Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When Less Really Is More

"You are too disciplined about turning off the DVD after just one episode," I say.

"We should get some sleep," he says. "We shouldn't stay up too late."

"I am not feeling appreciative about your discipline," I say.

He smiles devilishly.

"You might appreciate it later," he says.

"How much later?" I ask.

He laughs.

"In, like, ten minutes."

His eyes are twinkling.

He raises his eyebrows.

He smiles.

It's on.

Friday, November 12, 2010


She opened the bathroom door and screamed,

"Hurry up!"

She shut the door, but opened it right back up and started yelling again.

"Don't get dressed again. Leave everything off except your underwear."

She half closed the door, then changed her mind.

She grabbed her daughter by the arm and dragged her out into the dressing room of the ballet studio with her pants at her ankles.

I was quietly helping The Rooster change into her leotard and tights.

There were fifteen other five year old girls in the room in various stages of dress all getting ready for ballet class.

I had noticed the woman even before she started yelling. She was sitting listlessly beside a baby boy - maybe eighteen months old. She looked extremely depressed and tired.

Her daughter started to cry as she was dragged by the arm out of the bathroom.

"You're a MESS!" her mother screamed and roughly wiped at her mouth with a tissue.

The girl continued to sob while the mother barked out orders.

Softly at first, I spoke...

"Take it easy."

Then I said it a bit louder.

"Take it easy."

I tried to keep my voice even and calm.

"Let's just take it easy."

She turned.

"Are you talking to ME?" she asked.

"I am," I said. "There are a lot of kids in here."

She told me it was inappropriate of me to talk to her.

"I'm sorry," I said. "It's just that you seem really angry and there are a lot of kids in here."

"I'm NOT ANGRY!" she insisted. "I'm just FRUSTRATED."

I felt so sorry for her. We've all been there. I could empathize with her situation.

"I'm so sorry you're frustrated," I said, "but there are a lot of kids in here." I concentrated on keeping a calm and even tone.

"The fact that you are STILL talking to me tells me that you suffer from some serious control issues."

[I tried not to laugh out loud because OMG I totally DO have control issues!]

Regardless, I looked her in the eyes and tried to seem kind.

"There are a lot of kids in here," I said again, this time as gently as I could.

She didn't say anything else.

I took the Rooster to her ballet class and waited in the lobby.

The frustrated mom spent the duration of the class in the dressing room.

I sat there second guessing myself a bit.

I wondered if it would have been better for me to mind my own business.

As a mother of two small children myself, I certainly understand her frustration and I know I'd be furious if a stranger called me out.

Still... there were a lot of kids in that room and she was so angry.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Silly Run

"Do the silly run, Daddy," she says.

Every morning, we drop K off at the commuter rail station.

As he leaves the car, the silly run is often requested.

My husband then morphs into what I can only liken to a rocking chair with boat propellers.

His arms fly out like airplane wings.

His lower legs rotate at the knee joints and spin at odd angles.

He zig zags, serpentine in great S curves past expressionless commuters and motionless people quietly waiting for the bus.

Inside the car, there is laughing and sometimes applause.

He'll pause, halfway to the station entrance and throw kisses back towards us.

K is normally quiet and mild mannered.

He's an introvert. He's shy.

I hope my kids remember his silly run long after he's gone.

It is a true act of love.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

How to Embarrass Your Offspring on Foreign Exchange

"No way! You actually have the shirt!" he said.

My good friend David is in South Africa for six months.

He's a visiting professor at a university in Johannesburg.

Recently, he was startled and surprised when an American student walked into his office wearing the shirt.

"What do you mean?" the unassuming student from Indiana asked.

After a bit of back and forth, David realized that the student didn't have a clue about what he was wearing.

It was the The Mountain Three Wolf Moon t-shirt.

(If you aren't familiar with The Mountain Three Wolf Moon t-shirt, then I *highly* recommend you take a break and read the Amazon customer reviews for this product.)

[Seriously. Go read them now.]

David showed the Amazon reviews to the poor, unassuming student from Indiana.

After reading many reviews, the student said,

"Oh, man! I'm SO embarrassed! My mom sent me that shirt."

This had me howling.

[Like three wolves with a moon.]

Do you think his mom knew about it?

I totally hope so.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Dawn of Influence

Last year, The Rooster was a fierce pirate girl for Halloween.

This year, she asked to do this look again.

She was all set until it was time to get dressed.

Then she started crying hysterically.

She was afraid that her very best friend, who is tom boyish, would laugh at her.

In the end, she wore purple sweatpants, a red t-shirt with a batman emblem, a batman cape and a batman mask.

Though I have heard The Rooster's friend say she doesn't like to wear dresses herself, I have never heard her criticize anything Roo has worn.

I found myself distressed and alarmed by the amount of influence my daughter already allows a friend to have over her.

As we left the house to meet her friend, Roo looked depressed.

"What's wrong, Roo?" I asked.

She flipped a corner of the batman cape in the air and rolled her eyes.

"It's not your best costume ever," I said.

"I know," she said and sighed.

She is only five.