Thursday, May 28, 2009


I am standing in the bathroom just before lunchtime.  We have come inside so Annie could use the bathroom and both girls could wash her hands before eating.  Annie stands up, pulls up her skirt, and climbs onto her stool to wash her hands.  Instead of holding her hands under the running water, she cranes her neck around to look at the toilet.  

"Don't flush it!" she says.

"I know; I won't," I say calmly.

"Mom!  Don't let Jemma flush it!  Don't flush it!" she repeats, compulsively, over and over, as I continue to promise her that nobody is going to flush the toilet until she's exited the bathroom. 


I am loading the girls into the car to go to the school district offices for the THIRD time to try to convince them that we really DO live here and really CAN enroll our daughter in the district for the fall.  (Birth certificate original, water bill, summer tax bill, closing documents from home purchase including previous owner's signature, our signature, address, and date of closing:  check, check, check.)  I open Jemma's door, wait for her to run over.

"I.  Have.  Something.  In.  Mine.  Shoe."  She stops, sits down in the wet driveway among a thousand maple-seed helicopters, takes off her Croc, puts it back on.  This takes five minutes.  I wait.

"Hop up!" I say.  As she climbs into the car and turns toward her carseat, I bend down to grasp her hand and help hoist her up.  She freaks out.

"I Can Do That Myself!" she yells.  "I Vant Do That BY MYSELF!"  She glares at me fiercely, climbs back down, gets back out of the car, pauses a moment to let the glare sink in, and begins the whole getting-in process again.  


I am reminded of the part in David Sedaris' book Me Talk Pretty One Day where he writes about how he used to have a specific routine on his way home from school:  touch this mailbox seven times, lick that stone, open the door with a certain hand in a certain direction.  Annie, Jemma, David Sedaris - they're the ones with OCD.  And I'm the one going crazy.

1 comment:

  1. That whole "I'll do it myself" thing getting into the car....I know it well.
    Tommy is a freak show about it as well.
    And breathing...deep breathing...