We say it all the time, “my kid’s 6 going on 16” or as I like to say, “She was born a 7th grader,” but how do you reconcile the lag in actual and perceived age?
Not unlike my hubby, my kids are stuck somewhere between adulthood and infancy? My daughter, like most little girls now a days, embodies this dilemma a bit too well.
On some level, my daughter’s ready for a day at the Galleria with the girls, while at the same time she maintains a sweet innocence that’s more fitting of her numerical age. It’s the conversations during our imaginary play that truly highlight this incongruity…
They also makes me laugh so hard that I pee.
Sorry, I was beginning to sound too astute, I mean knowingish for my liking. (That should fix it.)
She gets the flow of small talk – the cadence, the structure, the usual phrasing, which takes our play to a whole other level.
Yesterday she asked to braid my hair.
Ryan: “Sit down ma’am.”
Ryan: “So, how’s things?”
Me: “Pretty good, you?”
Ryan: “I can’t complain… Been watching a lot of the sports channel these days?” (a questions directly influenced by the males in my household.)
Me: “Nope, not so much sports these days.”
Ryan: “How about that weather, huh?”
Me: “Yep, it’s crazy stuff.”
The chit chat went on for a while. Luckily, I found it more enjoyable then I do when I’m forced to have it with people I didn’t birth from my womb.
(Which, by the way, is most people. I thought I’d clarify that point.)
We went on to switch our make-believe scenario to a school situation. Our imaginary play is like a game of Monopoly with stockbrokers or investment bankers, melodramatic, high stakes, and never ending.
The characters and situations in our games change, but it’s constantly being played: while I cook, nap, shower, pee. (Did anyone read the Night Circus?)
Ryan (who is always the boss in make believe world… as well as actual world, come to think of it): “Let’s pretend you passed me a note in class and I was really popular and everyone liked me and you were shy and kinda weird looking, but I was going to be nice to you anyway, because I’m always nice.”
Me: “Don’t do me any favors, kid. I mean, how kind of you, no wonder you’re so popular.” Just like in the real world.
Ryan: “OK, now let’s say you passed me a note and I answered all the questions correctly. Like anything with math or spelling, you know?”
Me: “Well, when people send notes they aren’t usually asking academic questions. They’re saying stuff like, ‘Do you like Billy?’ or ‘Are you going to Jessica’s party Friday night?’ You know, more personal stuff.”
Ryan: “OK OK, (exasperated, as if my explanation droned on for hours) I’ll make up the questions you are going to ask in the note and then I’ll tell you what I’m answering, as the person I’m being.”
Ryan: “So you understand how it works, right mom?
Me: “I got it.” Clearly she thinks I’m a bit slow.
Ryan: “Explain it to me?”
Me: Sheesh, no one takes you on your word anymore. “OK Ryan, you’re going to tell me the question I supposedly wrote on our pretend note and then you’re going to also answer that question how you would answer it.”
Ryan: “Good, now, Are you a vegetarian? (pause to answer her own question) Yes. Do you like hot dogs? (pausing again) No.”
Me: “Well, that was a really long pause for a vegetarian.”
Ryan: “Moooooooooaaaaaam, stop, I’m still going! Are you Jewish? Yes. Do you like ham? No.”
Me: “ Wait a sec, can we go back a couple? Wow, that religion question sandwiched in there between the deli meats caught me a bit off guard. Did you ask for a reason?”
Ryan: “I don’t know. These are your questions, remember? Ughhh, I knew you didn’t get it.”
Me: “OK, I forgot.” Apparently, I go around asking people if they’re Jewish or maybe I wanted to see if she keeps kosher.
Ryan: “K. Do you like presents? Yes.”
Me: “Are we done?”
Ryan: “No, one more. Ummmmmm… Do you like rainbows? Yes.
OK, I’m done. Now you be the person who wrote the note and react to my answers.”
Me: “Wow, Ryan. We reall…”
Ryan: “Pause game. My name in the game is Ali. Sheesh.”
Don’t you just love when kids try to pause non-video games?
Me: “Sorry, I’m on it, Ryan.”
Ryan: “OK, go on.”
Me: “Wow, Ali, I see we have a lot in common.
Me: “Well, you like presents and I also like presents.
Ryan: “You do?”
Me: “Yep, and we’re both Jewish, so of course there’s the similarities in our religious, not to mention, social upbringing.”
Ryan: “Uh-huh, there’s that”
Me: “Yep, and you know what else I like? Rainbows, except I really like unicorns.”
Ryan: “OMG, me too.”
Me: “What are the odds? Two Jewish girls who don’t eat pork and like presents, rainbows and unicorns?
Ryan: “That’s crazy, huh?”
This is what happens when you’re 7 years old with the attitude 7th grader, conversations are a cross between Clueless and My Little Pony.