Monday, January 30, 2012

It's a trick!

On the radio the other day was author Rachel Herz who had written a book called "That's disgusting!"
 “...Disgust is a type of fear—a special type of fear that evolved to help us evade a slow and uncertain death by disease.”
This author put forth that what we find disgusting is rooted in our cultural and personal fear of death. Rotten food: That is obvious. Anything rotten and decaying is a reference to our own imminent demise.
Behavior, I get it: disgusting actions lead to social isolation which would equal death not so many years ago and does equal social rejection today.  Sex: some people think this is a gross subject and Herz points out that slopping around in another person's excretions is indeed an avenue to disease and ultimately, death. Eww. Ok. I get that too.

So now, why am I disgusted by Barbie and those horrible Disney Princesses? One could say that they represent desirable qualities that men covet, thereby ensuring the safe position of a female in possession of such traits within society.
That's why I am disgusted.
Because I am not like them. (Fear of rejection? Rejection =Death?) I am acutely aware I am not like Barbie. None of us are. And we see that glittery pink poison infecting the psyche of our girls, who literally think they are going to grow up and BE a princess. This princess epidemic is insidious. It is everywhere. 

I am no lover of "girly toys", plastic toys, battery operated toys, but I am the proxy owner of many of each. Some I have even bought myself. I am a huge hypocrite. My values are lofty and holistic and good for the earth and socially conscious and virtuous.  My integrity, however, you know, that real- life- can't- lie reflection of self? Mine is a weak and feeble thing and I have sat back and let those princesses march right into my house and sing their songs and swagger around with their shell covered boobs and swoon for their princes. I have bought the toothbrushes, the P.J's. I am letting Disney and Barbie tell my daughter things. Things that go deep into her and stay there.

"Slow down, Fembot."  my husband would console, "Look at this child, she is outside tracking animals, playing 'mice and owl' games, she wants to be an astronaut. She spends half her days as a secret agent, She wears her princess dress into mud puddles. She is fine."
 "Disney wants her soul." I reply.
Queue eye roll.

Well, anyway, I'm sick of it. I am also sick of going to the grocery store and having my kids seduced by colorful boxes of cartoons selling sugar snacks and jellies and high fructose corn syrup and made in China lead-and-arsenic toys. I am also tired of being the bad guy, Mean old Mum won't let us get X because Mum is Mean. Not for this chump!

I have begun a mission. I am fighting back and it is surprisingly easy. No kid likes to be duped, right? They hate that. So I am telling them when they are being tricked. I explain to them that when they are half crazy over some toy, or some treat they see in the store, that the people who make that stuff just want to take all our money. (This hits home for my money loving 5 year old, especially.) And not only that, but they want to sell them junk that breaks or is made from stuff that isn't even food because it is cheap for them to do, and they know how much you love princesses and that is why they put a princess on it. TO TRICK YOU!!!!!  THEY WANT TO TRICK YOU AND TAKE ALL YOUR MONEY!
Now, what do you thing of that? They think you are so greedy and silly that you will fall for their trick and give them money that you worked hard for and in return they will give you JUNK!

"Are you silly?"
"Are you greedy?"
"Are they going to trick you?"
"So do you still really want this junky piece of junk?"
"You mean no!"
"But I still want it."
"No you don't, because they can't trick clever you, can they!"
"It's not fair that they try to trick us! we are just kids!"
Anyway, it has been working and I am not the bad guy in this. It is us against them. Damned if I'm going to let Disney dictate what corner of the ring I am standing in. That would be truly disgusting.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The five stages of grief, plus crackers!

After visiting the sledding hill on a cold day, we go shopping! (Mistake)
At grocery store- Kids are choosing baskets because we were "Just going to pick up a few things" (Mistake)
3 year old spends much time choosing which basket to use. Must. Have. Perfect. Basket. Begins to panic because sister might have gotten a better basket.
Dad offers to get a cart, but we are so into this basket decision making (thereby giving it MUCH power) that Mom says, "NOPE" to the cart. We will Basket. (Mistake) Dad rolls eyes and enters store.
Basket is chosen, we move on.
A few steps into the store, 3 year old starts grabbing things randomly. Packets of powdered smoothie mix? Yup.
Holder for onion? Yup. Other useless things that are displayed at knee level? Why certainly!
Mom has little huddle with 3 year old to explain why the stuff has to be put back. (Mistake)
Mom gets better idea and asks 3 year old if he remembers what we came to buy.
3 year old remembers!
"Are those things in the basket?"
"What are all these things doing in the basket?! Silly things! Lets put them back and get the stuff we came for! Here we go!"
Meanwhile Dad and 5 year old are deep into the store, unsupervised, with no list.
Every few steps 3 year old remembers something else "we came here to buy" so we repeat the above huddle. Many times.
Now 3 year old is getting miffed that his "rememberings" are being disregarded.
We walk past soup stand.
3 year old wants the soup tureen.
"That lives here and holds the soup, we can't take that"
Remember that panic that began to emerge over the basket? It shows up again.
Mom spots packages of oyster crackers. "Here, you want to carry this?"(Mistake)
"Don't open them until they get booped by the checkout human."
"These cost 10c, you could use your responsibility chart money to buy these."
5 year old has wandered round: "Where are you guys! What is that? I want some too! Can I have some?"
"Yes, yes, here you go."(Mistake)
It devolves from there. Kids too tired for grocery store(Mistake) = A bit of running, a bit of laying down and rolling, unloading and loading of baskets, some grabbing, poking,switching baskets, begging, ditching baskets, and all met with mere warnings. (Mistake!) Kids are snarky, Mom is done and Dad's eyes are threatening to roll out of his head.
By the time we get out of there with our "few things" 3 year old has has moved on to deep explorations of his nasal passages. He has forgotten all about those crackers. 5 year old did not forget about crackers. No big deal. (MISTAKE!)
"OK! We are good, right! Now, we go!"
In the car, 5 year old opens her crackers.
3 year old: "Where's my crackers?"
"You didn't want yours, remember?"
"Yes, but where are my crackers?"
"You left them in the store."
"Go back and get my crackers!"
5 year old: "Do you want to share mine?"
"NO! I DON'T want your CRACKERS! I want MY CRACKERS....MOM!"
"You made your choice, you left them in the store and that's that. No crackers kiddo."
"Your crackers are gone."
3 year old works himself up into a fine snit. Panting and growling like an animal, pounding his fists, calling me out on my smelliness, wailing for his crackers.(Anger)
"Get my crackers for me, mom. Please turn the car around and go back and get my crackers! Please mummy? Please? Please!" (Bargaining)

 He is so bent out of shape, it kind of cracks us up.(Because we are horrible people.)
We try to hide it. We try to ride it out. The kids is wiped  and just needs to fall asleep. But until that happens, this will continue, unfortunately.  Dad is driving, so his face is hidden from the kids and he keeps looking over at me and I and I am trying to hide my face in my coat so he doesn't see me, but he does. (Mistake)
"oH OH, Zac. Those words are on the no say list! You will have to do some real thinking about this by yourself when we get home." (Mistake- why throw gasoline on a fire? Why?)
"OOOOH my crackerys.....ooooh.) (Depression)
Then he passed out.
He was very contrite when he woke up.
Crackers didn't come up for the rest of the day.
Before bed that night though, he wispered,"I'm sad about my crackers, mom"
"Do you understand why you don't have them?"
"Because I lost them myself in the store."
"Maybe next time, ok?"
"wwwwwwwwwwoooooooookkkkkaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy" said he.(Acceptance)
And there you go.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes Mom, always Dad

"Sometimes Mom, Always Dad"
Anyone ever felt second best? My darling daughter doesn't hesitate to inform me about the family hierarchy as she sees it. Dad is AT THE TOP, then there is a long space, then I come in there somewhere. At any chance to compare, I will be informed of my status: "I am American, like DAD and you are...not. I was born in Maine just like DAD and you were...not. I like what DAD likes.  DAD is stronger than YOU, mom. DAD can fix things better than YOU, mom. DAD likes to play Zelda with me more that YOU do, mom. DAD takes us out to dinner, DAD takes us to the movies, DAD lives in hotels and when we visit, we get to go swimming. YOU just live at home, mom." Even though I am present at these fun things too, just apparantly invisible.

When E was an infant, I looked up her Chinese astrological sign. Disclaimer: I do not logically believe this stuff, but somehow it has an effect anyway.
It says of the Dog, E's sign:  Frequently cynical, they are feared for their sharp tongue and their acid and disagreeable remarks. They give the impression of looking systematically for faults in everything they touch. This is because they are the world's biggest pessimist and expects nothing out of life.
It also told me that as an Ox, I can expect a lifelong uphill battle with my Dog child.
So maybe when my lovely daughter looks at me and says,"You know mom, I do love dad more than you, I just wanted to let you know that." I can rest assured that this type of thing will probably go on forever.
Good thing I have no time for bunk like that. (right, self? right?)

That is,until she gets an ouchie, or she is scared, or wants a mind story, or food, or wants to play music, or sing, or do crafts, or learn to sew, or read a book, or play dress-up or make leggo worlds, or is sick, or scared, or worried. But as she says, when I point this out to her:"But that is just what you do mom, you are mom." I am like the ground she walks on. Just there. Always. It is totally natural she takes me for granted because there has never been a time where I haven't been exactly where she needs me. Daddy comes and goes. Sometimes we go weeks and weeks without him. Of course he is magic. When he comes home it is always a celebration.

I have to show E pictures of the things we do so she can see we actually have fun together.

Come on! I am awesome! We take puppets on walks! We stomp through icy puddles! We go visit Daddy at hotels! We make chicken masks!

"Ok..." Says E, "But Daddy is still better."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year everybody!
We went Down East to ring in 2012 and learned that Eastport was considered "The Quirkiest Place in the U.S. to Celebrate the New Year." (According to Trip Advisor mag.)
As much as I am sure Eastportians would cringe at being called "quirky" I have to say that the moniker works. And here is our experience with it.

We first arrived at the grandparents house and let me tell you about Christmas land at Buggy & Grampy's. I challenge anyone to a Christmas spirit contest with Buggy. This is a life's work. We are talking Christmas trees in every room. (sometimes more than one.) and more Santas than you can count. Literally. One year we got to 160 and had to stop counting. Amazing.

I made this one for Buggy, but I have since stopped being an enabler

This tree is only Santa heads. Buggy keeps it in her room. I keep my collection of shrunken heads in my room too. We have so much in common, my mother-in-law and I!


Santas lucky enough to keep their heads live in this room.

There is no way out. All doors lead to Christmas Land.

When we arrive, the house is all lit up and smells like mulling spices. The kids go into a kind of trance, Daddy manages his phobia of decorations with a holiday beer and I am not allowed to touch.
But I love this.

And the quirkiness continues...To Eastport for New Year's Eve!

We were to witness the international celebration of a Down East New year, with a Dropping of a maple leaf for Canada, and one hour later, the dropping of an 8' sardine to ring in the year for the U.S.
Daddy and I booked a room at a certain place we shall refer to as "The Motel Yeast" whose "quirkiness" is off the charts.
Here, let me show you the bathroom:

Go ahead, have a looksee

...little closer...

Ohh! what a quirky live bacteria bathtub!
He loves Quirky. Big fan.


The shower head adds to the overall ambiance, don't you think? Great colours! and the best part is the purple light makes the bacteria glow!

The bedroom was just as quirky, but I was too busy inspecting interesting looking dark specks and inhaling the aroma of tobacco smoke on the sheets to take pictures.

The gallery and cafe Rose Garden was putting on a supper, so we went there with the kids for that. Then the kids went home with Buggy and Grampy and we took a nap. (Wild and crazy, right?) We roused ourselves to greet the Canadian new year though and spiked ourselves with baklava and Greek coffee at the Liberty Cafe. Then out into the biting, salted air just in time to see the Canadian maple leaf drop and sing OH CANADA. I used my best falsetto, and of course, choked up.
The time between Canada and the States and their New Year's.

Can you see the sardine? There were no spotlights or anything, (the quirk factor) But one could kind of make it out.  The excitement was palpable, let me tell you!
Capturing the silhouette of a bearded Mainer is supposed to bring good luck in the new year. Lucky me!
There was terrific music playing at the Tides Institute between the New Years,
 but as the lights were really bright inside and the room stuffed with people, we decided to stay outside,
wishing they had outdoor speakers to pipe the music to us.
We wandered back up the street to the Rose Garden where we sampled some more local talent. Nice music Eastoprt, I mean that sincerely.

It was nearing midnight and we were out on the street again in the chill when we looked across to a warm looking and good smelling sight.

Ah Bank Square. Pizza and Really Real Mexican Food. Go figure, but it is true. And delicious.  So we went.
We were treated to some of that Down East Hospitality too. Upon hello, I was informed of the proprietor's views of New Year's Eve Revelers. (They stink.)  How pleased she was to be there. (Not so very.) As well as the chances they will open until midnight next year. (No chance in hell.) Having gotten that off her chest though, we were treated to a lovely smile and the most yummy burritos ever. Worth the trip alone. I am happy to have participated in the one time event.

 Almost time for 2012!

Then the OOmpah band played Auld Lang Sine and kids ran around and everyone cheered and lined up to get their picture taken kissing the fish. More good luck!

We finished off our eve with a walk around the town, then retired to our odoriferous abode, llistening to the revelry wafting from the  Happy Crab pub next door: The only place we did not go, but we still got to participate in a way as the scraps and scuffles that took place outside the pub happened right outside our window. I think that is good luck too. According to a good source, if one did venture to the Crab, they were met at the bar by a certain character, arms spread wide bellowing the greeting: "I AM THE ONLY GOD YOU NEEEED!"  Awesomeness.

SO that is our experience with  Quirky New Year celebrations.
we capped it all off with a first hike of 2012 at Shackford Head with our great friends the next day, and before we left for home, we walked the magic path at Papa's, where Daddy used to go as a boy. As we finished the walk, a misty rain was filling the air and I got a picture of a rainbow over Papa's old house. The best bit of luck yet.
Here's hoping your 2012 is filled with Quirky adventures and a good mix of family, friends, history and future successes.
Cheers from the Lincolns.