One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from me was a love of reading. This can be good, but also has a bad side. We get addicted to books. We wallow in them. As a result, we both have the horrible habit of reading during meals. Since my husband is not a big reader, and it seems a bit rude to completely ignore him the few times a week he is able to join us for a meal, I established the “3-Person Rule.” When there are 3 or more people at the table, no one can be reading.
According to my daughter, this is the equivalent of being banished to Guantanomo. At least 3 times a week, it’s only the two of us at the table because I have to feed her before one of her extra-curricular events and my husband is not home, yet. So, she is happy. And I am happy. Because the book takes her mind off my bad cooking. And I get to read, too.
But when we have “family dinners”, she reads until I, the last one, finally sit down at the table, then glares at me, sighs dramatically, and pushes the book to the side.
That’s when it gets fun.
One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from my husband was an aversion to small talk.
So, we sit in silence, the three of us, until my daughter says to me, “Don’t you have any stories to tell?” Not because she wants to hear them, but because she is bored. And she refuses to reveal anything about her personal life. And my husband just doesn’t really want to talk. So, it’s all on me – the woman forcing my family to socialize with each other.
And then I rack my brain for a story that I haven’t told a million times that’s appropriate to talk about at the dinner table.
My supply is being quickly depleted.
Today, I couldn’t think of anything. But, right when I ate my last bite (being a teacher who usually has 20 min. to eat, I’m always the first to finish), I remembered something. I regaled them with a true story from a book that I was reading. It involved someone who had been treated terribly as a child by his parents. Not exactly great table talk. But it was all I had.
“So, you see? You are so fortunate to have great parents like us!” I observed.
Without missing a beat, Dimples looked pointedly at my empty plate and said, in her best exasperated tone, “Who won’t leave the table even though they are done eating!”
Ah, the mistreatment that poor child has to endure.
Twenty years from now, she will show up for an appointment with some unsuspecting therapist who will be subjected to an hour of unrelenting anguished tales about the parents who abused her by forcing her to put down her book at the dinner table.
Oh, wait a second. No he won’t.
Because she’ll be too busy reading a book.
When I was a kid, I got an allowance. I was allowed to spend it on anything I wanted. I usually chose to spend it on candy. My idea of luxury was buying a giant chocolate bar on which I would gnaw while I sprawled out on my bed and read a Nancy Drew book.
When we went to the lake during the summer, I went to the snack bar every 15 minutes to get a cream soda or a candy necklace.
It wasn’t until I was a Junior in High School that my mother and step-dad informed me they would not be paying for college. Too late to get back all of the money I’d blown for 8 years on Hershey bars.
When I grew up, I continued wise spending and eating habits by rewarding myself with yummy food for every success and every failure that effected my daily life.
Thus, an eating disorder was born.
Our daughter, Dimples, gets an allowance, too. And she is allowed to spend it how she wants. (minus the 1/3 for charity and 1/3 for savings) Basically, she spends it on whatever she wants that we won’t buy her. I kind of worried that she would spend it foolishly like I did, but she has does not seem interested in spending her hard-earned money on empty calories.
Whether her addiction is as foolish as mine, I will let you be the judge. It seems that, lately, my nine-year-old has developed, like me, an appreciation for sweets. However, she prefers to use a different sense with which to savor them – her sense of smell. Thus, her picture of a perfect day is not complete without a trip to Bath and Body Works.
The kid is obsessed with every product that store sells. She surfs their website, looking for new scents, exclaims over each individual item every time we enter the story, and showed more emotion when I gave her a Bath and Body Works gift box for Christmas than she showed for the rest of her presents combined.
Have you seen the Kristin Bell video from Ellen showing when her husband surprised her with a rented sloth (complete with habitat) for her birthday? That’s nearly the reaction Dimples had when she got a Bath and Body works gift card from one of her friends (Perfect Friend) for Christmas.
She even has a designated cubby for her alarmingly growing collection of hand-sanitizers, room fresheners, and shower gels.
Obviously, this is better than my wasted dollars on edible treats. But I still feel like this can’t have good long-term results. Instead of an eating disorder, will she develop a smelling one? Does she need to visit a therapist to determine the underlying cause of her cravings for Caribbean Escape anti-bacterial soap and Sweet Pea fragrance mist?
Strangely, this dependency began after we acquired our dear Noxious Fume Passer, Wonderbutt, her sometimes not so favorite canine sibling- but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence…