First of all, let me tell you how very pleased I am with my decision to have my daughter first. (For all of you who are thinking, wait a minute, you didn’t get to choose the sex of your baby, all I can say back is hush, let me have my moment.) Because it’s not often that I do something involving my children that goes so absolutely and completely right.
Having the girl first has worked out brilliantly: it’s like having an extra nag. Just when I think I’ve reached the end of my nagging limit (hard to believe, I know, but it does happen sometimes), Clementine is there the to tap in and take over. And not only that, but she manages to bring a fresh twist to the nagging as well, so that not only is her subject/victim being nagged with renewed vigor, but he is also being nagged from an entirely differently angle, one that he hasn’t even begun to put up a defense against.
Consider the other night. After nearly five solid years of nagging at my son, Clyde, to organize his backpack I was, if not “done,” then at least taking an extended, year-long break. I listened to Clyde lament the fact that he had lost his homework yet again, and all I could manage was a snarky, “That’s a shame. If only you had something safe to put your homework in every night. Something you take to school every day anyway. Something small enough to carry over your shoulder, yet big enough to hold all of your assignments. That would be awesome. Can you think of anything you have that would work?”
And then Clyde opened his bag and I swear I could hear the Scooby Doo theme playing in the background as bats flew out, and there was no way I could muster the energy for one more bit of sarcasm. Which is exactly when Clementine came to my rescue. She took one look at the mess of Clyde’s backpack and said, “Dude, no. What is this?”
“These are things my teachers told me to save,” Clyde replied, defensively. And that’s when Clementine’s nagging left mine in the dust.
Hands on her hips, eyes rolled up to the ceiling, Clementine shook her head and said, “Don’t listen to your teachers.” And Clyde was hooked. He listened, rapt, as Clementine explained her system of organizing homework. “First thing you do,” she said, “is get a folder and label it ‘Crap.’ Then you put everything that your teachers give you in that folder and you leave it on your desk at home. Chances are you’ll go the whole year without opening it, but if you do need something from it you’ll know where it is. At home.”
I felt like I was watching someone being introduced to “The Secret:” part of me wanted to let loose the “oh, please,” that was trapped in my mouth, and another part was saying, “Eh, let them believe what they want.” But probably the biggest part of me was just grateful that someone else was dealing with the Garbage Bag Formerly Known As Backpack.
And then she went above and beyond in her nagging duties. Clementine rode that nag all the way back into the barn: she then went into a tirade about the state of Clyde’s desk and his handwriting, and he listened to her yet again. It was truly a Triple Crown nagging achievement.
And that’s when I realized that the day had come when the student passed the teacher. And I was surprisingly okay with that.
At least, I was until she turned to me and said, “And about your purse…”