“Kids practice every single emotion they’re ever going to use on anybody on you.”
This morning novelist Laura Lippman, author of Sunburn, tweeted, “Daughter got mad at me tonight: ‘I hate you. Everyone hates you. This is why you get bad reviews.’ Me: ‘I got very good reviews this year.’”
I laughed so hard in recognition.
Later, she followed up with, “Here’s the thing: the same kid who (hilariously) insulted me yesterday is the kid today who understood that when Uptown Girl comes on in the drug store, we’re not only staying, we’re strutting.”
This perfectly sums up the the push/pull of it. They love you one minute and the next minute they hate you. Today you’re co-conspirators, tomorrow you’re sworn enemies. And back again. It’s high drama all the time.
I often think of myself as the brick wall they hurl the tennis balls at. (Except the tennis balls are often stuffed with matchstick heads a la The Anarchist Cookbook.)
I remember when they were babies, and I thought to myself, “The only other time you ever get screamed at like this is if you’re murdering someone or somebody’s about to murder you.”
They’re velociraptors, testing your fences for weakness.
Here’s Bill Murray:
If you bite on everything they throw at you, they will grind you down. You have to ignore a certain amount of stuff. The thing I keep saying to them lately is: “I have to love you, and I have the right to ignore you.” When my kids ask what I want for my birthday or Christmas or whatever, I use the same answer my father did: “Peace and quiet.” That was never a satisfactory answer to me as a kid — I wanted an answer like “A pipe.” But now I see the wisdom of it: All I want is you at your best — you making this an easier home to live in, you thinking of others.
Applauding Mr. Murray and Ms. Lippman for their cool and trying to cultivate my own for the long weekend.