Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Little Bit Longer

I’m watching the Jonas Brothers right now. I know, you envy me. You wish that you, too, had a pre-teen girl who wanted to watch 3 simpering metro-trying-to-be’s chortling about romance.
I don’t think kids who haven’t begun puberty should sing about romance. It’s not a moral thing; it’s a laughing thing. I had the same problem with New Kids and Menudo. Oh, sure, they emote all over the place, but when their chest hair can be counted on one finger and they have a curfew, I’m just thinkin’ they aren’t the hot lovers their fantasies make them out to be. I could go into details but I’ll stop myself (you’re welcome). Now, when Michael Hutchence promised a new sensation or Ian McCulloch told me she had lips like sugar, I think they had some check marks to back up those claims. And forget about Kanye—I think he probably blows my cute little punk boys out of the water. First of all, because he sticks to one gender and I’m pretty confident that the same can’t be said for the men I listened to in High School. So if we’re talking about notch marks where women are concerned, I bet anyone with a grill wins. I’m a bit confused about will.i.am because, really, look at the guy. Sure, now that he’s got some dough in his money clip, but before he made it big? I doubt he was much of a heartbreaker. And never mind the Disney boys. They can’t even fill out those Wranglers, let alone walk with a swagger. So part of me thinks I shouldn’t worry about my 10 year old watching Nick moon over a girl—he’s mostly girl himself. But then another part of me thinks, “Oh, good grief. What if she thinks he’s the end-all of human romance? Either I’ll get a 13 year old for a son-in-law or she’ll decide she’s better off with a cat. And Hal’s allergic to cats. What do we do for holidays?”
I’m trying to remember if I ever loved a 13-year-old. Before I was 13, I mean. And Buttercup, let’s keep the rest of that story to ourselves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Would Walk 500 Miles

A 3 year old wandered away from his home in rural Missouri. Don’t worry—a searcher found him dirty and tick-covered but smiling and ready to eat. Here’s what I want to talk about:
The media, in every single story I read or heard, felt it necessary to explain that the father was sleeping and the mother was talking on the phone.
Huh?
Is there a normal, living parent who can’t understand how a 3 year old could walk out the door without being seen?
If you know where your children are every second of the day, and if they’ve never managed to hide in the clothes racks at the store or turn the corner on a sidewalk before you’ve reached it, then don’t talk to me. My children wait until I’m on the toilet or in the shower and then head out to the front yard, where they are never allowed without my supervision. They run as far away from me in the mall as my voice will carry and they don’t come back until I’m hysterical screaming at the top of my lungs that big scary men will steal them and make them clean toilets unless they come back RIGHT NOW AND I MEAN IT!!!
How can a 3 year old, with arms and legs, walk out a door without a parent knowing? Um, he turned the handle and left. Easy as pie. And how dare that mom talk on the phone? Next we’ll find out that she had dirty dishes in her sink and hadn’t showered yet. Gee, sounds like my whole life. And the dad was sleeping? Probably because he was A) working at night or B) awake all night with the 3 year old. And what if he wasn’t? So. So he took a nap and his child broke a rule. If sleeping while your kids break rules is a crime, parents of teenagers all over the world better watch out.
Here’s the other twist: turns out, the boy was on his way to visit his Grandma. And he was only half a mile from reaching her, after walking for about 4 miles. Sounds like a kid who knows where the goodies are and how to get to them. And it sounds like a family who visits each other enough that a child can figure out how to travel from one house to the other. They aren’t dogs, you know. They don’t have good tracking instincts. If my children were dropped at the back entrance of our neighborhood, I doubt they could find their way home. ‘Course, they’d have more incentive to head to Grandma’s, but then again, she’s more than 5 miles away, so good luck there.
I’m glad the baby is back, safe and hungry for hot dogs and milk. I’m glad Halpin, the worker who found him, saw the dogs sniffing and went to investigate. I’m glad his parents have a happy ending to their story. And I hope the media, who have apparently never raised a single child among the lot of them, back off and let the family have a moment to regroup.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Common Garden Pests

What do you do with a 10 year old who frequently acts like a 15 year old? You give her fish oil. I’m not sure if the oil actually helps or if the memory of the taste and the threat of more keep her attitude in check. We’ve been dosing her for a week. For the first 5 days, she improved immeasurably, even being seen to smile at her sisters. Then, we skipped 2 days. And last night? The third day without oil? OHMYGOSH, Damien had moved in.
Even Hal, who usually lets all things roll off his shoulders, sent her to her room and left her there for a loooooong time while deciding whether or not he wanted to deal with the demon child during dinner. He decided ‘yes’, but I don’t think it was a decision based on love so much as fear of CPS. So, this morning, I handed her the bottle and left it at that. She stirred it into a cup of orange juice and we’ve been cheerful ever since. I wonder if the same thing will work on clerks at the mall?
We also finished our weeding yesterday (there’s a train of thought there that you might not catch). I sprayed, pulled, hoed and dug, and the three babies helped. They weeded their assigned section, but most of their time was spent moving roly poly bugs and earthworms into my vegetable garden. It’s nice to live in a place where the ground isn’t infested with oil residue. More good things live in the earth here. The middle child wanted to buy lady bugs last time we went to the nursery, but I told her we’d wait until the aphids move in. So, give it a week or two.
Gardens and kids. It’s hard to make them both weed-free. Some noxious pests blow in from outside, but some creep in just because it’s the nature of the business. It’s hard to know when to pull the weeds and when to let them lie. After all, when plants are just sprouting, pulling the weeds around them may dislodge the young roots and kill the thing you’re trying to grow. And, not all weeds are dangerous. Some may be unsightly, like nose-picking, but in the end, it won’t turn your garden into a drug-addicted criminal. But it’s hard to watch those perfect cherubs morph into devil creatures who make my other perfect cherubs wilt with their harsh words and venomous looks. So, keep your fingers crossed that the weeding this weekend will have a lasting effect and that the few remaining briars don’t destroy the rest of the plants in my garden