My daughter is an independent spirit. A free bird. A marcher to her own drum. She is immersed in her own world at almost every moment, or head down voraciously consuming a Warriors book. She’s blown through the first series (6 books) in just a month. It’s a challenge to get her attention for things as simple as “can you stop acting like a cat and put your jacket on,” or “put the book down so you can eat your breakfast,” or “please stop flying down the hallway like a dragon hitting the pictures on the wall and walk like a human to go brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” These requests, or anything that takes her away from whatever she’s into at the moment result in the most skilled and well executed eye roll I’ve ever seen.
I remember when it first happened, I was shocked. Offended even. I thought to myself – shit, she’s not even a teenager yet and she has this skill perfected. I was floored. Where did this ability come from? Light bulb. Damn. She got that one from me. I am an eye roll aficionado, as much as it pains me to admit. When did I start doing this? Another light bulb. I got it from my mother. Well, I do know my mom does it too, but her version is more subtle. You see, her generation did it with backs turned for fear of physical retribution. And while she doesn’t turn her back any longer, she has truly come into her eye roll by evolving it to a slow blink.
All joking aside, being the recipient of the eye roll at times can be humorous – it leads to moments of knee slapping guffaws at the audacity and ridiculousness of the reaction to what is most of the time a simple request. But, most of the time it is infuriating. I had no concept of the impact of my behavior towards my mom. How hurtful I was at times. So dismissive. So downright righteous.
Enter my daughter stage right. She started this lovely reaction at the age of 7 and now has it down to a science. No effort to hide it. The magic really comes when combined with the defiant stomp and thrusting down of fists by her side. That seals the deal. That tells me that she somehow means business.
So what to do? This isn’t something I’m proud to pass down. What’s the cure? Well, I guess for one, I need to stop doing it myself. It’s going to be tough. I wonder if they create some kind of shock therapy so everytime I do give into the undesired expression, I get a little zap to remind me? For my daughter – there’s no shortage of online articles about the topic and how to infuse manners into the situation. Rather than getting into an eye-rolling duel, I guess I can start with saying things like, “I know you are annoyed by my request, but suck it up buttercup it’s time to do (enter activity here) anyway.” Yep – you guessed it, eye roll.