Monthly Archives: June 2011

Sometimes you get one

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I post a lot more photos of The Girl than The Boy. It’s not because of any bias or favoritism, but because it;s harder to get photos of The Boy. Unlike The Girl, who has a spidey sense about a camera in a 50-foot radius and starts posing, he’s either off running, or hiding from the camera (because god forbid his hair is messed up – and seriously? He’s killing me with the hair.)

So while it’s nothing for me to get this from The Girl:

With The Boy, I often have to chase him around, only to get this:

But every once in a while, I get lucky:


It’s worth all the chasing.

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I Smell the Sea!

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Since the kids and I are heading out in a few minutes to drive to the beach, I thought I’d share a conversation from a few years back when the kids, my dad and I were making the same trip:

The Boy (In Berkeley Springs, West Virginia): I smell the sea!

Me: Dude – we’re almost 300 miles from the sea, you don’t smell the sea.

The Boy: Yes I do! I smell the sea salt.

Me: No.

The Boy (In Winchester, Virginia): I smell the sea!

My Dad: No you don’t – we’re still 200 miles from the sea.

The Boy: Yes I do!

My Dad: No.

The Boy (In Fredericksburg, Virginia): I smell the sea!

Me: OMG – 100 miles from the sea! You do NOT smell the sea!

The Boy: Yes I do!

Me and My Dad: No – you don’t.

The Boy: Yes I do! I smell it. I know what the sea smells like and that is the smell of the sea.

Me and My Dad: No.

The Boy (coming out of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel): What’s that smell?

Me and My Dad: THE SEA!!!!!!!!!

Cat versus Dog

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Dog: “I’m biting you! Woooo!!!”

Cat: “Go away!”

Cat: “No really – GO AWAY!”

Cat: “I’ll pound your head!”

Cat: “I’ll bite your ears!”

Cat: “I’ll eat your lips!”

Dog: “Still biting you! I’m biting your leg!”

Cat: “BAD DOG!”

Cat: “I kill you!”

Dog: “You don’t scare me! I’m biting your butt!”

Cat: “OWWWWWWW!”

Dog: “Now I’m eating your arm! Delicious!”

Cat: “Go! AWAY!!”
Dog: “Uncle!”

Stoopid

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Apparently I am a big copycatting copycat because every time burghbaby writes a blog post, I find myself thinking – ooo yeah – I can talk about that, too! But since a recent post was about childhood stupidity, she doesn’t mind me copying her. I think it’s because she likes to hear how stupid I have been. And I have been spectacularly stupid.

While I never used a Slip n Slide indoors like burghbaby, I did use one on a hill. With a rubber raft. And baby oil. And because we lost the pegs that hold the plastic slide down, we figured big rocks and bricks would work. Needless to say, one of the other participants ended up with a bloody, broken face.

And then there was the sled riding down a giant hill in the middle of the street. We’d go all the way to the top of the neighborhood and WHEEEEEE down 5 blocks to the bottom, risking our lives the whole way – particularly at every intersection, since not all of them had stop signs.

Or the time my friend Carol and I found some un-exploded firecrackers and decided to set them off. We were about 7 at them time. Stupid enough as it is, but one of them didn’t have a fuse. And being raised by a MacGyver kind of dad, I figured I would just make one, instead. So I stuffed a dried stem in there and lit it. And you know what? A dried stem doesn’t have the same slow burn as a firecracker fuse. It immediately burned down and exploded in my hands. I didn’t have feeling in three if my fingers for an entire month. I never told my parents and suffered in silence because I was afraid to get in trouble.

But my stupidity peaked –as it generally does – in my teen years.

Evidenced by the time My friend Tee and I decided to shoot her brothers bow in the house. Inside her parents tiny 12×12 bedroom. The arrow embedded in their headboard was not easily explained.

Or the time we had a (comparatively) warm day in January when there was about a foot of snow on the ground. And we decided to lay out. In bikinis. On the roof. That was covered in snow. Which led to talk of swimming in the summer. Which led to getting out the baby pool, hooking the hose up to the sink, and running it out the window and filling the pool with hot water. Which led to the idea that it was like a Jacuzzi, but that it needed bubbles. Which led to adding more hot water and a bunch of dish soap. Which led to hives. Luckily, it didn’t lead to hypothermia or pneumonia.

Bu the perhaps the biggest boneheaded move I ever made was when Tee’s sister B and I decided we wanted to play with some sparklers. But it was hot outside, so we thought we’d do them inside. After burning a couple, we started getting all science-y and wondering about the “coating” and how it worked. So we crumbled several of them, piled it in a glass ashtray (one of those fancy ones from back in the day) and lit it. It was pretty cool. Especially the part where it burned so got that it melted the freaking glass.

But it doesn’t end there! In the excitement of the melting ashtray, we somehow managed to drop a regular burning sparkler and not notice until it burned a several inches long, black scar into the thick, red living room carpet (did I mention that we were doing this in the middle of the newly redone living room?). We were dead and we knew it. But how are we still alive to tell the story, you ask? Remember I told you I was raised by MacGyver? Well, I came up with a solution. First, I got a razor – not a razor blade or anything, but a disposable Bic – and shaved off as much of the burnt carpet as I could. This left a slightly browned indent. Next, I got a red crayon that matched the carper perfectly, heated it a little and colored over the burn. And somehow it worked! There was a slight depression, but not really very noticeable. We were hoping it would buy us enough time to be able to play stupid when we were questioned, but the questioning never came. Despite Tee’s father’s eagle eye and her mother’s obsessive cleaning, no one ever noticed. We told them about it years later, when we were grown and they were redecorating the room again and they were shocked that they never knew. They did, however, bring up the arrows in their headboard…

Sadly, these are just a small sampling of my childhood stupid moves – I could go on for days with the rest. So tell me – what was the stupidest thing you did as a kid?

Reading is Fundimental

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I was an early reader – like seriously early. As in: a toddler. These days, with all the crazy baby reading programs and all that crap, it doesn’t sound like much, but in those long gone days of no pre-school and kindergarten being basically play time, and general laid-back learning plans, it was definitely well out of the norm.

The difference between the baby readers of today and the baby readers of my day is basically that in my day, if your baby could read, it was because your baby was a natural reader and not because crazy parents were already thinking about Harvard. My mom will tell anyone who listens that while she read to me every day, I taught myself to read. She says that started reading early because I was a messy eater. See, whenever I sat down to eat, my mother – trying to keep me from getting breakfast all over her clean house – used to line the table and under the chair with newspaper. So while I ate, I would “read” the paper, asking my mom what this word and that word were. Eventually, I went from “reading” to actually reading, and I haven’t stopped since.

I was the kid that would be on the silver or gold level SRAs while my classmates were on the yellow or brown. I was the kid who took a book with me everywhere (I still do). I was the kid who had special permission at the library to check out more books than was generally allowed because I devoured them. I was the kid whose aunt and grandma would rush to the store the very day a new Trixie Belden was released, because I couldn’t wait another minute. I was the one whose reading teacher bought her books for Christmas because she wanted to share non-curriculum books with a student she knew would appreciate them (and btw, I am still in touch with that teacher and still sharing books).

It’s funny, though – anyone you would ask would tell you that reading is a great thing. And yet, reading gets no respect, as far as hobbies go. My mom was proud of my reading abilities and yet I can’t even begin to count how many times I heard, “Get your nose out of that book!” People who read a lot often get labeled bookworms or nerds or antisocial (because they would prefer to read than socialize).

I myself have been reprimanded for reading at family functions, accused of avoiding people. I have heard people make comments about myself and others reading in a restaurant or other public place when alone, saying that people who do that are insecure and they use their book as a barrier so they don’t have to interact or to hide their embarrassment at being alone. Maybe some people do that, but maybe – you know – they just like to read!

And then there are the defensive non-readers. The people I have previously described are just a bit clueless, I think, but these people are annoying! Here’s the thing – read, don’t read – unless you’re my kid, I don’t care. Be who you are and own it! I know a lot of people that look down on crappy TV. I am not one of those people. I love crappy, trashy, awful TV shows and I don’t care who knows it. It doesn’t mean that I am not smart or don’t know how to do other, more productive things. But defensive non-readers don’t get this. Instead of having the attitude of hey – don’t like to read, but that doesn’t make me an idiot, they instead act like idiots and put down people like me – people who do read.

I’m sick to death of being insulted by the defensive non-reader. They don’t outwardly insult readers (because like I said – anyone would agree that reading is a good thing). Instead, they drop passive-aggressive insults. Mainly, “Oh, I don’t have time to read!” I can’t tell you how many variations of this I have heard over the years. And yes – I do know that it is hard to find time to read. But we all make time for the things we want to make time for, whether it’s reading, or pedicures, or girl’s night out, or shopping, or going to a movie. And while it isn’t the actual words I & don’t & have & time & to & read that bother me – the tone with which they are said will get me every time. That and the little extras:

Oh, it’s nice that you read. I don’t have time to, though!

I don’t have time to read – I’m just too busy!

I don’t have time to read – I like to spend time with my children!

I don’t have time to read – I work!.

Please allow me to respond:

Fuck you. I’m busy, too, and I read. I also love to spend time with the kids. Sometimes we spend it reading. I work, too. And have a long commute. And two busy kids. And a house and cars and dogs and a cat and fucking hermit crabs and a family who is constantly having parties and friends who I get together with occasionally and a computer I’m addicted to and on and on and on with all the things you do, and guess what? I still read!

If you don’t read, I don’t think I’m better than you or smarter than you, but give me the same respect. If you don’t read – I don’t care. But I sure as hell am done being insulted by the implication that my avid reading means I am somehow lesser than you as a wife, mother, employee – whatever. And also? Fuck you.

I recently had several people (on different occasions) react like I am insane because I mentioned that The Girl wanted a nook (like mine) and that I was considering buying her one. Finally, by the third person, I was done smiling and biting my tongue. When I got the “A nook? That’s a lot of money to spend on something like that for a seven year old!” I responded with, “PS2 – $200, PS3 – $350, wii – $200, xbox – $300, PSP – $150, Nintendo DS – $150, ipod touch – $300+ – that’s a lot of money to spend for a child to pretend to kill people and play angry birds. There is no amount of money that is too much to spend to keep my child reading.”

Doesn’t anyone remember those old 70s commercials? Reading is fundamental.

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