"Well, yer honor, I knew that my next-door neighbor didn't like me, and that he was turning his children's minds against me. I suspected him of growing pot in his basement and I'm pretty sure he was going to send his dog over to pee on my lawn. So that's why I shot him, yer honor."
Number One Son is nine years old. He lands on his right knee when he jumps off of whatever it is he jumps off of, playground equipment, trees, roofs, airplanes. Usually I take his trousers to my mother's house for her to repair, because not only is she talented and has lots of extra denim but also has a way bitchin' sewing machine that has the take-out bit on the bottom that permits you to sew on sleeves and pant legs. But we missed some pairs that last time, even though I asked him to go through all his clothes and bring me ALL the pants with holes in them, and when we all got back home from our various travels there he was walking around in a pair of pants with a big rip in, you guessed it, the right knee. So I had him change and bring them to me. So he put on another pair of pants with a big old rip in...yep, that same place. So now I have two pairs of pants. I happily cut up some denim and made patches of the appropriate sizes (LARGE as in WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO THE RIGHT LEG OF THESE JEANS???). Then I realized that I did not have a way bitchin' sewing machine that has the take-out bit on the bottom that permits you to sew on sleeves and pant legs. AND THAT I HAD TO SEW ON THE FLIPPING PATCHES BY HAND. Not easy to do when you have a toddler and a husband and all kinds of craziness breaking out all over the house. So now the item I want most in the world, ranking right up there with the chest freezer and the really big bathtub, is a way bitchin' sewing machine that has the take-out bit on the bottom that permits you to sew on sleeves and pant legs.
For the past two years, Number One Daughter has grown used to seeing her books on the bottom of a particular shelf in our living room. Recently, the expanding collection of children's books got too large for that shelf - and being kid's books, they were all different shapes and sizes and would never stack or shelve neatly anyway. So, we moved them all to one of her toy storage shelves (located in our fireplace, no really) and moved the toys to her recently acquired toybox (thanks, grammy!).
Well, Ruthie has not caught on the the change in location. We've showed her several times where her books are stored now. But when she goes to select something she wants read to her she invariably goes to the old shelf, which now holds *our* books. Which is why I ended up reading 100 Hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area to her the other evening (well, only the first page or two), and why my sister-in-law was surprised to be requested to read Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass to her the other evening. Last night I had to tell her that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a little old for her and perhaps Goodnight Moon would be a little more age appropriate. Maybe it isn't too early to start on the Khalil Gibran?
When the Husband and I went camping the other night to celebrate our wedding anniversary WITHOUT THE CHILDREN ALONG (thanks to the Mother-in-Law who came out from Salt Lake just for the occasion and spent the time plying her professional-grandmother skills) I had one of those weird, Technicolor and Surround-Sound hormonally induced dreams that occur during pregnancy. Really, pregnancy dreams have enormous production budgets, elaborate sets and casts of thousands. In this one our music teacher Spoke to me. I was trying to deal with this particular student who I had last year for general math.
[This next part is all real, necessary background for the dream] Her skills were that of a second grader because that was when her mother, who was strung out on heroin, stopped taking her to school. She was socially promoted all the way up to the 7th grade, not being able to read or multiply. Mom wound up in jail and she was living with her aunt. Then mom got out of jail and started hanging around again, and this girl started acting out, making it very difficult for me to teach the five or so students in my class who really were interested in learning. Finally, in about February, we got her out on independent study and I didn't hear from her again since she never turned in any work.
So, in my dream I kept trying to deal with this girl, and kept getting frustrated. Then the music teacher Spoke to me. He asked me what my goal in life was, and I replied that I wanted to be happy. He asked me what that would look like. I said that when I was old I wanted to be rocking on my porch, watching my grandchildren run around my big yard and garden. Then he asked me if this girl had anything to do with what I wanted, and I said no, she wasn't part of what would make me happy. Then the Shamanistic music teacher kind of said, "OH!" And the message was, so don't let these ones stress you out and make you unhappy because they have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR HAPPINESS.
Yesterday we decided to take the kids to a park that would have some sort of water to splash in since it was pretty hot. Before we left I told the husband that we would have to stop to buy swim diapers; after he drove right by Walgreen's and then Safeway I realized I had to remind him of this.
So he pulled off the freeway in Montclair, that yuppie ghetto in the hills of Oakland. This is where every other car is a Lexus SUV. Where everybody is "done." I think of it as the Los Angeles of Oakland, except that L.A. has better streets and parking.
First we pulled into the Montclair Safeway parking lot. Husband ran in, then came out a couple of minutes later with the information that the only diapers they had were infant ones. So we drove on to the next store which was an Albertson's a couple of blocks away. First, Husband parked the car JUST DOWNWIND OF THE PARKING LOT BARBEQUE and this was just before lunch, so #1 Son and I got to sit there and salivate while we were waiting. Husband came back minutes later saying that they didn't have any diapers, either, and ran over to the drugstore down the block. So we sat there and inhaled bbq for another ten minutes. Fortunately, this time Husband returned with the goods.
So what should have been a "let's stop and pick up some diapers" five minute errand turned into a half-hour or more torturous ordeal in MONTCLAIR, of all places.
What is it with Montclair, anyway? Do their children poop pineapple? Or maybe brie? They catch it in little white cloth napkins and serve it with crackers.
We did eventually wind up at the park, which was all the way out in Danville, land o'blonde women. I got into a great conversation with a mom from Martinez about how crazy it is trying to parent normally out here. "Normally" means that you expect your kid to be a kid, and you don't schedule them to the hilt with all kinds of cockamamie classes like soccer and pottery and Chinese and Judo and jewelry making and...Unfortunately, you are left with your child having nobody to play with, since all the other children are so scheduled. So you have to make "playdates." And whoever invented that word should be killed.