Rebel Girl

My child has taken up roller skating. This is an unexpected turn of events since she went to a roller skating party once in the second grade and hated every second of it. She had not tried it again until a few weeks ago when a friend asked her to go skating. Apparently she loved it because since then that’s all she has wanted to do. So much that we had to run all over town finding her a pair of skates so she would be ready next time.

Next time ended up being yesterday and it was with Mom and Dad. I hadn’t skated in at least 20 years, probably even longer, but I agreed to lace up and skate with her. After about three minutes I felt horrible about having sent her skating with her friend who had to endure hours of holding my kid’s hand while she tried to simultaneously hold the railing and make her way around the rink twice while barely moving her feet. This child was so afraid of falling that she barely let go of the hand rail. When we skated up behind someone standing at the rail or moving even slower than us (hard to imagine), she stopped behind them and waited. I finally started grabbing her hand and pulling her along with me. I tried a few times to pull her away from the rail and you would have thought I was trying to drown her watching her arms flail.

I have to say that walking into that place brought me right back to being a teenage girl. I’m not sure how they manage to stop time but there are a lot of 60 year old women looking for whatever magic lives between those four walls. Time has actually not progressed in almost 40 years at this rink. Even the carpet is exactly how I remembered it. All of a sudden I had the urge to smoke a cigarette and rat my hair. Walking past the bathroom on the way in brought me right back to the time a girl threw a slushie at me because her boyfriend asked me to couples skate on a Friday night. And lacing up the rental skates brought me right back to lacing up my speed skates, getting ready to win whatever crappy ribbon and free snack bar treat was waiting at the finish line.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to be on wheels again. It had been a long time and lets be honest, breaking a hip after a fall would not be all that unlikely for me. I have made it through 5 years without a stupidity-inflicted injury, but it’s only a matter of time before I trip, slip or fall. But apparently skating is a lot like riding a bike because once I was on the rink, it was like I had never taken off skates. Within a few minutes I was skating backwards and spinning in circles. I even got a little gutsy and sped around the rink a few times only wobbling a bit while trying to do a crossover on a turn.

I refrained from getting back on the rink when they called an adults only skate and opted to watch the crazy old black guy who kept waving and fist bumping people as he made his rounds. I am always up for embarrassing my kid, but not to the extent that she’ll never leave the house again. A bunch of boys from our neighborhood were there who would have tortured her relentlessly if I made an ass out of myself. Plus, if there was a time for me to fall and break a hip, it would have been in that moment. I try not to temp fate, especially with the kind of karma I have earned. I saw that old black guy’s wife as well, and she looked like she had thrown a slushie or two in her lifetime. 

I have to say, I never thought I would be hanging out with my kid at the same place I used to flirt with boys and smoke cigarettes. But here we are, and I honestly couldn’t ask for much more. Well, maybe that my legs didn’t feel like I ran six marathons the next day.

*Spending the day in a time warp had me listening to some music from my youth – Violent Femmes.


Santa Baby

Every year I ask my daughter what she is going to ask Santa to bring her on Christmas morning. Every year I am confused by her requests. This started very early in life. The Christmas before her third birthday she asked for the Hulk. She had a major crush on the big green guy for a few months prior and wanted a 12″ plastic action figure which she then slept with and carried around for months. The following year, she asked for a Catman stuffed animal and Velma barbie doll. Both of these things took months to find and cost more money than the drum set that also arrived Christmas morning.

The nearly unattainable gift requests have continued almost every year. The problem seems to be that my kid, much like her mother, leans toward the unconventional. Last year she asked for a KISS onesie (which do not come in kids sizes), Hocus Pocus dolls (which do not exist) and a hand written note from Santa placed under her pillow (good thing she is a heavy sleeper and I can forge almost any handwriting). I’m not sure if she makes these requests to test Santa’s abilities or if she is just really high maintenance, but at this point I am almost looking forward to the day she no longer believes in the fat man.

I am guessing that day may be around the same age she gets her driver’s license. I believed in Santa for years after my peers gave up. In my defense, my dad was an elfing genius. We took off for midnight mass every Christmas Eve and when we returned home hours later, the tree was packed with gifts. I found out years later that he had some guys who helped with the gifting. I am still impressed that someone was able to get a giant gymnastics mat through the door and into the living room alone.

This year when I asked my daughter what she would be requesting for gifts she exclaimed “a grappling hook and a bullhorn!” without missing a beat. I have no idea what she plans to do with either of these items, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the grappling hook is to climb up to the roof and the bullhorn is to yell at me to bring her things while she is on the roof. Maybe I should get a second grappling hook for my inevitable rescue mission. Actually, I should probably get three so my husband can make the climb once both of his girls are stuck on the roof.

The most ridiculous part of the requests from Santa is that every single year she talks about something she wants for months and then decides she doesn’t really need it at the last minute, but really needs something else (like a KISS onesie). Every year I tell her Santa must be watching her when she receives the Harry Potter onesie she talked about all summer, so I guess it actually helps the cause. This year I was sure she wanted an enormous Harry Potter lego set. I was wrong and I don’t mind being wrong, but it would have been a lot easier to swallow four months ago when I had an additional $400 in my bank account. The good news is both bullhorns and grappling hooks are pretty cheap. But then she did what she does best and informed me that in addition to the two items she already mentioned that she was going to ask Santa for a gaming system and a dozen video games… at least it’s not a pony!

**I’m just elfing around listening to some punk rock Christmas music over here while I simultaneously shop for electronics I know nothing about and try to list a brand new lego set on eBay!!

You Can’t Sit With Us

Little girls are supposed to be full of sugar and spice, but a lot of them are full of piss and vinegar. I volunteer at my daughter’s school for lunch and recess once a week and I see a lot of sugar and a lot of vinegar. It’s always comical to me when I see the girls who try to show me how sweet they are while spitting venom at half of the kids around them.

When my daughter was in first grade a new girl entered her class like a little lightening rod of drama. She told fantastic stories about having to fly to Paris for the weekend for her father’s wedding and how her brother got drunk on church wine at his first communion. It didn’t take a detective to figure out this kid was lying, but it annoyed me that she was so bad at it. Not one of her classmates believed her stories. I explained to my daughter that she did this because she was the new kid and fearful that the other kids wouldn’t like her if she didn’t have enough material to keep them interested. When the girl continued this behavior a year later, my daughter started to really question her motives since she was no longer the new kid. That particular girl went on to a new school last September. She had run out of good stories by then anyway, so it was probably better to put her in a new setting to recycle some of her old tall tales.

Just like a mini Breakfast Club, the role of little liar needed to be filled and another girl soon stepped into that position. The replacement liar is more of a physical story teller, so she not only tells stories, she fakes physical ailments as well. She has a handful of girls believing that her aunt is Beyonce and that a variety of things make her faint, including the mere sight of any cheese lighter than neon orange. She noses around everyone’s lunches and snacks looking for items she finds offensive so she can put her acting skills to use. My daughter is usually one of her targets for commentary since she doesn’t buy into the notion that children should only eat garbage. Apparently the little con artist thinks that being the niece of a pop star entitles one to take the position of snack police because she sniffs around everyone else’s food making sure it is nothing she finds offensive. God forbid anyone pull out a mini mozzarella ball or an ambulance may have to be called.

A few weeks ago at lunch the fabricator was lounging on one of her friends pretending to be out cold from some food item being in her line of vision when I walked by and told her to sit up. She continued to play dead as I asked the other girls what was going on. When I said that clearly she had not fainted because she didn’t wet her pants they all started to giggle and poke at her. She immediately sat up and asked what I was talking about. I explained that when a person faints they often wet their pants since their entire body goes limp, including their bladder. I concluded with saying “so now you all know she is faking if she hasn’t wet her pants” and walked away. She hasn’t faked a fainting spell in school since then.

Interestingly enough, this little con artist is not a big fan of my kid. I think it’s because she has never bought into the stories and fake fainting gimmick. She also called her out when she made fun of a middle school boy because he had eczema on his hands. My daughter’s bully and bullshit meters are pretty strong. She came home the other day and told me that twice in the same week Pinocchio came over to the table she was sitting at and said to the girls she was sitting with “come on guys let’s move over there” to leave my daughter sitting alone. When I asked my daughter what happened next she said “nothing, other people sat down with me” and moved on to the next story she was dying to tell me. The following day I watched my daughter pick up her lunch box and bring two of her friends over to sit with a kid who was sitting alone. Sometimes the lessons learned in the lunch room are as important as the lessons learned in the classroom.

At one point my kid asked me if I had talked to the little liar and her crew about how they had left her sitting alone and I told her I did not. Even though the ring leader was hanging around me more than usual chatting me up like any competent Regina George vying for prom queen, it staying out of the situation knowing my kid can handle herself. Truth be told, if I had my say, I would tell my daughter to stay far away from the little storyteller before she gets wrapped up in some ponzi scheme situation by middle school. But I don’t need to tell her anything, I’ll just continue packing all that munster and mozzarella cheese in her lunch sprinkled with a little holy water for good measure.

*I wrote this while listening to Rat Boy

Miss Communication

It’s amazing what you can learn on a seven minute drive. Every morning I feel like I gain a wealth of knowledge from my 8 year old passenger. Most of this knowledge is about the best books in the orange dot level at the library or which girl’s feelings were hurt because another girl didn’t want to sit with her at lunch. I get the gossip about who may or may not have had lice and who is telling people she is related to Beyonce (she isn’t).

I rarely get information I can share at a dinner party. I am always looking for this type of data since I suck at small talk. My conversation starters are usually “So, who is your favorite serial killer?” or “I used to have to wear leg braces to sleep at night when I was a kid. Weird huh?” So, this morning when my daughter asked me if I wanted to hear all about Walt Disney, I was like hell to the yes I do!

Unfortunately after reading all about Walt’s life, her knowledge consisted of three things which she listed for me. He was born in 1901 and died in 1966 of lung cancer. He married a woman he worked with named Lilly. They had a daughter named Diane but they didn’t like her so they found another baby. When I asked her to elaborate on the part about the children she said she forgot what the story was but they had a baby and they didn’t like her so they got another baby. I asked what they did with poor little unlikable Diane and she said she had no idea. She did wonder how parents couldn’t like their own baby though. I had so many questions and she had so few answers.

Unfortunately we arrived at her school before I could dig a little deeper into this story, so I had to go home and google the whole Disney child situation. The story as presented led me to believe Walt and Lilly had a child and gave her up for adoption and then later went on to have another child. This was not at all the case. They had a biological child named Diane in 1933 and then adopted a child named Sharon in 1936. They loved both girls and doted on them. Apparently Diane made them love parenting so much they expanded their family and gave her a sister. I was happy to know that Walt and his wife were not the type of people to dump their kid and trade her in for a new one. That would be like learning Mr. Rogers was also the Zodiak Killer.

I guess I am going to have to share with my kid what I discovered. It’s these little bits of useless information that nestle into your brain and I wouldn’t want her sharing that Walt and his wife traded in their first child for a better one at a dinner party with her boss twenty years from now. Either that or I just tell her all about the little girl we were thinking about adopting next time she acts like a little asshole. I haven’t decided yet.

*I wrote this while listening to some good old fashioned Christmas music!

Everyone’s a Critic

My daughter loves cooking. She also loves eating and has a pretty refined palate for a child. Tonight, she took one bite of the fish my husband had prepared for dinner and went directly to the refrigerator. She pulled out a jar of capers and half a lemon that had been sitting on the counter and returned to the table to top off her fish. I have to say I loved watching this, mostly because my husband has added extra spice, toppings or ingredients to pretty much every dinner I have ever cooked. I am a three ingredient kind of cook whereas he is a believer in layers of flavor. Apparently his cod didn’t have quite enough layers for our little lass though. As I was smirking at her going to town on her plate like Cat Cora she turned to me and said “What? You know I have to have capers on my fish!” Precocious does not even begin to explain this child some days.