So I am at work the other day
creating award-winning ads googling “celebrity meltdowns”, when I get a phone call from the principal of Emily’s school. Oh no. This cannot be good. “It seems that a disturbing an incident has occurred which I must make you aware of,” says the Principal. “No!!!” screams my brain. She finally got caught doing some kind of lunatic stunt and now I’m going to need a team of Defense Counselors!
But before I tell you the incident, which was disturbing indeed, I need to explain my above gut reaction. You see, from the time Emily, 14, was a toddler, she’s been an unconventional “I did it MY WAY” kind of gal. Not at all a boring rule-follower, no siree. Rules are for sissies. If a given situation calls for a little creativity, by god, she’s going to give it her all.
Like the time the electrical outlet in her room became an ATM machine. When Emily was 3, we were entertaining some friends who had come over for a playdate with their cute little non-troubleseeking boys. All of a sudden there was a “buzzy” sound and all the lights in the house flickered. I don’t know who moved faster, me or hubby, but we both raced into Emily’s room, expecting an orange flaming fireball. Instead, there she was, grinning with her blue eyes looking totally innocent, sitting inches from an electrical outlet with a burnt penny in her hand. After I recovered from my momentary cardiac arrest, I realized that some kind of angelic intervention had just occurred because she was completely unharmed. But that didn’t stop me from freaking out because that’s what we moms do when these kinds of death-defying moments occur. Years later, I asked her what in the world she was thinking by putting a penny in an outlet, and she said, “Well, it looked a bank machine, so I thought I’d give it a try.” Well, there ya’ go… you can’t stop the curiosity train.
When Emily was about 6, she decided to gulp down a big ol’ spoonful of white, powdery Oxyclean because “it looked like sugar, and hey, sugar is delicious, right?” That’s the first time I had to call Poison Control, but I’ll have you know, it was not the last. The next time was Halloween night a few years later. After eating bucketloads of candy, she bounded into the living room and grinned mischievously. The inside of her mouth was glowing the color of neon Day-Glo green, and nope, you guessed it, this was NOT part of her zombie costume. Always up for some wacky, spontaneous fun, she had decided to bite a Glow Stick “just to see what would happen.” I was prepared to race to the hospital for an exciting night of stomach pumping, but the Poison Control lady said that it was harmless, thank God, and that it would wear off. Who knew? Emily chalked it up to some pretty awesome Halloween fun.
You’ll never guess what the little Fartbutt did when she 9, and totally old enough to know better, my friend. We had just moved to a brand new house in a new town. The feature that made us fall in love with our dream house was the breathtaking two-story living room, complete with floor-to-ceiling custom butcherblock paneling, which as my Dad informed us, was very, very expensive in the 1970’s. Ten days after we moved in, I was unpacking boxes and the sunlight was streaming in through the highest window. A strange reflection caught my eye, and upon further inspection, I was horrified to see 6-inch tall letters, carved with what appeared to be a very sharp knife, that said, “AMANDA did this.” Well, at least I knew who did it, right? Wrong. And the next thought was, “Yep, there was no way that was ever going to come off.” I interrogated Emily like a police officer, and she just shrugged and said, “Mom, of course I didn’t do that. It says…AMANDA did it.” Oh, of course. Charges dropped. Just kidding, she spent a lot of time in the slammer (her room) for that one. And her sister was not at all amused. Yes, that big splash of Artistic Expression is still there to this day, sure to delight all future generations.
The curiosity train continued to careen down the track over the years, with absolutely no sign of ever pulling into the station. Just last year is my favorite example of Lunatic Stunts that Mom will never, ever find out about. Emily was having a sleepover with her two Besties, which occurs every single weekend at my house – KILL ME – and they were up all night giggling. A couple of days later, I open up the laptop computer, and someone forgot to log off a Chat Room, featuring a back-and-forth conversation with a guy named “Hot Tighty Whities”. Now before you send me letters about how I am the worst mother in the world, don’t bother, I already know that. Hubby and I have spent approximately their entire lifetime warning them about the dangers of online predators, so it’s not like she had no clue. Speaking of lunatic behavior, you should have seen me fly off the handle. So after vehemently denying that had she ever entered that Chat Room (maybe it was AMANDA who did it?), we had to inform her that we had ironclad evidence, namely a little something called a HISTORY BUTTON. Bam, gotcha. More time in the slammer, plus careful monitoring of her computer use for the rest of her life.
So when I got that call from the principal of her school, is it any wonder that I thought the curiosity train had finally been hijacked? Turns out, she’s a pretty good kid in school, behavior-wise that is. (We’ll talk about crappy grades in a whole ‘nuther blog.) She’s shy, quiet and stays out of trouble in school. The call was about an incident in which her name was written on the boy’s bathroom wall, along with some pretty filthy words. They were planning on reviewing the security tapes to catch the little pervert. “Whew,” I thought, “someone else is going to get some slammer-time.”
Don’t get me wrong. I was pretty upset about the pervy words. But I couldn’t help but also think, “Damn, I’ll bet those words are going to wash right off that bathroom wall.” Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying Emily’s butcher block paneling masterpiece every time I sit in my living room until the end of time, or until I move, whichever comes first. Hey, maybe it’ll boost the resale value.