Friday, October 30, 2009

"It was so yummy that I can hardly feel my eye."

You read it right.

That's what Thing 1 said the other day.

I can't remember what he ate that was so yummy, but I don't think I'm soon to forget his creative attempt to articulate what he was feeling in response to aforesaid yumminess.

I am sure I am dating myself now as a very Late Blooming Mom indeed when I say moments like this remind me of an ancient TV show with Art Linkletter, ART LINKLETTER'S HOUSE PARTY, which ran for something like 20 years and was later revived with Linkletter and Bill Cosby as KIDS SAY THE DARNEDEST THINGS. It can't be quite as obscure as I'm making it out to be, because WIKIPEDIA tells me it's been mentioned on FAMILY GUY, SOUTH PARK and THE SIMPSONS. The basic idea was that Linkletter (and later Cosby) would interview kids and, well, they would indeed say the darnedest things.

My kids oblige daily.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Not The Terrible Twos You Have To Worry About: It's The F^&#ing Fours

Sometime last year, I was at one of the monthly support meetings thrown by my local parents of multiples club, and the club co-president was decrying "The F^%#ing Fours," the phase her twin boys were going through. She said, "Everyone talks about the terrible twos. But no one warns you about the fucking fours!"

At the time, I just laughed, and figured maybe she was exaggerating. Maybe she'd had a particularly hard day with her boys, two kids I'd only glimpsed at club events, where they were invariably well-behaved and adorable.

But now I know about the F^%#ing Fours. And I want them to be Fucking Over.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Still-Pretty-Great-Pumpkin, or HALLOWEEN: The Next Generation

I remember Halloween pretty fondly from my Upper West Side childhood.

My friends and I used to dress up in home-made costumes -- they were ALWAYS home-made in those days, never store-bought. And we'd trick or treat "for Unicef," shaking our bright orange cardboard boxes -- which I loved putting together the day before, tucking in all the tabs -- chanting in singsong, going from apartment to apartment. (The next day, mom would break open my box and help me count the coins we'd donate.) I had Halloween parties in which my art-loving, ever-creative mom used to "web" a room in our apartment, stringing twine through everything to creative an enormous web. Each string finished off attached to a wooden clothes pin, and each kid at the party got to try to wind that string around the clothes pin and untangle the web. We used to eat candy corn until we got stomach aches. A great time was had by all, and it didn't cost a lot.

But these days, Halloween is big business, the kind of massive consumer-goods-heavy enterprise that makes me think of what one of the PEANUTS gang says about Christmas in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," that it's all run by "an eastern syndicate."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Their Fred Astaire Moment

The very first time you're exposed to something wonderful in this life, be it the person you fall in love with, or your very first taste of ice cream as a child, I have a name for it. I call it a "Fred Astaire moment."

Back when I was fourteen or so, living through the hormonal and social hell that is eighth grade, I felt alienated from pretty much everyone I knew. My parents could not relate to me, and my middle school classmates had turned on me. It wasn't that they hated me. It was just that they didn't "get" me ... and I didn't "get" them.

I'd always had friends in kindergarten and elementary school, and coasted along with a comfortable social life through sixth grade or so. But in seventh, the girls I used to like, and who used to like me, became a lot more interested in boys... to the exclusion of all else. And the boys in my class I may have been friendly with once upon a time pretty much ignored my existence and paid attention to the girls who were boy-crazy.

Maybe my pubescent hormones hadn't fully kicked in yet, or maybe I was never one for gossip or speculation about the crushes and the rites of teenage physical exploration about which my classmates had suddenly become obsessed. I know I had no interest in shutting out some people because they weren't "cool." But by eight grade, that is what happened to me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Avoiding the Kid-Centric Life

Kid-centric parenting has run amuck.

If you don't know what I mean by that, then take a minute and stop and think about the moms (and maybe dads) you know and how much their lives utterly revolve around vehement sideline screaming at Junior's soccer, comparing Ms. Thing's pas-de-chat with that of the other would-be ballerinas at dance class, enrolling the kids in advanced Mandarin lessons and, even when out with adults, talking EXCLUSIVELY about their children.

I'm not against finding the very best school you can for your kids, whether public or private. I don't see anything wrong with a few fun activities after school, or "enrichment" as it's come to be called. Sometimes tutoring is actually called for, when a kid is having a tough time with a subject. And even I have a tough time resisting the impulse to talk shop with other parents when I see them, not to mention write about it on this blog.

BUT there are limits. Or rather, there should be.