Thursday, June 23, 2005


Chores. My daughter hates them. She complains she's a slave but she doesn't do much of anything except take out the trash, get the mail, and clean her room. Sometimes she vacuums or dusts, but it's not often enough to crimp her style. However, I have to admit it’s a terrible nuisance for me. It would be easier if I'd do it myself rather than making up lists and arbitrary deadlines, and then waiting around (im)patiently for her to finish the list.

Now for myself, I don't mind chores as much. If I move fast, I can complete housework in a half an hour. Of course, laundry takes a little longer, and there's the errands – the endless trips to the grocery store, yard work, and taking care of the car. And of course the chauffeuring my daughter around, and waiting on her while she does her thing.

In theory, I know chores are a good thing. They teach basic skills and responsibility.

I know that chores are supposed to help you feel valued. When I was a kid, it didn't make me feel valued, and I felt like a slave, too. However, I have to admit that it's essential to have clean clothes, somewhat sanitary living conditions and food to eat. It's also good training to know there are some things you have to do, like it or not, in the real world.

Now if I could just get my daughter to see it this way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Funkadelic Fashion Trophies

Phones. What do they represent to little girls? Independence, privacy, and they're sexy, too. You can share confidences, and you're wired to the world. Even if you're confined to your room, you can escape. And maybe it's a status symbol.

This past weekend my daughter had friends over. One was a tag along, a brother. After hanging with the other girls for a few minutes, he came to interrogate me.

"Why does she get a phone in her room?" he whined, all the while rubbing my wall with his grimy hands.

"Well, she talks to people, like her grandparents."

"I talk to my grandparents," he countered. "I don't have a phone in my room."

I give him my standard argument. "Families are different. Maybe she has a phone in her room, but we don't have cable TV."

He continued to pout, now rubbing his whole body up and down the wall. Time to get out the Magic Eraser.

"We don't watch TV on Sundays," I offered, knowing from past experience the injustice of a day without TV gets kids every time.

He quieted, and then went home. He sat on his front porch and cried about the phone.

It's a cool phone. A Bratz old fashioned styled phone with a metallic purply finish. I coveted it too. Something about that phone brought up desire.

I never had a phone in my room even as a teenager, we were too poor. I remember what it's like to want something other kids have. Maybe the object of desire was something you'd never thought of before, but seeing it in a child's room brought up envy.

When I was a kid, other children's trophies caught my eye. My mom wasn't into after school activities, since there was never enough time or money for it. I always wondered if the kids really were more special than me. I still wonder. But at least I've escaped my humble beginnings and now have enough cash to buy the Bratz Funkadelic Fashion Phone. A trophy if there ever was one.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Swimming pool politics

My daughter had a friend over yesterday. They were invited to go swimming in a pool and there was a mad dash to put on swimsuits, get towels, and slather on sunscreen. In all the excitement, I forgot to ask if the friend could swim. I took over some armband floaties for the friend just in case.

Now, these were my daughter's old armband floaties. She hasn't used them in years. In fact, she's told me armband floaties are for babies. So I did run the risk of insulting the little girl.

As it turned out, the friend couldn't swim, and needed the floaties. My daughter swims well and I wasn't worried about her. If I had I taken my daughter the floaties she would have been embarrassed. So imagine my surprise that my daughter became jealous and spent the whole swim period sulking by the pool. She got her feelings hurt, thinking I favored the other girl by bringing her water toys.

I didn't know my daughter was so sensitive. More and more it seems like I always do the wrong thing. I can't win. I imagine this will get worse as she develops into a teenager, and I really don't know how to fix this. I guess I'll just have to keep plodding along, being the mom that always screws up and does the wrong thing. If she wants to see things that way, there is really nothing I can do about it. Sob.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I'm all alone

My daughter went away for vacation this week. Yoo hoo! I don’t get time to myself very often. The last time was a year ago, and before that – never.

I was ecstatic. I could finally have my old life back, work on creative projects, and catch up on all my household chores.

It only took me three days, people! Only a few days to catch up on my out-of-control life.

I cleaned house and did all the little things I’d been meaning to do. I replaced a light fixture. Washed out the garbage cans. Changed light bulbs.

I had a chance to make myself beautiful by painting my toenails and whitening my teeth. I got new tires.

I did everything on my creative things-to-do list. My unfulfilled dreams drive me. It took me twenty-four straight hours of hard focused work but I got it done. Deadlines have a way of focusing the mind.

I made biscuits; I drank. I did NOT go to any birthday parties, ball practice, or theater class. No mad rushes to the ice-cream truck.

Can you tell I’m giddy?

I waited for loneliness to creep in, but it never happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter dearly and can’t wait to see her again, but I couldn’t escape the reality that in three days, I caught up with all my hopes and dreams.

I’m not missing out on anything by being a parent; I’m only a few days behind. Nothing's holding me back but my own perception of my life.

I’m the luckiest person on earth. Of course, I won’t feel that way tomorrow when I go back to work.