Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Dragons Should Eat Children

We spent a bit of time at the zoo this week. While there, we visited the smelly Hippo house that also houses the Penguins, an Albino Python, and a Komodo Dragon. Or, so I thought.

We walked into the building, and I bee-lined for the Dragon. I can skip the dumb penguins, but I always get excited to show my kids a real life Dragon. We looked high and low in the exhibit for the beastie before seeing the sign on the glass (yes, right in front of our noses) bearing a long, two paragraph tale about the Komodo Dragon. I stood there, and began reading the sign- highlighting the important parts vocally to my two year old (who can't read, by the way).

... Hektor (the Dragon), seemed to be limping. The keepers watched her (yes, Hektor was apparently a girl), then decided she needed to be examined. The vets looked at her and determined she had a spinal neck injury...

It was at this point that I noticed a boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, standing next to me, staring at me as I read. I looked, inquisitively, at him standing there.

"It's dead," he said to me, dryly.

"It's...?... The dragon died?!?" I said. "Man, you just gave away the ending of the story I was reading. What's up with that?"

Undaunted, he said, "Well, that is the funnest part of the story thing," and dashed away.

Funnest?! The Dragon was slain!
It's terrible news.
And still no excuse for such a pointed spoiler!

Freaky kid.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hush Little Baby

The school calendar is giving us a break this week in honor of the season, and it's been fun having Abi more in our days. True, we need to strike the right daily balance of activity versus down time to appease all of us (which seems easier with Braeden alone), but it's been an adventurous balancing act. Monday there was too much out and about. Tuesday there was too little. Today was spot on, and I could tell it by the way they got along.

They have reached their disagreeable sibling phase. Until recently, Braeden was the sweet little one who often followed Abi's instructions. Lately he has discovered the joy that is found in frustrating and irritating his big sister. She also has developed a very short fuse in dealing with him, which really just fuels his fires. Though this is a new phase, I do want to say that I am impressed they have done so well for so long, and I feel they still do well by each other quite frequently by any normal sibling standards.

Back to today, for example. We spent the morning terrorizing the Stride Rite outlet so the kids could actually have clean sneakers that fit them. Once through, we had a quick lunch, then set off for home. The kids wanted to go to a playground, and in fact started shouting at me about it at lunch. Well, I certainly wasn't going to tell them we would play straight away after they humiliated me so harshly at such a fancy restaurant as McDonald's, so I made them a deal that we would not go anywhere until after Braeden had taken his nap. In the car, however, I did tell Abi that if he slept on the way home, we might go someplace for when he wakes up to take advantage of the warmth of the day. Braeden knew that he needed to nap before anything fun happened, so he relaxed in the car. Abi asked me to turn off the radio and immediately began singing Hush Little Baby, Don't Say A Word to him. Over and over again for 10 minutes she sang until he fell asleep. She was so proud of herself. "It always works for him!" she whispered to me when he had dozed off.

Well, I thought it was such a sweet thing for her to do. Granted though, it was a bit self-serving. She knew his sleep was the key to her playtime... go on and temper the credit you give her for this kindness, she'll earn it back as I tell you more.

We went to the playground for an hour as Brae woke up. The kids had a great time and really didn't even fuss when it was time to leave. On the drive home, Braeden looked over to Abi and said, "Abi? Can you sing to me the song that put me to sleep?" She was only too happy to oblige, and when Hush Little Baby was over, she sang other songs she had made up for him all the way home.

I couldn't help but smile as she sang. Despite the more frequent tears and tense voices, when the stars are aligned it is nice to see they still have these moments of leaning on each other.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Darn you, TLC.

So, the nature of a guilty pleasure is being positively ashamed about the personal satisfaction said pleasure provides. Therefore, it goes without saying how horrific it is for me to reveal to you that my latest guilty pleasure is watching What Not To Wear on TLC. I can truly hear all of you that really know me laughing hysterically. Rather makes you wonder how I can learn so much and apply so little, eh? I know, I know. But look, I'm not here to defend my lack of grace and style. I want to discuss a far more important issue.

I'm staring down the barrel of 35. A matter of minutes here in the mountain zone, and my birthday will throw me into the back half of my thirties. I've scoffed at friends who have had trouble accepting their thirty-fifth birthdays. "What's the big deal?" I thought. "It's just a number, and it beats the alternative!" Though I recognize these to be true when it's my time bomb that's going off, my aforementioned guilty pleasure has given me a whole new framework around which to walk the tightrope of my insecurities.

If you've sacrificed an hour of your life to laugh at, sympathize with, or relate to one of WNTW's makeover stars, you'll know that when Stacy and Clinton transition us to or from their commercial sponsors, we are often flashed a fashion guideline on a bright street sign. It's as though we should follow these instructions as we would instructions to YIELD or to use CAUTION in a SCHOOL ZONE. At first I thought they were silly... ignorable... until recently... when I realized that one of the signs read, "No miniskirts over 35!"

Well, okay nevermind the fact that the only time I wore a miniskirt BEFORE 35 was at an 80's theme party and I donned a pair of opaque black leggings for modesty's (and Cindy Lauper's honor's) sake. The fact is, I became starkly aware that this one step- aging to this one particular number- is taking something away from me! I bet it's just the first in a long line of things. Next I'll be too old to wear my hair long, know all the lyrics to the latest rap hits, or watch the next Twilight movie. Then I'll be too old to roller skate with my kids, wear spandex, or put on a bathing suit that isn't skirted. Then I'll be too old to wear V-neck sweaters, drive a Jeep Wrangler, or wear a skirt without support hose... and it all starts just because Stacy and Clinton tell me I can't do something I never did anyway.

35. I never thought it was all that old until now.

Crap. I only have 5 minutes left to wear a miniskirt...