Monday, January 30, 2012

Adventures in Real Parenting: Three Tales from the Chauffeur

On Saturday, Sophie took the SAT as part of a special program through Duke University. When I arrived to pick her up, I asked how it went.

"Fine," she said. "The math part was hard, but the rest went okay."

"That's good," I responded. "Are you okay?"

"Uh huh. I just have to poo. I've had to poo since the test started."

"Why didn't you go?"

"I don't go like that in public restrooms. You know that."

She's right. I do. It's a genetic quirk passed down from mother to child that will only be cured upon entry to university dorm living and several days of constipationally induced ickyness followed by the consumption of many beers.

We drove along in uncomfortable silence for a while until I couldn't stand it anymore. "Hey, Sophie?"

"Yes?"

"Put a bird on it."

"Cacao*, mother."
************

Sophie spent the night with a friend and I as I drove to fetch her, I listened to Raw Dog Comedy on Sirisus/XM.  Patton Oswalt was doing a bit about air travel.

I arrived at the friend's house, parked the car and climbed the steps to ring the bell. Sophie came to the door balancing a plate with what was left of her breakfast.

When we got back into the car, another comedian was telling jokes about shaving his penis area and putting Nair on his balls.

"Wow," I said, "That's pretty raunchy."

"Not to mention I'm trying to eat here," Sophie grumbled.

"Yeah, penis jokes aren't really meal conversation, are they?" I asked as I pulled up at the stop sign and looked at her.

She considered at the sausage link poised between her two fingers and sighed as she dropped it back onto the plate.

***********

Sophie's tail was dragging as she ate breakfast and showered. Fearing she might miss the bus, I went to move the car into the garage so the coating of frost would melt. When I tried to release the hand brake, it wouldn't budge. MathMan was the last person to drive the car and he's like Iron Man when it comes to setting the brake.

I struggled. I broke a thumbnail. I turned off the radio - how that might help, I had no idea, but it made me feel like I was accomplishing something. I cranked the heat. I may have cursed. Nothing. Thinking that once the car warmed up, maybe the brake would release, I left the defrosters on high heat. Either way, I figured, the windows would be frost free.

When Sophie finally succumbed to my hectoring and threats to make her (gasp!) walk the mile to school, we made it out to the car. I turned the radio on and became immediately sucked into a mystery on Radio Classics.

The drop-off line at school crept. The mystery was reaching a crescendo. The inspector was about to reveal who was behind The Voice of Doom. I inched along paying careful attention to the kids crossing over from the far lane. The car in front of us paused for a couple of kids to cross. The line moved and I followed.

"Um, Mom? Are you going to let me get out?"

"Oh! Sorry." I stopped beyond the principal's parking spot so she could get out. She shook her head but said nothing.

"You're welcome!" I shouted as she closed the car door.

I drove home without mishap.

As I passed the overflowing trashcan near the door, I decided that since no one else was going to handle it (there's my personal motto if ever I had one), I would tie up the bag and put in a new one. I started to tug the heavy bag from the can and a mouse jumped out just missing me.

I screamed and wet my pants a little. The mouse, unharmed and dry, scurried behind the furnace.

The end.


*Cacao (Not safe for work)


Things you should check out because they are way cooler than this post:

Like something out of Dr. Who.

Amanda Fucking Palmer

37 comments:

  1. Madam Chauffeur, you've almost talked me into subscribing to Sirius!

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  2. As Moriah is now 14, we are opening up a bit, allowing her access to conversations and things we might have made sure she didn't hear. One is an old Johnston/Safford/Konicki family tradition known as "the picnic". Someone says something innocuous, such as, "Could you carry my bag to the car?", I would respond, "That's what I said to a girl on a picnic once." My wife once said, "That's some tasty tuna," to which I responded, of course . . .

    I was younger than Moriah is now when I learned of "the picnic". I once sent my mother running to the bathroom to pee when, while putting groceries away, I had her giggling like a school girl and she shouted, "Shut up and stick it in there!" To which I responded, "That's what a girl said to me on a picnic."

    Moriah's response when given these instructions? "That's wrong on so many levels." Before the night was over, however, she had tried it out, with some success.

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  3. Wow, sounds really normal. You disappoint me! Just kidding girl, your stories are always sweet and fun to read.

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  4. So parenting is just dick and fart jokes? Whew.

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  5. lol and dont forget wetting your pants randal...oh my...smiles.

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  6. Whenever I'm in the car and something seems "wrong" I always turn off the radio. It never helps but I do it anyway. I see I'm not the only one.

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    Replies
    1. I helps to think more clearly with less noise going on.

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  7. I just saw this picture the other day. I get it now. Thanks.

    http://www.artnet.com/artwork/425190462/162052/martine-franck-tulku-khentrol-lodro-rabsel-with-his-tutor-llagyel-shechen-in-the-bonath-monastery-nepal.html

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  8. Sarah, I would and have given up meals to keep the XM subscription. The radio here is sparse. There's no XRT.

    Geoffrey - On a picnic once. Love that. Better than in my pants and not as cliched as that's what she said.

    Sherry - Thanks. I still need to get over to your blog to finish reading your series. When I'm not harassing my kid, that is.

    Come on, Randal. You know that, right? You didn't actually believe the stuff you read in those books about raising perfect children, did you?

    Brian - Ha! Maybe that's the missing link in Randal's parenting chain.

    Suzy - I'm so glad it's not just me. I can't think of a single time it's done anything, but I'm sure I'll do it next time, too.

    MSB - That is perfect. I wonder how long it took him to say "cacao."

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  9. But you did hear the end of the mystery, right?

    Also, the bird video...weird. Maybe I'll get it when I'm older...

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  10. Oh to have had a mom like you! :-)

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  11. D. - Portlandia definitely isn't for everyone. Maybe when you're older. ;-D

    kkryno - You're very sweet. I'm sure there are many times when my kids would be thrilled to pawn me off on some other unsuspecting children.

    kirby - I see you watch, too. You made me choke on my organic green tea.

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  12. Glad to hear the evil SAT is over and down with.

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    Replies
    1. Me, too, Susan. Especially since she had to go no. 2 the whole time!

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  13. I turn the tv UP when horrifying stuff is on. I think of it as "channeling Nana", as my Mum used to be terribly blunt about the most awful things.

    [Any sentence that started with "Well, your father and I..." was bound to end with me screaming and running out of the room.]

    I have stopped short of introducing her to Howard Stern, though. Maybe when she's 12.

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    Replies
    1. Another reason I adore you.

      Lyd is so smart, she'll be running circles around Stern when she's 12.

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  14. I'm glad to hear the mouse escaped unscathed.

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    Replies
    1. Me, too. That silly mouse took a real chance.

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  15. Penis jokes aren't meal conversation? OH. Apparently another parenting thing I did wrong.

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    Replies
    1. No, no. I think you did it right. With Nate, we can make penis jokes anytime. Raising boys is so much more penis-centric. As it should be.

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  16. a mouse in your house, with that posse of cats? hard to believe!

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    1. The trashcan was in the garage and the cats live in the house. The cats need to take a long field trip to the garage apparently.

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    2. Oh my god, but if you turn them loose in the garage they'll come back with presents.

      When I was staying at my sister's a chipmumk came inside and it took FOREVER to get him out. He'd found the birdseed.

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  17. These conversations with Sophie = totally-super-awesome. Thank you for making me laugh out loud.

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  18. Where were the Pussies for Peace when you needed them?

    I hate it when I pee on myself :)

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    Replies
    1. Those bad cats were in the house. They did wonder what all the screaming was about in the garage, but I was too incoherent to explain as I changed out of my wet pants.

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  19. Sounds so familiar! Same thing happens over here in Italy. Farting, peeing and mice. Maybe we should write a True Mothers book. Can I add that I drive mine to the bus stop with a big jacket over my pjs and a big beanie? I pray my car never breaks down!

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    1. We should write that book! I'm glad it's not just me. I'd be arrested for not wearing a bra for sure because I cannot be bothered to put one on when I drive her to school. Socks yes, bra no.

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    2. Ha! I have a nice coat and scarf ensemble that goes over the pjs or sweats and sunglasses in the glove box, so all is good from the waist up. Kind of.

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  20. Great post. I also turn off the radio when I have a problem - like if I'm lost, the first thing I do is turn off the radio. Don't know why, it doesn't help! My husband also puts the emergency brake on so hard I can't release it. Glad it's not just me. Speaking of pooing in public restrooms, you know what used to really get my goat? You go in the ladies room at work, go in the very last stall on the end of the row with no one in there so you will have some peace to do your thing...and someone comes in and takes the stall RIGHT NEXT to you. I say they deserve whatever they get when they do that.

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  21. I had a friend in college who couldn't "go to the bathroom" (as she put it) in new places. We went to Toronto for spring break and stayed in a youth hostel with shared bathrooms, where she proceeded to not "go to the bathroom" for four days straight. On the fifth day, she woke up, disappeared into the bathroom, and returned later with triumph written all over her face. We all cheered for her. Hell, we probably would have thrown her a party if we could.

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  22. Yay, a free cat toy! Mine is a fierce hunter, but has become snobbish about mere mice after tasting the voles of Finland. We lived near the sea there, so seagulls would congregate on the neighbors roof and wait for her to bring home her catch for the day and swoop down and scarf up the remains after she went inside. Gross, but efficient.

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  23. I wish the "morning shitter" in my office was leery of going in public places. Every damn morning when I go in the bathroom to pee before I sit at my desk to check work e-mail....that bathroom smells as if someone ate ten bowls of chili the night before.

    Once, I got to work early...at 7 a.m. and missed out on the odorous bathroom smell. I mean, I'm glad she's regular, but GOD...what the HELL does she eat to produce such vile smelling shit?

    And I will join the ranks of those who shut off the radio (in my case it is book on tape) when something goes wrong. For me, it is usually the check engine light which pops on every few months, scares the hell out of me (because the manual DOES say "this indicates a serious problem that needs to be attended to immediately") and then goes away before we can get it in to be looked at.

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  24. You know that you have the makings for an honest and fascinating parenting book, no? And the Portlandia put a bird on it meme....I guess Williamsburg in Brooklyn must be Portlandia East. Birds everywhere.

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