What is it with kids and their infinite ability to annoy their parents? Why do they do it? Is it learned behavior? Are they hard-wired? Is it part of nature’s evolutionary drive to prepare parents for the eventual empty nest? You know, so that we feel relief rather than grief when they finally leave home?
Whatever the reasons. It’s FREAKING ANNOYING!
Just today Julia – who is rapidly approaching age 9 which seems to have kicked her annoyance creativity into high gear – was repeatedly rubbing the flat side of an emery board against a blank 3×5 notecard!
How she came to be in possession of these two seemingly disparate and unrelated items is a mystery. What compelled her to continually rub that card with the board resulting in one of the most irritating sounds since fingernails on a chalkboard or metal pans scraping together - is also a mystery. The end result, my heightening irritability – was a foregone conclusion.
And it’s not just this. It’s a series of things. Why, just last week I was made to repeatedly listen for the almost imperceptible squeak of air exiting her tear duct as she held her nose and blew.
Again and again she wanted me to hear it. Not because she was proud of it or fascinated at discovering new things her body could do…. No. I’m convinced it was simply to annoy me.
A few weeks back it was the DORKY FACE. This was where she would contort her face into a really dweeby expression and do a thumbs up gesture. Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I mean, it’s a free country. Look like a dork to your heart’s desire. It’s what the founding fathers intended. HOWEVER….
How many times I had to LOOK MOM LOOK! I can’t even tell you. But if I had a nickel for every time. Well, I’m sure I could have purchased a $20 Starbucks card…minimum.
Yes, I tried the “your face will freeze like that.” I’m not opposed to lying in dire situations. Like when irritating behavior (hers) meets hormonal fluctuations (mine) in what could potentially be a China Syndrome situation. But she’s too smart for that. She would only smile and do the dork. AGAIN! Thumbs up for the try, mom!
Sometimes the torture takes the form of Britney Spears. Yeah, I know. Horrifying, huh? But it gets worse. Julia actually shrieks the words to “Toxic” at the highest range of her vocal chords while I’m drying her hair. To make matters worse, this usually occurs around 8 pm after 12 hours of cumulative small annoyances. As you can imagine my tolerance by then has worn thin… very thin.
Am I a bad mom because I don’t find absolutely everything my child does to be delightful and worthy of kudos? Am I a bad mom that sometimes I want to yell at the top of my lungs STOP IT! YOU’RE DRIVING ME FREAKING INSANE!
I don’t do it. Know why? Because I remember that in college I was famous for a little thing called THE SAILOR CHICKEN FACE. So famous in fact that I almost did it on live TV once… But I begged out.
And when I look at my kid, contorting the left side of her mouth so that it almost touches her ear, sticking out her tongue in an attempt to reach her nose, crossing her eyes in opposite directions while making a sort of “bastard child of a thousand maniacs” sound — ALL AT THE SAME TIME… I remember, I was like that too. And it didn’t stop until I was WAAAAY past legal drinking age. In fact, I think it got worse around that time.
So maybe she’s doing it to annoy me. Or maybe it’s genetic. From her mamma. Like her astygmatic brown eyes and her love of carbs. And well, I can’t blame her for being who she is… can I? Then I WOULD BE a bad mom.