Saturday, February 27, 2010

Plant a Radish, Get a . . . . Well, I Don't Know.

Well, I suppose every parent occasionally has to wonder What Happened? The bottom line is, we just don’t know. In the end, we just do the best we can, and hope that things turn out. But right now, I’m not so sure. Of course, there are two sides to every issue: from the front, it looks as though it must be something she picked up from her friends. From the back side, it may be our fault. It’s just hard to tell.

The point is, Erynn has started displaying a certain behavior around the house. In order to avoid embarrassing anyone, I’m not going to say what it is here. No. I won’t even drop any hints, not if you threatened to torture me or set my pants on fire. But let’s just say it reveals a certain disregard for accepted social moires.

It used to be relatively infrequent, maybe once every blue moon. But now it seems to be happening more and more often. I know some of you are thinking it's just a result of being spoiled, that as parents we bent over backwards for her. Maybe you're thinking, it shows a crack in our family armor. But I don't think so.

Well, there's nothing for it but to move on and hope it gets better. No use mooning about, crying over spilt milk. It's time to move on. Be optimistic. Keep the sunny side up. Wish us luck.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Parent Trap

For many adults, the words "Parent Trap" might summon up images of Lindsay Lohan when she was still reasonably human,

or maybe even Haley Mills, if you're old like me.

This is a cute and innocent image associated with "Parent Trap." But I want to introduce you to a version of parent trap more like the "non-vintage" Lindsay. Not quite so innocent.

This is the version of the parent trap set for the Divine Ms B and me by our loving daughter Em at the bottom of the stairs.

It can work in any of several ways. Perhaps the unsuspecting parent will try to leap over the pile of clothes, bump their head of the door jamb and knock themselves senseless. Or, in trying to avoid that route, they might step on the pile of clothes, which would immediately slip out from under them and BAM! there they are on the stairs, with, in the best case scenario, a couple of broken vertebrae.

You get the idea. I suppose it's even possible that the plan is to just discourage us from going down the stairs at all, thereby cutting us off from the pantry and weakening us, over time, from lack of food. I'm not sure. But I just wanted to document this publicly so when Em shows up in court to gain control of my assets, pushing me in wheelchair as I drool and stare blankly ahead, there will be a trail of evidence to help uncover the truth.

Follow the clothes, people. Follow the clothes.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Thumbies

I propose a new award ceremony be held each year to award large golden thumb-shaped statues to those teenaged children who write the best texts in various categories. As a pioneer in this area, I feel that my family and I should provide an example and a guide to scoring.

Today I accompanied my two teenaged girl-children to the mall. As a father who knows his place, I made myself scarce for an hour while they went shopping. After about 50 minutes I texted Em, "Are you about ready to go?" Her reply was:

"Yeah. . . "

Now you will recognize first thing that there should be a mandatory 0.5 deduction for answering the first time instead of having her phone turned off, or just ignoring me and pretending she had her phone turned off. But beyond that, it was a pretty good reply: ambiguous, tentative, almost completely lacking in helpful information. She avoided another mandatory 0.5 deduction by not following up with another explanatory text or (this would have been a 1.o deduction) calling me.

Notice the use of ellipsis at the end of her monosyllabic reply. While not adopted by the International Teenage Text Governing Board as a required textpiece, it certainly earns some stylistic points. It actually implies that there might be more information coming, thus raising some questions about whether the parent should wait, or try to call, or send another text inquiry. It kept me quiet for another 5 minutes. Very good, really.

I believe that the reply could only have been made stronger had she chosen

"Uh. . ."

instead. It would have reduced the actual text length by 2 characters, and eliminated the marginally useful affirmative connotation that "yeah. . ." carries with it. Consider that "Uh. . . " could mean anything from "I'm standing behind you, Dad," to "I'm sitting in the Mall Security Office right now" or even "There is a live bear chasing me past The Gap." The only real information it carries is acknowledgment of the parental unit's text being received, (something my phone does automatically, so there's really no use in it) and a marginal assent to parental authority, since it does constitute, technically, a reply.

Overall, I would rate Em's performance a strong 8.9, and I believe we will certainly be hearing more of this young texter in the future. One syllable at a time.