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Conditional Girl

27 June 2006

Children are great hedgers. And I think this is a natural protective measure. You never know how stupid an adult can be, so saying things like “I may have broken that dish” or “I just picked up the CD and this big scratch just … appeared out of nowhere!” (or, my own example from when I was a little girl looking through my mother’s jewelry box, having been warned to stay away from the old-fashioned razor blade she kept in there [I still don’t know why she kept one in there]: “I was looking at your rings, on the other side of the jewelry box from the blade; I looked down and–POOF!–my finger was bleeding. Isn’t that weird?”) can maybe avert a scolding. Who knows? It’s worth a try.

My Trixie has brought this conditional treatment to an art form. I don’t know why. It’s not like she needs to prevent physical punishment. Like yesterday, for example. I brought her to the doctor because for the past 6 weeks she’s been complaining off and on that her foot hurts. I happen to have overly flexible ligaments, which instead of preventing strains, allow it (I had to see a podiatrist a couple of years ago, who told me I just needed to stay off my feet for several weeks to heal the stretch [!!!]); I didn’t know if maybe I passed on this extra flexibility to my daughter (the podiatrist had said it was probable other family members had this same problem [hear that, sisters of mine?])

After waiting the requisite 15 minutes in the examination room, the doctor comes in and starts her exam. “Which foot is the one that hurts?” she asks Trixie.

“I’m pretty sure it’s this one.”


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