Etiquette vs. the pre-teen

I’m still getting over a cold I got three weeks ago. On the ride to taekwondo I sneezed twice in immediate succession.

Irked that Kathleen had not reacted to my plight, I looked at her in the back seat through the rear-view mirror. “Hello!” I said, “Bless you?!?!”

Kathleen stared back unimpressed. “Dad, if you are the one who sneezed, you should really say ‘Bless me.'”

I’m thinking of not giving her anything for Christmas.


Conan the ten year old

Kathleen has a belt test for taekwando tonight. As she headed out the door, Jennifer yelled: “Honey, make sure you don’t forget your weapons!”

They grow up so fast. One day you are tying their shoes for them. The next you are reminding them not to forget their implements of battle.

Padawan Lucy

Jennifer brought home a laser pointer from school. As we started our ride to Texas I was messing around with it in the front passenger seat of our minivan. Lucy was one seat back on the opposite side of the car. So, unlike Kathleen (who was next to Lucy, but behind me), Lucy could see me playing.

Soon Lucy asked if she could see the laser. I showed her how to turn on the laser, and sternly told her: “Don’t point this AT anyone.”

Kathleen had been watching this exchange with a look of skepticism. But, when Lucy pressed the button and started moving the little red dot around, Kathleen collapsed into as much of a fetal position as she could manage in her seat belt and started yelling. “What have you done?!?! Oh my Gosh!! Oh my Gosh!!!”

It took a few minutes to get Kathleen calmed down. It turns out that Kathleen’s only exposure to “lasers” has been through cartoons with laser guns.

She was shocked that I had just handed her 7 year old sister what amounted to a light saber in an enclosed space.

I can imagine no better way to start our family holiday!

Anticipating …

Lucy has her first gymnastics meet of the season tomorrow. Tonight she was telling me about how she is supposed to dismount from the beam.

“I have to do a kart wheel, then in the middle lift one hand, do a half turn, then land off the beam facing the opposite direction from where I started “

“WOW!” I replied, “You can do that?”

Not skipping a beat, Lucy replied: “Nope.”

Realistic self-appraisal. It’s a virtue.

Crush Revealed

Kathleen crumpled as she got into the car after school yesterday. “My life is over,” she announced.

It turns out that there was a note left in her desk at school. “I know that you like me, Georgia told me.” The note was unsigned.

Georgia is one of Kathleen’s best friends, and Kathleen had told Georgia that she liked a boy in class.

After receiving the note, apparently Kathleen confronted the boy to ask if he had put it in her desk. He refused to comment.

“So, what does Georgia say?” I asked.

“Oh she says that she told him.” Kathleen replied.

“So, are you mad at Georgia?” I pressed.

“What? No.” Kathleen responded, “I’m just like her. I can’t keep a secret either. And, the note might mean that he likes me too, so this could all work out.”

So, it turns out, not the end of her life. But as the brooding father, I am left wondering exactly what it would mean if it “all worked out.”

My little Ramona!

Reading Ramona Quimby with Kathleen tonight, I asked: “Do you know anyone who has an imagination like that?”

Kathleen: “Yes.”

Me: “Who?”

Kathleen looks at me out of the corner of her eye: “I think you know the answer to that question.”

Me: “I really don’t. Are you thinking about Lucy, or you?”

Kathleen rolls her eyes: “Me. You can’t see what’s going on in my head, but it is wild and crazy stuff man.”

And that I can believe.