— My closest friend here is moving a week from today. And it sucks. So I’m trying to soak up as much time with her as I can, ergo … well, sorry about that. Am busy farting around with friends and babies and toddlers, oh my!
— My kid, she is CHALLENGING this week. Lovable, but CHALLENGING. There are TEETH involved, and yet, they have NOT MADE AN APPEARANCE. Why so coy, teeth?
— Despite this, I have so! much! I want to talk about, but no TIME, you see. But I will have more tomorrow.
— In the meantime! I am somewhere else! Two somewhere elses! First, I am at Amalah’s Bounce Back on Alphamom talking about the unique brand of hell that was Sam’s early infancy. I practically needed an Ativan to get through reliving it. And second, it was my turn at Polite Fictions, yo. The story is going … well, we don’t know where, but what a ride.
Happy Wednesday! I’m off to take a bath and read Sookie Stackhouse book three. Oh, and there will be wine, oh thank you Jesus.
I cannot get over the swiftness and relative ease with which I willingly pick my child’s nose. It’s one of those quintessential parenting moments that embarrasses and humbles me, because I KNOW the childless among you are going, seriously? She’s talking about this? She’s one of THOSE? And I know, right? I KNOW. I know how awful and ridiculous it is to DO, much less talk about. But God, how far the mighty have fallen. A few years ago, I was overcome with a wave of nausea at the mere sight of another person’s boogers, and just today, I willingly plucked someone else’s from their little nose-hole and instead was overcome with a wave of satisfaction. Parenting is one non-stop acid trip set to a Sigur Ros-penned soundtrack, where upside-down is right side up and right side up is … I don’t know, the universe where picking someone else’s nose is not only considered polite, but widely accepted.
Ugh. I sort of hate myself for the above paragraph, but the mind, it BOGGLES.
I have to hand it to Adam, by the way, for one of the better things about him — and I mean in the petty, not-important sense, not the handsome, kind and big-time shit, sense — is his penchant for junk food and candy. Usually this is a bit on the frustrating side — it’s not exactly easy being on a diet when you have a man who regularly comes home with those big, soft grocery store cookies. You know, the kind that comes in a bag with the silvery tabs? And the cookies are BIG and SOFT and MOST DEFINITELY made with Crisco. Ahem. Anyway, I can usually ignore the cookies, but what I cannot ignore is a giant pack of Fun Dip.
Fun. Dip. What was the last time you had Fun Dip? I assure you, it was far too long ago and that it is, indeed, as fun as the name promises. And the dipper, if you recall, is called a Lik A Stik. Which sounds more than a little on the porny side, and it’s not inaccurate, as you continue to dip this … sti(c)k into a little packet of powder and lasciviously lick it off, going back for more more more like some kind of bizarre sugar-cocaine addict, but MAN, Fun Dip is … well. Deliciously gross and grossly delicious. And we now have an effing JUMBO PACK in our kitchen, if anyone wants to come by.
Perhaps the most frightening and shocking thing about Vermont is the spiders. You guys, I have never in my 33 years seen spiders like this. Spider webs! Everywhere! With spiders the size of an effing QUARTER. And last night, while I was walking the dog, I stood there, riveted, as I watched a spider feed on a wrapped up INSECT like some kind of personal view into Charlotte’s Web. And ALLLL I could think of was Shelob the Giant Spider from Tolkein and ALLLL I dreamed about, all night long, was giant spiders devouring my flesh and if you, or anyone, thinks I’m ever going outside at night again, you are ALLLL OUT OF YOUR MIND.
In OTHER insect news, I took the baby to the park today while we waited for a friend, and honest to sweet LORD what the FUCK, people? Is it not AUTUMN? It was like MIDSUMMER MOSQUITO’S DREAM up in there, and I now have three (3) bites in each of my armpits, leaving me scratching my underarms every fifteen minutes like some kind of orangutan. And worse, I was sitting there playing the “How Big Is Samantha?” “SO BIG!” game, when in the middle of the “SO BIG!” portion of our show, I noticed a mosquito draining the blood from her forehead, and I promptly SLAPPED MY BABY IN THE HEAD, killing the mosquito and scaring the bejesus out of my child, complete with heaving, startled tears.
This injustice is second only to the time when I was nursing her in the park, cradling her head with one arm, when my other arm was suddenly STUNG BY A WASP and I abruptly yanked my arm out from under her to smack the wasp away and ZOMG TEARS and DRAMA, because her head just clonked right down on my knee. Kind of hard. And then, just now, oh thank you Amalah, I see that I am not the only person to do this (the mosquito-slapping bit, not the knee-clonking bit), and once again, the Internet makes me feel NORMAL.
I made plans to go to the movies in two weeks with some girlfriends. It will be my first — and longest — real outing to do something purely enjoyable, other than, say, getting my hair done or frantically running to Target solo, since Sam’s been born. Yep, folks, it’s been MORE THAN SIX MONTHS, and I haven’t left the baby at all. Crazytown, right? What’s crazier is that I haven’t really minded, especially since she now goes to bed between 7 and 7:30, and our evenings! They are FREE! FREE! FREEEEEEEE! And while Sam is easier and can drink from a cup now and eats the occasional meal not procured from my bosom, that didn’t stop Adam’s initial reaction from … well, you’d think I’d asked him to FLY A PLANE. He’s more than willing, certainly, but this brave new world — one that involves her being detached from my bosom for more than an hour — is new to both of us. Oh, the POSSIBILITIES.
* Fiona Apple. When next I speak with you, I will have NEW HAIR. And there will be PHOTOS if it’s good! If not, there will be PHOTOS OF ME IN A PAPER BAG. HA HA GET IT.
I don’t think anyone can deny that being a parent gives you new insight into your own parents, for better or worse. Sometimes, it’s wondering how a parent could possibly abandon one’s child, and sometimes it’s overwhelming sympathy for how a parent handled what you now realize was an incredibly difficult situation. I can’t believe I’m admitting that I’ve given more than a fleeting thought to Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t punch me right in the gut every time I see Gisele talking about Tom’s son, John, as if he were HER child, and look at pictures of him snuggled into her on the beaches of whatever tropical destination the family happens to be on at the moment. Because man, poor everyone, but my heart bleeds most for Bridget Moynahan, who, as the kid’s MOTHER, seems to be forgotten. And break-ups and step-parenting are hard enough without watching your child’s life when he’s not with you play out on the public stage.
My parents divorced when I was relatively young (about six or seven — I’m honestly not sure), and each of them remarried relatively quickly, to the people they are still married to, to this day. And though I am loath to say anything that could be construed as airing dirty family laundry here, I think we can all agree that things were rocky, at best, for a not-insignificant portion of my childhood and adolescence. Some of the resulting fallout was appropriate and understandable, and a lot of it was wildly inappropriate and awful, and frankly, it’s only in recent years that I’ve given myself a pass on feeling guilty for “causing” any of the hideousness. I was, I realized, only a kid after all, whereas they were ADULTS, you know? You know.
But now that I’m a parent, I see some things a little differently. I see how incredibly hard it must be to be put in a position to parent what is, essentially, someone else’s child, and that as much as you’d like to keep things equitable and even, blending a family is a daunting challenge, especially if you’re bringing your own children into the mix. It’s not really an adoption — the child is never really fully yours — but the expectation of love, devotion and treatment is there, and rightfully so, I suppose. And on the other hand, watching another woman or man raise YOUR child as if they were their own, right in front of your very eyes? Oh, my heart. I’d like to pretend I’d be able to be the bigger person and be happy that they were with someone who seems to love them, but I’m not sure my envy could be contained. Step-parent/child relationships are almost always challenging — I think that’s well within the range of normal — but still, it must take a superhuman effort to maintain propriety and positivity when your child — your CHILD — complains about the other parent/step-parent.
It’s all so complicated and hideous and oh, my poor parents. All four of them — all four of them, by the way, whom I love deeply and at this point equally, both biological and by marriage. They did their best under not unusual, but no less heartwrenching, circumstances. If there was any lingering bitterness, it fell away the moment I had Samantha. All is forgiven, if not forgotten, and my heart grew three sizes not just for my daughter, but for the people who raised me.
I have many reasons to hope that Adam and I maintain a happy, healthy marriage, and we’ve both worked hard at it, even — no, perhaps, especially — since bringing Sam into the mix. I know there’s a time when it’s better for everyone to walk away, but I also know that it’s harder on everyone when that happens. I wish for many things, but after the health and safety of our little family, this tops the list.
Introspection and depth, brought to you by … Tom Brady. Never saw that one coming.
On a lighter note, remember how I was all, “I AM NEVER DRESSING MY DAUGHTER IN PINK! DOWN WITH GIRLY CLOTHES!” Hey, you know, it turns out I pretty much lied, because I have since gotten over myself and realized that holy crap, girl clothes are freakin’ cute. What I will not do, however, is spend a lot of money on them, because dudes, do you have any idea how FAST kids grow out of shit? I love this kid more than life itself, but I think I’d be inclined to want to stab my own eyeballs out if I spent more than $15 for an outfit for her at this stage and that’s … on the high end. Carter’s outlets and I are BFF, is what I’m saying.
What I am also saying is that MAN, this kid is cute, and MAN, this outfit kills me.
The hooded vest! The fleece pants! THE HOODED VEST! HAHAHAHAHA.
Happy Wednesday, everyone.
*Paul Simon. Because the lyrics — hell, the whole ALBUM — is fitting.
I made an appointment to get my hair cut and colored this coming weekend, and dudes, I could not be more excited. Since having Sam, my appearance in general has gone … how do I say this? DOWNHILL. VERY STEEPLY. And you know, for the most part, I haven’t really cared because I haven’t had the energy or time to care. And that is really very sad, but I’m inclined to cut myself some slack in that my daughter just started sleeping in actual multiple-hour stretches in the last three weeks, you know?
I used to have great hair. Seriously great hair. The kind that people stopped me on the street to talk about! And since I got pregnant … not so much. In fact, I would go so far as to say I have BAD hair. BAD. BAD HAIR.
The time of Bad Hair has to end, and I’m going an hour to the big city (ha, um, that would be Burlington, pop. 38,000) to have my hair colored by someone who went to a beauty school outside of their grandmother’s garage. And though my hair may be bad, it rewarded me this fine morning with a fine imitation of Mike Score from Flock of Seagulls:
This is all sounding very vain, and normally, I’m not a fan, but you know, the hair is becoming a little symbolic for me in terms of how I’ve sort of … let myself go. I’ve gotten snippets of myself back here and there — I’m reading again, and started taking baths, and my evenings are free — but it’s been a long time since I gave the slightest shit of what I looked like, and I can’t help but think, MAN. It’s time. And at the very least, we’ll start with hair. Then maybe we’ll talk about finally following goddamn Weight Watchers, rather than EXCUSE AFTER EXCUSE OMG.
— It’s fall here in Vermont, and you guys, it’s freakin’ IDYLLIC. Beautiful weather, stunning leaves, apples everywhere. And while I love it, and I’m trying to soak it all in, all I keep thinking is, WINTER IS COMING. FUUUUUUUCK. SAVE YOURSELVES. And then I start thinking about having a baby during the Era of Swine Flu and I need a paper bag. Seriously.
— Not to bring it back to boobs, but you know whose I covet? Christina Hendricks. You know, Joan, from Mad Men. The woman is a BRICK SHIT HOUSE and her boobs … ah. If only.
— My Vera Wang jeans are starting to … TURN on me, and it’s all making me wonder if the reason Mom Jeans are named such is because once you become a mom, everything shifts in sad, unmanageable fashion and suddenly, you’re left with Mom Butt and you HAVE to buy Mom Jeans, because nothing else FITS. And Jesus, if THAT isn’t a case to get my ass (ha ha!) back in gear, I don’t know what is. Please, someone shoot me before I start wearing jeans with NO POCKETS.
That’s all she wrote, my friends. I’m pooped, and I am off to take a bath with Sookie Stackhouse and a glass of wine.
I brought Sunny on a playdate this morning at the request of a few of the mothers whose kids are into dogs and hey, wow, how about we do that again on the twelfth day of never? In the course of an hour, she got herself tangled in a raspberry bush, attempted to lick off (oh God) the, um, NAKED PRIVATE PARTS of a toddler (you can imagine the joint chorus of “SUNNY NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!” yes?), and eventually decided she’d had enough of this shit, yo, let’s blow this joint! Catch you later, Mom! HOLLA! She then squeezed underneath a fence and headed off into the nearest busy street.
I have never been so fracking grateful that Sam isn’t yet mobile, because dude, I could just throw her gigantic tiny ass onto the ground and haul after the damn dog without worrying that she was going to run off herself. Thank you Mary, Joseph and JESUS that I ended up with the World’s Largest Baby, which, if you didn’t know, leaves her a little … behind, shall we say it, in the area of physical milestones. I watch videos of Wombat from Leah, and can’t help but notice that she and Simon seem to be SMILING as their baby trucks off into the horizon and not, say, giggling maniacally as they hook their veins up to an IV of Ativan.
I am not remotely ready for mobility. Or two children, apparently, because I’m guessing by the time I have a second, Sam will no longer be content to lay around like Jabba the Hutt (why the extra ‘t’, Jabba?) on whatever blanket or T-shirt happens to be lying nearby. Bonus points if there’s grass she can attempt to stuff into her gaping maw.
(I know I sound mean about my kid and her, uhhh, girth, but seriously, she’s quite literally off the charts in terms of height and weight (21 pounds. Like, uhhh, the size of a one-year-old), and you could lose an entire load of laundry in her Cinnabon-worthy thigh rolls. I think if I weighed that much, I might have bit of a hard time moving around, too. Her head, however, is of the pea-head variety and in the less than 10th percentile. Mah babeh! She suffers from WEE HEAD SYNDROME. This is some sort of PARENTAL KARMA.)
At the risk of being offensive to some, it never fails to give me a hearty chuckle when people refer to their children — infants and toddlers, particularly — as being “wise” or “possessing an old soul” or, really, any commentary on their child’s soul at all. I mean, have you guys spent any time with children? I’m sure their souls are as pure and snowy as a fresh winter’s day, but I can’t help but think that an old, wise soul would be able to poop somewhere other than one’s own pants (and no, the floor doesn’t count), or at least have the good sense God gave them to not eat dirt. There might be a wee bit of projection going on up in this piece, don’t you think?
The usual quick takes, which are never very quick, nor related:
– I love Glee, and it surprises the crap out of me. Nothing about it is my kind of show, and yet? Adorable. Fun. So cute. So available on Amazon download if you, like me, were late to Glee. OH WAIT. I said that BEFORE the wife’s pregnancy went ON even though it’s not really ON and OH HELL, this is what I get for blogging while watching a show and becoming ANNOYED.
– I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books as a way to prolong the True Blood love, and thus far, I am hooked, and on high alert for her to be getting dressed up in … scrunchies and banana clips.
– I wish I remembered what my boobs looked like before I got pregnant and/or started nursing. Because although I can’t remember exactly, I’m fairly certain that their current incarnation — that of Topless African Naked Tribal Lady on the Cover of National Geographic isn’t what they once were. And it’s very sad.
– I think Andrew Bird is painfully overrated. I have a few albums, and every time I listen to them, I think, “Eh? EH? WHERE IS JESUS? I AM WAITING FOR JESUS TO SHOOT OUT OF THE SPEAKERS.” He never does.
– Since I started dieting, I have lost and then gained back five pounds. I’d say this is THE MOST effective diet EVER, wouldn’t you?
One of my greatest talents is remembering details about people. With few exceptions, I remember EVERYTHING, and it’s a popular game among my close friends — Ask Jonna, Because She’ll Know. Who smeared poop all over the bathroom walls in fourth grade? Oh that’s easy! Chris Lindeman, whose mother’s name was Jane and wore the blouse with the big flowers to the PTA meeting. Chris — who I don’t even KNOW anymore — also preferred his cupcakes without icing, and would scrape it off in disgust every time a birthday came through our classroom.
Who doesn’t like icing, you ask? I can only assume some sort of puritanical stick in the mud, and have since determined that Chris joined a monastery and enjoys wearing a hairshirt. Unfortunately, Google turns up nothing, but that is consistent with monks. They don’t really broadcast their career choices on LinkedIn.
Usually, this ability makes me look thoughtful — the next time Meredith* comes to visit, I plan to have plenty of Flat Earth chips in Farmland Cheddar flavor, along with Paul Newman’s pineapple salsa, because I remember she enjoys them. See? Helpful!
When it is not helpful is when I meet someone once — or in some cases, don’t meet them, but hear so many details about them from someone ELSE that I feel like I met them — and run into them somewhere and start spouting off like some kind of stalker, which is precisely what I did to the wife of the host of one of our favorite restaurants. Yes, please read that again. I ran into the WIFE of a HOST of a local restaurant — who I have never met — and, after making small talk about our babies, realized who she was, and started spouting a variety of details I’d heard about her, including WHO DELIVERED HER BABY AND HOW LABOR WAS, in the middle of TJ Maxx. Oh, and then had to explain that I got all this from her husband in five-minute snippets as he escorted us to our table, which I’m sure she appreciated. Jesus.
What’s worse is that I GUARANTEE her husband has no idea who I am. I just REMEMBER these stupid things about people, and have a compulsion to SHARE THEM.
I have zero brain to mouth filter, y’all. ZERO. I need an escort, for God’s sake, and will be publicly soliciting one for BlogHer ’10 before this whole thing becomes a PR NIGHTMARE for me.
— Big-assed girls, I have found your jeans, and though they are unglamorous, I have been bending over with impunity for DAYS now. Vera Wang Simply Vera jeans, available at Kohl’s. I know, I know, Kohl’s isn’t exactly the land of high quality fashion, but for me, they were a great purchase, as I’m losing weight (HAHAHA, sort of), and didn’t want to spend a lot on transitional jeans. I believe I spent $35 for them, though the fact that they cover my whole ass no matter how much bending and lifting I do is worth every cent in my bank account, I tell you.
— I have a few irrational baby-related fears that make no sense whatsoever. First, Tylenol. I hate Tylenol. I’m AFRAID of Tylenol, and so help me, I think it will be the end of us all. I have no scientific basis for this, and I’m pretty sure it’s just me, but I avoid giving my kid Tylenol like the fucking PLAGUE. I swear I can hear her little liver atrophy with each wee baby dose.
Edited to add, after AndreAnna‘s comment: Oh you guys, MOTRIN. For some reason, Motrin feels safe to me. I Motrin her ASS OFF. My sister’s husband once gave her son FIVE TIMES the dosage of Motrin — uhh, accidentally, obvs. — and when she spoke to poison control AND the pediatrician, both said stomach upset was the only likely side effect. However, both nearly SHIT THEMSELVES at the thought that it could be Tylenol. I’m telling you, I hate Tylenol. AFRAIIIIIIIDDDDDD.
Also? I am afraid of constipation. For everyone, and if I could, I would make prunes mandatory eating for everyone in the entire world. I just think we’d all be a lot happier if all systems were go, all the time. My kid started solids recently, and what was the second food I gave her? Prunes. How proud was I that she loved them? ABSURDLY SO.
Don’t be afraid of prunes, people. They’re just dried plums. Remember, however, that while they are sweet and delicious, overdoing them is … well, a very bad idea.
— True Blood, True Blood, True Blood. Oh, how your finale SUCKED. SUCKED. Am EMBITTERED. And ANGRY. And EMBITTERED. Things were really at a fever pitch there, with all the Eric nakedness and Godric-burning and Steve and Sarah Newlin and Nan Flanagan and … well, it seems that things really peaked too soon, did they not? They blew their wad with the Dallas/Eric/Sookie/Lorena storyline and ended up in a very sad place that Michelle Forbes couldn’t even save, and people, Michelle Forbes is talented.
To tide my ass over until next season, I ordered the Sookie Stackhouse books. Am hopeful that they get here in time for Laptopless Wednesday and Offline Saturday, which are new rules in our house that I am very excited about. Because really, the world could use just a LITTLE less Internet, and I’m starting here at home, y’all.
*Dude, have you read the news? THE NEWS! IT IS OUT! GO!
Righty-O! So last week, I up and left y’all for the wilds of Pennsylvania where Sam and I spent the week being doted on by my parents, friends and relatives after Adam left on Sunday. Dude, it was awesome, and I’d do it a lot more often, if not for a) missing my husband terribly; and b) Adam missing Sam so much that every phone call was full of woe. “She looks BIGGER in the picture you just sent. BIGGER,” he would lament, although he’d just seen her four days earlier. “And I’m MISSING IT.”
Cute, but you know, not necessarily true, except that I swear it kind of was, and she picked up approximately 5,000 new skills while we were away — for FIVE DAYS — and sheesh, I don’t think I’m going to be sprung loose again anytime soon. It’s not that I want to flee the warm embrace of my husband or anything, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t TEH AWESOME having my entire family around all the time so that I could do such luxurious things like shower without an elaborate plan involving naptimes and good moods and a collection of just the right toys or — oh I can barely type it — GOING TO TARGET. BY MYSELF.
Anyway! It was all very thrilling for me, yet very boring in terms of recaps. In fact, a recap can be summed up thusly: I love my parents. I miss my friends Matt and Nicole and can’t believe Matt and I have been friends for 24 years. Twenty four years! That’s practically our WHOLE LIVES, you know? Fifth grade, we were assigned adjacent lockers and a friendship was born in the way that a great romance is, except that there was never any romance between us — on either of our parts, not once (and we so would have admitted it had there been). And I wish, for the bazillionth time, that I lived in Pennsylvania. The good part, that is.
— One of the more thrilling bits to my trip was meeting and hanging out with The New Girl, who was exactly how you think she’d be, which is delightful and sweet and funny and FUNNY! And exactly like she writes! I swear, it’s the truth. And I think I realized why all of my blogger meet-ups are all so POSITIVE and GLOWY, which is that I can’t imagine taking the time out of my limited personal time to meet someone that I haven’t been Internet friends with for a long time, and don’t already “know,” you know? Ergo, I feel that I am almost GUARANTEED to have a good time, each and every time, because I’ve done my research CAREFULLY, yo. For like, YEARS.
— One of the more surprising bits about motherhood — or rather, breastfeeding — is that all of my hand-wringy fears of having enough milk for my baby were so hilariously unfounded. I mean, this is TMI, I realize, but I swear, I could easily feed TRIPLETS with these bad, uhhh, boys. Or girls. But MY GOD. STILL. SIX MONTHS IN. I STILL NEED BREAST PADS. And uhhh, yes, I’ve actually considered donation, but no, I’m not a great pumper.
— Did I ever tell you guys I dumped an entire GALLON of Mrs. Meyer’s lavender laundry detergent in the back of my car? Yeeaaaah. There was an inch. AN INCH. JUST BEFORE A ROAD TRIP. And now, three weeks later, it still smells, in the words of my father, like a mix of an Italian restaurant and the meadows of Provence. And not in a good way. It effing REEKS, you guys. REEEEEEKKKKKKSSSSSS. I want to kill myself every time I get behind the wheel.
— My daughter turned six months old last Saturday. Six. Months. She wasn’t an easy baby for the first three or four, but she’s making up for it in spades, and to say that is a vast understatement. I know I say it so often that it seems contrived, but my God, I love being a mom, and I think the reason I say it so much is because I was absolutely shocked by it. I spent the vast majority of my life fearing motherhood — wondering what it would take away from me, how it would change my life for the worse — that it never occurred to me what I would get in return which is … well, everything.
It’s hard, it’s relentless, it’s exhausting, but at the end of the day, I am that irritating mother who is, for the most part, just! so! happy! ALL! THE! TIME! I mean, now that she’s actually SLEEPING, that is. But still: I love this kid. I love her. I love her. I love her. I can’t believe she’s mine. When she’s in someone else’s arms, she keeps her eyes focused directly on me until she can’t take it anymore, and arches her back, whimpers and reaches for me. And I MELT, y’all, faster than butter on hot toast.
I can’t stop kissing her, to the point where it’s almost embarrassing. I can’t believe how absurdly happy I am, and every day, I hope that every kid in the world is this loved, because oh, she is so, so loved. I’d give this kid anything.
Most of my close friends and family admitted that they were surprised by how much I love being a mom, and no one was more surprised than me. Even Adam copped to wondering if I’d be shell-shocked and miserable, and I’ll admit it wasn’t an unreasonable fear, given the fact that I wasn’t convinced I really wanted to be a mom up to and including the morning my water broke. HOO BOY, I was wrong.
Any selfish anxiety about my own future is gone, and instead, is wrapped up in a Michelin Man-thighed infant. For the first time, probably ever, I think I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing. She’s sleeping right now, and while I hope against hope she stays asleep for a solid stretch, I will fully admit that I miss her, and I can’t wait to see her when she wakes up. Which will hopefully be IN THE MORNING. When it’s LIGHT OUT.
I visited American Girl this weekend with my nine-year-old niece. Have you ever been to American Girl? It’s an experience that is nearly impossible to describe, but I knew we were in for a helping of absurdity when we walked in the front door and were greeted by burly security men with earpieces. SECURITY MEN. For a children’s doll store.
Here’s a refresher for those who may be unfamiliar: It’s an absurd mecca of consumption. Okay, maybe I’m editorializing there just a smidge. But seriously, the most inexpensive doll is more than $40 (and it’s a pathetic shell of what the real ones are to behold), and the average price point is over $100. And that’s the basic package. The stores themselves are like Disney World — or rather, the Disney gift shops — replete with frenzied looking children and their overly solicitous mothers, and I swear, they deliberately make the entrance and exit as confusing as a casino’s, for finding a way out was impossible.
There were outfits for the dolls, and matching outfits for the girls themselves, and I swear, I didn’t see anything cheaper than $10, which sounds inexpensive until you consider the fact that it’s a pair of glasses. For your DOLL. Worse, there was a beauty parlor where you could have “professionals” do your doll’s hair, pierce her ears or — oh, I can hardly type it — GET YOUR DOLL A FACIAL. A DOLL. THAT DOES NOT HAVE SKIN.
I know I sound like Andy Rooney here, but come ON. The whole thing struck me as everything that’s wrong with America. As Adam put it, and at the risk of sounding cliche, there are kids in third-world countries that can’t afford to clothe themselves, and there we are, making an entire business out of clothing our DOLLS, not to mention PAYING FOR THEM TO HAVE A FACIAL. I know! I know! ANDY FUCKING ROONEY. And I’m ALL for playing beauty parlor with your dolls, but you know, there’s a bit of magic and creativity taken out of the whole process when you can take them to an ACTUAL BEAUTY PARLOR.
This. This kind of excessive shit is what got us into this economic meltdown. THIS.
American Girl is why having a daughter is the most terrifying thing in the entire world. Because I swear, I am going to be that crazy bitch mom who says she can only have ONE American Girl doll if she saves her own money or for a VERY SPECIAL OCCASION, like, if her father is elected president of the United States, and then? She can’t get the doll’s hair done under threat of head-shaving.
I hastily add that if you don’t share my sentiments, I understand. Hell, my niece, who I love very much, has FOUR of these bad boys, and I do believe she had one of their ears pierced this weekend, so help me mother of God.
(Edited to add, also commented: The historical dolls? Cool, in theory. I get that. However, I saw that as such a TEENY TINY part of the overall store. The historical dolls were, quite frankly, barely visible, hidden by piles and piles of doll & child jean jackets and pricey sweatshirts and doll salons. In-fucking-sanity. The whole focus on the history/doll/book? Gone. And if the movie, etc. DOES send good messages that girls shouldn’t be tarted up pre-teens, the store does EVERYTHING IT CAN to undo that message. DOLL FACIALS AND MANICURES.)
Anyway, now that THAT is out of the way, your selection of random bullets:
— Evan Rachel Wood as Sophie-Anne? The worst. The WORST. And I LIKE Evan Rachel Wood. For God’s sake, I met her once, under extremely awkward circumstances (an unbloggable story, alas, as it is work-related, and sort of incriminating towards a former colleague) and she was GRACIOUS and DOWN TO EARTH. And … Jesus, she was awful on True Blood. Awful. Like high school drama awful, people. AWFUL. And for a show that notoriously features bad, over the top acting, that’s saying something. Truly.
— One of the funny things about parenting is that you become proud of the most laughably stupid things, and yet, in context, they are AMAZING. Today, for example, I was watching Sam in the rear view mirror on my way to the farm stand, and noticed that her hat (her motherfucking sun hat, stupid parking lot lady) had moved to cover her eyes, and she was getting annoyed. A month — oh, hell, even a WEEK — ago, that would have been cause for screaming and pulling over and mad drama.
Today? My kid, she just reached up and took her hat off and put it in her lap. I know, I know, stop the presses, my baby took her hat off. BIG DEAL. I get how that sounds stupid, but when you watch a person start from an alarmingly amoeba-like state, it’s crazy to see her evolve and like, use her hands like she’s a person or something.
— I’m part of a fun new project on the Interwebs with some alarmingly talented and familiar people — Polite Fictions. It’s a bit of a vanity project with a bunch of people who like to write and do so quite well, insert obligatory self-deprecating disclaimer here. (No, really.)
The idea is that we’re all writing bits of a story, four paragraphs at a time per person, per day. It’s a helluva good time for me, and I’m hoping the end result is just as interesting.
— For WEEKS, Adam and I have been spontaneously breaking into this song. In front of our child. When she gains comprehension skills, we’re so, so very fucked.