Archive | November, 2009

These are my favorite things

25 Nov

I tend to geek out about pop culture. I am an avid teen novel junkie, love watching retro commercials, and my favorite sweatshirt has a picture of Jem on it. Truely Outrageous

So of course I would want to inflict this on my children.

I was the mother pushing a stroller in the line of the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Pegasus. And of course my 1-year-old daughter had a lighting blot drawn in eyebrow pencil across her forehead, it only seemed appropriate. She was kept up all night in the middle of a pack of tweens and overly excited booksellers so that her mother could give into her obsession.

I have dressed her in Adidas track suits, without the shell toes, as an ode to my favorite rap group. She knows all the words to Another One Bites the Dust and could pick out Freddie Mercury out of a line up. She can tell you who that frogs can hip hop better than other cartoon animals. But recently I wondered if I might have to start to filter my pleasantries.

Recently I have been swooning over Kings of Leon, a band whose it Sex on Fire single has been dominating the radio airwaves for months. I, not wanting my daughter to repeat the words, would make up my own and sing them at the top of my lungs in the car as the song played. This way I get my fix and she won’t know the difference, right? “Oh, this dress is on fire,” the two of us would sing. The other day I wasn’t on top of my mommy game, and I forgot to cover up the lyrics. Next thing I know, I hear in the back “Sex on fire, what?” Okay it is not like the kid has not heard the word sex, but it caught me off guard. I did what anyone would do in this situation, I lied.

“No he said ‘Dress on fire.'”

“Mommy! Sex on fire.”

And so went the battle. I realized that I would never get to listen to my precious Kings of Leon with her around, and put on Madonna full blast to switch the subject.

Another incident that had me scratching my head was a game her and her buddy are now playing at school. As you can figure I am a Twilight geek, and proud of it, thank you very much!

“Today at school we played Bella and Edward.”

“OH, how do you play that?”

“Naja is Bella and I am Edward.”

“OK?”

“She swims and I stand there and look at her.”

Now if you aren’t familiar with the story the game sounds odd, but if you are it is just creepy. It is from a commercial where Bella jumps off a cliff so that she can see the ghost of her vampire boyfriend.

I think I might have to tone down my geek, for the sake of the kids of course.

Pushing Through the Pain

11 Nov

The life of a parent is full of irony. Pregnant moms wishing for a boy end up giving birth to a girl who grows up to be on the cheerleading squad, homecoming queen, and only wears pink. Like anything in life, it takes time to adjust but you move on and accept it. With me irony is not so funny.

Before I was laid-off from the parenting paper our columnist Meg Zwieback (my personal voice of reason) wrote about what to do when your child has to have a “medical procedure” done. She recommended talking about it, not  anything, and doing a rehearsal of the event. Zwieback wrote that if your child needs to be restrained you should talk about it ahead of time.

Restrained, I thought was an odd word. But her description made sense and in the end I thought the story might do parents some good. I had no idea that I would be the one being calmed by Zwieback’s words only two months later.

My daughter has had a small tumor on her shoulder for 6 months. It is not cancerous but it had to come out. A simple procedure; she would not have to be knocked out and it would only take 15 to 20 minutes. I took Zwieback’s advice and talked with my daughter about it, she was scared of the shot but not the tumor removal.

As a mother there is only one sound that really gets me: screams of true pain. Not “I scraped my knee” crying, but “there is a bone poking through my broken arm” scream. I have never been one to sit through the end of skateboard videos when people are falling and breaking bones, and while Jackass can be amusing I can’t watch the painful stuff. (Yes, I am a pussy!)

Struggling, I lied down with my daughter, pinned her legs through mine in a leg lock and held down her head to face me (away from the scalpel). I was prepared for the tears, and was a little prepared for holding her down, but the screams of when it “hurt”were too much. This is something I never wanted to do again. Because I was making her look into my eyes, I had to hold back my own tears. No one wants someone they love to hurt, especially a child. But somethings have to be done, and yes somethings hurt.

After it was over we were both exhausted.

When I was reflecting on this with another parent, she shared  a similar story. I began to realize, while I only have a few friends with children, this scenario is something that happens more than you would think. A bad trip to the dentist, a broken arm, or as with me when I was younger the dreaded “eye drop.” It is all in the words that are said during and after the procedure, no matter how horrific, that make a lasting impression.

I recall after having a surgery as an adult, it wasn’t the pain that lingered but the reactions and comments by others. And with my daughter it was the comments by the staff and doctor that helped ease the emotional pain of having her tumor removed. I was eased by the doctor commenting that “mommy was really brave, too” and that Zwieback’s article was helping parents like me prepare for the worst.

I guess irony does have its place, even if it hurts.

The “Family” Bathroom

5 Nov

When you are potty training a toddler your mind switches into some crazed survival skill. Just like where to find the best beer on tap, you start scoping out public bathrooms. Rating them on cleanliness, amounts of toilet paper, location, and so on. This is not a concept just for parents, I remember a field trip to San Francisco where the teacher insisted the girls take a piss at the golden Neiman Marcus women’s bathroom in Union Square.

Now for some new parents you get a small taste of this process when it comes to changing tables. Something that you would have never thought about 9 months before now becomes a scarlet letter on the face of every restaurant and old haunt. “What do you mean you don’t have a changing table?” These establishments become forever scorned by parents, who never return.  And for those without children: No you cannot just change a baby anywhere, that’s nasty.

DAY242-1

Now that's right

This brings me to my favorite topic: Family Bathrooms. Yes there was some great engineer or architect, it had to have been someone with “potty vision,” who thought of it all.  Place a big toilet and a little toilet next to each other, along with a changing table in the same room, add in ample room for a massive stroller – making way for a single family to hog a whole entire space. It is great!

While I no longer dash off to every public restroom dragging along a girl with pigtails screaming she is going to pee on herself, I do seek out the “Family Restrooms” at malls. They kick ass. If it is just you, there is no waiting in line and able space to stash all of your goodies. But if you are hauling a “double-wide” and three other kids, and a life partner – go ahead, you’ll fit.

Recommended Family Bathrooms

1) Hilltop Mall in Richmond: Sure there is nothing to buy at the mall, but there sure is one clean bathroom. We sometimes go there just to take a piss and get cookies.

2) Old Navy: Almost every Old Navy has a space for you and your 8 kids. Come on Kate, you know you like shopping with the “little people”!

3) Theme Parks: Ask the security guards, it’s like gaining entry into Bungalow 8.