Thursday, January 07, 2010

If there was one thing I could teach Daisy and have it really stick in her brain, it would be to question authority. I'd have her question her teachers, question the law, question religion, and question me. Turns out, that's not the way she's wired. I don't think I've ever met anyone who was so completely mesmerized by even the hint of a rule.

Our return trip from Kauai featured prime examples of Daisy's lawfulness.

It started at breakfast the morning we were due to leave. We had been staying in a condo and had overbought a bunch of groceries for the week. Sitting at the breakfast table, I contemplated all the food we'd need to eat in order not to waste it.

Me: Daisy, we bought way too much sugar. Here, eat a sugar cube.

I offered her a tasty tasty sugar cube. She stared at me like I was from Mars, an unhealthy scofflaw from Mars.

Daisy: (stunned) Dad! I'm not supposed to eat sugar cubes!
Me: I know they're not healthy, which is why I don't offer you one very often, but here's your big chance to eat one. I'm just going to throw them away otherwise.
Daisy: But... but... they're not good for me!
Me: I KNOW! Look, having one sugar cube isn't going to kill you, but if you don't want it, that's fine.

She contemplated this.

Daisy: Wellllllll, SHOULD I eat the sugar cube?
Me: Should you? There's no should or shouldn't here. I offered you a sugar cube. Eat it or don't.
Daisy: Do you WANT me to eat the sugar cube?

At this point Daisy was desperate for any tiny shred of authority she could use to justify eating the sugar cube. I didn't take the bait.

Me: Daisy, I neither want you to eat it nor not eat it. This is entirely your decision. It's just you and the cube.
Daisy: What if I don't like it?

I laughed at this line of questioning, and the rest of the table occupants soon moved on to more pressing issues, planning our departure from Kauai. I quickly forgot all about the sugar cube. About five minutes later...

Daisy: Well, if I don't like it, I can always spit it out, right?

Daisy beamed at me with this conclusion while I marveled at the fact that she had been sitting at the table for the last five minutes in silence while still contemplating the magical sugar cube. Amazingly, she did eat it. It was, hands down, the most ballsy thing she'd do for the rest of the trip.

Later, when we were checking our bags at the airport, I took some crumpled paper out of my pocket and asked Daisy to throw it away for me. I pointed out a trash can about 15 yards away.

In between us and the trash can were a couple of those ribboned line-dividers. There was no one currently in line, so it was a straight shot to the trash can, especially for a short 10 year-old who could easily scoot under the ribbons.

Daisy: But, Dad, that's where the line goes.
Me: That's fine. No one is there. It's just ribbons and an empty line. No one will mind.
Daisy: But...
Me: It's RIGHT there. Trust me that it's fine. Just go!

Daisy froze, and then sprinted off in the opposite direction, going the extra 100 yards AROUND the empty line. I stood in amazement, wondering if it was too late to DNA test my daughter.

30 minutes later we stood in the security line. We took off our shoes, just like we had every other time during the trip, and we placed the very same carry-ons we'd had the whole trip onto the TSA conveyor belt.

The TSA Automaton walked back and forth on the other side of the conveyor belt, asking if anyone had any liquids or gels in their carry-ons. Daisy's arm shot up.

Daisy: I have my medicine.
Me: Don't worry. Your medicine is fine. It's just a few drops of liquid. They're looking for...

The TSAutomaton cut me off and demanded to see inside Daisy's bag. I opened it up and rifled around for Daisy's inhaler. Along the way, I pulled out Daisy's toothpaste, the very same tube we had been successfully carrying all week WITHOUT BLOWING UP ANY AIRPLANES.

TSAbot: Sir, would you like to check this?
Me: The toothpaste?
TSAbot: Would you like to check it?
Me: You're asking me if I want to go stand in line for an hour to check a tube of toothpaste?
TSAbot: Either that or I throw it away.
Me: Yes, please throw away my daughter's toothpaste.

And with that we moved on. I suggested to Daisy in the future that she not be so adamant about having TSA inspect every inch of her life.

Daisy: But, Dad, they said liquids and GELS! My toothpaste is a gel!

Me, I'm just proud of her for not guiltily puking up the sugarcube when we went through the agricultural inspection.


lostworld said...

Happy New Year Mike!

Wait till Daisy grows up. You will consider the DNA test again.. for the diametrically opposite reason!! ;-D

Mike said...

You're not the first person to warn me of this. I guess time will tell....

Ms.PhD said...

Oy. That would drive me nuts.

Having said that, apparently this is a personality type. There are people, I'm told, who really love rules.

I'm more like you. I guess it's supposedly not genetic. My parents are rules people... mostly.

Mike said...

Ms. PhD, yeah, that's pretty much it. Rules make her feel safe, like the world is orderly and structured. I like that feeling too, but I also like knowing that I can take a shortcut when it makes sense.