Saturday, June 13, 2009

Variety is the spice of life

Seriously. In what parenting book is it written that kids should only listen to kids' music and nothing else?

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against the Wiggles. Hub and I took the kids to see them last November (second row seats!) and the grownups enjoyed it more than the kids. Heck, I even dedicated an entire blog entry to Greg Page. But there comes a time when just can't listen to "Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy" anymore without wanting to tear your hair out.

When I hit this point, I like to put the ipod on shuffle and let the songs fall where they may. Skipping, of course, anything with inappropriate lyrics or songs that I'm just not in the mood to hear right then and there. Hub finds it amusing, but there are times when nothing will soothe like "Baby You Can Drive My Car."

And it totally made my day when J told me that he liked "Christine Sixteen" by Kiss.

Rock on, baby brotha!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dante's Inferno

I am convinced that there is a Walmart ring of hell, and through the magic of a wormhole in the time-space continuum, instances of the aforementioned ring of hell exist right here on earth. I should know; I was at Walmart today.

There's a Walmart on the same road as the car dealership and since I had to get my car's oil changed AND wanted to get a new bike for J's birthday (he comically dwarfs his 12" one), I figured I'd kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

Yeah, right.

Last night, courtesy of their website, I found that Walmart is one of the few local retailers that sells reasonably priced 18" bikes. I was also happy to find that the website indicated that the store closest to the car dealership had ample stock of several styles of 18" boys' bikes.

Again: Yeah, right.

The store only had one model of 18" bike available, and it was a very girly light blue one with streamers in the handlebars. I suppose I should be happy that the store had ANY 18" bikes since I was able to confirm that it was indeed the correct size for J, but what genius hardcoded the inventory check feature? I suspect that if those bikes are indeed in stock, they're somewhere deep in the bowels of some stockroom, buried under boxes lawn furniture where employees hide out and smoke pot during their shift.

I now have one choice but to order site-to-store. Shudder...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why would you think this is okay?

Things I've seen parents do that made me scratch my head:
  • Let a two and a half year old carry a container of lighter fluid ("It has a childproof cap!")
  • Put a fifteen month old on top of a five-foot tall climbing structure, tell him to jump, and catch him
  • Let a five and a half year old girl play outside without a shirt (it wasn't that hot out)
  • Let a two and a half year old brush his own teeth and not go back to rebrush
  • Issue idle threats when a four year old hits and throws wood chips at other children
  • I know there are gazillions more, but I just can't think of them right now.

Some of these happened to my children, by my beloved. Heavy sigh.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More gripes with children's television

I understand the premise of this show - junk food and inactivity bad, exercise and healthy foods good. However, I don't think the writers really thought through how preschoolers process the show's content. I caught a couple of minutes of an episode where characters were decorating a cake with icing and candy, which quickly devolved into food being thrown everywhere. I know if I were a small child watching this, I would have been fascinated by how much fun the characters were having, not thinking "Gee, they shouldn't be eating all of those sugary treats." Nice try, but way off the mark.

Toot and Puddle
Maybe it's because I have a child-like (childish?) mind, but the title cracks me up. They should have called the show "Fart and Pee."

Any recently added Playhouse Disney show
This includes gems such as "My Friends Tigger and Pooh," "Handy Manny," and "Special Agent Oso." It's as if the Disney folks have decided that they're going to make as much money as humanly possible by canning any show that requires animators and puppeteers in favor of a bunch of homogenously computer-animated fare. The shows I mentioned are alright; they're not offensive and on some level they offer something constructive for kids, but they all look the same. It makes me nostalgic for "Blue's Clues" and "Charlie and Lola" (two of my all time favorite kids' shows).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stuck like a broken record, if anyone remembers what that means

There are certain times I really feel my age. The one aspect where I find it most pronounced is when trying to follow any current music scene.

Oh, I've bought CDs and downloaded songs from itunes recently, sure. But to illustrate my point, the last song I downloaded from itunes was "Island in the Sun" by Weezer. Certainly not a recent hit. The last CD that I remember buying was "Songs for Jane" by Maroon 5, and that was about five years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child.

I want to be more in tune (okay, pun intended) with current music, but I feel like I have so much ground to cover. The last time I was really up on music was in the mid- to late-90s, when I was spending a lot of time with friends who worked in radio, long before I was married and certainly well before I had kids.

These days, I'm more up to date with The Wiggles' latest release than whether or not The Fray and The Killers are cool. I don't even know what songs The Killers sing. For someone who was known as a sort of music maven, it's rather embarrassing.

My brother tried to help my cause a couple of years ago by giving me some CDs for Christmas. I really liked the Belle and Sebastian one he got me, and would have liked to share it with the boys, but the lyrics were, shall we say, inappropriate for children. I didn't quite "get" the Apples in Stereo disc, but maybe I'm just showing my age here. I still have two more discs to listen to - TV on the Radio and The New Pornographers, but I don't know when I'll have time to digest them.

Probably when the boys are old enough to listen to music that will make me wistful for some Stabbing Westward.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I triple-dog dare you...

Now, I love my husband very much. I love him and my kids more than anyone or anything else on this earth. That said, it really bugs the hell out of me when he makes sarcastic comments about me hiring a cleaning lady. It makes me want to issue the following challenge, which is also my current fantasy:

I wake up and get up when I'm good and ready to. I take a long, leisurely shower and shave my legs and my bikini area. I moisturize my entire body, get dressed, fully blowdry my hair, and put on make up.

I give the boys (including the hubster) big kisses and say goodbye. Hubster asks where I'm going, I say "out." Hubster asks when I'm coming back, I say "later." And I go out somewhere for the day. (I haven't worked out this part of my fantasy just yet)

While I'm gone, the hubster must accomplish the following:
  • Feed all three kids three nutritious meals (only one meal may be purchased outside the home - so if the older boys have bagels and chocolate milk for breakfast, they can't have fast food for lunch or dinner). This includes preparing cereal to the proper thickness and feeding it to the baby.
  • Ensure that nobody dehydrates - provide the older boys with appropriately diluted fruit juice throughout the day and prepare and feed formula to the baby (did I mention that I breastfeed and can't pump lest I overproduce?)
  • Give the kids snacks, but not too many so as to spoil their appetite.
  • Clean the entire house - kitchen, both bathrooms, all bedrooms, living, and dining rooms
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away at least one load of laundry
  • I'll give him a pass on grocery shopping because he stays with the three boys while I have my "Mommy time" (hub's words, not mine) at the supermarket. Besides, if need be, I can always have Peapod deliver while he's home.

If this challenge is not successfully met, ... oh heck, even if it is, I still deserve acknowledgement that being a stay at home mom isn't an easy job. And that outsourcing the housecleaning does not make me lazy (that's a subject for another post entirely).

I love you honey, but the sarcastic comments about what I do all day need to stop.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Books are Brain Food

Like a lot of other moms, I've been sucked into the Twighlight series by Stephenie Meyer. Of course, the joke's on us as kajillions of teenage girls have been into the series for a couple of years now. But I digress... I've read the first three books and am waiting for the library to call me when a copy of the fourth is on reserve for me.

So for kicks, and to tide me over until the book is in, I checked out the trailer for the second movie in the series, New Moon. Okay, I realize I'm a bit older than the movie's target demographic; however, I do like to kid myself and think that I'm still in touch with my preteen-angst self. That said, my comment to the studios: Really? Am I missing something? I'll admit that when reading the books, I imagine Edward looking rather Robert Pattinsonesque, but in this clip he could pass for an escaped animatronic from Disney's Hall of Presidents. Maybe he was directed to act that way (in that case, he's a director's dream, a wonderfully malleable actor), but he was just so ... wooden ... in the scene where he tells Bella he's leaving. I was really disappointed.

Maybe it's because I spent four years of college learning how to make and critique movies (my coursework included scripting for the media, recording and editing film, experimental video, and film and video analysis), but with the exception of the Harry Potter series, I have rarely seen a movie version of a book that did the book justice. Maybe it's because I spent many a summer devouring stacks of fiction that I learned how to create vivid mental pictures that can't be faithfully translated into reality. Maybe it's because the best images are left incomplete, left to one's own imagination rather than to some hotshot director's vision.

Maybe it's because books are way better brain food than movies.

(Note to self: Continue to demonstrate this by being an example of a voracious reader for the boys.)

(Note to everyone else: While I am enjoying the Twilight series tremendously and do not begrudge Stephenie Meyer her success, I do not think the books are examples of good writing. In fact, I find them quite the opposite, and felt that Eclipse was the poorest written of the series so far. I don't know that I could do any better, but you know what they say about those who can't do... they either teach, or become critics. I'd be happy being a combination of the two, as long as my criticism of my students is purely to help them improve their skills and not out of spite or malice.)