An Apology to My Daughter

Dear Daughter,

I bought you an outfit that I thought would look cute.

It was a three piece Calvin Klein, with jeans, a shirt, and a soft, furry vest.

I squealed upon seeing the furry vest, as it seems I have a weakness for children wearing fuzzy things.  Your grandmother had bought you a different outfit with a similar vest, and people could not get enough of you in it.

So the other night when we went to the baseball game, I thought the weather was perfect for your CK ensemble, as you’d never worn it before.  It was the perfect combination of semi-warm but not too warm, and I lovingly tucked your jeans into your adorable furry little boots that matched your vest perfectly.

I thought nothing of your outfit until I saw you walking with your dad about twenty feet away from me.  That distance gave me an entirely new perspective.

Your jeans had detailing on the back pockets I hadn’t noticed before, which made me uncomfortable. And they definitely qualified as “skinny” jeans. The vest looked chic, but a little too grownup for an 18 month old.  And the worst was your boots, which looked more like Uggs than anything else.  Good lord, they weren’t supposed to look like Uggs! How did I not see the resemblance? 

And Calvin Klein? What the hell was I thinking?  They are the ones who famously stood between a teen Brooke Shields and er, nothing

I solemnly promise on my Complete Works of Shakespeare never to dress you like a college sorority girl again.

Until maybe you are one, but that’s at least a good eighteen years away.

Love,

Mom

Things I Hate: Ponyo

Given my admiration for Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s talents, I find it rather odd to be writing this post.  I have loved many of his previous films, and was looking forward to seeing Ponyo.  I didn’t see it at the theater because I had a newborn at the time it came out, but I patiently waited for it on cable.

Finally it popped up and I eagerly scheduled it to tape on the DVR.  Even though I had taped it so that the Munchkin and I could watch it together, for some reason he had little interest in it, and I decided to keep watching it without him.

Unfortunately, I should have followed his lead.

Visually, the movie was completely stunning.  I was in awe of Miyazaki’s depiction of the ocean and its denizens, real and fantasy alike.

But then came a little something called the plot.

You see, it is basically a love story about two five year olds.

Sure, you can couch it in whatever other terms you like, but that’s basically what it boils down to.  If these two aforementioned kindergarteners can prove that they love each other completely, well then the Earth won’t be destroyed.

So the destiny of the planet hinges on two people who normally can barely decide what they want for dinner, much less choose a lifemate.

Thanks.

I have to admit that the whole thing creeped me out in a BIG way.  Did I mention it’s a love story featuring two five year olds? I suppose you could argue that I’m making it more about love than friendship, but that is the way I took it. Hearing their tiny, immature voices professing their undying love for one another is something I wish to never hear again. Ditto Noah Cyrus’ voice, which I found to be completely grating.   

I’ll stick with Howl’s Moving Castle, thank you very much.

We Don’t Bounce a Lot of Quarters Around Here

Quoted from Erma Bombeck, one of my all-time favorite authors:

No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.

Judge me if you must, but Erma and I are on the same page.

As a child, my mother forced me to make my bed every morning.  I never saw the point, unless the covers were so out of order that you couldn’t pull them over yourself completely.  Then, I certainly saw the wisdom of straightening them out.

I confess to not being a stickler about the Munchkin making his own bed.  In fact, I don’t really remember the last time he did it.

It doesn’t help that he has an all-in-one bed, the kind with the mattress on top like a bunkbed, and drawers and a desk underneath.  I certainly can’t make it up the ladder to inspect it, or let’s just say I don’t want to make it up the ladder to inspect it, shall we.  It’s difficult to make a bed that you must sit on in order to fix the blankets, so I give him a pass.

But to be honest, even if he didn’t have a bed like that, I probably wouldn’t force him to do it all the time, only when I was feeling the need to be anal about something fairly innocuous.

Which happens more often than you would think, but still not a priority.

My track record with my own bed is pretty poor, especially since our daughter is sleeping in it as well.  Since she also naps there, it means I would have to make it twice a day and mama just does not have the time for that.

But parenting is all about picking your battles, and I’d rather save mine for the thousands of Legos on the floor.

Celebrity Dad Faceoff 2.0

That whoosh you are hearing?  That is Robert Downey Jr., ascending bodily up into the Celebrity Dad Hall of Fame.  Have fun, Robert!

So today marks the exciting part of CDF for me when I have to hunt down not one, but two celebrity dads I haven’t yet included.  I’m thinking soon, though, that I will have exhausted the list and will have to start somewhere close to the beginning, just with different dad combinations.  Or, maybe a series of Hall of Fame battles?  Who knows, it will probably depend on how much tea I’ve had to drink that day.

Our first contender is someone I’ve always considered to be way sex-ay, and it is truly a travesty that I have not featured him yet.  I was going to feature him with clothes, and then I thought, why would I deprive you ladies of the pleasure of this man without a shirt?  Only a vindictive harridan would do that, and I’m only vindictive every other Friday. Today is your lucky day!

The second contestant is one current recovering alcoholic with a more-famous estranged wife.

VERSUS

Now I Have Seen it All

Seriously?

We have now regressed to the point where in order for a child to help out in the kitchen, they must stand on a freaking “safety tower?”

I have never even heard of a child falling off a simple step stool, but here is the Baby Industrial Complex, ready to play on every fear!  What if little Johnny falls backwards while he is washing his hands?  No, that will NOT do!  He must be completely encased in a wooden tower from which there is zero chance his precious head will ever touch the floor!  The horror of even thinking about it is giving me the vapors!

Listen, parents need to buck up and realize that falling off a step stool is a character-building event.   If by some chance a toddler falls off a step stool because they were goofing around or reaching for a knife and became off balance, then a bump on the noggin is a valuable teaching tool!  Next time, they will be more careful, mark my words.  Balance, it is an important life skill.

I’ve got a pretty big kitchen, but having this sticking out in the middle of it while I’m trying to cook would drive me batty.  And what about people who don’t have room for such a thing in their kitchen?  Apparently only people with large kitchens deserve to have their children stay safe.   Too bad for you, small kitchen people!  No accident-preventing wooden towers for your kids!

I read the reviews on this product, and some buyers praised it because their kids also used it as a “puppet theater” or a “fort” or even a “pulpit.” Yeah, well, if I’ve paid a hundred and fifty bucks for the damn thing, it had better deliver a sermon for me every Sunday.

And I don’t want to hear from anybody about how useful it might be for kids with disabilities.  That is a given. 

But we are mostly talking about regular kids, the kind for whom a little fall once in a while can be a good thing.

Seriously.

A Woman Has The Right to Change Her Mind…

I’ve personally watched the Jedi Training Academy many times at Disneyland, but I’ve never seen this happen before…

Homeschooling: Not Just for Nutjobs Anymore

Of course I don’t mean that only nutjobs homeschool, because then of course, I would be implying that I myself am one.

Well, maybe I am and I just don’t know it.

Making the decision to homeschool was one of the most difficult I’ve yet to make as a parent.  There is such a stigma surrounding the whole process, and in talking to people, I found that many had the impression that people who homeschooled were sort of odd, or anarchist-leaning,  or crazy, or religious, or some sort of combination of all four. 

But the reality is that there are as many types of families who homeschool as there are in any school setting.  It would be nice and easy to label homeschooling families as nuts or weirdos, but I’ve found in my dealings with the homeschooling community that there aren’t really many of those around.  It is entirely possible that I haven’t been looking hard enough, though.

For whatever reason, the formal school system wasn’t working for their children and their families, and so they decided to be proactive about it.   Say what you will about homeschoolers, but they are obviously not an apathetic bunch.

I cannot even begin to tell you how our lives are different now that we are homeschooling the Munchkin.  The freedom that this type of situation brings to a family is amazing.  To say that I am stress-free would not be true, as I have a toddler after all, but I am actually much less stressed than when he was attending school.  

I must admit that I am fortunate to have a student who “gets it” on the first try.  There is not a whole lot of explaining to do when it comes to math or reading, and when we hit a bump in the road we quickly address it, conquer it, and move on.  I have a newfound appreciation for how special and unique my son is, and even if he decides to go back to regular school next year, it will have been worth it just for that alone.

So if you are on the fence about homeschooling, I would seriously advise you to give it a try.  You just might like it.

Monday Teeny Poll

65% of you say that if people are willing to pay more for child-free flights, if offered, then godspeed to them.  23% find it discriminatory, and 10% of people with kids would fly it themselves if they could.  To be honest, the child-hating trend that is out there right now concerns me a bit.  I mean, it is one thing to have smoke-free flights because second hand smoke is dangerous to your health.  Are we really lumping children into a similar category?  I could possibly embrace a child-free section of the airplane. 

Today I’ve got a personal question for you.  Well, it’s a personal question for me, to be honest.  My family, including grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. is going to have a formal picture taken by a professional photographer.  Formal meaning that we are going to be all lit up nicely and all that jazz that comes with a professional.  Now, the rub is that we don’t know how to have everyone dress.  We are actually quite a small family, and the total number of people is going to be 16.  Should we dress in a color-coordinated way?  Casual? Semi-casual? Semi-formal outfits for everyone and color matching be damned?  Everybody wearing essentially the same outfit?  We are at a loss, and turn to the wise members of the Manolosphere for help.

photo via