Thursday, May 25, 2006

Two of my unconventionally favorite things about parenting

1. Going on trips, to get away from The Kid. Which is what I am doing tomorrow through Monday. I'm so incredibly lucky to get away and be with grown ups only for three whole days. And not just grown ups, my best friends in the universe!!!

But seriously, it is not all to get away from him. He's not that hard to parent. And I always love him. In fact, the real highlight of being away from The Kid is getting to call him at his grandma's house, and hearing his tiny voice over the phone. He sounds so little on the phone, and it just makes me love him so much. And after three days of separation, I will be so appreciative of my life with him, and I will miss him so much. But I will have fun in the meantime. It's a total win-win situation.

2. Finding random toys stacked in interesting arrangements about our home:

Being an archaeologist by training, I can't help but try to reconstruct the play that was intended by the stack above. Is he guarding something? Is he riding a doomsday animal of some sort? By the way, the toys that are stacked (from bottom to top):
  • Rubber ducky
  • Cap to Johnson & Johnson baby wash, in lavender (The Kid's signature fragrance)
  • Baby Alligator, head covered by the middle body part of a "stackable" Ronald Mc Donald
  • Arctic Excavator Guy from Playmobile, armed with a totally contraban shotgun that the Kid must have conned off of the neighbor kid (it is so not our toy).

Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend! I'm outta here!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Field Day

Nowadays, Field Day is a totally non-competitive fun day with athletic events. In no way are we to stress competition, or award ribbons based on placing in any of these events.

That is, however, until your kid takes off on the long distance race, and wins by at least 15 yards from the nearest child, and about 50 yards from the rest of the class. To wit:

In this instance, you are to just praise him for participating. Until you get home, and then it is your right and, indeed, duty, to brag to every living being about your child's physical prowess. And give him and extra bowl of ice cream for dessert.

[please note that in the photo below, the victor of the long-distance track event is smiling and posing for photos while his fellow competitors are still finishing the race!!!] Okay, I'm done being the obscenely proud mom. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On Television

The Kid is sleeping on the couch right now, and I have to admit that in the past few weeks, I've become a terrible mother. He'll remain on the couch until I'm done telling you about why. And then maybe I'll pick his suddenly monstrous 6-year-old-post-growth-spurt body up and place him ever so gingerly (ha, that doesn't happen after they hit 40 pounds) back on his bed.

I have a television addiction problem.

There. I said it.

I am confident, however, that I will kick this problem in approximately two weeks, about three minutes after I finish watching Big Love's season finale.

I do this every May. I watch so much television that my brain turns into mush. Here's what I've been watching:

1. The Sopranos
This is the best television show that has ever been. This show is the finest writing, cinematography and directing TV has to offer. In fact, it quite simply makes all other television shows look bad. This is what it could be like. I truly believe there is enough talent in Hollywood to give us more than one truly excellent drama. This season hasn't been as good as the last, but I'm so seriously invested in Tony, Carm and even their stupid, selfish children, that I can't look away, let alone fold clothes or do any other "while watching TV chores" while I watch them. Seriously, Vito Spatafore is going down next week. Is Tony headed for death? Jail? Witness Protection? The Family is falling apart, the whole season has been predicated on the fact that the mob just ain't what it used to be: Gay Capo's, Tony's incapable of getting in bed with Jamba Juice, Paulie totally has cancer, and Christophuh has a monkey on his back, alternatively named Adrianna and Herion. If Tony leaves, this family is done for. Will there be a Michael Corleone thing? Meadow?
I turn my HBO on and off depending on when this show is running. I have two more episodes for the year of 2006, and you better believe I'll be on the phone with Comcast in January of 2007 to order up another 6 weeks of HBO to find out what happens to them.

Or I might order it up for longer:

2. Big Love
In the mold of The Sopranos, this show takes a lifestyle that is generally "contraversial" (putting it a nice way), or rather, "criminal," and somehow melds your brain in to caring for the characters, wanting to know about their internal dialogues, why they chose what they chose, who they truly are. I've been watching along, just kind of because it's an HBO drama, and generally, they are good TV. But then last Sunday's episode shook me deep. That was a damn good hour of my time spent on the couch. Margene's blythe realization, "Do you consider yourself a polygamist?" pitted against Barb's guilty interactions with her sister, estranged since her choice to enter into "plural marriage," blew my mind. And then Chloe Sevigny's wonderfully interesting Nicky, who has been the show's principal villian (second only? to her father), comes to the rescue and defends the family in a way that you actually care for them, and for the first time, made me believe that this was an actual, functioning family. It gives a glimpse of where this show is headed, now that they've brought us in through the male fantasy bullshit of being able to sleep with three women on a regular basis, and we can actually get to the business of figuring out how they make their lives work. I'm hooked.

3. American Idol
Oh, this is by far the most entertaining show on television. I am so seriously a geek about this show that I can't even pretend I'm so cool and I don't watch it, or love it, or geek out about it all day Tuesday. I listen to the radio and think, Wow, this song would be AWESOME for contestant X, or Y. Funny thing? I don't even really listen to pop music. Not in a "buy CD's" way. I'm truly an alternative, indie-rock kind of a girl. But, I was also a theatre geek. Let us not forget that.

So, apart from being entertaining, I think it's so incredibly powerful and interesting. Ultimately, this is a GAME SHOW. I do think that some careers are started by the show, and you can't deny it, but generally, this is not the world's best music, nor is it the world's best pop music. I can't adequately link to the website, so I'm going to quote, quickly, a brilliant run down by Jacob of Television Without Pity who said this much better than I:
The CDs and videos and magic music that they make is roughly the same as a WWF keychain or mix tape or commemorative chugging mug -- it's souvenir merchandise that the show is churning out, so you can remember watching the show, so that you'll tune in and watch the show some more. It's a t-shirt you can listen to. The focus is on ratings, like with all other TV shows, and on the soap opera that keeps us all tuning in, and the way that those contestants are dropped into the hopper every year and the judges and producers push it this way and that way and it's very compelling television, but it occurs in a bubble, and spending all this energy on the imaginary future of these kids is just a waste of energy, because they're on a game show, a stupid TV game show, and the most we can hope for is that Elliott's voice will get noticed, or that A-Fed will do some porn now that he is all grown up.

I would take out the "stupid TV game show," however, because I must assert that I think this show is BRILLIANT. You must respect Simon Cowell and his business partners for bringing us such an insidious marketing ploy, packaged to so many age groups: It's a sexy, funny, and supremely fun show to watch with your family. Plus, Paula's on drugs.

The hubbub about Chris Daughtry leaving brought me to thinking way too much about this show, that and the fact that I have a coworker with whom I can no longer discuss the show because I think she thinks that were I to say, 'I don't like Taylor Hicks' it would naturally lead to the statement, 'therefore, I don't like you.' But seriously, our country is so derisive at this point that the people we root for on a game show will bring upon us such infighting so as to cause petitions, lawsuits and boycotts. For the final, I almost expect Chris Matthews to show up with a map of the US with red and blue markers. Power to the people, y'all! Bring on the electoral college, because those freaks down in Alabama have way too many speed dialers to make it a fair race to the finish between Taylor and Katherine!!!

I remember reading an article back in the 90's about how the television shows of a time reflect the spirit of the country. So, the Reagan-Bush (GHW) years brought us shows about opulence and greed: Dallas (finally, there's your Dallas reference!), Dynasty, LA Law, etc. Clinton's presidency brought us shows about dissillusionment and cynicism: Seinfeld, Thirtysomething, NYPD Blue. So what of the George W age? We get "reality" television. Only fitting that a president that exists in a reality that can only accurately be beset by quote marks would usher in an age where the television shows we watch are about fabricated situations with normal people, packaged to us as "true" or "real life." That, and a television juggernaut that is likely to make us draw Mason-Dixon lines through our homes and offices.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Weird Day

Today was weird day. All over the place.

As a part of my job, I am taken out to lunch meetings by insurance company representatives. Eliot Spitzer might have you think that this is a lower form of influence peddling. I have a few things to say in response to Mr. Spitzer, the first being: good luck running for president someday, I'll vote for you, I think, even though you have single handedly made my work a living hell. The second: These free lunches are not always fun. And sometimes afterwords, you are haunted. And it in no way effects where I place my business.

Today, I met with a longtime associate and his new boss. His new boss is one of those guys who travels 6 days a week, lives on these lunches and intimately knows the minibars of Hyatt Hotels. In all seriousness, this man was mentally ill. And I am completely disturbed.

Lunch was set to introduce me to Mr. New Boss. But Mr. New Boss NEVER engaged in any kind of conversation through the lunch. Well, except when we talked about Seinfeld. Which was about 5 different times. I think the rep kept bringing Seinfeld up so that Mr. New Boss would enter in to the conversation. He was completely spastic, kept getting up and walking away, playing with his blackberry. He was completely unable to keep still or function for more than three minutes without changing something pretty drastically.

The rep kept things under control as well as he could. But then Mr. New Boss noticed that he had gotten some of his Udon broth onto his shirt. He pretty much freaked out. Completely. Okay. When I said before that all he joined us in conversation about was Seinfeld? Amend that. Add freaking out about japanese soup dribble. We talked about that for a long time. He doused his spots of Udon juice with water at the table. He bitched about dry cleaning. He even tried to cover the spot with his tie (which was an impossible feat, giving that gravity doesn't allow ties to lay at 45 degree angles to the ground).

So, Wow. Is this what he's like all the time? If so, Wow. If not, gosh, I hope he's alright. But really, this was a man who was sick. I'm not dishing this out to be all, "Get a load of the dude who I had to eat with today..." But instead, I'm saying, Damn, this is what "functional" mental illness looks like. Was he manic? Is this ADHD in adulthood? OCD? It's all possible. It was really weird.

So I can't stop thinking about this very weird guy, with his big white buck teeth veneers. It just makes me sad. This sad, crazy, lonely guy. Of course he loves his Seinfeld, because when you get back to your hotel every night, there's always a rerun on.

"What's the deal with Udon noodles? They just drip on to your shirt!" Ha. Today could have been quite an episode of Seinfeld... But I'm in no way as mean as the characters on that show. Instead, I'm all bothered and I hope that guy gets some serious help. Soon. It's just so weird!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's All About The Kee-Yai

Alternative title: Who needs a psychologist when you can teach your child how to karate chop?

The Kid is now in karate. I'm really excited about this development, because apart from teaching how to kick serious butt, karate truly teaches self-control, patience and personal discipline. It's basically zen buddhism as exercise. And I honestly think the lessons he can potentially learn from this sport will benefit him far more than having me drop $120 per session with a psychologist, just to have him charm the pants off of yet another adult, without the resolutions of what happens with his peers at school. The sport can give him a toolbox for his anger, is what I'm hoping.

Oh, and yes, this summer I fully intend to get the chamois out and teach him "wax on, wax off."


Monday, May 01, 2006

How Parenting Teaches You Random Facts About Patrick Ewing

Or, Damn, The Kid's School Needs Some New Books, Yo.

So, tonight, The Kid and I had to finish his library book because it must be returned tomorrow. It is about Patrick Ewing. I learned some things I did not know:

1. Patrick Ewing was born in Jamaica
2. But then, Patrick Ewing grew up in Boston

We started the book last week, but it's a long one. We read the part about his long and storied high school basketball career. Then tonight, I was getting ready for his long college career at Georgetown followed by his long professional career. But the book ended after his first year. Huh? I checked the date on the book, and it was 1986.

Whoa. I tried to fill the story in for him. "Well, honey, mommy's really short and never played basketball and all of the boys in high school had boy-crushes on Michael Jordan, but I think Patrick Ewing played for a super long time for the Knicks, and I think that he played for the Orlando Magic at some point." Oh, shit, this is definitely where dads come in handy.

Next time the school library needs some money for new books, I'm so there. I can't be expected to fill in for all of sports history. At least, not for sports history that doesn't involve John Elway.