The Color Purple

The Boy’s favorite color is purple. It’s not surprising really, since his father and I are both University of Washington alums, and not only that, his father was in the Husky Marching Band. For those who don’t know, UW’s colors are purple and gold, so there is a lot of purple in our world. And so, since he was old enough to express a preference for a color, he has chosen purple.

This would be unremarkable except that in 2013, purple is a girl color. How the fuck purple became a girl color is beyond me, but I dare you to find a single piece of purple clothing in the boy section of any major retailer’s website. Just like pink, purple is officially a female color. So, when he wants a purple coat, or a purple backpack, or anything else purple, we have to shop from the girl section of the store. He’s old enough now to understand that, so I have taken to buying things online whenever possible, so he can’t tell that I am buying him a girl’s coat.

Our stores are now very divided between boy and girl. Go to any large toy store, or the toy department at any big box store, and you’ll see that the aisles are color-coded. Pink aisles have dolls and…dolls, and more dolls, and maybe some more dolls. Oh, and clothes for dressing up. Boy aisles have trucks and guns and cars and dinosaurs and action figures (which are really just dolls with tougher clothes).

Now, The Girl is still young, but she seems to like cars and trains and dinosaurs as much as her brother. And she also likes dolls. But The Boy shuns dolls, and pink things. The moment he catches a whiff that something is a “girl” thing, he wants nothing to do with it. And, I think that’s fairly common, for girls play with boy stuff, and for boys to refuse to play with girl stuff.

How does this happen, that boys learn to reject what they perceive as feminine? Well, one way is this: a friend recently told me about her friend’s son being bullied because he has a purple bicycle, and purple is a girl color. (The Boy has a purple bicycle too.) It just gets worse the older boys get, and the more gendered every product is–the peer pressure to reject the feminine and embrace the masculine is powerful and cruel.

And don’t even get me started on people who think that letting their son dress up as a princess will make him gay. First off, as if being gay is a bad thing. You know who doesn’t accidentally knock anyone up when they’re teenagers? Gay people, that’s who. Check one worry off the parenting-a-teenager list, amiright? Secondly, if all it took was dressing my son in some princess dresses to make it so I never have to worry about him knocking a girl up in high school, I would go out and buy out the entire Disney store. Thirdly, how come people think princess garb can make a boy gay, but nobody is worried about a pirate costume Turing their daughter into a lesbian? Oh yes, because it’s OK for girls to be masculine now, but it’s not OK for boys to be feminine.

When faced with this reality, my first thought was, “How sad for The Boy to be so limited. Maybe it’s finally better, more powerful, to be female, because there are more options for girls.” But then I realized, what is happening is that the feminine is still seen as lesser in our society. Boys don’t want feminine toys because they think feminine things aren’t as good. And girls can go for masculine things because masculine is better. They’re just aspiring to be something “better” by choosing the boy toys.

It’s great that girls have more choices. But it’s not OK that the feminine is still lesser. We’ll know we’re on the right track when I can buy The Boy a purple coat without worrying about what happens when he finds out I bought it from the girl section of the store.

Children’s Television Survival Guide: SuperWhy

It’s time for another installment in our Children’s Television Survival Guide. Now, the last show, Sid the Science Kid, is one of my faves. This next one? Well, let’s just say I enjoy it on an ironic level. And I actually have come to enjoy watching it a lot more since The Boy got old enough to see the flaws in the show that I see, so we can snark about it together.

Without further ado, I bring you SuperWhy.

Let me explain the show for those who haven’t seen it: Wyatt is a kid who lives in a storybook land, and his friends are Red Riding Hood, Princess Pea, and one of the little pigs. Each episode starts out with a problem that never seems like a serious one to me (or The Boy) but is dubbed by Wyatt as a “Super Big Problem.” So Wyatt and his pals transform into super heroes, each with a different literacy-related superpower, and they fly into a book whose story will show them the answer to whatever the “Super Big Problem” is.

So, the upside to SuperWhy: it’s clearly super educational, what with all the spelling and reading and letter identification. It’s also one of those call and response shows–as in the characters ask the audience to talk, wait politely for an answer, and then move forward. Kids of a certain age get really engrossed in that crap, which is handy when I want to pee alone for a few minutes.

But what I really love about this show, is how bad it is. As a friend of mine pointed out, it’s incredibly repetitive–I’m sure it saves them a lot of money that they recycle the same songs on every episode, so they don’t have to record a ton of dialogue. Also, although I’m a defender of complainers generally, the “Super Big Problems” on the show are really, really dumb. The problem on the most recent episode I saw was that Princess Pea and her friend, a spider, couldn’t agree on what game to play. I turned to the boy and said, “Is that a Super Big Problem? Would you take that one to a teacher?” And he cracked up and said “Hahaha no hahahaha!” So I said, “What do you think the answer’s gonna be?” And he said “Take turns.” I said, “Good call. Or, you know, they could play apart.” And he said, “Yes, they could.”

We continued riffing on the dumb stuff the characters were doing throughout the episode. Pig fished some thing out of a pond with a fishing pole; The Boy and I commented that we might have used a fishing net instead, since that would be faster than removing each letter individually. The story they flew into was The Frog Prince, except for most of the episode, there was no talk of kissing, leaving me saying, “Why aren’t they kissing? This story is about her kissing him, not playing a game called ‘wands.'” (Snicker, wands–I kept that one to myself.) And when she did kiss the frog, he turned into such a douchey prince (the Boy said “he’s annoying”) that Princess Pea turned him back into a frog. At one point the frog jumped into a tree and Red Riding Hood went through a shtick about jump being an “ump” word and what are some other “ump” words? Alas, The Boy isn’t quite old enough to know “hump” as verb, only as a noun meaning a small hill, but I was laughing on the inside so much that I had to leave the room for a moment to let it out.

The Boy and I watched as the letters that make up the answer (revealed slowly a la Wheel of Fortune, also an inane show) were collected, and we figured out what letters were left to make up the words “Take Turns.” And I’ll be darned, we guessed the answer correctly! The Boy and I totally high-fived.

I used to think that SuperWhy must have been written by some focus group of education professors and that’s why it sucks. Like, The Boy is 6. If he can see through your plot, seriously, you’ve fucked up in the story department. But I have come to believe that SuperWhy is COMIC GENIUS. I think it’s that bad on purpose. They wrote it so horribly that it’s awesome. Like Howard the Duck, or Bernard’s on Seneca with its RC Cola. I mean, “ump” words? I dream of one day being ale to pull off that kind of humor while still teaching kids about reading.

And that is why I don’t mind watching SuperWhy with my kids. Embrace the craptasticness!

“Enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast”

There are so many awesome mom bloggers out there who have written on the subject of people telling moms “enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast.” But since the word apparently hasn’t gotten out to the people who keep saying this bullshit, and they keep saying it, and since I keep talking to moms who feel guilty when they hear this, apparently there’s room in the world for another post on it. So here we go.

When a mom of younger kids hears the phrase “enjoy every moment, they grow up so fast,” it’s usually in the context of that mom expressing frustration with the challenges of raising a young child. Like, sleep deprivation, poopsplosions, tantrums, chapped nipples from nursing…the list goes on. So, the mom complains about these things, because are they fun things? No, they are crappy things. They are complain-worthy things.

So then someone else, usually someone with older kids, says, “enjoy every moment, they grow up so fast.” What?!?! Enjoy the poopsplosion? Enjoy the chapped nipples? Are you insane?

I think what the “enjoy every moment” person is trying to say is, “You think it’s bad now, wait until they’re teenagers and they talk back and try drugs and get the clap.” Yep, teenagers are hard to parent. I worked with teenagers when I worked at summer camp, and it wasn’t even remotely easy. It was HARD, and I wasn’t even their parent. Having a child who is actively rebelling against you and trying to push you out of their lives so they can be an adult? That has got to be painful, and I am not looking forward to those days.

But please stop comparing your crap to someone else’s and trying to make them feel bad because you think you have it worse. Because, the phrase “enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast” is experienced by the mom who hears it as a guilt trip. What that mom of younger kids hears is, “You are a bad person who doesn’t love her children, otherwise you’d be enjoying every moment and not complaining.” The reason she hears that is because that younger mom is living in The Cult of Perfect Motherhood, where you’re supposed to be completely dedicated to your kids. The Cult tells us that admitting motherhood is hard, and that not every moment of it makes us happy, makes us bad parents. That if we aren’t positive and happy all the time, we don’t love our children. See, this whole “enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast” thing is making The Cult stronger. Which is why the rest of us have to keep writing blogs like this, to help deprogram our readers.

Here’s another reason why it’s not helpful to say “enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast”: because telling someone how to feel is stupid and pointless. If I am feeling frustrated, and someone says to me, “Don’t be frustrated, be happy,” do I say, “Oh, be HAPPY! Yes of course, I will just stop being frustrated now that you have told me to. Thank you! All I needed was for someone to tell me how to feel, and now I feel exactly the way you told me to.” I mean, maybe I would if I was being a smart ass, but I sure as shit wouldn’t actually feel happy just because you told me to. Feelings are not rational. You can’t reason them away. And you certainly can’t order them away with a simple “enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast.”

If everything I’ve said already isn’t enough, let me put this out there: imagine a mom struggling with raising a child with special needs. Maybe, like me, their baby came early and they have to spend the first winter of their child’s life terrified of a simple cold killing their child. Or maybe they’ve learned their child has a chronic medical condition that is going to seriously impact them for the rest of their life. That mom may not look like it on the outside, but she’s probably not in the best state emotionally at that exact moment. Telling her that her enjoyment levels aren’t as high as you think they should be isn’t going to make that mom feel better. Trust me on this one.

Look, I know this is coming off as harsh. And I get that people who say “enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast” are not trying to guilt other moms. I get that. Honestly, I think it’s coming from a place of nostalgia, because we often remember the good times and the cuddles and burbly smiles, instead of the projectile vomit and the sleep deprivation. But The Cult is a powerful thing, and I wish that people who say “enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast” would look at how their words might be received. And then think some more. And then maybe say something else instead.

Who’s That Lady?

A few folks have asked me who that dour looking woman is here on this blog. She’s one of my personal heroes, Julia Ward Howe. The Indigo Girls (who I discovered at Girl Scout camp as a teenager) have a song called Virginia Woolf about becoming a friend of Woolf’s through the pages of her books. I feel that way about Julia Ward Howe. I think if she was alive today, she and I would have a laugh and a cry together about motherhood and writing and balancing family and work. That is to say, I think she’s one of us, and I’d like to introduce you all to her, Drunk History style, except I happen to be sober right now (alas).

Julia (we’re old friends, so I am allowed to call her by her first name) was born in 1819 into an affluent family in New York. Her mom died when she was very young, and so she was raised by her extremely overbearing dad who didn’t let her go to parties or meet people. She was a total brainiac, and read EVERYTHING, and was super serious about learning and writing, even as a child. Eventually her dad died, which meant she was free to go out and meet people and find herself a husband. And she did: Samuel Gridley Howe, a social reformer who ran a school for the blind outside of Boston. Everyone called him The Chevalier, or Chev for short, even Julia.

Now, the problem with fairy tales is that they end with the happy couple getting married, and they don’t show what happens AFTER the honeymoon. In real life, a lot of people don’t live happily ever after, and in Julia’s case, man, was there a lot of drama in that marriage. It turned out she had married a guy as overbearing as her father, who didn’t want her to have any kind of public life or be a writer–he wanted her to only run the household, and be completely dedicated to their children, and that’s it, nothing else. This was Cult of True Womanhood time, and Chev wanted his wife to be a True Woman all the way. Living so far outside Boston, she rarely got to hang out with friends or go out to dinner or the opera or do much of anything, other than run her household and watch her children. It didn’t take long for her to get really sick of having no outlet for that giant brain of hers.

So she started writing poetry about how shitty it was being stuck out in the country with a bunch of little kids and no adults to talk to but her overbearing husband. And THEN she got the poetry published, anonymously but EVERYONE knew it was her. Chev was super embarrassed, AND pissed, and he told her to stop writing. And she told him she’d be more domestic and compliant, but she was like, “Whatever, I am going to keep on writing, good luck trying to stop me.” And she wrote more angsty poetry that she had published that pissed Chev off and he yelled at her some more. And she cried a lot and felt hurt and frustrated, because it’s not easy being a writer in 1850 when your husband, who you love, wants you to have no life beyond raising your kids and running your household.

And then she wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and got suuuuuuuper famous, and she published more and made a lot of speeches and tried to change the world and get women the vote and stop war from happening. And Chev got more pissed, and sometimes her kids took Chev’s side and yelled at her too, and she still said, “Whatever, this is who I am, I can’t change who I am.” And she kept on writing and making speeches and just doing Julia as best she could. Then Chev died, and she didn’t have to balance pleasing her husband and being domestic, with writing and speaking and trying to change the world.

Julia is also famous for kind-of inventing Mother’s Day. But not like Mother’s Day that we celebrate today. She wanted moms to take a day away from their regular domestic chores to come together to talk about how to make the world a better place for their children. She was an idealist, and believed in the power of motherhood to work as a positive force in the world, that moms working together could make the world a better place. I believe that too.

Reading Julia’s letters and poems, what strikes me is how honest she was about how she felt and what was happening in her life, AND how relevant her writings still are 150 years later. I know so many women who struggle with being their own person and also being a good mom. They feel guilty for taking time away from their children to have a career or even hobbies or other activities that aren’t directly related to their children. Being a parent DOES mean making choices and doing stuff you’d rather not. But if they give up those outside activities, then they feel bored, or worse, like they have lost who they are. As Julia said, “In giving life to others, do we lose our own vitality and sink into dimness, nothingness, a living death?”

Julia didn’t find escaping the Cult of True Womanhood any easier than it is for us to escape the Cult of Perfect Motherhood today. It came with tears and arguments and feeling like everyone around her was judging her for not being what the world told her she should be. But she fought against the cult anyway, and she found satisfaction in being both a mother AND a fully realized human being. She’s an inspiration to me and I wish I could have met her in person instead of through her writings. I like to think that wherever she is now, she’s reading this blog and saying “Rock on sister!”

Comparative Pain

I’m about to get deep, y’all. You might want to turn off the TV and get out your ADD meds for this one. I was watching Reverend Al Sharpton speaking at the 50th anniversary March on Washington (yes, this white heathen woman DOES like The Rev) and something he said made me have something to say, that involves saying the word “shitty” a lot.

I tell a lot of people, including all you lovely folks, about The Boy being early and spending 9 weeks in the NICU. So, a lot of people know what happened, and that, you know, it was a pretty shitty thing to live through. Because of that, I find that when other friends have birth trauma or kids in NICU (which happens waaaaaaaaaaay too often) but their experience is less shitty, like, they only spent a week in NICU instead of 9, they seem to feel like they shouldn’t be allowed to complain to me about their birth trauma or their NICU stay. Like, because my experience was shittier, they shouldn’t complain about their slightly less shitty experience. And they often say apologetically “But I know you had it so much worse.”

Fuck that noise.

See, here’s the thing. There is always someone who had it worse. I know people whose kids are permanently disabled from their prematurity. I know people whose preemie died. Did they suffer something shittier than I did? You bet. Does that mean what happened to The Boy was no big deal? Of course not. The NICU is shitty. It’s shitty if your kid is there for an hour, and it’s shitty if your kid is there for a year. Having something shitty happen to you is shitty, and no matter how much shittier someone else has had it, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t shitty.

AND, I feel like it’s uncool of me to belittle another NICU mom’s pain just because she has it less shitty than me. I think I should be sympathetic and try to give her the support she needs, and not say “Well I had it worse, so you should just suck it up.” So, when a mom says to me “I know you had it worse” in that apologetic way, I always say, “Hey, even an hour in the NICU is shitty.” Comparing our pain to see who’s had it the most shitty is stupid and pointless and creates walls between us. It makes more sense to acknowledge that we’re all struggling, and try to understand the flavor of each other’s struggles, and work together to support each other.

What does all this have to do with The Rev? Well, during the March on Washington this year, he said, “We need all of us together. These bogus arguments about ‘Well, they didn’t suffer like us’ or ‘They are not as bad as us.’ The most insane thing for sick people to do is to lay up in the hospital debating about who’s the sickest. We all need to unite and get well together. We should not be comparing pain. We ought to be strategizing and coalescing for all of us to have equal justice under the law and equal opportunity.”

It was like The Rev and I were sharing a brain.

See, lots of us face challenges in our lives. Some of us have bigger challenges, or multiple challenges, or different kinds of challenges. Arguing about whose challenges are hardest is stupid and pointless and it keeps us apart. It makes more sense to acknowledge that we’re all struggling, and try to understand the flavor of each other’s struggles, and work together to support each other through whatever those struggles are. And that goes not just for NICU moms, but all of us whose lives could be made just a little bit easier if we support one another.

Children’s Television Survival Guide: Sid the Science Kid

I laughed my ass off at Dadspin’s series, Why Your Children’s Television Program Sucks. Holy shit, that’s some funny stuff. Because, it often DOES suck watching children’s television when you’re not, you know, a child. Or drunk, which, it’s not usually a good idea to be drunk when you’re supervising your kids. A least, not as drunk as one has to be in order to enjoy Caillou. Which is to say, passed out. Because as everyone knows, Caillou is awful.

Then I read my friend Nikki’s blog post about why children’s television is not so bad. And I realized, maybe it was a good idea to write about a few of the shows I watch with the kids without wanting to throw something through the television, and how it is I survive them.

Let’s begin with one of my favorites: Sid the Science Kid. Conflict of Interest Alert: Boeing sponsors the show, and my dad is a Boeing retiree. But I would like the show even if it was sponsored by Airbus.

So, I have mentioned before that I am a lawyer, and when I was in law school, one of my summer jobs was working for a disability rights non-profit. I firmly believe that people with disabilities get shit on a lot in our society, and we should do more to include people with disabilities in our everyday lives to the maximum extent possible.

Have you seen this video? It makes me cry EVERY DAMN TIME I see it. And the reason why is, it’s not too long ago that that kid wouldn’t have been allowed at his neighborhood school, with “regular” kids, and he probably wouldn’t have been encouraged to run laps at whatever “special” school they would have sent him to…if he even did get to go to school. So, seeing him run, and watching his teacher and his classmates cheer him on is powerful. It says a lot about how far we have come in teaching kids to respect each other, no matter their differences.

What does all this have to do with Sid the Science Kid? Well, I am convinced that Sid’s class is an inclusion classroom. I mean, how many schools do you know with one teacher for 4 kids? Gerald appears to have as an accommodation that he gets extra time to get to Rug Time every day–notice how he has to act out a character on his way to sitting down? Mae seems to have some social challenges too–she seems a bit shy, and she is always talking about her cat. Gabriella is obviously the non-disabled peer model. And then there’s Sid, always questioning…I often try to figure out if he’s also a peer model or if he has some unspecified learning disability that brings him to this place.

And, it’s AWESOME how they play together. How they let Gerald try the joke again when he gets it wrong, how they include Mae even if she’s shy. I mean, kudos to the teacher for handling the room so well and letting their curriculum be student-driven, but the real smile-inducer to me is kids being themselves and being together. Call me an idealist, but that’s what we want all our kids to be like, isn’t it? Kind to each other? And happy? And growing and learning?

So, I like watching Sid. And I like my kids to watch Sid and see the kids being kind to one another. Also, Sid doesn’t whine like that fucker Caillou.

Teaching Your Kid About Jesus, When You’re A Heathen

I am not a church goer. I describe myself as a heathen. When I was a kid, my parents didn’t take me to church. One of them grew up a Methodist and the other grew up a Presbyterian, but they wanted my sister and I to find our own way when it came to faith. I dabbled in church in college, but when I came home to Seattle for law school, I didn’t find a church I liked, so I didn’t go anymore.

I have a few friends who are church goers, but Seattle has an extremely low church-going population. We also have an extremely small Jewish population compared to, say, New Jersey. I have a former coworker who is Jewish who once had a chat with me about what it’s like to be Jewish in Seattle. She said everyone invites you to Christmas because they feel bad that you don’t have someplace to be on Christmas, because they don’t get that for people who aren’t Christian, Christmas is just another day. I explained that it’s because Christmas is not a religious holiday to most Seattleites because we aren’t really Christian either. For many of us Seattle heathens, Christmas is a day to spend with friends and family, and has nothing really to do with Jesus, so, why not invite our Jewish friends? It’s not like we’re going to church or praying or anything, we’re just gonna watch A Christmas Story 5 times in a row and gorge on Christmas cookies. I know, I am the nightmare of the War on Christmas crowd, because, I am a heathen.

One year, The Boy asked me what Christmas is about, why we celebrate it. So I told him “It’s Jesus’s birthday.” So he said, “Who is Jesus?” So, I gave him the Christmas carol-inspired, History Channel Jesutainment heathen version: Jesus’ parents had to go to Jerusalem to be counted and pay their taxes, but Mary was suuuuuuper pregnant at the time. When they stopped on the way for the night, the hotel was full, so they had to sleep in the barn, and that night, Mary gave birth to Jesus. And some wise men came and gave him presents, and an angel told the shepherds next door that this super cool baby had been born, so they came and saw him too.

Then The Boy asked, “And then what happened?” So, I explained that Jesus grew up and became a carpenter like his dad, and that he had some great ideas about how people should be nice to each other, but that some people didn’t like his ideas, so they killed him. And as God as my witness, The Boy looks at me with big eyes and he whispers “But he wasn’t really dead, was he?” So I said, “Well, some people think he came back to life.” And he said earnestly, ” I believe that!”

WTF, man. Of all the parenting surprises I have had (having a kid born premature, learning to raise a kid who will. not. sleep, having a child who loves running), discovering that The Hubs and I, a pair of heathens, had raised a kid who believes in Jesus? That’s definitely one of the biggest. Honestly, I have asked myself quite a few times how this happened, but I am completely at a loss.

People have told us this is a phase and it will pass, but so far it hasn’t. He keeps asking about Jesus. In fact, awkward story: we sent him for a sleep over at a friend’s house (also heathens) and they asked all the kids to pick any character to have a story about. All the other kids picked superheroes–Spider-Man, The Flash–and my kid? He picks Jesus. Our friend the heathen was like, “WTF, man.” I was like, “Yeah, I don’t get it either.”

And it’s not just Jesus. The Boy tells us things that he believes firmly, such as “God is everywhere. He’s even IN THIS HOUSE.” Uh, Okaaaaaaaaay…

Honestly, there is a part of me that is a little bit terrified by this. But mostly, I feel glad about it. I think finding a faith that makes you feel happy is a good thing. Now I just have to figure out how to support his choice of faith that I don’t share. I told The Boy that we’d take him to church to learn more about Jesus, on the condition that he had to dress up, including wearing a shirt with buttons. He hates shirts with buttons. I figured if he was really serious about this whole Jesus thing, he’d agree to dress up, but so far he has refused, and so we haven’t gone to church. When he is ready to put on a shirt with buttons, I have picked out a church that I think reflects our liberal values and will be likely to be welcoming to a kid being raised by a couple of heathens. In case this isn’t just a phase.

Worst Wife Ever Moment: Laughing at Food Poisoning

Have I written yet about my horribly inappropriate sense of humor? I laugh at all sorts of things that I think are incredibly funny but everyone else thinks are not funny at all. Like the movie Boogie Nights. I appreciate things on an ironic level that most other people just don’t get. I also laugh at completely inappropriate moments, when one is supposed to be sympathetic or serious. Like my grandmother’s funeral. This is one of the reasons why sometimes I am the Worst Wife Ever. Luckily for me, my husband has grown used to this over the years, so when I laugh at his pain, and then apologize profusely, he just says, “That’s OK, my job is to amuse you.”

Recently The Hubs came home from work and said he felt “off.” I asked if he was OK and he said, “I dunno. But I don’t think I want to eat dinner.” Poor guy. After The Girl was in bed, he went to ay down, and about an hour after The Boy went to bed, he got up and threw up. Poor guy. I was sympathetic and then I asked him what he had for lunch. He said he took his coworker out to a restaurant he had never been to called Bernard’s on Seneca.

Now, if you are not from Seattle, or even if you are, this may mean nothing to you, but of you are at all familiar with the dive bar scene in Seattle, you have heard of Bernard’s. The place is in the basement of a hotel and it hasn’t changed in 40 years. It’s got those massive dark carved wood doors that were so popular in the 1970’s and honestly, I have walked past there a few times but I have always been too scared to go in there. From the outside, it looks like those guys from Goodfellas might be hanging out in there. Also, the reviews on the food are not exactly stellar, I mean, I don’t think the menu has been updated since 1970 either.

So, I kind of freaked out when The Hubs said he went there. I was like, “Wow! you actually ate there?!?! No wonder you feel like crap! What possessed you to go there?!?!” His friend had asked to go there, and since The Hubs was taking him out for a goodbye limch, The Hubs had let him pick the restaurant. The friend had described it as a “German” restaurant but The Hubs, who lived in Germany for a year, confirmed that they don’t really have much “German” food. I asked what he ordered, and he said he had a salad. Also, he said everything on the menu had thousand island dressing on it.

This is the point where the uncontrollable giggling began. It was a perfect storm of the things that make me laugh uncontrollably: a horrible restaurant I could appreciate on an ironic level; a stomach ailment (come on, if vomit wasn’t funny, why would they sell plastic vomit at joke shops?). And then he said when he ordered a coke, the waitress said, “RC Cola?” You mean to tell me they don’t have coke or pepsi, only RC Cola? I almost peed my pants. I did laugh until I cried and my nose ran.

And then I apologized because I am the Worst Wife Ever. And then I distracted him with my boobies, and all was forgiven.

I Hate Running

The Boy loves running. And Jesus (more on that in another post), but even more so, running. His school keeps track of the laps the kids run around their school building, which he does at recess basically every day. He chooses to do this rather than playing ball or on the climbing structure. He ran 2 miles during his school’s jogathon. As a kindergartner.

I don’t think I am adequately expressing how “WHAT THE FUCK” I feel about him being a runner. Just, so much confusion. I am not a runner. The Hubs is not a runner. None of our parents are runners–in fact, when my dad tried to take up running recently, he kept falling and injuring himself, so my mom made him switch to an exercise bike. If, when he was born, I had to guess what athletic activity The Boy would take up, running would probably have been way down on the list.

And yet, this is his thing. It’s yet another reminder to me that kids are their own people, and we have practically no control over what they kinds of things they will like or dislike. I am not running this show, I am just along for the ride. And honestly, as much as I dislike running myself, I know that running is a great healthy activity and I want to support him in this thing he loves.

Now, the thing with him running is, he is still young, which means if he wants to run in an event like the Seattle Children’s Marathon, or a 5K, I am going to have to go with him. Which means, I need to be able to run 5K without dying. Which means, I have to start running. I am a couple weeks into a couch to 5K right now. Am I enjoying it? I am not.

One of the things I have leaned about being a parent is, I have very little control over the things that will excite my child’s imagination, but it’s still my job to support them in the things they are excited about. Sometimes it’s something super fun, like discovering my kids love to have dance parties in the living room in their underpants, and helping them discover awesomely bad pop music to dance to. And sometimes…it’s running.

I know a lot of runners who really love to run. My local BFF is one of them and she even has her own blog, which is super inspirational and you should all go read it. Girl is a badass (who the hell runs a 5K and 10K back to back one day, and a half marathon the next?!?! WHILE PREGNANT?!?! A badass, that’s who) and even more than that, she has found something she loves. And that is a powerful thing, finding a thing you love. I have learned from running that I am not that person. But, I can pretend to be that person for a while, because helping my kid find something he loves, is the something I love.