Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things My Daughters Can Learn While Standing in the Grocery Checkout Line

1. The clever gift-giver can get one's husband a threesome for his birthday! (I wish I were kidding. I Got My Husband a Threesome For His Birthday was an actual Marie Claire headline.)

2. You can be famous for simply being beautiful, or for having multiple plastic surgeries by the age of 23.

3. John Edwards is a douche nozzle. (True story, unfortunately.)

4. How quickly Kendra or one of those Kardashian women loses her baby weight can be of national importance. (Also, the term post-baby bod will eventually reside in their brains, taking up cerebral space forevah.)

5. Straight couples have been messing up marriage for an eternity. (And yet...we fear the gays.)

6. Your perfect weight is approximately 20 pounds underweight.

7. A celebrity's weight fluctuations are important! Really! We need to know that Scarlett Johannson lost 20 pounds for Iron Man 2, or that Gwyneth softened up for her next movie role.

8. Cosmo keeps coming up with new, never-before-printed ways to please your man, every month! Because the possible variations that exist between two people are limitless, thanks to their intrepid sex reporters. And you'd better learn them, otherwise...Tiger Woods, ya'll!

9. If you discover your future husband has a penchant for Nazi memorabilia, you might want to rethink the engagement.

10. Larry King STILL has sex. (There should be a cut -off.)

11. We're supposed to be thrilled when the rich and famous get caught at the beach with cellulite, and pissed when they're not.

12. Reese Witherspoon is moving on.

13. It's okay to mock fallen stars, and then pretend to feel just awful when they die broken and alone.

14. It's acceptable to pay $1.25 for a 12-oz Coke when you could get a 2-liter on sale for a dollar.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ace of Cakes, I'm Not

Hannah's birthday is coming up, and as soon as I can get over the fact that my firstborn is turning 7, (7!), I can pick my jaw up off the floor and proceed with party planning.

We have only done the family thing thus far, which is awesome, because I don't have to worry about protecting the grandfather clock or wood floors or freshly polished sconces when they're around, like you might have to with a house full of 6-7 year olds. Pop-pop won't be chucking toys in the living room and Nani won't be making deep tracks in the floor by pushing down too hard on the vintage Matchbox cars.

You think I'm kidding about protecting things? I'm married to a conservationist. This guy is down at Nemours making things pretty again on a daily basis, or at the Rodin Museum, or gussying up Joan of Arc. Stuff matters to him. So kids, in a lot of ways, are kind of like his nemesis. Well, kids, and time and the elements and such.

But, I can't blame it all on conservation. It kind of makes my insides shrivel up and die simply thinking about planning games for a group of children. Chaos makes my head spin. It's not my thing, and I think it's good that I can admit that to myself. Luckily, both my kids feel exactly the same way about chaos. It's quite convenient.

This is the first year, however, that Hannah has asked about a friend party. Specifically, she wants it at a bowling alley with everyone. EVERYONE. At least I wouldn't have to plan any games, because...hello...bowling, but still....hello...cash money. The kids party business is a racket.

And I'd feel weird about her getting that many presents. We have too much shit as it is. I'm not eager to add to the pile.

Family inquires, and thus we can steer presents in an appropriate direction: clothes, or a Magic Tree House boxed set, a DS game or craft kits. But with friends? Who knows. Suddenly you have a set of iCarly DVDs where there is kissing (kissing!) or a Twilight beach towel that has Edward stalking Bella. I'm like, look at the pretty paper dolls, and everyone else is already letting their kids get a taste of vampire desire. I don't think vampire desire is appropriate until at least 21, right? Nothing has turned me into a prude quite as quickly as parenthood.

I also profess confusion at her particular cake wish. Here's a taste of a conversation we had about it fairly recently:

Me: Hannah, your birthday is coming up...

Hannah: I know, it's in 45 days exactly.

Me: How'd you know that?

Hannah: I'm keeping track with my calendar.

Me: 45 days exactly?

Hannah: Yep.

Me: Okay, well, you need to start thinking about what kind of cake you want me to make.

Hannah: I want a dolphin cake.

Me: What? Dolphins?

Hannah: Yeah, I love dolphins.

Me: Well, they're very cool creatures, but.....

Hannah: Why can't I have a dolphin cake?

Me: I didn't say you couldn't have one, I'm just a little confused. I've never heard you speak of dolphins before...

Hannah: I really like dolphins!

Me: ....you have no books on dolphins, no stuffed dolphin toys, no dolphin posters...

Hannah: Mom?!?!

Me: ...no dolphin movies, no bookmarked dolphin websites, no dolphin coloring books....

Seriously, the dolphin bit completely came out of left field, and I tried mightily last night to convince her that this Joy the Baker cake would be preferable:


Click on it, it's so pretty! And it has berries, and frosting with a scraped vanilla bean in it. Oh, yum!

But I also realize that kids don't consider a birthday cake a cake unless it has some Blue #40 or Red #20 on it, and also a crapload of sprinkles. And if I'm not going to do a friend party, I should at least find a way to make the dolphin cake a reality.

And I suppose, even if after the last crumb of cake is finished, she never mentions dolphins again, it will have been worth it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Woman Tries To Study -- A Play in One Act

(Scene: It's a beautiful weekday. Man has the day off, and is puttering around the house. Child 1 and Child 2 flit this way and that, generally agreeable. Woman is at the table, textbooks and notes splayed out in front of her. A scientific calculator is there, turned on, and a pencil rests right next to it.)

Woman: (Muttering to self): I don't get this rates of effusion thing. It's the whole solving for some damn thing under the square root. Basic algebra.

Man: Huh?

Woman: Just talking to myself.

(She picks up the pencil and begins to write quickly. She changes her mind, and starts to erase.)

Woman: Fuck.

Child 1: Mommy, can I have a snack?

Woman: Oh my God. Ask your father.

Man: Why is it so dusty in here?

Woman: Because you never pick up the rag, or Pledge, and then dust with those two things.

Man: Seriously. There is like a layer of dust in here an inch thick.

Woman: Cleaning supplies are in the basement.

Child 2 (voice coming from the 1st floor bathroom): Mommy, can you wipe me?

Woman: Is this really happening to me? (She gets up and goes into the bathroom to help Child 2. She comes back and sits down again, picking up her pencil.)

(Child 2 runs out of the bathroom and into the living room.)

Woman: Get back in there and wash your hands!

Man: We need to dust more often. This is disgusting. For real.

Woman: For real? We? I think you just mean me. Because in a marriage, that's what 'we' means.

Man: Don't be so sensitive.

(Woman picks up her pencil, surveys its point, and briefly considers violence. Shaking her head, she renews her efforts and tries to concentrate.)

Woman (in a low voice): When hydrochloric acid is poured over potassium sulfide, 42.1 ml of hydrogen sulfide gas is produced at a pressure of 758 torr and 25.6 degree centigrade. Write an equation for the gas-evolution reaction.

Child 2: Mommy, can I have a snack?

Woman: Did you wash your hands yet?

Child 2: (guilty silence)

Man: Wash your hands!

Woman: Wash your hands!

Man: What is the deal with hand-washing? Why is it such an event?

Woman: It is ALWAYS an event.

Child 1: Can I use your calculator? (Grabs it.) Mommy, what is 457 + 32?

Woman: This is insane. You all just wait until I'm in school full-time. I will be biting off heads left and right.

Child 2: Can I have a snack now? I washed my hands. Smell them.

Woman (to man): Can you please get them a snack so I can hear the end of this line of questioning?

Man: It's 3:30pm. Isn't it too close to dinner?

Woman: Modern pennies are composed of zinc coated with copper. A student determines the mass of a penny to be 2.484 g and then makes several scratches...

Man (from in kitchen): What can they have?

Woman: ...in the copper coating to expose the underlying zinc. The student puts the scratched penny in hydrochloric acid, where a reaction occurs between the zinc and the HCl...

Man: Fruit snacks?

Woman: No, they already had those today. It's actual fruit or vegetable right now. That's it.

Child 2: Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Woman: ...the student collects the hydrogen produced over water at 25 degree Celsius. The collected gas occupies a volume of 0.896 liters at a total pressure of 792 mm Hg. Write the equation for the reaction and calculate the percent zinc in the penny assuming that all the zinc in the penny dissolves...oh my God. Seriously. Oh my God.

Child 1: Mommy, what are we having for dinner tonight?

Child 2: Poop! Eat the poopy. Cook it up. Fry some poop. Poop on rice.

Man: That's enough. Leave Mommy alone, she's trying to study.

Child 1: But I just want to know what we're having for dinner tonight.

Woman: I have no bloody idea.

Child 1: Is Chemistry hard?

Woman: For people with small children, yes.

Child 1: But you have an A, so we must bring you good luck.

Man: Look at the crumbs on this floor. We should sweep in here more often.

Woman: I should probably go to the library.

Child 2: Can I come?

(The curtain closes as Woman puts her head down on the cool expanse of her textbook and starts to cry.)

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