At 7:15 a.m. I pulled up at the ATM and jumped out of my car to quickly make a deposit. Auburn Aries was in the car writing a story or doing art – hell, who knows… my entire back seat looks like a combination art supply store and library.
Cognizant of the fact that I left my child in a running car with the driver door wide open (next thing you know, I’ll have her running errands to the liquor store), I was rushing to complete my transaction. I parked three spaces from the ATM.
Faintly in the distance I hear her.
“Maaaaaaahhhhm. Can you blaaaah blaaaah blaaaaah?” (inaudible blathering)
Was that my kid? There’s no one nearby in the parking lot so it can’t be anyone else’s kid. No, Auburn Aries knows better than to yell like that. I glance over my left shoulder and make eye contact.
“Hey Maaaaaahhhm. Can you blaaaah blaaaah blaaaaah?” (again, I can make nothing out)
I hold up the “wait a minute” finger and say, “Just a minute, I’m almost done.”
Again she does it.
“Hey Maaaaaahhhm. Can you blaaaah blaaaah blaaaaah?” (and, again, I see her lips moving but I have no idea what she’s yammering about)
I stood there growing increasingly frustrated. Why can’t these effing machines work faster? If I don’t hurry, I’m going to be late for work. I should have made this deposit this weekend. I still have to take her to day care. Good GAWD why is she yelling like that.
This time my "wait a minute" finger it is accompanied with my “knock it off” look as I mouth the words, “JUST. A. MINUTE.”
My transaction finishes and I head back to the car. Before I can even get my sundress straightened beneath my bottom she starts in.
“Mom, Can you……………………”
“WAIT. JUST WAIT A SECOND, AUBURN ARIES. (I can see her in my rear view mirror). At what point in your eight year old life have I EVER told you it was okay to scream at me from the car when I’m right in the middle of doing something?! Or EVER, for that matter?!”
Dead silence. It’s the “oh shit I’m in big trouble and there’s no right answer” look.
She lowers her head, which ordinarily would have reminded me that perhaps I’m treating her like she’s fifteen and that I need to reel it in a little. Except this time, she scowls her face at me. SHE’S actually looking at me like **I** did something wrong.
“Oh, no, no, no little one. Don’t cop your attitude with me. At what point did you decide that yelling like that was okay?”
“Mom! Mom! Just listen. I need something from you and it’s important.”
I take a deep breath thinking she better be broken or bleeding to constitute her behavior. I take in a deep breath and lose my bar brawlin’ attitude.
“What is it, Aries?”
Now she’s clearly giving me back the attitude I gave her (damn kids for being such copy cats anyway). With a snippy tone in her voice:
“I needed to know how to spell the word club.”
“YOU WHAT? SPELL THE WORD CLUB? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU WERE YELLING AT ME BECAUSE YOU NEEDED HELP SPELLING OUT A WORD THAT YOU CLEARLY KNOW AND CAN CLEARLY SOUND OUT AND YOU THOUGHT IT WAS WORTH YELLING AT ME FOR WHILE I’M AT THE ATM?! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.”
“No, Mom, I’m not kidding you. I couldn’t remember if there was a silent “e” on the end.”
“CLUB!! CLUB! C. L. U. B. CLUB.”
Totally frustrated and feeling like I’m running late to the point of wanting to drive like Mario Andretti, I whip out of the parking lot and drive her to daycare.
After five or six minutes of silence (also known as the regroup from coming unhinged), I speak.
“Auburn Aries, I’m sorry that I got so upset with you, but in the future, I would appreciate it if you could wait until I’m back in the car to talk to me instead of yelling.”
Still looking at her in the mirror, she crosses her arms across her chest and looks away, still scowling.
“You might want to lose that scowly face.”
“It’s my scowly face and I can keep it if I want to.”
“Look at me.”
Still looking away.
“Aries, if you keep your face like that, it’s going to stick that way. You don’t want to go through the rest of your life with that face do you?”
“Fine. Next time I’ll wait to talk to you.”
She tried to stay mad, but couldn’t. Gradually the corners of her lips started to smile. She laughed at the face-sticking comment and then we laughed together and it all went away.
Fast forward to this morning:
“Mommy, can I read one of my Calvin and Hobbes books to you on the way to [daycare]?”
She begins reading.
“Blah Blah Blah. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah. Can you believe how incomprehensibly vast the universe is?”
Whoa, wait a minute. Did she just say that?
“Hey, wait a minute, hold the phone there, Ace. Did you just say incomprehensibly? How incomprehensibly vast the universe is? Is that what the cartoon says?”
“Yeah.” And she repeats it again.
“Are you kidding me?! Yesterday you asked me how to spell club to find out if it had a silent e and today you read the word incomprehensibly without even having to sound it out?!”
“What? *insert innocent, puzzled face*
“Never mind baby, keep reading. You’re doing a great job!”
Kids are, indeed, an enigma wrapped in a riddle.