My children are opportunists. I know this much is true. Said seizing-of-the-proverbial-moment unfolded thusly.
My husband, the brood and I sat down to dinner one evening not long ago. The delectable fare was chili, I believe, sprinkled with voluminous quantities of idle conversation. Par for the course in this household.
More specifically, there was talk of tadpoles and those dastardly Bakugan toys, discussions involving loose teeth and dog breath, and naturally (NATURALLY!) there was a remarkably gruesome retelling of an Animal Planet feature on polar bears–one in which a woman was horrifically mauled at a zoo. Lovely. Just lovely. My appetite thanks you, dear offspring from hell.
What’s more, my co-ed daughter starting texting her boyfriend obsessively DURING THE MEAL. Did I mention that it was during the meal and that it was OBSESSIVE in nature? Not surprisingly, she was entirely unaware that the rest of us even existed. Translation: it was as if we had slipped in pig shit and fallen off the fucking planet. All that truly mattered was that beloved Blackberry of hers and the stupid little messages that kept popping up on her screen, making her giggle uncontrollably.
And laugh out loud.
And roll her eyes.
And fervently punch those teensy tiny keys in an effort to top the boy’s witticism in 160 characters or less.
Gag me with a spork!
At any rate, Thing One and Thing Two (my wily eight-year-old twins) took note of said heinous crime, scolding their big sister for interrupting the meal with something so completely frivolous.
“That’s reeeally annoying. You ought to stop it,” Thing One chided as she took a bite of cornbread.
“Yeah, put the cell phone away or Mom’s gonna get mad. REALLY mad,” Thing Two echoed.
Of course, the Texting Queen was totally oblivious of their impassioned demands–so absorbed was she in crafting the next 17,000 messages to the Boy Wonder.
“Hon,” I felt compelled to join the fray, “you need to stop texting. You really do. We’re trying to eat dinner here together, remember?”
“But Mom, HE keeps texting ME,” she lamely defended.
“So. Stop answering him.”
“I can’t do thaaaat. It would be rude.”
“And this isn’t rude?! Helloooo!”
“Well that’s different.”
“No it isn’t.”
“Yes it is.”
“Okay then…why don’t you tell him something catchy like, ‘STOP TEXTING ME. We’re having dinner right now and MY MOM ACTUALLY COOKED, so technically speaking that qualifies as a SPECIAL OCCASION!’?” Of course, I suggested the use of capital letters as needed.
For a time, a cloud of silence hung in the air. No one so much as chewed a morsel of food or touched a key. Everyone knew I was right. It WAS a special occasion.
Enter the opportunist…
“Mom,” Thing One tentatively offered out of the blue, “can I have some of your wine?”
“Whaaa?” I asked, completely taken aback by her request.
“You said it’s a special occasion, right?”
“So I should be able to have wine.”
Indeed, opportunists never sleep.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live (eating my words on a regular basis).
Copyright 2009 Melinda L. Wentzel