Not When She’s 16

I can’t count the number of times we’ve said this to each other. We may or may not have been crying into pints of ice cream at the time. Who am I kidding, we’ve never done that. Whole pizzas, perhaps, but I’m definitely putting ice cream on the “to cry into” list because I’ve read that salt is really good with chocolate.

In fact, we probably should have just named RR “Not When She’s 16” because it entirely sums up her personality. There we sit, watching the latest debacle that is our daughter’s development thinking: Huh. Well. She won’t not be able to do this when she’s 16, right? She’ll figure it out. And then we go back to giving her grapes to add.

For example, RR would not roll over. At 4 months, she had not made any effort to roll over. We both know that I haven’t read a single baby book – relying on you all to keep me from losing my mind – because I am not the sort of person who can be trusted with rules. I’m not that sane. I do, however, look at an occasional developmental milestone chart, find I’m on some emotional roller coaster of epic proportions, and talk myself off the ledge. I asked the doctor why RR wouldn’t roll over. SHE talked me off a ledge. We resorted to the only thing that has kept us going: There’s no way she’ll be 16, on the couch with her boyfriend or girlfriend, fooling around, and NOT be able to roll over. She’ll figure that shit out damn quick.

She won’t be 16 and not be able to…
sit up.
feed herself.
stack blocks.
roll over.

Anytime I think about her driving a car, going on a date, or slamming the door to her room, I remind myself that she won’t do any of those things without figuring out how to roll over. It works. I don’t think I’ve ever actually SEEN her do it, but I know she can. Finally.

And so here I am. She can’t figure out how to pull down her pants. Or pull them up. The child will be THREE in June and she has never tried to take off her own clothes. She looks baffled when I suggest she might try taking off her own diaper or unfastening her own shoe. With potty training upon us, this pants thing is pretty critical. She can hop on one foot. She can spell more than a handful of words. She has the musical rhythm of a Rolling Stone. But she can’t pull down her elastic pants.

That’s okay though. She treats the idea of the potty like it’s the devil come to swallow her ass. This weekend we tried the panty technique, going through 7 pairs of shorts and panties in the space of an afternoon. On the final attempt, handfuls of rabbit pellet-esque droppings spilled onto the floor and rolled under every possible piece of furniture, her having eaten something that didn’t give her the…flow…she needed. Never once did she attempt the potty. But I’m pretty damn sure she won’t be 16 and not able to use the potty. Pretty sure.

Potty training is one thing for which folks have plenty of advice because every kid seems to have their own secret to unlock. We are trying (or have tried): waiting until she shows interest, watching her friends, pull-ups, elastic waistbands ad infinitum, naked time, panties all day, potty books, not worrying about it. We are not despairing. Mostly. And, most importantly, to her I believe we actually appear laid back about it. Which is why I have you. Because she can’t go to her new school in August unless she’s potty trained and that’s about 13 years shy of 16.

We’re in trouble, Elmo.


Discmans, Watches and Taping Music from the Radio

Did I ever tell you that my main means of communicating while I was driving back and forth to college was a CB radio?

Oh, yes it was. 10/4 good buddy.

There were no cell phones then, at least, no cell phones in my world.  Frankly, my parents would have been just fine letting me make the six hour trip through the desert with no means of communication at all except that I routinely broke down and had to hitchhike or wander in the dark to the nearest rest stop.  So they smacked the antenna onto the roof and the reciver onto the dash and sent me forth into the world of truckers.

I’ll tell you up front that I want this to be an awesome story about all the great CB talk I heard on my trips, but pretty much all I ever heard was whistling from lonely truckers and the occasional, “smokey ahead.”  I was 18, hot and had no judgement (thus: hitchhiking*).  It wasn’t me that was missing out.  As a result, I still ended up hitching (notably once on Halloween in a pick-up with no less than four rifles in the back window) and holding out hope that one day the CB radio would be my salvation.

Being resourceful, I frequently wore short, breezy skirts on my trips to ensure that I wouldn’t actually have to wait for a ride.  I know.  HOW AM I STILL ALIVE?!

RR will be able to text me instead of hitchhinking on her way to college.  Or better still, that she’ll be able to use an app to get a tow and use a scanable bank card to pay since, like me, she’ll be wearing a tiny skirt with no pockets and won’t have a cent on her.  If she even goes to college (which is another concept that didn’t exist in my household when I went to school).  There are other things she won’t get like rotary phones (we ditched ours before I was old enough to use one) or VCRs (I’m not sure we even own a working one).  Just like you and I, record players will be relegated to the antique and she’ll have no idea that when I first started to use a computer (which wasn’t at birth), the screen was only green text on a black screen.  We bought it at Radio Shack (she won’t know what that is either).

This isn’t new, of course, but it just occurred to me.  When I watch her pick a different video on an ipad, when I watch her dance with a classmate to the Can Can playing from a dad’s phone, when I realize the ibook I was reading could read to her, I realized that I’m going to sound just like my grandparents.  And not in a “when I was your age we walked to school two miles in the snow waist deep uphill both ways!” but in a “you kids these days” way, which I’m not totally excited about.  Oh well, I have a couple of years to get my crotchety on.  Dammit.  Where IS my cane?

*Remind me to tell you about the cargo van and with the circus clown.

Yeah, okay.

RR has adopted  a way of speaking that makes her sound simultaneously agreeable and disinterested.  Since I imagine that this is her sixteen-year-old self talking, I’m glad I have the opportunity to prepare for it.

She is perfectly capable of asking for things in her most polite tones.  For example, “More milk, pees?” or even just “Pears, pees?”  On the other hand, she’s also capable of shrieking those things (sans please) so we’re equally tone-lingual.  Regardless of what or how she has asked for something, if you respond with a question, she says, “Yeah. Okay.”

Yeah. Okay.

It’s as though she wasn’t the one who suggested it to begin with.  And when you inquire as to whether or not she’s interested in said thing, she nonchalantly acknowledges that sure she’ll take it, I mean, if you’re offering.  She has the indifferent tone down solid and it makes no difference how awesome (or horrible) our suggestions are.

“RR do you want to go to the park?”
“Yeah.  Okay.”

“Do you want some more chicken?”
“Yeah. Okay”

“RR, please bring me your shoes made of molten lava.  Don’t you want to go to school?”
“Yeah, okay.”

“Here, I’ll sit next to you instead.”

“Is it okay if I take your beloved bunny and put him out of sight to get cleaned and surely rinse the smell of urine off of him?”

I’d say I just felt lucky she preferred this to NO, however she has recently received the gold medal in vocal refusal.  And it was an especially tight field indeed.  On the other hand, the snickering delight I feel every time she responds to me with yeah, okay when she’s the one who asked for it to begin with makes every NO worth it.  Sort of.