Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Unpleasant Feeling

Brace yourselves.

Sometimes we come up with these ideas. Some of them awful (like that Welsh-nationalist, meat flavoured soda drink I invented called Lambonade). Some of them amazing (like that script you wrote for Speed Re-Ignited: Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are trapped on a horse. If it slows down below 55 miles per hour it will explode). But all in all life teaches you which things you do are good and bad. Or more importantly - acceptable. What fits into the norm. Not just being conformist. But which things you do don't have other people in your lives wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Which is why I'm openly broadcasting that my daughter - my little angel - likes to hover over the toilet.

I'm not suggesting she's a witch. Or that she's trying to reenact that scene from Back To the Future 3 where Michael J. Fox glides a hoverboard over the pond. Although it would tie in nicely to the fact when I ask what she's eaten that week it often sounds like the crap Doc Brown fueled the Delorean with. Nope - she's just started this weird, inexplicable habit. She still does all the other things correctly that parents bellow at their kids after they've been in there. And when I do ask if she's washed her hands (and trust me - I will those times when I know she hasn't) she doesn't grumble or see it as inconvenient. She just goes and washes them - delighted that she gets to choose between two different hand soaps that I had the kids pick out.

But this insistence she has of not actually making contact with the toilet seat is irritating me. I've asked her why. And I've made a loud, grandiose, public display of scrubbing the toilet till you could eat off it. Actually quite how Clorox haven't made a commercial where this happens is beyond me. Imagine the tie-in, crockery they could sell. "When I'm finished eating my chicken mole poblano off my toilet plates I just pull the flush handle and they clean themselves!!" But she's made it clear it has nothing to do with that. She just doesn't like sitting down now, apparently. And I want to clarify - I'm not just referring to urinating either. It's a horrifying sight. Like a weird new Zumba innovation that absolutely no one needs to be copying. Which is partly why it's irritating me so much. The toilet isn't a place for fun or creativity. It's a place where the only things that should be happening are efficiency and shame. I'm annoyed enough that the people who came up with how modern bathrooms are laid out thought it made sense to have a place for squeezing out monkey fudge right next to where you clean your teeth. I mean seriously - all those poo fumes. It doesn't bear thinking about. All that pride I had in toilet training my kids at an absurdly young age is being squashed with her new, evolutionary shitting style.

NO. I don't even want to know what those "dips" are..
That's not the only weird habit she's adopted either. This past month I've caught her deliberately not wearing underwear. Again she tells me she just doesn't like it. It's too hot. I can understand that. I've spent the last seven months sweating out of places I didn't even know sweated. But it's a difficult story to buy when she chooses not to bother with knickers - but then throws on a pair of corduroy trousers and a long sleeve shirt. Again - not that big a deal. I know people who don't wear underwear sometimes (and no - I'm not referring to my "friends" on Pornhub). And I quite like them. A lot.

But my daughter has the habit of bursting through my front door, stripping everything off and sprawling out on my couch. And this is where every parent will get that shudder of recognition. Because there is very little as disturbing as those unexpected moments when you find your kids splayed out in odd places with their genitals on display. It's horrifying. It's bad enough having to deal with the grotesque, knotted,  pink-twiglet nature of a little boy's spam javelin. But when you walk from your kitchen into the living room to hand your child a glass of water you don't expect to be assaulted with what looks like the alien's mouth in Predator. That moment of surprise brings forth a unique noise. It's one that is the perfect mix of shock, revulsion and disturbance. It's the perfect sound that encapsulates the feeling of the phrase, "oh for fuck sake....again?!"

I can tell from the flagrant way she's breaking Rule Number 56 (No Naked Arses On My Furniture Unless You Are The Specific Person On My Very Short List Of One) that she's forgotten that she hasn't got any on. After all - her brother is also striding about in the same fashion. But he's clearly absurdly proud of his underpants. You can tell by the fact that he expends quite a bit of energy strolling about the house in just them. Smug look on his face. Wandering past your eye line repeatedly until you acknowledge him. Partly because he thinks it's hilarious that he's breaking a taboo. But also because he really likes his knickers. It's startling how he and his sister are the complete opposites on this. And when you do acknowledge him he will often burst into a ridiculously satisfied dance. And in case you needed reminding - the boy can't dance.

Lastly - a pet peeve we all encounter. Every parent has been to an event at their child's school and watched their child perform something. A play or a Christmas carol thing. It's usually a collection of holiday songs of some type. The teacher will line the kids up and hope beyond hope that they all at least remember to follow her lead. For reasons I can't quite fathom I cannot ever ascertain what song is being sung. The half-shouted/half-sung monotone - sung seemingly entirely in vowels - all melds into a mess of white noise to me. And lined up a few feet in front of the kids are proud parents holding their camera phones. Some are clearly doing that thing where they've zoomed in to just their child - removing the context and point of the entire performance. The actual accomplishment of the teacher and class to all do it together.

The performance itself isn't meant to be amazing. It's not meant to be a line of thirty Shirley Temples absolutely nailing a song. And even though I can't usually tell what song is being sung - it's certainly not a painful experience. And like most parents watching their child on that stage all I can think at such a time is, "for God sake just don't pick your nose for the entire thing."

My daughter can get almost her entire index finger up her nose. It's up there so often that I tease her that her nostril is her favorite ring to wear. When I catch her I usually ask, "did you find it?" She's gone from giving me a playful smirk in response to now genuinely getting upset that I'm ruining one of her favorite hobbies. I'll hand her a tissue and give her a smile as if to say that it's a good job I was around or goodness only knows what she would have done. And I'll stress that she isn't being horrifyingly grotesque and wiping it all over the place. And thank Stephen Fry Himself that she isn't remotely interested in eating it. But she has taken this bad habit to entirely new level too by deliberately collecting whatever green monstrosity she finds and then rolling it around in her fingers. Not just with some odd sense of satisfaction, but also with pride. And after she has rolled her own snot into a perfect sphere and then put it back up her nose. Like a bizarre hamster storing it's food in it's cheeks (insert Richard Gere joke here). Except it isn't food. Or cheeks. Or a hamster. Frankly that analogy suddenly just seems like a pathetic attempt at slipping in a Richard Gere joke...

Ferrero have refused to show the inside of a Nutella factory - until now...
Of course I don't have any weird habits like this. All of my ideas and behaviors are remarkably ordinary. Straight as an arrow, me (stop laughing). Now if you don't mind. I have to go manscape my chest hair and see if I can fill my Camelbak water backpack with peach margarita mix.

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