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!!!”
…I’m starting to rethink my rule.
Billie: “Mama Ma, I get to see you soon!”
My Mom: “I know! I’m excited.”
Billie: “T-minus 91 days!”
My Mom: “Wait, what?”
Billie: “It means I get to see you in 91 days!”
My Mom: “I know what it means, but how did you come up with 91 days?”
Billie: “I counted. I need to know these things.”
My Mom: “Oh, my Billie. You are too funny.”
Billie: “I am actually entirely serious.”
You tell ’em Billie.
Things I have said to my six year old today:
“Wait, what? What about a T-Rex’s vagina?”
“No. No buffalos in the restaurant. That’s a rule.”
“I don’t think you can do that and call it a ‘face five.’ Let’s be real: that’s a headbutt. Also: you should probably apologize to your father.”
“Can you please finish sitting on the toilet singing ’99 things of poop on the wall?’ There are people outside ready to use the bathroom.”
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!”
Billie: “But also- he kinda did a mean thing.”
Me: “Oh, yea, dude. That was a totally mean thing to do.”
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.”
FLASHBACK: April 28, 2014
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.
I used to have game.
But now, when random dudes approach me, I have a five year old who says shit like,
“you’re talking to my mom right now. She’s weird. Did you know that? She makes me blow my snot into tissues like some kind of ANIMAL.”
Billie: “There’s a kid in my class who likes rice crispy treats so every day I give him my rice crispy treat.”
Me: “That’s really kind of you. Does he share anything with you in return or do you just give him what you have?”
Billie: “I just give it to him. But yesterday I wanted Benjamin back and he didn’t give me Benjamin.”
Me: “Wait- Is Benjamin the name of the kid or-?”
Billie: “No! It’s the name of my rice crispy treat.”
Me: “You named your snack?”
Billie: “Of course I did. He’s my food family. He’s my brother.”
Me: “You gave your brother away?”
Billie: “Well, yea. I give you away to your work every day and you come back.”
Me: “Right. But I’m not a delicious rice krispy treat.”
Billie: “Yea. ‘Cause then you would get eaten. (Pause) I really wish my brother wasn’t so delicious. Now he’s some kid’s poop.”
…This conversation took a turn somewhere and I did nothing to help it. 🙄
Every night we give Billie the option of singing a lullaby or making up her own. Tonight she chose to sing this:
“Bras are awesome
Bras are cool
When bras are around
You can see a boob!”
She continued for five minutes but it mostly just went “boobies boobies boobies yay” after that.
Me: “What is your teachers name?”
Billie: “MRS. FRANKENSTEIN!”
Me: “You mean Madame Florence?”
Billie: “THAT’S her name?”
Billie: “It’s not Mrs. Frankenstein?”
Billie: “You sure?”
Me: “Pretty sure it’s been Madame Florence ever since you started this school two weeks ago.”
Billie: “Her name hasn’t been Mrs. Frankenstein for two weeks?!!”
Me: “If not longer.”
Billie: (thinks for a moment) “Well, she’s lucky.”
Me: “Why’s that?”
Billie: “Because Mrs. Frankenstein is a cool name. I guess I’m just nice like that.”
Oh, yea. That’s it. Nice.
Billie: “Mom, May I have cereal? But NO MILK! I’m allergic to milk.”
Me: “Oh, yea? (No, she’s not) What would you like instead?”
Billie: “Chocolate milk.”
Me: “You know that’s still milk, right? Just with chocolate?”
Billie: “Oh, yea. But the chocolate makes me not allergic.”
….I really wish that was how it worked.