My Kid Can’t Spit

Posted: April 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Miss Kate, Other Mothers, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting | 8 Comments »

I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had it with all the sickeningly proud parents in my suburban enclave. The next minivan I see with a “My son made the honor roll at John Muir High” sticker, I’m going to aim at, accelerate, and ram into. You know, go all Fried Green Tomatoes on their ass.

What about the under-achieving children of the world? What about the kids who didn’t get perfect attendance, but were only sent home once for biting someone? Where’s the bumper sticker for the student who amassed the most tardy slips? Or won an award for wearing the best Halloween costume—in April?

To balance the scales, today I’m celebrating all the things that my kids can’t do.

Like, my oldest daughter, Kate—the six year old. I’ll give her an article of clothing, a sweatshirt say, and kindly request, “Could you put this in your room, please?” Inevitably I’ll find it later strewn across the kitchen floor. Or balled up on top of the toilet tank. I’ve found panties that were hamper-bound wedged amongst the rain boots by the front door. I even found socks in the cracker cabinet once (though that may’ve been my doing.)

It’s not like in our Craftsman cottage Kate gets lost on the epic voyage to her room. It’s not clear to me what happens in those few short steps. So I’m considering rigging cameras through the house and building a room with a wall of TV monitors. After the kids go to sleep, instead of watching Mad Men or reality cooking shows, Mark and I can tune into the day’s tapes and figure out what happened to that half-eaten plate of meatloaf that never made it from the dining room table to the kitchen after dinner.

What my little one, Paige, is dazzlingly bad at is… spitting. You may be frustrated that your child is having trouble mastering the multiplication tables. What sends mushroom clouds of steam out of my mama head is watching my four-year-old brush her teeth. The girl cannot spit toothpaste. She does this flaccid tongue extension over and over, like a dog you’ve given peanut butter to (don’t pretend you’ve never done that). There’s no energy, no velocity behind Paige’s spit.

This also infuriates Kate, who is wired like her mama, and who, at age six, happens to be an authority on absolutely everything. Kate bellows, “Spit, Paigey! SPIT! Like this!” and demos snappy little squirts into the sink.

Mark will pass by the bathroom to see Kate and I yelling, “Really just spit it outta there! Let it fly!” and will just shake his head and walk on.

One area where both my girls excel with inability is toilet flushing. Especially when the contents of the bowl are, well, solid. It’s like they somehow mixed up that hippie water-saving adage “If it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down” to “if it’s brown, let it stick around.”

Paige has gone so far as to showcase turds she was especially proud of, grabbing my arm and dragging me through the house insisting I needed to see “something” right away. How delighted I am to finally discover what it is she’s so rabidly proud of.

Their inability to depress the toilet handle is bad enough when it’s just us four in the house. When I hear Mark bellow a dismayed “Awww!” followed by a flush I know exactly what he’s encountered. I’m just concerned about this habit following the girls into their adult lives. At this rate, they’ll never hold onto a college roommate and will end up living at home forever.

There are other things my girls can’t do. Kate can’t whistle, which distresses her. And despite being part of a youth choir, she also can’t sing. Paige still can’t snap herself into her booster seat. Neither of them can type 100 words a minute, speak Latin, or make a killer cassoulet. Oh, the list could go on and on, but really—I don’t want to brag.

You see, my children could be the cleverest, cutest, kindest and most talented accordion, guitar, or kazoo prodigies you’d ever meet. But even if that was true, you’ll never hear about it from me.

As for that recent email from the preschool informing us that some of the children have been playing a spitting game on the playground? I can assure you, that is not my kid.

What does your kid suck at? Leave a comment and let me know.


8 Comments on “My Kid Can’t Spit”

  1. 1 Andrea said at 5:48 pm on April 25th, 2012:

    I hate it when other parents brag, too, which is why I always talk about my kids as if they spend each school day drooling in the corner. I think I do this to show those over-competitive parents that an average child is still worth loving.

  2. 2 Jeff P said at 7:01 am on April 26th, 2012:

    my kid sucks at listening and sitting still at the dinner table

  3. 3 kristen said at 10:02 am on April 26th, 2012:


    Speaking of your kids and school–did I ever tell you I have a crush on their high school principal after reading your book?

    Well there. I said it.

    I just loved everything he had to say. Seemed like such a smart chap.

    And/or the dot illustration of him was particularly becoming.

  4. 4 kristen said at 10:07 am on April 26th, 2012:


    Yes, I believe that is called childhood.

    Although I’m really old and I still have trouble listening and sitting still at the dinner table. ESPECIALLY on Halloween night.

    Did your mother ever make you eat dinner on Halloween? I think that should be outlawed! What kid in their right mind can actually be expected to sit down and eat a balanced meal before going out trick or treating? Sheesh. My mom was mean.

    Of course, on Christmas morning I don’t let my kids open presents until I make my cranberry bread (from scratch, of course) and pop it into the oven.

    But that is DIFFERENT.

  5. 5 Mahasin said at 7:15 pm on April 28th, 2012:

    Delurking to say that my kids suck at following directions and walking from the car to the front door without stopping 20 times to touch bugs, throw dirt, run around the car, or fight with each other. On the bright side, they excel at screaming at the top of their lungs in complete harmony while I drive! ( The Oakland mommy reader born on May 10, educated in RI, whose mom had cancer too, who reads religiously, but posts sporadically.) PS– On a side note, I think that I once saw you in Whole Foods in Oakland– I almost screamed, but decided not to say anything lest you think that I’m a stalker, which I am not!;)

  6. 6 Monica M said at 9:32 am on May 4th, 2012:

    You know how they have those “Most Likely to Succeed”, “Best Dressed”, “Most Popular”, etc… sections in high school yearbooks? Well, not to brag, but I won (along with a friend) the honor of “Most Likely to Be Tardy” my senior year. They even did a photo of us, in which we were featured getting our late passes from the main office. See, even the non-achievers now have role models!

  7. 7 kristen from motherload said at 11:38 am on May 13th, 2012:

    Mahasin: Your comment was hiding in my spam folder. Happy I just found it! Just read it to my husband who is freaked out by our parallel lives. I love it! And hope your bday was fabulous! xoxo

  8. 8 kristen from motherload said at 11:42 am on May 13th, 2012:


    Most Likely to be Tardy… what an honor. Hope you have that on your resume!

    I was Class Clown one year in high school–hard to imagine (ahem).

    And at my yacht club growing up I got an award for being the most reckless sailor.

    I’ve never let these honors go to my head though, and I worked long and hard to get them.

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