Monday, May 26, 2008

How I turned my daughter into a racist

Let me begin by saying that karma is bullshit. Complete BS.

Steve and I spent Saturday being very good people. We saved a nest of bunnies (ahhh... bunnies!!!) from certain death. A grocery store clerk gave us $20 he thought we dropped and we returned it. We made this three-day holiday a car-free Memorial Day weekend.

So we were completely stunned by what Carolyn did at the playground. She walked up to this black man playing with his daughter and said, "You're a different color."

Aghhh. It was totally humiliating, made worse because I'm not sure we handled it correctly. We immediately pulled Carolyn aside and told her it wasn't polite to point out people's differences. Too tall. Too old. A wheelchair. A different color. But it's just something she's noticing right now, along with eye color, hair color and the fact that she has nipples.

This is making for a very awkward line of questioning.

The worst part was I felt like a should have said something to the guy, but couldn't bring myself to look his way. I just know he thinks we're a couple of suburban yahoos who've kept their children separate yet equal. And it's true, her school was completely white. Our neighborhood is largely white. Our city is mostly white.

Should I have told him, "Hey guy. Sorry about that, but I was raised in Detroit." Or perhaps, "I take her on the bus where there's lots of black folks." How about "I contributed to Barack Obama's campaign."

Really, it's an eye opener that we need to have more discussions about these things with Carolyn and Penelope, especially since we live in a not-so-diverse community. It's not Carolyn's fault, but deep down I feel like it's kind of mine.

And just for the record karma, we saved bunnies. Does that count for nothing?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just a fish

Here's Carolyn this year at her grandma's pool. I'd say it was much better than two years ago, when she scared the creamed corn out of everybody.

Back to real life

We just returned from a nearly week-long trip to Tulsa. It was really fun — I got a chance to work on my sunburn, the girls got to play in the pool, we ate our weight in delicious restaurant food — but it's nice to be home. These trips, especially the driving, are tough and everybody is kind of in wind-down mode today, except for Steve who might in fact be in wind-down mode, but is doing so at work.

While in Tulsa, I ran my first 5K. Not to be outdone, Steve and the girls participated in their first one mile fun run, with Penelope coming in dead last, but still greeting everybody she walks by. See:

(*note: Penelope isn't waving, Steve tells me. She's holding a flower and admiring her flower as workers gather the orange cones behind her. When I say last, I DO not exaggerate.)

We'll miss everybody in Tulsa, but the girls will especially miss their cousins Jeremiah (who Penny calls Mia) and Isabella.

Also, I just got an A in my anatomy and physiology class, not that it matters. But still, how'd that happen!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

I had the best mother's day. Steve and the girls made it great. We're all very busy right now, so I won't bore you with anecdotes of how cute Penny is, or how grown up Carolyn has become, or how much fun Steve and I are.

But here's some pictures.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why do we grow old?

Because we do, that's why.

It's Carolyn's new favorite obsession. What is time? Why do babies get older? Why don't old people get younger? Are you old? Is Fife old? Penelope's not old? Why wouldn't Peter Pan want to grow up?

Just because, OK. Things get old. I get old. Dogs get old. Tea kettles get old. It's just the way the cookie gets old and crumbles all over your couch leaving you both unsatisfied and messy.

But Steve tells Carolyn this problem has plagued physicists for years. Why does time, one of the four dimensions, alone move in one direction? Things move up and down. They move backward and forward. Why does time move in only one direction?

Carolyn literally rolls her eyes through this little speech. I tell her to listen to her Daddy. He's a smart man. But she goes back to asking if grandma is old, to which I say of course she is.

On the younger, less cerebral front, Penelope is turning into one of those people who's good at everything. You know, the kind of perfect person we all hate. Today, she's a kite-flying prodigy.

While Carolyn and I were struggling to get our kite to fly for longer than 30 seconds, Penelope was standing in the middle of a field, unassisted, flying her kite to perfection and even looking a little bored. Of course. I don't have a picture because I was failing at my own kite-flying efforts, but here's one of the girls in the bike on our way from the grocery store to the park for a picnic.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Greatest hits

In the newspaper today, we got the annual inundation of Mother's Day ads. Included, stuff for your favorite "soccer mom" at Farm And Fleet. This reminded me of a hilarious piece about Mother's Day, which of course I wrote. Yes, I'm so lazy I'm rerunning my blog.


Mother's Day offered at low, low prices

A farming supply store ad came in the paper today promoting of all things — Mother's Day, which, if you're counting, is more than a week away.

In addition to a full page of kitchen appliances that would warm the heart of any housewife, and by heart I mean kitchen, this store was running sales on patio furniture, garden statues and grills to create "Mom's perfect backyard getaway."

Nothing mom wants more than a gas grill with 5,000 btu's. Mmmmm. I can smell the hot dogs cookin' already.

Fact is, Mother's Day is a horrible idea, right up there with Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve. I include Christmas on my list, but I'll leave the religious holidays alone for now.

The very best Mother's Day ever, and I mean the whole nine yard of good food, expensive presents and an endless adoration, could have been achieved any day of the year. And bonus — without a day dedicated to these three feats, add surprise to the list.

But for all the other moms waiting patiently for breakfast in bed while dear old husband snoozes away to the sound of screaming babies, the day is an utter letdown and marks you as the bad wife and mother you really are. If you were, in fact, a good wife and mother, you wouldn’t be brewing your own coffee while your 2-year-old screams for a cartoon that isn't on television Sunday mornings.

It's worse than if Mother's Day had never existed at all. Single people, Valentine's Day's got nothing on Mother's Day. If you're single on Feb. 14, you can pretend it's because you're too good for what's out there. There's no hiding from the fear of bad parenting.

But I'm sure all these tired, unloved mothers letting tears run freely into the cereal bowl just have to wait a while. That grill's sure to be waiting in the backyard with a big red bow, 10 pounds of red meat and a case of Bud.