I had an old man moment today. A few, actually, in a depressingly short amount of time.

I went downstairs to make coffee. Meg was at the table, nose-deep in her iPad researching something I couldn’t see.

“Leanne, come here.”
[faint shouting from upstairs] “Bad or good?”

I’m not sure when that started. Part of me admires her situational awareness of knowing if she’s about to walk into a shitstorm. Part of me simply likes responding “BAD” just to see her sheepish expression when she finally shows up.

A series of thumps, crashes, bangs, and I’m pretty sure at least one shatter erupted from our stairs. Old man moment #1: “Is the child incapable of simply walking around the house without sounding like a stampede?”

Finally arriving and seemingly in one piece, Meg looks up from her iPad.

“Ok, so you said you want this backpack?”
“No, I can’t get that one!”
“Why not?”

I brace myself, knowing that there was absolutely no answer here that wasn’t going to make me roll my eyes.

“It doesn’t have wheels.”


“… and I have to walk all the way from the bus to Mickle this year, so I need wheels because carrying my backpack hurts.”

Spoiler alert: it’s about 1/10th of a mile.

“YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TEXTBOOKS YET”, my internal voice shouts. Externally, I was smart enough not to engage the conversation. Also, this marks Old Man Moment #2. I’m sure I’ll have a number of “Back in my day, we didn’t have the Internet…” conversations, but for now, I was surprised to find myself more in the “… uphill, both ways…” camp of old man bitching.

I did see this one coming though. On the few occasions where the weather is between 71 and 73 degrees and not too sunny but not too humid, I actually emerge from my comfortably climate-controlled office to walk to the bus stop. So I’ve seen the parade of 9 year olds emerge from the bus, pulling their backpacks for the whopping 50 yard walk to their respective houses.

“Ok, how about this one? We can get the matching lunchbox and backpack, but there isn’t a matching water bottle.”

I guess that explains why they need wheels, because in addition to the single folder she has to carry in her backpack, she’s also burdened by a water bottle. Oh, and a small tube of hand sanitizer, because apparently that’s a thing for 2nd graders now.

I glanced up at our cabinet of roughly 50 different water bottles and contemplated forgoing the hot water entirely and simply chewing the coffee grounds on my way back up to my office.

“Ughhhh, ok.”

The eye rolling started a few months ago. I don’t know why I thought I’d make it to her teenage years before having to deal with that. It does give me a nice preview for when the teenage attitude really kicks in, so I suppose I should be happy that I’m getting a bit of an attitude preseason to warm up with.

“Do you want your name written in white or ivory?”
“Um, mommy?”
“Why did daddy just run out of the kitchen screaming?”