Friday, June 15, 2012

Big Brothers, Little Sisters, Goat Cheese and Why My Children Talk So Much

We were sitting at the table the other night and of course there were four different conversations going on at the same time – which is difficult to do when there are only four people (and one dog) seated at the table. But given the love of gab that we all possess, somehow we managed to make enough of a cacophony to drown out what each other was saying, and making us all talk louder to compensate. Nicole kicks me under the table, it was intended as more of a nudge, but because of her sheer excitement in sharing a story with me it turned into a full blown kick. I howled and she apologized and then launched into her story. It had something to do with her friend’s brother who played a trick on her, not Nicole, but the friend. Now sometimes, at that point, when I know I’ve heard the story before or when it is a story which will add nothing to my life and in fact take up three or four minutes that I will never get back, I put on the listening mother face and check out. I’ll think about what I want to read before I go to bed, if I’m going to leave the dishes in the sink tonight and do them in the morning, or struggle to remember if I’d crossed all the must do’s off of my to do list for the day, all while nodding my head, smiling and looking like I’m enjoying every minute of her story about the cousin’s uncle’s brother’s sister’s niece. Oh, come on, you know you’ve checked out, too, I’m just the only one stupid enough to admit it in print. Someday, when my daughters are in therapy, they will look up this blog – because you know that NOTHING you write on the internet EVER goes away – and show it to their doctors as proof of my bad mothering…but until then… So, I’m busy not listening to Nicole, when she says something that catches my attention. She says, “My friend’s brother tried to convince her that goat cheese is made out of goat feces.” Well, that stopped dinner conversation. For whatever reason, I found it incredibly funny and very big brotherish to try and convince your little sister of something like that. My brother used to do things like that to me all the time, including the time he tried to convince me I was adopted. So I found it very, very funny. David didn’t. He made a nasty expression as he tried to choke down the last of the ricotta cheese from his lasagna and Natalie, who only caught half of the conversation, misheard it and asked, “What about goat faces?” Again, more laughter. Nicole went on to explain, and now I was really listening, that her friend’s brother not only told this to his little sister, but backed up the claim by putting up a fake entry on Wikipedia explaining how you make goat cheese from goat feces...not goat faces. Oh, this was getting better and better. David shouted at Nicole, telling her that goat feces was not appropriate dinner conversation. But he said the word feces again and like a group of kindergarteners, a poop word, even a sophisticated one like feces, made us start laughing all over again. I was impressed, in the 21st century a big brother could use the internet to convince and gross out his sister…note to self, reason number 907 not to trust entry postings on Wikipedia. So I asked Nicole if the posting was still up. She wasn’t sure, but said it was under, “How to make goat cheese…” save yourself the time, I looked it up and it’s not there. His parents probably made him take it down. But probably only after they had a good laugh themselves. This came after a week of weird dinners. We must all be a little punchy, tired from all the end of year activities and eager for our summer to start. A few nights earlier, on a Sunday night, we hadn’t managed to get ourselves fed before 8:00pm and as the clock drew closer to 9, decided we better get dinner in us before it was time for breakfast. Unsatisfied with what was in the cupboard and with me temporarily on cooking strike – I was ready to cook at 7pm but nobody wanted to eat then – David decided that we should go out to eat. We arrived at the restaurant and there were only two other tables taken. We ordered and for some reason, the more water the girls drank, the funnier they thought everything was. The waiter didn’t help the situation. He kept complimenting them for their manners and humor –one of which all kids should have – if you have good manners, nobody cares if you’re funny and if you have a good sense of humor and make people laugh, they’ll put up with a little bit of bad behavior…but only a little – so with all the attention, my girls reallly decided to put on a show. They were laughing loudly, guzzling back water to the point where I made a comment about them being camels and that launched them into another conversation about another friend which I really didn’t need to hear…particularly at 9:00 at night when I still haven’t eaten. But in our house, you can’t mention camels without mentioning Nicole’s best friend, who LOVES camels. So I tuned out for a bit, wondering when the waiter was going to bring my gluten free beer, if gluten free beer would be any good, and why I even bothered to order beer of any kind since I was headed for bed in less than 30 minutes. And Nicole continued talking about camels, and her friend, and next thing I know, I’ve agreed to let her and her friend go on some camel safari in Morocco for their sweet sixteen birthday! Hell, all I got for my sweet sixteen was a watch, which broke, and a warning that you could get mono from kissing boys. But my kid, she wants an international adventure tour. Serves me right for not listening. Oh, and next time, I’ll skip the gluten free beer. BTW – I asked Nicole something the other day and she looked at me blankly and said, “Sorry, I wasn’t listening to you…just blanked you out.” So clearly, I’m NOT the only one who does it.