Tweet "Okay, Mom. I'm ready to go now."
There stood my 8-year old daughter. The one I affectionately refer to as Dotter on my blog. Because 'dotter' literally means "daughter" in Swedish. And "literal" is the best way to describe my daughter, Dotter.
Comedian Mitch Hedberg joked, "I once saw a forklift lift a crate of forks. And it was way to literal for me." My daughter would've been in heaven. Of course a forklift would lift forks. Why else would they call it a forklift? Any other explanation would be ridiculous.
I sighed. Loud. Obnoxiously. Rudely.
"Mom, you said we could go to the store sometime. I'm ready to go now." She had her money ready to go in a Ziploc bag. I knew it she had already counted it out. Probably twice.
"Go comb your hair," I directed as I lifted my hands out of the kitchen sink where I was washing dishes.
Really, it was easier. Easier than trying to explain that the definition of "some time" is endless... it could mean in ten minutes, or an hour, or six, or a month from now. I want to go to the French countryside "some time" but that doesn't mean I'm packing just yet. But I knew what the argument would be: If "some time" could be any time, then couldn't it be that "right now" is actually the realization of "some time?"
Confused? That's why it was so much easier to just direct her to comb her hair. Gather the baby. Throw him in the car seat. Sigh again. Loudly. Obnoxiously. Rudely. Again.
Obviously this is not new to us. When she was two she completely freaked out when I turned left off the highway exit ramp instead of right because I needed to stop and get gas. In her world we turned right. It was that simple. We always turned right. To suddenly turn left rocked her world to extremes. Probably similar to what I'd feel if a group of armed men suddenly stormed my bedroom at three in the morning.
She doesn't function well when she doesn't know what to expect. You have to explain what's about to happen - and then pray to God it happens the way you explained it. And when she has something organized and explained in her mind it can be quite challenging to veer from that. Sometimes it's just way easier to just go with her flow.
"Do you know how much money you have?"
"I have one dollar and ninety-one cents."
"Do you know how much money you need?"
"No. But Bean knows how much they are and I can call her."
"So let's call her."
Bean was out with her friends, wandering aimlessly around stores that are probably sick of seeing all those goofy teens on summer break taking weird pictures of themselves with their cell phones and updating them to Facebook... and never buying anything more than a Monster and a pack of gum. It'll be a long summer... but Bean knew how much a pack of Crazy Bands were. Which turned out to be fifty-nine cents more than what Dotter had.
And the meltdown began....
"BUT I DON'T HAVE TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS! I ONLY HAVE ONE DOLLAR AND NINETY ONE CENTS! NOW I CAN'T GET THEM AND MOM SAID WE COULD GO SOME TIME!"
Sigh. Loud. Obnoxious. Rude. I know. I'm like, fourteen. I think I may have even rolled my eyes.
What I want to say is something along the lines of get a grip! It's not the end of the world if we don't do exactly what you have planned in your little head. Life will go on. You will survive this!
And then God smiled upon me, because the Bean, of all things - offered to lend money to Dotter. "It's okay," she said calmly. "You can take four of my one-dollar bills. If you go in my underwear drawer I have a little box that I keep my money in. You can take four of the ones that say one-dollar, okay?" (Praise Jesus, she was with friends and not home alone, where the response would've been more along the lines of, "What is your problem?")
Instant happiness. "Thanks!"
Let's get this show on the road. Quicker we leave the sooner we get back and I can finish these dishes.
Except that happiness was short lived. Five minutes later I'm looking at Dotter sitting on the edge of Bean's bed sobbing. What now?
"She doesn't have an underwear drawer!"
"It's the top drawer."
"NO IT'S NOT! I looked and it's not her underwear drawer."
"Yes it is," I explain, walking over to the drawer and opening it.
"NO! THERE'S NO UNDERWEAR IN THERE! THERE'S ONLY BRAS! SHE SAID I COULD USE MONEY FROM HER UNDERWEAR DRAWER NOT HER BRA DRAWER!"
(And if you think I'm kidding you'd be so wrong.)
Sigh. Use every ounce of my energy to not pound my head against the dresser. She was right, of course. I knew before I looked. I was praying one lone pair of underwear would be in that drawer. Just one. That's all I needed. But no. Bras. Just bras.
"Dotter, people consider bras underwear, too. This is the drawer. See the box here? It's got her money inside."
"You need to follow the RULES, Mom. And she didn't say I could take money from her bra drawer."
"Yes," I sighed. "Let's call her."