Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Friday, January 30, 2015

Monster-Creating Mom

Follow-up to yesterday's post:  Big Kid's question was related to Valentine's Day customs.  After a strong start on his planning (more on that in a sec), he is now second-guessing his decision to go with the personal, not the canned. 

"Do you HAVE to give roses?"

"No.  There are waaaaay more original flower choices out there.  And if you ever do want to give her roses, buying them on Valentine's Day just demonstrates that you have more money than sense."

"How expensive ARE roses?"

"Unjustifiably so.  Five times more unjustifiably so in February."

As these words are exiting my lips, my head-voice is shouting:  "SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP."

Here's the deal:  I am kind of starting to regret just how good a boy mom I apparently have been to date.

You know those Old Spice "Smellcome to Manhood" ads?  "Old Spice sprayed a man out of my boy"?

I get it.  I totally do.  But I don't have a popular line of men's grooming products to blame.

Since the boys were little, I have been telling it like it is:  Girls get self-conscious and, at some point, become their own worst enemies.  Treat them well.  Treat them like people.  Yes, you run the risk that they will assume that you LIKE-like them, simply by virtue of the fact that you SPOKE to them, because girls are delusional like that.  Just roll with it.  When in doubt, be nice.  Don't be a jerk.  I never want to hear that you were a jerk.  And always be true to yourself - to your values, your goals and your personality.

As they got a bit older, my advice became more targeted:

Shoot for the hot geek.  See:  Olivia Munn and Olivia Wilde. 

"Pretty" is pretty awesome, but "unapologetically true-to-self" is even more amazing, and the hot geek is basically the holy grail of girlfriends, if your goal is to outkick your coverage.  [P.S.:  You goal should totally be to outkick your coverage.]  At some point, pretty girls get invited to sit at the popular table, and some pretty girls feel like they need to change who they are inside, lest a glimpse of the real-them gets them uninvited.  If a girl can retain her quirkiness under such circumstances, even if she compartmentalizes it:  you're on the right track.  If said girl has no issue expressing her desire to attend ComicCon, out loud and in public, WHILE WEARING A CHEERLEADING UNIFORM (a school-sanctioned one, not a cosplay one):  you have done well, Padawan.

Oh, and learn to know the difference between "authentically quirky" and "quirky as an affectation" (the latter being a variation of "high maintenance"). 

Let me describe Big Kid's girlfriend to you:

Smart, talented (triple-threat, musical theater-and-dance student), cute as a button.  Considering a lateral move from drill team to the cheerleading squad.  Friends with kids from all cliques.  Thinks she wants to be an interior designer, but "gets" Big Kid's engineer brain, as she is the product of an all-engineer family.  Doesn't see herself having kids until her later '20's, because both Mom and Dad should have graduate school out of the way.  If she doesn't stay in Texas, sees herself settling in San Francisco, or possibly Portland (a pre-existing preference, not something she arrived at after falling for a boy with Stanford and Cal leanings).  Likes superheroes (DC, I believe, has a slight edge over Marvel, just as God intended), good sci-fi (Star Trek:  The Original Series, Dr. Who), Japanese anime and procedural crime dramas.

And let me tell you a little bit about LITTLE KID'S girlfriend.  Yes, LK has a girlfriend - one who teachers have described as "the complete package" and "one of the coolest girls in school."  She's one of two girls who play football with LK and other boys at recess, and LK was most excited to inform me that "the other day, when she scored a touchdown, she raised her first and shouted, 'FOR NARNIA!' when she got to the end zone."

And then:  "Mom, I did good, right?"

Uh, yeah.  Double-back-pat for Mom!

And then it got to be time to talk Valentine's Day.  BK went first:

"Well, she really likes Totoro [Japanese anime character], and if I could find her something Totoro-related - like a hoodie or something - that would be my way of letting her know that I think it's cool that she likes anime."

The hoodie was too expensive (he had the money, but Mom vetoed), so a stuffed Totoro was procured.  Then, a few days later:

"She started watching 'Bones,' but she's way behind, so instead of going to a movie or something like that, I thought that I could offer to binge-watch an entire season with her, and we could have a picnic on the coffee table in the living room.  Is that a good idea?"

Uh, yeah.  And, also:  uh-oh.  I have created a monster.  An "A-plus boyfriend monster."

Then LK piped up:  "I'm making [name of girlfriend] a bouquet of origami roses."

(LK makes redonkulously cool origami roses.)

Make that two monsters.

Several girlfriends (of mine, not my children) have pointed out that I will feel better later about how well they listened.  LATER.  But not now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stuff My Kids Say

[While waiting for Spouse to bring the burgers to the table at Bottlecap Alley, watching Pro Bowl pre-game stuff on one of the monitors.]

Me:  What is up with all of the "" ads today?

Little Kid (without looking up from his 3DS):  That's racist.

Me:  What?  NO. Golf-knickers.  With a K.  KUH-NIC-KUH-KUH-ERS.

Big Kid:  Seriously?  Have you ever heard Mom use that word ANYWHERE?  At home?  Let alone IN PUBLIC?

Little Kid (shrugging, still glued to 3DS):  I heard what I heard.


[After Spouse suggested that he could run Big Kid to the store to stock up on PowerAde and snacks for the district swim meet and purchase French fries in mass quantities from Sonic, because apparently the carb-loading has commenced.]

Big Kid:  Um, Mom, can't you drive me?  It's possible that I might need to talk to you about something.

Me:  You can talk to Dad.

Big Kid:  Yeah, but I'd rather talk to you.  (Looks to Spouse.)  No offense.

Me:  Is this something girlfriend-related?

Big Kid:  Possibly.  And I just don't have a good feel for how savvy Dad was back in the day.  (Another Dad-directed look.)  NO OFFENSE.  I mean, he got YOU, Mom, but that might have been an anomaly.

[Mom's - I mean, mum's - the word.]

Monday, January 26, 2015

Apropos of Not Much: Meandering Musings for a Monday (Movie Edition)

You might be a mother if you see this item advertised on One Kings Lane and think, "Oh, they finally made Emmet's double-decker couch from 'LEGO Movie.'"

(You might also be a mother if your law partner basically starts hyperventilating because his secretary is out sick, you offer to help him out and enlist the services of your own assistant, and then you seek to reassure him by singing, "EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!  EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU'RE PART OF A TEAM!")


Every time I am scrolling through the movie channels on our TV and I see "Snitch," I get excited for a split second, because I think it says "Hitch," and I think I'm going to get to see Kevin James do THIS:


If "Snitch" (starring, I believe, Dwayne Johnson?) is also airing on HBO's Spanish-language channel, then it shows up twice in the program guide, about five lines apart.  AND I READ IT AS "HITCH" BOTH TIMES.

Because I really like "Hitch."  And the kids really like Kevin James.  Meaning we have ALL of the moves down:

Start the fire.
The feet are going.
Start the fire, make the pizza.
Hips:  always going.
Can't get enough hip.
Throw it away.


My children have decided that Spouse and I have our own twin language.  They aren't wrong.  We do tend to blurt out the same, seemingly-out-of-nowhere-and-totally-random responses.  Roughly 50% of them are derived from Saturday Night Live skits, and the rest are movie lines.

A statistically significant number of the lines come from Nora Ephron movies.
If someone says, "Who is she?" we are both likely to answer:  "Helen Hilson.  She's a lawyer. She's keeping her name."

Upon hearing a reference to Michigan State:  "No, she went to Northwestern, but they're both Big 10 schools."

When speculating that one is getting sick:  "I'll stay up and moan.  Maybe I should practice now.  Mmm.  Mmm."

When discussing foods beginning with the letter P:  "Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash, but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.  YOUR PEECAN PIIIIIIIIE."


(In lieu of saying something romantic:  "I want you to know . .  that I will never . . . want that wagon wheel coffee table.")

Upon hearing Deborah Kerr's name:  "Is it CARR or KERR?"

Upon any mention of "The Dirty Dozen":  "Trini Lopez!"  "STAHHHHP!"

When the kids botch anything related to geography:  "Do you know where Oklahoma is?" "Somewhere in the middle?" "I'm not even going to think about what they're not teaching you in school."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Little Kid's "The One"

Little Kid is taking a break from swimming - on account of how "I've never beaten my brother in a race, ever." 

(Your brother is five years older and has a 74-inch wingspan.  If you can beat him, then you are the second-coming of Michael Phelps, and/or Big Kid has real problems.)

While we are working through our competitiveness issues, we are playing basketball.  It's not a secret:  I LOVE BASKETBALL.  (See multiple prior posts re:  my obsessive-compulsive b-ball fan status.)  If I had been a boy, or a much taller and more athletically inclined girl, it totally would have been my sport.  So, on the one hand:  YAY, my child is playing a sport that I actually understand and enjoy watching!

On the other hand:
UGH, my child is playing a sport that I actually understand and enjoy watching.

It is a S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E not to be "that" parent.

Coach:  why in the Sam Hill are you running a zone?

Other Coach:  seriously, calling a timeout when we had possession?  Extra points lost for blowing the whistle while my child was mid-fast break.

Center and Power Forward:  simply being tall doesn't cut it.  No one likes a ball hog, particularly when the ball hog doesn't score and keeps getting called for fouls and traveling.  LET THE OTHER PLAYERS DO THEIR JOBS, AND LEARN YOUR OWN.

Parents of Other Players:  Learn the game, and stop shouting out instructions and encouragement that are diametrically opposed to the position your child plays.

Thus far, I have managed not to blurt out (most) of these thoughts in my outside voice.  Because, on some level, I do comprehend that Coach and Other Coach are just two dads, and Center and Power Forward are fourth-graders.  Nevertheless:  S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E.

Aiding me in The Struggle:  Little Kid has mad skills at point guard.

If you are not basketball-obsessed:  (1)  Good for you.  You probably are a whole lot saner than I am.  (2) Point guards are referred to as "the one" - hence the title above.

Point guards are also known as "dribblers" or "play-makers."  Check and check:  Home Skillet's an excellent dribbler (none of this crazy "let's see how high I can bounce the ball and, whoops, I just let that guy get the ball away from me" stuff that makes me near-homicidal; you can spot the steal coming a mile away), and he definitely understands how to set a pick.  He's also, for the most part, a great passer (a few wild passes here and there, but most of the misses are not on him).

Quick?  Check.

Good on defense?  Check.

Bossy?  Check.  (Another nickname for the point:  "coach on the floor.")
Crazy-determined:  Definitely check.

Of course, the main reason that he was picked for the point is that he's short, which leaves me to wonder:  is it fortunate that he's short, because it set him up to play the position that he was pretty much born to play?  Or is being short what drives an up-and-coming player to be a little faster, a little more agile, and a little more of a student of the game?  If so, then being the little brother by five years is gravy.  Little Kid's been running a D since he was old enough to defend himself.  And - as evidenced by his brother-envying swimming rage-quit - he's more than an average level of competitive.

So maybe this basketball break may turn out to be more than just a break.  If so, I am looking forward to watching my little One progress.  I just need to learn to watch him with laser-like focus, and tune out the rest of the mess.

Pray for me.