Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things My Children Don't Believe Me About, No Matter How Many Time I Tell Them

  • Going to bed earlier means it's easier to get up earlier. Because she has started high school this year, Thing 1 has to get up a lot earlier than she used to in order to get to school on time. I'm pleasantly surprised at her ability to just get up and get on her way, without any drama; if she's finding it difficult to haul herself out of bed, she's certainly keeping it to herself. Thing 2, on the other hand, whines and complains every morning, and clearly holds me entirely responsible for the time on the clock. It would probably help if she went to bed earlier than, say, 10:30 every night, but she doesn't, and refuses to acknowlege that it would make any difference whatsoever. She's always a little annoyed with me when I go to bed earlier than her, but completely dismisses the fact that I get up with relative ease.

  • Avoid a mess rather than clean up a mess. The "Touch Once" Rule really works: rather than put the towel on the floor and then hang it up later, it's much easier to just touch it once; hang it up after you've used it. Simple, huh? Not making more work for myself is my number one priority in life. Not so for my children, whose rooms look as though there has been a fight to the death involving all of their clothing they are not currently wearing and Halloween candy wrappers.

  • Anything to do with taking care of your hair. Despite the fact that I have been in the beauty business for 25 years, I have conversations such as the following daily: Child:"My hair is fuzzy/frizzy/flat/flatulent, and I hate it", Me:"Why don't you brush it/put some product on it/wash it/domesticate it" Child:"That won't help". Every. Day.

  • If it's cold outside, wearing clothing designed to keep you warmer, will do so. You'd think this one is pretty obvious, but my children insist on denying reality and leave the house every day without decent winter gear. I'll admit the same folly in my own youth; I went an entire winter when I was a teenager not wearing a winter coat, but in my defense, it was one of the mildest winters on record, and after one blistering cold walk home from a bar in only a denim jacket, I wisely revised my policy. It's been brain-numbingly cold here for the past little while, and those two routinely go out without mittens or a hat and then have the gall to complain about how cold they are.

  • Hand-written thank-you notes are worthwhile. I've only ever had one person complain to me that I shouldn't write thank you notes, that it was making her look bad and she wished I wouldn't do it. (She is, frankly, a nutbar, so I didn't take it very seriously.) My kids don't understand that hand-written thank you notes are something people don't forget (in a good way) and worth every nanosecond they take to write.

  • Being ready a few minutes before you have to leave. I'm not sure why they don't believe me, but it is possible to be early for something, you know. Timing your preparations for the exact split second of departure only makes you frantic and forgetful and cranky, and your mother crazy.

  • You don't have to love every single thing you eat. My kids got the idea somewhere along the line that eating something you don't especially like is akin to a human rights violation, but they have it. I don't adore broccoli, skim milk or bananas with spots, but they aren't torture to get them down, either.

  • Walking a perfecty normal activity, and humans were designed to do it.

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