Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our life: A very shot play in one and a half acts

Act I: Yesterday afternoon

(Scene: Car, filled with dozens of empty pop bottles, sticks and leaves gathered from the entire state of Arizona, various Nickelodeon paraphernalia, one six-year-old and two adults trying to make the most of the few minutes this week during which they might actually converse. Silly them.)

Me: So there was this online discussion about circumcision that was getting kind of out of hand.
Aaron: Well, I really don't see the big deal, I mean, to each their own, right?
Me: Some people were comparing it to female genital mutilation, you know, the total removal of the (I glance to the back seat, see the child who won't listen to 90 percent of what I say paying rapt attention) ... of the C-L-I...
Aaron: (Clearing his throat in embarrassment, cutting me off): Yeah, OK, I know what you mean. But it's not like that at all.
Me: That's what I think. Then too, some people are worried about sons looking like their fathers, the whole locker-room issue...
Aaron: So, what? Like he and I are going to line up in front of the mirror and compare notes?
David: Compare notes on what, Dad?
Aaron: Hairstyles, David. (To me): Besides, it's not like if they [makes the snip-snip motion with his fingers] when they're first born...
David: Why are you making scissors?
Aaron: No reason, David. (To me): So, if they, um, skin the snake...
David: What?!
Aaron: Nothing! It's just a silly phrase!
David: Well, I don't like that phrase. Poor snake!
Me: Yeah, Dad. Poor snake.
Aaron: (Shoots me the death glare; addresses David): I don't like it either. Sorry, David. (To me): So if they, er, remove a particular portion, it's not like they're any worse off or are even going to know the difference.
Me: Some folks are worried about loss of sensitivity.
Aaron: But it's kind of subjective, isn't it? I mean, each P-E-N-I-S...
Me: You do know he's been able to spell that for ages.
David: PENIS! You spelled PENIS! Bwahaha!
Aaron: Yes, I spelled penis. Tee hee.
Me: Hey, David, look at that horse! (Son distracted, I address Aaron): I can see your point, though. It's not like they could conduct a scientific study on that. It couldn't really be objective.
Aaron: Right. What, like, "OK subjects, every time you're H-O-R-N-Y, clock your speed of arousal, your partner's arousal, and how good it was for you?"
Me: Ha. Yeah.
(Conversation moves on to Harry Potter, pasta, and my son's new microscope.)
(Night ends peacefully, full of pasta and free from genital-themed discussions.)

Act II: Very, very early this morning

(Scene: The inside of my eyelids. Or possibly the first floor of a house on a mercilessly bright Arizona morning.)

David: Mom, what's H-O-R-N-Y spell? Could it be like for an animal with horns?
Me: Yeah, I guess it could! Let's just say they have cool horns, though, OK?
David (shrugging): OK, Mom.
David: Oh, and Mom? Don't use the hand towel in the downstairs bathroom. I blew my nose into it.
(He exits stage right in search of Pop Tarts.)
(I exit stage left in search of products with which to scour my face.)

The End.

Friday, January 23, 2009

20 things I still haven't learned

  1. That some people will never agree with me.
  2. That an increase in volume will not make them agree with me.
  3. That telling someone "I never watch television" or "I read mostly nonfiction," however true, will not win you any friends.
  4. How to make prodigious use of the Internet without losing untold hours and days to its distractions.
  5. That hot surfaces are hot.
  6. That jumping spiders jump.
  7. That knives are sharp.
  8. That solid surfaces are solid, and hurt upon collision with one's person.
  9. How to navigate predominantly via map directions.
  10. That "ponytail" is not a hairstyle.
  11. That "whatever's clean" is not a clothing style.
  12. How to read without skipping all over the page or screen.
  13. That it's not a good idea to smell your hand to check out the nature of that carpet moisture.
  14. That it's not a good idea to smell socks or undergarments to ascertain their before-laundry or after-laundry status. (But if you really have to, undergarments are still better than socks. Oy.)
  15. How to stay on task.
  16. That upholstery will get wet if the car is left in the rain with the windows wide open. And that sitting on said upholstery and then picking up a first-grader is sure to provoke much jollity. ("Mom! You look like you wet your pants!")
  17. How to be funny.
  18. That bananas really hate me. The love is unrequited.
  19. How to make friends as easily as my son.
  20. How to pound out blog posts in less than an hour without resorting to cheaterly lists.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year, and things I've learned

We don't traditionally make a huge deal of New Year's in the Hosey/Wilson/affiliated clans. We recognize it. And today I'm going over to spend the day at my mom's for a relaxed excuse to eat ourselves silly visit. And I try to "ring it in," somehow, every year. Ever since I was 8, I'd creep back out of bed (I am decidedly NOT a morning/waking-up person, but can "program" my body to wake up when I choose). I'd pretend I'd been awake the whole time, and tiptoe to the living room, which everyone had vacated but my dad, who would pretend he'd been awake the whole time. I'd stretch the nightgown, the scratchy one that caught on my elbows but that I loved anyway, over my knees and sit beside him and watch the ball drop on the television. And it was plenty.

And I've had memorable New Year's moments since then. There was the New Year's Eve that I learned that Jell-O shooters are not equal to Jell-O Jigglers, the New Year's Day I discovered that neither tequila nor smooth talkers are anyone's friends, the New Year my husband (then my secret boyfriend) and I rang in with a kiss in the movie theater parking lot, when no one knew we were "back together" yet (except, I eventually discovered, my mom, who always knows such things).

Last night, we took my son to see a movie, and cuddled, all of us, in the back of the theater. We went out to eat, put him to bed (after reading the couple of pages I promised ten pages twelve pages a whole chapter of Prisoner of Azkaban.) My husband and I sat on the couch. We fell asleep and woke back up at exactly midnight to ring it in. And it was plenty.

But in the name of taking stock, it occurs to me that there are a few things I learned in 2008. Not much, really. But I did learn:

  • That my son's capacity for wonder, curiosity and tenderness knows no limit.
  • That it is possible for a child to be obsessed with a single body part for an entire year, and that I will get so used to it/fed up with it that I will shout things like "I don't want to be poked in the butt, slapped on the butt, hear about your butt, hear about my own butt, hear about any butts, hear words that mean butt, or hear the poop song EVER AGAIN, and I mean it!" in the middle of Target and not think there is anything odd about the sentence until I notice weird looks from fellow customers.
  • How much I'd missed seeing the stars, really seeing them. And how clear the night sky is from our new house.
  • A whole heck of a lot about mortgage rates, credit scores and loans; as well as how to bitch just enough at the Realtor and loan guy to get things moving, but not so much that they hate me.
  • That my ex-landlord sucks big bovine gonads.
  • That the view from our house totally rocks.
  • How to fold killer paper airplanes, ones that stay in the air for at least 15 seconds.
  • That, until very recently, my husband did not know about my webbed toes or my ADD. (Though, on the latter, he seems to think a lot of things "make more sense" now.)
  • That my marriage still needs some work.
  • That, generally, my marriage is pretty darn awesome.
  • The meaning of the word "apropos." And that I'm the only smart person I know who didn't know the meaning of the word "apropos."
  • How to work a Chinese yo-yo. Sort of.
  • Did I mention I'm happy with the new house and its view?
  • How to pack an apartment's worth of stuff in record time.
  • That most of my family reads this blog, and that's a good thing.
  • A whole lot about crickets, astronomy, child psychology, the education system, Nickelodeon cartoons, paleontology, eyeless albino millipedes, politics and economics (but probably not enough about any of those things).
  • How to take waaay better pictures than I did in 2007.
  • That, generally, my pictures still need a lot of work.
  • To prioritize.
  • That I should never, ever, no exceptions (I mean it this time, self) eat beef products after 8 p.m.
  • That I don't listen to myself. Neither does anyone else. I must learn how to be stricter with us all.
  • How to bake a number of really awesome casserole dishes, cakes, and breads.
  • How to clean up in twenty-one minutes when six out-of-town family members are on their way and I only JUST THEN find out, and we've just moved in and just had Christmas and there's not one clean spot in the house. (Hint: Cupboard space, garage = your friends.)
  • That I'm pretty down with the suburban existence.
  • How to come to terms with my totally receding chin and those line-things on either side of my face.
  • That sometimes, I just screw up with the parenting thing -- but usually, I'm pretty OK.
  • That, as of last night, my son still wants to sit in my lap. And that I still get choked up about it, and that my husband still rolls his eyes about it (but secretly seems pretty happy when I lean over and we all end up in a cheesy, hokey pile of family).
  • How to identify major constellations by season.
  • To document, document, document everything. (Unfortunately, this lesson was learned by experience.)
  • How to use teacher strategies to get my kid to listen to me.
  • That I will not be excommunicated from my family for voting against the familial party (and that I should have known better, anyway).
  • That worrying about things does not count as working toward their resolution.
  • That I'm addicted to the show Lost (and Battlestar Galactica when it finally returns), but other than those shows, if the television disappeared I wouldn't notice.
  • That traffic cops do not care if you're "very sorry."
  • How to take chances on things that may not work, and what to do when they do (and when they don't).
  • That I'm better than I think I am at some of the things I try to do.
  • That I'm not nearly as clever as I think I am.
  • How to let things go, and which things those should be.
  • How to love a year, love the lessons learned, and hold my people so darn close I squish them -- but move the hell on from the crappy stuff, and tackle my life. I've got some plans for 2009.
Have a joyous, safe New Year and a better 2009 than 2008, whether your 2008 sucked or rocked. Happy New Year, everyone.