My son will start asking this more often any day now. I can feel it. Right now, he’s asked me once, but his little brain is working hard at piecing things together and he’s figuring out how his world works. It’s a busy time for a three and a half year old boy.
The thing is, I still ask myself the same question. Surely my brain should have all of that figured out by now. Like just now, for example. On looking at my carefully arranged vignette of greenery in the kitchen, I realised that almost half the plants are dying. Not just “in shock” from being brought home from the shop (yes, I’ve had them just a few, pathetic weeks), but actually DYING.
1. Why can I not keep a house plant alive for more than a few weeks? I follow all the directions and do what green-fingered folks tell me to do. I pay attention to room temperature, sunlight etc. Yet they all die. Long, drawn-out, sad little deaths. Every time someone shows me their orchid (my nemesis), and nonchalantly throws out “Oh, that? I’ve had it for 6 years now. It blooms regularly every x months. So easy to look after, no?”, I feel my place on this earth is in question.
My mother can take a dead as a dodo plant, and have it not only revived but three times its original size within months. Years later, I can only look with bitterness at the camellia plant I threw in her bin some 15 years ago – it’s now a TREE in her garden.
2. When will I know how to ask for things at the deli, meat and fish counters by weight? I am 41 years old, a mother and wife, and I continue to internally panic when I have to ask for something using the term “pounds”.
Me: Please can I have some ham?
Server: How many pounds?
Me: (This is when my heart starts to race.) 12 slices, please.
Server: Half a pound?
Me: Full heart attack is mere moments away. Is that 12 slices? I’ll take 10 if that’s easier. Or however many you get to, really. It’s to last a week. That doesn’t help. Right. Sorry.
Me: I’d also like 15 olives please.
Server: FIFTEEN? in an incredulous voice. (Really, there is NO need for that tone.) Ma’am, take a guess how many pounds you want.
Me: Ok. 4 lbs. (If I blushed, I would be beetroot-faced by now.)
Server snorts so loudly I can only assume I am not even in the ballpark.
Me: Please could I have this much *indicates size of meat using fingers*
Server: Does the biggest eye roll in history.
Me: (Reads online recipe on phone.) Please can I have 1 kg of salmon.
Server: Excuse me?
Me: (Panicking I’ve given the wrong weight.) Sorry, I mean 1 ounce of salmon.
Server: You want 1 ounce or 1 pound or what? I don’t think you want 1 ounce of fish.
Me: (Feeling hot and uncomfortable. Looks at online recipe again, except it’s gone. No wifi connection in supermarket.) I’ll come back.
Goes to car park where there is reception, reloads recipe, reads it and decides to make a lasagne instead.
I’ve never paid attention to the cost of six eggs. Nor how much a pint of milk costs. For ages, I stupidly assumed that organic vegetables (the ugly, deformed ones without chemicals) would be cheaper than the “evil” ones. Was I the only one?! Ok. Moving on.
The point is, I know women who can tell me these things without hesitation. They keep a stocked fridge all the time. They never let their household get down to student-like fridge contents disaster levels. AND I HAVE A CHILD! she wails.
3. When will I be able to balance a cheque book? I cannot budget properly. I try. The Husband assumes I’m being slack and irresponsible. The pathetic thing is, I do try to pay attention and keep the budget in check, ie manage the money properly. Regardless, I am not allowed to be in charge of paying the bills. If I had been, we’d have been in foreclosure by now. Simply put, my brain does not function properly when faced with numbers. Sorry, Dad.
4. When will I learn that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? I realise my son will learn more from my behaviour than what I say. I cannot help but take something oh so personally. I can cut someone out of my life without hesitation in less than a minute. Neither of those reactions are grown-up. A grown-up would do things like try and understand why the other person is being mean, let the remarks go over their head or off their backs, and they wouldn’t seethe all night and plot a revenge to rival that of Hamlet. This is an area I need to fix before my son sees and feels my inability to let it go. Heh, there’s a thought. Perhaps Disney was cleverer than we thought. How did Elsa react when she was ostracised to live in a freezing cold castle in the middle of bumblef*ck? She danced a lot and stated “The cold never bothered me anyway.”.