Three women + three glasses of wine + Japanese food + twelve flavors of frozen yogurt = four hours of girl talk and lots of revelations. Ah, the wondrous bonding of girl time. It's the reason we live longer as widows than men do as widowers...we've always got our girls. This particular dinner was with an old friend I hadn't seen in ages and a friend of hers I'd met once before. It's nice to know that in adulthood, three is not a crowd but rather a trifecta of the Sisterhood, the Motherhood, and the Wifehood. The only reason we stopped talking after four hours was because of our obligations to the latter two hoods. But our continuous thread of conversation could have gone on indefinitely.
The most enjoyable part of our talk involved our tales of motherhood. Among the three of us there are seven children between the ages of 8 and 16, all full of insight and self-taught life lessons to share. Here are the top 10 lessons that may just teach you something you might otherwise have not known.
Lesson #1 (from a 9-yr-old): Just because you can doesn't mean you should, as in, "Just because you can throw the cat over the stair rail doesn't mean you should." (Yeah, my mind was spinning too, wondering why that example seemed to her the best illustration.)
Lesson #2 (from a 9-yr-old): I'm old enough to be left alone. But when you want me to do chores, I'm just a little girl.
Lesson #3 (from an 11-yr-old): Even girls who get Straight A's can be ripe for a good fist fight because "Impulse control isn't all it's cracked up to be, Mom."
Lessson #4 (from a 12-yr-old): When a twelve-year-old gets her period for the first time, it is NOT okay to tell Dad...unless he's going to take her out for ice cream. Coldstone Creamery works best.
Lesson #5 (from a 10-yr-old): If you dial 9-1-1 and then hang up immediately, the police will still come. It might take 10 frickin minutes, but they'll come, and they'll lecture you about wasting their time when they could have been out saving someone else's life who may be dying right now because of you. (This is great, because Mom doesn't have to inflict any punishment. The shame of it all is enough for the child.)
Lesson #6 (from a mother): When going on a family cruise, make sure to take Grandma along so she can occupy kids long enough to give you and Hubby "private" time. Five minutes should do it.
Lesson #7 (from an 8-yr-old): You're never too old to sleep in your parents' bed. It stops them from making strange noises in the middle of the night, plus if you fanagle it right, you get your bedroom redecorated as an incentive to return to it.
Lesson #8 (from an 11-yr-old): If your parents are strict and you are frugal enough, you can eventually save your allowance to buy your own cell phone. Then you just have to butter up Grandpa so he'll add you to his cell phone plan.
Lesson #9 (from a mother of a pre-teen girl...to me): YA is hot right now. Forget what you want to write and go write a YA novel. Make some money, and then go do what you want. (She so doesn't get why I write...and apparently believes I'll never make money doing it.)
Lesson #10 (from a 9-yr-old): When Mommy and Daddy make scary noises at night from behind their locked bedroom door, and you ask Mommy if she's okay, and she says, "I fell down, and it hurt. But I'm all right now. Go to bed," ...that is jenk.
With these newfound tidbits of knowledge, I hope you parents out there can sleep a bit easier. Just knowing that your kids have become masters of manipulation and bedroom espionage should be enough to inspire your own time with your peeps. After all, it is the battle wounds and adventures that unite us the hood that is parenting.