You know how they say that your children teach you something every day? Okay, maybe "they" don't say it. Maybe it's just the saccharine-sweet mother who has never left Junior with a babysitter and think it's cute he still wants her to cut his Pop Tart the morning of his SATs.
The point is, I think I've heard someone say that your kids teach you something every day. I basically agree with the adage. It's just that usually mine teach me never to trust silence and that child safety lids are only hard for parents to open. Yesterday, though, my daughter finally pulled through and hammered home a lesson that will help me somewhere other than an interview with Child Protective Services.
Since it was a pretty big moment, I'm sharing it with you today. I figured it'd be a better foot to start the week off on than tallying up the number of unwanted forest creatures that were playing in our yard last night. (P.S. Disgusting.)
Daughter: Mami, what's wrong? You look weird.
Me: It's not nice to tell someone they look weird. It hurts their feelings and maybe propels them to eat too many brownies after you're asleep and not around to ask to share.
Daughter: But your forehead is all scrunchy and your eyes are vacant and you keep looking like you look when Papi asks if we can get goats.
Me: Where'd you learn that eyes can look vacant?
Daughter: Don't change the subject.
Me: Okay. I think what you're intuiting here is that I am sad.
Daughter: Why are you sad?
Me: Because I miss my sisters. Your aunts.
[Son: ADADADAAAAAAAA! ADADADAAAAAA!]
Daughter: How can you miss them? Two of them were just here. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to miss things like movies? Or your ability to wear jeans? Those are things you haven't enjoyed in a long time.
Me: While I appreciate the fact that you're a toddler and attempting logical reasoning, I'd appreciate it more if you could leave the subtle digs and painful reminders out of your arsenal.
Daughter: Don't change the subject.
Me: Again, okay. A person can miss something even if they just had it. In fact, sometimes that makes you miss the thing even more, because you have an even fresher memory of what you once had and now don't. That's why rehab is so hard.
Daughter: What's rehab?
Me: Forget I mentioned it. Anyway, I just had two of my sisters here, and it was awesome and fun and easy.
Daughter: Aren't we awesome and fun and easy?
[Son: ADADADAAAAAAAAA! DAAAAAA!!! WAWAWA AHHHHHHH!!!!]
Me: (to son) Put down my hair straightener! (to daughter): Ummm...yes. Of course. Totally. You guys are awesome and fun and...ummm....absolutely so easy. Totally yes. Yes. It's just kind of different with them.
Daughter: Different how?
Me: Well, they're good company because we can talk all the time or we can just be quiet, but either way we're having fun. We know what the other is thinking, actually, without anyone saying a word. And we're all usually thinking the same thing. We like to do the same things. They motivate me to try harder. They have stories to tell, ideas to share, and frozen yogurt runs to go on. They love you and your brother and help without me having to ask them to.
Daughter: Just like Papi?
Me: Ummm....yes. Totally. Just like Papi. Absolutely. Yes.
Daughter: Well, now that you miss them, what are you going to do?
Me: Probably wallow. Check that. Definitely wallow. Maybe cry every now and then. Lose my patience, probably. Act kind of irritable.
Daughter: This does not sound like fun. Maybe we shouldn't have visits with them anymore.
Me: No! That's definitely not the solution! The visits are the best part!
Daughter: But if the visits are the best part, then why does the worst part come so soon after?
Me: Because it's the reverse of that line from "Amazing Grace." In the song it's "I once was lost, but now am found," and in this scenario, I was found and now I'm lost again.
Daughter: Do you need to lie down?
Me: No. In fact, you do. It's past your bedtime. Speaking of that, why is your brother still up? And why am I wearing galoshes?
Daughter: Mami, you tell me all the time that "you get what you get, and you don't get upset." I think you need to heed your own advice. You got a great visit with 66% of your sisters. It lasted more than a week. By your own account, you had a wonderful time. Sure, they don't live down the street, but it's pretty terrific that they take time out of their lives to travel all the way to Maine for vacations with you. YOU, Mami, are their vacation. Trust me when I tell you that very few people would consider YOU a vacation. So instead of moping about what you don't have now, put a little swing in your step and concentrate on what you DO have now, which is the memory of yet another great time with your sisters and the promise of more great times to come. Also, act your age. You're way too old for this crap.
Me: Don't say "crap." And who taught you to do percentages? Finally, you're right, and I'm sorry. Mind if I bounce a few of my other issues off you?
Daughter: In fact, I do mind. It's time for me to act MY age. I'd like to bring up the fact that I don't want to go to bed right now, don't want to brush my teeth, am interested in a snack, and foresee myself having a bad dream in about 4 hours. Also, he's put down the hair straightener but now he's trying to trim his nails using the fan.
Son: AHHHHDA! AHHHHDA! AHHHHHDA!
Me: Oh crap!