Scribbling Dame

Preposterous Pondering.

Performance Management July 3, 2013

I had a realization. Some parents really care A LOT about how their kids perform.

I know this isn’t a grand revelation–I’ve heard of Tiger Moms and Helicopter Parents and Stage Moms, etc., but I’ve been going along in my own little world just trying to keep the kids alive, have a self identity and a good marriage so I haven’t really had the opportunity to see it in action.

Until last week. At the rec center tennis camp. I put my kid in summer rec center camps because I was scared to be alone with her all day all summer. Plus add in the crazy little one and I’m outnumbered. No way.

So she did tiny-tot beginner tennis camp last week. This was a thirty-minute-a-day “camp” for four total days. Hardly what I’d call professional tennis training.

I’d watch Sofia try and tap into her hand eye coordination, realizing that, like her parents, it’s highly likely that she’ll get academic scholarships over athletic ones. Sometimes she’d connect the racket with the ball, and the other 50% of the time she’d miss, and pirouette with her racket like the point of the move was actually to twirl and the ball was a footnote in her actions. She was a clown and I liked her flair, and most importantly to me she seemed to be having fun.

Three of the four kids in the class were similar in skill to Sofia and one little guy was pretty good. Yet I realized at the end of the class, I was the only one who didn’t care that Sofia wasn’t good at tennis. The other parents seemed genuinely distressed and distraught, which is a puzzle to me: what did they expect would happen in 30 minutes over four days for $24?

This is probably not going to be Sofia.

This is probably not going to be Sofia.

Don’t get me wrong–if my kid was the best in her class I’d make sure everyone knew she was my future tennis star, but the fact that she is probably a regular old goofy five year-old makes me just as happy. The last thing I want is for my kid to be incapable of having fun, because she is worried too much about being the best. The same goes for me.

How my kid performs does not directly reflect my worth as a parent. How my kid handles how she performs does.

Chillax people. It’s just tiny tots tennis camp. Your kid will not be a crack whore or car salesman if they have to retake the same level next week. Promise.

 

How to Control Stoplights May 20, 2013

I have learned the following tried and true secrets for mastering stoplights. It doesn’t matter what city or even what car you are in–these facts will still hold true.

If you want to GET A GREEN LIGHT EVERYTIME, try these two tricks;

images

  1. Do anything on your phone. Trying to get anything done at a red light will ensure its green-ness.
  2. Try giving your child in the backseat anything they need to prevent them from crying such as a toy or a snack. You will soon master the one-handed-steering with non-driving-hand-reach-and-back-arch to the nether regions of your backseat gymnastics move.

If you want to CATCH EVERY RED LIGHT, put a screaming baby in the car. The louder the baby, the farther from home you probably are. This means more red lights.

With these simple steps. you too can be master of your own traffic domain.

 

Dog or Baby? April 24, 2013

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 10:50 am
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It’s been a while. I’m working on an amazing project–soon to be announced. I’m going to be a more attentive blogger again–promise.

My first-born is Chachi. He is a 6 year-old Havanese and he taught me almost everything I needed to know about parenting, roughly a year before I became one for reals. You may think this is reaching, but the below quiz will confirm that if you are considering a baby, a dog is a great first step that is near identical to parenting a human child.

I bring you the quiz “Dog or Baby?” Your challenge is to read each statement and determine if it was achieved by a dog, a baby, or both in my household. Good luck.

  1. Ate so many sticks off the floor leading to projectile vomiting all over my couch. Dog or baby?
  2. Growls incessantly. Dog or baby?
  3. Withholds poop when parents go away for extended periods of time. Dog or baby?
  4. Needs a drink from mommy’s bathroom every night before bed. Dog or baby?
  5. Does not believe Daddy is in charge. Dog or baby?
  6. Does not believe Mommy is in charge. Dog or baby?
  7. Farts all damn day. Dog or baby?
  8. Wakes up religiously at 6 a.m. due to starvation or thirst. Dog or baby?
  9. Loves to spoon, especially to fall asleep. Dog or baby?
  10. Licks everything. Dog or baby?

Answer key:

Baby,Both,Dog,Dog,Dog,Baby,Both,Both,Dog,Baby

In some ways, my dog is the devoted snuggly baby I’ve always wanted, and the baby is the adventurous goofy dog I always wanted. Huh. 🙂

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Don’t let these cute faces fool you…

 

Where Schrodinger’s Cat takes a Dump… March 6, 2013

For those of you not up on quantum theory, see Wikipedia. My blog title will be way funnier then…

Nothing distorts time like being a parent. It is akin to going to the currency office and trading in a minute, an hour, a day, a year, in exchange for some completely foreign mystery measurement of time. Since currency exchange is kind of like math and I hate that stuff, I have conveniently provided you with some simple translations.

An hour becomes 7 days:

  • While at the gym when you realize that you have had your ass handed to you and are simultaneously realizing you are only 10 minutes into the class.
  • Waiting for the sitter to show up: you are so close to freedom yet so far.
  • Waiting until bedtime, which is when you can have a marriage, a personal life, maybe even some alone time if you are privileged.

Three hours becomes 10 seconds:

  • This is date night. You’ve actually been gone for hours but it never feels this short when you are taking care of the kiddos…
  • Planning to leave the house with your children. You swear you started the process of evacuating with so much advance time, yet you are still mysteriously running late.
  • Realizing your baby isn’t a newborn/baby/toddler/kid anymore. Weren’t they just born? Now they do things and have opinions.
  • Realizing that’s how much sleep you are getting for the night. Following somebody else’s body clock is a bitch.

I won’t even get into how the time warp effects the aging process…at least not while I’m blogging in a cafe and not a bar.

 

Tiny Assassins February 18, 2013

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 10:43 pm
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I really really love my kids. I cannot imagine my life without them and I cannot think of anything else in this world that comes close to the joy they give me.

That being said, sometimes I think they are miniature hitmen out to kill my husband and I. It’d be the perfect cover: enter the world as a cherubic being, live in the house so the marks grow to love you to the ends of the earth, and then BAM. Take ’em out.

This is the only logical explanation I can come up with for the predictability in how children can slowly chip away at their parents sanity and health. Here are some classic examples of slow parent death techniques:

–Normally awesome sleeping children will inevitably employ the world’s worst night of sleep on 1) Sunday nights or 2) the night before anything really important that you need all your faculties for (read: early morning travel or work presentation).

–In a moment of being unprepared, and trying to live life like a regular person without 15 pounds of child gear attached to your person, your child will need said gear. This means a huge leaky poop when there are no diapers or spare clothes, a sneeze fitting a Giant when there is no tissue, sanitizer or baby wipes, and starvation when you chanced it and decided not to bring a bottle.

–At the moment you feel you can no longer muster the energy to live, your children will give you the flu that they had a minor case of, but you will have it in third-world country intensity.

–Your children will want nothing to eat unless you are trying to eat it. Then they will be very hungry, and only for the food they can take off of your plate.

If you do not identify with at least one of the above scenarios, you either do not have children or you are a robot. I’ll see you next time. If I live long enough to tell another tale…

 

Baby Tigers January 16, 2012

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting,Mommy Issues — Scribbling Dame @ 7:08 pm
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I never cease to be impressed by how smart a four-year-old can actually be. My kid is  a god-damned genius. I say this not in reference to any academic capabilities–she’s totally fine in that area and has a good vocabulary etc., etc. It’s her ability to manipulate any situation to her advantage and negotiate the hell out of anything. For a four-year-old this means getting out of trouble, and negotiating less bites of dinner required before dessert.

Most kids have an imaginary friend that they have tea parties with or keep as company if they are lonely. My kid has a pack of baby tigers who are responsible for all things naughty that she does. Her imaginary friends are her scape goats, uh tigers.

Don't let these bastards fool you with their cuteness.

 

Some examples;

Why Sofia cannot stay in bed all night without waking up mommy and daddy lately: Baby Tigers are playing and keeping her up.

Why Sofia’s socks come off immediately in the car: Baby Tigers take them away.

Why Sofia’s room looks like the aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse: Baby Tigers won’t put things away.

In general, if I get after Sofia for something: Baby Tigers aren’t listening.

As far as I can discern, baby tigers live in various light fixtures in the house. I am told there are 18 of them.

Sometimes I think I am smart and I will scold the baby tigers directly, or threaten to put them in time out, but Sofia is smarter and will tell me every time how ineffective this is.

I am both impressed, and as usual, bested. Sigh.

 

Kid Weird: A Photo Montage July 20, 2011

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 9:53 pm
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Kids are weird. Mine is especially weird but it is a true fact that all kids are weirdos. Some people call it “creativity” and “imagination” which I think is just doublespeak for weird. I mean, none of us want to give our kids a complex or stifle their weirdness. If we did, what would there be to talk about?

So, here are a couple of samples of the Sofia particular brand of weirdness:

 

 

 

“Mommy, what’s a shithead?” July 5, 2011

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 1:51 pm
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Tragically the time has come. I have magically avoided this day for three-and-a-half years, but I suppose everything has it’s season.

Baby girl has entered the parrot phase, which means that one of my vices, the art of cursing, must now become a secret indulgence–at least around all-too-perky toddler ears, which are connected to the suddenly very articulate toddler mouth.

I am a little depressed at my need for discipline. One, I am not good at restraint in almost any variety, and two, I love to swear. Even though I have a wide-ranging vocabulary thanks to a couple of English degrees, I have yet to find the perfect replacement for a good fuck, or mother fucker even.

Still, my love of the curse is replaced by wanting to avoid the chagrin of those clean-mouthed folks such as teachers and other preschool parents, who will not likely think it’s as funny as I do when my little Tiger says, “Fuck it! I hate this!”

So if you know me in the non-internet world, you might see an uptick in my f-bombs and ass-hats, because basically I will be on a swearing binge every time I leave my house. See how I sacrifice?

I guess since we're not sports fans, we'll have to find another use for that finger...

 

Goddamned Tragedies June 28, 2011

I am at a pizza joint with my kid and my husband. It’s late, kid is starving, pizza arrives blazing hot. Me, being the angelic, well–ok nice, mommy that I am, starts to cut up the pizza into bite-sizes so that baby Tiger can blow on them and hopefully eat them sooner due to the cooling effectes. This was my plan.

Birkenstock heels. Now that is tragic.

Until my kid sees my selfless act and determines that it is the worst affront to a human being since slavery and shoulder pads. Then we had to spend 10 minutes trying to calm her down and convincing her that 1) Mommy was just trying to be nice and 2) she shouldn’t be such an asshole about it because 3) all her pizza is still basically the same.

What I don’t understand is why none of my husband’s “wrong” moves get the same prolonged reaction as mine do. I also don’t understand how on earth a three year old can be so damned opinionated about every little thing and the exactitude with which it is done.

On a daily basis I commit at least three goddamned tragedies in her eyes. It might be time to enroll her in acting class. What on earth am I going to do when she is a teenager and really has an attitude?

 

Top 5 Children’s books to get your kid if you are a weirdo. May 9, 2011

I pride myself on being a really thoughtful gift giver. So, when Sofia got invited to a birthday party this weekend, I was happy to go to the bookstore and explore the Children’s book selection.

This is one of the many great things about being a parent–suddenly whole new sections of stores and even cities are opened up for your participation and perusal!

But I couldn’t just buy any old book. I have two English degrees! The choices have to be 1)of literary merit 2)not a book that everyone already has and 3)slightly off the beaten path. Thankfully, weird people such as myself write a lot of children’s books these days. Here are some of my top picks for a variety of ages–and they are linked for your shopping pleasure! I am so full service!

Butterfly in the sky...or. Lavar Burton.

1. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A rooster is trying to tell his chick bedtime stories, but can’t quite get through a page…

2. Dick and Jane and Vampires by Tommy Hunt

A twist on the old Dick and Jane but less boring because creepy vampires lurk in the background of every scene!

3. Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Okay so this one is really for adults and little newborns who can’t repeat the F word. A hilarious rhyming bedtime ditty that shares the honesty of bedtime from the parent’s perspective.

4. Why Mommy is a Democrat by Jeremy Zilber or Help! Mom! There are Liberals under my Bed! by Katharine DeBrecht

An awesome intro to politics for the junior ambitious types. You may want to hold off on the DeBrecht text until you are sure your kiddo won’t have nightmares about the liberals under the bed…

5. A kids weird booklist wouldn’t be complete without Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi.

The illustrations of poop and varying facial expressions are worth the money alone. I wonder, how many darfts did they have to go through to get that book right?

I figure, my kid is already going to be weird given her lineage. We might as well read some funny things along the way…

 

Preschool Questionnaire–the real answers March 19, 2011

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 4:57 pm
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As part of the amazingly ridiculous process of securing preschool, you are required to do more paperwork than when you took your kid home from the hospital. Worse, this paperwork is full of DMV-like trick questions. Below are the answers that popped into my head, before I outwitted “the man” and put down the proper parent answers.

1. What does your child enjoy doing?

Watching t.v., “accidentally” killing ants, coloring with chalk on the screen doors, making weird faces for photos, getting into her carseat all by herself, and eating boogers. Oh also saying she wants one thing for dinner but then not eating it at all.

2. Does your child have any behavioral issues?

See above answer.

3. How do you deal with them?

Vodka, Retail Therapy.

4. What is your parenting philosophy?

Keep her alive.

5. What do you hope your child will gain by attending here?

I hope she avoids retardation and general social stigmatizing. It’d also be nice if she could read before kindergarten. It’d be nice if this place was cheaper than the last one too.

I feel better now. It takes a lot of energy for me to seem normal.

 

Motivational Lying March 13, 2011

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 8:56 pm
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Today we caught a glimpse of the news, which is odd for us because we usually rely on The Daily Show for the real story, like most yuppie hipster democrats. Anyway, the story discussed how a man died in the Tsunami because he refused to evacuate. Unfortunately Sofia’s awareness of death is quite high, why I don’t know, but she asked us “why did he get killed?”

The least complicated answer we could come up with was that “he didn’t listen.” At this explanation Sofia’s eyes widened and she said, “So you mean that if you don’t listen, you get killed?”

There was a decision to be made. We could seize the opportunity to scare our kid into listening to us for as long as it took her to figure out our technicality, OR we could calm her. After considering it for a good 30 seconds, and laughing our asses off, we conceded to calm her fears that every time she was naughty, she’d be struck down dead.

It seems a natural part of parenting to lie to your kids for their own good, or perhaps exaggerate a bit. Santa and the Easter Bunny aren’t real. Your teeth don’t all fall out if you don’t brush your teeth, and you probably wouldn’t get electrocuted if you touched a light socket.

Alas, I figure I’ll save the terrifying lie card for something more important like “where do babies come from?” Another alternative would be to go Arrested Development style and hire a one-armed man to be the family lesson giver. Tempting.

 

 

Duh. March 1, 2011

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting,Mommy Issues — Scribbling Dame @ 10:50 pm
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It was a busy week for the stupid. So busy that I can’t even blog about everything stupid that occurred that I happened upon. Here are a few bullet points in case you haven’t remembered to participate in society or that thing called reading:

A UK gourmet ice-cream store had to re-call a flavor made with breast milk. They charged $22 a cup! Do I smell a new home-based business mommies?

Rachel Ray actually had a segment of makeovers (on women) at the American Kennel Club dog show. The judges were confused by all those hot bitches.

Charlie Sheen–enough said.

But the one that makes me want to blog is this article from The NY Daily News about a UK study (tax-payer funded) that found that young couples without children are the happiest. I should also mention that this study cost almost $80M.

For free I will tell you why that’s a no fucking brainer: because young couples without children have no work to do! They are no longer single so they don’t have the physical upkeep and required socializing that single folks have to maintain. And without kids all they have to do is keep a job and not piss off their spouse. Easy peesey.

The cruel irony of life is that these lazy shits don’t even know how good they have it, and they are probably pining away for children.

I also saw a TedTalk recently about the general decline of happiness after having children, which I actually appreciated and recommend you check out. (I should note that the happiness levels go up as your child gets older–so don’t go killing yourself.)

But really, is this surprising to anyone? That having children makes a person generally less happy than their pre-child lifestyle?

I can agree with this–generally speaking. My day to day life is less happy and relaxed as it was pre-Sofia. When before I wanted to have more money, it is now imperative that I plan for the future. Before I might feel stressed, now I feel crushingly overwhelmed. Before I might want a date with my husband, now I just wish we could stay awake for a movie together. Compared to our early days of marriage, my average happiness is lower.

It is hard fucking work to be any kind of a decent parent and there are no breaks.

But I am a better person for it. There is nothing like this challenge that has made me hold myself to higher standards of being, and I will continue to learn more in this process than from any of my degrees or from any of the mentors I will have in my life. And I will get to participate in this other person’s life and development in a way that no one else gets to. I consider myself privileged for it and I love my daughter completely.

My husband’s answer to this was interesting. He said his happiness levels didn’t go down, but he redefined what happiness was. Which is to say he cheated. 🙂

And for only $40M, England, I will tell you why it’s worth it, even if it means giving up your young happy couple life. See how giving I am?

Lest we forget...

 

 

 

Worst Case Scenario Preschool Decisions January 24, 2011

Week 2 of complete overwhelm over the preschool decision process. As I dig in the trenches for all the options, I envision all the worst case scenarios from each of the choices. Since someone should enjoy this process, it may as well be you, so I have outlined my internal dialogue of crazy that goes with the options on the table. Bon appetite!

Catholic School:

So my husband went to Catholic School for most of his life. He was an altar boy even, and he turned out okay. Ironically, he thinks he may be atheist. But Catholic school for girls is a  whole other story. In my narrative of completely insane and paranoid mother self-talk, I think of three things when I think of Catholic school for Sofia: The first is whore. All the biggest sluts I knew growing up went to Catholic school. Brittney Spears built a whole career on that expectation.  The second is repressed sexuality. So, if she’s not going to be a whore then she’ll probably be a totally repressed secret masturbator who is afraid of her own vagina. Everything in moderation people. Lastly, and this is perhaps the scariest–religious! What if she becomes a Jesus freak and starts gay-hating? What if she becomes that wretched Mandi Moore character from that movie “Saved?” What if she becomes the girl who tells the Juno’s of the world to consider the fetus’ fingernails? It’s too much for me to fathom…

Montessori, Reggio, Waldorf salads:

First any pedagogical philosophy that sounds like a salad or salad ingredient is already suspect in my mind. Second, while I like art and creativity and freedom of thought, I know that none of that shit pays the bills. The last thing I want is to pay A LOT of money for my kid to become a hippy-dippy granola freak who wants to talk about energy cycles and organic gardening. Plus, what if she asks to wear Birkenstocks? I have to draw the line somewhere! Birkenstocks are a sin against fashion–at any time of year, with or without socks. Seconded in offense only by Crocs. My kid will not wear Crocs.

Sigh. And the search continues.

 

Success! Turning my Kid into a Christmas Freak. November 29, 2010

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting,Mommy Issues — Scribbling Dame @ 9:35 pm
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There are two reasons why my husband and I decided to have a baby.These may or may not be secondary reasons. I’ll never tell.

For him, he needed someone to endlessly tickle who wouldn’t get annoyed at him. Also, someone he could convince that SciFi shows are cool.

For me, I needed a Christmas loving protege–Christmas season beginning at Black Friday complete with rising before dawn and a latter day tree decoration with hot cocoa and Christmas music. Since my husband hates all things seasonal and can’t seem to get a glimmer in his eye during a truly magical time of year, a baby was the next logical choice.

For both of us there was a risk of having a child that would not cooperate with either of these whims. Honestly, the jury has been out on the whole Christmas thing until this year what with us having to wait on her to develop motor skills and all. But, I think I have done it.

Sofia is officially excited about our Christmas tree and has been playing with my Nutcracker dolls. She has been asking us to play the Christmas music radio in the car. She sat on Santa’s lap and asked for a Barbie. I have explained to her how Santa Claus works. It is a matter of time before I get her to beg her daddy to put up some really pretty lights on the house. This is all part of my evil Christmas-loving plans. Mwah ha ha ha!

Finally this kid is starting to pay off. 🙂

What's better than one crazy Christmas Lady? You got it--two!

A glimpse into the future...

 

 
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