I’d like to kiss the person who invented internet parental controls.
Raising kids in this digital age usually terrifies me. The moment my tween daughter first asked me for her own iPhone without the slightest hint of joking in her voice was enough to make me regret not becoming Amish. But being the (fairly) modern people we are, we do allow our kids their technological romps, with all necessary precautions in place. Like internet parental controls. And thank God, because had we been Amish, or not able to trust internet filters, I would have missed out on one of the funniest things I have ever read: my 6-year-old son’s Google search history.
In addition to playing Angry Birds Star Wars and Dr. Panda’s Restaurant, my son loves utilizing the Google voice search function on my husband’s phone. He will sit there and just start saying crap as it comes to mind, seeing what results pop up on Google. (Hence, my extreme gratitude for parental controls.) The other night, my husband came into the bedroom laughing. He handed me his phone and told me to check out the search history.
Like many mothers of small boys, I am often asked to play superheroes. My son Michael has loved to engage me in this activity for a while now, ever since receiving a Batcave a few Christmases ago. As a five-year-old, he has come to act out the traditional superhero versus villain role plays, but when we first started our imaginary scenarios in the Batcave, he always simply wanted to “have a party.” All the superheroes were invited, including the multiple versions of Batman he owned, which he logically named Dad Batman, Mom Batman, Sister Batman, Brother Batman, and Other Brother Batman. The parties sometimes included the villains, and usually Continue reading “The Superhero Keg Party: A Battle for Superiority”→
It feels a little weird to be blogging. I mean, it has been exactly twenty-three days since I last posted something (not that I have been counting or anything). That is apparently long enough for the WordPress site to stop automatically logging me in, causing me to have to actually type in my username and password…which I almost couldn’t remember. It’s a good thing I am not entrusted with any classified information. I am pretty sure they don’t have a “remember me” box to check when logging into the nuclear launch codes.
I guess I can chalk up my lack of blogging to taking to heart the idea that “life grows sideways.”* I have been rolling with the punches. And the punches just haven’t seemed to be landing on blogging lately…or Facebook…or Twitter. (Actually, the punches NEVER land on Twitter. My Twitter account is pretty much like those leftovers you know you should throw out, but you put them in Tupperware anyway because you just MIGHT find a use for them. Like you just MIGHT become one of those people who researches creative ways to reinvent leftovers into a brand new meal. But you never do. But you are also one of those people who is not so good at cleaning out your fridge, so the leftovers just sit somewhere in the back next to the jar of barley malt you bought last year because you needed one tablespoon of it to make homemade bagels, which of course you have never made since. Are you sensing why I am not so good at capping my thoughts to 140 characters?)
What I HAVE been rolling with is basketball practices; indoor soccer games; tumbling classes; birthday parties; First Communion meetings; Brownie meetings; overseeing the selling of Girl Scout cookies; making Walmart my unfortunate second home; powder puff derbies (well, just one of those); sporadic workout schedules; ice skating; school volunteering; randomly deciding to reorganize the kitchen on a Monday afternoon; realizing that a freshly reorganized kitchen “needs” some pops of color by way of new utensil, flour, sugar, and tea cannisters; “sacrificing” my time to scour Pier One and T.J. Maxx for said sources of pops of color…you know, typical mom stuff. Because typical mom stuff is how I roll. Just consider my theme song “Roll With It” by Steve Winwood. That’s right. Winwood. Hey, that brassy 80’s tune worked for my grade school soccer team. Get it?…roll with it…like a ball. Uh huh. We even had a little sideline dance. Take that David Beckham.
I have also found myself, as always, rolling with the hilarity and awkwardness provided by my children. Here are just a few noteworthy moments:
– My son can be rather creative in his dress-up play. He is fearless when it comes to making bold and daring choices. Some of you may remember this ensemble from a previous post:
He has also proven to be unfazed by gender stereotypes, following in the footsteps of young male actors during the time of Shakespeare and stepping into a female role…or the role of a robot monster who also happens to be wearing a dress:
And then just today, he designed this outfit for “Wacky Wednesday” at school:
But the real beauty of his fashion choices are in his interpretations of what the dressing-up transforms him into. Last week, Michael came up to me in just his skivvies and asked me to tie a piece of crepe paper around his neck. It ended up looking like a bow tie. Let me just reinforce that picture for you…skivvies and bow tie. He said he was being a sea monster, which came as a huge relief to me. Because my first guess was Magic Mike.
– Just before Christmas, I mentioned that Grace’s advancing age is bringing on all kinds of questions I am not ready to answer. I also mentioned that I was more comfortable answering her questions about sex than I was about Santa. Well, I may have spoken too soon on that one. The questions I was referring to in the previous post were ones she was asking about anatomy, mostly female. No problem. Last night, however, my husband and I got the “big one.” And it all started with hard-boiled eggs. At dinner, Grace was proudly recounting how she had learned to hard boil an egg. Which led to this:
Grace: “What exactly is the yellow part of the egg? (a bit fearful) Is it the baby chicken?”
Kurt: “No, because the eggs we eat aren’t fertilized. It only becomes a chick if the egg is fertilized.”
Grace:(satisfied, but only for a millisecond) “Oh. What does fertilized mean?”
Me: “You know how human babies are made from part of a mom and part of a dad? Well, it is the same with chickens. The eggs we eat only have the mom part, not the dad part.”
Grace: “But how does the dad part get to the mom part?”
Me:(hoping desperately that she is talking about chicken parents) “Uh, I am not exactly sure how the dad part gets into the egg…” (can you feel my uneasiness?)
Grace: “No, not the chickens. Like people. How does the dad get his part into the mom?”
Me:(DAMN YOU CHICKENS AND YOUR UNFERTILIZED EGGS!!!!! DAMN ME FOR BUYING REAL EGGS INSTEAD OF EGG BEATERS THIS WEEK!!!! DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!!)
Kurt:(Eating tomato bisque, just ignoring the whole conversation by this point, mostly because he loves my tomato bisque, and our chatter was ruining the moment between him and his soup spoon. And now that I think of it, I am really annoyed at his timely love affair with tomato bisque when he was the one who brought up fertilizing in the first place. Stupid enginerd.)
Me: “Well, I would love to tell you about that, but it is kind of grown-up stuff, and the dinner table isn’t really the place to discuss it.”
Grace: “Why not? We’re just sitting here, eating and talking. The food doesn’t care.”
Me: “But Michael isn’t quite old enough to know about that kind of stuff yet.”
Michael: “I hate eggs. Chickens have eyeballs. I hate this soup.”
Me: “Um…well,…you know maybe we…(trails off into undefinable mumblings)…HEY! You, little miss, have not told me ONE thing about how school was today!
Grace: “Oh, it was really good! Our class got our 100th marble today for doing good stuff so we are going to have a movie day with popcorn.”
Me: “Wow! I want to hear ALL about these marbles…fascinating…”
Fact: My husband should never be allowed to dress our children.
Let me give you a few solid reasons why:
1. He once sported the follicle phenomenon known as “a tail.”
2. For an extremely short period of time, his ear was pierced (and still might be today if it were not for the good parenting skills of his mother who must have had the psychic foresight to know I would have never dated a 6’6 man who looked like he should be a member of Wham!)
3. In college, he almost got a tattoo of his fraternity letters on his ankle after having a few too many beers at a Pointfest concert. (His mom was not there this time, but thankfully I was and had the psychic foresight, and sober judgement, to know he would have cursed that tattoo every day of his life after turning thirty.)
4. He wears shirts with holes in the armpits, sweatshirts with shredded sleeves, and thinks putting on something nice means wearing a shirt of the Hawaiian flavor. And most of the clothes he owns are in this condition because he has had them since college, sometimes high school.
Oh, and also because my kids look something like thiswhen he’s in charge of the wardrobe situation (we call it “homeless orphan chic”, and yes, the dirt is usually an added accessory):
Try as I might to instill good fashion sense into Grace and Michael, I fear that my husband’s lack of the fashion gene might have been passed down, or at least severely suppresses any style conscientiousness they may have gotten from me. Especially in Michael’s case. He only ever wants to wear one of two things: what he calls “cool shorts” (which are gym shorts in any form) or his Spiderman costume. Winter, spring, summer and fall, he schleps around in a pair of over-sized yellow rubber boots I got for six dollars at a second-hand shop. And at some point each day, whatever he IS wearing becomes a moot point because he will inevitably end up running around in his underwear (I believe his skivvies made an appearance in an earlier blog post).
And then came the Michael haute couture moment…
The silver lining is that one day, I can use these photos against him as payback. Unless he turns out to be more like his dad, in which case he will probably still be wearing the same stuff.
I will leave you with the most recent fashion creation of The House of G & M. I find the daring mix of fabrics and color to be both modern and progressive. This is a look for kids on the go, who are off trying to find Big Foot in the backyard while being ready to extinguish spontaneous pretend fires set by super villains, or who need to quickly transform for an elegant dinner out with friends at McDonald’s. Nina Garcia on Project Runway might find it a little too pedestrian, but I see a lot of potential here:
Last week I began formulating an idea for a blog post, born out of the frustration that comes with being the mother of a three-and-a-half year old. I have often said that the age of three should be declared a medical affliction. After all, there has been many a mother who has gone to the pediatrician with complete certainty that there will be a diagnosis of an ear infection, a sinus infection, an ANY infection to account for the increasingly whiny behavior of her child, only to have the pediatrician tell her he is completely healthy…he’s just three. True story. And if three is a medical affliction, then three-and-a-half is a chronic disease.
That WAS what I was going to write about in my post.
I WAS going to pepper the post with a slew of examples proving my hypothesis that the age of three-and-a-half is a chronic disease, examples from right under my own roof. Like last Saturday when Michael pouted that he didn’t want his dad to take him to the playground because he would rather sit in a gym with me and watch his sister’s basketball practice (yes, it is nice that he loves me so, but only a three-and-a-half year old could make going to the playground a bad thing). Or Monday when Michael noticed that I sprinkled just the tiniest dash of flaxseed in his mac ‘n’ cheese and would not eat it because it apparently smelled and tasted “ridiculous.” Or pretty much any time Grace has something worthy of being on video: every recording of her performances, recitals, or games has the sound of Michael whining in the background. And in the case of last year’s Christmas dance recital, he is actually physically IN the background. You can watch it here (listen for the cue around the 2:43 mark where I whisper “MICHAEL!” in horrified embarrassment at what I know is about to happen yet have no power to stop.)
I WAS going to post about all those things, until a series of good behaviors and heart-melting actions made me feel like a frigid mommy dearest for even thinking to disparage my sweet little boy. Like the fact that on Sunday we were in a church with no cry room for literally almost three straight hours (mass followed by a baptism) and he was a complete and total champ about it. Or the fact that on Tuesday, for pretty much the first time all school year, he walked right over and sat on the rug after hanging up his coat, instead of latching onto my leg and making the goodbye process a battle of wills. Or the fact that on any given day, at any given time, I can ask him for a snuggle and he happily obliges, usually throwing in a goofy little smile as he squashes my cheeks together with his little hands before planting a sticky kiss on my face.
So that is what I AM going to write this post about instead. About a little boy who pretends to be Santa and wraps up things around the house to give his sister. About a little boy who plays house with his four Batman figurines, designating a Dad Batman, a Mom Batman, a Brother Batman, and a Sister Batman who all throw a party in the Batcave for the “Terrible” Hulk so he will turn into the “Happy” Hulk. About a little boy who has me read Llama Llama Misses Mamaover and over again because it helps him remember that his own mama might go away sometimes, but she also always comes back. About a little boy who, every day as soon as we drop Grace off at school, says “I miss sis.” About a little boy who calls the kitchen the “chicken,” thereby making it hysterical every time he scolds our dog by yelling, “Scout, get out of the chicken!” About a little boy who sounds like Forrest Gump when he says “ice cream,” and who makes us giddy by humoring us with the movie line we taught him to say for full effect: “Lieutenant Da-an…iiiiice cream!” About a little boy who still has the captivating sing-song voice of innocence, making me sometimes hang on even his jibberish ramblings just to listen to the way he says the words.
Yes, there is definitely a lot to complain about with a three-and-a-half year old. But fortunately, there really is so much more to love. And that is the best medicine for any chronic disease.