Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I get seized by these irrational impulses to take the kids places when there's not enough time or energy, or frankly, reason for the huge push required to do it. I guess it's the thrill of the challenge or maybe it's that I need to feel like I am getting out there somehow, but whatever it is, I dress it up as stimulation for young minds and off we go.

Today we went downtown. We parked at Pacific Place and I felt a great sense of accomplishment as we rounded the corner to the elevators and everyone was strapped in place. When we neared the doors to 6th Avenue, we passed by the Barney's New York display windows. There were female mannequins with sharp, shiny, white plastic points for heads wearing designer clothes, and at their feet, were at least one hundred Mr. Potato Heads all assembled exactly the same. When we went outside, there were male mannequins - these ones had actual heads, but no facial features, and they too were surrounded by Mr. Potato Heads. Manny was excited, but I was a little put off. What the heck is that about? It seemed stupid and meaningless to me. I hope they are donating all those toys when they are done. Maybe I have just revealed myself as someone who doesn't appreciate art, but if that's art, then I should have taken a picture of what Glory left in the bathtub tonight and submitted it to Barney's for display in their ladies' lounge.

After we left Old Navy with Manny's new school shirts in hand, we walked towards the kitchen shop on 4th. I could see up ahead that there were a number of people holding signs with those insipid pictures of President Obama plus Hitler mustache. I can feel my blood getting hotter even as I type this. The people looked so normal, but they were holding these signs which are so unbelievably offensive and strange and when she asked me if I would stop, I spoke the most sharply I have ever spoken to someone I do not know. Of course, what I said was, "no thank you," but it was a strongly put "no thank you." As we walked on, I got madder and madder. I don't know how loud I was, but someone listening in might have thought I had the syndrome where you swear involuntarily. (I demonstrated that again later this evening when I accidentally made my first calzone.)

I was so distracted that as I crossed fourth avenue, I totally miscalculated the width of my gigantic stroller and could not make it onto the sidewalk because there was a car and a man selling Real Change and a long line of newspaper boxes and fire hyrdrants and absolutely nothing I could fit between. I couldn't think straight and this nice 40ish man approached me and offered help. I told him that I was fine, but then it became apparent to both of us that I wasn't and was totally stuck. So he did a gallant thing. He lifted up the dirty front wheel of my gigantic stroller and placed it on level ground so my children were no longer hanging out in the middle of a downtown busy street. I thanked him and he walked away with a noticeable limp. I wonder if he has adequate health care. Thank you for your kindness downtown nice man.

Manny starts preschool on Thursday and I can't figure out where to write his name on his backpack. I am afraid I am going to get him to school chronically late and that I will not make it to parent night or forget his teacher's name or do any number of other dumb things that will prove that I am really not cut out for this mothering thing. The nail in the coffin will probably be when Manny screws up his macaroni self-portrait and drops some R-rated language. I think I need to start washing my own mouth out with soap. But everyone needs an outlet to release all the pent up pressures of the day. Why doesn't dishwashing or folding laundry achieve this goal? This seems so unfair.

My mom and Mike were here last weekend and we had a lovely time. My mom brought me a copy of my high school newspaper and as I looked through it, I realized that Manny is closer to starting high school than I am to when I graduated. Does that make sense? I finished 13 years ago and he will be a freshman in 12 years! WAIT! SLOW DOWN! How does this crazy stuff happen? Sam and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the other night and we both cried at the end because it is such a vivid description of how brief the magical moments of our lives are. And in that film, because they cannot make the moments last and they know that they can't, they savor. They really, really savor. This is something I want to get better at. Even right now, I find that I am squinting. I think squinting is a hallmark of "I am savoring this moment." Or maybe the resolution on the laptop screen is too bright. Either way, it is 10:02 and there will be very little savoring tomorrow morning if I don't go to sleep. I suspect I will dream of an army of Nazi Mr. Potato Heads wearing designer pants. Except Mr. Potato Head doesn't wear pants....

Maybe that's why Manny likes Mr. Potato Head. Gives him a role model for which items of clothing are necessary like hats and shoes and which aren't...namely, everything else.

1 comment:

Carmen Goetschius said...

If I didn't just put on fresh make-up I would allow myself to cry over this lovely posting. Thank you nice, downtown man with a limp. If I lived in Seattle I would commiserate (spelling?) with you over those fools holding the Obama signs. People devastate me lately... but then there is the man with the limp. There is light, isn't there!!! The precious moments in life are worth savoring. Thanks for reminding me! Love you!