Tag Archives: lord of the rings

Lord of the Remote

I don’t like to think of myself as dramatic, but every once in awhile a scene like the one described below occurs and I have to humbly accept my imaginary Oscar for best dramatic performance in a domestic situation. 

Son: Hey mom, can we watch “Lord of the Rings”?

Me: (dropping everything in my hands) I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT SINCE YOU WERE BORN.

Son: Mom, are you ok?

Me: (grabbing special edition extended DVD boxed set) Sit down and prepare not to do anything for the next 13 hours!

Son: Can I go to the bathroom?

Me: No. 

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I’m kidding, of course. I let him go to the bathroom. 

Once. 

The point is, we really are living in a magical time. A time where technology makes it possible for us to share everything we’ve ever loved and obsessed over with our children. EVERYTHING. Most of it at the click of a button. Even more amazing is that it’s something we already take for granted even though this instant nostalgia wasn’t around even a mere generation ago. 

I have no idea what my mom’s favorite TV show was when she was growing up. This is mostly because as her child I was genetically inclined to think everything she liked was dumb and therefore of no interest to me. But also she had very few outlets to share these things with me. Reruns and VHS tapes were pretty much it and that was only if some balding, cigar-chomping, TV executive (I’m just assuming they were all like that in the ‘80’s) decided they were worthy of reruns and/or VHS immortality. 

Meanwhile, my children have seen my favorite childhood TV show, “David the Gnome,” so many times they could write a passable doctoral thesis on it in multiple crayon colors. (Alas, my favorite childhood movie, “The Neverending Story,” didn’t go over as well because us ‘80’s kids were built of stronger stuff and didn’t get hysterical every time a beloved horse character committed suicide via swamp quicksand). 

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It’s not just movies and TV shows either. Thanks to the Nintendo Classic Edition, my kids and I have spent hours playing Mario Bros. together, side by side, just like I used to do with my cousins. The only difference now is that I’m finally the best player and my generic Mountain Dew has been replaced by generic Merlot. 

I’m basically getting to relive the best parts of my pop culture past while bringing my kids along for the ride. This is an extraordinary power and like all extraordinary powers, it’s super fun to abuse!

Take, for example, the fact I’ve been trying to force the Harry Potter books onto my firstborn for years. Pretty much once a week we have some version of the following conversation:

Me: You ready yet?

Son: For what?

Me: (in bad British accent) ‘arry Potter! 

Son: No.

Me: How about now?

Son: Nope.

Me: Now?

Son: Please stop, mom.

Me: Accio Interest!

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And THEN, after buying multiple Harry Potter Lego sets and T-shirts and light up wands and a sorting hat and discreetly playing the movies in the background and leaving the books scattered all over his room, my son brought home a worksheet from kindergarten and under the question “What is the title of a book you want to read?” he wrote “Hrry Pottr Nubrw 2.”* 

Did I trick him into wanting to read the books? Did I gaslight my own child? Did I grift my own flesh and blood?

Yup.  

It’s just, my kids have the WORST taste in entertainment. It’s all “Little Einsteins” and “Paw Patrol” and “Muppet Babies” but not the awesome old “Muppet Babies,” the new ones with the weird penguin. 

They don’t even like the good Disney movies. All the Disney movies ever made right there at their fingertips and they keep requesting “Sleeping Beauty,” the one where the princess is worthless and does nothing and has one job, not to touch a spindle, but what does she do? She touches a spindle because she’s human garbage. 

So, while I would never dictate what my children can and cannot like, because that would be wrong,** all I’m saying is that while they are still too little to figure out our three remotes and the convoluted sequence of magic buttons you have to hit in order to make them obey your every command, I’m merely going to gently guide them in the right direction. 

The right direction, of course, being “The Goonies.” 

*First, so cute, right? Second, I have no idea why he wants to start with the second book in the series but gaslighters can’t be choosers. 

**Right? It would be wrong? Or…no, no, it’s wrong. 

Like walking to Mordor

If my social media feed is any indication, every single child in the world had their last day of school last week.

Everyone, that is, except my son.

Who still has FOUR WEEKS LEFT TO GO.

Oh, that’s right. His last day doesn’t happen until mid-June. Because our local schools hate parents. And summer. And sanity.

Of course, being that he’s in preschool, the demands placed on both myself and my son are pretty low. So as much as I’m dying to have a very strict summer schedule of absolutely nothing, the problem isn’t that we have one more month of rigorous scholarly obligations (since pretty much our only requirements are that we’re both wearing pants when I drop him off). No, the problem is that I’m lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that is within walking distance of my son’s school. Nice, huh? Yeah, I thought so too. Back in September when I was naive and happy and and hadn’t pulled out all my hair. Back before I realized how exhausting it would be to also tote his toddler sister with us every morning and afternoon.

Have you ever had to walk anywhere with a toddler? If so, you have my deepest condolences. You are a superhero and don’t let anyone tell you any different. If not, well, what’s the best yet nerdiest way I could possibly explain it to you? It’s like…it’s like taking the journey to Mordor every single day. And at this point in the year, I’ve turned into Gollum in both looks and personality.

Or maybe that’s a bad analogy. Because those hobbits had it fairly easy. For instance, they were able to leave the house. Just like that. They only had to grab the one ring to rule them all and some snacks, and BOOM. They were on their way.

Meanwhile, our journey begins long before we even open the door. There’s the five-minute fight about why we have to brush our teeth and another ten minutes trying to solve the mystery of why there is not a single pair of matching shoes in the entire house and then, my favorite, the daily wrestling with my 2-year-old to put on a fresh Pull-Up while simultaneously arguing with her about why we should take the stroller today. (An argument I lose. Every time.)  

I bet Gandalf never had to watch in exasperation as Frodo ran around laughing maniacally with a diaper on his head.

Then, upon immediately exiting the house, I’m already being bombarded with requests for second breakfast. But a second breakfast for the world’s pickiest eater.

“Can I have a snack?”

“It’s eight o’clock in the morning.”

“BUT SNAAAAACK. I’M SOOOOO HUNGRY.”

“Fine. I think I have some ancient Teddy Grahams in my bag.”

“Which ones?”

“I don’t know. The ones shaped like Paw Patrol, I think.”

“NOOOOOO…not thoooooose!”

“They literally taste the same.”

…*bursts into tears*…

You know, I don’t remember Bilbo ever complaining that his stale bread wasn’t bear-shaped.

And then there is the pace. In the time it took a fellowship of nine people to cross all of Middle Earth, we are still within nine feet of our porch. Because while we may not be battling orcs, there are seasonal obstacles we must constantly overcome. For example, in the fall, every single leaf that has fallen off a tree must be picked up, examined and handed to me. And I must hold onto them FOR ETERNITY. In the winter, there is snow. Snow that has to be picked up, kicked at, sat in, licked and thrown. Spring brings flowers. Flowers that MUST be picked regardless of the fact that they are the prized tulips of the scary lady down the street who is definitely going to murder me if my daughter picks one more from her garden. And late spring brings out the bugs. The bugs that must be inspected. At bug level. Lying on the ground. Then picking them up and accidentally squishing them, prompting an exhaustive dialogue about what is death and where do things go when they die.

Of course, this is all only if she’s in a good mood. If she’s in a bad mood, say, because I won’t let her run out into oncoming traffic, she’ll sit down and refuse to move. And when I pick her up, she hits me in the face and kicks her shoes off.

I would gladly give up a finger to Smeagol, maybe even two, if just once, ONCE, we could make the ten minute walk to preschool in ten minutes.

Of course, the good mom in me, the one who realizes what a beautiful and fleeting moment in time childhood really is, wants to relax and just enjoy this time; to slow down on these daily walks through our beautiful town with the two people I love most in the world and let it all sink in.

But the human in me, the one who has a natural aversion to torture, is internally screaming every curse word I know and is ready to burn down the entire goddamn world because no one can be forced to move this slow and not lose their mind. Especially considering that we have to turn right back around and make the journey back. A journey back that takes so long it could also easily be stretched across three three-hour movies.

And worst of all is the knowledge that in the afternoon, we have to do the whole thing over again.

So, yeah, those hobbits had it easy. But at least I’ll always have my precious.

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A Mid-winter’s Nightmare

It always starts off with the same argument.

“Is it even worth it?”

“No. But what’s the alternative? Being stuck in the house for the fifth day in a row?”

“Yeah. But it’s just so much work. So much thankless, unpaid labor. And I’m just so lazy.”

“Exactly. You’re lazy. In the end, this is actually the easier way.”

“Is it?”

“Look, you can once again spend the day sitting on the floor playing peek-a-boo for HOURS upon HOURS, making precious memories and junk but slowly going insane in the process. Or you can leave the house and have strangers entertain him with their googly faces while you play Trivia Crack on your phone. It’s your choice.”

“But…but…”

“Do you want the weird hermit baby who doesn’t know how to act in public because while his brain was forming vital connections he only had you for company?”

“You’re right. You’re always right. We’ll…(sigh)…we’ll leave the house today.”

Now, one, this above argument is between myself (Gollum ain’t got nothing on me, precious). And two, it has happened pretty much every day since winter started.

It’s the burden of every at-home parent. Once winter hits, you’re stuck between a home and a snow drift. Suddenly, leaving the house turns into a Herculean task. Only worse, because Hercules never had to stuff five chubby, squirming fingers into a tiny mitten (and then spend an additional 20 minutes looking for that other goddamn mitten, which was JUST RIGHT HERE).

But not leaving the house means ten plus hours of trying to entertain your baby so that he forgets that all he really wants to do in life is hurl himself down the stairs right after he pulls your steaming hot cup of coffee off the end table and unto his still somewhat soft skull.

Which means leaving, even if it’s just to go grab a cup of coffee with a firmly gripped lid, is the lesser of two evils.

And so it begins.

First, I have to take off his pajamas. Because he’s always wearing pajamas. Because I’m always wearing pajamas. Because it’s winter and the part of my brain that cares about non-elastic and footless clothing is hibernating.

Then on goes the onesie. Followed by the baby version of yoga pants. Then real pants on top of those (or, in most cases, just slightly bigger baby yoga pants because baby jeans still have buttons and I, in pure white girl form, literally just can’t even right now). Then a long sleeve shirt. Then that sweater with the bunny on it which is too big but I don’t care because it’s cute and it’s the only thing clean that least clashes with the slightly bigger baby yoga pants (I mean, it still clashes but like a purple and red kind of clash as opposed to a neon orange and zebra print kind of clash).

Then on goes one Batman sock. Then the other. And then the first one again because in the time it took me to put on the second one, he has already pulled off the first one.

Next it’s the snow pants, which may seem like overkill but I made the mistake once, ONCE, of not dressing him warm enough on a particularly cold day and his howls of cold-induced pain haunt me to this day.

Then comes the shoes, which is what I imagine stuffing a turducken is like, only worse because one, the turducken is not alive and wiggly, and two, at least with turducken you get to eat it afterwards and there are VERY strict rules in the U.S. about eating your baby’s toosties (I looked it up).

Then comes the five minutes where I just sit there internally debating whether to put on his big, heavy-duty, puffy winter coat or the thinner, more stream-lined yet slightly less warm pea coat. Because while I should put on the big coat, the straps of the stroller don’t fit over it and so then I’d have to adjust the straps. And I hate doing that. Mainly because I don’t know how. And so I just fiddle with them for an exasperating 12 minutes until I’m red-faced and screaming “Screw it!” and go back to what I did every other time, which is to make them stretch within an inch of their life over the big puffy coat. But even though I’m successful I feel bad because they are probably too tight over the baby so I take him out, take off the puffy coat, put another sweater on him and put on the pea coat.

Can’t forget the mittens. Which is like trying to herd five violently independent worms into a space the size of a grape.

And then…the piece de resistance. The piece very resistance. The hat. Which according to my baby’s scream is made of pure fire and not wool, no matter how much it looks and feels like wool.

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Yes, in the time it takes to get my baby fully in his winter gear, Frodo has already gone to Mordor, dropped off the ring and is busy saying his slightly homoerotic goodbyes to Sam.*

And that’s not even counting all the time and effort involved in taking everything off once we actually get somewhere, or the struggle to find a place to put the huge pile of tiny human outerwear, or the struggle to repeat the entire process and get it all back on, only this time with a judgmental audience who all have Twitter accounts and camera phones at the ready.

The good news is that spring is only 44 short days away.

I’m crying right now. I know you can’t see it. But I am.

*Please forgive all the “Lord of the Rings” references. It’s on in the background while I’m typing this and I’m too lazy to come up with actual, decent metaphors when Peter Jackson is just lobbing slow groundballs at me.

How Americans really feel about Daylight Savings Time

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