Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Today I received a phone call from my beautiful 14 year old daughter during school hours.
She was calling me on her break to inform me that her math teacher had pulled her aside today and told her that since she was doing such an amazing job in Algebra this year,
he wanted to suggest that she take AP Algebra AND Calculus next year.

I beamed with pride.

"Great job, Honey! That's amazing! Keep up the good work!"

A half an hour later, that same beautiful 14 year old daughter called me a second time.

This time was to tell me that, though she had been using every day multiple times,
somehow within the last hour,
she had completely forgotten her locker combination.
She had opened it in the morning, placed her lunch inside, closed it, and forgotten how to open it again.

I was perplexed.

How is that even POSSIBLE?

Extremely complicated math problems/Unable to remember a three number sequence.
It's a real head-scratcher.

In the car after school pick-up, I drilled her on how this could be.
Her answer was that she had known there was a 13 and a 31 and she *thought* a 5 in there somewhere, because that
"sounded right."
Apparently those were not the right numbers, though, because there she sat having not eaten the amazing lunch I'd packed her,
(which was sitting wilting in her locker)
but instead having mooched three spoonfulls of yogurt and some rice crackers off of a friend.
And dag nabbit, I had even dug into the kalamata jar for that particular lunch.
Fingers poking right through that cold, oil layer.
Now that is dedication.
A lunch with kalamatas does not a mere Lunchable make.

I was still squinting and shaking my head about this whole situation, when from the back seat, Chloe's voice piped up.

She was doing her homework.

"Mama, What does O-R-E-D-T-E-C-T spell?"

My brain tried to re-spell what she had just said.

"Spell it slower. I don't think I heard you right."

"O.......(four painful seconds).........R.........(four more seconds)........E.......(four of the longest seconds of my life)..."
"Not THAT slow! Geez. Just a little slower than before."

*LONG PAUSE where she contemplated her entire way of being and mentally doused herself in ash*


She was whispering now at a level that, I'm pretty sure, was only audible to dogs.
Whispering from the back seat of my mini van,
when the music was on.

I reached up and turned the music off, SURE I HAD to be missing something.
No one should be this stressed out over eight letters.
I had driven for approximately 2 miles with no recollection of that journey because I had been so consumed with figuring out what word she was referring to.

"Chloe! I need you to read it loudly and sort of slowly so that I can figure out what on earth you're spelling."
"O-R-E-D-T-E-C-T! That's what it says. That's what it says right here."

Was it even in English? Were my neural pathways misfiring?

I was starting to sweat and grip the steering wheel harder.

"That's not a word." Alena said while she rolled her eyes.
Like she had room to judge.
My Mathlete.
"That's not even a word."

"Chloe. I think you're missing a letter or something. That's not spelling anything that I can think of."

"Yes it is! It's right here! O-R-E-D-T-E-C-T."

I could hear it in her voice that she was about to cry.
Chloe's crackly pre-cry voice is practically a seventh family member.

I got tunnel vision for a second and felt my hearing go, which might scare the average person, but it has happened to me so many times I felt like starting to feel it, I was greeting an old friend.

"You're going to need to show me what you're reading. That's really not a word."

She held up her workbook and pointed to the word.
It took me a second to make it out because I was reading it in reverse through the rear-view mirror.
It felt like the most crucial eye exam of all time.

Once I saw it,I realized it was, indeed, O-R-E-D-T-E-C-T.

However, ABOVE that blasted non-word were the instructions:

"Unscramble the letters in the words below."

A key piece of information, if you ask me, but what do I know?
I'm just the driver for this group home.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I ADORE my children.
But they are just so CONFUSED all the time.
And their confusion leads to MY confusion.
A virtual domino game of dying brain cells.

Chloe is perpetually wearing one sock at home.
"Where did your other sock go, Chloe?" I will ask.
"I don't know....I think I had it in the other room......"
Her voice trailing off into they abyss.
How does a person lose a sock from off of their foot?
A sock is not something that just falls off when you least expect.

And Tessa, after years of being told the same thing over and over STILL seems confused about what to do with her clothes at the end of the day.
Do they go draped over her head board?
Crammed in the space between the toilet and the tub?
Do they get put onto her pillow pet?
Do the pants go in the dog crate?
I know!
We hang them over the banister and then take just the underwear down to the toy closet to be found at a later date when the only way to see if they're clean or dirty is to sniff them.

They're usually dirty.

And it is as if it's contagious because I started off much more intelligent than this.
I did.
But little by little I have been leached of all useful knowledge.
Each new child's adorable chubby cheeks seemingly actually made from my ability to form a thought.

The only things I know now are useless facts like what sound a zebra makes.

And I make it.

A lot.

Now, when Alena asks me for help with her homework, about the only help I can give is to type into a search engine for her, and sometimes she even has to help me with the computer's error message before I can do THAT.
I have no idea where silt originates from.
Home Depot?
When she asks me, "What is a function in math?"
The only answer I have to give is, "That's what I'd like to know."

At this point, I think it's pretty clear we Greens are all just bumbling through life.
Lucky to find our mouth holes to put food into.
Lucky to ever get where we're going in one piece.
Lucky to not be picked off by large carnivorous animals.

And lucky to have each other.

I do have ONE piece of knowledge left, though, and that is
that O-R-E-D-T-E-C-T unscrambles to spell "Detector."

I know because I looked at the answer key and then filled in that slot myself with a red pen that I found in Tessa's pants pocket that I found stuffed in the toy box.