We don’t see Chickadee very much, lately. Between band and other activities—not to mention her strong desire to get as far away from her embarrassing parents as possible—I feel like I’m lucky to get five minutes with her in a day.
The bad news is that I kind of miss her, and I despair of her room ever actually getting cleaned up.
The good news is that it’s a lot harder to get into an argument when we barely see each other, plus she seems happier to be around us for these short bursts, too. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that I’m usually either feeding her or doing her laundry, or Otto is driving her somewhere or giving her money. Ahem.
The best part, though, is the random little declarations and interactions we’re treated to these days. Just the same way that babies are cute so that their mothers won’t EAT THEM when they won’t stop crying, teenagers are entertaining so that their parents won’t boot them out and change the locks when they’re being all… teenagery.
Yesterday morning she kept fussing at her left eye while she was racing around getting ready for school. “Is there something wrong with your contact?” I asked her, finally.
“I don’t know,” she said, throwing stuff into her backpack. “I feel like there’s something stuck under my lens. It’s fine.”
“Want to try taking it out and rinsing it before you go?”
“I already did that!” she snapped at me, exasperated. “It’s FINE, I have to go.”
“Do you have saline at school in case you need it?” I called after her. She waved me off and that was that.
About half an hour later I got a text:
Is it bad for me to just wear one contact all day?
Uhhhhh…. I asked what the problem was and she responded:
Turns out the thing under my contact was my contact. Ripped almost in half! It was fine when I put it in.
Folks, my daughter apparently has BIONIC EYEBALLS. Why, a perfectly whole lens went into her eye and then SPONTANEOUSLY RIPPED IN HALF, due to the sheer might of her retinas. I’m so proud.
A bit of back and forth ensued, wherein I promised to drop off another lens for her at school (“The glasses I have in my locker are too small. I think my face grew.”) after a meeting I had. And then I made the mistake of going upstairs to the kids’ bathroom.
See, Chickadee told me the saline in her locker was all used up, so I figured I’d grab another container of that for her, too. And the last time I bought her new contacts, the nice lady at the optical place gave me, literally, an entire grocery sack full of sample-sized saline bottles when I’d asked for just one to use for an upcoming trip. So I knew we had plenty of little bottles, and I just had to grab one.
I opened the cabinet under the sink. There was a box for a travel-size saline sitting right in front, so I grabbed it. Empty. I tossed it aside and grabbed the one behind it. Empty.
A feeling of foreboding came over me.
I tossed the second box aside, and this time reached in and grabbed a travel-size bottle which I assume had fallen out of the box. But—I bet you’ll never guess!—it was empty, too. I tossed that in my growing pile.
I kept digging, and kept finding empties. Why, that cabinet was nearly full, and EVERYTHING IN IT WAS EMPTY.
Who knew bionic eyeballs lead to hoarding?
Finally I’d dug through the entire cabinet and come up, yes, empty, and it finally occurred to me to track down her travel toiletry case from camping, and that (thank goodness) did have ONE travel-size saline container in it that was NOT empty. Success!
I gathered up the saline, a replacement contact, another replacement pair to keep in her locker, and everything I needed for my meeting. I went out and did what I needed to, then swung by the middle school to drop off Chickie’s stuff.
The secretary asked me to fill out a prescription medication authorization form.
“It’s a contact lens,” I said, thinking maybe she was confused.
“I know,” she said. “I’m just covering all our bases.”
“Because… she might get high… off her contact lens?” I asked. “Or I, her mother, might bring her… someone ELSE’s contact lens?”
“If you could just fill out the form, ma’am.” (THEY LOVE ME THERE.)
So I filled out the form and left her stuff and came home. And left the pile of empty boxes and saline bottles in Chickie’s bed.
When she finally got home that night, she walked in the door and asked if I was mad at her. I thought that was a level of other-awareness that we don’t often see from her, so I can’t lie, I was pleased that she realized I might be a little miffed. “I think you should go upstairs and look around to answer that question,” I answered, feeling quite smug that my thanks and a heartfelt apology were about to be delivered.
Chickadee disappeared upstairs, then came back down with her arms full of the empties, gaily calling out, “You’re NOT mad at me! In fact, you are SUPER IMPRESSED with me!” Somehow she managed to balance everything and pull open the door to the garage, then she disappeared, calling back, “You think I’m AWESOME because I saved up ALL THIS RECYCLING and then I brought it down to the bin here WITHOUT YOU EVEN ASKING! YAYYYYY!”
I was too busy banging my head on the desk to point out that I hadn’t asked her to recycle her garbage, but she’d only thought to bring it down once it was preventing her from SLEEPING.
Later, I made the mistake of trying to convince her that it was not possible for her lens to spontaneously rip WHILE ON HER EYEBALL, but she staunchly maintained that it had been PERFECTLY FINE when she put it in, and eventually I had to just give up. We sat down to watch Glee and I filed down the nails on her right hand, though she wouldn’t let me touch the left, saying they never touch her contacts and they were fine.
Currently, her left thumbnail is particularly long. I can only conclude that’s the one she uses to spoon up the ripped lenses and snort them. Please don’t tell the middle school secretary.