Monthly Archives: March 2010

Must We Be Creepy?

We're ALWAYS Happy

While on vacation, we manage to meet up with some friends for a birthday party. My friends’ kids, two boys, are three and almost five and nice, sedate, sorts. Totally foreign.

The party is at my friend’s in-laws’ house, which is filled with white couches and tall free-standing vases… balanced on pedestals… and filled with decorative sticks… Josie loves a good party and runs from one terrifyingly crushable object to another with me trailing behind her whispering in my most compulsive, creepy, mommy voice – these are not our things. These things belong to our hosts. We must respect our hosts and their things.

Oh, sure Mom, I should respect their things, why didn’t you just say so? I’m totally old enough to grasp that concept.

Just as soon as I’m done explaining why bubbles don’t have feelings, I’m going to explain the concept of respect. I’m sure she’s ready. Then we’ll teach her to tend bar. (Yes, sweetie, that’s right, the green jigger. Good work! Now run along and fetch Mommy a slice of lime.)

The next day, still on vacation, while sitting in the sun reading my magazine, I come across a cartoon that has a picture of mother and child on a playground and says Mommy needs to get mad at you in a weird calm voice now. (I wish I could embed it here but I would have to pay the New Yorker $450 for that right.) This was exactly how I felt the night before, and really, how I feel most of the time.

Why is yelling forbidden? Not that I yell often, but isn’t there a time and a place? Dangers, for example? Or instances of extreme frustration? Sometimes it’s the only way to get the point across. Sometimes the kid needs to know how much trouble she is in. Sometimes nothing else works.

Shouldn’t we be free to show the whole range of emotions to our children? Can’t we be loving and happy and nurturing but also sometimes frustrated and angry and just pissed off? Can I write a whole blog post consisting only of questions? Perhaps.

My point is this (I think): why do we have to act all weird? This is how life is. It’s tough, and if we argue and get frustrated and then reconnect and work things out, aren’t we better off for it?

Can I get a hell yes and a fist pump from all the angry mommies in the house?

Don’t Mess With The Lemon

What? It's only March 3?

The cherry is in bloom.

I thought it was April

The daffodils are up, but looking sheepish, like an alarm woke them up early and now, here they are, squinting into the sunlight.

What time is it?

This is the toughest time of the year for the Meyer lemon. Right about now he’s (yes he is a he and yes he is a diva) pretty pissed about this winter business. He’s dropped most of his leaves and he’s waging a fierce battle against spider mites. I’m tempted to put him outside, but if it freezes again he’ll start throwing spikes. Bet you didn’t know a lemon could grow thorns. I think it happens when the new green growth is arrested by cold. They’re not really thorns, but the effect is the same. It makes for one very angry-looking lemon.

Just plain sad

The Swim About

A girl and her dog

As I’ve mentioned before, Norah is new to us. We bought her from a breeder. She was four years old and had just finished having a litter of sweet, tiny, golden puppies. She’s slightly neurotic and dumb as a pile of rocks, but nice enough company. She’s good with kids and small so she can fit into tight spaces. She’s the Honda Accord of dogs – very practical.

One day, Josie, my mother, Norah and I go for a walk on the beach. We head left and Norah takes off to the right. She’s gone, around the point. We play around for a minute, calling her and waiting for her to come back. Nothing. Josie works on her beach relocation project – she carries rock after rock down to the water’s edge and throws it. Finally after calling and calling, I walk around the point and look down the beach. No Norah. She’s vanished. Fortunately, we’re in a small community where we know almost everyone and I know she’ll make her way home eventually.

I start walking down the beach while my mother and Josie throw rocks. It’s a clear warm-ish afternoon. There’s a layer of high clouds and a little blue sky. The sun is nearing the horizon and marking a patch of orange over a neighboring island. The water is completely still. There’s not even a bird or otter around to break the surface. I turn back to tell Josie that I’ve found the perfect rock for her to throw when I see something in the water coming around the point.

A kayak? It’s an animal but it’s moving so fast. Polar bear? No, pretty sure there aren’t polar bears in the Puget Sound, even in the winter. Beaver?

I remember seeing a beaver swim in Lake Washington. It was a dark almost unidentifiable form that was mostly under water. Only its nostrils stuck out. It was like a ripple – a single wave, moving through a clear surface. It was like you didn’t see the animal, only the water it displaced.

But this animal isn’t a beaver, of course, it’s Norah. But she doesn’t look like any other dog I’ve seen in the water. Most dogs I know snort and huff and paw at the surface. As she round the point about 15’ offshore, I call her but she doesn’t hear me, doesn’t look at me, just keeps going right on past us.

As Paul says, she’s made for speed, streamlined, even her head is shaped kind of like an arrow – “not much room for brains but she sure is fast.”

I worry she isn’t smart enough to come back to the beach before she runs out of energy. Assuming she started swimming right away, and that is why I couldn’t find her on the beach, she’s been swimming for about 15 minutes. But it looks like swimming is as easy as walking for her. I call her name again just as she’s swimming around the far point and out of sight. Finally she veers toward the beach but then back out again. Each time I call, she veers toward me then away. I call her name over and over and over and gradually – like Josie to a packet of string cheese – she’s pulled in. When she finally washes up on shore, I’m nearly hoarse.   

Norah has a good shake and when I give her a good pat on the head, I notice that her fur is completely dry from the top of her head down through her shoulder blades. She looks up at me like, what’s the big deal lady? I was just checking things out.

OK, maybe she’s not the Accord of dogs. Maybe she’s something a little sportier. Maybe she’s a Civic. Maybe she’s an Impreza. Maybe she’s an Impreza with a spoiler… and a hood vent.