Monday, June 28, 2010

Did I say that?

Memo: My computer is being retooled. (stupid virus).  That leaves me precious little time on the old machine.  Thus, you get a microwaved frozen leftover re-run from last summer. (Originally run on July 17, 2009). But, if you didn't read it last year, it's new to you. Enjoy!

“Don’t put stickers on the car door!”

“You shouldn’t play the piano with a toothbrush.”

“Please, give me the hammer back…Now!”

There are sentences that need no other explanation in the civilized world other than to say, “I am a parent.” Usually, they translate as imperatives that for all sentient beings, would never need be spoken.

Yet I have begun collecting them as samples of what my offspring require to survive 24 hours in my care. While on the phone with my brother, I heard similar utterances from him at his three children. “Put that down! Stop running into the window!” I started to laugh until I had to shout, “Don’t sit on the baby!” Now it was his turn, but we both recognized conversation was impossible and hung up.

My friends started giving me samples too. “What are you doing?” to a teenager stuffing an entire tortilla into his mouth in one swoop at ten minutes to six as she was serving dinner. “Who told you you could color your arm purple?” from a kindergarten mom. (It was picture day at school). “It’s a free dress day. I don’t have to wear my uniform.” was the child’s explanation. My personal favorite was “You made dinner?” from a third mother who said she’s still finding sauce stains in her kitchen from her fifth grader's experiment.

What is unsaid and unexplained about raising children often transcends what stories are told. Part of the omission is from personal shame. We can’t explain why our child had a three gallon water bottle in the middle of his room. We asked. He didn’t want to get up in the middle of the night to go the extra five feet to his bathroom sink to get a drink. We still don’t understand.

Part of it is the dim recognition that too much truth may be unbearable. Yes, she colored on the piano with a permanent black marker. Yes, he hid dirty clothes in a drawer until they fermented. Yes the toddler took a bite out of a tomato because she thought it was an apple and spiked the offending vegetable onto the newly clean floor. The amount of labor and property damage in those three sentences alone may be enough to doom the human race if universally disseminated.

When I asked my mom about these sorts of odd phrases that were coming out of my mouth as correctives of my children, she laughed and explained everything. “I told you about that when you were a kid...” “What was that? Mom? Hold on. Sweetie, stop squirting the instant mop on the wooden floor. Don’t pull your brother on a towel…”

“Mommmmm, we were playing sled.”

"What was that Mom?"

“See dear, you just weren’t listening.” My Mom answered over the phone.

It may be a dodge, but it’s a good dodge. I’m keeping it for when my kids have kids.

P.S. Today I said, and meant with all my heart, "Don't throw the cat at the chandelier." Son was tossing his beanie baby in the empty dining room and it got stuck. It's like they're secretly reading these posts!

4 comments:

suburbancorrespondent said...

Put more than one post on a page (do 3 or 5). Blogger gives you that option somewhere.

Suburbia, outside the Beltway, hmmm? Sounds familiar to me.

Christine said...

My favorite, for this month, is, "You shouldn't be kissing three different girls at the same party."

I am alone in saying this one. My husband just says, "I don't think I ever had that as an option."

Beth said...

My all time favorite (and the only one I still remember) was said to son when he was about 3...

"Don't lick the trash can!!"

You can see why I still remember it...

Mary Ellen/Nunly said...

Let's see...after raising four kids, doing daycare for over ten years, and having three grandchildren, I'm sure I can think of a few.

To my grandson:

"You did flush the toilet before you put the water in your cup, right?" (after finding out he just dipped his cup in the toilet to get a drink...oh, and I did tell him to use the sink instead of the toilet.)


Again, to my grandson:
"Wash your hands before you touch me." (Oh wait, I also said that to my husband once.)


To my four year old daughter:
"Why are you walking around with my bra on backward?"

Her reply:
"Because I was pretending I'm deep sea diving, these are my tanks."

To my husband:
"Scrape the nipple off the ceiling, dear."

Explanation: He fell asleep when he was warming up a baby bottle on the stove. It exploded...the bottle nipple got stuck on the ceiling. I still gave him credit for offering to ready the two o'clock feeding bottle. That was before microwaves and disposable bottles, obviously. ;-)

From my teen daughter:

"You keep popping them out just like a cicada!"

Explanation: Her disgusted response when she found out I was pregnant with my fourth child. I have five years between each child...just a coincidence, I'm not really a cicada. I think she was just disgusted that her dad and I still had sex. ;-) )

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