Never . . .

So this is how it is going to be, right? The next eight to eighteen to eighty years of my life? My child - in all of her tween wisdom and elaborate, diverse life experience just sorta telling me what the world holds, how it spins, and why it is not flat?

I remember when she was just learning to really talk/communicate. EVERYTHING was a "no". "Do you want ____?" "No." "Put ________ down." "No." "Would you like to practice your colors?" "No." "What about French?" "Non." That lasted about a year. Her mother and I were sure it was a good thing. She was becoming her own person. She had opinions. She was pushing back. She was exploring boundaries. She was consistent. She was stubborn.

That lasted several months/years and it just sorta became the "norm". I can't remember when/how/why it started and I don't, really, remember it truly ending but surely it did. Probably right around the time I started asking "Hey, do you want to go get a snack?" "YES!" Well, here we are, many years older and many years wiser but we're reverting.

The new sensation-that's-sweeping-her-nation is "never". The overly emphatic, overly obtuse, overly naive way to declare yourself apart from something. It is far, far more infuriating than the last round of "Negatory Big Bird" because unlike when she was X months/years old (and you'd challenge her and she'd either acquiesce or give you that smile that made your heart melt (I'm romanticizing the phase, I fear) NOW it is just long, void stares, or overly dramatic, overly sweeping, overly naive explanations of why "never" is the way to go.

  • "I'm never going to swear." "Yeah, sure. O. F*cking. K. That sh*t might last."
  • "I'm never going to have a boyfriend." "From your lips to the poor kid you bring home to meet your obnoxious father's ears."
  • "I'm never moving out of you or mommy's houses." "The day after your 18th birthday you start paying rent - using your birthday money." (that one isn't true)
  • "I'm never going to be mean to a stranger." "Oh, sweetheart."
  • "I'm never learning division." "You won't need to if you were serious about never moving out."
  • "I'm never going to like any music more than 'Pop Star Du Jour'." "A valid point, I still love me some Celine Dion."
You get my point. It is the above and far, far worse. Weird life-long pledges (no booze, no boys, no love, no girls, no pot, no religion, no single-payer health care system, no - wait, what?) that are just begging to not last.

Who knows we might, in another eight or nine years, call down the basement steps to tell her that dinner is ready and have her clarify she's "not hungry" (or some other negative response to a simple engagement) or we might miss the days when every, little, thing is met with "No. Never. Because I'm nearly ten and I KNOW." I doubt it. I don't think I'll EVER miss this phase. But I wouldn't say "never".