Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pop Quiz

My daughter and I discuss an upcoming trip, and I explain the itinerary and switchover at the airport. "We might have to run a little to catch the next plane. I'm not sure. I have to check. Hope we don't miss it." My insecurity is obvious. "Ha, ha! You're the one in charge. You have to get us there," she laughs. Many moons ago, I became a mother. I am the map, the guide, the latitude, the longitude, the compass, the clock, the necessitous, bulging, and often embarrassing luggage.

MapQuest does not get you to the right gate at the airport. It's a do-it-yourself operation. With any luck, you're not at O'Hare. Arriving at any destination for me is a combination of luck, pluck, intuition, and winging it. That is what I've been teaching. I should plan more, and pay attention to the details.

My daughter squeezes in a last minute study-session in the car on the way to school. "Mom, what's didactic?" I stumble around my morning brain. "Preachy. Well, poetry or stories that teach a lesson. Not necessarily negative, but sometimes. Like a speaker can be didactic. Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's it." I turn off the defroster, feeling pretty good about myself. "Ok, so what's a bildungsroman then?" Son of a. I haven't had coffee yet. "Sounds ancient, and faintly poopy...is this a matching test? I hope for your sake it is."

As soon as I get home I check the dictionary and find this:

/ˈbɪldʊŋzroʊˌmɑn; Ger. ˈbildʊŋksrɔˌmɑn/ [bil-doongz-roh-mahn;
Ger. beel-doongks-raw-mahn]
–noun, plural -mans, German. -ma⋅ne  /-ˌmɑnə/ [-mah-nuh]

a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist.

So it is ancient and faintly poopy! Parenting.

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