We passed a billboard the other day that said, “Prevent Child Abuse” in giant black letters.
There was talking. There is always talking . . . especially in the car and especially from Kallan. Kallan likes a seat-belted and captive audience.
Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in and you’re out
You’re up and you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right
It’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up
She got all of the words right. Although how much do I miss her first version of this song, which went . . .
You’re hot then you’re cold
You’re Eskimo bold
You’re up and down pound
You’re wrong every time
It’s black and it’s white
We fight and break cups
We kiss and mail pups
I especially miss “Eskimo bold.”
When I explained what the song was about and how it told the story about a girl and a boy who could never agree on anything, she immediately made it the song of her sisterhood with Maj. Which is pretty spot-on, actually.
The song ended and there was quiet for about 3 seconds, and then Kallan wondered aloud why Oregon was so concerned about fat kids.
Ummmmm . . . what?
She continued, “Maybe ‘cause we were home-schooling for a while, we didn’t get all the messages, but up here in Oregon, let me tell you, they are very worried about fat kids. Which is weird, because they tell us not to call names or be rude to people or point out how other people are different than we are because we will hurt their feelings. But whoever is in charge of worrying about fatness does not seem to be at all concerned about pointing out the fat or hurting fat kids’ feelings. Those posters are all over school.”
Turned the radio down (doesn’t Miley Cyrus always sound like she’s wearing an ill-fitting retainer?).
“What are you talking about, Kallan? Who’s worried about fat kids?”
She looked at me incredulously, “What do you mean ‘Who’s worried about fat kids?’ Those signs are all over the place. We pass them all the time.”
Cranky now that her mother is so stupid, waving her hands in irritated frustration, “Huge big signs on the side of the road. Posters in the school hallway. PREVENT CHILD ABUSE.”
Maj, who tries not to listen when her sister talks in the car, heard that and let loose a huge sarcastic “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” and then a nasty, “YOU ARE SO DUMB. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW DUMB YOU ARE.”
Kallan balled up a fist, “Somebody better make her stop or I am going to pound her.”
“Apologize to your sister, Maj.”
Maj apologized, “Sorry you don’t even know how to read a billboard, dear sister.”
I reached a hand back to swipe angrily at Maj, “That is exactly the sort of apology that gets you pounded, Maj.”
Kallan still had her fist in the air, ready to pound if I granted permission. She’s an optimist like that. I reached back to lower her clenched hand into her lap.
“Obese means fat, Kallan. The word on the billboard and on the signs at school is abuse, which means when someone hurts you. The signs are saying that Moms and Dads need to be careful with their emotions and their tempers and not hurt their children.”
Silence in the car for a minute and then another question from Kallan.
“Ok, but then why would they use a word that means all of the fat kids are stupid?”
Think, think, think . . . you can do this. Mom will figure this out.
“No, baby . . . that’s another word. Are you thinking of obtuse?”
Kallan, sulkily, “Oh yeah.”
Maj, in nasty triumph, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That is the most obtuse-est thing I have ever heard!”
My arm swung back again to vertically cut the air between them, “Keep your hand on your side of the car. Kallan, do not pound your sister.”
Maj stuck her tongue out at Kallan, “Yeah, don’t abuse me.”
There’s the whiff of closely averted violence in the air now, but it’s nothing a little music won’t fix. I punch buttons until I find a song. And now Kallan’s singing happily along to Ke$ha’s Tik Tok.
I’m talking about – everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys trying to touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if they’re getting too drunk, drunk
Kallan again, “So while we are talking about things I don’t understand, why does she bring her junk to the party and once it’s there, why does she care if the boys touch it? Even if they are drunk, it’s not like you can really ruin junk.”
Ummmmm . . . . Kallan is 8 years old, so what to say . . . “Words sometimes mean different things, Kallan. I think junk in this song actually means her butt.”
I answer over Maj’s hysterical laughter, “Yup.”
Silence, and then, from a cranky Kallan, “Words are confusing.”
I reach back and pat her knee, “I know. Remember Eskimo bold?”
And a joyful Kallan is off, serenading Maj with the Katy Perry song of sisterhood again in her biggest and most annoying voice.
Maj is quickly driven the short distance from calm to insanity.
“MOTHER . . . I CAN’T STAND THE SONG OF SISTERHOOD! MAKE HER STOP!”
Not this time, “I’m not sure it’s right to interrupt the sister love.”
Here comes the chorus.
Maj kicks the back of my seat in impotent rage, “AUGHGHGHGHGHGHGH!!!!!! I . . . AM . . . NOT . . . ESKIMO . . . BOLD!!!!”