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.
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?”
…walked right into that one.
Let me set the scene:
My kid, in the middle of an empty schoolyard (empty because the first bell has just rung and the classrooms are full) flapping her arms like a frantic baby bird, screaming at the top pf her lungs, “IT’S A CALM DAY! IT’S A CALM DAY! YA HEAR ME, HUMANS!?? CALM!!”
“That is so great, sweetie,” I whisper at her, ” but, if that is the case, we might need to calm our energy.”
“NOPE. THE DAY IS CALM AND MY ENERGY IS VERY EXCITED ABOUT THAT.”
She eventually skipped away but, as she pounced into her classroom, I could hear her mumbling something about being so happy she would do “circle handstands” if she could.
I can only assume she meant cartwheels.
And I can also only assume that her teacher will not be as thrilled as she is about the day…
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: October 29, 2014
“Dude. You’re naked. Still. Why are you still naked?”
Billie: “I hear noises outside. I hear the scratching. I think it’s zombies coming up from the ground. It’s zombies coming up from the ground to eat our whole brains out!”
“And that’s why you’re naked? Why can’t you get dressed? Do you really wanna fight zombies naked?”
Billie: “I CANT FOCUS ON CLOTHES WHEN THERE ARE ZOMBIES, MOM.”
This is our morning so far, folks.
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.
Billie: “Good night, sweet bubble. You may be dead in this world, but you live in my heart. Bless America, you friend of my soul. Find your bliss.”
Me: “Did you… Did you just hold a funeral for a popped soap bubble?”
Billie: “Of course I did.”
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: “What is this show?”
Me: “Oh, I’m watching something where they’re showing clips of the Miss America Pageant.”
Billie: “The Miss America Pageant?”
Billie: (looking closely at the clips of women walking around in dresses) “That’s not what it should be called.”
Me: “No? What should it be called, then?”
Billie: “It should be called, ‘Do You Like Me?’ Yea. That’s the name of that show.”