Older But No Wiser
By Kayla Kuchleffel
I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. I finally started to sound like my mother! I found myself screaming, “Don’t sit like that, you’re gonna break the chair!” or “Don’t keep the refrigerator door open so long!” And the worst curse of all, “I hope you have kids just like you!”
I find myself doing things I never dreamed I’d do, like eating the crust of the bread and challah. My son sits at the Shabbos table and digs a tunnel through the challah with his fingers, leaving a hollow shell behind. Both my husband and I fight over the crust.
I find myself eating leftovers that in my single days I would have gagged from just looking at. I find I like the cake part of the cupcake better than the icing. This works out perfectly with the kids, but not with my waistline.
I’ll never forget the first time I went to the country. The bakery truck came and I bought six cupcakes with icing and multi-colored sprinkles. Sure enough, all the kids ate off the tops and there I was with six soft fresh cupcake bottoms left over. To throw them out didn’t even enter my mind. I mean, we’re talking here forty cents a piece. I had the perfect solution. I promptly went to the fridge, took out an ice cold container of milk and finished all six cupcakes! This went on for one whole week, at which time I realized that the zipper on my skirt no longer closed. (I guess they don’t make zippers like they used to!)
I find that if I want to call one child for something, I end up calling all the other five kids’ names first! My husband has yet to get a meshabayrach right. What, with each child having two names!
I can no longer eat pizza after midnight and I make sure to always have Mylanta in the house.
And for some reason, I always thought that when you married or became parents, you automatically became smarter. I thought I would suddenly know how to figure out percentages; I thought I would suddenly know how to solve math problems; I thought that overnight my handwriting would become elegant and I would be able to do everything I hadn’t mastered up until then.
Well, my handwriting hasn’t changed since sixth grade. (I gave up writing script and now I only print.) When I think of all the time I wasted with penmanship… No matter how hard I tried, my letters never looked like they did in the book. For three years my parents thought I was learning Chinese!
Percent? If a sale isn’t fifty percent off, I don’t go! How should I know how much thirty-five percent of $42.50 is? So my husband starts explaining. Ten percent of a hundred dollars is… and on and on he goes, un ich kick em oon! He finally went out and bought me a calculator (which was marked down twenty-five percent), and I’ve got news for you. The sales help don’t know percent either! They tell you the cashier will deduct it. Big knocker! She looks it up on a printed chart - ich ken oich azoy!
And the math problems! As soon as my kids hit fifth grade, I knew I was in big trouble. That’s when it starts - the word problems! You know which ones I’m talking about. If one plane is traveling from north to south at 125,000 miles a minute and another plane is flying east to west at 117,000 miles an hour, how long will it be before they intersect? Now how am I supposed to know that? What am I - a pilot? One thing I do know - I’m not flying on that plane!! If they would ask relevant questions, like how many chickens do you need for a sheva brachos of fifty people? Then I could help them out!
Remember how our parents used to peel an apple or orange in one long circular motion and you wore the peels for bracelets? I still can’t do that either! By the time I finish peeling the apple, either it’s all brown and nobody wants to eat it, or I cut away so much peel, there is no apple left! Not to mention the peel that breaks in six different places and my daughter is hysterical for half an hour!
And sewing… The blind stitch on my hems look like a blind person sewed them!
So as each day goes by, another of my illusions is shattered. But I try to take it in stride. I figure that as long as I don’t prefer boiled flanken and stewed prunes, I’m alright.