If I had myself a monkey


Slightly out of focus and too red from being burned to death
by the flash, but, trust me, it will have to do.

“Never work with animals or children.” – W.C. Fields

Last week, my 11-year-old dropped a new word on me that had me running for the Urban Dictionary. As is often the case with my very communicative kid, my brain was tuned only into the keywords of the conversation. My mom brain has that scanner thing you know the government uses on our phone calls and status posts looking for terrorists, so I come to attention when I hear things like, “getting an F,” “kissed him” and “smoking a doob.” (Do kids still smoke doobs?)

The conversation was a little like this:

Kid: “Mumur, gerberdang swooosh flurgs BEST FRIEND’S NAME mmmpfh fzzzzz hmm science class brrrmmm clerg ammerr did a selfie.”

Me: “I’m sorry, she did what now?”

Kid: “A selfie. That’s when you take a picture of yourself.”

Believing my sweet, innocent child had been the victim of a linguist practical joke perpetrated by a nasty sixth grade boy — as we ALL know that’s what nasty sixth grade boys live to do — I discreetly typed “selfie” into Urban Dictionary.

Huh. “A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website.” What do you know? Myspace apparently still exists and I have a dirtier mind than a fictitious sixth grade boy.

By the way, if you are a parent and don’t know about Urban Dictionary, you need to hop on immediately. It’s the site our parents wish existed (when they didn’t know the Internet was going to exist yet) to look up things like “gnarly” and “cool beans,” so they could feel less stupid around us and our infinite teenage cool. Also, it’s a public dictionary, where anyone can add a definition of anything. So, it’s important you check in from time to time to make sure none of your children have added your name as a definition. Like, “Rosie Blankenship: a mean mom who makes kids clean up the dishes she leaves in the living room. My mom was being a real Rosie Blankenship last night when she spilled popcorn on the floor and made me get out the vacuum.

So, yesterday, we were goofing around before bedtime and ignoring explicit instructions from the school to get to bed early to be prepared for testing tomorrow. I want to state for the record that I repeatedly said, “You need to get to bed, so you don’t FAIL ISTEP tomorrow and have to repeat sixth grade.” I was met with eye-rolling. “I’m not going to fail ISTEP.” I wasn’t fazed. It was my duty as a mother to make sure she performed to her highest standardized-test potential. “How do you know that? It would be terrible if you failed! Everyone would point fingers at me and say, ‘her mother obviously didn’t put her to bed early and feed her a healthy breakfast.’ My reputation will be ruined.” More eye-rolling. Eye-rolling is a way of life for us these days. “I am not going to fail because ISTEP is easy,” she said. “I know how to READ, mom.”

This is where my mom would have said, “well, excuuuuse me” and told me to get to bed anyhow. But I am not my mother. So, I said, “Ok, then, let’s take selfies.”

It has been almost a year since I had my photo with her, so it was high time to document. Also, our last photo together was just a day before her heart surgery and I never, ever want those photos of me to see the light of day. I look like I have had a serious Benjamin Button reversal of aging by a good 15-20 years in just nine months. (Those last days before the surgery almost killed us all.) And since we’d already settled that she knows how to READ, now was as good of a time as any to grab a snapshot.

Only, as it turns out, the kid isn’t quite as experienced in taking selfies as her mom. It was like working with a monkey who had just stolen the espresso machine from Starbucks and was using it to mainline a nice Sumatra.

We took 62 photos to get the one above. SIXTY-TWO. I’m not even exaggerating. I felt I should clarify since I’ve recently learned my blog posts are prone to hyperbole.

And this is what happened:

Blurry. Mom smiles. Kid caught off guard.
Mom: ready for her close-up. Kid: loses composure.
Mom: lovely, laughing photo. Kid: top of her head.
Mom: best Brooke Shields impersonation. Kid: do what, now?
Seriously.
Mom: losing eye intensity from 60 flashes. Kid: closes eyes altogether.
Mom: screaming, “SIT STILL.” Kid: laughing hysterically at mom’s idle threats.

I could go on. There are 54 more like this. But I don’t have time. You see that mess in the living room? I have to go pull a Rosie Blankenship and get the kid to clean.

3 thoughts on “If I had myself a monkey

  • Cindy Dwyer

    Such fun to have daughters, isn’t it? My 12 yo Lia and I shared a similar round of selfies when we got our hair cut together and wanted to document the results afterwards.

    Note to self for next time: have hairdresser snap the photo before we leave. MUCH easier.

    BTW I asked Lia just now and yep, she knows all about the selfie.

    Reply

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