Archive for October, 2018

Ah, shit.

One of my biggest parenting challenges has been putting the lid on swearing when my kid is around. I was older than average when I had him, and pretty set in my ways, and not to blame my parents or anything but my dad was also fond of swearing. So maybe it’s hereditary. Or maybe I just don’t see what the big deal is.

See, to me, with a few exceptions for words that are overloaded with cultural nastiness, words are just words. Their job is to help us express ourselves. And swear words, curse words, cuss words, whatever you want to call them, are just nifty little options in our verbal paintbox.

I’ve always admired Will Smith for keeping his work “clean,” and I get why he does that, I think, but that is not my path in life. Which is not to say that I walk around dropping F-bombs constantly either. I’m somewhere in the middle, with a reasonable level of social sensitivity, though I have been known to say “crap” and “BS” at work.

One of my personal favorites (and what I say in front of my six-year-old every now and then, usually when I’m trying to get us out the door in the morning) is “shit.” Sometimes I substitute “sugar” if I’m in public, or the German “Scheisse,” although once I did that in the middle of Target and apparently the people with me in the cookie aisle understood German because HOLY SHIT did that mom give me a sour-ass look. Which just made me laugh really hard once they’d walked away.

See? Swear words are the gateway to fun!

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I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: I sneak into my kid’s room every night after he falls asleep so I can look at him and maybe kiss his forehead. (I don’t usually pull the blankets up over him because he’s a hot sleeper and he gets sweaty enough without being cocooned.)

Non-parents may be scratching their heads at this point. Maybe some parents, too, are thinking, “Aren’t you just glad when he finally passes out and you can go relax? He’s six and a half! What’s the deal?”

Here’s the deal: I miss my infant. Not that I enjoyed the sleep deprivation, but I mourn the simplicity of those days. Feed, change, play, sleep. Or sometimes, change, feed, change, sleep, play. But you get the idea. Nothing involving negotiations, or spelling words, or saucy new expressions learned on the school bus. Visiting his room when he’s sleeping is a way of visiting that time when things were simpler.

On the other hand, infants don’t like to play checkers, or make up silly songs, or ask, “What’s Harry Potter’s owl called”? These are definite advantages to having a six-year-old.

One night not long ago, he half woke up when I came in, long after bedtime, and reached out to me. I took his hand and held it for a moment, and then he relaxed back into sleep. He didn’t remember in the morning, but it’s interesting to think about what part of his brain knew I was there but didn’t store that memory.

Does it detect my presence every night?

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Warning: This will not be an in-depth book review, because A) my kid is going to wake up soon and B) this is not the New York Times Book Review. Just so you know.

I recently read George Orwell’s 1984 — or I should say re-read, because I’m sure I read it in high school, but have no memory of that whatsover. I’m sure it made some sort of impression on my teenaged brain, but many more important and interesting things are being stored there now. Like, I REALLY need to get to Target today to get candy/a witch’s hat/dish soap/toothpaste. God, what will I DO if they don’t have a witch’s hat? I really should have taken care of that last week.

So. I recently re-read 1984 for my book club, and I have to say, wow. Orwell had some BIG ideas. Huge. Crazy, even. The book was published in 1949, 1949 for crying out loud, and he dives deep into revisionist history, the mechanisms of war, thought control, secret police — a whole bunch of things that were way ahead of the times (or so I assume).

But here’s the thing that’s really staying with me: I believed the whole thing. I was there in the grimy, scary places with Winston, willing him to be cautious so he wouldn’t get caught by the Thought Police (oh well) and rejoicing in his relationship with Julia (as weird as that whole thing was). And that, to me, is the biggest achievement of the book.

Also: I really don’t understand if he’s dead at the very end, or a few pages before the end. I really should look into that before my next book club meeting.

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I am a writer, I tell people, and yet, outside of work, I haven’t been writing much. In all honesty I don’t always write much at work either but that’s another story for another day. Corporations, amirite?

Anyway. What with NaNoWriMo coming up, this seemed like a fine time to start one of those “I wrote a blog post every day for a month and you won’t believe what happened” things. And rather than wait for Thursday, when I will surely be suffering the mother of all candy hangovers, I am starting today. Shazam!

My only agenda is to write and publish something every day. No working ahead, except in my head. I make no promises about topics, quality, coherence or length. The point is to show up and do the work, push out first drafts, and see what happens. If I entertain you, fabulous. If I bore you, well, at least you’ve managed to stay off Twitter for 90 seconds. See? Silver lining. Every cloud.

This morning is a good morning to begin because my son, a/k/a The Boo, is at my mom’s house. He spends the night there every week or two and it is a huge treat for me in that I get to get up and do what I want/need to do all by myself. I love him to bits, but being six and a half he needs things fairly frequently, and lately he’s also been coming to find me at 5:45 a.m. Usually I’m up by then but last week my sleep was hacked to bits for various reasons, so getting woken out of a dead sleep when I still had 45 minutes left to sleep was not cool. Also, it made me crabby and had me weirdly craving simple carbs.

Yesterday afternoon, the Boo was dead set against staying at my mom’s for no rational reason he could or would explain. A tragic turn of events, from my point of view. Then I introduced the new Morning Policy: if he wakes up before 6:30 and sees that I am not up, he is to stay in his room. He asked if he had to go back to sleep and I said no, books are fine, but no waking up Mama.

And lo, in a delightful and unexpected turn of events, he decided he did want to spend the night at Grammy’s after all.

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I'm over 50. I'm raising a fifth grader. Sometimes he posts too.


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