The Art of Distraction

“You have Hapkido today,” I said as nonchalantly as I could as Sammy left the kitchen to go get dressed for school.

We had discussed this.  She had brought it up. She wanted to go.  When I pressed her to choose, she wanted to take Hapkido instead of dance. I said she could take both, but she had to stay for nap on Thursdays.  Hapkido was at twelve thirty, but past experience told me her teacher was always late starting class, up to a half hour.  And I had to pick up Ella no later than twelve thirty.  Ella and Penny need their naps.  And it’s no fun hanging around preschool trying to entertain the two of them while we wait for Sammy to finish.  Plus,if she stayed for nap, that would be two days where I have potentially everyone at home asleep at the same time. Which means a nap for me. I really need to nap.

I told her this. She had to stay for nap.  So she changed her mind. No Hapkido. But I signed her up anyway.  She liked it so much last year and was really disappointed they didn’t have it this year.  And it’s good for her. My shy little girl kicks and punches and “Ha’s” with such force. It’s good for her.

But there was the nap thing. I decided I’d try to pick her up before nap. We’d wait. Because I really do think it’s good for her.  I hadn’t told her this yet when I said, “You have Hapkido today.”

Her face melted. She shook her head. No words, just head shaking and big tears, dropping on the ground. Lip quivering. She was trying not to cry. I went to her and hugged her and asked her what was wrong.

She sobbed. No words.

“You don’t have to stay for nap,” I said.  “I’ll pick you up right after Hapkido. Okay?”

More sobbing and head shaking.

“I don’t want to go,” she said into my neck. “I don’t want to take Hapkido.”

“Why not? You loved it last year.”

“I don’t want to .”

“Is it because you have to stay for nap?”

“Yes. I don’t want to take Hapkido.”

“But, Sammy, I already said you don’t have to stay for nap.”

“I don’t want to .”

“Don’t you remember how much you loved it? Show me the punches,” I said, thrusting my hands in front of me as spastically as I could. “Like that?”

She shook her head no. I caught a quick smile. I had found my distraction.

“What is it you say when you punch?”

She shrugged, watching me, waiting for it.

My arms contorted, “Macaroni and cheese?”

Smile and head shake.

Again the arms, “Banana split?”

A giggle.

“Oogey boogey?”

A snicker.

I went in for the kill. Arms flailing wildly, “Butt?”

She fell off my lap, squealing with laughter.

“You said ‘butt'” she roared.

Ella, sitting at the kitchen table, doubled over, grabbing her perpetually naked belly, and slapped the table while she cackled away.  Penny, in her booster seat, had no idea what was going on, but she joined in. Laughing and laughing.

Sammy went to Hapkido. Penny, Ella, and I waited, out of sight so she wouldn’t be self-conscious or try to leave early. But I peeked. There were only eight children in the class.  Much smaller than last year. Sammy was clearly the oldest, a head taller than everyone else.  The instructor led them in kicks and punches.


“I hear Sammy,” said Ella.

“Yep, that’s Sammy,” I said.

My shy little girl, the loudest of them all.


*This post was inspired by this prompt from The Red Dress Club. I would like to thank my daughter, for having a tantrum this morning so I had something to write about. My brain is fried this week and the fiction wasn’t coming along.

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About Jessica Anne

46 Responses to “The Art of Distraction”

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  1. Carrie
    Twitter: Miss_Scarlett99

    my husband wants to put both our girls into some sort of self-defense class like karate when they are a bit older. I say let them decide :) My oldest would probably love it.

    Visiting from RDC
    Carrie´s last post ..Red Writing Hood 2- Little Comedian

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I think it’s really good for them, but if they’re not interested, then it’s no good. My daughter is very shy, so she says no to a lot of things even though she enjoys them, so we try them out. :)

  2. Lydia says:

    I love that your little girl provided the inspiration behind this piece. It fits the prompt perfectly and in an unexpected way.

  3. Tracie
    Twitter: fromtracie

    I have never heard of Hapkido, but it sounds like fun. I think my daughter would like it.

    Those silly jokes are always a great way to dry up tears.
    Tracie´s last post ..The Hat Room

  4. Mandyland
    Twitter: in_mandyland

    The best way to dry tears! And for some reason “butt” is always, ALWAYS the winning ticket in our house. :)

    (Visiting from TRDC.)
    Mandyland´s last post ..Montana Winter

  5. Theresa Sonoda
    Twitter: tsonoda

    Love this story. Hadn’t heard of hapkido. Cute jokes! Nicely done!

  6. Jill
    Twitter: haglerhappening

    Very, very cute! You’re right… butt always gets a good reaction. Visiting from TRDC.

  7. (Florida) Girl with a New Life
    Twitter: flgirlmidwest

    This feels really authentic to me. I would love to hear more like this.
    (Florida) Girl with a New Life´s last post ..A Writing Challenge- The Wedding

  8. Valerie says:

    I can just picture this-what a sweet little scene!
    I think this type of activity is great for girls-and it helps build a good self esteem-a girl’s best defense against a lot of things out there:)
    Valerie´s last post ..One Tough Coconut

  9. Ratz says:

    Awwww… this is so cute. Honestly. So darn cute.
    Ratz´s last post ..A Tale of Laughs &amp Tears- TRDC Meme

  10. Ericka @ Creative Liar
    Twitter: erickaclay

    This is so sweet! Very heart warming and you created such a vivid and realistic image of the little girl.
    Ericka @ Creative Liar´s last post ..Good People

  11. The Drama Mama
    Twitter: poopscoopinmama

    Butt is always a good joke. It’s right up there with “poop”. Ha. Such a cute story. I loved it.

  12. Kristy says:

    Aww, this is precious! I love their banter. I love your last line.
    Kristy´s last post ..It Could Be Worse

  13. Kristy says:

    Hey, my last post is not listed correctly above. My RDC post is my most recent one:

  14. Jennifer says:

    I love the idea of humor as healing medicine in this piece.
    Jennifer´s last post ..Wait for it…

  15. Nichole
    Twitter: ITSMoments

    This post makes my heart smile.
    My daughter is reserved too and when she breaks free of that and asserts herself, I am so incredibly proud of her.
    Nice job diffusing a stressful moment with her! Butt! Giggle.
    Nichole´s last post ..There in the kitchen

  16. JP says:

    Kids can and do say the darndest things…memories will last a lifetime…cherish them!
    JP´s last post ..My Nehpew

  17. Elizabeth Flora Ross
    Twitter: efloraross

    So, so sweet! What a lovely story.

  18. Callie Feyen says:

    “My shy little girl. The loudest of the them all.” I love that line. I love that it ends the post.

    What a sweet story.
    Callie Feyen´s last post ..Red Dress Club Prompt – Somebody Tells a Joke Somebody Cries

  19. CDG
    Twitter: MoveOverMaryP

    So great that she went in the end.


    What is Hapkido most like?
    CDG´s last post ..The Night Seth Met Sara

  20. Jessica
    Twitter: fourplusanangel

    Very sweet. Makes me want a nap, for me and for my kids. Butt always does it doesn’t it?
    Jessica´s last post ..We Still Could

  21. Kristy says:

    I have an award for you at my site! Will be up in a few.

  22. NotJustAnotherJennifer
    Twitter: MidwestMomments

    Aw, so cute! Those tantrums are annoying, but sometimes fodder for great stories. :O)
    NotJustAnotherJennifer´s last post ..Gotta Have Faith-ah

    • Jessica Anne says:

      That they are. When they’re older, I plan on using blog posts as threats. “If you don’t stop sassing me, I’ll write about it on the blog.” :)

  23. Ash
    Twitter: AshatShades

    Oh the great nap juggle. Always good times.

    I loved this. All the sweet laughter. My oldest is moving into the age where it doesn’t come as freely any more (8), makes me sad. Don’t grow up yet! But a good “guess what? Chicken butt” gets him every time. Thank goodness.
    Ash´s last post ..Debbie Downer Leaves Dallas