Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hot Chocolate and the Growliness of Bears

My kid has two volume levels.  “Off” and “Sam Kinisen”.
She is the kid that quietly grumbles when you instruct her to say hello to someone she has known forever,  but  happily and LOUDLY tells the barista at Tully’s “At my mom and dad’s wedding, I was in my Mama’s tummy!”  At Starbucks, she likes to stand in line by herself while loudly making conversation with anyone who will talk to her and voicing her disappointment in the discontinuation of the raspberry chocolate cake pop.  I know what you’re thinking…that kid drinks a lot of coffee.

It’s not just coffee, yesterday when we went to Trader Joes, she announced to the woman stocking shelves “My mom LOVES wine.  It’s her favorite” and proceeded to point to every bottle with a pretty label shouting“This one is beautiful!  My mom should get this one. It’s very beautiful, huh?  I love this one!!!The blueberries look yucky so we aren't going to buy them” Then we get to the check out line, the checker compliments her shoes, she gives a quiet “Thank You” and hides behind me.  

It’s weird how quiet she gets when people talk to her.  Sometimes she answers and sometimes she hides behind me and sulks. When she isn’t the one initiating conversation she oftentimes turns into Michigan J. Frog. ( the Warner Brother’s Frog that sings his heart out when no one is looking but completely shuts up when he is expected to perform)

For the most part she is well mannered and will say please and thank you and hello and goodbye and gives answers to questions, but beyond that…I have no control over what if anything will come out of her mouth. I fretted about this for a while, because, when I have time to think about things I tend to obsess. Is this some sort of psychological or behavior disorder?  Is this what comes from not breast feeding long enough or eating brie and soft serve when I was pregnant?   Then it dawned on me. Oddly,  I am exactly the same way.  I can be loud and outgoing and chatty but sometimes when people talk to me or I am put on the spot, I feel tongue tied and self conscious.  Sometimes I tell people way too much and sometimes I keep to myself.  Why should my four year old be any different?  So with that little piece of self-reflection, I decided to just sit back and enjoy this bizarre 4 year old that sprung from my loins.  (I can’t believe I typed that, I hate that phrase…I should probably edit that out).  

As a parent I can instill manners and appropriate words but beyond that.  I have no control over when and what she chooses to talk about   (Wait, I also hate when people say “As a parent”..So I should edit that out too…but I want to tell you that I hate that phrase, so I guess I have to keep that in” Hmm, I wonder where my kid’s strange stream of consciousness comes from J(Did I just type  a smiley face?!)
When I take her to a public bathroom she has to loudly narrate the whole experience, including her thoughts on automatic flushing toilets, how pretty the shoes are in the stall next to hers, and completely random conversational piece. A conversation goes much like yesterday’s.  “

My Kid: (from the stall) I got the toilet paper myself, Mom I really don’t like hot chocolate…bears are really growly..aren’t  they growly mom? 

Me: (from outside the stall) Yup they are growly, can you use a quieter voice I am right here.

My Kid: (Just as loud)They aren’t REALLY growly though, they are just a little bit growly.

Me: Yes, they are a little bit Growly

My Kid:  No mom they are REALLY growly.  They are bears! (To the woman in the next stall) I really like your shoes.

Me: Are you done in there?

My Kid: 
Yeah, I was done a long time ago.

So, we were just hanging out in the Fred Meyer Bathroom discussing hot chocolate and the growliness of bears, while people waiting in line either thought she was precious or wanted to throttle her (and me) for holding up the line.  

The "cute shoes" woman from the stall is now washing her hands next to my kid and says “I like your shoes too”  I expect my kid to shuffle behind me and grumble a quiet “Thanks”

“Thank you!  My mom is going to buy strawberries if they don’t look yucky. Last time they were REALLY yucky and they costed a lot of money.  I LOVE strawberries that aren’t yucky. They are my favorite except blueberries.  The blueberries at Trader Joes were really yucky though"

I never know what’s going to happen.  I guess that’s parenthood in a nutshell.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Met My Husband On Craigslist

I met my husband at church…I mean  on the internet.  Even shadier, we met on Craigslist.  It wasn’t a seedy casual encounters type meet-up.  I had placed an ad on “Women Seeking Men”  My friends had been bugging me to try internet dating for a long time.  Turns out working long hours in educational theatre is not a great way to meet a straight man…or make money…or maintain sanity. It was New Year’s Day and I decided to place an ad, something witty with no picture.  My friends assured me that I wouldn’t get any responses without a photo.  I wasn’t trying to prove them wrong, it was sort of the opposite.  If I didn’t get any responses I could throw up my arms and fall back on my usual “Hey I tried.  There are no single men out there” 

I posted my ad. My expectations were low.  I don’t remember the exact wording but it may have included phrases such as “I think camping is like choosing to be homeless” and “I am not a fan of clubbing, unless it involves baby seals”  Of course I was joking…well about the baby seals part.  I still hate camping.  I blame that on being raised by outdoorsy lesbians. I also hate Home Depot and cinder block furniture.  But those are issues for my next therapy session… post. By the next morning my ad (sans photo) had garnered over 200 replies.  Sure, many of them were spam, dick pics and those who I had angered with my baby seals comment. Let me reiterate, I am not in favor of clubbing baby seals.  I am in favor of weeding out guys with no sense of humor and/or those that are easily offended.  We would not be a match.  I received some bizarre notes that probably came from Prison or the Western State hospital, but hey.  Craigslist is free and none of your student’s parents are going to find you by skimming the profiles on

I met a lot of men.  I met great guys.  I also met flakes and liars and had a brief relationship with a very charming man that neglected to mention his WIFE.  I met computer guys, salesmen, a scientist, a dryer repairman, a couple writers, a couple bartenders, an electrician, and architect.  Like I said…I met a lot of men.  I was often invited back to homes to watch “The Notebook” I’m not kidding. I guess I should be honored that they were willing to sit through “The Notebook” for the shot at maybe getting some action.  They were clearly dating the wrong woman. 

Mark was a computer guy.  He seemed nice enough.  His picture was not a mugshot, No girls were cropped out of it and he had a nice smile.  He had mentioned his love of musical theatre so I figured he was either gay or trying to get laid. On our first meeting he discussed Dungeons and Dragons so I quickly determined he was straight and most likely not trying to get laid. He told me about his son (So despite his interest in role playing games, he actually did have experience with the opposite sex)He told me of his immense love for  The Little Mermaid and all but offered to be my date for opening night of my junior high production of Bye Bye Birdie. Who was this guy? Obviously he was too good to be true so after three lovely dates, I dumped him.

It was tacky.  I did it in an email.  I was seeing someone else and it was getting moderately serious and I wasn’t comfortable with this whole casual dating thing.  I met all of these men right around the same time, due to the ad and I wasn’t quite sure how to navigate the waters.  Mark was super nice, which almost made it worse.  He understood and said he really liked me and wished me well. Long story short, I found out the other guy was married.  My heart was broken, I had screwed things up with Mark and that was it.  I was giving up.  I would grow old,  surrounded by cats, drinking Sanka and watching Matlock.

Fast forward a couple of months. My building didn’t allow cats, I lacked cable, and I don’t think they even sell Sanka anymore,  I decided to try  I filled out my profile, paid my money and officially joined.  Seconds later Mark pops up as a 100% match.  What the?! Well who am I to argue with the extremely scientific findings of a paid dating site.  It was practically God speaking, right? I swallowed my pride, ate some crow and whatever other cliché seemed to fit and I emailed him.  He was incredibly kind about everything.  We went to see an Opera. He was my opening night date for Bye Bye Birdie and after a couple more dates he invited me back to his house to watch Dr. Stranglelove.

I have never seen the Notebook.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Kid Watches TV

My kid watches TV.  I can’t be in the minority.  I was planning to be the mom that made organic baby food, spent the days doing art projects and teaching my child Mandarin.  She would only play with wooden toys  and have an interest in classical music. Then I actually had a child.  I realized the only Mandarin  I was familiar with were the  highly sweetened canned segments of oranges that I dump into a bowl for my daughter. 

 I was never all that against TV, until my pediatrician, Parents magazine, and the Bitchtastic Brigade of Smug Mommies  (BBSM)  pointed out the damage that is being done from letting my kid watch Little Bill while I sneak in a shower.  So when my pediatrician asked me if my child watches television after already telling me that she shouldn’t, I did what probably most of her patients do.  I came clean and admitted the error of my ways. 
 Just kidding. 
 I lied.  
I panicked, it  is as if someone said, If your child eats strawberries, They are going to hell and you are a horrible monster of a mother for letting her eat them. Apparently you haven’t read the latest research that states that strawberries are filled with demon seeds and you and your family will all die a painful fiery death and rot on the bowels of hell for all eternity..  
“You don’t let your child eat strawberries do you?” 
Uh…um…of course not.

So yes, my child watches TV and yes, I have lied about it.  It’s not like I sit her in front of Maury Povich with a Mountain dew and a bag of Cheetos while I play online poker…or update my blog.  She usually watches something vaguely educational while I make dinner or check my email or take a shower or update my Facebook status.  She doesn’t bug me for the newest crappy sparkle toy or some diabetic coma cereal.  She rarely sees television commercials because Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime allow us to watch episodes of her favorite shows without being bombarded by ads for Pillow Pets and Gogurt.

She has mastered the remote control with only few problems thus far.  She wanted to turn on Strawberry Shortcake and I returned to the living room to find her watching Comedy Central’s Roast of David Hasselhoff.   No harm was done, though someday Lisa Lampanelli and Seth MacFarlane may come up in therapy.  

I’m not saying that TV is a good substitute for playing or socializing, and I certainly wouldn’t let her watch as much TV as I consumed as a child.  As a six year old I knew every episode of The Carol Burnett show by heart and couId probably give you a pretty good summary of each episode of Barney Miller, All in the Family or Laverne and Shirley.  Little House on the Prairie was my home away from home.  I spent so much time with the Ingalls family, they probably could have filed for custody.  

But I digress, I am just here to admit that I let my kid watch TV, I’ve lied about it, and she accidentally watched the David Hasselhoff roast. Does that make me a bad mother?  Probably not.   I mean, If my kid doesn’t watch any TV, how is she ever going to win trivia contests?  How is she going to make clever pop culture references?! How am I ever gonna get a shower?!