Both Sides


Girl did I tell you what happened with my Mommy last week?

Unh-uh chile. These recitals have had me missing playdates all month. What happened?

Ok so last Saturday, I wake up, 8 o’clock in the morning, you already know what time it is. I run downstairs, pour me some Sugar Sparks, put on my cape and get ready for Teddy Toodles Adventures.

Roight, roight. TOODLE GANG!

IN THIS THANG! But anyway. Here I am, about to fly off to Toodle Town with the one sugary thing I get to have all week, and guess what yo mama’s friend comes to do.

Uh oh girl, I’m scared to even ask. What did Ms. Donna do now?

Girl, she came and stood her butt right in front of the TV! Right in front of the Magical portal to Toodle Town!




Right?! So I’m sitting there, trying to use my words, trying to not have a temper tantrum, but eventually I’m like, “Hey! Big Ma wasn’t a glassmaker ya know!”

Tahuh! I know that’s right! And what did she say?

Girl. Not only did this lady not move from in front of the screen, but she turned around and cut the whole TV off! Talkin’ bout, “Jonah, today is a working Saturday.”




But wait, that’s not even it! Then she pulls out my Toodle Gang drawing board with all my Toodle doodles erased and replaced with a list of “chores.”

(stunned silence)

Girl. I. Was. Shocked. Like, is this the thanks I get for learning how to read? You couldn’t find anything else to write on? Since when did I get “chores”? AND DID THIS CHICK REALLY JUST TURN OFF TEDDY TOODLES ADVENTURES?!?!


STRAIGHT TRIPPIN’, RIGHT?! First off, I’m 5. I don’t do “chores.” Second of all, I just spent a whole week listening to my teacher talk in that God-awful “funny” voice she uses during story time, beefing with Ranique because she never wants to take turns on the good swing and avoiding hair pulls from doodoo head Matthew. She knows that Saturday is my day to unwind. The only day I have to not worry about making beds or practicing workbooks or going to piano lessons or getting my hair combed or eating doggone carrots and apple slices. I’m just trying to pour sugar in my mouth and put on my adventure cape and watch Teddy Toodles. But girl, she would not budge. I swear I’ve never been more betrayed in my LIFE.

Dang girl. I am so sorry. Your mommy is really, really mean. I hope she don’t start talking to my mommy about no chores, cuz’ Ima tell you right now, I ain’t doin’ em. I’ll call my granny and tell on her.

Girl, get ready, cuz it’s coming.

Jesuuuus. So what you do?

Nothing at first. I just stood there looking at her because surely, I thought, this lady is joking. I probably would have stood there all day if she didn’t hit me with the, “you heard me.”

Mmmmmmp. Girl. What is we gon’ do?

WeIl, I’ll tell you what I did. Shoot. I went upstairs alright, but I didn’t stay.


Ta-huh! Girl, you know I ain’t stay. I probably cleaned up two toys before I sat in my Toodle chair and really got to thinking.

Yes Toodle chair!

So I’m in my chair, thinking cap tied tight, and I realize that my mommy is always trying to tell somebody what to do! From the moment I wake up it’s “Jonah brush your teeth,” “Jonah put on your seatbelt,” “Jonah take your vitamins.” And what do I do? Say, “yes mommy.” “Ok mommy.” “Sure, mommy, sure.” She doesn’t even notice that I’m a good little girl. Shoot, I’ve even been getting my tantrums together! And you KNOW how I can throw a tantrum. But now she wanna turn cartoons off on folks???

Giiiirrrl these mama’s today!

What is wrong with these women! I was mad, pacing at this point. Like, yo, who does this lady think she is? All up in my business, trying to control my interests. I don’t know if she forgot, but these are are my Barbies. My Berenstein* Bears books. These are my daggone Happy Meal toys. What business is it of hers where I leave my Legos? Or how long Skipper wants to chill by the pool I made for her in my bathroom sink? Do I go in her room and start criticizing things? Do I ask when she’s gonna dust the top of that TV? Or how long them panty hose are going to hang off the shower rod? Do I say anything? Do. I. Say. A. Word?


Meanwhile, it’s dead silence downstairs. Not one pan clanging, not a snack getting fixed.  No vacuum cleaner noise or Windex bottle squirts. I thought we was doing chores! But no, she’s down there getting a free ride. A free ride in a fancy car! Putting me to work while she’s living the life! Writing her name all loopily and leisurely inside a checkbook. Opening envelopes and putting stamps on things. Nah. It’s not going down like that playboi.

Mmmp mmp mmp. If only. If ever.

I told her.

What you mean you told her?

Just what I said, I told her!


I toooooold herrrrrrr. No temper tantrum, no loud talking, nothing. I simply walked back down the stairs, posted up in her doorframe, crossed my arms and calmly demanded to know why she was always telling me to do this, and that, and this, and that. Pointing to imaginary tasks with my finger.

(stunned, silent disbelief)

She was like, “excuse me?


Girl, I cocked my head to the side and said, “you heard me.” Just like she said had said to me earlier.



Daaaang Jonah!!! Yessss!!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ bout! Show these mamas they can’t be walking over us like that!!!! Unt uhhh! Whaaaaat!

(satisfied smiling)

So then what happened?!

Honestly I’ve never seen my mommy look so…surprised? I thought she was going to pull the switch out on me, but she just called my Auntie Deena and told her to “come get this girl before I beat her.” But I wasn’t trippin’ cuz Auntie Deena lets me eat all the Sugar Sparks I want and watch Teddy Toodles Adventures.

I cannooooot. You really went up against your mommy and won?

I won my right to watch cartoons on Saturday but when she came to pick me up on Sunday she had all my toys bagged up in the car and stopped to drop them off at The Goodwill. Talkin’ ‘bout, “you can get them back when you learn who’s the mama and who’s not.”

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaang sisssssssssss! That’s messed up! Even the Teddy Toodles chair?!

Even. The. Teddy. Toodles. Chair. It felt good standing up to a mommy like that, but when I saw that empty room? I can’t lie, your girl was distraught.  


Not that I was finna let her see that though.

(raises eyebrows)

I walked around the empty carpet a little bit then turned back to where she was in the door. “I guess I don’t have to clean up now,” I told her.  




*I know it’s Berenstain, but I also know that it’s Berenstein.