Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

A Conversation With My Daughter

“Come on, Mom,” she says. “Come keep me company while I take my bath.”

I pad into the room. I’m still a little ticked off at her, so I keep playing my game on my phone.

“REALLY, Mother,” she says. “The sounds that game makes are making me want to DROWN myself in this bathtub. Could you please turn that down?”

“I’ll turn it down when I lose the game,” I tell her. “I’m doing too good here.”

“Hurry up and lose,” she says. “You’re making me want to mutilate myself.”

“Speaking of which,” I say, “Let me see your lip again.”

She sticks out her lip, white and bumpy on one side where she’s been biting it. I touch it. She’s been biting it so much it’s hard. “I think you’re already mutilating yourself. When do you bite your lip? I don’t even see you biting it.”

“When you’re not looking,” she says.

“And when do you mess with your face?” I ask. “Your dad is always telling you not to touch your face but I never see you touching it.”

She shrugs. “I don’t. Unless it itches.”

“So why does your dad tell you to stop touching your face?”

“I don’t know.” She shrugs.

“Do you do it because it aggravates him?”

“No. I don’t do it at all.”

I ask her the question, the one her father started when she was just little. “So, what was the best and worst part of your day?”

Dramatic eyeroll. “The BEST part was play practice.”

“What was the worst part?”

“YOU know. Just now. When you snapped at me. I was just trying to turn the phone off.”

“I snapped at you because you weren’t listening to me.”

“I WAS listening to you. You just don’t give me a chance to finish saying what I’m saying.”

“You weren’t listening to me earlier in the car. I was trying to work out our schedule. We have to figure out when to do a trial run on your hair and makeup before dress rehearsal. I think our only good time is Thursday afternoon.”

“REALLY, Mother. Do you have to be so controlling?”

“Controlling?? I’m just trying to work out how we need to get everything done for you this week. We’re really busy.”

“You’re even more controlling than Daddy.”

“What?? More controlling than DADDY? What are you smoking?”

“Seriously, Mom. You are.”

“I don’t see how trying to help your life work out better is controlling. So what was the worst part of your day?”

SIGH. “Just now. When you yelled at me. Do you have to be so irritable? It’s awful when you’re irritable.”

“I haven’t been irritable all day.”

“Just NOW.”

“That was the only time. And that was because you were NOT listening to me. Moms don’t like it when their daughters don’t listen. Especially when it’s about their stuff.”

“You’ve been irritable ALL DAY.”

“I have NOT. Name one time.”

“Just now.”

“Name one other time.”

“Can I bring an extra change of clothes to school tomorrow?”

“Sure. Remind me, and we’ll grab some in the morning.”

“Let’s get them now. You can get them. Get me some jeans, and a long-sleeved top. And I need socks, to go with my boots.”

“It’s late,” I tell her. “Hurry up and get out of the tub. We have a long day tomorrow.”

“I AM getting out. We had a long day TODAY.”

“It’s longer tomorrow. Reminds me. If I go to Costco tomorrow, do you need anything?”

“No. But I want to go to Target. It’s Cole’s birthday and I want to get him a present.”

“You want to get Cole a present?”

“Of course. He told me what he wants.”

“I don’t think you should buy Cole a present. He’s not very nice to you.”

SIGH. “I guess I can tell him that’s added to the list of reasons you don’t like him. Since Daddy thinks he’s wishy-washy.”

“Daddy thinks he’s wishy-washy because he has too many girlfriends.”

“You think COLE is wishy-washy? What about his dad? He left Cole’s mom and married Mandy.”

“You mean he’s wishy-washy because he’s divorced and he’s remarried? What does that make your Dad? He divorced and remarried.”

“Wishy-washy.”

“How come you don’t use the blowdryer I gave you?”

“It’s too loud.”

“Would you get OUT of the tub already?”

She pinches a scrawny slip of skin on her tummy. “I’m so FAT.”

“Yeah. You’re a hoss. You can’t even find any fat to pinch. That’s skin.”

She turns sideways, pokes her stomach out in a grotesque parody, and says, “See?”

“Yeah,” I tell her. “I see. I see you have about 3% body fat.”

“I hope I don’t get a BUTT,” she says.

“Why not,” I ask. “Men like butts.”

“Eww,” she says. “They make you look fat.”

“No they don’t. Not if you have a waist.”

“They make you look fat. You put the wrong PE shoes in my backpack.”

“Then maybe you should take care of your own shoes.”

SIGH. “Can I read before I go to bed?”

“No. It’s a long day tomorrow.”

SIGH. Eyeroll. “You said that already. Why is it so cold in here?”

“Because you have no body fat. Get in bed.”

“Mommy?”

“Yes, hon?”

“Do you love me?”

“Of course, hon.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“More than the universe?”

“More than 2 universes.”

“More than the universe SQUARED?”

“More than that. Go to sleep.”

I pull up the covers to her chin. She snuggles Fluffy the Bear and Soft Blanket; she has them arranged. Because, despite the way the conversations go, she is not 18. She is 8. God help me.

“Good night.”

“Good night, Mommy.”

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