Monday, May 25, 2009

Quality Time

My father told me once that if he could have one person killed, it would be whoever invented the term "the golden years". Apparently, he feels that it is a gross misrepresentation of what growing old actually is and he'd like to blood avenge it.

Since making hit lists appears to be our family pastime, I decided that the person that I would go after is the one who coined "quality time". You know, the whole it's not the amount of time that you spend with your kids, it's the quality load of shit? It's totally backfiring. Because now not only do we have to be there with them, but we have to be THERE WITH THEM, writ large. Every moment is a potential teaching moment, we have to listen to the cues our children give us, react and nurture, teach and embolden. Who the fuck are we kidding?

One day a week, my daughter and I spend an afternoon together, while my son is being all sporty. My daughter is 10, all eye rolling glory, but such a lovely person in spite of her age. She is funny and she is kind. Truly kind. I feel that the time is slipping from me, that although she still wants to spend time with me, I'm no longer the first choice. I feel lucky to have this time with her, and I am determined to make the most of it. Enter, Quality Time.

My daughter, of course, is totally onto this and she wants a laptop. A Mac laptop. Mac book Illumination. On Quality Time afternoon, she tells me about its many fine and expensive features.
"Look," I tell her. "We are on a budget. The entire country is in crisis. We can't afford a Mac Book, illuminated or not."

She looks at me as though I understand nothing and says, "I made a list of everyone in my class who has a laptop," she passes me a piece of paper that has eight names on it, with a heading "Happy and Lucky People". I assume she is giving me the list so that I know who to steal the laptop from.

"Well, there are twelve other kids in your class, that means that they don't have laptops," I put my Math Skillz to good use.
"Yes, and those kids are really unhappy," she tells me. And makes a pouty face.

That's quality time. And I love every dollar extracting second of it.


Blogger SubWife said...

Count me in on your blood avenging activities. If you locate this monster who made every minute spent with kids an agonizing hell (Is it quality or is it not?), just give me a call, and I'll be there with you, side by side, beating the daylights out of him.

May 25, 2009 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger blognut said...

Awww, such an awesome quality time story.

I want to be part of the lynch mob you'll be forming to go after the moron who came up with quality time.

May 25, 2009 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger *Akilah Sakai* said...

Oh, she's good!
Let us know when you go out and buy that Macbook. ;D

May 25, 2009 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Pseudo said...

Have I told you lately how you are one of my favorite writers? Putting a hit on the person who coined "Quality Time." I could go for some of that action. And your daughter comes from the same school of thought as my son.

BTW I want a Mac laptop. Maybe if I blog about it they will stumble over themselves in an effort to give me one for free ; -)

May 25, 2009 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Pop and Ice said...

Trust your child to manipulate *quality time*! I know said child is pushing for a Mac, but I made my 16 year old daughter fantasically happy by buying her a pink Acer netbook The only extra we bought was an external DVD player. And it only weighs 2.5 lbs! And much cheaper. Perhaps a consideration for next birthday, Christmas or special occasion? Hubby is IT guru and even he is happy with how it has met all of her computing needs!

May 25, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Priss said...

My daughter has been doing that for four years over a cell phone. And not just any phone. Oh no. She wants a BlackBerry. *I* don't even have one of those, and she's complaining because the grownups always give the hand-me-down cell phone and get the new fancy stuff, and how her friends have cell phones and it's, like, so cool to be able to text in class. It's the new note passing.

Four years. Be strong. We're behind you!

May 25, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Liz Wilkey (a.k.a. A Mom on Spin) said...

Oh no. . . it's starting. . . put earplugs in during your quality time from now on!

May 25, 2009 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger King of New York Hacks said...

Blackberrys, Macs, IPOD's, THESE items take AWAY the QUALITY time. ;-)....I also want a back up lynch mob for the one's responsible for "remember the good old times...they are now". LOL

May 25, 2009 at 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Maureen at IslandRoar said...

Everyone knows the best Quality Time occurs when the checkbook is open.

May 25, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Everyday Goddess said...

It is so hard keeping up with the Mac's, DS's and other tech stuff. I thought it was bad with American Girl Dolls, but this is way more expensive!

May 25, 2009 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

omg that child is BRILLIANT!!

I love it.......

May 25, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Lyndsay said...

Quality time? What the hell? Are the union stewards writing this into the contracts on the childrens behalf?

May 25, 2009 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I want the effer responsible for "work-life balance." I can tell you this - that asshole was not a working mother.

May 25, 2009 at 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

Your daughter sounds sweet and very very clever. I assume she takes after her mother (does that comment get me points? Of any kind?).

But my son beats your daughter hands down. He is seven and has decided he is buying an island. This afternoon he chose himself a $100,000 island in Nova Scotia and even renamed it. Now he is giving me big eyes.

I can't take much more of this. Somebody please give me $100K for that snowy island.

May 25, 2009 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Fragrant Liar said...

HAHA. Happy and Lucky People. I am thinking your daughter is already illuminated, as she has seen the light on how to work her mama. Having had four daughters who were so illuminated, I can sympathize. :)

I want to get rid of PC or Politically Correct. Fuck that shit.

May 25, 2009 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

I once gave my mom a list of everyone who had a convertible in high school b/c i wanted one so badly. It totally did not work.

Your daughter sounds hilarious.

May 25, 2009 at 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Andrea's Sweet Life said...

If she REALLY wanted it, she would have staged a photo of all 8 kids happily using their laptops on one side of the room, and all 12 kids plus her snorting cocaine and smoking dope (props, of course) on the other side. With sad faces.

May 26, 2009 at 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Andrea's Sweet Life said...

Oh and I forgot, all the girls should totally be pregnant, with herpes sores on their faces.

May 26, 2009 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...
Just in case. :)

May 26, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Ann Imig said...

I just fell asleep during quality time. Five had to kick me lovingly, to rouse me back to his idea of "quality".

May 26, 2009 at 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Sarah @ said...

My dad always wanted to blood avenge the "quality time" folks too. He said it's such a nice IDEA, but that the fact was that kids were way more about quantity than quality. Guess he felt like we really pulled the wool over his eyes with that one?

May 27, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

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