Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scooters and Socialism: A Rant

My girls received scooters as a surprise present from their father. I took one look at said present and declared it ridiculous: whose 2-1/2 year-olds can ride scooters? Well, as it turns out, mine. They are obsessed and really quite good, soliciting comments at the park ranging from "How old are those girls?" to "My son is an uncoordinated wimp compared to them" to "What f@#*ing mother doesn't make her kids wear helmets?"

Um, me. I don't remember ever wearing a helmet and I'm fine, thanks. Okay, maybe not fine, but not dead either.

But these scooters, these seemingly unproblematic vehicles, are giving me a migraine and might land me in prison. Because every kid at the park wants to try them. WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION.

My husband, a staunch conservative (don't hold it against me) has labeled the forced sharing at our parks as "socialism bordering on communism." I'm a bit more moderate in my political views, but still, I'm starting to agree with him on the communal sharing mentality that permeates city parks. Hey, here's a thought: You want my kids to share their cool new scooters -- bring something equally as cool and maybe they'll be willing to swap for a while.

Because here's the thing: I lug a bunch of shit via a double stroller everywhere I go. I look like the damn Sanford and Son pick-up truck coming ("Ya big dummy!"). I have two kids, two scooters, two helmets (that go unworn but I bring just for show), a soccer ball, a basketball and various little accessories I need not name. Tons of these moms saunter into the park, towing their kid, a Starbucks and nothing else. DO YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR SKINNY VANILLA LATTE WITH ME, BITCH?

Probably not. And then we get stalked. And these moms, these people I swear I might kill one day, sip on their coffee which I don't have the luxury of having because my cup-holders are filled with lollipops and matchbox cars their kids want to steal, and they let their children maul us.

One such mom who wasn't wearing a bra, probably because she is banging her gardner, loudly announced to her friend for my benefit: "If you don't want to share, you shouldn't bring it to a public park." Says the person who brought nothing but silicone, caffeine and a toddler with her. Then she went back to her iPhone where she changed her Facebook status to "Looking like a whore while ignoring my kid at the park."

We shouldn't bring our stuff to the park if we didn't want to share... Except. Except we live in a city, and don't have a backyard. So if my kids can't ride their scooter at the park in peace, where will they ride it? (I have one suggestion that isn't polite and it's between the enormous crevasse on the chest of that women's poorly done breast implant surgery.)

So, listen, I get that you should share chalk at the park. But are my kids required to share their scooters or are other kids required to share high ticket items like bikes? It's becoming a major problem and I'm becoming a major ass about it. One girl of about 5 followed us around today (we finally left to go elsewhere) telling me, "I WILL take a turn on that scooter!" I told her while I admire her pertinacity it wasn't happening. (I borrowed that line from Dave Barry's literary agent who turned down a manuscript of mine years ago. Who knew rejection would come in so handy?)

Am I crazy? Am I right in thinking my girls have a right to decline advances on their stuff in a public venue with people we don't know AND DON'T WANT TO KNOW? Honestly, I don't like being accosted by kids while parents stand by in oblivion.

My sister and her kids came to visit recently. They had cool children's (but real) digital cameras and one mom let her daughter take the cameras FROM OUR STROLLER and use up the entire disk. The mom not only encouraged the child to take the cameras, she showed her HOW TO USE THEM. When my sister confiscated them from these people we didn't know, the 4-year-old said with hostility: "Why don't you want to share?" Like my sister had done something wrong! As the mom gave us a dirty look!

Seriously, I've had strange children rifle through my diaper bag for snacks while her mother looked on, had toys grabbed right from our hands as the father cooed "Buddy, let's give back their Thomas the Train" but let his kid run around with it for 10 minutes and had a mom allow her son snatch a banana from my child's hands, eat half, then coax him into giving it back with a "c'mon baby, let's share the snack" all without apology. When her son wouldn't oblige, this woman then returned the chomped on banana saying in a little kid's voice, "Thank you for sharing!"Except we didn't share. He stole it. I'm thinking of walking into a 7-11, making myself a Slurpy, eating half and handing it to the clerk with a cheerful, "Thanks for sharing!" and see how that plays out.

To put this in perspective for mothers: Suppose you and I are on a plane. You had the foresight to buy the current issue of Us Weekly to see who Jennifer Aniston is screwing and if she's pregnant. I, on the other hand, dawdled, showed up late and didn't have time to stop at the newsstand. Mid-flight, I get bored of reading the plastic-coated emergency evacuation procedures. I grab your magazine and start reading it. "WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO SHARE??!!!" I protest when you ask for it back, making you feel like YOU did something wrong. See my point?

Is it just Chicago??? I am not a disciplinarian. Lord knows. But I don't let my girls' touch other people's stuff, steal shit and pester other kids. Advice? Counsel? Promises to visit me in prison when I snap?

PS -- Whenever we break out a camera these days, the girls immediately put their hands in their mouth and scream "Funny face!" I have no idea whatsoever where this originated. It was funny like the first 50 times. When as adults they ask why there are no photos of them from age 2 to 16, I plan on screaming at them, "Funny face!"

PPS - Remind me to tell you about the nanny who shows up at the park every day at dinner time with a Dairy Queen sundae to taunt the children. Tomorrow I plan to tell her to DQ Something Different.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dum Dum

If the man who introduced my children to lollipops is reading this: RUN AND HIDE, because I will kill you. It happened innocently enough. We were leaving a parking garage downtown, one of those annoying ones where they take your keys and bring the car to you expecting a tip on top of the $25 you are already paying for the pleasure of parking there. As we waited, the guy working in the office offered the girls one of those little Dum Dum lollipops. Their faces, I imagine, were like the face of a future addict who first tries crack cocaine. Similarly, they were hooked on their first try.

Thereafter, whenever we parked at this garage, which we often did because one of their favorite playrooms was housed there, they expected lollipops for the ride home. But sometimes the garage people didn't have them, blissfully unaware, I'm sure, that they were causing me a very unpleasant 15-minute ride home where the word LOLLIPOP was screamed 2 million times in a high-pitched, screeching manner. To avoid this, which sooner or later would have made me drive off the road into Lake Michigan, I bought a bag and would offer them one of our own. I'm a classic enabler. Sort of like Dina Lohan but with a slightly better hair dye job.

I'm not against sugar so it would have been fine. Except. Except at some point they decided they only liked certain flavors of these Dum Dum lollipops. Lulu (I might as well call them by the names of the blog. For future reference, Lulu is Twin A aka Orange, Skinny Twin; Moxley is Slightly Chubby OCD Twin) only likes the pink ones. But only the Strawberry Shortcake flavor, not the Bubble Gum kind. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to trick her on this account should you run out of the Strawberry Shortcake flavor. Trust me. Moxley only likes the Banana Split variety. This produces a conundrum. Because each bag of Dum Dum lollipops only contains maybe two of each of those flavors. Apparently, the rest of the flavors like strawberry, cherry, watermelon, coconut and grape taste like ass. Because they take one lick and carry on like I just served them one that lists Rat Turds as the flavor on the wrapper or similar. (Ever notice they have a purple wrapper that is a "surprise" flavor? Who wants to be surprised by what lollipop flavor awaits them?)

So now I have bag upon bag upon bag of Dum Dum lollipops with about 4 lollipops missing out of each bag. What does one do with enough lollipops for Angelina Jolie to give out to each orphan she meets on her good-will missions? I could save them for Halloween but we're in a condo and get very few trick or treaters -- plus nobody wants Dum Dum lollipops, they want good crap like Three Musketeers bars and such.

I told my husband to take them to work, because nothing screams professional like a grown man offering Dum Dum lollipops out of a big bowl sitting on his desk to colleagues visiting his office. (I once had a boss who kept an awesome bowl of candy for public consumption in his office, but with the really good stuff like Twix, Skittles and Milk Duds. I think it kept him from getting fired for a good two years after he should have because the head of HR was this rotund guy with a sweet tooth who came and raided the bowl every afternoon around 3 pm. Eventually the HR guy was fired and replaced by a small skinny woman who ate black coffee for every meal and he was canned shortly thereafter. Coincidence? I don't think so.)

I might call the Dum Dum people and see if I can order custom-made bags of JUST strawberry shortcake and banana split. Even if there was a surcharge it would probably be more cost-effective than paying $2.50 per bag for four edible lollipops.

If you're wondering why I also have some Trader Joe's (organic!) lollipops, it's because I was hit with the news unexpectedly that they stopped giving out balloons (moms complained they were dangerous -- bite me) after promising the girls they would get balloons if we went there to get some milk. Imagine the scene in the check-out line when I received this piece of unfortunate information. I had to get out of line and scramble around the store for a suitable replacement and came upon these. What makes a lollipop organic one wonders? Anyway, Lulu only liked the orange and Moxley only liked the pink so now I'm stuck with some fancy organic lollipops as well.

As an aside, ever notice the Trader Joe's checkout people are really nice. Like too nice? Like they want to tell you about the time they had a dinner party and served the exact cheese you're buying and what crackers go really well with it and shit like that while the mob in back of you starts getting restless? I'm not a chatty person, so I prefer the snotty, tattooed Whole Foods people who kind of snarl at your groceries while discussing the tofu they had for lunch with the grocery bagger whose hair is dyed an unnatural shade of black and whose face piercings look slightly painful.

Anyway, we are having a small dinner party Saturday night and I'm thinking of serving lollipops with the wine and cheese, sort of like Kelly Bensimon served jelly beans to Luann and Sonja when they came by for appetizers before dinner. And then maybe we'll have lollipops for dessert as well with gift bags filled with lollipops for everyone to take home. And as they leave for the evening, I will scream "Satchels of Gold!" at everyone out the window and anyone who doesn't get it will never be invited to my home again. Because if you don't watch Real Housewives of New York City, you frankly have no business being a guest in my home.

PS -- It's come to my attention that one of my three readers doesn't like the "PSS" I use, neither appreciating its incorrect grammatical form nor finding it funny. Hereon, should I feel the need for a post-script, I will adhere to the correct post-script abbreviation of PPS.

PPS -- I just wanted to show I was serious about that, because let's face it, sometimes I lie.

PPPS -- I realize this post was not amusing and rambling and long and in some places makes no sense. Maybe I have more in common with Kelly Bensimon than I care to admit. Zip it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Found Hell -- It's in Glenview, Illinois

I've always suspected that if there is a hell, there is a sense of humor and a sense of justice in the whole thing. Hell isn't just an inferno of cages, we're not all just thrown in a pit where the devil comes to periodically visit with serpents and there is constant wailing of suffering 24 hours per day. I think it's customized, our own personal hell, if you will. Until today, I pictured mine as being stuck for eternity in a small, windowless cave with John Mayer, Kendra Wilkinson and perhaps a Kardashian sister (doesn't matter which one). Dire Straits music would be piped in 23 hours per day. John Mayer would sing live the remaining hour.

That was until last week. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Kohl's Children Museum in Glenview, Illinois. Friends with pre-schoolers have told me great things about this museum, and I plan to use this as an excuse to break off all contact with them. Because truth be told I don't really like any of my friends with kids anyway.

Apparently the city officials of Glenview don't believe in limiting the number of humans a facility can pack into a certain amount of square footage. Perhaps my first tip-off would have been the fact there was only one space left (two minutes after the place opened) in a parking lot that was the size of 100 football fields.

The high-pitched, frenetic screaming that greeted us as we entered might have been the next tip-off. But I'm not one to take hints. Instead, as a mob of sweaty, ill-behaved children surrounded us like hungry wolves, I paid my $21 and decided to head upstairs where surely it was more quiet. Except there's not an upstairs. So we headed into a fake grocery store that made the Jewel on Ashland on a Sunday night feel like the library. I don't like REAL grocery stores, filled mainly with adults, so I certainly don't like fake ones, jam-packed with toddlers stealing items out of each other's carts and then screaming bloody murder.

A kid about four whose name I later learned was Thomas (pronounced TOW-MAH, which I think is the fancy French pronunciation but his mother spoke native Chicago), roughly grabbed a plastic tomato right out of one of the girls' hands while the mother looked on and continued to text her boyfriend (her eyes were gleaming and she was giggling -- she was NOT texting her husband or work). I grabbed said vegetable (or is a tomato a fruit?) back and told him not to do it again. He cowered and she gave me a dirty look, but soon went back to facebooking or tweeting or whatever it is about 80 percent of the adults were doing when they should have been watching their kids maul unsuspecting victims. (Prediction: a new psychological disorder will present itself in teenagers in about 10 years -- it will be directly linked to a sense of inferiority because their parents pay more attention to their iPhones than to them.)

Ironically, at this hellish museum that day, there was a Smokey the Bear exhibit (isn't that the fire prevention animal?), and I thought it would make a good headline in the newspaper: Scores of Families Die During Smokey the Bear Exhibit in Fire Code Violation at Children's Museum.

I didn't want to be a statistic so I got us the out of there before we all smothered. So if God is reading my blog (and why wouldn't He?) and is looking for a suitable punishment for me in the hereafter, now He knows: Me. 4 million toddlers. Inattentive caregivers. A Smokey the Bear exhibit. A faux shopping environment. A threat of spontaneous combustion. Glenview, Illinois.

Someone else will have to listen to Kendra cackle as John Mayer talks about Jessica Simpson's boobs while sitting next to a signature Kardashian caboose with Money for Nothing in the background.

PS -- Below is the girls after the debacle -- I wanted a survival photo as I'm pretty sure we were four extra toddlers away from death. I put them in their new tutu bathing suits (Old Navy, $10), gave them lollipops as rewards for surviving the ordeal and went to the water park. Where a new set of children and parents continued to annoy me.

I am building a list of grievances we've suffered at the park for another post. It is lengthy, including an incident where a kid came at the girls WITH A SHARP STICK and the mother soothingly said, "No stick, honey, no stick." And when the kid wouldn't drop the stick she said, "Ooohh, honey, be gentle with the stick" AS HE CONTINUED TO WAVE IT IN MY GIRLS' FACES. Be gentle! With a stick! I grabbed the stick, broke it in half and tossed in on the ground while the mother watched in horror.

PSS -- I've been writing a bit over at the blog that surprisingly pays me about Joran Van Der Sloot and whether his mother might have seen signs that he had psychological problems when he was a child. Scarily, right after I wrote that, one of the girls left me this present (?) before nap time. And I wondered if this is a sign akin to torturing small animals:

It's one of those nose plunger things with a half-eaten lollipop stuck inside. She left it right on the tv stand where I couldn't miss it after telling me she "doesn't HAVE TO nap!!!" It looks like a sinister gesture to me... Like she hasn't learned how to give the finger yet but this is pretty darn close. I'm slightly worried...

PSSS -- Last one, sorry. Does anyone know who designed the Kohls Children's Museum logo? Because might I suggest he or she add about 3,999,999 more hands to the design to give a more accurate feel to the place's ambiance?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finally ... The Dog Living on the Dashboard Photo

Dear God, it's been over a month! You probably think given the slightly veiled suicide threats in an earlier post that I was involuntarily locked in the loony bin with no access to high speed Internet service. You'd be wrong, plus I'm pretty sure they let you surf the web in the mental ward. I have been on a journey of self discovery, if you will, and have learned very very important, deep lessons over the course of the last month. Now that I am fully enlightened, I feel it crucial that I now share my life lessons with you, my faithful readers, if I still have any of those left:

Not all hippies are nice. The squatters living in a mobile home (trailer?) illegally in the alley behind my home brought the clothes, the weed and the music from the 60s, but left the peace, love and understanding part from whence they came. John Lennon would not approve. (Incidentally, I tried to get the above photo for over a month but couldn't. So I sent my husband out to do my dirty work, thinking if someone's going to get their ass kicked by a hippie hopped up on Bud Light, it might as well be him.) It's become quite the neighborhood drama with police and the Humane Society having made several visits. (I guess the Human Society believes dogs were not meant to live on the dash board of RVs. Who knew?) Alas, the hippies are still here, partying like it's 1969 so perhaps these neighbors are here to stay and I should send over a welcoming casserole and be done with it.

Swallowing Prozac that expired over five years ago will not kill you. At least it didn't kill me. Don't sue me if you try the same and wake up on the other side. It will, however, cause acute insomnia. So you might be slightly less depressed, but you will be wide awake 24 hours a day. I'd rather be deeply depressed and asleep than moderately depressed and awake. Needless to say, I am off the expired Prozac.

I make up psychological disorders. I floated the idea by my physician that I had "delayed post-partum depression" to which she looked at me and said she'd never heard of it. Whatever. I still think that's what it was. In her defense, she wrote out a fresh RX for Prozac before I could explain my theory in full. I have not filled it. I like to sleep.

I am beautiful...or not. I was minding my own business walking into Jewel on a feverish search for Yogurt Melts, when a fairly normal looking fellow stopped me and said: "Excuse me. I'm sorry to bother you but you are so beautiful I can't help myself." In my younger days I would have kept walking without acknowledging this person's presence because they were clearly insane. But I am 42, with twins, and the only person who tells me I'm beautiful does so under the looming threat of divorce. "I play piano downtown and would love you to come see me play sometime," my new admirer continued. A musician! Thinks I'm beautiful! Aw shucks, blush, blush, blush. He hands me his card with the name of some piano bar on it. I am just about to tell him that while I'm flattered, I think my toddlers may have a problem with it later in life if I ran off with a piano player. But before I had a chance (wait for it...) he says he's "really embarrassed" but "could he borrow $20" because his car got towed -- with his wallet in it! -- and he needs to get a cab to the pound downtown and he'll pay me back when I come to see him play. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Which made me realize, I look so desperate for attention that I am now a target for con men. And I can't spot a fake business card. This did not help my depression or self-esteem.

The Real Housewives of New York should win a Pulitzer Prize. Or Emmy. Or official accolades of some kind. WHY DID NOBODY ALERT ME TO THIS DELICIOUS TREAT? It's like when my mother never informed me of the delicacy called a "Twinkie" and I had to discover its sinful pleasure when visiting a friend's house. I think several associates alluded to the fact I would find kindred spirits among the RHONY cast, but nothing short of showing up at my house, setting my TIVO and making me watch it was enough effort for such a life-altering, spiritual experience. I seriously think if Bravo makes Real Housewives of Chicago I should be considered. While I may not be exactly what the producers look for (my class status is such that hippies in an rv with a dog on the dashboard basically live in my back yard) but I do get Botox and that should count for something.

So, I think it's pretty obvious I've grown as a person over the last month. I am so much deeper, so much more in tune with what's important in life, like who I hate more, Jill Zarin or Kelly Bensimon. I now spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pinpoint exactly what surgical enhancements this crew has undergone. Ramona says she's had none. Maybe pinot grigio is a natural aging elixir with a side effect of bulging eyes?

Thankfully, my self-imposed pity party has subsided. And maybe I was never depressed in the first place. Remember that line from Steel Magnolia's when Shirley Maclaine says something like, "I'm not depressed, I've just be in a bad mood for 40 years." That could be me. But actually, things are swell. The girls and I are having an awesome summer although I am wondering where to hide the bodies of all the parents and nannies I plan to bludgeon at the park. (Perhaps my hate-fest with all adults at the park will be a separate post. I may be the first female serial killer whose sole motive is annoyance with poor park etiquette. I'm banking on the fact a jury of my peers won't buy the prosecution's weak but real motive and I'll get off scot-free.)

PS -- I blog here more than I crock pot. Enough said on that note. But I do plan to write more from now on. I also plan to go to spinning tomorrow, though, and we know that's not happening.