Archives for July 2011
Nora’s fed up with this no baby sister nonsense.
About a month ago, she threatened to kidnap a baby. Her friend Ruby was expecting a little sibling at any moment. I asked Ruby if she thought she was getting a little brother or a little sister. Nora interrupted, “If it’s a girl, I’m going to steal it,” she deadpanned. “For real.” Poor Ruby looked horrified.
Saturday night, rather than sleep, Nora had an all out break down over the injustice of it all. “It’s not fair,” she complained. “I really want a baby sister.”
“Well, when you’re a grown up, you can have all the babies you want.”
“But that won’t be a sister.” Nothing gets past this kid.
“But if I had a baby now, there’s no guarantee it would be a girl. It could be a baby brother.”
“Well, I don’t want that. Maybe somebody else will give their girl to us.”
“Most people want to keep their babies. I don’t think you’re going to find someone to give you a baby.”
This brought on racking, angry sobs. “But it’s not fair! You get to have a sister!”
“You’re right, it’s not fair. Hey, tomorrow, do you want me to call aunt Rachel and ask her if she’ll be your sister, too?”
“Yeah,” she sniffed.
“Okay, we’ll give her a call.”
First thing Sunday morning, Nora said, “Do you remember last night when I was angry about not having a sister?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Can we call Rachel?”
So we called my sister in Minnesota. I put her on speaker phone.
“Hey, Rach. Listen, um, Nora’s really upset about not having a sister, so I told her I’d call and ask if you’d be her sister, too.”
“Sure, I can do that. Nora, do you want to be the big sister or the little sister?”
“Okay, I’ll be the little sister. I have lots of practice at that. It’s settled then. You’ll be my big sister and I’ll make sure all parties on this end are informed.”
She meant Nora’s uncle, cousins and grandparents. Or I guess, now that they’re sisters, it would be Nora’s brother-in-law, nephews and parents?
I’m so confused. But it’s a lot simpler than having another baby.
Ben has a thing for diesel vehicles. Diesel engines get great mileage and last practically forever. (Our current car, a 1983 Mercedes 300D is approaching 300,000 miles and runs great.)
About eight or nine years ago, Ben bought a diesel Jetta from a guy at work. It needed a few repairs, and the guy wasn’t mechanically inclined (and Ben most certainly is), so we got a deal.
I just asked Ben if he remembers what work it needed. After cussing for awhile, he stated simply, “It needed help.”
Help he never got around to giving it.
We bought a house a few miles away and ended up towing it from the old house to the new one. And there it sat for a year or two. Mocking him.
Though I am not a nagger (says me), I would occasionally ask if there was any chance of getting rid of this inert albatross. But eventually, I stopped asking, as it was clear the sight of it pained Ben more than me.
Also, he never transferred the title over to his name. And he didn’t work with the guy he bought it from anymore. Somehow, getting this bit of paperwork done would have involved talking to a guy he didn’t feel like talking to. And if Ben doesn’t feel like talking to someone, there is zero chance any talking will occur.
A Romanian friend offered to help, “I know some guys who do some things; they’re not bad guys, but they do some things…” Ben had no interest in meeting those guys.
So he cut it up.
He hacked it into pieces using an oxy-acetylene torch and brought it to the scrap yard piece by piece over the course of several months.
And he made a small bird house ornament out of the license plate and gave it to his uncle for Christmas.
Everybody knows the golden rule, right? It’s basic. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. We learn this in kindergarten.
The problem being, not everybody wants what you want.
I’ll give you a personal example:
When I get injured — a toe stubbing, a cut with a kitchen knife, a four-year-old elbow to the lip — I want someone to rush right up, administer comforting murmurs and fetch an ice pack or bandages as needed.
When Ben gets hurt, he wants to be left the hell alone for at least five minutes. Someone rushing up to him to help is the about the last thing he wants. (I know, what a weirdo.)
So, after about 5 years of being together and getting rejected while trying to offer help to an injured partner, I finally got wise and gave him some space until he came to ask where the band-aids were.
The platinum rule says: Treat others the way they would like to be treated.
I can’t remember where I heard this idea. Probably some work related customer service workshop years ago. It really stuck with me. I use it not just at work, but in family life.
When I know Ben if stressed about the state of the house, I’ll clean the mudroom first, as I know that’s the room that really gets to him. (Personally, I’d prefer to start with the bathroom.)
When Nora gets hurt, I get her an ice pack, almost regardless of the type of injury. (I usually just need a “poor thing,” cooed sincerely.)
When my friend, Sandi, is returning from Arizona, I weed her rose beds and make enough dinner to feed her family, too. (Um, actually, this is exactly what I’d like, too.)
Hopefully, I’m passing this concept on to Nora. There is some evidence, she’s getting it. Lately, when she’s picking flowers, she’s distributing them based on color preference of the recipient: orange for daddy, blue for mommy, pink for herself.
Not a bad start on living the platinum rule.