2007-05-29

To the person driving the first car in the left turn lane queue

Like sitting in an exit row on a plane, you are charged with a RESPONSIBILITY. When that arrow turns green, you need to proceed through the intersection immediately. None of this not paying attention and wasting precious seconds. Those of us behind you are counting on you. Do you know how frustrating it is to SIT THERE, thinking if that moron had gone when the light first changed I'd have completed my turn by now. I'd better make this light, because if I don't the earth will spin off its axis? Why is it that you are all too often completely oblivious to that crucial shift from red to green? The rest of us behind you see it; one can tell by the waving arms and honking horns. But you, you are unawares.

Please be more vigilant and take your responsibility seriously. Road rage is real, and us mommas driving mini-vans are NOT TO BE MESSED WITH. One of these days I might just scoop some goldfish-cheerios-banana detritus from the floor and hurl it at you. Well, okay I won't. But I will bang on my steering wheel and hurl insults at you, much to the delight of my kids.

2007-05-23

Nap shmap big fat blap

I seem to birth babies that aren't all that into the napping thang. Both of them catnapped as infants, with twenty minutes pretty much being the max. Then after a year or so they condensed those unpredictable mini-naps into one unpredictable forty minute or so nap. After a few months, around eighteen months or so, they were DONE.

"Oh my GAWD. I could NEVER do it; I could NOT handle it if Michaela/Tanner/Emma/Rhys/*insert the name of incredulous parent's perfect little napper here* didn't take their three hour nap every day at precisely one o'clock. I would go crazy."

Yea, well, I can't do it either. But I do. And I am nuts, but that is another story.

Now, every rule has an exception. There are those random, unexpected days when as preschoolers, one of my kids would fall asleep in the car. Not a good thing, because then they inevitably stay up until just the moment before I hurl myself out the window, and then they close their sweet little eyes and enter slumberland. At which point I look at those eyelashes grazing their soft cheeks and forget why I was ready to crack open that bottle of WHATEVER is in the cupboard over the fridge (because I drank all of the wine).

Today is one of those days. My girl fell asleep an hour and a half ago in the car. My husband will be home late. CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP.

2007-05-19

Like a virgin, tagged for the very first time



My first meme, "7 Things About Me." Thanks Treadmillista for the tap on my virtual shoulder. Essentially I'm supposed to tell you 7 things you don't know about me. Since this is a babyblog, you don't know too much about me yet anyway, so this is an easy one.

1.) I hate clutter but love saving. My closets are packed full of things I have shoved in them in an attempt to declutter my rooms. The rooms are now fine and I am working on making it possible to open my closet doors without stuff tumbling down like some bad sitcom.

2.) I like to think of myself as an extrovert but the plain fact is that I refuel myself by being ALONE.

3.) As a pre-teen in New York, I used to sit for hours at a time in my mom's Vega and listen to Robert Klein on am radio while chatting on her CB with other teens. That was my seventies version of MySpace.

4.) An anagram of my maiden name is I became a thin rich actress. Still waiting.

5.) I can easily pass up sweets of most any kind, but put a lump of French Onion Chip Dip in front of me and I will eat it with a spoon.

6.) I vote pretty much the same way now as I did in college...socially liberal, fiscally conservative.

7.) In my twenties three friends and I used to call ourselves the Fearsome Foursome...we traveled together, partied together, lived together intermittently, moved across the country (or out of the country at times) from each other but still called one another in the middle of the night when heartbroken or just too drunk; we even took a death-defying helicopter ride together in the Caribbean with a daredevil pilot. Now in our forties, I'm not in touch with them like I wish I were, but I know that if I needed to I could call them in the middle of the night and they'd forgive me for waking their spouses and kids. I love and miss you guys.

Hmmm...who to tag? Miss M and PDX Mama and YOU, the lurker who wants to be asked. That's right, I mean you.

2007-05-15

Do as I say, not as I did


Last month I stumbled across this article and it has been on my mind since. In case you don't care to follow the linky, the upshot is this: the city of Burlingame, California was considering requiring a permit to be applied for in advance if you want to BBQ at any of the city’s 16 public parks. Mind you, this was not in response to an incident, but because they were concerned that someone *might* get injured. As chairwoman Karen Dittman is quoted in the article she, "has witnessed barbecues near picnic tables within 50 feet of the playground area at Village Park on California Drive (emphasis mine)." Good-bye spontaneous Saturday afternoon BBQ's in the park - not that I ever BBQ in a public park, or even live near Burlingame. But it's symptomatic of much more.

I'm constantly fighting the urge to overprotect my kids. I don't let my 8 year-old son ride his bike the four blocks to school without my husband or I accompanying him, but I do let him hang in our cul-de-sac with his friends without constant adult monitoring...unlike my neighbor who insists that the boys be CONSTANTLY watched.

I don't let my daughter sit inside the shopping cart (that's just gross), but I do let her stand on the side while I push it...unlike my husband who thinks that is a recipe for a cracked skull. Because those two extra inches of the floor are going to make ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

A friend of mine has four kids, the oldest my son's age, the youngest my daughter's age, and a couple thrown in-between for good measure. The three oldest are boys, and they are rough and tumble and tough and spirited, and their little sister can keep up with her brothers. They are one big force field, whirling through the neighborhood stirring up the energy level of every kid with whom they come in contact. They have more freedom than most kids I know these days: roaming further throughout the neighborhood, checking in less frequently, jumping off things I can't imagine how they got on top of, exploring places most kids don't know exist. And they get injured; the family is familiar with the ER.

Those kids are having SO MUCH FUN. When I am at their house I am reminded of my own childhood, when my brother and four cousins (also all boys) and I would take off in the morning, stop in at one of our homes for lunch, go back outside and make it home in time for dinner. Often we went back outside afterward to play flashlight tag. Sometimes we'd pack ourselves lunches and take off for the entire day. We rode our bikes to school through woods on trails that we made ourselves, bouncing over tree roots. Without helmets. Sure we had our share of contusions, scrapes, sprains, and even a couple of broken bones and one concussion. But we were also learning self-reliance and confidence; we were exploring the world around us while fostering bonds that last to this day. Not to mention we were getting exercise, lots and lots of exercise. I'm sorry, but the Wii doesn't compare.

Clearly things are better now in many ways...the helmets, the seatbelts (I still remember the car accident I was in as a kid; my brother and I slid around the back seat bumping into each other and giggling as the car spun in circles) and carseats, the lack of metal shards that attack you on merry-go-rounds. But...where are the swingsets? Gone because KIDS FALL OFF THEM! They don't build forts because they can GET A SPLINTER. Kids are rightly being taught all of the things that they should be afraid of: strangers, choking, falling, mosquitoes, poison berries, etc. But I fear we are going too far, because the fallout of this fear is that many kids aren't learning how to function independently. They are huddled in their homes, safe. But at what cost?

2007-05-14

My glass half full of air

Some of the Worst Compliments I Have Ever Received:
1. Whoever marries you will be lucky, because you will be better looking at 40 than you are today. (I was 20) from a dude I was casually dating

2. You look better naked than you do in clothes. from boyfriend at the time

3. You look like you could be on 90120 from some dude also trying to pick me up, circa whenever that show was watched

4. I had more fun with you when we were together than I've ever had with anyone. I really loved you. from a guy I'd dated over ten years prior to this conversation, who had insisted we keep our relationship casual because he wasn't *feeling it*

5. It hurt me to think that an employee as loyal as you, who has been with us for so long, could betray us. I realize now I was wrong and that you didn't in fact steal that $3.50 rice paper card, and for that we will always be grateful. However, we have already made an example of you to the other employees; they know if we could fire YOU, we would certainly fire them. So we have to let you go. from the owner of the retail store in which I spent years working for during college



Some of the Best Compliments I Have Ever Received:

1. Whoever marries you will be lucky, because you will be better looking at 40 than you are today. (I was 20) from a dude I was casually dating

2. You look better naked than you do in clothes. from boyfriend at the time

3. You look like you could be on 90120 from some dude also trying to pick me up, circa whenever that show was watched

4. I had more fun with you when we were together than I've ever had with anyone. I really loved you. from a guy I'd dated over ten years prior to this conversation, who had insisted we keep our relationship casual because he wasn't *feeling it*.

5. It hurt me to think that an employee as loyal as you, who has been with us for so long, could betray us. I realize now I was wrong and that you didn't in fact steal that $3.50 rice paper card, and for that we will always be grateful. However, we have already made an example of you to the other employees; they know if we could fire YOU, we would certainly fire them. So we have to let you go. from the owner of the retail store in which I spent years working for during college.

2007-05-01

Des Kids

Detroit 1992, give or take a year. Penn & Teller had just performed; at the end of the show rather than exiting the stage to the wings, they instead hopped off it, walked up the aisles and out into the lobby. There they hung out chatting and autographing whatever surface was thrust at them. Me, I had the clich├ęd reaction of being caught off guard when I first heard the ironically named Teller speak.

At that time when I met a celebrity I usually pretended I didn't recognize them, but this time I decided to put my false pride aside. I fished around my purse and pockets for something that could be written on for an autograph; I came up with a cigarette. When I held it out to Penn to sign, he gratefully looked it and said, "I'd love one. Just let me finish up with these."

After the last person walked away, he came over with Teller and happily lit up the no-longer-meant-to-be-a-keepesake cigarette. We puffed and laughed; eventually I fessed up to them that I had originally hoped they would *sign* the cigarette, and asked if they'd mind doing so now.

That was a few lifetimes ago...but throughout the years and all of the changes I have kept that Marlboro Light that with the red felt-tipped marked PENN and Tell~~ (the -er were just a couple of squiggles as the pen slipped off the cylinder).

I tend to be pretty sentimental, and so I am constantly struggling with paring down drawers and closets full of mementos. Suffice it to say I have saved things I should have tossed, and tossed things I wished I had saved.

Somehow this little ciggy with PENN and Tell~~ has survived many purges. I'd moved many times: in college as an undergrad then grad school student (with and all of the apartment hopping/roommate switching inherent therein), and then later after I married and we upped our living quarters a couple of times ultimately culminating in a cross-country move. The ciggy survived. I stuck it in an old wooden pencil box I'd bought at an estate sale, and rarely thought about it unless I stumbled across that box. When I did the PENN and Tell~~ was such a concrete reminder of a different time that it always made me smile (plus it was proof that yes, I did make the comedians laugh).

Earlier today my daughter stumbled across that pencil box while I folded laundry just a few feet away. Ordinarily I keep that most special pencil box out of reach of the kiddies, but today was the day our cleaners were here (YES. I have a cleaning service come once a week. I KNOW.) and things get shuffled around...generally not a problem other than aesthetic. But today I heard my girl apologetically sing behind me, "Sah-reeeeeeeeeeeee."

What I saw surprised me nearly as much as hearing Teller speak; she got her hands on that decade-and-a-half-old Marlboro Light and promptly made waste of it.

Ruined. A NATIONAL TREASURE.

Gone.

I had three random irrational thoughts in rapid succession: (1.) I might have well as smoked it that time in med school when I was totally stressed out and jonesin' for a ciggy (2.) I wonder if I can tape it back together and save it (3.) CRAP! What if this was actually valuable and I could have sold it on ebay and paid off my student loans.

I took the cigarette shrapnel and carried it to our master bedroom bath. I threw it into the toilet. Flushed. My low-flow toilet rejected it (I know I shouldn't have flushed it but I did). I added some toilet paper, flushed again, and waited. This time it worked. I literaly watched PEN and N and Te and ll~~ each one! swirl away down the ceramic funnel. Good-bye momento.

Our lives change when we have kids...those of us who have had them know how much, those of us who haven't think we are being dramatic or perhaps indulgent when we say as much. I had my son at the early age of 32; it was early for my Detroit crowd, many of whom are just starting families. Having him meant my husband and I were no longer able to spontaneously meet them at the Magic Bag for a Brew 'n View, or decide to catch a show at St. Andrews Hall, or any one of those things we did when our time is our own. It's all good, just different.

Who we once were pre-breeder is still us, and the mementos that remind us of that are important. We don't cease being person who thought, "I wonder if I will have kids, and if so...WHAT kind of a parent will I be?? WHO will my children be?" WHERE? WHY? HOW? WHEN?

That silly little cigarrette was a reminder of who I was before I knew what the answers to those questions were. When I flushed it, I didn't mind saying good-bye to the freedom those questions represented. I just felt bad I no longer would have that concrete reminder of the girl I once was who wondered who I would be today.