Who needs an iphone when you got 80s magic?

It took a 10-year old to show me that me and my cell phone were stuck in the Dark Ages. One day when visiting my friend Jen, I cell phonewhipped my very bland Motorola phone out , and her 10-year old nephew practically laughed at me.

“What is that?” he asked, pointing to my no-frills phone in disdain.

I felt a sting, as if someone had told me I still dress like I’m in the 80s when I thought I was all hip and now. I looked at my faithful clunker, which had served me well over the past, ummm, how many years now had it been? Four years? I guess I’m not one of those people who continually upgrade to the latest technology.

“It’s a phone. What’s wrong with it?” I asked him.

“Well, for starters, it’s huge. Secondly, what can it do?”

Now I was starting to feel like I was holding one of those cell phones from the 80s the size of a loaf of bread with an antennae that was more like a flag pole. Suddenly, I was feeling decidedly unhip.

“Well, I admit it’s no iphone. What, do you have an iphone or something?” I asked the kid, fully expecting that I had stumped him.

“Like, yeah, duh,” he said, whipping the gorgeous, slick chrome piece of machinery out of his back pocket.

My beat-up phone practically shrunk away in embarrassment. I looked at it again. He was right. It was kind of sooo 2005. It took shitty pictures, didn’t have Internet connection and without a keyboard texting was painful. But it did make phone calls. Wasn’t that the purpose of a cell phone, after all?

What did I need some fancy, schmancy iphone for anyways? Not like I’m some on-the-go urban professional that constantly needs to check my emails. When I’m home I have my computer, and when I’m out, I’m out. Emails can wait.

But then the ridiculing increased. It seemed my old-fashioned cell phone was starting to attract more attention. It was becoming the butt of jokes, the center of unwanted attention, a source of embarrassment. It was like that BONGO sweatshirt with the wide neck that I kept wearing well into the late 90s until my cousin made fun of it for the tenth time and I finally realized that it was time to let the thing go. Maybe it was time to do the same thing with my out-dated cell phone. I decided to make the call.

As soon as I reached the uber-friendly customer service representative at Sprint, I knew I was in trouble. I told him I was searching for a new phone.

“Do you want a Smart Phone?” he asked.

“A Smart Phone? What’s that?”

I thought I heard a sigh of contempt and annoyance coming from Mr. Customer Service. Clearly, according to 1o-year old boys and Sprint representatives in India, I was way behind the times. I think from now on I’ll wear my scrunchies and neon-newspaper print sweatshirts in private. But with my new Blackberry, no one will ever know that yes, indeed, I am still stuck in the 80s. And dam proud of it.

My Awesome Edward Scissorhands

floatieIn the few days since I last wrote, Kaiden’s teenage talk has actually increased. I think he aged at least five years in the past five days. This is what he said today every time we went down a hill on our bike: “It’s GO time!”

I mean, where does a 5-year old come up with phrases like this?

And I have counted at least six “awesomes” today. And he’s also told me about four times that he’s smarter than me.

At the same time his trendy talk is ramping up, Kaiden is also turning into Edward Scissorhands. He is obsessed with scissors. He will cut up anything – toys, books, his sister’s hair (luckily, I caught that one before it turned into a total disaster). The other night, however, he crossed the line. Siig had just given Kaya a new floatie to replace the one we lost at the beginning of the summer. It was her favorite color, pink, in the shape of a fish. When Siig gave it to her, she looked at him and said, “I love it.” Siig’s heart melted.

So the same night Kaya received her new pink floatie, no sooner had Kaiden asked for his scissors than I turn around and he’s cutting a fin off the fish. And he looked at me with this innocent look on his face as if to say, “What, mom, didn’t Dad bring this home just for me to destroy? Awesome!”

Needless to say the scissors are now confiscated. Just now he tried to pull a fast one on me and casually asked for the scissors while holding Kaya’s favorite necklace. I didn’t fall for that one.

Chalk up one for Mom, dude. I’m still, you know, like, totally, smarter than a 5-year old.

For now.

Please, don’t tell me I look good

“Wow, you look like you’ve lost a ton of weight!”

I hate this sentence, spoken to me this week by a woman I hadn’t seen in about a year. How am I supposed to react? Here were my initial thoughts – I could: a) Be happy because she’s paying me a complement; b) Wonder how much of a fat cow I used to look like; or c) be totally confident that I am super hot and she’s just trying to play a mind game with me.

Unfortunately, ‘B’ won out.

This is not the first time in the last year that someone has told me I look like I’ve lost the baby weight. While I know they are trying to make me feel good, all I can think of is how much of a total porker I must have looked like before. I mean, what else am I supposed to think when someone says, in not so many words, “Wow, you sure look a lot better than you used to.” Thanks, thanks a lot. Next time, keep your kind thoughts to yourself.

At least I don’t get asked if I’m pregnant anymore. The last time was this winter. I almost smacked the chick, and most certainly have never worn that shirt again. Not even sure while it’s still hanging in my closet. The worse incident, however, occurred when I was around 7 months post-partum. We were refrigerator shopping at Home Depot and a sales clerk with an ass the size of a large freezer looked at my stomach and said, “What are we having, dear?”

My reply: “We had.”

Of course, Ms. Big Ass  just couldn’t drop it. She then had to ask, “Oh, just?”

“Well, 7 months ago.” Does that count as ‘just?

That outfit got burned too.

But actually the very, very worst story happened three weeks after Kaya was born. I went to my first yoga class since giving birth, so I did not exactly have a flat stomach. (Excuse me while I vent for a moment – I hate all those women whose stomachs instantly revert to concave minutes after pushing a baby out. Bitches! There, I feel better now.) My yoga teacher, whose class I had been taking during my whole pregnancy, came up to me and said, “What?!! You haven’t had that baby yet?”

“Umm, yeah, I had her three weeks ago. Please tell me I don’t look 9 months pregnant.”

And she had the nerve to say: “Well, yes, you do.”

My jaw literally dropped. My god, cut me some slack – I just gave birth, for fuck’s sake! So much for yoga putting me in a better space. Is everyone expected to have a bikini-ready body after steadily gaining weight and having their stomach muscles stretched out for 9 months??? I mean, I know celebrities always seem to, but Madonna’s personal trainer and chef were not available after Kaya was born. That’s my excuse. And I’m stickin’ to it. Lord knows everything else seems to stick to my ribs.

My son the valley girl

valley girlLike, oh my god, my 5-year old is totally talking like a teenager now. I had been noticing that he was using the word ‘awesome’ a lot more every day, but I thought that was cute. I dropped him off at day camp yesterday as a normal 5-year old, and then picked him up in the afternoon talking like a 16-year old. What happened???

This is especially surprising in light of the fact that Kaiden’s camp is run by a bunch of Baptist missionaries. It is probably even more surprising to some of you that I send him there since I was raised Jewish and Siig Greek Orthodox, and neither of us believes in organized religion. (If my father in Israel found out, he would probably shit in his pants. Luckily for me, he doesn’t read this blog.) But, the camp is super cheap and they do fun things with the kids, and the counselors are just sweet as pie. The girls are all from the south and have deep southern accents that sound like sweet tea and grits. I cannot imagine them talking like a Valley Girl.

So where did Kaiden pick up his new awesome vocabulary? My guess is from either some of the older kids at camp or watching too many Scooby-Doo movies. Haven’t you noticed that like, Shaggy, totally talks like Hannah Montana? Who woulda thought that Casey Kasem (who does the voice of Shaggy and just recently retired from almost 40 years of announcing “America’s Top 40”) was really a Valley Girl?

It’s ironic that Kaiden is now saying “oh my god” because since he started attending the Baptist camp I’ve had to have my first ‘God’ talk with him. I realized I need to broach this subject with him when, after his first day, I picked him up holding a CD entitled “Joseph” and a painting of apples and oranges with this at the bottom: “God makes the fruit.” Oh god, I thought, how the hell do you talk about religion with a 4-year old? I think it’s harder than talking about sex. Sex is much more tangible. At least you can say that’s how babies are made. What comes out of religion?

So this is how I started: “Kaiden, have you heard about God?”

“Yes, mom, at the church.”

Oh great. Ok, time to change course. “So I just want you to know that the people at the church believe one thing and mommy and daddy believe something else and that’s all OK.”

Whatever, mom.”

Guess I don’t need to be concerned that Kaiden is finding religion anytime soon. I’m more worried he’s turning into a teenager with attitude.

Yes, Virginia, There Really is a Santa Clause – Kind Of

santaIt’s been so long since I updated my blog, I am sure some of you have been wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth or got lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Rest easy, my dear followers. I am alive and well and back from the Land of the Midnight Sun. I had a fabulous time visiting my sister Anna in Fairbanks, where she is working for Calypso Farms creating a school garden with a bunch of middle-schoolers. Not the easiest job in the world, and at times a bit like herding cats.

Before I delve into my cultural experiences up north, I must answer the burning question that everyone has been asking me since I returned: how much of a mess was my house? A few weeks before I left, I wrote about how worried I was about leaving my husband, who is not the neatest bloke in the world (to put it mildly), alone for four days to clean up after the kids and himself (see post “Wanted: Temporary Maintenance Supervisor”). I am happy to report that my house was in relatively good condition. In fact, I have seen it in much worse shape after I’ve been gone for a few hours than when I returned from Alaska. Mind you, no dishes had been done in four days or clothes put away. But I was able to clean that mess up relatively quickly.

I am sure you are scratching your heads and asking yourself: But how??? Did Siig alter his DNA? Reach deep into his soul and find his inner maid? No, none of the above. Siig did himself, and me, a favor and took the kids camping. Knowing himself, he thought it best to be as far away from the house as possible while I was gone. Extra points in his corner for self awareness. On top of it all, he even bathed the kids – twice!  Miracles really do come true. All it takes is for me to high-tail it to the North Pole.

Speaking of the North Pole, I have to relay one story about my time in Alaska before I sign off for the night. Anna and I had spent the afternoon and evening at a music festival called Angry, Young and Poor (oh, more about that and the Jell-O wrestling later, don’t you worry your pretty little heads). We decided to hitch home since our ride was staying later, and we found a ride with two girls who were in the parking lot. They were locals who grew up in the nearby town of North Pole (yes, that really is the name). They ended up telling us that all the letters that kids around the country write to Santa get sent to their town. And guess who answers them? Eighth graders! As part of their English class, the teachers put these kids to work answering the letters of hopeful kids everywhere. An image of sweat shops flashed in my head. Can you believe that the hopes and dreams of innocent children everywhere are in the hands of a bunch of adolescents in a small town in Alaska?

I could just imagine one pre-pubescent North Pole boy totally screwing with the head of some 5-year old back in Texas: “Dear Johnny: No, you cannot have the Batman bike. You were a very bad boy this year, and in fact I am taking away all the Christmas presents I gave you last year. Love, Santa.”

So now you know. If your child gets a reply from Santa this year, the letter is actually from a teenager in Alaska. No word on if the same kids are responsible for eating all the cookies and milk.

Caterpillar Tea

teaLately, Kaiden has been into making pets of any creepy-crawly thing that crosses his path. I guess little boys are programmed to want to capture, and inevitably torture, pretty much anything they can get their hands on. His latest victim was a tiny caterpillar we found crawling up the side of the trampoline netting. As soon as I saw it, I thought: “You’re a gonner.”

Being the softy that I am, when Kaya and I discovered the caterpillar I didn’t tell Kaiden. I tried to protect the little guy as best I could. But a 5-year old boy is no match for a mom when it comes to bugs and such. Of course he found it right of away. And he had to make it his. He brought it inside and put it in a cup. I made him try to give the caterpillar some comfort of home by lining the cup with grass and twigs. Kaiden checked on the guy all night, playing with it by watching it crawl on a stick. He wanted to keep it forever.

The next morning I checked on Mr. Caterpillar, but he wasn’t in his cup. I looked around for a while but couldn’t find him. Siig came upstairs and made some tea.

“I can’t find the caterpillar,” I told him. We looked around for a few minutes. Then……

“I think I know why,” Siigo said, dumping out his tea in the sink. I looked down. There lay Mr. Caterpillar, drowned and boiled.

What are the chances that of all the places in the entire house, even all the mugs, he landed in the one Siig used as a receptacle for boiling hot water? So in the end, the unfortunate centipede died not at the hands of a torturous 5-year old but an unknowing 40-year old. Some luck. Guess he was doomed from the start.

But who was going to break the news to Kaiden?

When Kaiden finally came upstairs, I avoided the subject as best I could. But finally he noticed his pet was missing.

“Mom, where’s my caterpillar?

This was a delicate situation here. Should I lie? Tell the truth? A little bit of both?

I thought it best to break it to him gently: “You’re dad killed him. He used him as a tea-bag.”

For a few seconds, Kaiden didn’t say anything. I could see he was analyzing the situation, deciding whether to be sad or intrigued or mad that he wasn’t the one to kill the caterpillar. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders.

“Can I get a dog now?”

Ummm, yeah, I’ll have to think about that one.

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned this 4th of July

fireworks

What I learned over this 4th of July weekend:

1. I am not a boater. Something about being trapped on a 20-foot floating piece of machinery in the middle of a lake does not sit well with me.

2. Falling off your bike hurts when you are a kid, but when you are 37 it hurts like a mother-fucker.

3. Watching fireworks explode over a huge lake with an almost-full moon: awesome. Watching said fireworks with your kids: more awesome.Watching the expression on your kids’ faces as they watch the fireworks: priceless.

4. A two-year old cannot sit through an entire movie, even when bribed with a pack of Red Vines.

5. For an almost 5-year old boy, it doesn’t get much better than digging in the sand at the beach and actually finding a buried treasure, even if it’s a monster truck and not pirate gold.

6. Siig can drink more Coronas than a fraternity on spring break in Mexico.

7. Jumping on a trampoline with no bra is no bueno.

8. Tourists do not know how to drive.

9. People-watching is at an all time high during the holidays.

10. Kids can go a week without a bath and be just fine.