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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2006-09-22 ... 1:09 p.m.


  • My approach to keeping my diary in any sort of regular fashion is becoming very similar to my approach to exercise---I avoid it for long stretches because (cue whiny voice) it's so hard, and it will take up too much time (although let's be honest, while a decent treadmill + weights routine might take an hour, typing up this drivel takes only a fraction of that). And one doesn't have to exercise, or write in a diary, the way one has to brush teeth, go to work, and pay attention to one's kid so that said kid does not grow up malevolent and begrudging. Eventually I butch up and go to my spinning class, which the gym calls "Group Ride" because it turns out "spinning" is trademarked, and which is taught by an instructor with eerily prominent abdominal muscles and the amazing ability to "sweat pretty" (by which I mean she just sort of gets evenly glazed like a bakery fruit tart instead of blotchy and drippy like me), and I end up having a good time. And feeling great. Or alternately, to take a crappy analogy to its crappy conclusion, I avoid the diary thing for a long time because I'm so busy and it's just a stupid time-wasting hobby anyway, and other assorted petulant, foot-stampy feelings, and then I make myself sit down and start typing and it all clicks into place and I think oh, so that's where all my head-stuff goes. And then I feel great! In fact, I feel great right now! We will see how long that lasts.

  • The bus I take home from work has a name and a route number, but really it should be called The Festival Of Bad Parenting. There is a group of women with toddlers of roughly the same age, who seem to be coming from the same daycare, who ride it every day. The cigarette smoking, whatever. The foul language, the Cheetos, the Mountain Dew in the kids' bottles---I mentally cluck my tongue but I can deal. The way they tend to impatiently drag the kids along or expect them to stand perfectly still in one spot makes me sad, but again, eh. But the other day, when a heavily pregnant woman actually took off her tacky white leather belt and smacked her three- or maybe four-year-old girl on the back of the legs? I wanted to cry.

    Did I say anything? No, because I am a chickenshit. She hit the kid one time, screamed at her for a few extra minutes, threatened her with the belt a couple of more times but did not go any further, and then pushed the kid away repeatedly when she came twisting around her legs and crying for "up" (for some reason this was the part that upset me the most).

    The interesting (if any part of a kid getting beaten can be called "interesting") thing about the whole scene was the reactions of other bus stop bystanders. The abusive mom was African American, as were most of the witnesses. One woman was very vocal in her support of the beating, and she and the Belt Beater sort of bonded over it, loudly. Many other people looked upset, shaking their heads and muttering to each other (and yet no one intervened or made any direct comments---the Kitty Genovese effect). Some teenagers started reminiscing about beatings that their own personal mamas had dished out over the years, and what they had done to deserve them. Another African American woman took a cell phone call from a friend and this was part of their rather illuminating conversation:

    Bus Stop Bystander: I'm waiting for the bus and there's a lady here who cannot discipline her child. She be BEATING ON the child [dirty look in Belt Beaterís direction], but she canít DISCIPLINE her child.
    Caller: ...
    BSB: Nuh-uh, she's black!

    My amateur anthropological commentary notwithstanding, at the end of the day a kid still got hit and that sucks. I already have the iPod but I'm also starting to need blinders in order to ride this bus with equanimity.

  • Uh, speaking of kids getting hit, how about when it is your own child dishing out the violence? The email I got from the preschool teacher had the subject line "Rough Day For Nora." Apparently Ms. Thing head-butted (!!!!) another child while lining up for recess, and then socked the same kid in the arm when the kid started crying. (Two for flinching!) Nora was taken out of line and spoken to, which resulted in tears on Nora's part, since she knew she had fucked up and probably felt bad about it (one could argue that she just felt bad about getting caught, but I don't think so). Christ.

    On the other hand, if you have to get a bad email from a teacher, getting it from this particular teacher is the way to go. She was reassuring, she offered possible explanations, she said good things about Nora, she explained how the situation was handled, she said she would email me in the next few days with how things were going (and they are apparently going fine). This is a big contrast to last year's teacher, the Uptight Hippie---if Nora had punched someone in that class, I probably would have been pulled aside and melodramatically whispered to about "family therapy" and "rage disorder."

    Not that I condone punching or anything, but poor Nora-head. In her toddler class she was light-years beyond the other two-year-olds in terms of social graces and verbal ability, and now she is in a mixed-age group that includes kids who are three, four, five, and even six. She's the littlest fish once again and I think she gets frustrated when reminded of that. Plus there is a lot more structure to her school day now, and we have dramatically changed our morning routine for the earlier start time, and blah blah I sound like I am making excuses for MY VIOLENT CHILD. And maybe I am. All I know is that after that email I rearranged the afternoon so I could go home early and hug the little thug.


1. Not so peaceful, I guess: the sudden obsession with monsters and superheroes. Nora seems to invent a new monster every day, but I will limit the description to two of my favorites. In this corner, we have THE HUNGRY SCHOOL BUS (make sure you say this in a spooky doom-filled Vincent Price voice). The Hungry School Bus has a very quiet motor, and you won't hear it coming until it roars up and swallows you whole. It can even eat a car, so you are not safe even if you see a school bus while driving along. It lives in a garage in the "forest" (location unclear).

Next up, we have PIZZA MONSTER, who has a huge nose to smell the pizza, a giant mouth for eating the pizza, and pink hair (for some reason). He lives in a cave and ambushes pizza delivery guys, whereupon he gobbles up the pizzas and then throws the boxes back at the delivery guys' heads.

Superheroes are very cool right now too, and when I splurged and got Nora the gummi-style superhero vitamins instead of her usual Target-brand circus animals you would have thought I had handed her the freaking moon. She is nonplussed that the Incredible Hulk vitamin is orange instead of green (me too), so I promised her we could call the 1-800 customer inquiry line about this issue later today.

2. Yesterday I was dancing around the house to "Bizarre Love Triangle" and Nora was all like "Mommy, stop" and I had a flash-forward to me and all my friends embarrassing the shit out of our kids at their weddings, when we hobble up and slip the DJ some cash to play all the alternative hits of our youth. Head like a hole! Black as your soul! Whoo, look at those old folks go!

3. And what could be more peaceful than a unibrow? We were talking about Bert and the fact of Bert's one eyebrow came up, and I mentioned the word "unibrow," and now Nora is all about the unibrows. Bert has a unibrow. A unibrow is just one eyebrow all the way across. Cue the discussion of who has unibrows (uh, basically just Bert, at least in our social circle, although there are a few Pakistani grocers in the neighborhood I could introduce to you), and mommy can I have a unibrow? First she wanted a beard, then she got excited about hair on her legs, and now the unibrow---what is the deal with the body-hair love? Should I just make her a fake-fur suit to wear all around town? Is that enough hair for you, Nora?


I am developing a little bit of a complicated attraction/revulsion thing with Henry the Hand. I wish he weren't yellow. I wish I could stop thinking about fisting, handjobs, and finger-banging when I visit this webpage (more often than you want to know). I also kind of wish I had a t-shirt that proclaimed me to be a "champion handwasher." Oh Henry. Henry the Hand.

---mimi smartypants lathers, rinses, repeats.


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