Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ophiuchus July Horoscope

Whew. July is going to be one crazy month. The moon is moving voraciously into Uranus so, needless to say, money will be a bit tight. To save cash, you will stop spending money on expensive salon treatments. Your hair will frizz and your mustache will grow back. Hipsters will throw improvised gangish signs at you and ask you if Spoon is still touring. Tourists will stop you on the street to take pictures with you because they think you are 70s folk singer, Jim Croce. 

At this point you will lose it and start yelling that Jim Croce has been dead for years and don't you stupid tourists know anything? The hipsters start yelling "Yo Crotch-ey" at you. Then they take the dimes out of their penny loafers (because quarters would be too ironic and pennies wouldn't be ironic enough, like duh) and start throwing them at your eyes and neck. The tourists hold up real money and ask you to sing Operator (That's Not the Way it Feels). You do a quick count and see that there's just enough folding cash for a blow-out and a lip wax—tip too if you can turn in those dimes.

You decide to go for it. One of the hipsters offers to back you up on guitar and sing harmonies on the chorus because he was totally in a so-ironic-it-is-not-ironic Jim Croce cover band for about a week. You give it your all, but the tourists keep interrupting you to ask where they can find a good place to buy cheap t-shirts. Then the hipsters keep asking stupid questions because they were all born in the 80s, even your guitar player. You have to stop every few lines and say stuff like, “an operator is a lady who worked for the phone company” and “yes, it was always a lady” and “the phone company is too hard to explain” and “a match-book is something we used before iPhones to write numbers on with this thing called a pen” and “a pen is too hard to explain” and “I don’t know who Ray is and yes he is a total punk ass” and “see there used to be this thing called a phone booth and phone calls cost one dime” and “dimes are those round things that you tried to blind me with earlier” .

Somehow, even though this is an improbable future situation dictated by a bunch of stars that look like Bruce Campbell, the whole thing was impossibly caught on tape (with your comments edited out for time and profanity). Enjoy:

Your lucky numbers are 5, 7 and bored face emoticon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day, You Big Softies.

Yesterday, my five-year old spent part of the afternoon in Clock Town, a fictional village in Nintendo's classic game Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. She mostly just ran around and hit stuff with her sword: doors, trees, villagers. It made me realize two things. One, I should have taken her to the playground. Two, I made the right decision in naming her Zelda.  We had been nervous about the name, as it outed us as the giant video-game dorks that we really are (and is there really anything wrong with being outed as who you are?), but it soon proved to be a crowd pleaser. Immediately, really. When we first took her to the NICU, her nurse was waiting for us, excited to meet her first Zelda.

We had told the nurse, as we tell everyone, that when we saw her tiny Betty-Boop chin, we just had to give her a 20s-style name. And for 20s-style names, we could only think of Daisy and Zelda. Being gamers we, of course, could never give our beautiful daughter the name Daisy. (It's hard to explain.) So we owned our dorkitude and gave her the name that connotes at once a beloved video game franchise and a flapper who died in the crazy house. With no regrets. WITH NO REGRETS!

However, after learning that her cleft-palate and small chin and short tongue were all part of a birth *blergh* defect called Pierre Robin Sequence (pronounced Pee-air Roh-ban. It's French, bitches.), I was slightly bummed to know that her vintage look was not handed down from me, or even my husband, but was due to the fact that her embryonic self had gotten all comfy in the womb, with her chin tucked onto her chest and her tongue on the roof of her mouth. But only slightly. I had enough to worry about what with finding a cleft-palate bottle that would keep the baby fed and happy, not cause gas and could not be used as a formula squirt-gun by said baby (as Meatloaf once eloquently, and possibly drunkenly, said, two out of three ain't bad).

And it seemed like as soon as she had graduated from formula to pizza, we had a whole other problem to worry about: speech. Since before she began to speak, she's had speech therapists. (She had more speech therapists than she had bottles, and she had a lot of bottles.) None of them, not even the cranio-facial team that managed to keep her fed and breathing (with the help of an oxygen tank that looked more like it belonged between Slim Picken's legs than next to the crib), had any idea why her speech  was so *blergh* BAD. And now we need to worry about how long into the grammar school experience kids will be pointing at her and saying, "She sounds like she's speaking Japanese."

We're hoping before second grade (or the age when all our adorable little sweeties turn into tortuous little monsters), but at our last visit to the Cranio-Facial clinic (after yet another head X-Ray, that Zelda decided to color pink because she must have pink bones) our hopes were tempered when they told us that the problem would either be solved with therapy or surgery, but they didn't know which and we should "hang in there". And like the proverbial kitten in the tree, that's what we've been doing.

The next day, I came home from pre-k drop off to find my husband weepy and emotional. Big, manly tears of masculinity, I'm sure. I immediately blamed Facebook. Rightly so. He informed me that he had been crying for ten minutes straight about this video:

Yep. Big manly tears. I even shed a couple myself. A stupid video game commercial, yes but one that shows that Robin's (pronounced Raw-bin, it's American byatches) little baby Zelda (and proof of his own dorkitude) has grown into a beautiful young woman and even more beautifully into her name.

"Well this will cheer you up," I said. "Zelda took the pictures of her cleft and her head X-Ray to pre-school today. She asked her new speech therapist to help her tell everyone about how she was born with a cleft palate and how she couldn't suck when she was a baby and how her tongue was on the roof of her mouth when she was in my tummy."

"She's owning it," He gasped. More manly tears.

This morning, for Father's Day, even though she can't really pronounce "daddy", Zelda will be making her daddy pancakes and showing him how to play her new game: Link to the Past. There might be more manly tears.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Problem with Kitty Cat Heaven

When Snappy was a baby, I used to carry her around in a Baby Bjorn. She slept soundly, nestled between my boobs in a brazen, SIDS-defying face-down position. I took her everywhere. I even took her with me when I did my comedy walking tours--which had us trekking from Union Square to North Beach to Chinatown and back. She always returned home from those tours well-rested and with bright, red lip prints on her head from the old women who could not resist smooching the newborn who was helping to lead the tour.

Snappy and her kissable head.

Now the conventional mom-tip wisdom at the time would have me smacking the Clinique Parisian Red right off their presumptuous mouths lest they spread their deadly germs to my fragile baby.  Thankfully for them, and for the tour company I worked for, I chose to follow my own instincts instead of the “wisdom” of the tiposphere. This attitude served me well when, at seven months, Snappy started to treat the Bjorn like her own personal bouncy house, jumping like a grasshopper from the moment she got in to the moment I kicked her happy little butt out due to the massive strain she was putting on my upper back. The poor thing, life was just too exciting to experience sitting still.

If I’d been a devotee of the Attachment School of parenting, I would’ve had to get on the message boards and ask everyone how to stop my baby from jumping in the Bjorn, and everyone would tell me that their baby never jumped in the Bjorn and was I sure I breastfed in public places enough? And then I would end up staying in the Family Bed until the kid was old enough to walk on a leash. But because I was a devotee only to my own instincts, I was able to quickly and confidently banish my little jumping bean from my bazooms and let her experience the world from the stroller. Sure, we got a wee bit of tude from the other Bjorn moms (which is my excuse for the snarky tone of this paragraph), but I solved our problem the best way I could in a way that made sense for my back and Snappy’s sense of adventure.

Still, parenting by the seat of your pants is not always easy. Recently, my nearly five-year old baby girl laid across my lap and looked up at me with big, fat tears in her sweet, blue eyes and said, “Do kids die, mom?” I was on my own. Although there were, I’m sure, volumes of clinically researched advice on how to talk to kids about death, none of these sage tomes could help me. I told her that yes, kids do die, but most of the time they didn’t because grown-ups worked so hard to keep them safe and healthy.

I would’ve immediately jumped up and run around the room, singing the Rocky Theme had she not followed up with a mournful “Am I going to die, mom?”

“Well…” Yeah? Well, Miss I-Don’t-Need-No-Parenting-Advice…well what?

“I don’t want to die, mom.”

Well there it was. She had just conjured up my own personal boogey man. She had uttered the fear that I had lived with since she was still breaking my back from the inside. The fear so painful and persistent that I would gladly give my right arm for a pill that could leave me with all my capacities intact, but would  stop my brain from worrying about the ever growing, Gorey-esque list of all the things in the world that could kill my baby: everything from aluminum poisoning to old-lady germs to zoo-animal attacks.

“Well of course you are not going to die. Death is for suckers, not you.”


Okay, I knew that was the wrong thing to say, but I also knew that this topic would be revisited at another time—hopefully when I was better prepared. And the next time I was. When my little crazy-cat-lady-in-training realized that the fact that some cats went to kitty cat heaven meant that all cats went to kitty cat heaven, even *sob* Ralph, her beloved big, fat fifteen-year-old tabby, I was ready. “I’ve got an idea, let’s take really good care of Ralph, so that he can be with us for a very, very long time.” I said, successfully getting the mournful wail down to a pensive whimper.


The next time, I was not prepared. It came out of nowhere. We were having our usual argument about who loves who more, when she suddenly started to cry. “Don’t die, mom. You can’t die!” I knew how she felt, I’d felt the same way, every time I was faced with how awesome it was to have a Snappy, I was immediately cold-cocked with how impossible life would be without her. I wanted to break down with her and cry about how painful it was to have something to lose, but I didn’t. Instead, I told her the same thing I needed to tell myself.

“Hey Snaps, I’ve got an idea. Let’s take care of each other so we can both be old ladies together. Won’t that be great? What shall we do when we’re old ladies? Shall we go on cruises and out for lunch? Shall we take a walking tour? I know! Let’s walk very slowly through intersections and drive people crazy. That’ll be fun.”

And that worked. Mostly. The other night, she handed me a kitten book she had when she was a baby and, with a glance at the Cat Heaven book she had bravely insisted on taking out of the library, said “let’s read a happy book tonight.”

Later, she came out of her room, sniffing back what was threatening to be a torrent of tears and told me, “we can’t be old together, mom.”

I looked at her and said, with conviction, “yes we can.”

“Ralph too?” She asked.

“Yes, Ralph, too.” I said with less conviction. “Now go back to bed.”

A girl and her beast.

She did, but I could tell that she didn’t believe that thing about “Ralph too”. Which was fine with me because I could tell she believed that thing about us being old together, which helped me to believe it. As long as we were stuck facing that stinky old boogeyman, it was kind of nice that we were facing him together.

Up yours, Boogeyman!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memes for Moms

We've all seen them. They're all over Facebook and Twitter. Snarkily captioned pop culture pics that are only marginal funny to anyone, but even less so to moms. (With the exception of this site dedicated to our favorite new princess, Kate) We just aren't the target audience. Until now. Now, because these were made in about five seconds, while my kid jumped on the couch...they are, admittedly, craptacular. I promise to make the next batch in a program other than paint.