Friday, December 3, 2010

"Why?" and the Case for Boarding School

Just try to send us to boarding school...

I am intently curious who coined the term "the terrible twos." Did this person give their child up for adoption on the eve of their third birthday? Send it to boarding school for pre-schoolers? Because if this person let the kid stick around, they'd have found out the threes ain't no picnic.  And the person who coined this phrase is guilty of leading all stressed out mothers of two-year-olds to believe that they only need survive until the kid's third birthday for things to get better. BAHABHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  The joke's on us, ladies! Because they don't get better at 3. They are just as big of a pain in the ass with the added bonus of an expanded vocabulary with which to torture you.  And with the high twos and low threes comes the very bothersome "why" stage.  Following is an excerpt from a recent discussion with Lulu:

Me: Lulu, what are you doing? (I asked this because I looked over to see her with her finger up her nose up to her knuckle while out in a public venue.)

Lulu: (matter of factly)  Mommy I'm picking the boogers out of my nose.

Me: (wondering where she learned the word "booger" because I assure you I have never uttered that word.)  Well... don't pick your nose.  Do you want to blow your nose?

Lulu: Why?

Me: Because nobody wants to see you pick your nose.

Lulu: Why?

Me: Because it's not very polite.

Lulu: Why?

Me: Because it's yucky.

Lulu: Why?

Me: Because... (thinking of how to explain that nobody likes to see a kid digging for their own snot)

Moxley: Because you should use the blue thing when we get home. (the blue thing is that nose-suctioning device)

Me: (slightly annoyed a 3-year-old is smarter than me) Right! We should use the blue thing!

Lulu: Why? (as she goes to hand me her "boogers.")

Me: Because mommy doesn't like to be given boogers!!!! (annoyed she got me to say "boogers")

Lulu: Why?

The conversation about boogers actually continued for quite a bit longer and it occurred to me as I tried to explain my distaste for nasal residue being placed in my hand that I once routinely sat in meetings during which the strategic direction of a Fortune 500 company was discussed.  I'm pretty sure I am exactly who Leslie Bennett had in mind when she wrote The Feminine Mistake... Leslie, I can assure you that I will never have to support my family alone because my husband would be too terrified of me to ever leave. Shoot himself in the head to put himself out of misery, sure. But leave me while he still has a pulse, no.

Oh, and isn't it lovely that aforementioned "blue thing" is a nose plunger / sometime lollipop holder? Very hygienic.

So speaking of boarding school, I used the think such a concept was the sinister making of morally bankrupt people who had way too much money on their hands and couldn't be bothered to take care of their own kids. I mean, what kind of mother outsources her parenting duties to the extent they don't even live at home? Everyone knows it's your responsibility as a parent to allow offspring to live at home until they reach 18 at which time you pray to God they get into college -- preferably one at least a two-hour drive away. Then you suffer through them coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks at which time they will barely acknowledge your annoying presence except when they want to borrow the car, which they'll probably crash at some point and not even apologize unless they happen to kill somebody. They will be non-rent-paying squatters at your home for the summer too, in between partying with their high school pals and making minimum wage in some useless job that will make them look like directionless losers on their resumes.

In the old days parents needed only suffer through this cycle for four years before their adult children limited their visits to the holidays with their own families in tow. Not anymore! College now can stretch on for YEARS. Graduating in four years is for overachievers only. And when they do finally graduate do you know where they expect to live? In their old bedrooms. Which they demand be in the exact state they left it four / eight / twelve years prior. And grandchildren? With the rampant arrested development epidemic not to mention fertility treatments you'll likely be senile and/or blind before your kids reproduce. Perhaps if your children are never permitted to live at home in the first place, they don't expect to return there to live as adults.

So my point here is: the rich who ship their kids off to boarding school at a young age aren't morally bankrupt. They are enlightened VISIONARIES.  Alas, my children will attend Chicago Public Schools. And I didn't see a room and board option on the form.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Food Issues

We like cake so what's your freakin' problem?

I quit a lucrative job to stay home when my twins were born because I was convinced my constant presence in their fragile little lives was of utmost importance. Looking back, perhaps it was in their best interest to ship them off to an orphanage upon birth and ask that they be returned when they turned 25, assuming Angelina Jolie didn't adopt them first. Add "proper nutrition" to my growing list of failures as a mother, which currently includes not potty trained, still drinking milk from a bottle, general menace to society.

But all of this isn't really my fault, right? RIGHT? It's clearly theirs. I've long suspected my children have devised a sinister plan to slowly drive me insane. So slowly that I wouldn't really be sure when in fact my mind reached the brink of a breakdown at which point some very big men in very white jackets would show up at my house and take me to an undisclosed location where my brain would be subjected to severe electrical jolts. Which might actually feel like a vacation right now. I would think of it as an all-inclusive Sandals-like resort for the mentally ill. With the added bonus of being paid for by insurance.

My girls' food issues about have me near that point. Men in white / travel agents? You know where to find me. My children will only eat a subset of foods which require a diabolical amount of work on my part.

--Raisin bread with the raisins picked out. This went on for months until I finally scoured The Jewel bread aisle wherein I found a cinnamon loaf that looks and tastes remarkably like raisin bread sans raisins. Lulu looked at it and had the balls to indignantly demand, "Where are all my raisins?!" "YOU HATE RAISINS IN YOUR RAISIN BREAD AND MAKE MOMMY PICK THEM OUT LIKE A DERANGED PSYCHOPATH!" I concede that perhaps I uttered this a decibel too loudly.

--Blueberries muffins minus the blueberries. Fellow coffee shop patrons don't seem to appreciate my decimating baked goods in their presence.

--Chocolate chips cookies without the chocolate chips. Do you see a pattern?

--And perhaps most problematic, bagels with the crust cut off. Have you ever tried to explain to a pre-schooler that bagels are in fact SURROUNDED BY CRUST?

They won't try any new foods unless it contains 99 percent sugar. The other 1 percent should be some kind of artificial coloring. While other mothers lament their kids will only eat mac-n-cheese and chicken fingers, I would throw an elaborate party to celebrate this breakthrough and gladly serve it every night. And I wouldn't get all Jessica Seinfeld-y about it and sneak in pureed cauliflower and such.

So today Moxley nonchalantly looked at me while I attempted to gut a bagel, and says "Will you put jelly on top please?" My child, who won't eat foods "touching" other foods, requested a condiment, if in fact jelly is a condiment. No matter what food group, the kid asked for jelly! Thank you Caillou, the slightly slow and more-than-slightly annoying Canadian kid who loves jelly sandwiches! See the evidence of some nibbling:

Strangely, while they won't try delicious treats like hamburgers, bacon or chocolate, these kids love squash. Love it like I love Daniel Craig. Except they get to lick the object of their affection. Even grosser (them, not me), they like to eat the cubes I freeze. A SQUASH POPSICLE. I'll wait while you regurgitate. This is what a gnawed cube squash popsicle looks like. And yes, there sits a side dish of banana split lollipops. Oh, please, like you don't consider that a serving of fruit...

I'm already worried about packing their lunches for kindergarten in 2013. I don't think I can send squash popsicles.  Of course I can just send bags of Dum Dum lollipops and explain my theory that if the flavor has a fruit in the title (banana split, strawberry shortcake, coconut, tangerine...), it counts as a serving of fruit. Then see how many days it takes DCF to pay a visit.

PS -- Lest you be worried about my children's well-being, perhaps I should mention my kids also eat apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans and McDonald's french fries, a grossly under-appreciated member of the vegetable community.