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Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Cupcakes are good. I know it, you know it, and my 6-year-old knows it. But, you know what’s better than regular cupcakes? Cupcakes with rainbows and sprinkles. My 6-year-old really, really knows that. This is why her little sugar-grubbing heart was broken when my mom took her to Cupcake Royale last week and they were fresh out of their rainbowgasmic offering, The Gay. She settled for another cupcake, but the rest of the day went a little something like this:

-Averi, are you hungry for dinner?

-I really wish I could have gotten The Gay.

-Averi, should we read a book?

-The Gay had rainbow sprinkles and also a big rainbow on top.

-Bedtime, Averi!

-I think you can eat the rainbow that is on top of The Gay…

You get the point. Since she used the word “gay” about 100 times within a 4-hour span, I thought I should refresh her memory about the meaning of the word. That went a little something like this:

-Do you remember what the word “gay” means?

-No.

-Some people love, and sometimes want to get married to, people who are the same sex as they are. So some boys love boys and some girls love girls.

-(looking accusingly at her baby brother) Well, I want to marry William, but I think he wants to marry you!

So that was how that went. No snickering. No ewwwwwing. No judging.

I think it’s a very, very good idea to let our children know that there are different types of people in this world. I also think it’s a very, very good idea to let our children know that those people are just as awesome as they are. I’m not into the whole I’m-a-better-parent-than-you-because thing, but I feel pretty confident in saying this:

If you choose to model intolerance, you’re sort of failing at The Good Parent Thing.

Let’s do better than that. Let’s raise kids who worry less about who their neighbor loves and more about how to love their neighbor. There are enough assholes in the world. And it’s probably not their fault. Still, I would prefer to share a gay cupcake with somebody who isn’t an asshole. Even if they do want to marry their baby brother.

ImageThe Gay

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My daughter is now four and I have a fairly serious concern about her.  The kid loves bad jokes.  As a woman who is extremely obsessive about being a laid-back-be-your-own-person type of parent (yes, I see the irony in that statement…), I feel truly stuck between a rock and a Gallagher prop skit here.  The problem started innocently enough (a silly pun here and there) but has now progressed into very dangerous “Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?” territory.  This morning I got, “Why did the frog cross the road?  Because he wasn’t feeling grape!”  Is this a strange and deranged hybrid of a bad raisin joke and maybe a 1980s Frogger reference?  This was followed by raucous laughter and a literal knee-slap.  I’m concerned…

Averi is starting preschool at a little Reggio Emilia-inspired school in the fall.  The children are intelligent, enlightened and alternative.  In my worst nightmares I imagine that her classmates will be little Oscar Wildes, cracking jokes that are overflowing with references to pop culture and social injustice.  The Grape Frog shit just ain’t gonna fly with these kids.  What will they make of her?  Will they smile politely and then return to their wittier friends or will they be so confused that they will assume she must be speaking the truth?  Perhaps she’ll be the Dr. Seuss of the playground!  She is very adept at rhyming…

So, how can I protect my kid from the heartbreak of being the Bad Joke Teller?  Is it just a phase?  When does sense of humor develop and do these early glimpses set her future in stone?  Will things get better?  Should I burn the Dora and Backyardigans DVDs and replace them with Christopher Guest and Wes Anderson flicks?  Maybe it’s a necessary stage.  Maybe she has to break a certain number of proverbial yolks before she figures out how to crack an egg single-handedly.  In the meantime, I’m cuing up Best in Show as we speak.

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{I was planning to write a brand-new Christmas post today but I couldn’t think of anything to say.  And then I decided to re-read this post, which I wrote a year and a day ago.  It still sums up my feelings about the season.  Watching the proverbial sugarplums dancing in my daughter’s head still makes my heart sing.  The year has been hard and there is a part of my family that is missing but the little girl who remains is purely delightful.  Happy Holidays!}

The Christmas season is upon us. And when I say “upon” I mean sitting on top of us and kicking us in the face with its big, sooty Santa boots. For the past 10 years or so, Christmas has seemed like something to get through. The magic of my youth, when I would wait for the Sears catalog to arrive and then circle, dog-ear and then highlight (just to be extra sure) the 978 toys that I wanted, faded long ago. The enjoyment of the lights and songs and spirit of the season gave way to feeling taxed and maxed out, not just mentally and physically but also from the perspective of the kind people at Mastercard. How many Christmas cookies can one person eat (a lot) and how many pairs of Dearfoam slippers does one person need (none, thanks)? In short, I started to be the Grinchy person who was dimming the lights and hiding in the bathroom when I saw the carolers coming.

All of that has changed this year. My usual black on black on black clothing ensembles have been accented by a red scarf and red Pumas, and eggnog lattes are on my mind just about 24/7. Why the change of heart? It is all the fault of a certain blonde-haired maniac in a Pull-Up and footie pajamas. My daughter is 3 1/2 this year and the spirit of the season is in her eyes, in her silly Christmas dances and on her tongue as she talks to Santa in her sleep.

Because I’m so progressive insane I feel a little bit strange about lying to my child about Santa (although I have no issue whatsoever telling her that I’m eating raisins when she catches me eating candy). It’s hard to imagine the crestfallen face that I will have to endure when she finds out the truth. Nonetheless, we did the big trek out to sit on the Man in Red’s lap and let me tell you, she was elated! She was practically bouncing off the ceiling for days, telling and retelling every detail, every moment of their time together. I never expected such a truly, genuinely giddy response. And then last week we were lying in bed, reading bedtime stories.  She had chosen Babar’s Rescue from the library. It is a tale of a camping trip gone awry. Babar is kidnapped by a pack of stripe-eared elephants and his daughter must save him. After the story I asked my daughter if she would like to rescue her daddy. She replied, “Yes! But I don’t know how to get there!!” She looked absolutely terrified and it was clear that she thought her daddy had been captured by the stripe-eared elephants and was being fed poisoned Watermelon Smoothies with Babar. After calming her down I realized something: Christmas is made for 3-year-olds. It’s not for 34-year-old curmudgeons like me. The imagination and the promise of hope and miracles are so alive in a preschooler. How could I deprive her of the full Christmas experience? In other words, my little Grinch heart grew three sizes that day.

So pass me an eggnog latte and hack off a slice of that Yule Log. I have lights to hang. I have cookies to bake. I have a 3-foot tall stocking to fill.

As for Santa laughing at her when she nervously told him that she wanted “a toy” for Christmas? I’ll deal with him on December 26th.

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Captain Feathersword

My daughter had a little Halloween party at her preschool today and she was so excited about it that she could hardly sleep last night.  She got to wear a costume to school and the parents came to the last half hour and joined the kids for a little buffet (My contribution sucked, but that’s neither here nor there.  I brought string cheese.  Another mom brought string cheese that looked like dismembered fingers.  DAMN!).  This is the first year that she has had any opinion about her costume and unfortunately the opinion has been changing every few days since early September.  I thought we had settled on The Cat in The Hat but this morning she insisted on wearing the Captain Feathersword costume that we bought for her 6-year old boy cousin to potentially wear to the Wiggles concert last summer.  It’s too big and it’s sort of boyish but she really, really wanted to wear it and she did look pretty darn cute.  When I got to school I saw that the other little girls were dressed in little girl costumes: a princess, a mermaid, and a kitty cat witch.  I left feeling a little sad that my kid didn’t want to be something cute and girly.  I have no interest in perpetuating the gender stereotypes and forcing her into a box and I can’t stand Barbies and Disney princess obsessions but I can count on one hand how many times I have been able to get her hair into a ponytail.  And all of those little plastic, Goody barrettes?  The yellow ducks, the red bows, etc…  Nope.  But she’s her and I love her.  A lot.

So as I was pondering this hair tragedy and the bizarre little peanut to whom I gave birth, I came across this photo online:

noah cyrus

This is little 9-year old Noah Cyrus, Miley’s sister.

Ahoy there, me hearties.  After seeing this, that polyester Captain Feathersword costume looks more beautiful to me than any zillion dollar couture gown in the entire world.  Rock on, Junior Feathersword.  In 6 years, and in 16 years, you will not be wearing a dress this short.  Not under my roof.

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Another recent ill-fated trip to the park inspired this new t-shirt design:

Bully-Proof Vest

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Vigeland Tantrum

My child was a big drooler.  I kept an extra shirt in my purse until about 3 months ago.  And she’s 3 1/2.  When I realized that the same shirt had been in my purse for about 6 weeks and was covered in lint and other bottom-of-purse debris, I switched it out for an extra pair of pants because we were in the midst of potty training by that point.  Those same pants remained for several months and I eventually took them out during one of my intensive purse-cleaning sessions.  That move may have been slightly premature…

We went to the park on Sunday.  And I would like to make a confession here: I do not enjoy going to the park.  I really and truly would like to be a mother who enjoys the park but I am not.  Parks are full of germs, weird kids (and even weirder parents), pot-smoking teenagers and wood chips.  I hate wood chips.  They stick to my clothes, they get into my flip-flops and they seem an ideal environment to step on an uncapped hypodermic syringe.  Hate ’em.  So I try to avoid trips to the park.  But sometimes (while high on coffee) I say, “Maybe we’ll go to the park later!”   And because elephants and 3-year olds never forget, I find myself, several hours later, picking wood chips off of my sweater while I sniff the air and scan the bushes for the teenager with the 7-Up can pipe.  The trip always ends in tears or injury (or both) and I always leave saying, “Never again…”

But on Sunday we did go to the park.  And here’s how it went down:  It was sunny when we arrived but became cloudy and frigidly cold within moments of our arrival.  A foreshadowing of what was to come?  Perhaps.  My daughter went down the slide about 87 times and then some really strange, older boys arrived on the scene.  I tried to get her interested in the swings but she was interested in the strange, older boys.  Great.  I watched her like a hawk as she went up the ladder and down the slide and then suddenly she stopped.  Right as the words, “Oh, no!  I’m goin’ pee-pee!” were coming out of her mouth, I saw the horseshoe of urine darkening her pants.  Damn!  I removed her from the play structure and brought her into the creepy, concrete bathroom.  It was then that I remembered my reckless decision to remove the spare pants from my purse.  Oh, well.  I’ll just carry her, naked-bottomed, to the car.  I’ll crank the heat, put my jacket on her lap and get her home.  Oh, no, no, no.  The pants were removed and then she took off like a shot for the play structure.  Apparently she thought she might be able to continue playing, sans pants.  And she stuck to her naked guns on this for quite some time.  I had to drag her out of the park, kicking and screaming, past the weird kids and a very disturbing Vietnam vet who materialized out of the bushes to see what the fuss was about.  Once I got her into the car I tried to explain that it wasn’t anybody’s fault and that it was really too bad but that she didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and we needed to leave.  Through huge sobs and gasping for air she managed, “But I was really close to making it in time and I want to play for 5 more minutes!”  I wanted very, very badly to say, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, Kid.”  But I didn’t think it would help the situation very much so I resisted the urge.

So once again, spare pants are collecting lint on the bottom of my purse and once again, I am swearing off of parks.  Like the plague that I know them to be.

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Today is a school holiday.  I had forgotten about this until we decided to go out for breakfast and I noticed that every table had a school-aged kid or two at it.  Well, almost every table.  One table had an older couple who seemed pretty darn irritated by all of the youthful exuberance.  It reminded me of my early days of traveling with an infant.  And then of my more recent days of traveling with a toddler.  And of my current life of traveling with a preschooler.  For some reason I always get stuck sitting next to the jerky business traveler.  Over breakfast I started thinking that it would be nice to have a t-shirt for my daughter to wear to lighten the mood on our next airplane trip.  So I decided to design one!

Traveling SucksWe might still get stuck next to the gaseous, self-important baby-hater but next time my kid will have a cute shirt to spill her apple juice on.

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