Saturday, October 23, 2010

Charlotte's Web of Lies

When Daughter has to make her bed, she has two default responses:

1. This bedmaking of which you speak is terribly boring.
2. This bedmaking of which you speak is terribly hard.

Personally, I prefer Response #1. I prefer that because she knows I view "Boring" as an obscenity and it's fun to watch her dance around the word without actually being able to use it and because on some level I agree with her. Which is why I usually answer Response #1 with some variation of "I don't know who told you life is a glorious cycle of song and a medley of extemporanea, but they lie." Response #2 usually makes me click my tongue in disgust and pour another cup of tea.

Today was Response #2. I had already had all the tea I'm allowed for the morning and perhaps a cup too many, because I snapped, "Don't be absurd. Making your bed isn't hard. Pigs do it all the time."

And Daughter said, "What?" just as I thought What?

My mouth said briskly, "Occasionally, pigs are used as service animals for people who need help. They train those pigs to, among other things, make a bed. So really, how hard could it be?"

Daughter said grumpily, "Pigs are known for their intelligence," but did commence to pulling up the duvet.

Readers, I am fairly sure what I told her isn't actually the truth, but I'm not certain a philosopher would declare me a liar, because some part of my brain was quite solid in this little factoid-which-probably-isn't. I could, without ever leaving this keyboard, check to see if pigs are used as service animals and, if so, are taught to do light housework, but I think I'd rather leave this in glorious ambiguity. Because otherwise I'll have to tell Daughter what I know and then she'll have:

1. Bedmaking is boring.
2. Bedmaking is hard.
3. Bedmaking makes my mother hallucinate.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Susan said...

This made me laugh so hard. Thank you.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

That made me laugh so hard as well. Great blog entry. :)

If that was said to me, I would have used it as:

4. Bedmaking could be avoided with cute, cuddly pet pig. Must have one now.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

I promised my children (and my ego) that I would refrain from that horrifying cop-out, "Because I'm your mother." I am proud to report that in 26 years I used it only once. Unfortunately, the moment it flew - unbidden, I swear! - past my lips, I felt compelled to rationalize it. I launched into some tirade about the necessity of mothers and an unfortunate comparison between human children and sea turtles. If your daughter discovers that pigs don't make beds, at least you can take comfort knowing that I did, eventually, live down epic of the poor turtles and the story is only occasionally resurrected at holiday dinners.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous sarawr said...

Dorothy Parker-approved parenting. Excellent.

You would not believe some of the things that have come out of my mouth in the course of fielding queries on auto-pilot. Playing it off all smooth like you did is definitely the way to go -- take it from someone who awkwardly slaps her own hand over her own mouth at least twice a day.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Miss Cavendish said...

I give my journalism students an assignment that asks them to write about service pigs on a plane. No bed-making, but lots of other skills.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Volly said...

My mother had this crazy-ass way of making a bed. She really was not a perfectionist in any other aspect of her life except this, and I don't know who taught her to do it that way. If I'd known, I'd have slapped them. She somehow tucked the bedspread up under the pillow like a lip and then covered the pillow with it. With all this, the spread hung evenly on both sides and the bottom. Never too long, never too short. Nauseating. I quickly realized that my chromosomes did not include this particular gene. Most of the time, though I don't bother covering the pillows, I try to straighten out the cases and smooth the comforter...because it's easier to locate the cat that way. Just tell your daughter she's lucky you don't have some super-fussy method for making a bed properly. You don't, do you???

6:27 PM  
Blogger TheHappyHomemaker said...

Well, now I'm going to have to look it up. But I promise not to tell you the results.

Volly, you must be young. In the age before comforters, we all had to make our beds in that fashion. It takes years to perfect. You don't want to have to start over because you didn't leave enough to cover the pillows!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I still cannot do it correctly. Drives my husband crazy - he who wants 'hospital corners' (you want hospital corners? go to the hospital!).
Be sure to instill in your daughter that any mother worth her salt KNOWS when her child is lying. My mother knew even when she was deep into Alzheimer's spooky dementia. But the daughter? The daughter can NEVER tell.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Quirky said...

I was just thinking that my next business venture should be a pig training school for domestic swine assistance! We could teach bed making, dish washing, laundry, light vacuuming and tub scrubbing. (They don't do windows). Classes are strictly BYOP (bring your own porker), sign up now because spaces are limited.

PS- Non-graduates are invited to the special end of term pork roast.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Narya said...

I decided, lo those many years ago, that there were two tasks that I would not do again, once I moved out of my parents' house:
1. Dry the dishes--because this is something that will happen all by itself, with no effort expended, merely by leaving the dishes in the dish rak
2. Make the bed, because I do not care. I take an inordinate amount of grief for this from people who like to get into a freshly made bed, but it is my bed and I do not have to make it. So there.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Leta said...

My mother doesn't believe in making beds. One day when I was tsk-tsking about this she told "the only people on earth who care if my bed is made are my mother and you."

She was probably right but I'm one of those folks who believes that the whole room looks better when the bed is made. Tell Daughter that bedmaking is both less hard and less boring than dusting. :-)

12:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hilarious! And I hope you don't mind that I might borrow that line about pigs. I'll credit you, of course.

5:42 PM  

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