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How can I write a critical appreciation of the poem "When I'm An Old Lady" by Joanne Bailey Baxter?

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The poem "When I'm An Old Lady" by Joanne Bailey Baxter is a poem meant to convey to the reader, in a humorous way, the trials and tribulations of being a parent. Joanne Bailey Baxter has written a six-stanza poem of four lines per stanza. Sandwiched in between each stanza is a one-line refrain or chorus to drive home the point that this woman looks forward to living with her kids when she’s aged so she can engage in some “payback” in a way.

She is not vindictive at all; she just wants her adult children to realize that raising them was not a piece of cake, and now they can experience what she went through as they take care of her.

The poem employs rhyme in each stanza. In addition, the tone of the poem is delightfully mischievous as this woman plans ways she’ll “get back” at her kids. She says “I'll not eat my green beans or salads congealed.  I'll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table…” Her goal is to do all the annoying things to her kids that her children did to her when they were young.

She actually sees the fun in all of this and knows that her children will ultimately see the humor in this as well. In reality, this woman will probably not do all these things, but she may do some of them, in jest, to make her point. It’s obvious that she’s a lively, vibrant person and is embracing forthcoming old age with exuberance and a unique sense of purpose.

What’s funny in this poem, written in clear, everyday, straightforward language, is that her children will probably trumpet the refrain that this woman no doubt did so many times at the end of each tiring day—they will ultimately say:

"She's so sweet when she's sleeping!"

In other words, their respite at the end of the day will come when this aged woman is sleeping peacefully, building energy for the next adventurous day to come, when she can once again, with tongue-in-cheek, engage in some payback!

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