Together and apart

By Mir
October 15, 2010

We have well and firmly entered the “Go away! I don’t have to listen to you! You’re not the boss of me! Wait, can you make me some eggs and also can I have a cuddle? God, LEAVE ME ALONE!” phase of Chickadee’s life. It’s infuriating magical. There’s nothing quite like that special bond between mother and daughter, where they love each other so much and yet regularly ANNOY THE CRAP out of each other.

Still. We do find our way to each other now and then. I don’t know that the sweet moments mean as much to her as they do to me, but that’s okay. Nor am I above clowning for her to get those moments in, you understand. Like, the last time I picked her up at school, her friend Joe was standing on the corner waiting to cross the street as we pulled out of the school driveway. So I said, “I’m going to run Joe over, okay?” and then delighted in her screeching laughter as I pulled the car just a leeetle too close to the curb. (Joe startled and then laughed as we waved at him.) (Technically I should maybe not be threatening to run kids over just to get a laugh from my daughter, but desperate times, man.)

One of the things I’ve recently discovered is that IMing or texting with her is often a lot easier than talking in person. It’s just enough distance to take the bristly bits out of the equation, you know? So yesterday I was sitting here working when she IMed me from school. Because apparently they don’t do any actual work, there.

Chickadee: can you please get on my computer and send me something?
Me: Whatcha need?
Chickadee: my notes on gustducin
Me: Where are they?
Chickadee: in the computer
In a folder, what?
Chickadee: yes
joe says hi
um on my account
Me: Please tell Joe I wasn’t really going to run him over. ;)
Chickadee: there is a folder that is called Chickadee’s documents
or something like that
ok :)
and then there is a subfolder called stuff for school
and then there is a subfolder called science
and then there is a folder called elt
and then there is a folder called 7th grade
and in that folder there are some documents
Me: that’s a lot of folders
Chickadee: yes
Me: the file called gustducin?
Chickadee: probably can you open it and see please
Me: ok, hang on
woah wait
Chickadee: k
Me: that’s just a link to the gustducin wiki page
Chickadee: oh
it is a document
not a link
Me: yes
science fair notes?
Chickadee: science notes…..?
i think
Me: that’s the only doc in there
Chickadee: then it is probably that
ok thanks muchess
Me: you’re welcome :) smooch
Chickadee: love you
see you later
Me: :) love you hon
Chickadee: :)

It’s the little things, you know. Little things like that, that keep me from strangling her when just a few hours later she’s being so very… twelve.

(Also, the folder structure delights me. “Hey Mom, can you fetch me my science notes which I have carefully buried five files deep because I believe such impeccable organization will totally make up for the fact that most of the time I can’t even remember I had homework in the first place?”)


  1. Megan

    My daughter, who is in the very eye of the storm of a very strenuous and difficult language school, regularly sends me IM’s. During lunch, she claims. They have VERY LONG LUNCHES is all I’m sayin’. However, since she’s over 800 miles away I’ll take what I can get!

    Also? LOVE the file structure. Given what I’ve seen in my department I think she has a brilliant career as a scatty but lovable English professor ahead of her!

  2. diane

    What? My first thought was how lovely that file structure was!

    That little bit of distance is a godsend for keeping the pricklies at bay. You can concentrate on the current conversation without all the other complicated emotions welling up, a bit like the conversations you can have after lights out at camp, when you can talk about all sorts of things you’d never discuss in a face to face conversation.

  3. Karen

    My husband routinely nests folders 20 deep. Lots of fun when he has forgotten to copy over an essential work folder and has to walk me through locating it. Searching doesn’t work, because lots of his folders have the same names, just nested into different parent folders.

    And thank goodness for IMs! My autistic daughter uses IM to communicate when she is angry with me.

  4. MomQueenBee

    Texting and IM are perhaps the best thing to happened to parent/teen communication since, well, language. That’s the perfect way to put it: It takes the bristly out, mostly because eyerolling does not translate well. I had to create my own emoticon for those special moments:

  5. jodifur

    I was a nightmare of a teenager. Seriously. I slammed my door so many times my father took it off the hinges. From about 13-18 you could not speak to me.

    But I’m lovely now and have a great relationship with my parents.

    Does that help? I hope so.

  6. MomCat

    Thank God for IMing, keeping moms and daughters speaking, in a virtual sense. Speaking is good! (Love your spelling of “No, rillllly?” LOL)

  7. Brandi

    Her file system and my file system are the same!

    (The deepest files I can find are in

    /Dot/Files/Folder/Online Relics/Chatsaves/Decklesby/TMS/TMS/April 2002/images/photos

    ..yeah that is a bit crazy.)

  8. J from Ireland

    Hahaha welcome to my world. The fear of having the relationship I had with my own mother makes me try a little harder to shut my fecking mouth when my lovely 13 yr old daughter starts. I hang on to the little things like the little kisses at the end of her texts for the days I was to strangle her. The very best of wishes to you Mir.

  9. elz

    I totally googled gustducin. Seriously. I foresee a great amount of googling as my kids grow and have more complicated assignments. Sweet overly organized and disorganized Chickadee.

  10. MacDougal Street Baby

    I haven’t entered this stage of parenthood yet. In fact, just yesterday I was debating the whole cell phone/texting phenomena with some fellow parents. They were saying that once the kids hit middle school, not to have such a device cuts a child off from a developing social circle. I was mortified. Not so much that my child was going to be excluded but that this was the motivation for giving a kid a phone. For fear of exclusion? Don’t we, as grown-ups, want to teach our kids that it’s okay to stand alone? That being said, I am now starting to see the benefits. Teenage years suck. We all know it from our own experiences. I’d like to be able to soften those bumps if I can for my own kids. Maybe this is the way.

  11. Beth R

    Is it horrible to admit that I still use the distance to rub some of the pricklies off when dealing with my mom… and I’m 40? [sheepish grin] We’re too much alike to always be comfortable together.

    And the file structure? YAY for organized brains! “Just search for it” isn’t always a viable organizational strategy.

  12. Katherine

    I haven’t given in the “you must give kid a phone” yet and my older one is a high school freshman. I told him he could have a phone, but that he has to share the cost. So far, he is unwilling – even though he wants a phone. He wants a fancier plan than what I have, with internet access and a keyboard and all. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in the stone age, as far as he is concerned with an el-cheapo phone and pay-as-you-go minimal calling plan.

    I guess he just doesn’t want a phone that badly yet.

    Love the file system. I get emails/phone calls from son and DH at times asking me to find files and walking me through it. fun, fun.

  13. Burgh Baby

    I have seriously stopped an argument with my husband and told him to figure out what he wants and EMAIL IT TO ME. It’s amazing how much better we are at working through a situation when we both take the time to think through our thoughts. And don’t roll our eyes. Or huff. Or yell. Or whine. Ahem.

  14. Tracy B

    This cracks me up because about 5-6 years ago, my daughter and I went through the same love-hate relationship. I loved her and she hated me. Now, she’s 22 and well, isn’t texting the most awesome creation? Things are alot better today than 5 years ago but texting still keeps the “you annoy the crap outta me” times tolerable.

  15. Carrie On

    I just ask other mothers on here NOT to use a text message to tell your daughter that you are getting a divorce. Or that her grandmother died. My mom did both of those to me. So personally, I HATE texting with her.

  16. Lori N

    Love this!

    btw: Did you see the article on CNN reporting that the average teen texts somewhere around 3339 texts per month? (Girls are higher than that, boys lower & text use drops off by age…of course!) l

  17. Katie in MA

    It’s a good thing those “love you”s and smooches go so far, isn’t it? Bless their silly little tweenage hearts.

  18. Katie

    The most productive fights, uh, discussions I have had with my hubby are on the phone. Distance is a godsend. Now, if only he would start texting…

  19. Heather Cook

    That’s some impressive organizational skillz :)

  20. Sheila


  21. JoAnne

    I can already see how much “fun” my daughter is going to be as a teenager. She is currently 1.5 years old. I’m scared….

  22. karen

    Gustducin?… is that really something? I’m thinking you just used that word to mask the thing that it really is because that’s really not important or any of our business…. But.. I’m curious.. if that’s SUMTHIN ..I wanna know.

  23. Mia

    My 12 year old daughter doesn’t use a cell – we tried but she couldn’t keep track of it so it’s all eyerolling and sighing and biting my lips (all of that just me!) but the cell phone is wonderful with my 14 yr old SON as well: the years of monosyllabic grunting have arrived and the cell phone has granted us (separated by distance as we are) daily communication that might otherwise be absent… he will text even when he won’t talk so it works for us.

  24. Nancy

    I don’t believe you have to give your kids everything for them to feel included. I did not have cable TV when my kids were teens mostly because of MTV and other content. I still don’t have it and no one misses it. They said then that they needed it, but now say they appreciate my stand(12 years later). Kids do eventually appreciate all that you do, it just takes a while.

    When my kids wanted to text, and I did not have it on my plan, they got a new one and put me on it – and they pay for it! Sometimes payback she is no bitch.

  25. Rachel

    I keep my folders like that, too. I have the inherent need to organize, especially when it keeps me from doing actual work.

  26. Cele

    I wish my boss would learn her filing system, it would make my life sooo much easier.

  27. Half Assed Kitchen

    I like that. Sometimes my son and I email and it’s the sweetest thing.

  28. KMayer

    My mom, of four girls, said she thought we should be sent away from menstruation to college graduation. Now a mom of 3 girls ( and a boy) I think she’s right! Breathe, baby, breathe. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.

  29. KMayer

    ooops. apparently am repeating myself already! See, I am my mother! AGGGHHHH!

  30. getcha

    I thank texting for the awesome relationship I have with my 17 yr old stepson …

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest