I reached the ripe old age of thirty-four before I learned how to properly fold a fitted sheet. Until that time, the effort had mostly consisted of earnest attempts followed by cussing and topped off by balling the sheet up as tightly as possible before shoving it into the appropriate holding area. As I folded laundry this morning, I realized I hadn’t taught my daughter how to do it, nor really how to cook or scrub a bath tub. I had simply been assuming that she would learn via osmosis, and from watching me all these years.
My daughter, E, is fifteen years old. She shows quite a bit of creativity in the kitchen when highly motivated, by which I mean after watching four hours of the Food Network and not eating all morning. She will then dig around in the refrigerator, peruse my spices, and cook up something truly remarkable (not always in a good way, but mostly) all from her own cravings and imagination. Other than that, she generally pretends that she is incapable of boiling water and can we go out for Japanese, please? As far as other life skills, while it is usually her job to fold the laundry, she will never really finish the job, instead leaving socks, underwear, and her little brothers’ clothes stacked on the floor. It’s the same with putting away dishes – the oddball items get left in the drainer for me to deal with. I often reach the point of I-am-so-sick-of-asking-her-to-do-it-I-will-just-do-it-myself long before she tires of being unable to go anywhere. She can do it. She just won’t.
So imagine my surprise when I asked her to give me one minute of her time this morning to show her something totally dorky and she turned to look at me with my fitted sheet in hand and said, “You want me to teach you how to fold that?”
“Um, you already know how?”
“Yeah, I saw it on TV once.”
She then proceeded to fold it exactly the same way I learned from Martha Stewart Living (I don’t care what you say, M, or how far from the basics in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs she is, I love Martha!)
I feel mixed emotions about all of this. I feel embarrassment that I didn’t know how to fold a damn fitted sheet until a few years ago. I feel awe that such skills are taught on television, and that I have a teenager who would actually watch that kind of thing. I also think perhaps I could use this in my favor. I firmly believe that America’s Next Top Model needs a bathtub-scrubbing photoshoot next season. Don’t you?