Every so often I look at my children in wonder. Not “wonder” in the sense that I’m awed at how magestic it is to have created such vibrant beings. People who enrich my life every moment we grow together. No. It’s much more in the “Is it possible that my kids were switched at birth??? Did someone swap them with contrarian, soul sucking goblins, bent on making me second guess all that I love??” sense. They seem to harbor an innate ability to identify things that are wonderful. Things that bring joy to anyone lucky enough to experience them, and instantly decide that it’s the worst thing in the entirety of the Universe. How can they hate so much about this world that is so very very spectacular.
The nightly skirmish. For a long time the very mention of a shower put my kids in DEFCON 1. Finally, after years of battles without a single victory, my children have been worn down. No longer do they throw the full weight of their armies into the all too familiar “Waterloo” ending of their days. We don’t outright fight about whether or not a shower is happening anymore. That fight has turned into nightly negotiations on what parts of the body need to actually be cleaned.
“Can I not wash my hair? Only my feet are dirty, I’ll give them a bath. What if I wash my elbows, not my forearms? I’ll concede the neck and calves, assuming I don’t have to wet my eyebrows.”
What the shit is this???? Why, after a day of school, running through playgrounds, tumbling through bushes and sweating and being sticky and fortifying themselves with layers of grime and horribleness, would they want to sleep in it??? It’s like they’ve worked so hard to ensconce themselves within this shell of disgust, that a shower is the stripping away of all they have accomplished in the day. Showers should feel glorious. Feeling clean is heavenly… and they hate it. They hate it so much. That is, until the shower ends. Then they refuse to get out of it, and a whole new fight ensues.
Imagine this scenario. You’re running around shopping for the family, or maybe you’re on a job site straining in the sun, or perhaps you’re busy filling out your TPS Reports before the Lumberghs of the office chastise you with passive aggressive sniping. Suddenly, your manager enters and DEMANDS that you lie down and take a nap. It’s not even a suggestion. They point you in the direction of your own bed! Cozy. Warm. Inviting. A Nirvana of peacefulness. You’re given a glass of water and a fan is set up to offer you a gentle breeze as you take your lovely siesta…… And as you contemplate the magic of this moment you………… FREAK THE FUCK OUT ABOUT IT !!!!!! You kick and scream and literally run away from this oasis of slumber. You thrash and spit as if you are being unjustly led to the gallows. Finally, your manager has to physically drag you into the bed because you’ve employed your final tactic of corpse-like flaccidity before spending the next 45 minutes crying into your pillow about this injustice.
These are my children. Spurners of naps. Rejectors of rest. Utter psychopaths.
We are lucky enough to live in a time and place where the cuisine of the world is at our fingertips. Never before in history has access to unique produce, exotic spices and instruction for preparation been easier. Our melting pot of a nation affords us access to dishes from far reaches of the globe, prepared for us at restaurants right next to the local Starbucks.
But, God Forbid I try to introduce any of it to my children. Holy hell, what a battle that can become. With one silent grimace at the idea of something new, or even something old prepared in a different way, I know that I will have already lost them. The world at our fingertips….and a steady diet of ravioli, carrots, pizza and peanut butter and jelly.
I can understand if I were trying to get them to eat something super spicy. “Hey kids, let’s try these Ghost Chili-Chorizo Empanadas, swimming in Wasabi!” I obviously wouldn’t ask them to venture down that path just yet (but I’m so OK with exploiting that fear as I chronicle here). Rather, I’m talking about turning down Lasagna because it doesn’t look the way pasta should look to them. Forget about the fact that every ingredient is something they love and eat enthusiastically in other forms. Why bring logic to an argument like this? They see it the way it is. They decide they don’t like it. And they stick to their guns as I plead with them to “Just try it??!!! PLEASE????” I guess I should just admire their commitment to preposterous disdain. They do it well.
I know that eventually they will reach the same conclusions that most of the world has. That naps, cleanliness and broad food options are good things. They are things that make days utterly splendid! They improve mental states, advance appreciations for the unexpected and ensure that you’re not the stinky kid in class (if your class didn’t have one, it was you.) I guess I’ll just have to be awed by them. I’ll continue to sit in wonder as they battle relentlessly against all of the things I love.