Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Pick Your Battles

Me (to myself):  Wear the bikini.  You’re 45, who cares what you look like, just wear it.  It’ll be fine.

Go downstairs en route to pool.

Mark lets out a wail like an ax murderer has caught up with him.  “My eyes!  Oh god!  There’s some things you just can’t unsee!”

Sam:  “Relax.  It’s just a swimsuit.  It’s not that big a deal.”

Me (in my head):  Gosh, that’s decent.  I really appreciate–

Sam continues:  “Save that reaction for when they’re making out in the kitchen.”

Thanks, Sam.

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Mark: 4. Fourth Wall: 0

Friday afternoon

Me:  We’re going to a play tonight, Mark.  I need you to remember, it’s a play.  They have lines.  You can’t be shouting advice at the characters.  The people in the audience don’t like it.  You just can’t.

Mark (scoffing):  I’m in middle school now, Mom.  I know.

 

Friday evening

Eliza Doolittle (paraphrased):  You are a jerk and I can get along without you.

Henry Higgins (paraphrased):  Ha, ha.  Good one.  Great joke.  Now come home.

Eliza (paraphrased, singing):  The world gets along without you.  Stuff happens without you making it happen.  Even important stuff.  So sod off, Henry Higgins.

Henry:  (paraphrased):  Ha!  Hahaha!  I am a professor and I can argue this turn of events so I still look good!  You’re acting like a forceful independent person and it’s all thanks to ME.

Eliza stalks over to Henry.  Stands before him.  Tense moment of silence.

Mark:  SLAP HIM!

Guffaws in the audience around us, craning heads in the audience across the theater as people try to work out what was funny.

Sorry, Olney Theatre. We’re working it, I swear.

The Diary of Anne Frank

So we went to see “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Olney Theatre Center on Friday.  Given our other experiences with Mark and theater (Godspell  and A Christmas Carol, for instance), I figured I’d better give him a plot summary beforehand.

Mark (listening with widening eyes):  “Are you sure this age appropriate?”

Me (in my head):  That’s a fair question, actually.  We didn’t take you to “Angels in America” last weekend, so what exactly makes the AIDS epidemic age-inappropriate but the Holocaust okay?   Context.  Handling.  Nobody’s naked on stage.  I’m not necessarily convincing myself. because that’s a lame bottom line.  But I say, “Yes.”

Mark:  “This doesn’t sound fun.  Theater is supposed to be fun.”

Me:  “Sometimes.  But sometimes theater is supposed to educate.”

Mark:  “Hmph.”

He’s okay through the first act.  At intermission he asks to go home:  “I don’t want to see this.  Theater is supposed to be fun.  This is NOT fun.”

Me:  “Theater is supposed to educate too.  Sometimes that means making us uncomfortable.”

Mark retorts:  “Well, it’s working then.”

It’s not helping Mark that Otto Frank is played by Paul Morella.  Mark is a Paul Morella groupie.  He insists on going to the one-man Christmas Carol every year and usually mouths along (silently, mostly) to his favorite parts:  “Marley was dead to begin with…”  Mark is just devastated by Otto Frank’s epilogue, made worse because his actor-hero seems so seriously unhappy.  His fists are clenched when the lights come up.  “I.  Am.  Going.  To.  Invent.  A. Time.  Machine.  And.  Stop.  This.”

Good job, theater.  Seriously.  The response to overwhelming injustice should be This should not have happened.  I want to keep it from happening.   But humans being what we are, it’s hard to get there with numbers.  We get there with stories.  Stories about individuals.

This, child, is why we’re here.

 

 

 

 

Not really a holiday, exactly. But good question.

Me:  “Oh, look.  It’s November 5th.  Guy Fawkes Day.”

Mark:  “Guy Fawkes?  Who’s that?”

Me:  “He tried to blow up Parliament in 1605.”

Mark (incredulous):  “And we celebrate that?  WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?”

Successful Play-doh Extraction

So we’re at the doctor on Wednesday…

Doctor:  “Mark, um, the inside of your ear is blue.”  Looks some more.  “Did you put a bead in here?”

Mark (emphatically):  “No!”

Doctor:  “Does it hurt?”

Mark:  “No.”

Doctor:  “Do you have trouble hearing?”

Mark:  “Yes!”

(Inside my head):  THAT explains a lot.

Doctor:  “Well, it has to come out.  Schedule with the ENT.”

Scheduled with the ENT.  (I have to type it as ENT, not Ent–otherwise I has visions of Treebeard poking twiggy fingers into Mark’s ear).

Hastily rescheduled Friday morning after a sobbing Mark called from school that the 2 PM appointment overlapped the school Halloween costume parade.

ENT:  “Okay, Mark, let’s get that bead out.”

Mark:  “Will this take long?  The costume parade is at 2:30.”

ENT:  “Not if you hold still.”

MARK FREEZES

ENT:  “Oooaaaakkky.  It’s crumbling, so not a bead.”

Mark (indignantly):  “I did NOT put a bead in my ear.”

ENT:  “I think it’s play-doh.”

Mark:  “Oh.  That.”

(Inside my head):  The paper wad up the nose.  Now this.  You’re out of easy-to-retrieve-from orifices, kid.

In the car:

Me:  “How DID you end up with play-doh in your ear?”

Mark:  “I sleepwalk.”

Cooking Something (anything!) Up

So apparently Mark thinks Brian doesn’t know how to cook.

Me (trying to lure Mark to help with dinner):  “Come on, kid, I’ll show you how to make pesto.”

Mark:  “Why?”

Me:  “Someday you will need to feed yourself.”

Mark:  “I already know how to make ramen.”

Me:  “You might want to eat something besides ramen.”

Mark:  “I LIKE ramen.”

Me:  “Fine.  But someday you may want to impress a girl, and we love guys who cook.”

Mark:  “Then why doesn’t Dad know how?”

Since I’m leaving Friday and will be gone for a week, Mark’s belief in his father’s inability to navigate the kitchen has moved from a curiosity to a source of grave concern.

Monday.

Mark:  “I think we should go to the grocery store.”

Me:  “Why?”

Mark:  “We need some frozen dinners.”

Me:  “Why?”

Mark:  “So I can eat while you’re gone.”

Me:  “Dad can cook.”

Mark:  “I think it would be a good idea to have some frozen dinners.”

Tuesday.

Mark:  “I think we should go to the grocery store and get some frozen dinners.”

Me:  “YOUR FATHER KNOWS HOW TO COOK.”

Mark decides to stay silent but is obviously skeptical.

Wednesday.

[We are at the grocery store filling a prescription]

Mark:  “While we are here, I think we should get some frozen dinners.”

Me:  “You know, I have successfully left children alone with your father and none of them died of starvation.”

Mark:  “I DON’T WANT TO DIE AND I DON’T WANT TO EAT RAMEN FOR A WHOLE WEEK.  Can we PLEASE get some frozen dinners?”

On Determining Gender in (Magic?) Cats

Overheard from the backseat on the way to Target this afternoon:

Kate:  “If Cloudy were magic and could turn into a human, I’d marry him.”

Mark:  “Why?”

Kate:  “He’s seen me naked.  And he’s a boy.  I’d HAVE to marry him.”

Mark:  “Maybe he CAN turn into a human but he doesn’t, because he only likes you as a friend.”

Kate:  “Cloudy LOVES me.”

Mark:  “Maybe.  And how do you even know he’s a boy?”

Kate:  “He MUST be a boy.  His farts are TERRIBLE.”

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