Friday, November 30, 2007

Questions Mothers Hate

It's Friday. The would-be substantive post struggling to take shape in my foggy brain regarding the Teddy Bear Teacher situation in Khartoum and taking the angle that perhaps we should stop giving Sudan a couple billion dollars a year in U.S. aid monies considering that all that money will buy them a lot of the rope they need to...well, you see where this is going, right?...refuses to congeal.

The weather may have something to do with it, of course; it's gloomy and chilly here, and the sky is one of those dirty-gray colors that make you wish you could send your guardian angel skyward with a really big bottle of Windex. And, like I said before, it's Friday. And a conversation I was having earlier with a great friend of mine won't stop nagging me to expand on it. Sudan will have to wait.

My friend and I were talking on the phone when one of my girls came to ask me a question. Could she have orange juice with her lunch? I said yes; and one of the other girls piped up, "Can I have some, too?"

Not ten minutes later, the same thing. DD #1: "Can I have a fruit bar?"
Following her into the room came DD #3: "Can I have one, too?"

Stifling the urge to answer this question the way every mother wants to answer it, I simply said "yes." Of course, what every mother wants to say is: "When in your entire life, excepting only those circumstances involving illness and an invalid diet, have I EVER allowed only ONE of you to have a certain type of food or beverage? When have I EVER said, 'Oh, no, only your sister can have that,'??? So why do you all think that EACH of you has to ask permission for the SAME THING???"

And that got me thinking about all of those other questions I hate to be asked. Here are some of them, in no particular order:

1. "What's for dinner, Mom?" To be fair, I don't mind this question if it is asked as I am standing in the kitchen actually cooking dinner. I don't like being asked it at 1:30 p.m. when the remains of lunch are still lurking in the kitchen, I definitely don't like being asked it immediately after breakfast, and I hate being asked it more than once by the same child on the same day when it is blatantly obvious that she's simply hoping I've repented my previous choice of menu.

2. "Do I have to do [fill in the blank; laundry, math homework, etc.]?" Kiddo, you know the answer already, don't you? Hoping I was just kidding about what I just this minute told you to go and do is not a wise game to play; yes, you have to.

3. "Why can't [insert sibling name] help you, instead?" Trust me, if I'm asking for help with a big job, I'll call everybody in. But if you're sitting less than two feet away from me enjoying a comic book and I need someone to put a new bag into the trash because I forgot earlier and now have a handful of eggshells to dispose of, this question is not going to be well received.

4. "Do we have to go shopping today?" In a couple of years when your older sister is old enough that mom and dad can occasionally do the Costco run while DD#1 remains in charge at home, the choice to accompany us or not may be yours. Until then, yes, so get those shoes on, grab a jacket, and grumble at your own risk.

5. "Can't we skip [fill in blank; anything from afternoon rest time to half the math problems on the page]?" If for some odd or unusual reason (such as the math textbook writer suddenly thinking that eighty problems are doable in a single lesson or the fact that afternoon rest time would interfere with taking advantage of a gorgeous seventy-degree day) I decide to dispense with any of our usual routines, you'll be the first to know. Trust me. So it's not necessary to ask (beg, whine, cajole, bargain, or negotiate). Unless otherwise noted it's business as usual.

6. "Awww. Do we have to go to bed?" Do you really need to ask this one? Still? After being my children (some of you, anyway) for at least a decade? C'mon, now. I let you stay up late on occasion, but even then, when I say it's bedtime, it's bedtime. Deal?

Anyone want to add to the list?


nicole said...

Oh I can relate to some of this list. Now, since my oldest is only 6 some of them are still in the future. What makes me crazy is one asking for something, you ask the other if they want it too, and they say no, and then 5 minutes later ask for it when you have moved on to something else. I sometimes give in and sometimes don't.

My kids drive me crazy when they ask me for something even though their Dad is right there and just as capable. I know they are just used to asking me for things, but really, it is ridiculous.

Thanks for the glimpse into your domestic life Red--it is fun to see the Mom side of you too.

Divine Mercy said...

i only have 1 child, she is almost 25. and doesn't ask for anything. so i guess i would be honored if she asked me something like, what's for dinner mom? i hardly get to see her as she has her own life, and she texts me everyday, but it would be nice if she would ask for something:) she is very independent, and doesn't like to impose. she certainly wouldn't be that's for sure! :) brooke has always been a very independent person:) she was a lovely child, lovely teenager, and adult. iam very proud of her. very!

Red Cardigan said...

That's lovely, Divine Mercy; I suppose I'll miss the questions my children ask when they're all grown up. :)

Divine Mercy said...

yes you will. you will definitely laugh about it when they are older:)