Immovable Object

Aden’s one of my quirky kids.

I mean, she’s kick-in-the-pants funny, but it has been a total challenge getting her to listen and obey.

And, by total challenge, I mean that I’m the irresistible force and she’s the immovable object.

I also beat my head against a rock every now and then, which feels equally productive.

Aden’s 9 and just got braces put on her teeth.  (Yeah, I thought 9 was too young, too.  Shows what I know.)

I received a call from Aden’s school the other day.

My heart sank when the call came.  My heart always sinks when those calls come.  I have my reasons.

Me:  “Hello?”

Heather:  “Hi, Beth.  This is Heather calling from Aden’s school.”

Insert sinking heart.

Me:  “Hi, Heather.”

Heather:  “Aden’s fine.  Everything’s fine.”

Heather’s a smart lady.  She’s perfected her Talk to Parents Who Are Freakers technique.  I’m at the top of the Parent Freakers list, so I would know.

Heather:  “I’m just calling to let you know that Aden lost her toothbrush out of her pocket.”

Me:  “Ummmm.   Okaaaaaay…”

I had no idea what was going on.  Heather could tell.

Heather:  “Aden said her orthodontist wants her to brush her teeth after every meal.  She’s very distraught that her toothbrush is missing.”

Oh, yeah.  That’s right.

I’m an involved, aware parent.  I knew that.

(I didn’t know that.)

Me, bewildered: “She’s taking her toothbrush to school?”

I tend to give myself away with questions like that.  Whoops.

Heather: “Yes.  And now it’s lost, and she’s sad.  I promised her I’d let you know so you can get her another one tonight.”

Me: “Thanks, Heather.  Is there anything else?  Liiiiike… anything Aden did?  Or said?  Or a person she slugged?  Or a reason for me to talk to the principal?”

Heather:  “Nope.  That’s it.”

Me:  “Oh, thank God!”

Heather and I laughed.  We hung up.

I sat in stunned silence because that was incredible information with thunderous implications.

My kid was listening and obeying.  Dare I say, my immovable object just budged?

I wasn’t prompting her.

Heck, I wasn’t even acknowledging her efforts.

Nevertheless, she was diligently following her orthodontist’s instructions.  All by herself.

That breeze you just felt was my giant rush of relief.

Oh, good news of great joy!

I picked that phone RIGHT BACK UP to report the news to my husband.

His response was immediate.

My husband: “That’s amazing!”

Greg again:  “That’s incredible!”

Aaaand again:  “Do you know what this means?!”

I think I do.  I think I really do.

If this kid can learn to listen and follow instructions and be self-directed, the possibilities are endless!

Someday, our baby girl is going to be a productive member of society.

Someday, she might have social skills!

Someday, she’s going to hold down a job and be kind to her friends and live at peace and in harmony with the world.

I could tell Greg and I were on the same page.  We have that kind of marriage.  Our minds are melded into one cohesive unit.

Greg chimed into my thoughts:  “The orthodontist could tell Aden to wash her hands after every time she goes potty!”

Oh.

Greg again:  “Or maybe the orthodontist could tell her to empty the dishwasher without complaining!”

Um, not exactly where I was headed.

Aaaaand one more time:  “Or he could even tell her to play the Wii without hitting her brother!”

Alrighty.  Maybe I was overthinking the implications a bit.

Maybe I should set my sights back down just a touch.

Maybe I should…

Ha!  Just kidding.

You know me better than that.

There will be no sight-lowering.

I am a mommy.  I am an irresistible force.  And I will keep telling myself this until I believe it.

I may not have Orthodontist Level motivational speaking skills, but I will do what I can, when I can, in every way I can.

Someday my child will hold down a job and be a kind friend and have social skills.  And if that starts with toothbrushing and hand washing and dishwasher emptying, so be it.

I will not tire, and I will not falter.  Well, I will not falter, anyway.  Very often.

Now off I go to bed, for I am a mommy.  I am an irresistable force, and I am exhausted.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
4 comments
  1. In support of the notion that Aden will very likely grow up to be a functioning, and even sympathetic, member of society, I offer the following:

    My family was at your house several weeks ago for dinner. We were on our way out the door right around my 21 month-old’s bedtime; she was totally jacked up on Cai/Cael playtime energy and did not want to leave, so in the process of me putting her coat on her, she bit me – HARD! I yelled, put her down (despite wanting desperately to drop her on her head) and inspected the damage. I had major red teethmarks and the beginnings of bruising. And I was MAD.

    Next thing I know, Aden is beckoning me into the kitchen. I’m trying to patiently explain to her that we need to go home, and that Leigh bit me and I’m upset, but I follow her – she has that affect on people. Next thing I know she’s handing me a ziploc baggie full of ice for my owie. And a paper towel. Um, thanks Aden, that’s exactly what I needed.

    Several weeks later we were over for dinner again and Aden very seriously inquired about the status of my owie. It took me a minute to even remember to what owie she referred – but then I remembered the ice and her sweet ministrations.

    On second thought, she may not just be a sympathetic member of society, she may be an empathetic member of society. She has a an older brother with whom she sometimes plays rough, and 4-year-old twin brothers – this girl’s probably been bitten and knows how it feels. 😉

    1. Yay, yay, yay!
      I know that’s obnoxious, but I just can’t help myself. We just had Aden’s individualized education plan meeting. I LOVE that so many teachers and qualified professionals are helping my kid… they’re dedicated and amazing. I NEED to hear anecdotal evidence that it’s not all for naught.
      So grateful for friends who support my dreams, even when they’re crazy… like the idea that a child can grow up in my house and function well in society someday. 🙂
      B

  2. Good news of great joy, indeed!! Very awesome!

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