It’s not even 9:00 in the morning and I have a headache. And I know it’s going to get worse. No, I didn’t sit in traffic or pump out a flooded basement last night like many of my neighbors did. My pain is being caused by an internal source…my child and her relentless questions and snooping. I swear to God I’m going to make uttering the words what and why punishable offenses in our household.
Yes, yes, children ask questions to learn and blah, blah, blah. I get that. When they’re three. We finished the whole, why is the sky blue, what do they put in play doh to make it taste so good and why do I have to wear pants to Shop Rite stage years ago. When they’re nearly nine and questioning everything, they’re either, A. Peppering me with questions to annoy me and break me down for their own evil purposes or B. Being a busybody. I’m pretty sure my daughter’s strategy is a combination of both.
Case in point: I’m currently working on a project for my mother that includes scanning a buttload of old pictures and downloading it to the computer to put on a DVD. It involves a lot of cursing, alcoholic beverages and carpal tunnel syndrome. So the other night, I’m trying to organize the pictures in some sort of chronological order when I feel warm breath on my shoulder. I know it’s not the dog because then I’d be feeling drool on my leg. And it’s too tall to be my husband. The hairs raise on my arm because I know it can only be one person…The Queen of Q&A. My neck tenses, bracing for the inevitable interrogation.
“Whatcha doin’?” she asks as she leans on the chair armrest, jostling my arm. I’ve now put a picture of a cat in with my parents’ wedding pictures.
I resist the urge to give her a snarky response such as “Tap dancing” and grit my teeth as I reply, “Organizing the pictures.”
“Why?” she asks, spinning me in the chair. Now there’s a baby picture of my brother upside down.
“Because Nana wants these pictures on the DVD for her anniversary,” I explain, planting my feet on the ground and correcting the photo goof.
“Why doesn’t she do it?”
Well, probably because my dear sweet mother is completely technologically challenged. She’s sent me 429 pictures to put on this DVD and 421 of them have been upside down or had a flash of light over someone’s face. I explain that to my child. She points to the cat.
“The cat’s in the wrong place,” she tells me, a little smugly I might add.
“I know,” I growl. “Don’t you have homework to do?”
“Did it!” she calls out in a sing song voice, just as my cell phone buzzes. She grabs it before I do, despite the fact that I have admonished her numerous times for reading my texts.
“Give me that! Don’t touch my phone!” I snap just as she asks, “Why is Daddy asking you if you want to get dirty and take a shower?”
Turning red, I snatch the phone away. “Could you please just mind your business for five minutes?”
“But you already took a shower. And if you take another one, you won’t be dirty…” She is obviously perplexed and I am certainly NOT explaining the literal meaning to her.
“Can you just go away?” I beg, my head pounding with frustration. I have been at this for nearly an hour and have been interrupted ten times already.
She stomps off. I go back to picture hell. She returns.
“Can I have ice cream?”
“Whatever,” I reply, just to get her out of my hair, just as she planned. See? Evil genius.
She skips into the kitchen and comes back with a bowl of ice cream. “What does den 4p mean?”
Confused, I look up at her. “What?”
“On the calendar, you wrote, Den 4p and you wrote it in Daddy’s color. What does it mean?”
I wrack my brain. I can’t remember…oh yes. “Um, he has to go to the dentist at 4:00 that day.”
“Um, cuz, he needs his teeth cleaned.” Duh.
“I need my teeth cleaned,” she informs me as she shovels spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream in her mouth.
“I know.” I try to return to the pictures.
“Why didn’t you make me an appointment?” Her bottom lip is quivering. “You don’t love me…”
“I will make you an appointment tomorrow,” I inform her.
“I don’t KNOW! I don’t know when they have an opening! Can you just…” I can’t even finish the sentence. She storms off again.
I get about two and half minutes of work done and she returns.
“What does GYN mean?”
I sigh heavily. There are no secrets in this house.”I don’t know.”
“It’s in your color. How do you not know?” When I decided to color code the calendar, it was to help ME organize everyone’s schedules. Apparently it simply makes it easier for Daughter Detective to snoop into everyone’s business.
“I have to go to the gym,” I lie.
“You spelled gym wrong,” she remarks.
“I know.” I return to the pictures. She leaves and returns a minute later.
“I fixed it,” she informs me.
“Thanks,” I reply while making a mental note to change it back after she goes to bed or I will go to the gym instead of the gynecologist. Because I will not remember this conversation happened in about an hour.
“Can I have gum?”
“I don’t have gum.”
“Yes, you do. I saw it on your grocery list and you told Daddy not to forget the gum and then I saw you put it in your purse after he didn’t forget the gum.”
Ugh. “Fine. Have the gum.”
She leaves. She comes back. With a receipt in her hand. “When did you go to Justice?”
“Huh?” The cat picture is back with my parents’ wedding. I don’t know how it got there. I am now humming “The Cat Came Back”. And it has a double meaning.
She waves the receipt in my face. “You bought an outfit at Justice on…April 16. Who did you buy it for?”
Truth is, I bought it for HER for her birthday but now I guess the cat’s out of THAT bag. “I forgot to give it to you. Didn’t I ask you not to go through my purse?”
“I was getting gum.”
“I’m sure the receipt jumped out and landed in your hand,” I snort sarcastically.
“I was looking for something else.”
I don’t even bother to ask what. “Ok well go…read a book. ” She leaves. “And stay out of my purse!” I call after her.
As I click to enlarge yet another picture my mother has shrunk down to the size of a postage stamp, I hear rustling in the area of my bedroom. I abandon my project to investigate. Sure enough Evil Examiner is riffling through my closet.
“What are you doing???”
“I’m looking for the outfit you forgot to give me,” she tells me while holding up a pair of shoes. “Are these new?”
“Oh my God! Get out of my closet!”
She sulks off. I go back to the computer.
My phone buzzes. The battery is practically dead. I sigh as I haul myself out of the chair and go upstairs to plug it in. The Interrogation Squad is parked in front of the TV. “Whatcha doing?” she asks as I plug the phone in.
“Belly dancing,” I retort as I leave the room. “Don’t touch my phone!”
I return to the computer with a refill of my wine. Soon, I feel warm breath on the top of my head. “What?” I growl. Hubby is standing there.
“Did you get my message?” He winks.
“Just go away,” I tell him. Really? He wonders why I’m grouchy?
“What did I do?”
“I told you she is a world class busybody. She read your text. Can you keep all the texts PG from now on? Hell, you know what…don’t text me.”
“What are you guys talking about?” I jump in the air, unaware that Query Queen had returned.
“None of your business,” I snap. Then I notice, she has my phone. Again.”Why do you have my phone?” I ask wearily.
“You got a message from someone. What does preggo mean?”
I bang my head on the desk and cry.