The worst part about growing older is realising that those character flaws I had at six are permanent. Recently some people happened to suggest that perhaps I've been, ahem, difficult, because I've had difficult times since my father died. While there is absolutely nothing good to be said for losing one's father young, the types of things people complain about me for now are exactly the same things that showed up on my kindergarten report card.
This has caused me to dwell on the many character flaws that I have never overcome. It's easy to assume that when the child arrives one is going to become a responsible, functional person, but it doesn't work that way. Here's a partial list:
- I still stay up too late. I trust the time stamp on this entry makes that obvious.
- I'm still bad with paperwork and appointments.
- I couldn't find a clean pair of pantyhose the other day, despite the fact that I wear the same type of hose every day and have 15 pairs (Old Navy black tights).
- I go out with a scarf over my hair all the time rather than wear a sheitel as a mature Orthodox Jewess would do.
- I buy useful educational books that should teach me things, such as how to teach my child to be less of a basket case, and spend months crawling through them one chapter at a time, even though I am a fast reader and digest collections of political or social essays over night. I just shrink from reading that could teach me anything useful.
- I hate using the telephone.
- I have absolutely no will to enforce standards with anyone else, including my husband, and so I have the only three-year-old in town who's seen all of the Jurassic Park movies.
- I listen to ridiculous music with bad politics and then teach it to the children, who become the only Jewish children in the world familiar with, say, Green Grow the Rushes O. Although they sing it as Green Grow the Russians O. I don't know why my daughter can learn a rather esoteric song such as this, but can't for the life of her remember that "au" and "aw" are ways of writing the same sound. Maybe I just do it for the pleasure of seeing her remember something.
- I still don't engage the brain-to-mouth filter. I'm kind of like the opposite of what you want someone to be when that person is running for president.
Rather than alleviating these difficulties and turning me, basically, into my own mother (who was very organised and read lots of useful books as well as several intellectual magazines), children are making me worse. Now I never sleep properly. I have more things I ought to be reading books about and less time to read them. I have phone calls and paperwork and appointments for four people instead of one.
Two weeks ago, I lost my wallet. Twice. In one week. The first time I dropped it on the street. The second time I left it in my mother's car when I dropped her car off for repairs. Both times it was returned to me with the twenty dollars and change still in there. This is a city of two million people, and the nice fellow at the pet store acted as if he really had nothing better to do on his way home than to deliver my wallet.
I had thought that it was my husband coming home and allowed my preschool aged son to answer the door in nothing but Spiderman underpants.
This is why homeschooling is ideal. If you homeschool, no one cares that you wore your pajamas all day. No one cares if you don't get out of bed until nine a.m. No one cares that you couldn't find your baby's boots all week and put him instead in the pink fuzzy ones his sister had worn.
Well actually, my husband cares about that last one. He'd rather I not put the baby in fuzzy pink pompomed boots. But I haven't exactly seen him deciding to spend his night tearing apart the house in search of the other gender neutral one, either.