Entries in Over-sharing (34)

Sunday
Apr242011

Just a Typical Saturday...

So our grocery store gives out balloons. Score. I tie them to the cart for each kid. But I never let the kids take them home. I tell them we have to leave the balloons for the next kids.

This is a lie.

I’m sure the next people to use the cart either don’t want balloons or don’t want balloons that have been slobbered on. I’m just guessing.

But I won’t bring the balloons home.

Because, inevitably, this happens:

Why yes, those ARE two balloons stuck at the top of a 2-story room

And when that happens, there are tears. I have a very low tolerance for tears. This is problematic since I have a 3 and 4 year old. But anyway, I try to minimize situations where there might be tears.

The husband doesn’t necessarily follow protocol, though. Which is how the above happened. Actually, it went like this:

Husband takes kids to the grocery store. Kids come home with balloons. I say, “Don’t let them go. And definitely don’t bring them into the living room.” Which, in kid speak, means bring them into the living room, let them go, and cry.

Anyway.

We had to get them down. So the husband and I came up with a plan. It involved a toy helicopter:

Do you see it there? Hovering under the green balloon?

Our plan involved getting the string caught up in the rotor. It didn’t work. So then we added a paperclip to the front, but that screwed up the balance. So then we added one to the back as counterbalance. Which kind of worked, but the battery power couldn’t really sustain the excess weight.

At this point, a good hour had passed. And Kid #1 was yelling, “Hey! I have a better plan!” (Her plan involved a ladder. BORING.) (But then another unsuccessful hour passed and we used a ladder.) (It wasn’t fun anymore.) (But anyway.)

I am writing. Well, I am revising. And by revising I mean kind of re-writing, kind of re-structuring, kind of re-logic-ing. I am sure there is a simpler way to do this than the way I’m going about it. But my way is kind of fun. It involves multi-colored pens and an assortment of sticky notes and allows me to yell at my computer screen while simultaneously punching at the delete key.

I’d imagine if Kid #1 were to look over my shoulder, she’d start yelling, “I have a better plan!” and suggest something very logical and practical and effective that would probably suck the joy out of revising.

Because revising is fun.

Seriously.

Try the hot pink. Just don’t look at my delete key.

Tuesday
Apr192011

Spanish and the To-Do List

It’s time for me to learn Spanish.

Truth is, it’s been on my To-Do list for a really long time. Since college, actually, when it became obvious that The Spanish-is-my-first-language Boyfriend would become The Spanish-is-my-first-language Husband. Seemed like I should probably learn it. Solidarity, and all. Also, so I’d know what he was mumbling at me under his breath.

So it went on the To-Do list, somewhere after PASS ORGANIC CHEMISTRY but before FIND A JOB. But then, before I knew it, I had passed Organic Chem, and I was about to graduate. So I had to reshuffle the To-Do list, and suddenly FIND A JOB bumped LEARN SPANISH down a bit.

It’s always there on the list, but it never makes it to the top. Something else usually knocks it down a peg or two. There was never any urgency behind it.

But then we had kids. And I thought, well, I should probably learn Spanish now since hopefully the kids will learn how to speak it. But at first all my free time was taken up by STARE BLANKLY INTO SPACE IN AN EFFORT TO RECHARGE BEFORE THE KIDS GET UP AGAIN. And then the whole WRITE A NOVEL thing bumped LEARN SPANISH down yet again.

And really, I’m usually able to keep up – at least with the simple stuff. So when Kid #2 is screaming ayudame while hanging upside down from the baby swing, I’m pretty sure he’s asking for help because (a) he needs help, and (b) I’ve seen enough Diego.

Likewise, when the kids start counting vacas on road trips, I’m pretty sure they’re talking about cows. Also, I can see them out the window. But I’m good with the basics: animals, numbers, greetings, shapes, colors. Well, most colors.

But last week, we were doing art. And I asked the kids what color construction paper they wanted, and Kid #2 said morado. Crap. I looked at Kid #1 and said, “What did he say?” And since I usually ask her that anyway, even when Kid #2 is speaking English, she said, “He said morado.”

And I said, “But what does he want?”

And Kid #1 did this half-a-smirk thing. She went to the pad of construction paper, tore off a purple piece (which, honestly, I should’ve known – it’s his favorite color), and handed it to Kid #2. Then she went back to her art, but I saw that look she gave me. As her clone, I kind of invented that look. I know what it means. I know what’s coming.

Let’s put it this way: I’d better learn Spanish.

There’s a sense of urgency now. It’s at the top of the list.

Tips? Suggestions?

Por favor, ayudame.

(Also, I'm pretty sure I'm butchering the Spanish words in print. So sorry. Like I said, I need help.)

Sunday
Apr102011

Inappropriate Bedtime Stories, Questionable Parenting, & Villains

My 4-year-old recently got this book of old children’s fables. You know, the kind where you’ll read about some guy going off into the forest to chop wood, and then that guy refuses to give his food to an old lady, and then he accidentally chops off his own hand. And then at the end you’ll get the, “And the moral of the story is…”

For reasons unclear to me, Kid #1 loves these stories. She asks me to read her one every night as her bedtime story.  (which, actually, is a nice break from the usual request of Dr. Seuss, because I’m pretty sure I’m starting to speak in anapestic tetrameter (yes, I looked it up))

So last night, the story we were supposed to read was Demeter and Persephone.

I paused.

For those of you who need a Greek mythology refresher: this is the story where Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnaps Persephone, the daughter of the goddess of the harvest (Demeter), to keep as his bride in the underworld. When Demeter and Zeus try to rescue her, Hades tricks Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds from the underworld, thus insuring she can’t leave. (The reasoning here is SHAKY.) So anyway, Zeus and Hades strike this deal where Persephone can spend 6 months on earth and 6 months in what is essentially Hell. Demeter is pretty depressed whenever her daughter is gone, which is how we get winter. I think.

Anyway, you can see my reservations about this being Kid #1’s bedtime story. But then I worried maybe I was censoring. And I know she’s 4 and all, but I try to err on the side of not censoring whenever possible. So I told her it was kind of scary, but she still wanted to read it.

So we did.

Then we got to the part about Cerberus, the 3-headed, flesh-eating dog guarding the underworld. There was a picture. It was snarling. I tried to read faster.

But then Kid #1 said, “I want a dog like that.”

After putting my hand on her forehead and reassuring myself that she was not, in fact, feverish, I said, “Um, it doesn’t look house-trained.” Also, it will eat you.

And she said, “It’s protecting them.”

Okay so apparently some of the story went over Kid #1’s head. Which is probably for the best. But she reminded me of something very important. Villains aren’t all evil. They shouldn’t be, anyway. They should have their own motivations, besides just snarling. Cerberus was kind of a kick-ass guard dog. You know, if you’re the god of the underworld.

Also, for the record, the moral of the story had something to do with love. Seriously. I didn’t read her that part. Instead I said, “Don’t take food from strangers.” Okay, so I censored a little bit. Guilty as charged.

Sunday
Apr032011

In Which I Give Horrible Homework Advice

So, I’m an only child. Shocking, I know. But thanks to the whole baby-boomer generation thing, I actually have a giant family. This probably isn’t too unusual. Except we grew up really close. Like the kind of close where sometimes you can’t tell which kid belongs to which family.

So I have a lot of cousins. And second-cousins. And first-cousins-twice-removed. Which is actually kind of awesome, because chances are, anywhere I go, I’ll run into someone I’m related to. (Example – relatives encountered on recent trip to Disney: 6) And If I set foot in New Jersey, chances are I’ll run into a random relative on average three times a day.

Anyway, one of the perks of the giant, close family thing is that there is likely to be an expert in anything, just a casual phone call away. Questioning a traffic ticket? Maybe call The Cop. Or possibly The Lawyer. Or Grandpa, who, well, we’re not really sure what he does, but he’s loud and he seems to have a knack for making things go his way.

Point being: there are options.

Need someone to run a new phone line in your house? All set. Do your taxes? Done. Tutor your kids? Got you covered. Everyone kind of fell into a role. Eventually, so did I. It started when I left for college and decided to do the Science thing.

I started getting phone calls like this: “So, your cousin is doing his homework, and he wants to know if electricity is a solid or a gas or something.”

And since I was not a physicist, nor was I taking physics, nor did I really remember all that much about electricity or the states of matter, I’d give some horrible answer like, “Um, well, it’s a flow of electrons, right? So I don't know. Are electrons a solid? Um, it’s just kind of—” And then I’d get cut off with a, “Cool. Megan says solid. Bye.”

And I’d shout into dead air, “Google it!”

(Of note: this answer is totally wrong. Seriously. Google it.)

Or somebody would call to ask about my thoughts on the flu shot. And since I was not a doctor, nor was I studying to become a doctor, I’d say something like, “Oh, yeah, it hurts for, like, 2 days.”

Silence.

So then I’d mumble, "Maybe you should Google it."

*Skip forward an undisclosed number of years and a few career changes*

These are the calls I get now:

“So I just finished Mockingjay and I loved it. What should I read next?”

“I’m standing in the bookstore. Let me read you some titles. Tell me what I should buy.”

I'm much better at this family role. I also kind of love it.

And I typically don't even have to Google the answers.

Sunday
Mar272011

Living With The Grammar Police

No, it’s not time for copyedits again. Instead it’s time to take a peek into my daily life with the 4-year-old:

FRIDAY

Kid #1: What are you doing?

Me: Uh, sending an email.

Kid #1: What was that sound you made?

Me: What sound?

Kid #1: It sounded like this: uhhh

Me: Sorry, I was thinking.

Kid #1: So why did you say it?

END SCENE

Lest you think this is a one-time occurrence, here’s another example:

Kid #1: Where are we going?

Me: To the park.

Kid #1: Did you say par? Because it sounded like you said par and par is not a word.

Me: Yes it is so a word. But that’s not what I said.

Kid #1: Well that’s what it sounded like.

END SCENE

She calls me out on stuff like this All The Time. Now, I don’t want to be mean or anything, but this is coming from a person who says catched and sometimes uses with instead of if. Glass houses and all that, you know? Just saying.

And she is very picky.

Kid #1: We’re out of milk.

Me: I’m going to the supermarket tomorrow.

Kid #1: The supermarket? I think you mean grocery store.

Me: They mean the same thing.

Kid #1: Well last time you said grocery store.

(also, I believe she has a real future in copyedits)

But here’s the thing. She’s totally right. I’m about to start doing some revising/rewriting/banging-my-head-against-the-wall, and I do keep an eye out for that stuff. If I call something a grocery store once, I should probably call it that again. Am I using unnecessary words? Am I using the right word?

Of course, I’ll never tell her this. No, I’ll keep rolling my eyes, because that’s the kind of mom I am.

Because it’s not just grammar. She’s also the Unnecessary Movement Police (why did you move your head like that, Mommy?) And the I-Hope-You’re-Not-Buying-Those-Shorts-Because-They’re-Way-Too-Short-On-You-Police.

Although I called her out on the latter when we were at Disney a few weeks ago. Because while it’s known that Disney is the Happiest Place on Earth (and also the Place You Decide You’re Definitely 100% Done Having Kids), this year I discovered that Disney is also The Land Of The Impossibly Short Shorts.

I looked at Kid #1 and was like, see? And she gave me this look back that was like, yeah, see?

Touché, Kid #1. Touché.