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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Take That, Crappy Disney Princess Franchise

I've got all sorts of conflicted feelings about raising an emotionally healthy daughter, which feelings generally lead to situations like this one, where I try to convince Veevs the Disney princesses aren't God's gift to womanhood, or this one, where I try to help her see the problematic gender portrayal in Swiss Family Robinson. Thank heavens for Disney, or we might never have anything to discuss.

The other day Veevs said, "Mom, I think I'm fat."

I say carefully, "Really? Is that a problem?"

She sighs and says, "I don't want to be fat, Mom."

And insert here the crazy diatribe wherein I talk ad nauseum about how society tries to tell women that they have to look a certain way to be happy or to fall in love or whatever, but that it's just not true.

And then insert here the look that Veevs gives me whenever I go off in the above manner. Oh, fine it looks like this:

So then I conclude by totally undercutting my whole message. "And plus, Veevs, you're not fat."

She perks right up. "I'm not? I thought I was." And then she pranced off, probably to dress up as Jasmine, since she knows she has the belly to pull it off now.

Anyway. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I despair that anything I say is getting in past the Disney media filter. Although, obviously not enough to stop showing her the Disney media. You guys, I have to nap.

So today I was getting her ready for dance class. "Mom," she said, "Last week Hannah kept following me around and trying to do the dance exactly like I was doing."

I wasn't fully focused on what she was saying because I was trying to hike those pink tights up so she didn't get those bunches around her ankles. There's nothing worse than a bunchy-ankled ballerina.

"Uh-huh." I said, "So what did you do?"

"Well, I told her, I said, 'Hannah, you don't have to try to be like me. You can be your own kind of beautiful.'" She wriggles around a little bit, because I have accidentally wedged those pink tights between her butt cheeks.

I smile at her. I've only told her this about fifteen times.

Now that is my girl.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rhett's Birthday

The kids have been trying to figure out the perfect way to celebrate Rhett's birthday. They are trying to get Rhett to relive his last birthday, where I convinced him to celebrate it as a family at Chuck E. Cheese.

Rhett, on the other hand, is not amused.

Spe came downstairs today and said, "I want to go to Chuck E. Cheese."

I said, "Well, Dad said we can go in a couple of weeks on his day off. We're just going to go somewhere else for his birthday."

Spe said, "Chuck E. Cheese sucks. But I like it."

I'm pretty sure Rhett has something to do with that . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Flibbertigibbet

I've suspected it before, but now I'm sure. I'm totally a flibbertigibbet. I've resisted this label previously out of a healthy respect for the practical, sensible heroines of Louisa May Alcott, whose books I read when I was younger until the pages fell out. I was properly shocked when Tom got engaged to that fast Trixie in An Old-Fashioned Girl. She might as well have been a whore, compared to angelic Polly. She was, well, a flibbertigibbet. She even painted, and I'm not talking about beautiful paintings. I'm talking about her face. Shocking. I rejoiced with the rest of Alcott's readership when Trix dumped Tom and he was free to realize that sweet, pragmatic Polly was his one true love. I kind of thought, "Hey, I'm more like Polly than Trixie."

Except, my true nature prevailed. I'm a flibbertigibbet. I just don't have the brain for responsibility. I volunteer at Veev's school every other Monday. I mean, I'm scheduled to volunteer. I've actually only ever done it twice. I keep forgetting.

Through my church, I have two ladies who come to visit me every month. I mean, they're scheduled to visit me. Actually, I've stood them up twice in the last three months. I keep forgetting.

I've been like this my whole life. I just can't keep things in my head. I can already hear you saying, "Trix, I mean, Heidi, seriously, you just need to write stuff down on a calendar." I already do. The problem is I forget to look at my calendar.

So whatever. I'm a flibbertigibbet. Thanks to F. Scott Fitzgerald it's not the curse it once was. I mean, who doesn't admire and love Daisy from The Great Gatsby? Hey, wait. Don't answer that.

And seriously, if you want to set an appointment with me? Let's make it at a restaurant. Some things I make a point not to forget.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What You Do When You Are Lazy . . .

You know, I'm kind of feeling lazy. So please, please, please, enjoy this reprinted patriotic post in honor of our newest presidential inauguration. I don't want to brag, but I'm pretty sure people have cried from the beauty of my patriotic past. I'm just saying.

It's come to my attention that my last post on patriotism (sort of) caused no feelings of inspiration whatsoever. I can't imagine why. What could be more patriotic than "Freedom's Pitter-Patter"? (And yes, I'll work on getting a clip of it for you. It will change your life.)

To right this travesty against patriotic people everywhere, I'll pull another inspiring story from my own life that is related to Our Country's Great Heritage. What could be more representative of Our Great Heritage than the monument that spans an entire mountain? You know, the one that singlehandedly brings more people to South Dakota each year than the number of people who actually live in South Dakota.


Yes, I'm talking about Mt. Rushmore. I have always loved this monument for several reasons:

1) It's so American to have a monument that is made out of a mountain. I love the hubris of the whole deal.

2) Who doesn't love a monument that is dedicated to George Washington (the father of our nation), Thomas Jefferson (the primary author of the Declaration of Independence), Abraham Lincoln (who freed the slaves and kept the Union together), and Teddy Roosevelt (who is primarily famous for taking a staid name like Theodore and making it cute by shortening it to 'Teddy'. Oh, and the teddy bear is named after him. Why is he on the monument, anyway?)? What's not to love?

3) Until I was in the EIGHTH GRADE, I believed the sculptor of this monument was GOD.

I really believed God loved these presidents (and yes, even then I was confused as to why he loved Teddy, but whatever. Some things you just have to take on faith.), and made the wind sculpt their faces on to the mountains.

Imagine my deep disappointment when I took US History in the eighth grade and stumbled across a picture like the following in my textbook:

The sculpting of Mt. Rushmore involved blasting dynamite, followed by the process of honeycombing.
(Yeah, I don't know what that means, either.)



WHA? That certainly wasn't how I pictured God. Did this mean God didn't love those Presidents? Did this mean God didn't care how the teddy bear got its name? Did this mean he loved the people in Holland as much as he loved the people in America? How could that be? Did this mean God didn't love me enough to let the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear (before I made a fool of myself in JUNIOR HIGH) that maybe, just maybe, there had been some other force (like dynamite, for example) at work here beside divine providence?

Shattered that day: Faith. Patriotism. Self-esteem. (Because, really, only an idiot wouldn't have figured that out on their own.)

But don't worry. I rebounded quickly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Best Thing About This Card

We went to my parents' house in Vegas for Christmas, which was fabulous, as I think I've mentioned. Because, you know, I could neglect my kids without actually endangering them. Sweet freedom.

A few days after Christmas, my dad brought in a Christmas card that he'd just pulled out of the mail. It's one that we wait for every year, because this family really takes their Christmas cards seriously. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. There are six kids in the family, with an overachiever set of parents, and so the whole card is all about how awesome their two-year-old is for learning to read, and how studly their fourteen-year-old is because he plays three! sports! and he's great! at all of them! Also, their twelve-year-old has been asked to join their city's professional ballet corps. Every child has an amazing accomplishment, and don't get me started on the parents. Mom has written a book this past year, started a doctoral degree, teaches at the university, and has nurtured her children waaaaaay better than you and I. Plus, all of this was presented in verse. Seriously, awesome.

My dad, after reading it and passing it around for all of our enjoyment (see, now you know where I get this mean streak from) raised one eyebrow and said, "You know what the best thing about this card is?"

"The awful rhymed verse?" I guessed.

"Nope." He grinned. "The best thing about this card is that it got here four days late."

Sometimes my dad just puts everything in perspective.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something Cleverish



You know, when Nie's plane crashed and cjane started writing all those beautiful, reflective blogs about her sister, her sister's family, and the experiences that their families were sharing, I was so enthralled by the story. I didn't blog about it, primarily because so many of my blogging friends did such an excellent job blogging about it that I felt anything I had to say was just, you know, redundant.

But also I didn't want to write about it because I had such a strong, terrifying sense that it could have been me. I mean, of course, my husband doesn't fly, and of course, I'm not on Nie's sphere of homemaking (What? You mean I'm supposed to make a big deal about the first day of school? Damn.), but still, it brought home the tenuous nature of life (hang on, I might have some Nietzsche to drop on you here in a minute, as well) and quite frankly, that's something that's better for me not to reflect too deeply about.

Anyway, the point is that Sue (whom, as you know, I have an unrequited girl crush on), actually did something about Nie's plight, whereas I didn't even blog about it. So imagine how honored I feel to be included in Sue's fundraising book for Nie Nie. Click on the link above and buy it. It's for a good cause, and it has some of the funniest bloggers in Mormon blogdom included.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Time

I just came home from the store and I hand Spe a box of bum wipes (you know, the FLUSHABLE kind) and say, "Hey, it's time for you to learn to wipe your own bum after you poop."

He looks at me with a grin. He likes this kind of independence.

I immediately add, "Dad is going to teach you. Take this to Dad."

Rhett looks at me strangely.

I wave my hand dismissively, "I have work to do on the computer."

Thank goodness no one mentioned that I don't actually have a paying job. Sometimes the joys of motherhood are payment enough, I guess.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On Chickens

You know, I kind of thought it was a great idea to get chickens. I had them as pets growing up (thanks to a third-grade hatching program) and I loved them. What's not to love about a pet that also produces something edible?

I'm not thinking it's so great anymore. The problems are these:

1) Chickens, while not birds capable of flight, are birds capable of half-flight. This half-flight is just enough to allow them to clear my fence. It's awesome to constantly be shooing your chickens back in to your yard.

2) I clearly did not remember how large chicken . . . erm . . . waste . . . is. Seriously, my whole backyard is like a minefield of nastiness.

3) My chickens scare me. Man, those things are vile. If I even stand at my window, they look at me. I'm not paranoid, but I'm not kidding, those chickens are looking at me. Like weird. Like they are planning an Animal Farm-esque takeover of the house. And it won't be the pigs in charge this time around. It will be the chickens.

4) My chickens peck me when I go outside. They meander over to where I am, all casual like, and then they strike. I wear my pointiest shoes to collect eggs now. Because two can play at that game.

5) My chickens were named by my children and I hate their names. Princess? Superman? (And yes, they are both female) How generic! I wanted to name them after my great-aunts, Afton and Isabelle, but nobody ever listens to me anymore.

Does anyone else think it might be time for chicken dinner?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ahem.

I probably should have mentioned that Azucar (I'm sorry, I'm too lazy to figure out how to use the "special" letters) refers to herself as pretentious. Otherwise I just sound kind of rude. Not that I'm not. I just wasn't trying to be rude in this instance.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Places I Like

I hesitate to link up because what if you don't like the same blogs that I do and then you think I'm a total tool and then you hate me forever? Also, most of you blog more than I do so you probably know all these blogs already. But whatever.

The Jet Set--I always love her blogs. She's pretentious (in a good way--she makes cuisine my kids have never even dreamed of. It might be the Marshmallow Mateys-induced stupor that makes them incapable of dreaming of normal food. I'm just saying.) but also a total realist. Is that possible?

Claire and Carol--Across the pond, you just can't beat these two ladies. Claire is rather edgy for the conservative among us, what with her talk of bra fittings and her obsession for Kenny G. And Carol, well, she always makes me laugh. I don't think it's just because I know her. She might never admit this, but she also has the longest and skinniest fingers I've ever seen. Think Jafar.

Navel Gazing--I love Sue. I worship Sue. And, hey, sure she took me off her sidebar, but I don't care. I don't need requitement (not a word!) to make me love someone. I'm totally fine with one-sided love affairs. Because she makes me laugh, and that is usually better than requited love. Requited love is overrated. SUE! I LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Honesty Bites

Spe loves hair. He likes to rub it between his fingers and feel the texture of it. He likes to twist it around and around until his hand is encased in a giant hair knot. Specifically, Spe loves my hair. Nobody around here really likes my new haircut, but Spe cried when he saw how short it was.

"Mama," he said between sobs, "I just like your hair long!" I'm pretty sure that's what everyone, including Rhett, wanted to say but didn't. Sometimes Spe says the things that everyone else is thinking but is too afraid to say.

The other night he was restless, so I went in and snuggled up next to him, and of course, his little hand reached right up and started caressing my hair. He pinched it, pulled it, twisted it, smoothed it, rolled it, yanked it, and generally just did whatever it is he always does when he gets a fistful of my hair.

"Spe, do you just love me for my hair?" I asked teasingly.

"Yes," he said, his voice mournful as though I had discovered his darkest secret. "I do." He heaved a great sigh and kept rolling my hair between his fingers.

I might shave my head next time . . .