Our (college) Town

Our Town is a metropolis of a very particular variety: the college town. There are things about living in a college town in the middle west that I wouldn’t give up for the world. I love the small-town atmosphere where folks are friendly but humble, I love the phenomenal bookstores, arts festivals, and food. I love that when we sit down to Sunday brunch, my favorite author in the whole freaking world sits at the table next to mine.

Breathe, Mama. Breathe.

Of course, though I choose to live here (and, in fact, left the nation’s best weather to return), there are things I might prefer to be a little different. Not changed, per se. Just, well, um… modified.

The Kidling being The Kidling, she has observed and inquired about many quirks of life in a college town. I learned just how closely she pays attention when we were talking about a pretty little chair that I was re-homing.

Several years ago, I found a gem of a chair that I intended to reupholster, but I never got around to actually doing it.

Please don’t ask The Dada how many of those chairs we have.

I was telling The Kidling that this particular chair would soon be leaving our home and moving in with a graduate student. She was dubious, to say the least:

“Are they gonna take good care of it? Because you said sometimes grad students put couches on the roof. Are they gonna put chairs on the roof, too?”

I make no guarantees.

 

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take this winter and shove it

“I really don’t like this winter. It’s the coldest winter I had this year.”

A-freaking-men.

humor of the grumpy variety

The Kidling has been on a weeks-long whine binge. Nary a word is spoken in the sweet contralto with which she was blessed and every sentence she utters makes my blood pressure spike. And you know what? It turns out anything said with a whine loses all traces of humor.

Except this.

Friday afternoon, my bored, exhausted, post-long-day-at-the-office-with-mom child was getting ready for a sleepover.

Brilliant, Mama. Brilliant. Impeccable timing, no?

I have no idea what I said or did, but finally, she had had it. Hands on hips and voice raised ten million decibels, she shouted at me, “I’m at my rear end!”

I was at my rear end, too… until the Kidling shouted at me. Then, I regained my perspective–and my sense of humor–and thanked the universe that I got the crazy munchkin I got.

 

a how-to guide to bad parenting

I like to think that I am very nearly the parent I want to be. Do I have things to work on? Yes. Am I flawed? Extraordinarily. But I sincerely believe that is part of showing The Kidling what it means to be a strong woman: modeling self-love in spite of flaws and failures.

One of my flaws obviously being my affinity for alliteration.

But I have days. Holy shit do I have days. And let’s face it: those months weeks days are far better blog fodder than the good ones. One of those days was a particularly exhausting one. It involved errands, chores, and general crap. We returned home late and I hoped to get her straight to bed, but… she was a mess and really needed a shower.

Sunuva-

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! With constant harassment reminders from The Mama, The Kidling got in, screwed around in the water cleaned up, and got out.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! I gave her two minutes to use the toilet, wash her hands, and brush her teeth. Yes, I know this is irrational. Yes, I know that is impatient. Recall, Dear Reader, that this is a story of one of those days.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! I gave warnings.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! The one minute warning was accompanied by a grouchy yell from down the hall, courtesy of The Mama. Then, the clock ran out. I marched my frustraed, irrational ass* into the bathroom, took the toothbrush out of her tiny hand and told her she was finished.

Firmly.

“Why?” She asked, on the brink of tears at the injustice of having her toothbrush whisked away without explanation.

“Because your time is up.” The Grump The Mama replied.

“Oh. I didn’t know,” she explained in a voice full of sincerity. “You didn’t have to yell at me because I knew I had one minute and I don’t know time!”

The Kidling was earnest.
The Mama was humbled.
The Dada was right:

“She makes a valid argument,” he noted.

Indeed she does.

_________

* You read that correctly. At this point, even my ass was ticked off.

pizza pairings

“This would be better with beer.” *

-The Kidling

November 17, 2013

_________

* Disclaimer: The Kidling has never, not even once, tasted beer. Coffee, yes… Anyone who allows a high-energy 5 year-old to have a sip of coffee is clearly a glutton for punishment.

OkKidling!

Have you ever wondered what a five year-old child’s profile on OkCupid would look like? No? Huh.

Well, I have. Don’t hate: we all have flashes of brilliance.

For what it’s worth, this little verbal image (if that’s a thing) came to me after pondering an interaction between my dear child and a physician on Monday. This gentleman, Dr. Who,* is a specialist at the Our Town Gigantic Hospital (hereinafter OTGH). As the name suggests, OTGH is rather large. Gigantic, in fact. And though this fact can underscore many interactions between patient and physician, it did not this week. Dr. Who took the time to make The Kidling comfortable before assessing her condition.

Dr. Who: Are you in school?
The Kidling: Yeah.
Dr. Who: What grade are you in? Second?
The Kidling: Kindergarten! People think I’m older. I’m five, but I wear six pants.
Dr. Who: What do you like to when you aren’t in school?
The Kidling: I like to imaginate.
Dr. Who: Oh! Do you like to write stories?
The Kidling: Uh huh. (pause) I haven’t finished one yet.

Her extraordinary honesty notwithstanding, this painfully cute exchange got me thinking about how The Kidling and other kidling-types** would describe themselves to a new person.

A three foot, ten inch 5 year-old, I’ve lived in Our Town for my entire life.  I study at Local Elementary, where my favorite subjects are Music, PE, and Centers. Centers really speak to me, as I spend my time there drawing and imaginating animals, contraptions, and stories. I have watched Happy Feet dozens of times, but I am equally fond of more serious television and cinema, including Secretariat, Wild Kratts, and Dinosaur Train.

I think a healthy body is important, and I like to ride my bike (thank goodness I have training wheels, LOL!), race my parents (they always let me win), and climb ropes in gymnastics. I am the fastest rope climber in my class, but the other kids try really hard and I tell them “Nice job. Maybe you’ll win next time” because it is important to be nice. If you are nice, too, then maybe we can be friends.

I would totally ask for a playdate.

_________

* Not his real name. Duh.

** Can I just add that I adore the fact that my iPad has not only learned the word “kidling,” but it autocorrects to uppercase. That’s right, Apple. It’s “The Kidling” to you.

the managing of expectations

Confession time.

Yes. Again. Apologies, but this does seem to be a good forum for such things.

I have been slacking lately in the meal department. Purchasing and preparing meals is a household task that I have, until recently, embraced.

Especially since it means The Dada handles the laundry. Yes, all of it. Yes, I do realize how lucky I am.

But lately… a half-hearted hug is the best I could do. The Family has been eating more than our fair share of quesadillas, pizza, and assorted pasta dishes, garnished with the not-infrequent dinner out for good measure. Suffice it to say I was quite pleased with myself Sunday evening when I served homemade squash apple soup and homemade truffled shiitake parmigiano reggiano risotto in the same meal.

Smug. S-M-U-G. Smug.

As is the case in oh-so-many cautionary tales, that hubris foreshadowed my downfall, for The Kidling began to sing during the meal:

“You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit. You get your risotto, and you don’t throw a fit.”

I give up.

I will take what I can get

“You and Dad are some of my favorite grown-ups. You two are my favorite… (long pause) Mom and Dad.”

-The Kidling

November 4, 2013