Friday, July 1, 2011

5 Things I want to teach my daughter

It’s the first of the month again so per custom I’m posting a few more things I want to teach my kids. This month we’re focusing back on the Girl, but most of these things are valid for the boy as well. So here goes, five more things I believe my daughter should know to grow into a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult.

1. Learn to change a flat tire. Getting a flat is a monumental pain in the patootie, and changing said flat is man’s work as far as I’m concerned. Buuuuut, unfortunately in today’s world finding a man who will stop to help you change a tire is nothing short of miraculous, as, incidentally, is finding a man who can actually change a tire. I’m absolutely not advocating for my daughter to get her cute clothes and dainty hands dirty if there’s another alternative, but in the unlikely event that she find herself with a flat on an isolated road, at night, in the rain with no cell phone reception well, better she change her tire herself than wait around like a sitting duck for the bloodthirsty mass murderer she is likely to run into in this scenario, right?

2. Learn how to sew basics. I can’t sew, whereas my mother accurately reproduced a 16th century velvet with gold embroidery Italian lady’s gown for my Halloween costume when I was nine and had decided I wanted to be Juliet. I’m hoping she’ll take after her Nana, but if she doesn’t then she must at least learn to sew on a button, hem her pants, fix a broken strap… I’m not proposing she become a seamstress for Valentino, but there’s no good reason for her not to learn how to thread a needle.

3.Parallel park. When I was 16 years old my Dad took me to the DMV (back then it had another name, can’t remember what it was though and it’s driving me nuts, if anyone from Texas wants to volunteer the info I’d appreciate it!). Anyway, the first thing you did was parallel park, if you couldn’t do that you may as well go home cause no way you were getting your driver’s license. I was understandably nervous about the whole process, especially since neither of my parents have the teaching gene. So I get in my little Nissan with the huge and menacing DMV guy and I get into position to park, (all the while signaling like crazy, repeatedly checking my mirrors and keeping my hands firmly in the ten to two position) I start the maneuver and in the rearview mirror see my dad, who was standing on the sidewalk behind me, whack himself on the forehead with an open palm and shake his head disconsolately as his shoulders are shaking with laughter. Thanks Dad.
In any case, I learned my lesson and can now parallel park with the best of them, blindfolded (backwards and in heels as Ginger Rogers used to say). It’s not hard once you get the gist and the look of amazement in the boys’ eyes when you park your car perfectly in the unlikeliest of places is priceless.

4. Read a map. Notice a certain recurring theme in this list?
I have zero sense of direction so effectively learning to read a map is a skill I acquired early. It’s true that in today’s world what with the GPS in the car and on our smartphones and all manner of information at our fingertips map reading seems a bit, well, passé, but this is exactly why it’s now an important skill to have, fewer and fewer people know how to do this, it could set you apart.

5. Mix a martini - or actually any drink. Learn how to mix a couple of drinks and do them well, because, again we’re now surrounded by pre-made martini mixes and margarita mixes and bloody mary mixes and on and on. It’s all premade and prefabricated and ready-to-use so we don’t know how to do the basics for ourselves anymore.

All this because when my daughter comes home after a really crappy day, in which her pant button comes off and she has to mend it, she can’t find a parking spot to save her life, her car gets a flat and her GPS gives out on her, and her fridge is empty but for ice and tonic water, I at least want her to be able to rummage in the liquor cabinet for a minute and make herself a stiff drink to drown her woes in. 
Independence at its best.

p.s. I’ve been recently told by a friend that she can’t seem to comment with Disqus, and as I’ve noticed a certain decrease in the number of comments I was just wondering if Disqus is, in fact, causing problems (in which case I’ll go back to the old blogger comments). If you would like to comment but can’t seem to for some reason could you drop me an email at {moomser at gmail dot com} to let me know, please.


  1. Perfect list!  I have yet to learn 1 and 3 and I so wish I knew how!

  2. I must admit I'm not 100% with number 5 yet, but I'm working on it!

  3. I fall really short on your list, but it's certainly a good one. How did I grow up to be so incompetent? Sucks!!!

  4. It's not incompetence it's priorities! My husband just called me on number 1 btw. The one and only time I changed my tire I was supervised and 18 so he says it doesn't count, because I can't say that I'm actually able to change a tire now, as it's been so long. Fine. Next time I get a flat I'll show him! (just realized this is a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face...)

  5. I seem to be able to comment just fine. Which I will now do. I cannot for the life of my read a map. But that's okay because I can mix a drink. Then call a driver to pick me up (obviating the need for parallel parking even though I can do it). He can then change his own tires since it's his car, although I can do that too. And while my PA handles alterations, Fancy here has whipped up some clothing in her day too. So I say, excellent list! x

  6. Perhaps DPS?! We always called it the DPS in North Houston, rather than the DMV - actually I think we still call it DPS... :-\