Me: Brooke Nose Nothing


One of my children’s favorite jokes to play on me goes like this:

“What’s your name?” (I say “Brooke”).

“What’s this?” (points to nose, I answer “nose”).

“What am I holding?” (hands are empty, I answer “nothing”).

(Child doubles over laughing and states it all back to me, “Brooke knows nothing”).

It’s adorable to see them laughing, truly believing that they are as funny as Will Farrell in my eyes. For ten years, I’ve known everything in the eyes of my kids, so I’ve always taken the joke lightly.  I’ve been the go-to for everything: how to wrap a gift, how to tie your shoes, how to sew on a button, how to cook pasta, how to fold laundry, how to play most games, and more.  For the zero to ten crowd, I’m starting Varsity material.  You ask, I answer, we high-five, I’m your girl.

Recently things have really changed and I’m suddenly on notice because my fountain of knowledge relative to how quickly my kids are learning is drying up fast.  Now that my kids are eleven, almost nine, and seven, I’m not sounding nearly as smart to them as I used to.  The truth is, the inner depths of my brain are rusty and I’ve clearly been living under a dustpan for too long.  Nobody told me when I signed up to be a mother that there were different levels of moms: average moms (think reserve team), above average moms (think JV) and wicked smart moms (think Varsity).  Clearly, I’m wedged somewhere between average and above average, and going nowhere fast.  Lately my children have been asking me high-level questions with such frequency that it has come to my attention that I need to jump start my brain and review all that I once knew but have clearly forgotten.  Here is a sampling of some of the questions I’ve been fielding:

“Mom, are all the clouds in our atmosphere or are some here and some out further, you know, beyond?”

I’m inclined to respond: “Well son, since I’ve been a mom for ten years, I can totally relate to how you’re thinking about things that are out beyond the atmosphere.  Half the time I have no idea what planet I’m even living on, and I wonder how the hell I ended up in this house 24/7 doing what I’m doing.  By the way, has mommy ever told you how much I absolutely hated science in school?  I can’t think of a more painful subject to discuss except for math.  After I got a D+ in freshman science and cried my way through biology (where we had to dissect a fetal pig) and chemistry (where I worked so hard to balance equations that my amazing teacher Mr. Kellom gave me a B- even though I was right on the fringe of B-/C+), I avoided science at all costs.”

Instead I say: “Oh honey, what a good question.  Did you ask your teacher?”  After he gives me some long-winded answer about how they spend half the day doing test prep worksheets for the upcoming MCAS (separate rant!), I promise him that I’ll get back to him on that.  This is after I try to pull a b.s. answer out of my ass in which I start by saying, “Some clouds are in, some clouds are out…” before pausing and realizing that clearly a section of my brain that contained that information melted off somewhere around 2004 between nursing baby #1 and baby #2 and that I have absolutely no idea what the fu&k I am talking about.  Later that day, my 5th grader gives me a look of total astonishment that I don’t know that ALL clouds are IN the atmosphere.  She says it in a reprimanding tone, as if to say: “Put that in your pipe and smoke it, you washed-up-yet still-loveable-mini-van-driving-lady!”  It snaps me out of my mom fog, even if only briefly.  How could I have not known the answer to something so elementary?

“Mom, can you explain why the Stock Market Crashed?”

I’m inclined to say: “Honey, mom is really bad with money.  I don’t know how to use Quickbooks, although I know I need to learn.  I’ve never been good at balancing my checkbook, and I tend to guesstimate how much I’ve spent on stuff, which I don’ recommend.  This really is a question for dad, who makes spreadsheets as a hobby, could teach a course on Quickbooks, and loves bar graphs, but unfortunately he’s been on a business trip for seven days which is why mommy is acting like a bitch and yelling at everyone.  Don’t worry about the Stock Market Crash honey.  That was almost a hundred years ago and things are just fine now.  I’m sure someday you can take an economics class or something and have some nerdy professor who is way smarter than Mommy explain it to you.”

Instead I say: “Sweetie, this is a great example of a perfect time to use media.  Let’s see what Wikepedia has to say” (How the hell any of us survived before Wikipedia is beyond me).  After reading a long drawn out explanation aloud that runs several paragraphs long (and I have no idea what the hell I am reading), she shakes her head slowly, and says “ooookaaaay.”  The truth is, she looks just as confused as she was before.  I come downstairs, take a few deep breaths, and realize I am toast.

“Mom, can you help me with this math problem?”

A sweater is originally $80.  It was marked down 10% and still doesn’t sell, so the store marked it down an additional 25%.  What percent of the original price does the sweater cost?

I’m inclined to say: “Mom was in the remedial math group in high school, did you know that?  When teachers used to help me, it was like beating a dead horse.  They would explain the concepts to me so many times they would turn blue in the face, and with any luck, on the 13th try, a light might go on for me. But back to the sweater:  first of all, if it’s $80, it better be cashmere. It sounds to me like this word problem is taking place at Ann Taylor or Bloomingdales.  Mom shops for her clothing at COSTCO, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls so percents and markdowns are not something on my radar.  When I show up at the store, the additional 25% off has already been taken, so the work is already done for me honey.”

Instead I say: “Sure, I can show you.  Let’s grab a piece of paper.” (All the while breathing a deep sigh of relief that I’m still skating by on thin ice with this elementary math stuff. My goose will be cooked when the Algebra starts showing up).

“Mom, do you know there is such thing as a Winnebagel?  Really mom, I’m not making this up.”

For a moment I believe my child actually knows something I don’t.  Then, a big toothy smile breaks out on his face and I know I’ve been had.  Nowhere, anywhere, was I properly warned about what this job would truly entail.  Thank goodness they are so cute.




One thought on “Me: Brooke Nose Nothing

  1. I am crying. Gordon Spater Kurgo Products/Motivation Design, LLC. phone 978-465-5678 x101 :: :: 2D Fanaras Dr. :: Salisbury, MA 01952 Video: skype (gspater) and facetime ( Go Together… Follow us Facebook : Youtube

    From: the suburban chronicles Reply-To: the suburban chronicles Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014 2:41 PM To: Gordie Spater Subject: [New post] Me: Brooke Nose Nothing The Suburban Chronicles ~ The reward is in the journey. posted: ” One of my children’s favorite jokes to play on me goes like this: “What’s your name?” (I say “Brooke”). “What’s this?” (points to nose, I answer “nose”). “What am I holding?” (hands are empty, I answer “nothing”). (Child doubles over laugh”

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