I Use My Daughter To Screen My Phone Calls, And Other Personal Assistant Tasks

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personal assistantMy daughter’s teacher seems like a perfectly nice woman who genuinely cares about the children. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t scare the shit out of me. I don’t know why, after all these years following graduation, teachers intimate me.

Two weeks ago, I had to attend my first parent-teacher interview of the year. Blah blah blah, things were said. I bit my lip, trying not to laugh, when the teacher told me that she is trying to help out my daughter with her “disorganization.” I left the meeting, with my daughter in tow (they are expected to attend the parent-teach interviews as well.) I couldn’t wait to get out of there, but there was only one problem. I couldn’t find my car keys. So what’s a mother – a mother who had just been lectured about her daughter’s disorganization – to do? Well, of course, she sends her daughter back into the classroom interrupting the next parent teacher interview.

I could hear my daughter say, “My mom can’t find her car keys! Did she leave them in here?” I watched, mortified, as the two parents and the teacher, looked under tables and the chairs to find my car keys. My daughter came out empty handed and about 10 minutes later I found my car keys…in my coat pocket.

The point here is not that she’s her mother’s daughter, but that I used my daughter to get out of doing something I didn’t want to do, showing the teacher that I too am completely disorganized. I couldn’t face walking into that classroom, after that lecture on organization, only to walk back in and say, “Um, yeah, I can’t seem to find my car keys.” So I let my daughter do the talking for me.

I let my daughter do a lot of talking for me. This is because when things come from a child’s mouth, it is much cuter and people respond better.

Take for example a recent dinner I had at the Soho House in Miami. At the table behind me was Robert Downey Jr. I was like, “Hey, that’s pretty cool. I’m going to ask him for his photo before he orders.” I walked up to Robert Downey Jr. and asked pleasantly, “I know you haven’t ordered yet, so I figured this would be a good time. Can I grab a quick picture?”

He said, “No. I’m not doing that tonight.”

All I could think was, “Well, that’s the last movie I’m going to see of yours,” and, also, “If I had my daughter with me, I’d have made her go ask him for a photo and she’d get one.”

And I’d be right.

Only a half an hour later, a mother walked up to Robert-Downey-I’m-Not-Doing-That-Tonight with her daughter, and they got the photo.

Arnold Palmer, a famous golfer, wasn’t taking photographs with anyone when we were at the Four Seasons in Maui one year. Except, of course, he did when I practically threw my daughter into his arms. He was more than happy to pose for a photo with her (I’m not into golfers but it made a great gift for her father!) Now that my daughter can talk (and talk and talk) I make her do a lot of the talking for me.

If someone calls, and I don’t want to speak, I make her pick up the phone and tell whomever is calling that, “My mommy is in the shower.” The other day we were at Starbucks and it was taking way longer than usual. If I had asked what was taking so long, the staff probably would have gotten annoyed. So I whispered in my daughter’s ear and she walked up to the counter and said, “Excuse me? Why is it taking so long today?” They responded so kindly to her, talking to her like they’d talk to an old person.

“We are having some trouble with the machine,” they told her loudly and slowly. “But your drinks should be up in a minute. Here’s a free coupon for your next visit.”

It’s fucking fantastic this whole use your kid thing when you don’t want to talk to people or ask questions. When I get my daughter to call room service, for example, and order our meals, the meals do seem to arrive quicker. If I know there’s a possibility that I’ll get annoyed (like at a long lineup at Starbucks) I just get my daughter to ask the questions, and that way not only do I remain quiet, but she grows more confident.

She LOVES being my mouthpiece, and I love letting her be my mouthpiece. It’s kind of like having a mini assistant to do your grunt work. Put that down as a “pro” to having kids who can speak. I have.

(photo: Patrick Foto/ Shutterstock)