I was not an easy child to raise. I’ll admit that. Thanks to my paternal DNA (That’s you, Dad.), I was born with a mean stubborn streak. I wasn’t a bad child, really. I was mainly just really frustrating at times. For example, I was very particular about what I did and did not like, and I made no bones about making my preferences known.
For example, when I was little and we would go on road trips, there would be the inevitable visit to a state-run roadside rest stop to have lunch and “use the facilities.” Since these rest stops were out in the middle of nowhere, the toilets were not connected to any municipal plumbing system. Instead of toilet bowls filled with flushing water, the seats opened down into a huge, underground tank into which one’s… ahem… “business” was collected and, of course, treated with various chemicals which I’m sure were probably horrible for the environment.
No matter how badly I had to go, I absolutely would not use one of these toilets. My mother used everything in her Mother’s Toolbox to try to get me to sit on the toilet seat so I could do my business, but there was no way I was going to sit on top of a giant, gaping, smelly, fly-populated hole filled with… well, you know.
I may have been a wee tot, but I wasn’t stupid.
Another example is when my parents would put socks and shoes on my feet. If there was the tiniest bit of a wrinkle in my socks when the shoes went on, I would pitch a fit worthy of the most pampered prima donna. They would have no choice but to remove my shoes, smooth out my socks, and put my shoes back on, and only when my socks were wrinkle free would I settle down.
In my defense, have you ever had your shoes crammed onto your feet with wrinkles in your socks? Not comfortable! I still ensure that my socks are wrinkle free to this day.
One early elementary school day, I decided that I wanted to wear my favorite pair of underpants. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I wanted to wear them with pants. This particular pair of underpants had several rows of ruffles on the back, and wearing them with pants would have made my rump look strangely bumpy.
My mother tried to explain to me the logistics of this egregious fashion blunder, but I would have none of it. I was determined to wear my ruffled underpants. I put up such a fight about it that she finally gave in and let me wear them, and I skipped off happily to school, bumpy rump and all.
Years later, I was reminiscing to Mom about what a stubborn child I could be.
“Mom,” I asked her. “I must have driven you to the edge of sanity on more than one occasion. What kept you from snapping and smacking me silly?
I looked at her expectantly, a playful grin on my face.
Mom didn’t say a word, but her long suffering smile said it all.