I expected to be the wise old owl who would teach my child all she needed to succeed. So it came as a big surprise to learn that one of the joys of motherhood is what you learn from your kids.
Recently my daughter casually announced, “Mom, there’s a bat in the cave.” “What’s that?” I respond, not having a clue what she’s talking about. By now, I am not usually surprised by her strange lexicon like OMG or TMI, but this expression sounded old-fashioned, something that I should have taught her, not vice versa. After all, I derived great pleasure in repeating my mother’s words of wisdom, like, “the early bird catches the worm!” But my mother never told anyone “there’s a bat in the cave.”
Encouraging open dialogue, a virtue high on my list of motherly duties, I had to admit ignorance. By now, her head is walloping from side to side in disbelief and hysterical laughter, for she has caught me in not just one faux pas, but two: I not only don’t know something but, “you have a booger in your nose” she screams in between snorts of laughter.
I choose to save face by turning this into a teachable moment, so I inform her in an indignant tone, “your barn door is open!” Although she checks her pant’s zipper out of the corner of her eye, she raises her assertive voice and replies, “It is not!” To continue our poker game of clichés, I raise her one more, and declare, “Well, then it’s snowing down south!” Now she is baffled, and knows when to fold ‘em when she is trying to match wits with her mother. I calmly explain that it means your slip is showing. Now, you probably have to be over 50 to even remember wearing a slip, after all, wasn’t it in the 80’s when Madonna (not Lady Gaga) popularized showing your underwear to the world, which was probably the demise of privacy in this country. This is going through my mind, as I join my daughter laughing at the idea that I lived in a time when people cared whether their slip was showing.
When the laughter subsides, we began to wonder why there isn’t a similar euphemism for telling a friend that there’s food stuck in their teeth? Since it’s usually something green, our creative juices start flowing:
Me: “The Loch Ness monster has risen!”
Daughter: “Oscar’s popped out of the trash can!”
Me: “Kermit is playing piano!”
Daughter: “It’s not easy being green!”
While my daughter rolls on the floor giggling, I sneak a finger check, OMG, there is a bat in my cave! Is that TMI?