the girl she used to be

I have two teenagers and a three-year-old.  My oldest children have moments of intense idiocy, but for the most part, they are put-together young adults.  Despite their exterior self-confidence, every once in a while they do something that reminds me of the children they used to be.

Last night, my youngest daughter and I were carving pumpkins.  My teens are far too cool for pumpkin carving, but seeing Ella and I elbow deep in gourd guts compelled them to join in. 

“I want only triangles on my jack-o-lantern,” Ella said.  “’Cause triangles are the most beautiful shape.”

I personally don’t think triangles are the most beautiful shape, but I am not one to question the ascetics of a preschooler.  As I was slicing triangular eyes into Ella’s pumpkin, Cole asked, “Can I carve something inappropriate?”

I wrinkled my brow.  “Like what?” I asked.

“A butt crack with pumpkins guts shooting out of it.”

My little eight-year-old was back, the boy who found humor in all things gross.

“Never mind,” he said.  “I have a better idea.”

In the end, Cole carved a Cyclops with a goatee.

Meg was quietly working on her pumpkin long after we had finished. 

My first-born has long blonde hair, pierced ears, and multiple pairs of knee-high boots.  She works part-time as a lifeguard and plays varsity soccer.  Meg has a respectable academic record and drives an electric-blue pick-up (Which by the way, her parents own but she insists on calling it hers.  She will have a rude awakening when we ship her off to college and the truck stays home.)  She is a poised and responsible sixteen-year-old. 

When she made the last cut, she turned it around.  “Can you tell who it is?” she asked.

Suddenly, there in front of me was the ten-year-old girl Meg used to be.  I smiled and said, “It’s Harry Potter.”

Sesame Street characters do not wear strapless bras

When I was growing up, neighborhood parents rarely spent money on Halloween costumes. It was less of a holiday based on consumerism and more of a contest to see who could be the most creative with a roll of duct tape. Wrap yourself in toilet paper, you’re a mummy. Wrap yourself in aluminum foil, you’re a robot. Wear your dad’s brown track suit, you’re a baked potato.

These days, my children often lobby for expensive masks and full-blown costumes off a Hollywood movie set. Still, I resist spending the cash. Besides, most of the costumes are so ridiculous. No teenage girl dresses as a witch, a pirate, or ghost. They are all slutty witches, slutty pirates, slutty ghosts. It is all about cleavage and miles of bare thigh. This year, thanks to the recent presidential debates, they have even begun making a slutty Big Bird costume. I am quite sure Sesame Street characters are not allowed in costumes that also require a strapless bra.

Big Bird’s slutty sister, Boob Bird

Last night my sixteen-year-old daughter needed a costume for an event. She decided to use some face paint and a few feathers and go as an Indian. When she came downstairs, I said, “Look, it’s Poc-HO-hontas.”

“No,” my husband said. “It’s Slut-a-jawea.”

Fortunately, my children understand one thing about our family. At least once a month (OK, maybe twice a month) the entire family will gang up on you and laugh at your expense. If you play along with the teasing, eventually Mom will apologize and buy you a frozen yogurt. It is our personal dance of dysfunction, but it works for us.

My daughter is a champ when it comes to family humiliation. In the end, she rolled her eyes and changed her shirt.

I can’t remember all the things I’ve forgotten

Today I had plans to meet my girlfriend for lunch.  I made arrangements with my neighbor to watch my three-year-old for a couple of hours and then drop her off at preschool, so that I could head into the city and have meal at a restaurant that didn’t involve cardboard containers, balloons, or one of my children complaining about a severe ketchup shortage. 

At 12:30 my neighbor phoned my cell.  “I just drove Ella over to her preschool,” she said.  “But, school is closed today.  Apparently there were parent/teacher conferences instead.”

Yipes!  I totally forgot that my baby didn’t have school, and I completely missed parent/teacher conferences.  I don’t mind missing the conference.  Ella is my third child so I know the meeting would have gone like this:

Teacher:  Ella really likes school.

Me:  Yes she does.

Teacher:  Ella can be bossy.

Me:  Yes she can.

Teacher:  Ella is very bright when it comes to her verbal skills.

Me:  Yes she is.

Then I would apologize for sending Ella to school without her hair brushed ‘cause some mornings that battle is simply not worth fighting.  At this point, the teacher would smile at me kindly like you poor woman; the inmates are running your asylum. 

Still, I can’t believe I made such a huge scheduling error.  I am sure there have been other points in my children’s lives when I’ve flubbed up the calendar, but right now I can’t remember all the things I’ve forgotten.

I have a theory

I am a woman who chills easily.  I have been known to break out flannel pajamas in August, wear long underwear under my jeans in winter, and keep a heating pad tucked under my pillow, just in case.  My first husband once told me that my worst character trait was my insistence on placing my cold feet under his thighs at night.  I believe there were moments when I approached his toasty zone with my icicle toes that he seriously contemplated divorce. 

I am forty-three years old, and as I age, my body’s ability to maintain its own warmth is getting worse by the minute.  I do, however, have a theory.  I blame my frigid nature on my overuse and abuse of my automobile’s butt heater.

I first purchased a car with a built-in seat heater in 2004.  Since then, there is rarely a day that goes by without my backside enjoying the soothing warmth of modern automotive technology.  It is my hypothesis that the constant use of this device has broken my internal thermostat, and now I am no longer able to maintain reasonable body heat.  What I need is a scientist to study the effects of butt heaters on body temperature regulation.  When you have enough evidence to sue the inventor of the automotive seat heater, I want my fair cut.  I need the money to purchase hot water bottles, thermal underwear, and a sauna.

public apology

Last night I had a dream that I used the F-word in a blog post.  In my dream, my Aunt Rosemary was so disgusted with me that she started her own blog to talk about what a disappointment I was and how upset my mother would be to read such trash.

I woke up and realized I have been a bit profane in some of my blog posts, and because I want to sleep tonight and not dream about enraged relatives, I am going to publicly apologize for calling my front-yard mole an asshole.  It is obviously not a lady-like use of language.

So, Rosemary, please quit haunting my dreams, and I will do my best to avoid four-letter words.  Of course, I am sure you will understand that sometimes a certain amount of embellishment is f***ing necessary.

My Aunt Rosemary in front with my grandma and my mom in the back

proof of my mental stability

Yesterday I posted two ghastly photos of myself.  When my husband read my blog, his comment was, “Damn, Honey, that is one big-ass thigh.”  So, today I have decided to post only cute photos of myself in order to prove two things.  One, I have learned from my poor hair choices in the 80’s, and I am no longer Annie Lennox’s doppelgänger.  Two, I am not a homeless person with questionable mental stability.

Totally cute Me with makeup and washed hair.

fun-loving me, a completely mentally-stable dog lover. My dog is the one in front.

go ahead, laugh at my expense

In 1986, I swam on my high school’s varsity swim team.  That year, a HORRIFIC photo was taken of me in my swim suit and published in the yearbook.  This event happened over twenty-five years ago, but it remains the fourth most embarrassing moment of my life (embarrassing moments two and three involve spontaneous crying in public.  Embarrassing moment number one involves milk and vomit; perhaps I will blog about them someday) The photo itself is supremely humiliating, but two events followed that increased my shame tenfold.  First, my friend wrote, “USDA approved” across my bare, pasty thigh in every single yearbook he could get his hands on (note here, I ended up dating that boy for over two years, and he is a follower of my blog.  Hi, Wake!).  Second, while I was sitting at lunch the day after the photo was published, the Spanish teacher, Mrs. Navarro, walked up to the table and addressed me in front of twenty of my classmates and friends. 

“I loved the photo,” she said.  “There are countries in South America that revere women with thick thighs.”

The table burst into laughter, and I went home and cried.

Because I am deeply committed to my blog followers I am going to allow you to laugh at my expense by publishing, again, the dreaded photo. (Oh God, I just vomited a little in my mouth).

1986 yearbook photo. Why didn’t someone tell me that haircut only worked for Annie Lennox?

The swim suit photo was brought to mind recently when I was downloading pictures off my camera.  My three-year-old loves to take photos and she took one of me a few weeks ago.  It is, without doubt, the worst photo I have ever seen of myself and because I want to spread love and make you feel better about your own lives, I am going to share the photo.  Enjoy!  But remember, the photo was taken at 6:00 AM, and I only look like this until I get my cup of coffee.

The very fact that I am letting you see this shows how much I value your readership

After my morning coffee, I look like this