Saturday, June 6, 2009

Life Is Good. Do I Need To Know Why?

(For Jamey.)

Suspicious happenings are afoot Chez Wiles.

Earlier today, Darling Daughter sought permission to embark on yet another all-important, can't-miss, everyone's-going social event. To which I responded, as I have the past 851 times such occasions have arisen (this week alone), "I'm not even considering it until your room's picked up and the cat litter boxes are cleaned out."

To which she replied, without a dram of facetiousness, "You're right. I'll take care of it."

You bet you will, I thought, satisfied. Having won the battle, I gave a smug nod, saying, "OK. Well, be sure to let me know when it's done." I turned crisply on my heel to get back to sorting laundry. But then, thought, What was that all about?

Come to think of it, Darling Daughter has been exceptionally accommodating these past few days. Beyond accommodating, in fact -- she's been pleasant, easygoing, and dare I say it, delightful.

My parental radar could not possibly be at a higher level of alert.

Think about it another way. Earlier today, regarding North Korea's ongoing and persistent nuclear tests and missile launches, President Barack Obama issued a warning, saying, "We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation."

That's all well and good. But what if, in response, sickly, scrawny, teeny, tiny, pompadoured and platformed Kim Jon-il, dictator-beyond-Conan-O'Brian's-wildest-dreams, had stretched up to his full five-foot-three-inches and had the mendacity to say -- "Okey dokey"?

I know, right? Plainly, something unusually nefarious would be afoot.

Same thing Chez Wiles. Somebody's up to no good.

But who?

Is is possible that Darling Daughter has achieved a new level of brain maturation, allowing her to be reasonable, respectful and rational? Nah. She's plenty clever, but her frontal lobe isn't scheduled to mature for another 10 years. Indeed, based on how things are progressing for her 14-year-old brother, maybe longer.

Is it possible that, despite 12-year-old brain development, my personal responsibility mantra has been sufficiently drummed into her head, and she's prepared to embrace my carefully-considered and all-knowing lessons? Nah. I won't kid myself -- I'm not that good.

Is it possible that I'm being played?

Ding, ding, ding! Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

Darling Daughter had said, "You're right. I'll take care of it"? What, exactly, did she mean by that? Did she think I wouldn't call her on that? Did she think she could just soothe me into complacency? Did she think ... ?

Wait a minute. Is is possible that I'm the one up to no good?

Maybe I'm too suspicious. She is, after all, Darling. Why wouldn't she be agreeable? Why wouldn't she be accommodating?

And really, who needs a reason? Regardless of how cunning and conniving either of us might be, maybe it's best just to embrace the situation. Whatever the circumstances, I'll take "accommodating" and "delightful" over "snarky" and "eye-spinning" any day of the week.

In fact, to promote such behavior, contrived or not, I may have to start her day tomorrow with a little something special -- like these always good, always light, always better-than-from-any-mix pancakes.

If only they worked on her 14-year-old brother.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 stick (real) butter, melted

Using a fork or whisk, mix together dry ingredients in a bowl. When well combined, quickly stir in remaining ingredients with a few strokes of wooden spoon. Do not over-stir. Cook on a hot, prepared griddle, turning only once. Serve with syrup, or, at our house, powdered sugar and strawberries.

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