Thursday, March 06, 2008

Foibles or How It Is That I Annoy My Children

One of the joys of being a parent of young adults is that they delight in pointing out my idiosyncrasies. Part of this may be a consequence of encouraging honesty and open communication. My children love to gang up on me together about what they see as my failures. Here are some examples:

1. Kaley looks in the refrigerator and finds about five small packets of left over cheeses of different varieties now indistinguishable because of mold. She calls out to Lucas to show him her find. "Geez, Mom. Why do you keep moldy cheese?" Hmmmm. When my Mom visited a month ago, she found some moldy cheese in my refrigerator and proceeded to cut the mold off and give some of it to the dog all the while announcing there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

2. I guess I have hoarding tendencies. I didn't realize it until we moved into this house five years ago. In a drawer, I found dozens of candle stubs. With our windstorms, I cannot bear to throw out a candle. "Be Prepared!" I was a Girl Scout for 10 years, after all. Lucas' response, "Whoa, Mom. You've got a problem."

3. Along the hoarding lines, Kaley gives me the responsibility to dispose of her shopping bags when she cleans her room. It is her way of recycling because she knows I cannot throw out a shopping bag. I mean, they are so nice with string handles and pretty pictures. Plus they are sturdy with cardboard bottoms. Nope, I save them. You never know when you will need a good shopping bag. Our supposed walk-in closet is a cornucopia of Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Starbucks, Eddie Bauer, and Express built up over the last five years. They work especially well as containers to hold even more bags.

4. Kaley cannot stand the way I chop garlic and onion. Usually, I use a small paring knife and it takes me several minutes. Inevitably, she impatiently shoves me out of the way and grabs her sword-like knife and chops everything in seconds. "See, Mom! That's how it's done." Well excuuuuse me, I never worked in a restaurant.

5. Lucas constantly criticizes me for not carrying my cell phone with me everywhere I go. Also, I do not keep it charged. In fact, at this moment, it is beeping at me for "low battery" and I cannot find the charger anywhere. Lucas is now in Chile and if he knew I was sitting here with my uncharged phone he would be saying, "Mooooom, what is wrong with you? It is not that hard to keep track of a phone and to keep it operating." When I was a kid, we did not carry the telephone around. It was hooked to the wall. I can't get used to it, ok?

6. I am not much of a clothes shopper. Growing up in Helena, Montana that had all of about one store could have something do with this. As such, if I find a sweater or a t-shirt that fits me well and I like it, I will buy two or three of them in different colors. "Geez, Mom. You need to vary your style just a tad--perhaps three shirts that are slightly different from one another??" says a horrified daughter. Hey, they are different colors and just who will notice besides me.....and you anyway?

7. The refrigerator again. After Lucas spent the end of 2007 in France, he learned that the French actually eat left overs and decry wastefulness. Although I tend to save uneaten food after a lovely dinner, it never sees natural light outside the refrigerator again until thrown down the garbage disposer or into the garbage can two to six months later. "Mom, the French would eat that for lunch the very next day or if there is enough, they would eat it for supper. You are so wasteful." I don't know. My Dad did not like left overs. Probably it had something to do with begging for them in Germany when he was a POW being marched through the countryside. We do eat left over Chinese! Gotta admit, Lucas.

8. I won't turn left--pretty much ever. I am a master at finding a way to get where I am going with only right turns unless there is a traffic light with a green left turn arrow. "Mom, don't you know what the suicide lane is on Hiway 99? It is so you can turn left and then merge into traffic like normal people!" Lucas and Kaley, my dear sweethearts, there is a reason they call it the suicide lane.

9. When we drive into Seattle, I know 20 miles ahead which lane I need to be in on I-5 to be in the correct spot for an easy exit. Lucas and Kaley in the back seat in unison, "Ah...., Mom, the next lane over is going about 55 and we are going about 20 in this lane. Do you think you could move over? Dad is waiting for us." Hey, we are just fine right here. It is all of those people switching lanes back and forth that cause accidents. I'm a safe driver. Let me drive. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare?

10. My children believe my life centers around my dog's bowel movements. True, it is a part of my routine every single day. I find money, paper clips, bread sack tabs and entire paper towels. Often, if he gets too many of the wrong table scraps like moldy cheese, then we deal with diarrhea and if we deal with diarrhea, he gets it all over his haunch feathers which requires a bath. His poop is easy to clean up in the yard if it is frosty in the morning---not so much if it has been raining three days in a row. I hoard the red sacks the Seattle newspaper arrives in because it is a perfect poop bag. I could go on and on...."Mom, MOM, you talk way too much about Apolo's poop. We don't want to hear about it. You need to get more interests in your life." Well, if you two would ever pick up after your puppy and help me with this aspect of his daily functions, then maybe it would not be the sole focus of my attention.

Yes, I aggravate my children. But at this age, Mom is supposed to be annoying. Somehow they have to realize they are being pushed out of the nest. My standard response to their frustrations with me?

"I do it all on purpose---just to bug the two of you, my dear darlings!"