A Good Bye?

The other parents at gymnastics get these huge, unprompted hugs goodbye. I watch their kids rush toward the gym excitedly only to catch themselves, pulled back by some invisible thread, and throw the whole weight of their tiny bodies into their parents’ arms.

“I love you sooooo much! Have a good day!” they say.

I get no such response. Usually, unless I explicitly remind her that I exist, Billie will methodically pull her things out of her backpack, place them into her cubby in a precise order, then rush off to the balance beam without so much as a glance back. 

In an attempt to get some sort of fanfare for my daily departure, I’ve finally incorporated a “find a way to say Goodbye” rule. It doesn’t have to be showy or even involve touch or words, but she does need to communicate that we’re parting.

Today, after her methodical cubby placement routine and in the midst of two other moms receiving the most genuine hugs from their kids, I tell Billie, “I’m leaving now, love. Can you find a way to say goodbye?”

She walks over to me, hands stubbornly stuck to her side, shoves her face in my chest, and screams,
“GOODBYE WOMAN. GOODBYE FOREVVVVVEEERRRR!!!”
then
“Oooh! Your boobs are almost as bouncy as the floor. Good job on that. Later, lady!!!”

…I’m starting to rethink my rule.

A Good Bye?

Just Checking

Billie: “That boy right there is the one who keeps knocking my blocks down.”

Me: “Really? I’m so sorry, Billie. That must be frustrating.”

Billie: “Really frustrating. I build and build and he just knocks my stuff down. I ask him to play but he just pushes my buildings over.”

Me: “Sometimes, when people destroy our buildings they actually help us see the flaws in our design. So that, next time, we can build something even stronger.”

Billie: “Like the pigs and the big bad wolf?”

Me: “Exactly like that.”

Billie: “So, then, I can build something so strong his tiny muscles can’t even touch!”

Me: “Exactly.”

Billie: “But also- he kinda did a mean thing.”

Me: “Oh, yea, dude. That was a totally mean thing to do.”

Billie: “…Mom?”

Me: “Yes, love?”

Billie: “Didn’t the big bad wolf fall into a fire place and catch fire?”

Me: “Billie. You cannot set someone on fire because they knocked your blocks down.”

Billie: “Ok. Just checking.”

Just Checking

Role Models

I’ve been super sick today. I barely had enough in me to get Billie from school. When I got there, I was met by her teacher, her face stern.
“Today was career day and all the students were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Billie said she wanted to be a kitty cat. I told her that she couldn’t be a cat and she needed to pick a different profession. Do you know what she told me?”
“No,” I responded. I barely had enough energy to stand let alone continue this conversation.
“She told me-” the teacher stops herself short, deciding instead to make Billie take accountability for her reactions, “Billie? Billie tell your mother what you said.”
Billie looked at me very carefully, “I told her…” she continued staring at me like she was steeling herself for the worst, “I told her fine. Then I would just become a teacher so I can tell everyone what to do with their lives.”

And I laughed.
I laughed so hard.
Needless to say it was not the reaction the teacher was looking for.

Role Models

Wherein Billie Makes Her Own Memes

secret agent Billie is a cat

I don’t think she gets the idea of the memes… but she had a lot of fun writing these.

And, yes, I did freak out at the “A(n) Owl” faux pas. But she’s five, ya’ll. Give her a break.

(Editor’s note: Calliope is her cousin and Jemi is her aunt… Obviously Auntie Jemi has some serious ‘splaining to do.)

Wherein Billie Makes Her Own Memes

Today’s Billie Quotes

“I can’t take a shower. All I can do is stay alive. And poop.”

And

“The Sandman got me in my eyes. Right in my eyes. All they want to do is close. I don’t think he knew that I was trying to party.”

Today’s Billie Quotes

A Little Bit of Both

FLASHBACK: November 23, 2013

I just walked in on Billie desperately cupping the poor dog’s face with both hands while pleading, “tell me. Just tell me! TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT TO BEEE!!!”

When I inquired as to why we were screaming at the dog like some wack job televangelist she replied:

“Jazzie won’t tell me what she wants to do with her life, mommy!! I need to know what she wants to be- I NEED TO KNOW!!”

Um. I didn’t have the mental capacity to explain to her, you know, basic animal biology so instead I just told her that Jazzie wanted to be a Lion and paint rainbows with her mane.

So now Billie is in the other room making the dog a Lioness Headress thing out of plastic bags and watercolors.

I can’t tell if I’m a lazy parent or a brilliant arts and crafts teacher.
…That’s true for most days, actually.

A Little Bit of Both

Southern Parenting Techniques

I was a tough child. Well, I’m a tough person in general. But strictly speaking, were you to ask my mom who the hardest kid to raise was, she would say me. Every time.

Obviously, I am honored and humbled by the distinction.

Now, thankfully, Billie is not like me. She does not try to make every day hard just because she can. She doesn’t do mean things just to illicit a response. Hell, I’ve never even seen her try to throw a knife let alone at someone’s head (which is something that a younger me may or may not have done. Twice. At my sister’s 8th birthday party). She’s kind with her words, generous with her time, and always down to laugh or crack jokes. She’s basically awesome.

Except when she’s not.

Last night was a rough night for Billie. She had a meltdown as we left her daycare and decided that hitting me and throwing things at my face was the appropriate response. She screamed in the car the entire way home. In response I blasted the radio. Bruno Mars crooned “All you young, wild girls- you’ll be the death of me” as my daughter’s screams pierced through every layer of sanity that I had left. When we finally got home she was out of the car and on our neighbor Emille’s front porch before you could spell “Xanax.”

Now, before I continue, you must know about Emille. Emille is New Orleans. He is everything quirky and great and socially inappropriate about this city. At 70 years old Emille spends most of his days shirtless on his front porch watching the neighborhood. He has all the swag that being an old black man in the South could possibly afford him and he uses every ounce of it to cat call passerby and love on his grandchildren. He has signed for more of my packages than I have and is always there to help when I need him. He is an ever-present source of humor and love. And Billie adores him.

When I go to retrieve my tyrant of a daughter from Emille’s porch he has already disappeared inside his house. “He’s gone to get me a toy!” Billie informs me excitedly. Funny, seconds ago she was screaming in my ear and, now, she’s smiling serenely in anticipation of her new gift.

Oh. Fuck that, kid. I think, You’re the devil. No toys for you.

When Emille returns I thank him for the gift and inform him that Billie will not be receiving it tonight. Billie has misbehaved egregiously and I will be holding on to it until she can redeem herself. Emille’s face melts from the pleasant, rosy faced grin that I’m used to into what I imagine the Grim Reaper would look like during a particularly rough bowel movement. “Bille,” he starts sternly, “You didn’t tell me ya were a bad girl.” His old cajun voice is broken glass over gravel and Billie shrinks behind me as he reprimands her loudly. See, while Emille is nice, he is also Southern. And bad manners, disrespect, and empty beer bottles are really the only things that are not tolerated in the South. Naturally, Emille’s old Southern roots took over and he starts in on Billie, “Now, let me tell you bout yourself, kid. Your momma works TOO DAMN HARD for you to be actin’ a mess…”

Our other neighbors are getting out of their car with their two pit bulls in time to hear him scolding her. “Ooooh, Billie! Looks like you in trouble!” they warn good-naturedly. Billie has had enough. She doesn’t know how to handle the negative attention and decides that screaming loudly will be the best way to interrupt it. Emille’s eyes narrow. My other neighbors halt their dogs to watch the show. I, not wanting this to escalate, grab Billies hand to lead her to our front door. Unfortunately, Billie sees this as an attack and goes to bite my hand. Of course, I am quick and switch hands while still walking her toward the house before any damage is done. But Emille sees her try to bite me. He starts screaming “WHIP HER! WHIP HER! OH HOLY LORD JESUS WHIP HER!!!” while jumping up and down shirtless, all 250 pounds of him swelling and heaving with each new jump. The pit bulls start barking. Billie is still screaming and trying to bite me. I make it to the door under a hail of howling, laughter, and chants of “WHIP HER!!”  I can barely get my key in the door. Billie is still screaming. Three people cross the street to watch the show. There is a brief moment of silence when I finally get the door open. I can finally hear myself think. Things get really still for one, beautiful moment.

Then I hear Emille. “Have you whipped her yet?”

Billie screams. The dogs try to rush at Billie.

I push her inside and slam the door to find Doug standing there. He’s heard the commotion and was coming to help.

“You guys OK?” He asks concerned.

“We’ve had a rough day.”

“Aw,” His concerned eyes flicker toward Billie’s tear stained face as he goes toward her, “My poor girls–”

“Hug her and I kill you.”

He stops and meets my eyes. I watch him put it all together. The yelling. The dogs barking. The screaming Billie. And me brandishing my patented ‘don’t fuck with me’ face. He doesn’t know exactly what happened- but Billie is somehow the common denominator here. He takes a deep breath.

“Billie. Go to your room. Now.” His eyes follow her out the door, “Mommy. Go get yourself some Jameson.”

Good man.

Good man, indeed.

As I walk passed Billie’s door I see her throwing things against her wall and screaming “THIS IS NOT HILARIOUS. YOU ARE A BAD MOMMY. I WANT MY TOOOYYYSSSS!!!”

Sigh.

 

Maybe I should air mail my mom some whiskey. You know, as belated apology of sorts.

 

…I’d better make it a barrel of Jameson.

My bad, mom.

 

Southern Parenting Techniques

Since Our Theme Is: Failing (At Getting The Night Off)

FLASHBACK: September 20, 2013

Image

BEFORE

So. Date nights rarely happen for me. When they do, they’re kind of sacred.

Doug and I went out on the town tonight for less than two hours and left Billie with a babysitter. We get back… LESS THAN TWO HOURS LATER to find Billie has chopped off ALL the hair on the entire front half of her head. 
No joke, guys, like G.I. Jane short. 

…But she left the back half alone. 
So now she has a mullet.

Image
AFTER


I… I… I… I can’t stop laughing…

Since Our Theme Is: Failing (At Getting The Night Off)