My besfrinn Cameron recently sent me Bossypants and aside from leaving me in sheer wonderment of the modern-day goddess that is Tina Fey, it made me think a lot about my own dad. Tina Fey devotes an entire chapter - "That's Don Fey" - to her dad and an adventure she had with him whilst renting a wet vac from the grocery store.
So, this week has been a little busy because my mom has been here visiting us and getting her fill of Cee time. Last time she was here, Cee was just on the brink of taking some steps but hadn’t made that leap of faith into full-fledged walkdom yet. That didn’t stop us from going shoe shopping with Grammy while she was here, though. Back in early March, we fitted Cee with her first pair of high-tops:
Now since she’s walking, running, and basically being a human, she’s having tons o’ fun with Grammy. The three of us have been going out on the town while B works on his summer courses for work.
My mom brought some dresses I wore when I was a Wee Eee, and they are in fantastic shape thanks to 30 years of moth balls. (And BTW, if y’all have any tips for getting the smell out but protecting the semi-fragility of the clothes, I am all ears. Dr. Google says to make a vinegar solution but I’m nervous that then she’ll just smell like an old mothy pickle.) Cee has been wearing them around town, making her the cutest little gal who smells like an attic.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Dressing my baby up and frolicking with my mom at stores that are normally outside of my price range. Today I learned that I love Talbots because I can go a size down there. Um, hello, new favorite store. (Don’t worry, Target, I still love you too, but y’know, it’s nice to see a number on the tag that doesn’t make me feel like I ate an entire cow for lunch. And to not be tempted for once with ceramic plates with mod owls all over them.)
Another fun thing happened this week! I ordered some business cards on which I call myself a freelance writer and a blogger. (I know.) A couple months back, I pitched a column to a local women’s publication in my town. And guess what? They actually accepted it! It’s going to be based on the parenting writing I do here. I figured that now I’m kinda legit and all I should start behaving as such and order some little cards.
And spend an arm and a leg at Talbots on fancy clothes.
Emily for hire. I’ll write you some words. (Don’t worry; the cards don’t say that.)
It’s no surprise that we liken newborns to sacks of sugar and hotdogs and tacos. (No? Just me?) They are as inanimate as various foodstuffs and their toes and ears just as delicious. We hold them up and admire them, but they’re not really humans because they lack the characteristics inherent to adults and even toddlers.
Then they learn to roll, walk around, and bump into things. Their ability to move is experimental and aimless. Without hindsight and foresight, they seem to volley from room to room simply because their muscles don’t want to atrophy. They are kind of like a worm that gets cut in half but whose parts still move around independent of each other because its nerves – not its brain – are dictating its movement.
These taco worms, they are not of our kind. That’s what makes them so wonderful but also so mind-numbingly infuriating. They look like humans but their actions* basically prove that they’re not. Their human-ness is slow to appear, but with a bit of faith and the requisite patience, it will come. One day, you’ll push that baby from your figurative loins once again, and instead of announcing your child’s sex, the doctor will declare, “Congratulations! It’s a human!”
*Ie., when they throw their entire bodies to the ground when they are not allowed to lick the bottom of your shoe. Not like I’ve been there before or anything.
Wee Cee became a human over the weekend. An honest-to-God human.
In our bedroom, there is pretty much always a glass of water on my bedside table that I keep around but don’t drink because that would be logical and logic and I have a complicated relationship. C is obsessed with this water, and I’m usually able to snatch it out of her hands before she manages to splatter it all over the room and somehow make one and a half cups seem like Sea World. Saturday, though, she got the water, dumped it all out, and then had the wherewithal to retrieve my purse and deposit it on top of the wet spot so that we would not see it. That sneaky little bugger was covering her tracks. This is real human behavior, my friends. The whole right and wrong concept? She’s got it.
Then, a little later on, she was playing with B in her room when he called to me, “She just did pretty much the sweetest thing I have ever seen her do.” Truth. She had taken a rock that she had found outside, pulled out his hand, put it in his hand, and then made him curl up his fingers around it so that he would know that it was his.
Tears? Oh, there were tears. Lots.
My girl is becoming a human. Please welcome her to our complex world full of lies and love. And wish us good luck, too. I think things will only get exponentially harder from here on out because raising a human is slightly more complex than raising a hotdog.
I have always liked thinking about the relative simplicity of early humans. I imagine that they lacked the need to organize their peers into little piles like we do today: best friends, colleagues, schoolmates, hated enemies, people they drank with, people they prayed with. There was no hustle and bustle to meet with the disparate groups at dumb meetings. All the human interaction our distant relatives needed could be found within their clans.
The clan just was. In the day-to-day task of survival, there was no time or necessity to look for others outside it who you could “identify” with better or who would support your idealized image of yourself. You were too busy inventing fire, not because you wanted to patent it, but because you needed it to survive. There was no “unfriending” if someone looked at you weird or said something that ran counter to your view of the fire. You needed your cavemates, so you coped with them no matter how they treated you.
Or you clubbed them. Same difference.
The irony of my view of early humanity is that life then wasn’t simple at all. People died young because their bodies were spent from a lifetime of toil and hardship. They were busy laying the groundwork for our contemporary society. They were making fire so we could progress to a time when attending power lunches was as compulsory as awaking with the sun.
I’m not here to compete with those early humans, though. I know my life is cushier and iPadier, but there is no need to apologize for that or repent that I was born in a time when I have the option to have an epidural when I deliver the one child I’ll ever have. We modern folk get into a pattern where we like to out-hardship each other. The wars fought between working moms and stay-at-home moms come to mind; there is constant banter between who has it tougher, when in actuality each set of circumstances presents its own challenges. Parenthood is never easy in any of its forms. And thus is humanity, no matter what century you’re born into.
Unlike the cavemen, we live in a time when we have a need to venture out of the tribes we’re born into to find our people – the people who add texture to our lives. It’s now largely safe to do so (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. And our moms.) Much like the early nomads, we travel the Earth to look for the things and people that click for us and who make sense within the personae we try to craft for ourselves. We open our mouths and talk along the way so we can see if those we meet speak our language.
In my experience, they often don’t. It’s frustrating to look for a group that I can be a part of and then just get shut out again and again because I just don’t fit neatly within it. It’s not that their tribe is excluding me intentionally; the rejection is mutual because they don’t feel right to me either. Did those ancient humans even have this luxury of choosing confidantes and allies from a large pool?
But then, through trial and heartbreak and very literal searching, we find them: the people we can pour our hearts out to safely. They help us understand the complexities of this overwhelming world we’ve created, a world that’s moved beyond hunting and gathering and instead fills its days with status updates and Instagrammed omelettes. We don’t have to apologize for our quirks and foibles to them because they just get us. They understand the parts of us that we don’t even understand ourselves, and we both grow out of the experiences we have together. They challenge us in a nonconfrontational way to be our best selves.
These are our new, modern clans: the people we find who help us keep our paltry fires flickering even when the rain starts pouring. Our people are our families, yes, but they are also the kindred spirits we meet along the way. The coworker who becomes a friend when they catch you crying in the bathroom, the classmate you barely noticed at first but who eventually becomes your spouse, the person behind the screen who reads your story and tells you they love you for it.
We pick our people up in unexpected places and somehow form a community that our predecessors would identify as a tribe, a tribe that keeps the world small even as it expands around us.
Who are your people?
Every so often, a show is born that is a critical darling but is largely ignored by the TV viewing public. Arrested Development was such a show. It only made it through two and a half seasons before it got cancelled, much to the dismay of pretty much anyone who has ever tried to impress you with their TV-viewing savvy while you both knocked back some cold ones at a hipstery bar.
But then, the world decides to not be horrible so it gives that show a second chance. A week into the fourth season of Arrested Development – now streaming on Netflix – I am not sure how I feel about the new episodes. I was just a tad bit excited (yep, just a little bit) that one of my favorite shows of all time was going to be brought back, but I’m not really finding that the new episodes are living up to my own hype.
But now is not the time to nit-pick Arrested Development (although, obvs, if you want to geek out with me in the comments, this is your open invitation to do so). I should be so lucky that it was Arrested Development that was brought back and not My So-Called Life. Maybe it’s just me, but as much as I
loved adored MSCL, I don’t think Angela Chase could really exist in the 21st century, and I’d just about die if network execs brought her back and made her a Belieber. I’ll take an oddly independent collegiate George Michael Bluth over that, thank you very much.
Instead, let’s talk about some shows that we’ll never see brought back from the dead and thank our lucky stars that they are over and done with.
1. According to Jim
By my rough estimation, According to Jim was the worst show ever made. I can make this declaration because when I lived in Korea, it was sometimes the only show on TV that was in English, so out of pure desperation to hear my native tongue, I watched it too much and likely shortened my lifespan in the process.
Jim Belushi plays the dumb drunk husband to his hawt wife Cheryl. Betcha didn’t see that one coming. They have some kids who randomly show up and chirp generic sassy rejoinders, but mostly the show centers around the antics of Jim and his awkward brother-in-law Andy. Lots of oblique Chicago references are made because that is where the show is set, but in all the time I lived in Chicago, I never saw anyone as predictable and lame as Jim and his crew. This turd of a show somehow lasted eight seasons. Let’s keep it buried in the cancellation graveyard.
2. What I Like About You
If you think I am adding this show to the list because it’s fun to talk about the trainwreck that is Amanda Bynes right now, you would be correct. But What I Like About You is pretty gnarly on its own, and even if Amanda were making headlines for joining the Peace Corps and donating her All That residuals to the ASPCA, I’d still have no problems dumping all over it. In this cinematic masterpiece, teenaged Holly (Bynes) is sent to live with her older sister Valerie (Jenny Garth) in the Big Apple when her parents move to Japan. The show is marked by Jenny Garth having hissy fits every five minutes and Amanda Bynes channeling Jenny McCarthy’s hot snortiness. Yeah, thanks, but no thanks.
3. Step By Step
I get the feeling that Step By Step, which was part of ABC’s TGIF lineup in the 90′s, was trying really, really hard to revive the classic Brady Bunch formula of a brunette dad and a blonde mom merging together to form one super family, a family whose uniformly straight teeth would endear them not only to each other but also to the entire nation. However, unlike the Bradys, who were reunited many times because of their adorable kitsch (and, honestly, the fact that they dated each other off-camera just begged the question of whether they’d let their guard down for their 1980s Christmas reunion specials), the trials and tribulations of the Lamberts don’t leave you wondering what trajectory their lives went in after the show ended. I would be halfway interested in seeing a reprisal of Suzanne Somer’s other show. Just sayin’.
4. Ghost Whisperer
I read something once that said that the cheesiness inherent to Ghost Whisperer, “is okay because other elements of this show work well together and there are enough twists and a season-long story arc that makes things worthwhile.” Um, no. I humbly disagree.
Ghost Whisperer starred Jennifer Love Hewitt. She can talk to ghosts, and she does. And she feels for them. No, no; she feeeeeeeels for them, and in doing so, she helps knit together such a tight web of corniness and melodrama that I am unable to watch reruns of this show without getting stabby. It will likely be in syndication for all eternity because grandmas who love the supposed wholesomeness of JLH will always exist, but I don’t think there will ever be a big clamor for it to be brought out of Cancellation Land. Say what you will about the yuppy hipsters who demanded more episodes of Arrested Development, but they are more organized than Great Aunt Gert and her cohorts.
5. The Office
Oh, The Office.
The Office, The Office, The Office.
How I loved thee when you were fresh and new. How I loved you when Pam still had a bad perm, Michael was sleeping with Jan, and before writers decided that Angela should be made into a semi-likable person. And while I will always remember the good ol’ days, I cannot forgive you for your last seasons where you went down in a tailspin with all this “Robert California” BS. Sadly, I don’t think anyone else will either, and for that reason you will likely never be brought back unless you kneel at the shrine of Steve Carrell and beg for his blessing.
What are some shows you never want to see return?
Also, Arrested Development. Discuss.
Twindaddy graciously invited me to write a guest post on his formidable corner of the Intertron, and I, of course, was all over that.
Then – surprise, surprise – Wee Cee commandeered the keyboard while I was busy watching Arthur (because, let’s be honest, I am more of a fan than she is. She has yet to appreciate the tragic humor of beauty school dropout Binky Barnes.) What resulted was a meeting of the minds between her and Baby C, TD’s toddler.
I guess that makes the title of this post a lie, as I didn’t write some stuph. She did.
Don’t make the babies cry.
It will happen. You will think your baby is immune to it and that it’s an affliction that only claims children who log 30+ hours each week in the Pit of Filth otherwise known as McDonald’s Playplace, but you will be sorely wrong. You’ll wake up one morn lacking the ninja skills to effectively rid your child of their ubiquitous eye crusties. It’s happened.
You’ve got a grubby kid.
Grubbiness is more than just a blowout diaper or an entire cup of grape juice dumped down the front of your child’s white sundress. While massively catastrophic at the time, those can be cleaned with a dunk in the tub. Grubbiness, however, is more persistent and insidious. It comes in droves. It’s playground grit under their nails, oatmeal woven through their hair, a random rash likely caused by the duck poop they carried around the park for ten minutes before you noticed.
Wee Cee has been nursing a case of the nasts for nearly two solid weeks now, and I don’t see it abating until she’s off to the prom. I am incapable of staying two steps ahead of the film of babyhood that is constantly building up all over her. I will find a smudge of yogurt behind her ear and then recall that the last time she ate yogurt was two days prior. How could this happen? Is she stockpiling the stuff in the cavity of her Sleep Sheep and breaking it out when we think she’s napping?
I think it all started when she actually grew some hair. Up until recently, C has been sporting the natural pixie look. I birthed what was effectively a cueball and her hair was slow to come in. Then, the back overtook the front and now she’s got a Carol Brady flap-back thing happening. I lie. It’s a mullet. My child has hockey hair. Hockey hair that is constantly in that precarious cradle cap zone (“cradle cap” sounds so much cuter than “dandruff”, which is what it really is) and smells like wet dog even after it’s been shampooed.
Speaking of dogs.
You know how it’s kind of cute when your baby is teething for the first time? How those front teeth come in and you can just give them some frozen toy that assuages their pain? Yeah, it’s been my experience that teething molars is a completely different, disgusting ball game. The pain that is brought on when her molars come in induces so much drool that she looks like an inbred hound dog lacking a barrier lip to fight the influx of saliva. And that colorful teething ring? LOLOLOLOL. She gnaws on her hands and my keys and rocks and and and.
The good thing about molars, though, is that she can now eat more. I say “good” because I’m ironic. C is all about helping herself to whatever we’re having and smearing it over her hands, face, elbows, and highchair, but when it comes time to clean up after her meal, she makes like Regan McNeil and thwarts all our attempts to clean her off. It burns. IT BURNS!
Often, an odor that’s not that bad but certainly not right will emanate from her pores. I’ll smell something off and realize that it is my girl who I got done scrubbing vigorously not twenty minutes before. All the soap in the world will not be able to cleanse her of her musk of burnt cumin. The most fun she’ll have all morning is when she toots or burps loudly and then grins as if the secrets to the universe made themselves known to her through the bubbles of her gas. She’s basically a yogi of stank.
And crusty crumbs.
And playground sand packed into the tiny lines of her palms.
And onesies dotted with a potpourri of orange and purple stains.
Grunge was a style of music popularized by bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden when I was a preteen. Now it’s one of the recurring themes of my life. But that C? She doesn’t smell like teen spirit.
Since my blog stats are already at a super low right now*, I am going to go ahead and talk about a dream I had last night. There is nothing I could do to further estrange my readership, so I figure that now’s as good a time as ever to write a post that is the blogging equivalent of showing you pictures of people you don’t even know at a fundraiser or something.
*Seriously, though, thanks for sticking around. I’m still writing through it, and I hope to be on the other side of the doldrums soon.
Last night I dreamed that I was at a hospital waiting in a reception area for the results of a routine test that had been performed on me days before. I think it was probably a blood pressure exam or something humdrum like that. While I waited, B went to a drink machine to get a Coke. In his absence, a nurse came out to me with a pink and green book. She gave it to me and told me I was expecting twins and that one of them was for sure a boy. She could tell because he had a lot of hair. (I know.) I could look through the book to find more information on my babies. She told me all this out in the open, in front of other patients and with no confidentiality, which was odd to me even in the oh-it’s-totally-normal-that-my-husband-is-Kurt-Cobain reality of the dream. I asked her to stop talking so we could both wait for B to come back before she divulged more information that I was likely to forget or possess the wherewithal to convey to him. But she just led me to an exam room and left.
The exam room was just a huge, open warehousish space that was icy blue and separated with many curtain partitions. It had low ceilings and no windows. While I waited, I opened my purse and found a huge piece of raw beef that was in a Ziploc bag. I remembered that I had put it in my bag days earlier with the intent to throw it away. The bag was now punctured and leaking blood all over the contents of my purse. I threw it away in the exam room and decided to find a way to leave. When I left my partitioned cell, I noticed that all the teal blue equipment in the hospital was covered in splotches of blood too. So, dream me decided that my decision to leave was a good one because gross.
I woke up about then. My mind immediately went to the twins in the dream and how terrifying it would be if I were indeed pregnant (just to be 1000% clear with you, I’m NOT.) with not one new baby but two. Supes practical me started freaking out about where we would actually put these new humans if they arrived. Our apartment is small and we’re busting at the seams as C outgrows all her baby junk. Big girl carseat arrives this Friday and when I ordered it at Target.com I had half a mind to buy some training bras too.
Lying in bed, I probably chose to dwell on the practicality of housing two newborns rather than affording them – which would be the real issue we’d face – because it’s not as overwhelming. We won’t live in our apartment for more than another year, but I’m not sure we’ll ever be even modestly wealthy. Seriously, I don’t know if it would even be fiscally responsible for us to have another child. C’s cardiogram last month already wiped out the prospect of us going on a modest vacation this summer outside of the roadtrip to see family in Tennessee. You may have never heard this before, but kids are expensive.
Then I worried about how C would handle being an older sibling. READ: I worried about how I could handle being the parent to more than one child. The tens of you who read my blog know that I am pretty much obsessed with her. She is the best thing that ever happened to me and her eyelashes demand my attention at all times. And while I know in my mind that if I had another child, I would not love her or the new baby any less, I cannot imagine my heart growing any more to accommodate another child. It just doesn’t seem possible.
Yes yes yes, I know it would be possible, and in fact having another child would make me love C more. Love is not something that you run out of. It begets itself. But remember that the same brain that you’re trying to explain that to is one that dreams of rancid Ziplocked steaks leaking all over Subway Sub Club punch cards in her purse. That’s what we’re up against, folks.
I don’t even know. I fell back asleep pretty easily. For funsies, I took a pregnancy test this morning just to make sure my uterus is 100% empty. It was. And because I am totally logical, that made me sad. Anyone want to swap brains for a sec? I’ll throw in some spaghetti I made in the Crock Pot to sweeten the deal.
Likey me bloggy? Likey me Facey!
Have you entered to win a free Datevitation custom love coupon book? You still have time! Click here for details!
I like the things.
I like the pretty things that are made by hand or bought at the store or are cheap or are expensive. Things are nice. I like to amass them and touch them and get all Gollum-y with them.
But then I forget about the things. When we lived in Korea, we bought lots of things. Namely, DVDs. Impromptu DVD stores would open up in vacant storefronts and B and I would buy so many that we we could barely carry them home. We would carry copies of Love, Actually and Full Metal Jacket between our teeth as we lumbered back to our apartment. When it was time to leave Korea, we put our hundreds of DVDs on a boat and shipped them back to the US.
Half of our hundreds of DVDs never made the trip. We had been back in the US for a couple months when we got a letter from the USPS saying that a remnant of the box was found on a freight carrier and could we please describe the contents of the box? Erm, hundreds of DVDs? Possibly pirated?
You can’t take the DVDs with you, but you can remember the tiny storefronts that would open and shill an entire shipping container of pirated DVDs in the span of a day. You remember how you wanted to kill your husband that day because *once again* he didn’t rinse off his breakfast plate, but somehow bonding over your mutual love of Charlie Chaplin in a non-air conditioned store made you remember that your love was stronger than a congealed egg yolk.
We like the things, but the experiences are what we take with us. My mom always told me this when I was growing up and Mother’s Day and her birthday rolled around, and I’d be like fhjhgkjhkdlsahgdkjfgkjd I want to buy you the thiiiiiings!!! She’d kindly reply that things are nice but she just wanted a guaranteed moment when she could be with us.
It’s all true! I hate admitting that my mom was right (I enjoy deluding myself into believing that I am the smartest of all the people and I need no help…lulz), but those moments of bonding are what you take with you. They don’t get lost in a freighter because you chose the cheapest packing tape available.
It’s more of a lesson for me than for B that occasions should be celebrating with doing rather than getting. He’s a Spartan guy who just wants time with his best girl Wee Cee (and maybe some fancy teas and Alexander McQueen underpants. I can’t even.) The perfect gift for his second Father’s Day is a custom love coupon book from Datevitation that I made for him online, filled with outings and dates he can cash in for special C time. I picked from over 350 dates and activities for them to enjoy together, and I customized the text to include inside jokes and stuff that we imagine C to be saying. Once I was done making the book on Datevitation’s website, they printed it out in the good ol’ US of A and shipped it to me.
Datevitation is a family business committed to helping couples treasure the small (and big) moments of their lives. The illustrations in their books are completely customizable for any pairing: you can make a coupon book for your parent, your kid, your best friend, or your romantic partner. Books start at $20 so it makes for a thoughtful yet economical gift.
HOWEVS, since the lovely folks at Datevitation are so groovy, they are offering a special discount for you guys! Use the code WAITINGBLOG for $10 off your purchase in May or June. That means you can get a one-of-a-kind gift for Father’s Day (or any occasion) starting at $10! (True story: I spent $7 on a greeting card for B’s birthday last week. Let that sink in a little. SEVEN DOLLARS PLUS TAX for a piece of cardboard that I wasn’t even wild about. Datevitation books are an excellent alternative to overpriced greeting cards filled with words that are not your own.)
The order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery by Father’s Day is June 6 so make sure to get your order in before then.
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What is the best activity-gift someone has ever given you?
ME: I should blog more about Korea. I mean, come on, that stuff is gold.
B: Yeah. There are hardly any blogs about expats teaching English in Korea. No one does that. You would really have the corner market on it.
ME: Hey, now.
B: Just don’t be all like, “ZOMG you guys!!!! Look at how badly they speak English!!! It’s like totes hilar!!!!”
Good thing B rarely reads my blog because today, my friends, I am here to bring to you a fine assortment of t-shirts I bought in Korea. They have kept my top half clothed very well from my time of ownership. Are they totes hilar as well? You be the judge.
Here we have a screen-printed shirt with two ducks outfitted in hunting garb. Leave it to an American to find the one t-shirt in Korea with a gun on it:
I got this one during the World Cup in 2010. Sharia don’t like it. Rock the South Africa. Rock the South Africa.
B’s little voice is in my head chastising me for showing off all my shirts. Here is a palate-cleansing gray shirt from American Apparel in Seohyeon Plaza in Seoul to clear your mind of the idea that everyone is walking around in Korea looking like a lunatic. Shout out to Wee Cee for getting oil stains all over my one normal shirt.
Don’t be too jealous that I have the coolest Nirvana t-shirt in the history of the world:
Another cool band shirt I have is of The Rolling Stones. Here I am wearing it recently:
Now here’s the detail:
Yup. Maybe Mick Jagger’s mom was born in 1923?
Actually, no. I Wikipedia’d it and she was born in 1913. Don’t know where they got 1923.
I simply love this next shirt. B is a fan of Harmony Korine (of Kids and Gummo fame) and he finally figured out that my beloved shirt was referencing a documentary called Beautiful Losers:
What did I wear in the winters, you ask? We-he-he-ell. I’ve also got some sweatshirts for when it got cool outside. I liked this one because at the time I was wearing red glasses so it kind of looked like me:
And when that one was in the wash, I wore this one for obvious reasons:
I will leave you with this yarn breast hat that my friends found at HomePlus (for you Brits, this is the Korean leg of Tesco.) That was the first and last time that previous sentence will ever occur naturally.