Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The beginning...

I have been girding my loins and trying to get psyched up to recap Flipper's birthday week-end extravaganza. Her school "party"-if you could call it that, was precious. Very very Waldorf. I don't write a lot about her school because I don't feel like trying to explain a lot of Waldorf educational philosophy, or why they do certain things, etc. They are for the young young kids like Flipper at least, gentle, kind, nurturing, slow-paced, and low low key. Very nature-based. Her birthday at school exemplified it perfectly. Every day they sit around an oval table for snack, which is almost always a hot "meal" of vegetable soup, millet, rice and cheese, etc. Since Friday was Flipper's birthday, I came for that portion of the day, bearing a plate of fruit (pineapple and strawberries). Flipper had the place of pride beside her teacher, and in front of her was a beeswax candle, surrounded by 4 smaller ones, all lit. The children sit quietly, and they sing their little thankfulness song, and eat fruit and organic mini-muffins which they call "cupcakes." Oh, the innocence of childhood...anyway, while they ate I passed around a few pics of Flipper as a newborn and turning one, and talked a tiny bit about what she did her first 3 years. I avoided mentioning her hideous infant days, where all she did was cry and frantically suckle for hours on end, thinking it not quite appropriate. Then they sing the school birthday song which is gentle and sweet, not the raucous one we all know, and then she blew out the candles and I fled. Suddenly, too, it is hot here. 90 every day, AC on during the day and off at night, andfeeling very much likie summer. A hot, dry summer. Already drought-like. I am going to break up the birthday news in more than one post. More tomorrow, including The Most Hideous Cake Ever.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

hahahahaha

World's Shortest Fairy Tale
Once upon a time, a girl asked a guy "Will you marry me?"
The guy said, "NO!"
And the girl lived happily ever after and went shopping, dancing, bought expensive shoes, drank martinis with her friends, always had a clean house, never had to cook and stayed skinny.
The End

In a brief digression from All Things Flipper, I offer up the above for your reading pleasure. Kathryn, of course, loved it. Last night when Keith came over, I said, "Hey! Four years ago we were almost in labor!" He blanched. As bad as it was on me, it was awful on him too. And today, and tomorrow we were too...She is excited for her birthday, and I am happy that she is still well and healthy another year. Keith will be at the Boogie for the week-end and so will not be with her tomorrow evening for her birthday celebration, which is tiny compared to the rest of the week-end's fesitivities. Tomorrow night we will be going to her favorite eating place, The Lime and Basil, a Vietnamese restaurant in Chapel Hill, followed up by a Loco Pop, also in the Hill. Loco Pops are her very very favorite thing to eat, and it is an area where we agree. They don't come in pink! hahahahahaha!!!!!!! Erika, Diana and Morgan will be joining us. Morgan is the friend she is hot for at school, and has been since the first day. But I remind her that "behind every redhead is a string of broken hearts." Diana is his sister, she is my favorite big-kid. And Erika is a good friend. One with endless generosity and few expectations, no strings attached to anything she does. Love it. It is supposed to be hot this week-end and I can't wait to take Flipper to Hollow Rock where she can live up to her name. Here is one thing I can say she DID inherit from me: her love of water. She can wear her new yellow "makini" with white polka-dots. It is precious, another good gift from Aunt Kaffrin. I never thought I would let her wear a baby bikini, but before we went to Maui at Chistmas I bought her this one, and she loves it. Several Maui pics follow. Signing off now. Anyone reading this must tune back in Tuesday, in which I recap the week-end's adventures, which will undoubtedly include Flipper becoming overwrought and disintegrating into a sobbing mess multiple times.




The pink makini on Lanai. Best day ever.










Middle photo: Flipper attempting a backbend, aka Aunt Kaffrin, who then shows her how it's REALLY done.

These were taken on Lanai, an island pretty close to Maui. We went for the day, incredible weather, just perfect, every moment of it. Lanai is much less populated than the other islands; it has one hotel, but that hotel is a Four Seasons resort, very old-school. Fantastic buffet, then a day of sun on the beach. It was New Year's Day.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rules were made to be broken.

Every now and then, I get it right, at least I thinkI do. Sometimes I loosen the reins, and pray in my own, atheistic way, that Flipper remembers those times. The hardest part of parenting (besides the $$), is, for me, trying to find a good balance between "consistancy" (a word I have come to loathe), and being a bit fun, a touch spontaneous, without creating a monster. Lately I have been pondering the meaning of "spoiled" in the sense of how we apply this definition/label to children. It seems as though the very last thing we ever want is a child that others perceive as spoiled, since we all know how important other people's opinions of our child are. It is a word that means something different to everyione, I have discovered. I have finally, after many sleepless hours, figured out what it means to me. It means a child that isn't satisfied with what they have, doesn't appreciate what is given, for it is never enough. Enough attention, toys, junk food, whatever. Always dissatisfied. That is how I see spoiled. You could have seen spoiled last Friday at (get this) a children's clothing/shoe/toy store called Bundles of Joy. I kid you not. I wouldn't buy her any shoes, and she sobbed on a display of sandals for almost 20 minutes. I was calm, Zen-mommy for about 5 seconds, listing all the shoes she has recently received and she interrupted me (not that I blame her) to tearfully say, "But all that I have isn't enough!!!" Flipper is easy to spoil. She is the only grandchild of my parents, she is surrounded by people that love her, she is so happy to receive presents of any kind that it is very gratifying to give them to her...she is cute, adorable really, and can be fun beyond fun, and grown-up in a very good way. But she can also be intensely whiny, annoyingly so, and when she gets in a bad mood, it can take a lot to shake her out of it. I am patient only so long. Then I freak out and scream at her. Ironically, it works, much like slapping the face of someone that is hysterical. She stops, has what I call a mini AA meeting,(attitude adjustment, not booze control). It is hard not to try and buy her out of a good mood, through sugar or something else inappropriate. Is this spoiling? Maybe. I am no kind of perfect parent, although I am endlessly trying, and even more endlessly reforming, honing, and refining my technique. But I don't think I am 100% consistant, unless it is consistant to become enraged at the bad mood/whining. Yesterday started off well, then disintegrated, then recovered to finish strong. Flipper is, or, I should say, extraordinarily patient, with an attention span that puts mine to shame. Yesterday, the patience was on hiatus. She wanted to paint her toenails, something that goes against my hippie-Waldorf-rigid-parenting grain, but summer is approaching, it is something I can live with, blah blah blah. I have always hated seeing little girls with their nails painted, or should I say partially painted, since the polish, always a lurid pink, is inevitably chipped and peeling. Mind you, I hate fingernail polish on adults too. It seems so overdone, as though one is trying too hard to be Put Together. But I paint my toenails in the summer, and Flipper wanted to have hers painted yesterday. I was OK with it, until she couldn't find last year's polish. I was cat napping on my bed, somthing that happens pretty regularly. But when I say catnapping, I mean it: 10-15 minutes of shut-eye that revitalizes me fully. So the whining began when she couldn't find the polish. I felt for her disappointment for about 10 minutes, then I stopped with the empathy/sympathy and we went for a walk. She knew I was going to the store to buy new, fresh polish, and I made her wait until late afternoon. Finally, I had enough of the bad attitude/whining, and the very real threat to NOT buy new polish finally sank into her thick little skull and she shut up, and found something else to do. To her credit, she does a good job of falling into line. Then, and only then, did I reward her with a trip to CVS. She was overjoyed; she had never been in the cosmetics aisle before, and I can count on one hand the times I have bee in in it. Like so much of American consumerism, there was SO MUCH to choose from. She knew, without being told, that I wasn't going to buy purple or anything bright pink, or anything hideous at all. But she (wisely) chose a pretty, delicate shell-pink that "matches my dance clothes!!" and I chose an iridescent light coppery bronze, designed to set my pre-cancerous savagely tan skin off to perfection. God, was she happy. Came home, sat frozen on the couch while I applied it to her teeny tiny toes, and remained frozen, terrified of moving lest she ruin her pedicure. She "read" Daddy's Wedding, which I heartily recommend, by the way, but read the prequel, Daddy's Roommate first. Then she gingerly got down, and was the very happiest, best kid in the whole world for the rest of the day. I even rewarded her with sugar after our sickeningly healthy supper of tofu, broccoli, and brown rice by a trip to her favorite place for dessert, Loco Pops. A typical day, full of highs and lows and sugar and spice and everything nice. No pictures today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Twinning

Yesterday I received an email from an old old friend (5th grade). I was thrilled that some human is actually reading the damn thing, and emailed her back. I recently got in touch with her twin sister (I was friends with both of them) and found out she lives nearby, has two girls, we've gotten together, very enjoyable blah blah blah. But what is interesting to me is that my whole life, I have been surrounded by twins. In preschool, my 2 closest friends were twin girls (looked identical but weren't), then in 5th grade good friends with fraternal (did not look alike at all) twin girls again. Junior high summers were spent at the pool with a girl who was one of triplets; the other two triplets were identical boys. Our high school class (300 kids) had 6 sets of twins, which was A LOT back in the day when twins were conceived naturally, without Clomid and other reproductive assistance. Roommate at Western Carolina: fraternal twin girl (woman). Then I mated and reproduced with an identical twin, one of the sets from high school. Yes, yes, it is a romantic story, or at least it would be if we had gotten married and were living happily ever after instead of breaking up when Flipper was 17 months old...but again I digress. Perhaps everyone has these twin experiences in their lives, not just me. I wanted very very badly to be a twinwhen I was young. I still have all of my Bobbsey Twins books, and even collected a fair number of first editions. When we went for the ultrasound to see just how far "gone" I was, a tiny piece of me wanted the tech to tell me there were twins floating around in there. That news, had we received it, would have pushed Keith over the edge. He was already teetering. Keith and his twin, Kevin, are not particularly close, they are the only twins I know that aren't, or, at least, the only ones I know that own up to it in some ways. One of my little pockets of sadness (and there are very few) is that Flipper is an only child. Hence the wish for twins, since I knew at that ultrasound that I was going to have the baby, and that the bell tolling the end of our relationship was bonging pretty loudly. Flipper looks so much like him it is incredible. A good thing, too. He was our homecoming king. Photographic evidence below. Most people I know "can't imagine" how hard it would be to have twins, but I think it would have been easier insome ways. Perhaps she would have slept better, nestled up to her womb-mate. She would have a playmate every day now, not just one of the dogs or someone at the playground. But there would be so many things lost ous at the same time, no expensive Waldorf school, no trips to Maui. Her birthday fast approaches. Tomorrow night will mark the start of labor, 4 years ago. 42 hours after, on Friday, will mark the end. And now, for the proof of genetics:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Proof positive

I have written a tiny bit about Flipper's ballet "experience"--one of joy for her and frustration for me-but all that came to fruition last Thursday with the distribution of the costumes, now ours to take home and somehow remain resistant to the endless whining to please let me wear it oh please i promise i won't get it dirty i just want to get on the trampoline with it until the recital, in 2 weeks. Two very long weeks, methinks. Her costume is hideous. I loathe it, which, of course, means she loves it more than anything. Flipper has inherited some bizarre, muti-generational-skipping girly girl gene that neither me, my mother, or my sister seem to have, now or in the past. Flipper has it in spades, though. She can run, flat-out RUN, in high heels. (I cannot even walk in them, and consider clogs high heels). Heels that are a size 8, not her little toddler size. Below is the evidence. I present Exhibit A:



And, Exhibit B:



It happens more and more, this sense that she is so much her own person, loving as she does things I don't even know how she is even cognizant of, like heels and make-up and all that is traditionally female in our society. Remember, this is a kid with no exposure to TV beyond scary BBC dinosaur dvd's, no Disney, no books about fairy tales, none of it. Yet, through some sort of bizarre osmosis, she gets it anyway. It doesn't make me want to throw my hands up in the air and buy Barbies (not happening in a million years) but it is bizarrely fascinating to watch this happen. Like some sort of lab experiment. My daughter, the petri dish. A petri dish that wears high heels.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lacking

My blog, it lacks photos. I am a bit surprised at my slack posting, since I bore my friends and relatives endlessly with my pictures of many things, not just the Flipper. But millions of her too. I do fancy myself quite the little amateur photographer, and would be really good at it if I took the time/applied the brainpower to learn about light and technical aspects of my camera. I will post more, and in the meantime, here are a few with brief explanations:








Flipper with frothy pink skirt Aunt Jessica gave her.



Flipper with Skylar, my mother's horse. Kathryn and I refer to him as "that damn horse."



Rose and Baby Seamus, so called to distinguish him from our dog Seamus to which Baby Seamus is, ironically, allergic to. That is perhaps the most convulated sentence I have every typed. In 3 days he will be 2. They are our next door neighbors, a huge unexpected bonus in not just a good neighbor, but a great friend. He adores Flipper, her name was one of his very first words.


Flipper and Aunt Kathryn, in early January in Maui. We had a wonderful wonderful trip; hope to repeat it soon. Flipper adores her, and Kathryn is quite the good aunt, indulgent and firm all at the same time. Now I must stop this posting of random pictures, and get back to "work."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Closer, closer...

Flipper's birthday is fast approaching, and every year at this time I am struck by memories, most of them incredibly happy ones tinged with the bittersweet loss of her babyhood, then toddlerhood, and now preschool is just another memory fading quickly in my little rearview mirror of life. Perhaps luckily, I am incredibly busy right now, not to mentioned consumed with worries, most totally irrational, about her party. Every year I do something a little different, and every year I panic, worried that it will fail, the kids will be monsters, Flipper will cry, someone (or everyone) will get food poisoning...the list goes on and on. Never mind that none of these thigns has ever happened, (except for some tears,) but I freak out anyway. We (I) have a kid party and then a family party. I like keeping the two separate. Sooner or later they will probably merge into one, but for now they are held on different days. I don't have the space at my house for a lot of people, nor the money to rent out a space for a party. Plus, I like the home party thing. Every year we attend fewer and fewer of them, as they have been replaced by pools and museums and playgrounds and bounce parks and putt putt courses...just doing my part to fight against the commercialization of childhood. Mind you, Flipper would be thrilled to have a party anywhere but our house, but that's the way it goes. It's a dictatorship, not a democracy, little girl!! This year is the first year we are having a theme party. A luau, inspired by our December trip to Maui, and the real luau we attended with Aunt Kaffrin. About ten or so kids and their parents (when do they get to be dropped off and then fetched later?) Not that I WANT all those kids there with just me to supervise, but still. At her age, when I was a kid, parties were no-parent affairs. When and why did this change? An inquiring mind wants to know. They are bigger, with more of just about everything. What is this a sign of? At any rate, she is excited and I am following along like I always do, trying not to let her burn out and fade away, trying to teach her to pace herself in terms of excitement/stimulation/anticipation. Last year I made the
mistake of not getting her as involved as I should have, and so this year she can pick out the plates and napkins, blah blah blah. "Please god, not pink" is my new mantra. Her new favorite color (besides pink) is turquoise, which I have encouraged, thrilled that it isn't lavendar. I have convinced her that turquoise is a great color for a luau, since the ocean around Maui is also turquoise. Where do I get this stuff that comes flowing out of my mouth? Undecided about a pinata. Will buy ONLY if it symbolizes a luau in some way (palm tree, coconut, etc) adn if it avoids any type of TV/Disney character. No Barbie/Dora in a grass skirt and lei. Not a chance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back and forth...


Yes, yes, I know that I will miss many things that Flipper used to do as she ages and gains more and more skills, ultimately rendering me unemployed when she's about 18 or so. But there are some things that I don't miss at all. Yesterday marked a tiny kiddie milestone, one that pleased her to no end, and made me even happier, if possible. She has turned into a bigger kid on the playground, fully indpendent now (thank god) because finally finally my time sitting and talking will no longer be interrupted by plaintive wails issuing forth from the swings. Now she can pump. Higher and higher, and for Flipper, she can't really get high enough. A little of the old "apple and tree" syndrome here. No more ME pushing her, a playground chore I have always hated once she got above about 18 months. Usually I would refuse to push her and "redirect" her towards another acitivity. Redirect in my lexicon means ignore. Anyway, she loves to swing, and always has. Now she can do it on her own!! I don't think I could pump in such a coordinated fashion when I was her age, but she has been far ahead of me in terms of physical coordination in almost every arena, so this is no surprise. I see mommies there at the park, patiently pushing and pushing and pushing, with some over-achievers actually playing little games with their children, singing songs, tickling their feet...I could go on and on, but I won't. Too early to throw up. I actually watched one mother push her kids for over an hour!!!!!!!! Who has that kind of patience and attention span?!?!?! Hint: not me. Poor Flipper. Now the days of my reluctantly dragging myself over to the swings, trying to avoid getting sand in my shoes, giving her "Just ONE big push and that's it!!!" are over. I won't miss it. Her delight in this new-found freedom makes me remember, just for a second, what it feels like to be a little kid again.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ponderings...

Here's a question I have long wondered: do parents of kids that aren't cute KNOW their child is lacking in the ol' looks department, or are their kids truly beautiful to them? Like that old maxim, "only a face a mother could love"--is that really true? I am sure you all know this is leading up to something...and here it is. And no, Flipper is NOT ugly, she is incredibly cute, baby-faced with gorgeous wavy russet hair, sun-kissed blonde streaks throughout...oh yes. The leading up to part...Flipper has one more ballet class before her recital. While I don't know if I could ever admit it if she were, indeed, ugly, I CAN admit this. She sucks. Is awful. Will be that one kid totally out of step with everyone else, gazing about, happy to be "doing her own thing" and totally ignoring that the whole point of this is to do it TOGETHER with the other little (obedient) girls. This has baffled me, that she can actually be WORSE than she was back in January. I can't figure it out...she isn't deliberately trying to set herself apart, indeed, she seems utterly lacking in the show-off department, (thank god), and yet she has no real interest in doing the movements along with the other kids. I asked her why last night, and she said, "Because I feel like it." Flipper does, however, love going to the class, has a smile on her face the entire time, but there is something in her that just isn't getting it. At all. I was shocked yesterday afternoon when the kids did a little trial run in front of us parents, she seemed a bit nervous that we would be watching, and then proceeded to be about 6 beats behind the whole class. they are all advancing in a line, Flipper is 5 feet behind them. Their little plump arms are over their heads, Flipper's are out in front. The other mothers think it is "cute." I do not. She's ALREADY cute, I want her to not stick out like some sort of uncoordinated freak. Poor Flipper. Justine thinks she will attend it with me to see her "in action" adn I hoep she does. Perhaps I can hide my burning face behind her back when Flipper is there onstage, dressed in her Vegas-slut costume, taking her curtsy long after everyone else. Gymnastics, methinks, is next.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Downloading

The house is a disaster, and I felt shame when Dawn dropped off our entry pass to her son's party, and looked around the living room. Dawn being Dawn did not bother to hide the gleeful smirk in her eyes as she gazed upon the disarray/police search aftermath. A touch of schadenfreude, methinks. I am in the process of putting all the books worthy of display (meaning none of my trashy novels I reread again and again) in the huge built-in shelves in the living room where the fireplace used to be, a long long time ago. This is taking me a long time because I must Artfully Arrange them, which requires stepping back and reassessing the placement of the books and little trinkets I cannot bear to get rid of, like the laboratory beaker containing the dessicated fingertip of my grandfather. He lost it in a garage door accident, kept it in formaldehyde, and after he died, I got it. I cannot bear to toss it, or look at it. So it sits in it's little glass coffin, right in front of all the Martha Stewart Christmas magazines. I am about to get rid of 4 bookcases, a round drop-leaf table, kiddie desk chairs, and white wire shelves. I cannot wait. The downside to having a cute little modern house is that the house has abundant windows and very little actual wall space, which means not much art, and not many bookshelves. I will borrow Keith's hulking monster of a work van, and flatter my mother into driving it to the local thrift store whereupon we will unload all the furniture. I hate getting rid of things, but have gotten much much better at it over the past few years.
All this is just baby steps towards creating a room of Flipper's own, not that she has any intention of sleeping in it, oh no. She tells me that she will sleep in her own bed when she is 17. Just in time to go to college and sleep with some guy in a tiny dorm-room bed, unless she is like me, and finagles her way to a single room for all four years that had no desk in it, just a queen sized bed on the floor, where I could continue to major in sex and more sex. Hey, it was the 80's!!!!!!!!!! Keith and I have slowly renovated the interior one room at a time, as money has permitted. The living room came first, then the upstairs bedroom, then the downstairs bathroom, then the kitchen, and the last two rooms will be hers, and then my bathroom upstairs will be the last one. What makes it a seriously labor-intensive and wallet-draining experience is that the ceilings have that hideous textured stuff on them, which must be removed by someone other than me. Then sanded, primed and painted. The good part is that then the celings can be painted cool colors, the bad part is that this is work Keith won't do and I can't/won't. So we have to pay someone. Or, really, he ropes in one of his many customers that owes him money adn they do it. Flipper's room has a door that opens to the backyard, which I don't like at all. She feels very far away in the downstairs room, even in an 1100 square foot house. It makes me very nervous, even though I know my fears are irrational. But she needs her own room, if for nothing else than to store her ten million books and have a little private space. She wants it to be lavender, which is fine with us. We will use the antique three-quarter bed that has been in our family for a long time, and I want to get an armoire that has a hanging section on one side, and toss her terribly heavy and poorly designed dresser that she currently uses. One more thing for the work van to haul. One room at a time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

If wishes were changes...

...there'd be no good-byes. Or so goes a Nancy Griffith song. If I could change just one thing about the Flipper, it would be to magically convert her into a Morning Person. One like ME!! Me, who arises happy and cheerful at 5:45 or 6:00 every morning without an alarm clock (i didn't even have one in college!) and begins my day filled with energy and general bonhomie. Although my energy level definitely goes downhill from there...anyway, Keith is also a morning person. As is my mother. How can she not be? How can this be yet another irksome trait she seems to have magically inherited from my sister? I woke up in high school at 5 a.m. and was in the pool by 5:30 for swim team practice for 4 months out of the year. I did that without an alarm clock too. I think, however, if The Cult even HAD a swim team, there is no way in hell Flipper would ever be on it. She hates waking up, no matter how much sleep she has had which I find irritating beyond belief. Maddening, really. After about 10-15 minutes of her thrashing and whining and crying I have to find my "happy place" and try very hard not to scream at her to get out of bed and shut up. It is the worst part of our day by far, which is so so disappointing because I want it to be the best part of our day, or at least a good start to a good day. But it never is. I sweetly talk to her, rub her little back, kiss her cheeks, smooth her hair, until I can't be nice anymore. It never works. Finally, after all that, she sleepily sits up and we begin the Great Clothes Debate. Sometimes, like this morning, I win. Most mornings, she defeats me, or we come to a stalemate that involves a lot of tears. Do not even dare to suggest we set clothes out the evening before: her new favorite phrase is, "I changed my mind." She cons me into to carrying her downstairs, which is treacherous on our curved stairway, burying her facei n my neck and responding to any question with "NO!" The sad part is that bedtime is a reverse of this: she is happy adn chipper, and I am tired and crave quiet so I can plow my way through whatever book or magazine I am currently reading. "Let me tell you something!!" me: No. Her: Just really fast!! me: No. Go to sleep now. "I can't." me: "you have to." And this goes on for about 15 minutes before she does, indeed, fall asleep.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Please, just 2 minutes of silence...

Yesterday and today I had lots of uninterrupted time with the Flipper. Flipper has had a very high fever off and on, and while slightly worrisome, the main downside is that it doesn't seem to be affecting her MOUTH at all. No, it is fully capable of going and going and going without any kind of break...it never stops. Yesterday I timed her. She talked at me, to me, and, occasionally, with me for 3 straight hours. I AM NOT KIDDING. The following is a typical "exchange."

F: This is a book about lions.
Me: Great!!
F: The cover is dark green. Blue and yellow make green. But blue and red make purple. What do blue and orange make?
Me: I don't know. Maybe brown. I don't give a fuck.
F: The mommy lion is taking care of the baby. Do you think the daddy will eat the baby?
Me: Maybe. If it doesn't shut up.
F: Does the lion have teeth as sharp as a tiger shark's teeth?
Me: No. But MY teeth are pretty damn sharp.
F: Look at the baby!! baby lions are called cubs. And leopards. And cheethas. Pandas eat bamboo.
Me: WTF??
F: Hey, Mommy, do you do you do you remember when we saw the baby lions at the zoo? And I was wearing my blue shirt?
ME: WTF??
F: Do you think lions like blue?
ME: LISTEN. You need to CAN IT for few minutes.
F: Do you need some peace and quiet? Does Mommy need peace and quiet?
ME: I do honey, I really do. Just for a few minutes, OK? How about a few minutes of NO TALKING??
F: How many?
ME: 10 (100)
F: Ok.
(45 seconds tick by)
F: Is it over?
ME: What, my sanity?

Now listen, I know that I should be grateful that she talks. And, talks really really well. This is a child that has a vocabulary and sentence structure far ahead of her years. Any parent of a child with autism, (or a mass shooter), probably cries a great deal, wishing their child would talk more. I know the day will come when she is locked in her room, listening to Christ knows what kind of music, talking to her friends for hours, and tossing sullen, sarcastic responses to me. I swear I will remember these days fondly. I swear.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ugly Stuff

Jessica was at my house recently, dropping by before a show in Raleigh, and we were looking at a few of Flipper's toys, talking about upcoming birthdays, blah blah blah. We were (briefly) considering purchasing a bike for her 4th birthday, and I mentioned how hideous most kiddie bikes are, grossly pink and typically advertising something, be it Dora or Strawberry Shortcake or Spiderman or whatever, and Jessica said, "Why is all the stuff they want-the cool stuff-so ugly?" I have no good answer. Why ARE so many kid toys so damn ugly, or, as I prefer to term it, "aesthetically displeasing?" Loud colors, often accompanied by loud noises. And why doesn't it bother more people? Why just ME?
Once, many moons ago, I was at a mother's group playdate, and the host kid had this truck that was so loud we had to raise our voices to talk over it. It bothered no one but me, and even the mother, who commented on the noise level, actually said, "Oh well. That's how toys are these days. What can I do?" (I can think of something you can do. Something involving a hammer and a trash can.) Frankly, the toys were one of the big draws for me to Waldorf initially. No plastic, no batteries, no Disney tie-ins to everything, no shirts with hideous characters on them...in short, nothing particularly American about the toys at all. Thank God. Let me say now, though, that Flipper would love to be surrounded by Disney DVDs, she would have loved, as a baby, for everything her fat little fingers to touch magically light up, make noise, play music, etc. It would please her no end to have a bike with long glittery pink streamers on the handlebars, or, a lavender bike our neighbor had that was emblazoned with the name, "Lil' Puddin'." What the fuck? Who in God's name could ahve possibly invented a name like this for a bike? Or, really, who needs to name a bike in the first place? Why can't it just be a bike? In some normal color like red or blue or green.
Everything seems even more gender-specific than it did when I was a kid. It is maddening. I dallied with the idea of getting a kid's digital camera for her birthday, and Fisher Price makes one in two colors: blue, and pink. It is advertised as a "girl's camera." We are holding off on the bike for awhile. And when I do buy it, it will be from REI, green or orange. For now, Ithink a grown-up, but cheapie, digital camera. In pink, for it's her favorite color.