Monday, May 6, 2013

Facts of Life

"Mom?" Owen says, "How do trees get bigger?"

"I don't know, buddy.  The same way people do I guess."

And then there was some quiet time.

 I thought to myself, "surely I can do better than that answer."

And then I thought, "It makes no difference.  There is a squiggly part in Owen's brain that does not respond to logic."

But hey, I'm trying hard at this parenting thing, so I start to scrape together what I know about trees and photosynthesis and what not.

"Owen, actually, trees grow a little differently than people . . ."

As I'm talking, Owen lets out this huge sigh, like he's been holding his breath.

"BAH!  RIGHT?!  Trees can't grow like people because they don't have birthdays!"

Clearly he had been sitting in the back seat, concerned about his poor stupid mother, who doesn't even know basic life facts like trees don't have birthdays.  He's surprised I can dress myself in the morning.

It is kind of interesting, though.  Trees don't really have a birthday, do they?

Also, apparently, this is why 5 AND A HALF has been so important to Owen.  He believes that the extra, previously undisclosed HALF BIRTHDAY, will help him grow more.

He also has a FIRM belief that the sun follows his head.  Not him, but his head.  And I have argued, but he has very little faith in me at this point.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Are you chicken?

I read an article a few weeks ago about backyard urban chicken farming.  And it struck me as the right balance of "pet" and "egg factory."  I know the kids would love to have a pet, for a MINIMUM of 48 minutes, but the thing is, I don't actually like animals all that much.  I respect their place in the world and all, but in close proximity, I'm just kind of scared they will all bite me.

So, chickens.  How fancy would that be?  I will name them Hester and Ethel and we will be soooo hippy.

Chris said, "okay."  But now he's saying "not okay."

This kids are on my side, though.

Various offers of help were made:

"I will use half my piggy bank to pay for the chicken." (Sam)

"I will collect all the eggs." (Sam)

"I will wash the chickens." (Owen, with accompanying scruba-scruba motions)

"I will take the chickens on a walk."  (Owen)

It has rather taken over their thought process.

When I got home yesterday, Chris greeted me with news about a bad thing that had happened to Sam at school.

 I went to talk to Sam, and he said, "Dad told me I could have anything I wanted that would make me feel better.  Well, anything that wasn't a chicken."

And for a minute I was all, "Jeez, the kid gets assaulted at school and we can't even spring for some KFC?"

Today, our new swing set was delivered to the backyard in a huge cardboard box.  The children's first guess about the contents?  A chicken.  "Well I knew it probably wasn't two chickens," Sam says.  "Because it needs space to run around."

Tonight, when Lilly was talking about chickens again I said, "You know, guys, we're probably not going to get chickens.  That might just be a little too much."

"Okay."  Lilly said, "We can get a turkey."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

T.V. kids vs. real life kids

Children on TV don't have food on their faces nearly as often as mine do.

Children on TV have better haircuts.  In that they have haircuts.  Ever.

Children on TV know how to use utensils.  Unless they are TV children who were raised by wolves.  Those kinds of TV kids are actually pretty realistic.

On TV, when kids dress themselves, its always a sassy mix of prints and some adorable rain boots.  Today I was in public with the kids and I did that thing where all of a sudden, you see what your life looks to outsiders.

And I saw Owen.

Owen dresses himself.  I let him, with almost no censorship (we believe in small government in this house).  Because who cares, right?  He's a five year old boy!  Nobody sees him except his family who already loves him, and his fellow classmates in the most nurturing school environment ever.  So, whatever, knock yourself out.

But now we're in public and I notice - really notice - what he is wearing.

1) Nike athletic pants, on backwards, as per usual.  Also, as per usual, butt crack.  Soon, nobody will know what "mooning" is, because everybody will call it "Owening."

2) A pajama shirt.

3) Ratty, old, disgusting, winter boots.

It was not adorable.  

So I zeroed in on my least favorite part and said, "Owen.  You have GOT to stop wearing boots.  It's 75 degrees out here.  Snow boots are not appropriate."

With a smile on his face, and a song in his heart, Owen says to me "I will NEVER wear shoes instead of boots!  Unless they are GOLDEN!"

"You want golden shoes?"

"Yes!  And they should be BOOTS!"

Oh, okay then.  Apparently, I just need to get him golden boots.  That won't be weird at all.  And at least then he'll stop wearing boots.

Golden boots.  What the hell is that about?

Queen Mother

I just read an article - one of those ones that talk about princess culture and how terrible it is and how it is eating out daughters and teaching them to sit around and wait for a prince.

And yes, I get it and, wow, man, I could talk all day about beauty culture and misogyny and female empowerment, but you know what?

I think they may be wrong about this one.

I don't know for sure.

Here's the thing, when I was a little girl, I loved princesses with a mad passion.  And it had not one blessed thing to do with anything LIKE a prince or getting rescued and EVERYTHING to do with:

1)  Beautiful.  Poofy.  Dresses.
2)  Being in charge of everything.

I think we may be over-thinking the anti-princess thing.  Is it realistic to pretend you are a princess?  No.  But I'm not sure you can require children to be realistic.  My living room floor is not actually hot lava, but it makes life more interesting for my kids to PRETEND that it is.  So, hey, pretend away.  Life is hella boring sometimes.

There is a whole heck of a lot of shit to be worried about for our daughters as they grow up and have to start relating to boys in a world that is not always kind to women.  So maybe we should just let them be little girls for a while.  Let them enjoy the glittery dresses and the tiaras. The princes and the passiveness?  I think that's just our own baggage.

Surely, there is space in our understanding of the world to get that there is an inherent pleasure in beautiful dresses and gorgeous castles and magical things.  And, holy cats, I'd rather have my daughter wearing a polyester princess dress than a tube top that says "hottie" and high heels (I have actually seen this).

Which is all just to say that not only will I allow Lilly to HAVE princess dresses, I will allow her to WEAR princess dresses even in front of judge-y people at the ice-cream store.