“Mommy, why do I have to take a bath?”
“Because you’re dirty and we have to wash the gack off.”
“Why am I dirty?”
“Well, because you painted your hands. And put stickers up and down your arms. And then went outside and played in the dirt. And somewhere in there you had some chocolate.”
“I have no idea why. Why did you put stickers all over your arms?”
“They’re my arm necklace. But why can’t I be dirty?”
“Because it’s gross.”
“Because when you stay dirty for a long time, you get stinky and smelly.”
“Because that’s what happens. Kinda like when a dirty diaper sits around, you know?”
“Why can’t I be stinky?”
“Because if you’re stinky, no one will want to be around you.”
“Because it’s no fun to be around someone who smells.”
“Because it’s stinky and icky.”
“Because I said so. Now get in the bathtub.”
That, my friends, was an actual conversation.
It’s why getting anything done in my house now takes ten times longer than it used to (and let’s face it, we were never setting any speed records).
It’s also why “because I’ve said so” has become my favorite phrase. Along with “just do it.” And “go ask your dad.”
But mostly that first one.
I remember when my mom said it. And man, did it infuriate me. I always thought “because I said so” meant she had no real reason for what she said. That she just wanted to make me do stuff for her own benefit.
In fact, I remember vowing that I would never say those words. I remember thinking that I would never make my daughter do something that didn’t make sense. That I’d always take the time to help her understand what I was asking of her.
Silly, silly me.
Mom, the kid I was owes you an apology. And a big bottle of wine.
Feel free to tell me you told me so.