Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Addition to the Swan Candleholder List

More words that I never thought I would utter in sequence:

NO.  Nipples are NOT invited to the Gun Show.

(Little Kid is fascinated by the concept of nipples - his own, thankfully.  I think he has figured out that they have no function on him - other than to gross his brother out.  As soon as he realized that the word is high up there on Big Kid's "cringe list," he started looking for ways to drop it into conversation.  Being nine, he's not terribly subtle, and most times he uses the word completely without context, but he has found that the cringe factor is amplified if he says the word and simultaneously raises his shirt to provide a visual reference.  For this reason, "nipple exposure," along with twerking, is on the list of behaviors we are trying to eradicate in 2014.

Little Kid has accepted the challenge and, apparently, has made it his mission to slip his nipples in when we least expect it.  Hence:  "Want to see the Gun Show?" Once he had his brother's and my attention, he moved as if to showcase his biceps - but this was just a feint, immediately followed by a quick raise of the t-shirt and a shout of "HA!  NIPPLES!"

Prompting ME to advise him that the Gun Show was strictly an all- bicep, zero-nipple affair.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Boy Mom Monday: Words I Never Thought I Would Utter In Sequence

Once upon a time, David Letterman was doing a joke about something he saw on QVC, involving swan-shaped candleholders, and he either showed a video clip of or recounted the QVC presenter saying, "Now, let's measure our swan candleholders." David made the supposition that those words probably had never been uttered in sequence EVER IN THE ENGLISH (or any other) LANGUAGE.

Good point.  And a concept that stuck with me ever since.

As the mother of two boys, I occasionally find myself stringing together words that no rational human being would ever connect.  My all-time favorite:  "We don't pants our brother in a restaurant."  REALLY?  Like pants-ing someone - related or otherwise - in, like, the teller line at the bank is okay?  I think my point was that, if we are going to pants each other (and, let's be realistic, PANTS-ING IS GOING TO HAPPEN), that sort of activity should be conducted in the privacy of our own home.

The funny part about the pants-ing comment was that it was uttered at a pizza joint across from Texas Christian University, where only two other tables were occupied.  At one table:  a largish group of male students from the high school that our children will attend.  At the other table:  an even larger group of slightly older males, all sporting the identifying marks of a fraternity to which our children have familial affiliations.  As we ate our dinner, I was only halfway monitoring my children, because I was too busy watching my life flash before my eyes:  the kids at Table #1 were the same age that Little Kid would be when Big Kid was sitting at Table #2.  It was quite the nice preview.

I guess for every flash-forward, there is an offsetting flashback:  when I made my situational no-pants-ing declaration, several of the other patrons heard me.  All of these boys had once been my boys' ages, and the same knowing grin snuck onto all of their faces.  (One of the frat boys took particular note of what was going on - probably was marking my pranking boys as future pledge material.)

The most recent addition to the "swan candleholder, Boy Mom edition" list:

"No, you may not have my broom handle, because I am using the broom.  I'm sure you can find yourself another weaponBe creative."

Explanation (like you need one?):  the Little Kid wanted the broom handle to use as a bo staff.  Probably on account of how I have hidden his broadsword.  (Not necessarily because I was trying to keep it from him - as is evidenced by his request for the broom handle, the kid knows how to improvise, so what's the point?  No, I stowed it under the bed one day when he had been using it in more-annoying-than-average fashion, and when one of the eight million remotes in our bedroom fell through the crack between the bed and the headboard and out of reach, I saw the sword under there, and I was able to grab the hilt, leverage it up through the crack and recover the remote by swiping the sword at it until it popped out the side.  Since then, the sword has been in the custody and service of the Queen.)

Happy MLK Day

Friday, January 17, 2014

Boy Mom Monday: BOY-lywood

(Yeah, yeah, so it's a few days past Monday.  I've been busy.)

So the Little Kid is REALLY good at twerking, which is unsurprising, since he comes from a long line of booty shakers.  However, we are trying to discourage this activity, since the child lacks any sense of appropriateness in terms of time or place.

He informed us that his New Year's resolution was to STOP TWERKING, but that resolution was broken about nine hours into 2014.  So now we are tying to consistently call him on it, in an attempt to break him of the habit.

Here's the the thing about consistency and parenting:  sometimes, your kid does something that, TECHNICALLY, you should call them on, but they do it so well, or it's so appropriate in its inappropriateness, that you find it hard to hold them accountable.  If you are reading this and you have children, or have ever met a child, or at some point WERE a child (okay, I've covered everyone now, right?), you should have a frame of reference - an adult says something ridiculous or illogical, a child calls them on their ridiculousness or illogic (usually without looking up from their toy or hand-held device), and the adult looks to the adult responsible for that child, expecting them to lower the boom.  The problem is, the child's assessment was SO SPOT-ON that it's hard as the responsible adult to fault them for pointing out the OBVIOUS.  So you end up chastising them on the spot, and then clarifying later that what was objectionable was the fact that they used their outside voice to express an opinion that, maybe, their inside voice got exactly right.

Anywho - Big Kid and I were watching "Bend It Like Beckham," and Little Kid walked into the room in the middle of the wedding reception scene.  Little Kid turned around, flashed a devilish grin over his shoulder, and announced:


And then he proceeded to perform what was, in fact, an inspired mashup of traditional Bollywood dance moves and Miley-esque rump-shaking.

And I just COULDN'T.  He had processed and integrated the commonalities of the two dance styles, the concept and execution were both flawless, and as someone who took so many anthropology classes in college that I could have minored in the subject if I had been paying attention to the number of credit hours I was racking up -

Let's just say that I felt that he had made a profound, culturally literate statement.  And, by unanimous decision, we decided to let the statement stand on its own:  Big Kid looked at me, and me at him, and we both shrugged and said:

"Yup.  Nailed it."

 Consistency's overrated, anyway.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

If You Send a Boy Mom to Walgreen's in Early December

. . . and if that Boy Mom happens to have a 14 year-old boy with her, and if said Boy Mom and 14 Year-Old tend to gravitate to the toy aisle, and are suckers for the "buy two at $6.99, get one toy of equal or lesser value free" gimmick that Walgreen's frequently runs, and are crazy for DC Comics characters, you can expect them to return home with two packages of small DC Comics figurines, plus a toy for a family member that they purchased as their free item to justify the action figure purchase.

If that Boy Mom is THIS mom, because it is December, she will insist on wrapping one set of figurines for each child and putting them under the tree, even though the 14 Year-Old has already seen them and they don't correspond to anything on his little brother's list.

After the Boy Mom wraps them and puts them under the tree, it will occur to her that they are, sort of, a random gift, for the reasons set forth above as well as the facts that (1) they are figurines, rather than action figures, so they really don't do anything other than just STAND THERE and (2) they are oddly petite.  At about this point, she will also bemoan the lack of whimsy in her 14 Year-Old's Christmas list (or, as it shall forever be known, "The Laundry List of Cables" - seriously, everything he asked for was a glorified USB or HDMI geegaw).

If the Boy Mom happens to be a Pinterest abuser (and early adopter - I say with a small amount of ridiculously misplaced pride that I joined when it was really, really hard to get an "invitation"), then she is going to make note of the following Pin on Target's DC Comics board:

At around the same time, she will take advantage of the free shipping promotion on the One Kings Lane Web site (also an early adopter - and, yes, I have made my peace with OKL after my prior rant) and start ordering all sorts of random - and randomly shaped - cr** for Christmas gifts, which OKL will faithfully drop-ship, one randomly shaped item at a time, ensuring that OKL will probably never offer said promotion again.  (One day, a hand-hooked pillow for my mother; another day, a tennis racquet repair kit for Spouse; the next day, a telescoping duster for my mother-in-law.  In my defense, I placed my orders early and would have been 100% okay with them aggregating my items prior to shipping, but even when I ordered things contemporaneously, they insisted on packaging and shipping them separately, result being the most hodgepodge-ish parade of oddly shaped boxes that one has ever seen.)  As a result, she will find herself trolling the OKL Web site daily for useful things that she can have acquire free of shipping costs. 

(On second thought, OKL's promotion was a HUGE success.)

When OKL features a three-chambered tall lidded glass whatsit (photo, top), she will immediately think that this  whatsit is the appropriate dimensions for a terrarium featuring largely useless, impulse-purchased superheroes (and villains - one box contained Joker, Catwoman and Bane in addition to a second Batman and a Robin).  She will decide that the whimsy that her 14 Year-Old needs in his life is a multilevel superhero terrarium (terraria?).  She will order the whatsit, which OKL will pack in the most ridiculously huge shipping carton, and she will wrap said shipping carton.  She will purchase another (canning jar-ish) container to go along with this item and leave it out on the kitchen counter, hoping that her children will ask after its purpose.

Because it is the holidays, and because a LOT of stuff accumulates on the Boy Mom's kitchen counters over the holidays, and also because they are male, the children will not notice it.

Because she is sadistic, and also a little irked that they didn't ask about the other jar, she will talk up the big box on Christmas morning, encouraging her children to OPEN THAT ONE RIGHT NOW.  They will give her an odd look - once they have made it through many layers of ridiculous padding and packaging.  (Spouse's reaction:  "Seriously?  That little box is what's been lurking under all of THAT?")  She will direct their attention to the other jar:  more odd looks.  Then she will encourage them to open the heroes.  Still more odd looks.  Finally, she will reveal her grand plan to create habitats for those heroes.

They will shake their heads imperceptibly and resume tearing off wrapping paper, probably hoping to find actually useful or desired gift items.

Weeks later, after striking out at big-box home and garden stores, she will call a local plant nursery.  When she asks Plant Lady whether Plant Lady has any hens and chicks or similarly sized succulents, she will say, "No hens and chicks, but we have a bunch of other succulents and ferns and stuff in small pots.  They are for terrariums."  When Plant Lady says this (and after Plant Lady reports that she also has in stock gravel, activated charcoal, sheet moss and potting soil in pre-assembled terrarium kits), the Boy Mom will decide to proceed to the plant nursery directly from work.  Because the plant nursery closes at 6 pm, and because it is rush hour and EVERY BLEEPIN' ROAD FROM POINTS A TO B ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION, she will allot forty minutes to drive the FIVE BLEEPIN' MILES from her office to the plant nursery, and she will take all sorts of shortcuts, because one of her Boy Mom superpowers is KNOWING WHERE ALL OF THE SHORTCUTS ARE.

Because the Texas Department of Transportation is run by sadistic bleepin'-bleepers, one of these shortcuts will be blocked off, resulting in the Detour from Hell.  With each passing minute, she will become more determined to arrive at the plant nursery by 5:55, purely on principle.  She will curse the fact that she does not have access to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," because that is TOTALLY her traffic-conquering jam.  She will begin muttering to herself at exceptionally long lights, frightening other drivers.  SHE WILL MAKE IT TO THE PLANT NURSERY AT 5:55 SHARP, THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF WILL.

When she arrives at the plant nursery (AT 5:55 SHARP), she will make note of the fact that the entire center part of the nursery is completely devoid of merchandise.  To the left:  a few flats of pansies.  To the right:  a gigantic greenhouse, seeming to contain NOTHING BUT TERRARIUM STUFF.  And, also, the entire staff of the plant nursery, who seem to be having an end-of-the-day staff meeting.  She will think that this whole scenario is both funny and awkward, and she will select her plants, and grab her terrarium kit, and return home.

When her children return from swimming, the Little Brother - he who previously had drawn up clever and complicated plans for the different habitats - will rather predictably drift into another room to watch TV and leave it to others to implement said plans.  The 14 Year-Old, also rather predictably, will initially try to play it cool but then mutter something about the terraria being his terraria, too, and at the end of the day he and the Boy Mom will finish what they started at Walgreen's.

Third floor:  Superman scoffs at Kryptonite.  (If the Boy Mom has leftover glow-in-the-dark paint from the "homemade slime" activity from Little Brother's birthday, she is going to want to make some Kryptonite, for sure, because it's whimsical, darn it, and because it justifies her overcalculation in purchasing units of glow-in-the-dark paint.)

Second floor:  Green Lantern takes in a rather barren landscape on Planet Oa.  (We're hoping that the fern ultimately fills up the space.  Note that we placed the succulents up top, where there is more light exposure, and the shade-loving fern in the shady middle.  BOY PLANT LESSON #2!  Boy Plant Lesson #1 was that you have to put sheet moss between the rocks at the bottom and the soil at the top, to keep the soil from sinking into the cracks between the rocks.  Okay, so that one was more of a Physics Lesson than a  Plant Lesson.)

Not shown:  Batman and Wonder Woman on the first floor.  With a lot of big black rocks and some leftover sheet moss but no actual living plant material.  Sheet moss is a placeholder:  the plan is to construct some sort of rock "wall" behind them, and add a penny and a rubber dinosaur to duplicate the interior of the Bat Cave.  This was part of the Little Brother's grand plan, as staffed out to his sibling and mother.

The stand-alone terrarium features the Caped Crusaders battling with Bane in a jungle.  A tiny jungle.  In a sort-of glorified mason jar.  

Because the Batman figure has his fist outstretched, and because the Boy Mom is REALLY a Boy Mom, and a computer-literate one at that, she will suggest leaving Bane out of things and arranging Tiny Costumed Bruce Wayne and Tiny Costumed Dick Grayson so as to recreate one of her favorite memes:

Because the 14 Year-Old is heartless and must not love his mother that much, he will veto this idea.

If the Boy Mom's spouse recently has lost his mind and purchased for his wife, on her deceased father's birthday, a Christmas cactus to remember him by (because killing another living organism in his name is a remembrance HOW?  Boy Mom has a bad record with houseplants, although she does just fine with landscaping plants, and, really, it's not outside the realm of possibility that she will manage to screw up a bleepin' allegedly self-sustaining terrarium), and if she has a Flash figure left over (because the 14 Year-Old refused to confine him to a jar - "Flash HAS to be claustrophobic, Mom; he can't RUN in that little amount of space"), she will stick Flash in the Christmas cactus:

And if the Spouse lost his mind a second time and purchased a battery-powered decorative water fountain "for the cats to drink out of," without any regard for (1) the size of the object (too small, really, for cat mouths to access), (2) potential feasible and appropriate cat-drinking locations and (3) potential toxic paint hazards, and if said Spouse rather amusingly forgot to gift said item on Christmas (YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS WAS TELLING YOU IT WAS A BAD IDEA, HONEY!) and did not present it until after New Year's, and if the Boy Mom left it on the counter for a few days with zero idea of what to do with it, and if the Boy Mom has a Catwoman figure left over . . .

Catwoman.  Actual cat.  Same idea.

We'll see how long I put up with a small, rather contemporary-looking fountain taking up counter space in my renovated Tudor kitchen.  When the cactus dies, the fountain probably will go.  Hopefully the superhero habitats will thrive.  Hey, thanks to my unplanned kitchen remodel, I actually have the counter space for this kind of insanity.  Might as well take advantage.  Oh, and I have since placed the Joker in the fountain with Catwoman, since he was the (extremely!) odd man out.

Retraction of Retraction - Aw, [Bleep] It

Having now watched the entire game (and postgame), on replay, I see now that even the FSU coach's cap was Bieber-ish, so I'm going to chalk this one up to a product design flaw versus personal styling choice.  Also, it's kinda cute that the quarterback and the coach's young son have a pregame chest-bumping-type ritual.  And that 100-yard return for touchdown was kinda epic.

Btw, this marks the point in the new year when I stop caring about sports until college basketball conference playoffs heat up at the beginning of March.

We resume the year already in progress.

Full Retraction

Please disregard the last part of my BCS Championship post.  After I watched Jameis Winston in the post-game press conference, wearing his cap waaaaaay up on the crown of his head like bleepin' Justin Bieber, with a rose tucked behind his ear, I remembered that I really, REALLY wanted Auburn to win.

That is all. 

No, that is almost all.

Jameis:  The Biebs is neither a fashion icon nor a role model.  And youth only gets you a partial hall pass on Massengill-ish behavior.  (Couldn't bring myself to type out the D word.  But if the D word fits . . . .)

Okay, THAT is all.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Very Superstitious

The Little Kid experienced a day of jubilee on Monday (interviewed by the local news, won a pair of new running shoes in an essay contest).  His television debut happened to coincide with the BCS Championship game, so we did what any good parents would do - tape the news so we could watch the game.  I mean (ahem) "tape the news so we would be sure not to miss seeing our precious child."  At the last minute, though, the Big Kid convinced me to switch over from the football game (because, apparently, he is a more supportive parent than either Spouse or me).  WHEN I CHANGED CHANNELS, AUBURN HAD THE GAME WELL IN HAND.  AND I WAS WELL PLEASED, BECAUSE I WAS CHEERING FOR AUBURN.  (Why?  Because I like a good underdog story.  And I don't like Nick Saban.  No, that's not a non sequitur.  Oh, and you can throw in the fact that his daughter scares me.  Okay, NOW I'm getting a little far afield.)

I watched my kid.  I shared the video on Facebook.  I responded to friend's comments about my kid.  And then, finally, I turned back to ESPN, and - WHAT THE WHAT?  How did Florida State get ahead?  EVERYTHING WAS JUST FINE IN PASADENA WHEN I LEFT IT.  Immediately, I began cursing my decision to change channels, because obviously my decision to do so influenced the course of the game.  And then I had to decide:  what now?  Continue to watch, because me watching (again, OBVIOUSLY) translates into "Auburn being ahead" and me NOT watching translates into "Auburn falling behind"?  Or change the channel, on the theory that one channel change reversed the course of human history, so another channel change would offset that change.

Please tell me that other rational people think this way when they watch sporting events.

In the end, I didn't have to decide, because the cat decided for me.  Well, his butt did.  One of the older cat's hidden talents is to sit on the remote just so, changing the channel to the Direct TV Customer Information Channel.  Seriously, IT'S ALWAYS THE CUSTOMER INFORMATION CHANNEL.  His butt hones in on the "1" button and pushes that button only, EVERY TIME.  I cannot explain it - I merely report it.

Something distracted me, and I didn't immediately pick up on the fact that the channel had changed until I noticed that the volume had increased, and someone was speaking who was waaaaaaay too excited about the subject matter, and I realized that Barkley had worked his DVR remote butt mojo, and I panicked.  Until I switched back to ESPN and learned that Auburn was, once again, ahead.

Well, yay.

And, also, crud.  Because now what do I have to do to preserve the lead?  Stand pat?  Channel surf?  Coax my Maine Coon to roll around on the remote again?

While I was pondering my options, Auburn managed to lose the game.  Okay, scratch that - FSU won, fair and square.  And I quickly made peace with said victory, because I remembered that FSU's win put an end to an era of SEC BCS domination, and the only thing that I like better than an underdog win is a good dynasty bust.  And, also, I kind of like Jameis Winston, or certain aspects of the idea of Jameis Winston (freshman, youngest Heisman winner in history, two-sport athlete, drafted by the Texas Rangers).  And then someone held up a "Happy birthday, Jameis" sign in the crowd, and I remembered from the Heisman ceremony that his birthday did, in fact, coincide with the BCS Championship game, and that put me over the top, because people should win things on their birthdays.

Again - PLEASE tell me that other rational people think this way when they watch sporting events.  Because I'm not likely to change anytime soon, and I really would prefer not to think that I'm crazy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Boy Mom Monday: He Who Smelt It, Holiday Edition

Two photos of my darling children taken on Christmas Eve, twenty seconds apart:

First photo:  children are sitting on the right side of the sectional.  Second photo:  children are sitting on the left side, and the oldest has moved as far to the left as possible.  Reason:  while Photo #1 was being taken, Son #2 was - erm - releasing flatulence.  "Floating an air biscuit," as one would say.  You may note a certain saucy look on his face, and, also, a slightly uplifted right butt cheek.  Based on anecdotal evidence, said air biscuit exited stage right, drifted over the Little Kid's head and hovered over his brother's.

Hence the relocation to the other side of the couch - and, in no particular order:  the Big Kid's insistence on moving TO THE LEFT; the Big Kid's crossed arms; and the Big Kid's diminished smile, and somewhat watery eyes.

Whereas the Little Kid looks pretty pleased with himself.

In the immortal words of Robert Earl Keen:  Merry Christmas from the family.