Friday, September 23, 2005

Damn you, Disney!

Yesterday, as my husband kissed me and Boogie goodbye as he headed off for work, Boogie spoke up and said, "When will I get married?"

"Married?" I replied. "Oh, you'll get married when you're bigger. When you're a grownup."

"Cuz I've always wanted to get married," she said. Always? All 3 1/2 years that she's been on this earth?

"Why have you always wanted to get married?" I asked.

"Because I want to kiss hard ... like Aladdin and Jasmine," she said, matter-of-factly.

Aaah. So that's it. For a while now, whenever we kiss her good night, she'll tell me and my husband that she wants to kiss us hard. We tell her that's only for married people. Do you see how I planted that into her brain? No kissing until you're married.

But it is interesting how a Disney movie, supposedly meant for kids, can trigger this kind of emotion. Boogie's really into the whole princess thing now. While Jasmine is her favorite, she also loves Cinderella, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast for those of you without children), Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty. She's OK with Snow White, but prefers the others. Maybe it has something to do with the little ugly dwarfs that she has to live with.

Boogie's frame of reference now is all about these fairy tales. When we were in Florida, we went to see a friend of mine whose son's name is Phillip. "Like Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty?" Boogie asked. To be honest, I hadn't even realized that the prince had a name. But Boogie remembered (not surprising since her memory could rival that of the smartest human being ni the world).

Or if someone is being bad, we refer to them as ugly stepsisters, like Anastasia and Drizella (I know these names now because I've read Cinderella about a million times to her). It actually does work when she doesn't listen or throws tantrums. If I tell her that she's acting like Drizella, she immediately wants to be Cinderella.

Of course, this morning it backfired because she wasn't listening and I said, "I thought you wanted to be like Cinderella, but you're not, because you're not listening to mommy," I said.

"Well, Cinderella doesn't have a mommy," she replied.

Thinking quickly, I said, "No, but she listens to her evil stepmother." Then I realized, is that who I am?

Anyway, my point in this whole thing was wondering whether it's normal for a 3 1/2 year old to want to kiss hard and get married. I know in some cultures around the world, or in the backwoods areas in this country, it's normal to get married young. But come on, this is ridiculous. I guess I shouldn't expect any less. She had her first "car date" with the little boy down the street when she was 2. He got one of those battery-operated Jeeps for his second birthday and came over to show it to her. They rode around on the front lawn together. I should have seen this coming.

I guess it's time to break out Boogie's turtlenecks and long pants, and put the rocking chair on the front porch so my husband can sit out there with a shotgun across his lap (much like my dad used to threaten to do to me when I was about 12, for any guy who came over when I was of dating age. Maybe that's why I never brought a guy home to meet them in high school).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

IT'S RAINING!

One of the great things about living in southern California is the weather. With the exception of a few months in the summer and winter, it’s pretty much mid-70s all the time. Even in summer, where I live it only gets to about 80-85 in the summer, and 55-60 in the winter. The climate really is the best that I’ve ever lived in (and I’ve lived a lot of places).

The bad thing about this is when the weather is not-so-perfect, people don’t know what to do. Especially in the rain. I’ve posted before about the “storm watch” hysteria that happens when it starts to sprinkle. At the first sign of drizzle, the radio station I listen to in the morning always plays a clip of some guy calling in screaming hysterically, “IT’S RAINING!” It makes me laugh every time.

I just don’t understand the big deal about rain. Especially the small amount of rain we get here. During my visit to Florida a few weeks ago, it rained on and off the first few days we were there. In Florida it rains buckets, where even the highest speed on the windshield wipers doesn’t cut through the water. I don’t think I’ve ever used the highest speed since I’ve lived here in California.

Not like the woman this morning on the freeway. I swear I thought her wipers were going to go flying off the car, they were going so fast. But ironic thing was, it wasn’t even raining. (Is that ironic or just coincidental? I never get the usage of that word right.) Seriously, the rain had stopped but the road was wet. Anyone who has ever driven on a wet road knows that when you drive behind someone else, the water from the road will coat your windshield with a fine mist. Typically, one who is used to driving in the rain will periodically flip their windshield wipers to wipe away the mist and turn them back off again. Or put them on slow intermittent. Not this woman. Those wipers were doing their darndest to get every 100th of an ounce of water off the windshield. I can’t imagine what she does when it starts to sprinkle, much less when it actually rains. She’s probably one of those people that park under the overpass until the “storm” passes.
On a side note, it was actually kind of cool to see the lightening last night. I hardly ever see that here. The area I lived in Florida was considered the “lightning capital” of the U.S. I’ve seen some amazing displays that could put the Disney fireworks display to shame. Last night, we had some pretty cool streaks of lightning here. While Dak slept through the cracks of thunder, my husband, Boogie and I went outside to watch the lightning break up the sky. It was almost blinding at times. And Boogie loved it, even when the thunder would crash around us. Eventually, it got a little close, even for my liking, so we went inside and watched from the window. I’m glad Boogie got to experience nature at it’s best.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A stark contrast

This weekend, we took the kids on a little vacation to the mountains to stay at the lake house of Em’s boyfriend. We were there with two additional couples: one with a little girl, and one who is just dating and childless. While I knew it before, this weekend illustrated the extreme differences between couples with kids and couples without.

The Childless Couples
- Childless couples are able to partake in as much alcohol as they wish. They don’t have to wake up early when the kids do, and they don’t have to worry about being sober enough to calm a child when he/she wakes up during the night (especially in a strange house). They don’t have to worry about being hungover and napping during the day.
- Childless couples can wake up whenever they want. They don’t have to get up at 6:30 a.m. after a long round of competitive game playing until all hours of the night. They don’t have to be alert after 5 hours of sleep to make sure that a child is entertained and happy during the day.
- Childless couples have the luxury of coming and going when they wish. They are not confined to the house if one of the children is sleeping. They can go out on the boat when they want, and not have to worry about whether it’s too cold or that the boat is too fast for a baby.
- Childless couples can lounge around on the dock in the sun without having to worry about whether one of the children will crawl off the deck and fall into the water. They can also soak up the rays without having to worry about the kids getting too much sun.
- Childless couples don’t have to worry about anyone but themselves.

Couples with Children
- Couples with children, while they may want to drink themselves into oblivion, must watch their alcohol intake to make sure they are competent the next day. I’ll admit that I had more to drink this weekend than I have in a while, but I still wasn’t able to sheepishly look Em in the eye and say “I’m a little bit drunk,” like she did with me.
- Couples with children have to get up at the crack of dawn to feed a crying baby, or play with a toddler who thinks that when it starts getting light in the room that it’s time to wake up. “It’s morning time,” she say, “that means it’s time to get out of bed, come on.” Never mind the fact that I didn’t get to sleep until 2 a.m.
- Couples with children have to choose who gets to ride on the boat with the toddler and who has to stay home with the baby. Since I’m Em’s friend, I got to go. Boogie had so much fun on the boat, especially when we crossed the wake of another person’s boat and the water splashed up and soaked the other couple. She giggled so loudly as we picked up speed, watching the water spray all around us. But I did feel bad that my husband couldn't participate in the boat tour to see Brian Wilson's home or the vacation home of Tom Selleck.
- Couples with children have to leave the festivities early to make sure they get home in time for the kids to eat dinner, get their baths, and get back on their sleep schedule. I would have loved to hang out in the sun (the weather was beautiful in the mountains … mid-70s and clear), but I had to make do with the hour that we spent on the boat earlier in the day.
- Couples with children have to not only be on their best behavior in someone else’s house, but they have to worry about their kids too. Little Dak did fairly well. He only cried when we had a little mishap while taking his bath. I tried to give him a quick bath in the bathroom sink (our bathroom only had a shower, and I didn’t want to disturb the sleeping childless couple downstairs). He tried to move around and grabbed onto the only thing he could: the hot water handle. I didn’t realize that he did it, until I heard water running and then heard him scream. I got my “mother of the year” award with that one. For the rest of the weekend, he was great: he flirted with the ladies, he entertained himself with a toy pot and spatula that the other toddler brought, and he slept right on schedule.

Boogie, on the other hand, didn’t do as well. My husband and I both agree that she was worse on this trip than we’ve ever seen her. She started out well on Friday night. While she showed off to the group to the point of being annoying, she was happy and pleasant. She went to sleep a little late, but without any commotion. But the next day, she let herself go. She refused to eat breakfast, even when the other mother made her some warm oatmeal. She griped about holding my hand when we walked down the street to the dock. She stubbornly stood her ground when we wanted to leave the little village where we went to play at the playground. And she refused to eat the lasagna dinner that was supposed to be our dinner. In fact, she took one bite and spit it out, crying out loud that she didn’t like it. I could feel six sets of eyes on me as my husband and I took her screaming and crying downstairs so as not to ruin their dinner. She finally agreed to go upstairs if we’d fix her something else (I typically don’t make her something different, but I could tell that she really didn’t like the lasagna). I stayed downstairs to compose myself; I didn’t want anyone to see that I’d been crying downstairs as well. The next morning, she had another temper tantrum. This one because she didn’t want to share toys with the other toddler. Never mind that the toys weren’t hers, but in fact ones that the toddler was sharing with her. She screamed at the top of her lungs, and all I could think was that the other childless couples in the house would be cursing our name as she woke them up from their slumber, wondering when we would leave. We ended up leaving at noon. It was just too stressful worrying about when the next tantrum would come.

Maybe it would have been different if the lake house was owned by someone who had kids. Or someone I’d actually met before. Or if I wasn’t so hypersensitive about what people think about my kids. I just don’t want to be the kind of person who lets her kids run wild, bothering other people, touching or playing with things that don’t belong to them, or ultimately destroying property. I’m not of the mindset that children should be seen and not heard, but I do believe that they shouldn't be a nuisance.

Anyway, we did have a fun time at the lake house, but I have to say that I’m exhausted. I need a vacation from our vacation!

P.S. I should say that childless couples don't get the joy of seeing the beautiful faces of children as they sleep, or their giddy grins when you come home from work, or the screams of delight when they put together a puzzle or play with their toy train. While it's exhausting work, there's nothing more rewarding.