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Saturday, September 25, 2010

you feel lucky, punk?

I know it's uncouth for a middle-aged person to desire retribution on a 5 year old.  Hell, I'm embarrassed to admit it.  I even sometimes contemplate losing sleep over the impulse, but that feeling usually passes, replaced again with a burning desire to give said 5 year old a swirly. (Think toilet water and hair.)

Witnessing the transgression, I'm overcome.  I'm a mother lioness.  And mother lionesses hate to see their cubs hurt, especially by obnoxious 5 year olds who are so entitled, that even at their young age, they don't curb their behavior when an adult is watching.  

I fantasize making a voodoo doll of the little shit and sticking a pin through his eyes.

It's beneath me, I know.  I'm the grown-up, the literal bigger person, but in that moment, watching a small's soul get crushed just a little with some nasty, mean comment, I have an overwhelming urge to forego any thought of chronological age.  I want to channel Dirty Harry, make the little shit pee in his pants, ensuring he'll think twice about ever being that not nice to anyone again.  You feeling lucky, punk?

Come on.  I know you've felt, at least in passing, the same primal urge rise up in you too.

These moments give such clarity as to who these mean smalls are going to grow up to be.  I recognize people I know, people I dislike and, in turn,  I get a clear sense of who they were as smalls.  

Compassion is not the by-product.  I just don't feel it.  Big or small, I wanna punch them out either way.

Somehow, I find the inner strength to control myself.  I dazzle.  

Then, I make a note to self: stay away from the little shit's parents, because I just probably witnessed the kind of people they must be...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Everyone has fantasies. Maybe when you were small it was the fantasy of the purple bike with the flowered banana seat. Perhaps you even went so far as to imagine it with a basket.

Later, it was the fantasy of blue eyes when you had brown, or curly hair if you had straight. Fantasizing about being taller, thinner, prettier, smarter... We've all had some of those.

The college years, and maybe into your mid-twenties, we fantasized about the perfect job or perfect career. We obsessed about a guy or several guys, imagining what it would be like to be with them. Of course, the fantasy of taller, thinner, prettier and smarter still existed, it's just that the list of fantasies grew longer.

Then, when you found the right guy, it was fantasies with him -- your life together, what that life would be like, the imaginary kids you'd have in that fantastic fantasy life...

And now, having actually gotten a taste of some of the fantasies that you wished for, one finds themselves fantasizing about the life you had before it all. Not forever, mind you, just for a day or so, or maybe every now and then.

You know, where you fantasize about a guy you aren't going home to, in a life where there are no consequences or kids or laundry. A life where you go to the spa and the gym whenever you want and look fabulous, so that, even at your age, some guy might still fantasize about you.

But, as I wait to pick up my beloved real life smalls, who are no longer a fantasy, I wouldn't mind a couple of days of the other. A car's horn brings me back to reality, and perhaps, the torture of middle age...

Yet there is one constant : I still long to be taller, thinner, prettier and smarter.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

how's your pick-up line?

Daycare, preschool, elementary or middle school, picking up the smalls is challenging work.

Remember the good ole days?  School buses were a common sight?  Everyone got on 'em and got off 'em?  Well, not anymore, at least not in my asphalt jungle.   We schlep.

If you want to walk-in and pick up smalls, one must first find a parking space.  This can be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, and usually, with my luck, the space I find has a meter flashing "FAILED."  Every time this happens, I find myself in the same quandary -- to park or not to park, that is the question.  Once I discovered that the meters can automatically reset themselves at any time when "FAILED," hence forcing a kind of parking ticket Russian roulette, I've hesitated taking the gamble.

Sitting in the parked car, no other parking space in sight, it's tempting to throw caution to the wind.  But then, the price of the damn parking ticket crosses your frontal lobe, paralyzing you.  You weigh the scenarios in your head, never able to come up with any sort of good odds either way.  The ultimate result, whether you take the gamble and stay parked at the malfunctioning meter or move on to search for another parking spot, is that you are usually late to pick up your small.  The look on a small's face of both excitement and accusation as they sit waiting for you, the last or next to last kiddo left in the place, socks even the most cavalier parent in the gut.

Then there is the drive-thru option.  Perhaps yours is filled with rules: cars on the left, or only on the right.  Don't block a driveway, or an exit, or extend the line of cars into the street.  Leave room for other cars going the opposite direction, get your child quickly into the car because look at all the anxious parents waiting behind you to pick up their small.  Hurry.  The other parents are watching.  Did I mention that they're waiting.  WAITING.  OMG, I think one of them just took out a stop watch.

The pressure is palpable.

One of my smalls just started Kindergarten.  I wait in a coned off area of the school parking lot to pick him up because I'm too intimidated to attempt the drive-thru while we're still trying to find our way through these first overwhelming weeks of school.  I hold up a placard with my small's name on it, like I'm a limo driver waiting at the airport for an important client.  I look around, realizing that I am in a sea of placards, each bearing the name of someone's small. The atmosphere has a "pick me, pick me," quality to it.  Tension is in the air as I raise my placard a bit higher so that my small's name can be called, and I suddenly feel as if I'm in the pit of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, trading pork bellies as other parents placards block my view...

And, in spite of the ridiculousness of it, I chuckle.  Because, really, who are we kidding?  We are Limo drivers waiting on our most important client -- our smalls.