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wednesday, april 4, 2001
the quirks

i have 4 kids i love dearly. they are "oh my god she's a teenager!", "obliviously deaf", "climbing the walls", and "chatterbox".

now, just because i have noted something specific to each child doesn't mean the others don't have the same traits. specifically, "oblivious" is also a chatterbox. she and her younger sister talk nonstop and at the drop of a hat. they don't even bother to wait and see if another conversation is going on when they enter a room, they just walk in talking at you (at being the operative word). they don't wait to see if you are available for conversation or even try to make sure they have your attention. they just launch into speech the minute they are near you. their speech centers must have automatic people detectors because they do this to everyone as far as i know. and it is incessant. i sometimes think they are literally physically incapable of stopping. i have gone to the grocery store with one (or, if i am really into torture, both of them) and shopped to a constant deluge of chatter about anything and everything, related or not. on more than one occasion i have tried to get them to be quiet for just 5 minutes. impossible. they don't even make 2 before something is orange like some other completely unrelated thing and they have to talk about that other thing, which leads into a speech about a kid that was in that other thing and from there about something that that kid's mother let her do and then on to the tv show that has less relation to the conversation than anything else mentioned so far and did i know that her teacher lives up in the mountains? really i try to get into the deluge of words somewhere if only to get another 2 minutes of peace and quiet.

all the kids are pretty deaf at the moment it seems. for the teen, this is expected. what kid wants to hear, "time to do the dishes"? but the younger two are NOT at that age and are picking up the deaf routine from the older two. (yes, it is contagious, at least among the children and the occasional smarta$$ adult). they hear you, but say "huh" out of habit or in the mistaken belief it can be substituted for whatever other answer would actually indicate they heard you. "oblivious" seems more deaf than the others so it is tacked into her name. i must say it is totally entertaining when we don't even open our mouths and some child comes downstairs and looks at as and says, "what?" they always seem astonished that we didn't actually call them. then there's the times when we call for one and the other shows up when their real names are literally nothing alike. i know teenage deafness is actually closer to selective hearing, but that is more like replacement hearing there!

anyway, "oh my god she's a teenager!" should be pretty self-explanatory. and if it isn't, i won't delusion you or have you fearing being a parent by going into too much detail. but a pmsing teen is a truly frightening thing. moving out has been a frequent topic of conversation with both adults in this house (although, only among ourselves and threatening to leave all the kids with the other adult if we did). and "bouncing off the walls" is pretty self-explanatory as well. and if it's not, he has his own blog for you to discover.

yesterday i had the joy of being with "obliviously deaf" and see her obliviousness in action. i had to go up and pick up a book for a class that was up at a particular print shop. she wanted to go and i agreed as long as she could pay her bus fare. she could so off we went together. i honestly don't get to spend much time with this kid. she's busier than me sometimes. so i figured it would be a good mother-daughter time for us. i must add that being oblivious is a really bad thing for this particular child as she is also the clumsiest thing in the house. no one else trips over more upside down invisible turtles than her. part of the problem is that her toes turn in and she shuffles her feet a lot. and this kid plays soccer. go figure. today i got to see how bad it really is.

if she was driving, you'd swear she was drunk, on a cell phone and doing her make up all at the same time.

she weaves. she tried to cross the street through a red light and the red "stop" hand. she tripped. she stepped on my foot. she's just behind me and i turned right and she kept going straight. she couldn't find the pay phone right in front of her.

and yes, she was talking the whole time.

someone please tell me she will grow out of this? please? if she doesn't, i worry about this kid's future survival. how do you parent a child like this? i don't mean that in a "isn't she horrible" sort of way. i mean it is a "come on help i'm drowning and my kid's entire future survival is at stake here" sort of way. I won't let her get a license. she's bad enough on foot, in a car she'd be deadly. i pray for future dance partners everywhere. and maybe i better warn them to wear steal toed shoes or something. i love her dearly, like all my kids. really i do. but maaan, how am i going to help her with this?

and yes, as with anything parenting related is for any parent, my entire parenting confidence and reputation is completely at the mercy of this one "issue". if i can't "fix" it, i am a failure as a parent. after all, our kids come down to that one little thing you never fixed - and probably couldn't have even if you had all the right answers from the get go. and like any other parent with a puzzle built so deeply within my child that it is beyond my comprehension (seriously, how could she NOT see a big, metal pay phone that was right in front of her?), all i can do is just love her anyway.

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