What's cuter, your first grader getting off the bus sporting his construction-paper Pilgrim hat, or your preschooler dressed in his paper bag Native American costume at Nail Soup Day? I think it would be politically incorrect to choose.
Star Wars is everywhere. You would think I'd have noticed before now. Some of his little friends had seen the movie so C wanted to follow suit. The library rents it so we procured a copy. He planted himself determinately on the couch last Saturday night and watched it. It was then that I finally saw the light. Lightsaber that is. I'd seen the LEGOs, sure, and the pop-up book at the little library, but it didn't sink in until Sunday when I heard an interview with Carrie Fisher on NPR which featured a Star Wars clip, one I could have recited verbatim, having just heard it the previous night ("well somebody has to save our skins!") On Monday I read that Symphony Hall had just held a Star Wars night featuring music from the series accompanied by movie clips. I made a mental note in the Davis Square bookstore that the children's corner had a number of Clone War graphic novels, the same books that were being readily scooped by seven-year-old boys two days later at the North Falmouth Elementary School's book fair. The same night the book fair featured author T.M. Murphy who described a character in one of his novels as wearing "the same Star Wars shirt every day." On Friday Esther alerted us to the website MyLifeIsAverage.com where people post examples of average lives that are infinitely more interesting than mine (hint to site posters in high school and college, you don't know the meaning of having an average day). One poster revealed that the first time her boyfriend said he loved her was, "after I won an argument regarding whether or not Anakin Skywalker was the chosen one." It's hard to believe that a campy movie from the 70s and the many sequels and prequels it's spawned is truly the diabolical force controlling our every move. But the facts are irrefutable. If only the force would stop by and cook dinner and I could exercise a little Obi Wan-like mind control over my children.
The Factory Outlet Mall in Sagamore has became a cavernous wasteland of empty storefronts. They should either require the remaining stories to huddle together in the middle of the mall or move that second entrance down to where the rest of the stores are. Heard my first Christmas song on the radio yesterday. It would have been better if it had been the Elvis version.
song: Here Comes Santa Claus • artist: Gene Autry & Oakley Haldman
H is doing that thing that C did. That thing with the letters where you string them together randomly and then torture your mother by asking her, "what does that spell?" As in, "what does phqtn spell?" I remind him that most words have vowels. And then I remind him of what a vowel is. Then he rephrases the question: "what does phqtne spell?" This continued line of questioning by two out of my four children has caused me to realize that even though there are thousands of words, most arbitrary letter combinations will not result in spelling any of them. Then, even though I tell him it doesn't spell a word, I still have to pronounce it because it spells something, so now I have to figure out what phqtne sounds like. For H I'm trying a new tactic. I've begun saying, "I don't think phqtne spells anything, but "pen" spells pen." I figure this way I'm not squelching his creativity with my own negativity, and, he might learn a few real words in the process.
song: Goin' Out of My Head • artist: The Lettermen
A 30-second news byte on channel 25 reported that the more children you have - the happier you are. By those standards I must be delirious. In typical Fox news style there weren't any facts to back up this revelation as in who funded the study - maybe it was the Catholic church. Or Babies R Us. Who did they interview? If it was the sleep-deprived parents of newborns they would all be too tired to read a questionnaire properly. And who are parents with children happier than? Convicts? Speaking of insufficient data, that same night I saw a show called The 650lb Virgin which was not about a hippo or a giant panda but about a man who, up until radical surgery at age 32, had only gone on 12 dates. I don't know about you but I need more information about this as well. Was that 12 first dates, or one girlfriend that he went out with 12 times; because going on dates with a dozen different women doesn't seem too bad to me. I don't know that I've been on dates with 12 different men. Sometimes it's hard to know if you're even on a date - unless it was a computer match up. I guess what I'm saying is that if you're 500lbs overweight and still able to get 12 women to go out with you - that's pretty darn good. But really what I'm saying is that I should quit watching late-night television.
N and S like to sit on the couch and lift up their shirts to flash their tummies. They are very proud of their tummies. After they show me theirs, they want to see mine. Instead of peer pressure, you could say it's pair pressure. I usually oblige them with a quick flash. At that point I have to concede that I have the ugliest tummy on the couch even though they assure me it's not a competition. I can't help feeling like the whole episode is someday going to blow up in my face one night when I'm sitting alone channel surfing and I suddenly catch a of glimpse of my own exposed stomach on a late-night airing of "Moms Gone Wild."
They, those elusive experts, admonish parents to have children sing their ABCs while washing their hands. In this way they will wash their hands long enough for it to do some good. The same rational goes for teeth brushing although I guess in the case of teeth brushing kids have to hum their ABCs or do what H does, which is to order his mother into the bathroom to sing them. I'm never sure whether or not I'm suppose to add in the lines, "now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me?" The experts don't specify. Twice yesterday I observed H singings his ABCs while peeing. I guess he now figures that every bathroom activity requires an alphabet recitation.
song: If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out • artist: Cat Stevens
We've now instituted a candy buy back program at our house. Tonight I paid $2 for five Twizzlers, four Laffy Taffy, three Tootsie Rolls, three lollypops, two boxes of Dots, and one Milky Way, Hershey Bar, Three Musketeers, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I know what I said about Laffy Taffy and Twizzlers. I wouldn't steal them from him when he wasn't looking but I'll pay him not to eat them. He's laughing all the way to the bank. In other culinary-related news. I don't know why I spent three days making pot stickers from scratch - my kids are just going to tell me they come from planet pot sticker stinky.
On the one hand, haunted house operators seem genuinely sorry when a child starts crying mid-tour. On the other hand - isn't that the point? Seems haunted houses want to have their candy corn and eat it too. Haunted houses should employ at least one continuously crying child. There's no better advertisement. Nothing says scary to a kid than seeing one of their own reduced to tears. Such was the case Friday night upon awaiting our turn to take the Night Watchman Tour at Falmouth's Museums on the Green. The four kids in our party were engaged in age appropriate noisemaking and merriment until the bawling child exited the building. After that a silence fell over the crowd. The kind of group hush usually only seen in summer when some poor kid's ice cream topples from its cone. In other Halloween notes Gene blew the top off my cover by suggested to C that he guard his candy against pilfering by his parents. How could he bring this up? Until that moment the idea had never occurred to C and any discrepancies in the amount of his candy count would have been chalked up to younger siblings. Now the shadow of suspicion has been cast over me. Even Ken was about to help himself the other night and he's got willpower of steel. Yes Virginia, parents eat their kid's Halloween candy. And we're not after your candy seconds either. No Wonka's Laffy Taffy. No Twizzlers, even in rainbow colors. Maybe Sweet Tarts. Definitely none of that crap that we gave out. We want the good stuff. Kit Kats, Twix, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Especially Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Parents indulge until their kids are able to accurately count, sort, and bar graph (practical math!) the loot. In other words, until the kids get old enough to notice. Then we start bargaining, begging, and bawling.
song: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark • artist: Robert Cray Band