Kiss With A Fist

Believe it or not, when I was a little kid, I was super shy. I didn’t really blossom until second grade when I changed schools. But, my first two years in school were pretty hellish, mostly because I was small and shy, and therefore, easy prey for the bullies of the public school system. Oh yeah, and I was smart. Smart enough that my teachers were somewhat frustrated with the fact that I already knew how to do a lot of the things they were supposed to be teaching me how to do. I was not particularly popular with my classmates or the teachers.

I remember riding my bike to school one time when I was in first grade. About a block from the school an older boy put a stick in my spokes and I fell. It was the last time I rode my bike to school. I’m sure when I got to my classroom I was told that the boy was being mean to me because he liked me. That was a common statement in my generation. Boys were routinely excused for bad behavior. If a boy put a worm in my hair at recess, I was told that he did it because he was trying to get my attention and the behavior was ignored. Even at the young age of six, I wasn’t buying it. That kid didn’t put a stick in my spokes because he liked me, he did it because he was a little asshole. He was a bully who waited around to attack someone smaller and weaker than him and I was it. The boy who actually did like me was riding with me and helped me up and gathered my possessions as his older brother chased away the bully.

My daughter is going to be 8 this week. She has had her fair share of boys being mean to her, and never have I told her that the boy was doing it because he liked her. I have also never told her that a girl was being mean because she was jealous, which is something I also heard growing up. I have, however, heard several adults tell my daughter or other girls her age these things. I don’t think either excuse is valid or accurate. It’s one of those leftover ways of thinking that makes little girls feel responsible for other people’s actions and base their self-worth on how other people view them. At the very least, it teaches girls to think they are causing boys to behave badly. But far worse, it is telling girls that they should expect boys to be mean to them and that it’s acceptable for boys to mistreat them both emotionally and physically as long as it’s because boys just don’t know a better way to express themselves. That’s a load of garbage.

I don’t know what it was that caused me to reject these ideas by the time I was in grade school. Maybe it’s the fact that my mom wasn’t the type of woman to let someone walk all over her, or maybe it’s because my dad taught me how to box by the time I could walk and told me to never be afraid to fight back. I would like to say that these early lessons brought me to where I am today unscathed but that would be a lie. I still dated some jerks, but not one of them tried to feed me a line of crap that they could hurt me because they loved me.

I am raising my daughter to value herself. I do my best to talk to her about why kids behave the way they do, honestly. I try to ask her how she feels and then let her know that she doesn’t have to hold onto her feelings, especially the ones that don’t serve her well. We must be doing something right because she has never said that a boy must like her because he is being mean to her. She has, however, pointed out that there are some kids who are just mean and all she can do is ignore them. I’ll chalk it up as a parenting win!

**This piece is brought to you by lots of Riot Grrrls!

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She’s a Supermodel

I took my daughter to get her hair cut last weekend. She has ridiculously thick, curly hair. It is beautiful, but when it gets too long it gets tangles. Some are so bad that it looks like she is working on some natural dreadlocks. One day I expect her to walk out of her room with a crocheted beanie on saying “Ya mon.”

Her hair is hard for me to deal with since I have the exact opposite hair. Mine is thin, soft and fine, much like an infant’s. We spend a lot of mornings fighting over the maintenance of the nest attached to the back of her head. I explain to her that even if she can’t see the back of her head it still needs to be brushed. She disagrees.

I started taking her to the salon when she was just a toddler, mostly because her hair was already getting out of control by the age of two. She has never cared much for it. I can’t wrap my head around that because the salon has always been one of my happy places. Maybe it’s because she has a hard time sitting still for long or maybe it’s because my little control freak can’t stand having her head in the sink staring at the ceiling. Even as a baby she hated lying on her back. Whatever the reason, she usually only lasts for about 15 minutes before she starts getting antsy.

Last weekend was her first visit to our new salon and stylist. I fully expected her to start squirming before the scissors even came out. Surprisingly, she didn’t start to dance around until after the blow dryer was put away. As our stylist was putting the finishing touches on her new do my daughter asked how much longer it would take. She got a clever response of “girl, beauty takes time!” to which my little mini-me responded “yeah, and lots of money!”

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Sock It To Me

Apparently my house now has communal socks. A month ago I bought myself new gym socks, but several pair have disappeared. A few weeks ago I found a pair on my daughter’s feet. The best part was she just thought I bought her new socks since she found them in her drawer. This is what happens when my husband folds the clothes. He has no idea what undergarments belong to who either. I found a pair of Wonder Woman underpants in my drawer awhile ago. They were a size 8, as in made for an 8 year old child.

One of the problems is that I buy cool socks. I bought a set of Harry Potter themed socks that have slowly migrated to my daughter’s drawer. The only ones she has not tried to swipe are the Slytherin pair. Anything that is Slytherin themed clearly belong to me, but the rest are apparently up for grabs.

It’s bad enough that my kid steals my socks, but now my husband is stealing them too. He met me at the gym the other day and promptly said “I think i’m wearing your socks.” I told him to pull up his pant leg so I could see and sure enough, I recognized them. He proceeded to tell me how soft and comfortable they were to which I responded “I should hope so. They’re cashmere!” I’m glad he was able to spend his last day at the gym in total comfort, but I don’t know if I even want the socks back now that they spent six miles on his sweaty feet. When he got home, he reached in his drawer and handed me another pair of the same socks. He had managed to confiscate two pair of my favorite socks without me even noticing.

I knew I would one day have to start keeping tabs on my clothing, but I thought it wouldn’t be until my kid was a teenager. I didn’t think I would be needing a lock on my sock drawer. And I certainly didn’t think I would be protecting my socks from my husband. Somehow I have a feeling I will be viewing him in one of my socks in a reenactment of a Red Hot Chili Peppers show circa 1988 soon.


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Not a Hairpiece

If I have learned one thing as a parent it is that anything I say that I do not want repeated will be repeated, and probably in public. Having a child is a lot like having a parrot. A very drunk parrot. Since I am usually the parent listening in horror as my child talks about the lazy neighbor who never brings in his recycling bin in front of said neighbor, I am always amused to hear other people’s children do the same thing.

Luckily I get to hear all kinds of amusing bits of information from kids every week. I tutor first through sixth graders one day a week for an hour, and I am pretty sure I learn more from them than they do from me. Unfortunately, most of the things I learn from them are embarrassing stories about their parents or siblings. I know all about the mom who farted in the grocery store and the sibling who broke a window and blamed it on his friend. Sometimes I cringe at the stories as I think about what my daughter is probably telling one of her teachers about me. Then I remember that most of the stories my daughter is sharing I have probably already written about. I have no shame.

Yesterday, while tutoring, my 2nd grade student told me about how some boys are mean to her in school. She said one pushed her and another kissed her ear. I was thinking to myself how much her thinking would probably change about the ear kisser by the time she reaches high school. Today, however, she was thoroughly disgusted by a boy’s lips on her ear. She told me she had to go home and wash her ear. The kissing bandit had her pretty agitated. She looked me right in the eye when she said “Boys are gross. They all have HERPES!” I almost fell right out of my chair before I asked if she meant cooties. Her reply was “that’s it. I always say that word wrong.”

I’m not so sure I am qualified to teach sex education, but this guy is:

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I Can’t Quit You

The quietest sauna in this zip code!

We finally cancelled our gym membership after complaining about the place for a year. We were paying a small fortune to change in filthy locker rooms, shower with mold and get hit on by hairy old fat men in the co-ed sauna. I know that last one might seem like a perk to some people, but seriously, I have been given the head to toe eyeball by an old man that I thought was wearing a sweater in the sauna. It was, in fact, just back hair. Not just any back hair – grey back hair, and lots of it. At least I didn’t have to see him later in the locker room, unlike my husband.

When I went to the membership desk to cancel, the woman behind the counter asked me why. I said “where do I start?” before launching into my three page list of reasons. She stopped me after every few reasons on the list to tell me what her solution was. I have to give her credit – she didn’t even have to read from a script and some of her solutions were not completely terrible. For instance, she said that she could ask the cleaning staff to clean the locker rooms. What a concept! I told her ultimately they can clean the locker rooms, keep an eye on the sauna and police the training area where people blare dance music on their phones, but they can’t change their clientele and that is their biggest problem. I pointed out that they had signs posted over all of the drinking fountains that read “Do not spit in the water fountain!” I don’t want to share space with people who don’t know that it’s not okay to spit in the drinking fountain.

First they lift, then they spit!

I know I have kind of high standards and some of the things that got my panties all bunched up didn’t affect my husband in the least (the old dudes in the sauna for instance). He complained about very few things – mostly the fact that he could never find a parking space and that every time he went to put his water bottle in a cup holder there was a wad of gum occupying the space. Strangely, I never noticed gum in the cup holders, but I once found some in the bottom of a locker. He was also sick of smelling weed in the locker room and finding the source of the smell in the form of a gaggle of twenty year old “boys” hanging out in the sauna talking about their many sexual conquests. I’m sure all their stories were true. I mean they were hanging out in a sauna, half naked with a bunch of other dudes on a saturday night. Plus, they were talking about what studs they were, so clearly they must be!

We only have a few weeks left before our membership expires and I am getting every penny worth in these last few weeks. I have been at that place for a few hours a day every day of the week, Of course I am turning into a gym rat two weeks before bailing. I noticed last week that the water fountain signs have been removed. The locker rooms and showers are still filthy, but the life guards have been patrolling the sauna. I haven’t seen my friend with the sweater, so maybe he was told his presence was a health code violation.

While I was walking out of the gym last week a couple was walking through with a salesman. They were asking about parking and stated that it was difficult for them to find a place at 8 pm the first part of February. The salesman responded “yeah, parking in January is hard because everyone goes to the gym after the new year. It gets better.” I know that after the first of the year I have a hard time remembering what year it is, but this poor sucker was stuck In January. As I passed by I looked right at the couple and said “It’s not any better in June!” Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

This post was brought to you by coffee and the Beastie Boys!!

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