The Deal Mommy

My First DYKWIA- and It’s a Doozy

True Deal Mommy Confession: I tag-teamed a DYKWIA on a ten year old.

DYKWIAI’m not proud of this story and I probably should explain. On a week long cruise, especially on a boat of only 500 people, we were bound to come across a Veruca Salt. (If you don’t know who Veruca Salt is, watch the original Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, STAT.)

*I should start by letting you know I’m self aware enough to know there but the Veruca go I.  On any given day it could have been my kid dishing it out- I’d like to think it’s not likely, but it’s certainly possible.

Our Veruca put all other Verucas to shame. A ten year old terror, she organized the girls on the boat into a four person queen team on day one. Nine year old Deal Girl was not included. Deal Girl really doesn’t care if she’s not in a clique (to her eternal credit) and had another friend on the boat. If that were the end of it, there would be no story.

However Veruca being Veruca, she needed to broadcast that her foursome was the ONLY place were cool kids resided and the rest of the girls on the ship were scum. She so commandeered the scavenger hunt that the cruise director changed the rules mid-game to suit her- even though ten other kids were already scavenging away. Veruca’s eye rolls struck fear in many kids (and apparently adults).  At one point a fellow Mom felt the need to comfort a crushed girl (who she didn’t know)  by telling her Veruca was being mean.

By day two I was over Veruca’s Mean Girl audition, but didn’t see the need to come to Deal Girl’s rescue. Deal Girl is just one of those people who knows she’s awesome so doesn’t feel the need to listen to others’ views if they disagree with her own on the matter. Her life will be so much better for having this skill.

I stood silently by as  Veruca kicked kids out of the hot tub, announced that she was having a party (without inviting anyone nearby), bragged incessantly about how she had been on 12 Carnival and Disney cruises and just generally D-bagged it up in her loudest Veruca bluster. However, on day six she made a HUGE mistake: she directly went after my kid in front of me.

Gummy GirlFathom has a “Superhero” party the last night of the cruise. Deal Girl was beyond excited to show off her Superhero persona: “Gummy Girl: vanquishing the dreaded vegetable”.  How could you not love this kid?

Well, Veruca found a way.  We ran into her and her gaggle in the elevator and she interrogated Deal Girl: “What are YOU supposed to be? I don’t GET it. Who wants to be a candy superhero?”. The eyeroll accompanying Veruca’s taunt belongs in the eyeroll hall of fame.

At that point I snapped.  Quickly remembering Veruca’s cruise one-upmanship I went for the jugular by sweetly asking Deal Girl, apropos of nothing, “Remember that time we slept in a Castle for a week?”.

Veruca’s mouth finally shut up. Even a ten year old knows a mic drop when she hears one.

Deal Girl, quickly seeing where I was going, didn’t miss a beat. As the elevator doors opened she turned to Veruca and smiled. “My Mom is a Traveling Mom. She’s kind of a big deal. Bye!”

I’d love to hear how you (better) handled a Veruca Salt coming after your kid on vacation. I’d prefer another way than encouraging my kid to out brag the braggart.

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network. 


19 thoughts on “My First DYKWIA- and It’s a Doozy

  1. Kelly

    So one question – where were the parents in all this? Although I live in fear that my middle daughter might turn Veruca when I’m not looking, if I witnessed/heard about anything like that she wouldn’t see daylight on that ship for an extended period of time. Oh, and totally acceptable to out-brag the braggart here. Probably a good lesson for her.

  2. Audrey

    Unfortunately anyone going after my kids really triggers me, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve snapped worse than that. So, no helpful advice (sorry!) but on another note have been considering taking this cruise in the near future and wondering – besides Veruca, how was it??

  3. Jamie

    Ok, Dia and Haley, you know I think you are both awesome (I don’t think I personally know any of the other commenters), but…
    Wait a minute…I don’t have a better solution (yet, still thinking), but we’ve just let Veruca dictate the rules of the game. I.e. You just one upped her, but in the confines of the reality she constructed. You just validated the idea that in order to be cool, you have to be able to out brag the other kids. I’m not saying that you should feel guilty or that desperate times don’t call for desperate measures. And it’s certainly better to out brag for your daughter than leave her hanging. But I’d like to think that this is a second best to an ideal response that shuts the Veruca down while also making the point that, hey, being awesome isn’t about being able to boast about stuff. It’s about being the kind of kid that deal girl is, with imagination and individuality and knowing how to be a real friend.
    (This is all incredibly hypocritical of me. My daughter was being made to feel inferior by a classmate who goes on a great trip every year, i.e. they are currently planning for Australia. And later in the day when we were talking about it just the two of us, I said something along the lines of, well did you mention that in the last year you’ve gone to Copenhagen, Austria, London and Japan , as well as a bunch of places in the US like New Orleans and Florida?)
    PS – fantastic face painting on Deal Girl!

  4. De

    You handled that much better than I would have. I laud your self restraint and hope your daughter didn’t let it phase her. Veruca will experience karma sooner than later.

  5. Charles McCool

    Very Mean Girls. I saw bands of brats on the cruise but they did not bother me. Shame that they did to others. I guess I would have mentioned it to someone with some stripes on their shoulders.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Another option- especially since her parents were no-where in sight. Maybe they could have found them.

  6. Elaine

    In the moment, helping your daughter recover from the assault was the right thing to do. Over time, helping your daughter understand the context of mean girl behavior could inspire her toward compassion, which feels even better than one-up-manship. It would also shift her focus to the long-term, and towards her own character development as a source of strength and pride. Healthy, happy adults don’t behave like Veruca, and in our better moments we feel sorry for her and her parents.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      We did have a talk afterward about how we never saw her parents and how maybe that’s why she was so mean. I was impressed with Deal Girl’s insight.

  7. Jana

    Such a tough situation. Kind of like having to work with a coworker that you can’t get away from.

    I think if you don’t acknowledge it to your daughter and talk about it then she will think it’s okay or think you don’t see it. On the other hand, in normal life, the girl’s friends would get tired of her and that would be evident to your daughter.

    I like how you handled it . It sounds like your daughter gets it.

    And as a Monday morning quarterback, I might explain that the girl was probably very unhappy so she had to boss everyone around to feel better. And how that was sad for the girl. I would also tell your daughter why you did what you did. You were just trying to get Veruca to turn her attention elsewhere, reminding your daughter that travel was not something to brag about. And that in that situation (cruise), there wasn’t the usual options of choosing not to be around Veruca. I definitely would not give it much attention. Too bad the cruise line staff was not trained better.

    I love reflective communication for this too. “oh, you don’t like her costume?” (very innocently)
    Veruca probably would have backed off at that point.
    It’s a valuable lesson to realize that everyone doesn’t have to like our stuff but if we like it, that’s what’s important.

      1. Audrey

        Though I stink at it myself, I do agree with some of the comments above that a compassionate perspective might be more called for than an antagonistic one. I usually avoid correcting/disciplining other people’s kids, but at times, if their parents are not present/doing the job and they are doing something that is plain unacceptable, I think it’s not inappropriate to do so. As in, not angrily, but directly like I might address my own children. “how do you think that makes her feel, you wouldn’t like to hear that so I wonder why you’d say it to someone else”, etc. Surprisingly often, though not always, the kids will back off, and sometimes even apologize/make friends.
        In general I think it’s good to give (most people, not just kids) the benefit of the doubt as well as the opportunity to behave well, at least once.

  8. Audrey

    To add: your daughter sounds like she isn’t particularly reactive to the behavior of others – that’s what I so want to model for my own kids, but often don’t. Really, really good for you!

  9. Joe

    Rekt. Well played.

    I wish I could say I would be compassionate like some have been suggesting upthread but I probably would have lost it on Day 3. The only thing that’s tricky is at a certain point we have to let our kids fend and defend for themselves…such a fine line. No solutions, but loved the story!

  10. TravMom

    I wish I had a better way to handle it but I don’t since my kid is the opposite. Varuca would’ve eaten her for lunch. Not to reward bad behavior but realistically I would’ve snapped too but probably directly at Varuca. Not good.

    But I have to ask, I’m sure it’s somewhere on the blog, what is the link for the week in a castle?

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