am thankful that they do not occur frequently because when they do, my embarrassment is a 10.0 on the mortification scale.

“You said I could ride the bus home!”kids-on-school-bus-IC5022-63

“Nora, I didn’t! I told you that I was picking you up today. You only needed to take the bus home on Wednesday. Come on.” I tried to sound soothing. “We’ll talk about it in the car.”

“NO!” She maintained the vowel until it collapsed into a wordless scream.

I could feel the sweat beading on my sternum. “You can’t ride the bus home today. You can ride the bus home tomorrow.”

“NO! You’re a liar!”

“Oh God, it’s Friday. You’ll ride the bus next week. Let’s go.” Grabbing Henry and M, my carpooling kid, I fervently hoped that Liam and Nora would follow me.

As I weaved through the masses towards the exit, we suddenly became invisible. No one wanted to make eye contact (me, least of all).

By the time we reached the car, Nora was winding down. She hiccuped. I fixed her with a glare. She sniffled, hugged me, and apologized for her “fit.”

I accepted her apology. Because unlike Congressman Wilson, I think she meant it.

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