Listicle: I do well…


Once again, Stasha’s Monday list is being made on Tuesday night, but that’s because I couldn’t figure out how to write this list until I read someone else’s post. And then I decided to plagiarize. Although, is it plagiarism if I tell you my source? I borrowed this idea whole cloth from the Sisterhood of Sensible Moms, which is a blog you really should put in regular rotation.  They asked their kids to make this list for them, and so I did the same thing – I even got one kid to make his list while we were driving, just like they did. Lest they be insulted, I will remind them that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The original prompt for this list came from Mommy Padawan, with whom I feel a special affinity because Star Wars pretty much rules my entire household: her prompt was for us to list either 10 things we’re good at, or what we’d do for 48 hours with unlimited money and no responsibilities.  Well, writing that list would simply make me cry, having not enough of the former and WAY too much of the latter; so I went with “what I’m good at.” And then punted and asked my kids to make the list for me.

Caleb gave me his five items when I was driving him home from soccer the other night.  He was in the back seat trying to read Order of the Phoenix by the light of the streetlights; I told him not to try to read because he’d strain his eyes in the dark; he said YES I CAN TOO READ IT and held the book pretty much on the tip of his nose. And then, as if by HP magic, I was suddenly my mother, saying the exact same thing to me, when I was about the same age. As if on cue, Caleb said, look the light looks like water, mommy, and I knew exactly what he meant: speckled windows do cast a watery light.

I say, Caleb, I need a list of things I’m good at. I need five things.

You take care of us.

I wait, drive a little bit. Resounding silence from the back seat, pages rustling.

Um…Caleb? Five things?


Clearly five is a ridiculously exaggerated number. There is another pause.

Well. You’re a good cook. Of homemade stuff that you get from recipes on the internet.  And you’re good at driving in Abu Dhabi.

A signficant achievement my friends; that one is huge because driving in Abu Dhabi pretty much terrifies me.

More silence. I say “and…?”

Uh…homework. Helping with homework. And good at costumes. But not as good as daddy.

Clearly I should’ve stopped after “driving.”

So then, at home, I ask Liam, my child who has never met a test he doesn’t love; who wants to do everything perfectly, no matter what.

I say “Liam, I need a list of five things that I’m good at.

Liam panics, leaps off the couch: Why? What for? When do you need it?

It’s just a list, I say. Not a big deal.

He sits back down. Oh. Well. Pottery, you’re good at pottery. And that thing with the oar?


Yeah. You’re good at that. And cooking.  Pottery, paddleboarding, cooking…And being a mum.

Did you say mom or mum?

Mum, he says, in flawless fauxbrit.

Anything else?

Oh. And you’re good at being on time.

Great. I’m punctual. I suppose that’s a skill. Not up there with, say, hang-gliding, playing Chopin, or knowing Mandarin, but hey. I’ll take my compliments where I can find them.


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20 Responses to Listicle: I do well…

  1. Rorybore May 1, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I think you are very, very brave to have handed this list to your kids. I would not have risked so much – LOL

    pretty sure it would have involved food, getting things stuck out of the VCR/DVD/van CD and the stuck plug from the tub train. none of which are very marketable or ego-boosting.

    • Deborah Quinn May 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      well the thing is I am NOT good at that sort of unsticking stuff. never have been, and at this point it’s safe to say, never will be. in the spirit of full disclosure I should say that I’d handed the 7 year old a (store-bought) chocolate chip cookie just before asking my question. Bribes? well…maybe an incentive program, let’s call it. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms May 1, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    So I guess if we comment on the post it doubly exonerates you from plagiarism. Love the shout out and love the post. I think punctuality is an unattainable goal and I read your post on driving in Abu Dhabi. I’m seriously impressed.


    • Deborah Quinn May 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

      the driving thing surprised me bc really, I am so sure that at any minute it’s going to be CRUNCH. and b/c i have a husband who is generally 20 minutes – no, wait, he will read this – I mean, 10 minutes late to everything, my slightly compulsive time-keeping has gotten worse. Plus I’m from the midwest. We’re a punctual people. Early to the church suppers with our covered dish to pass, dontcha know.

  3. Husband May 1, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Don’t pooh-pooh “being on time.” Because that comment is a veiled gibe at Dad, who, according to Liam, is not good at “being on time.” Because, today, we were three minutes late to soccer practice. Which had not, by the way, started on time.

    • Deborah Quinn May 1, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      well. sorry. i’m sure that being late was the fault of traffic. you’re mostly on time. or at least, you don’t run as late as you used to…

      • Stasha May 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

        That’s the great thing about Middle east. Just when you think you are terribly late, everyone else is even later. Which makes you early!
        Stasha recently posted..Monday ListiclesMy Profile

        • Deborah Quinn May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

          So true! People (arabs and expats alike) saunter into places 15, 20, 30 minutes after whatever it is has started. I basically don’t go to the movies any more – it’s incredibly disruptive… I love that you know about life out here! so fun to swap stories.

  4. Stasha May 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Love it! The fact they said you can cook is monumental my friend. Way to go mummy!!
    I just asked mine while he is watching a documentary about how they built the ski slopes in Dubai. Might have to put it in a post 🙂
    Stasha recently posted..Monday ListiclesMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn May 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

      You know we’ve not yet been to Ski Dubai? “Everyone” says it’s a blast, but in that sort of “wow this is extraordinarily strange and extravagant” way that happens out here. If we ever get there, it will be epic blog fodder (mostly b/c Mommy don’t ski! grew up in the flatlands, and now I’m just too damn old. Can’t let go of the fear that I’m going to fall and it’s going to HURT).

  5. Liz May 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Great list and such a great idea!! I was tempted to ask others in my family to give me 10 things but, for me, it was an essential exercise… I’m really good seeing the strengths of others but not so great at self analysis.

    Driving in Abu Dahbi… Go you!! I would be terrified too.
    Liz recently posted..Monday Listicles: 10 Things I’m Good AtMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn May 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

      well, yeah, clearly self-analysis wasn’t where I wanted to go…fear? shy? going for the cheap laugh? all of the above….er…well…let’s just leave it like that, shall we? But applause applause for taking the plunge and patting yourself on the back. You’re so right – most of us don’t do that for ourselves, enough.

  6. Jessica B May 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    What a great idea! I may have to flatter you by copying your copied idea! Then I will have an extra blog post! It will be a follow up to what I think I am good at. I highly doubt that my thoughts on what I am good at and my kids thoughts on what I am good at will intersect, but it will be interesting… Love your post. 🙂

  7. Nancy Horwich May 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Now I know what I want for Mother’s Day! I’m going to ask my daughter to give me a list of things I’m good at. Maybe I’ll ask my husband, too.

  8. kgwaite May 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I love the way you show your boys’ unique personalities. The way your test-taker jumps from the couch wanting to get everything right.
    kgwaite recently posted..Everlasting LoveMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn May 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      it’s exhausting sometimes, his intensity about getting things RIGHT. it was kind of funny, actually.

  9. Dick Horwich May 6, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    Yes, it’s still plagiarism even if you name your source. But I don’t think you’re going to end up in the Dean’s office. (But come to think of it, you’re already in t
    the Dean’s office.)
    Dick Horwich recently posted..INEXORABILITYMy Profile

  10. Emily May 6, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I want to steal this idea from you (and thus, the Sisterhood) because I’m so curious to see what my girls would come up with. I’m pretty sure ‘good cook’ and ‘good at driving’ wouldn’t make the list!

    By the way, this was fun to read. I love the way you can make a story out of a list!
    Emily recently posted..Before DeploymentMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn May 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      Thanks – that Sensible Mom sisterhood has a LOT of steal-worthy ideas, frankly. Listicles are great fun – the challenge is, exactly, in trying to make some kind of narrative or something out of a list. It’s a lot more fun than a grocery list.

  11. authentic air jordans June 11, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Hey!!I’ll definitely have to check out Sean’s post. And I love the idea of blogging about a failure and how you learned from it. I’ll have to do that one soon

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