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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Because Alpha is currently enrolled in Psych 101

Shoot, Junie, I can't FIND the Chicken Post but here's another one that you seemed fond of.....

In our living room we have an end table with a drawer. The drawer is useful for storing those odd little living room things like coasters and pens and batteries and paperclips and postcards that are too pretty to throw and, of course, maps of every national park in the western U.S. because you never know when you may get the urge to plan a camping trip to torture the teenagers.

It’s a pretty full drawer but it wasn’t always that way. In simpler times, when we owned barely one child, it was mostly empty.

When Alpha was a bit shy of age 2 (I’m guessing here because I am, after all, the non-documenting parent) she had a relationship with that drawer that will stick with me long after dementia has erased the memory of breakfast.

Alpha used to put things in that drawer and close it and then open it to see if the item was still there and when she saw that it was she would be SO surprised and take the item out, look at it and put it back in. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over. I vaguely remember some child development axiom that says this is an important step in learning that things which are out of sight, do not actually disappear for good. Whatever, Dr. Spock. I don’t know nothing about no child development but I do recognize something that will keep a kid entertained for hours.

Harmless fun. Until……

The child decides to put her hand in the drawer. And close it. Well, if it works with the little Weeble toy, it oughta work with your hand, right? Um, no. This becomes evidenced by the primal screams that send the cat right up the drapes. So, open drawer, remove hand. Close drawer. Wait for pain to subside. Open drawer. Insert hand. Close drawer – not so hard this time because a little something was learned last time. Scream. Open drawer, remove hand. Look at hand. Put back in drawer. Close drawer. More gently this time because that may be the key. Cry in frustration. Stamp foot. Remove hand. Test again with the Weeble…..which works fine so….again.. with.. the.. other.. hand….

You probably wonder where I was in all this. Obviously nearby since I seem to know exactly what happened. Yes, indeed, I stood there watching the whole thing. Part disbelief and part intense curiosity – the very same things that make you unable to turn away from a bad car wreck!

I will admit our loud that very small people frighten me. I have no memory of being that age so I have nothing to draw on. Sure I could read books and stuff but who has time for that – unless you don’t have any kids and then what would be the point? I worked full-time and my children were victims of daycare. "OH NO," you say "surely they are headed for rot and ruin." Um, so far so good. I think it was the best thing for them. Not because of anything those studies tell you about daycare but because they had teachers that were SO much more competent than their mother in the child development area (we won't even go into their father who thought everything should be done like his parents did it - thith ith ne hoding ny tongue on thath).

But really, daycare is amazing. You hand over your whole monthly paycheck to these people and they tell you precisely what to worry about and what is normal. It's like a daily visit with the pediatrician. Jeez, they even potty train the kid for you and that would be worth all the rest of my money if I had any when I was done paying for daycare.

But I digress. So there I was watching the whole hand-slamming episode and part of me was thinking “I should take notes so Ms. Bonnie (who is a grandmother) can tell me if all this is normal” and the other part of me was thinking “this is like physics lab for toddlers”. Real hands-on learning, if you will.

Besides, she never once asked for my input and she does still own two fully functional hands leading me to think the lesson was eventually learned... without my help.

So you’re probably wondering "Jane, what does this have to do with anything in the here and now, 15 years later?" I was, too, for a minute but then I remembered where I was headed with this.

I have a drawer of my own. It’s called Wal*mart. As Omega and I left that store last night – without the photos that were ordered 9 days ago but weren’t available as promised, and without all the other things that we had picked out but, instead left at an empty checkout because there were precisely 2 checkouts open and no less than 10 people in each line, I thought about that drawer. I am certainly not condemning all Wal*marts and maybe not even the one in my neighborhood. Maybe I just have hideously bad luck. What I question is why I keep going back to a place that consistently gets me so riled! It really is ‘always something’ and still I GO BACK. I keep slamming my hand in the Wal*mart drawer.

I need to put a big sign on the dash of my car that says “Jane, you Stupid-head, stay away from Wal*mart!

Otherwise, I’m pretty sure my daughters are going to be taking notes so they can ask their Psychology teachers what to worry about and what is normal because there is no daycare for parents that are still employed and own the house you live in.

So, do you have a drawer of your own? Something you punish yourself with over and over even though you SHOULD know better? Tell me what it is. I’d love to hear anything that will make you look just as masochistic as me.

18 comments:

Lisa said...

Yes we have that draw!!! and we have that K-Mart too !!!!!
great writing- a perfect way to down the morning brew x

Angie Ledbetter said...

LOL. Chip off the ol' block, eh? I have too many drawers to disclose in public. :)

Comedy Goddess said...

Jeeze my house is that drawer.

Becca said...

That is me, my husband says that I do not have a drawer that I do not like to hide things in, or stuff things in when company is here. Yes I am guilty as charged!

Jeankfl said...

I keep going back to a former SIL's house, thinking things will be different.. slamming my hand in the drawer!! You're not alone! And I've seen quite a few kids do that.. and I was one of them.lol I still do stuff like that! How stupid does that make me??

Shanna said...

This started out as such a sweet post about how cute little Alpha was and I was waiting for some worldly symbolism that had to do with the drawer. LOL then we went to Walyworld and my hazy sugar coated view of your world was tainted! You know I have to love The W ... but you're right. I think they pipe drugs through their ventalation to keep us coming back.

Laoch of Chicago said...

The reason you keep going back is the Walmart mind control ray, obviously.

lizspin said...

That - Jane - was a perfect post!

And my drawer??? Perhaps thinking that I can talk to my husband about life issues without walking away mad at him?????

Suldog said...

GREAT post.

I have a lot of drawers, really. One of them used to be the Boston Red Sox, but then they went and won it all in 2004, thus reinforcing my bad behavior :-)

Debbie said...

Something about this post has made it one of my all time favorites. You are such a great writer! And I am sure I have a drawer or two of my own but I prefer to not think about those things. I'm sure you understand.

binks said...

Can I pick work? Makes me want to slam my hand in drawers or maybe go postal every single day. And no, I don't work at the post office.

Noanie said...

My drawer is dating - it's often a less than enjoyable experience and yet I keep going out with the bozos!
Peace

Gina (Mannyed) said...

The Gym is my draw. Dammit.

Guinevere said...

I have only been to Wal*Mart 3 times in the last 2 years!!! Yay me! And the only reason I went those 3 times was because the one thing I needed, that store was the only place I could find it. I will eliminate all of my other options before I go back in that place...precisely for the reasons you list.

You can break this addiction...one day at a time, girl. One day at a time. ;o)

Great post!

thesleepdeprivedmomma said...

I remember this one!! I think I'll bypass an answer to the question for now though.

Soxy Deb said...

Firstly Dr Spock is an idiot. I defy him to prove to me that if I put socks in the dryer and shut the door that they wont disappear. The liar. They ALWAYS disappear.
I think somewhere the definition of insanity is described as performing an act over and over again expecting a different result. Stay away from Walmart or the men in the white coats may be coming for a visit. Then again, maybe the peace and quiet would do you some good.
I honestly had the same problem with walmart - it was always 'something". But I just gave up and stopped going. Cold turkey. It wasn't even hard once I got to that point where I knew I would shoot up the place with a semi-automatic weapon if just ONE.MORE.THING.WENT.WRONG. A glass of wine and a valium later, I vowed never to darken there doorway again. So there Walmart!!! I'll bet they miss my money too!

konnie said...

I second your opinion on this matter. Personally I have a child that suffers from ADD, and this aspect of child development has left me puzzled on the options that I can take up. Sometimes I am just at my wit's end.

big dog mom pam said...

For years, my drawer was Hubby's ex-wife. Then the kids turned 18 and I didn't have to deal with her as much. Now my drawer is the local K*Mart. OMG Every single time it is a disaster and I still go there. But now only in an emergency and I can't get to Wal*Mart.