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!!!”
“Oooh! Your boobs are almost as bouncy as the floor. Good job on that. Later, lady!!!”
Me: “Billie, make sure you brush your teeth. And remember your lunch. And your pants are on backwards–”
Billie: “Mommy? I thought daddy said you were losing your voice.”
Me: “I am. But slowly. My throat is just sore now but I’ll probably lose my voice in a couple days.”
Billie: “Oh. Well, could you lose it sooner?”
It took us ten minutes to get Billie to brush her teeth tonight because she insisted she didn’t know how to use her legs.
Now, an hour and a half after her bedtime, she’s wide awake on her bed singing to her building blocks and drawing giraffe kitty cats.
Billie: “Daddy! Come in here and see my drawing!”
Doug: “I would, Billie, but I forgot how to use my legs.”
…I feel like 90% of parenting is passive aggressive retaliation.
And I’m totally OK with that.
Billie: “Mom. The sun is tricking us. It’s yellow, and it puts its yellow on everything. On the trees, on the benches, in the park… Even the sky is different looking because of the sun. And then you try to look into it and it puts spots in your eyes. You try to say, “Hey sun! Don’t put your yellow on everything! Colors are not the same!” And it puts spots in your eyes!
Without the sun colors would not look the same. We just see colors the way the sun wants us to. It’s tricky, the sun is.”
There is a metaphor in here somewhere that I cannot find because it is 7am and my kid decided to be a philosopher rather than sleep like a normal person.
Billie: Momma! I got jokes!
Me: Oh, yea? Let’s hear one.
Billie: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Me: I don’t know, why?
Billie: Because he knows I’m telling a joke!
Me: Wait- what?
Me: That’s a very interesting–
Billie: And then the cat crossed the road and the chicken said, “whatchoo doin’, cat? GET OUT OF MY JOKE!”
…Five minutes later and this joke is still going. Plus side? This is the most self aware joke I’ve heard in a while.