She thinks she has us fooled


Some things never change. Our daughter thinks that she’s got us wrapped around her little finger, not knowing that, when we were kids, we pulled the same stunts she is trying to pull.

We have an unwritten agreement with Pudd’ng that she should return home before it is dark. But sometimes I think playing or hanging out with her friends gets the better of her, and she returns just as dusk has set in. Baby girl is trying to push it, a minute at a time.

When Pudd’ng knows she has broken this unwritten agreement, she always has a ready excuse. Here are some of her excuses – more like ploys and tricks – she tries to pull on us.

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The textbooks ploy

This is a classic ploy that we used way back in the day. It goes something like this; you return home late clutching a bunch of textbooks under your armpits. And the more, the better. You make sure that the textbooks are visible. They must be the first thing that your parent sees when you enter the house. You let the textbooks  speak for themselves.

Pudd’ng likes pushing this  for maximum effect by taking me on a guilt trip: “There are some textbooks that you did not buy for me, and so I had to borrow them from a friend”.

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She knows that this is enough for me to look the other way, albeit with a subtle warning.

The homework trick

There are times when Pudd’ng’s girlfriends come over, and they huddle in her bedroom and do their homework. And, after they are done and her friends are gone, she never fails to mention that they were doing homework.

Too late. I have just come to learn that this is a set-up. At times when Pudd’ng breaks her curfew, she uses the excuses that she and her friends were doing homework together, at one of her friends’ home. Of course, she always has a couple of exercise books to back her up.

The long stories ploy

If Pudd’ng returns home and she has broken her curfew, and the first thing she starts doing is telling me long-winded stories, even before she has set a foot inside the house, I instantly know that she is trying to pull wool over my eyes.

The long stories usually start with the stock phrase: “Dah-dee? You won’t believe what happened …”

Aha. That is enough to get any dad’s attention. The phrase keeps you on tenterhooks, and you wonder if you are about to hear good, bad or ugly news. The stories may be mundane, but the motives are two; diffuse the tension and make her to be in control of the situation and narrative.  

The good grades ploy

Pudd’ng knows that the news about her getting good grades is music to my ears. And I have learnt, through observation, that if they do a test and she does not tell me how she performed in her favourite subjects, she is silently telling me to read between the lines.

The good grades ploy, which is used to beat a rap, goes something like this: “Today, we were given the results for the math test that we did two days ago. I was second, with 88 marks, and I remained in school to do the corrections. That is why I am late.”

This excuse may have some sprinkling or oodles of truth in it. But it is designed to make us see the good side of the culprit, and to give the perception that she is endeavouring to better her grades, at the expense of breaking her curfew.

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Pudd’ngJosaya Wasonga