Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Santa Isn't Black!"

When's the last time you heard THAT at a Christmas party?

I heard it last night. Uttered by a 7-year old girl, embroiled in an argument with, you guessed it, a black Santa. Santa tried, in vain, to explain to her (over the raucous laughter) that there were, in fact, black Santas. "Just go out to East Denver".

She wasn't buying it.

I can't really say I blame her. I had to convince black Santa himself (as I was delivering my Santa suit a few days earlier) that there ARE black Santas. As proof, I showed him my Christmas ornament of a black Santa sitting at a piano.

He didn't buy it either.

Of course, until recently, no one thought that there would be a black President in the near future either. Which would lead one to think that times are changing, right? But change is slow, and racists never change their spots. (They just blot on a little concealer). But every woman knows that concealer doesn't work for very long.

I discovered a heavily "made-up" man at Friday night's Christmas party (which had no black Santas). We were having an interesting conversation about the First Amendment. Some of you might think that those are mutually-exclusive terms, but they're really not. (Previous readers will remember that I took a class in First Amendment Law taught by Archibald Cox).

Anyhoo, there was a small hullabaloo a while ago when a kid wore a t-shirt to school that said something about Obama being friends with terrorists. The school decided that the t-shirt was disruptive. They gave the kid the option to turn the shirt inside out, change, or be suspended. He chose to be suspended. His father immediately alleged this was a violation of the First Amendment.

So this guy at the party brings this up with a very strong belief that the First Amendment was, indeed, violated. As someone who took First Amendment Law from the man who argued more First Amendment cases before the US Supreme Court than anyone else, and who had the most impact on how the First Amendment continues to be interpreted to this day, I explained to this man that kids in school do not enjoy the same First Amendment rights that the rest of us do.

This man was so annoyed that I felt I had to explain that this wasn't my idea. It's just the law. For a moment, I thought I had a real card-carrying member of the ACLU in my midst. But later, as he dismissed the notion of respecting others' religions, I realized that he was just another bigot.

I bet he would be surprised to know that Santa is black. (And God is a woman!

Friday, December 19, 2008

How To Drop A Baby

(I apologize if any of you were referred to this post and it was not here. In a moment of maternal guilt and panic, I deleted it. Then I figured what the hell.)

I gave birth to the most adorable child in the world. Now I know you are thinking that I am biased, but, seriously, he was the most adorable child ever born. That is, until I scarred him for life.

It wasn't entirely my fault. My mother was in town and she had me in a complete tizzy. At the very same time, Brody did something (I don't remember what) that warranted a time-out. I dragged him back to his bedroom. For some reason, he requested that he be put on the top bunk, rather then his bottom bunk. Not seeing any significance in this request, I agreed. The problem, though, was in the execution.

I am 5'2". Bunk beds are taller. Apparently, I didn't take the time to fully analyze the physics involved in lifting a 3 year old onto a bunk bed that was higher than myself combined with the relative weakness of my biceps.

Holding him, I took somewhat of a running start and stepped on the bottom bunk. My forward force suddenly stopped and we fell backwards. (This is the part I hate to admit). In a sort of innate self-preservation, on the way down, I dropped him. I didn't mean to drop him. I just did.

The cry was horrific. Worse since I knew it was my fault. He was lying face down over a plastic bin from Target. My first thought was "please don't let it be his eye, please don't let it be his eye." I picked him up and to my great relief, it wasn't his eye. There was, however, a huge gash on his cheek. Deep and wide.

Mommy emergency mode kicks in. Aidan (7) gets me a dish towel to hold over the gash. He also calls 911 and then hangs up, but that's a different matter. The police call me back and I explain that my son fell (no details) and has a cut and I am trying to decide whether I need an ambulance, but I think I can make it, so I'll drive to the hospital.

So I tell my mom to please hold Brody in the car with the towel over his face. She says, "Aidan can go with you. I'll stay here with Gunnar." With no time discuss the matter, we run out to the van. Aidan (remember he is 7) sits with Brody in the passenger seat (no one is buckled in) trying to hold the towel on his cheek. But he's a screaming, writhing, very annoyed little boy, so it didn't work out very well.

We get to the hospital. I try to explain what happened. They immediately take Aidan because, unlike my mother, they know that I can't deal with a 7-year old when I have an injured 3-year old. Person after person come in and ask me what happened. Each time, I have to say, outloud, that I dropped my child. Bad mom. Bad mom. Bad mom. They didn't say it. But I could hear it.

Eventually, someone came in and injected my poor child's face with what seemed like a ridiculous number of shots, and stitched him up. Crisis over, I started to feel light-headed and about to faint. The nurse gets me to lie down on the bed, puts a washcloth on my forehead, and takes Brody somewhere.

She calls my husband and tells him of my condition. We all wait for him to arrive. But. What? He doesn't. Finally, after their persistent calls, he shows up. Apparently, he didn't believe that I needed his help. I am a stud, but there are times when I really do need a little help.

So, every day since then (7 years), I look at Brody and see his scar. And every day, I think about the scars, both physical and emotional, that a mother leaves on a child. With any luck, the worst scar Brody will have will be the one on his face.

(I will provide a picture, I think, when I can scan one in. No promises, since the visual reminder is painful).

As an aside, Brody doesn't remember this incident. He has asked about the scar and his brothers have reported exactly what happened. So, I hear about it, all the time, especially around Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Have Been Adopted

Ok, I'll admit it. There have been times when I wish I had a daughter. It's only natural since I have all boys. And I'll have to admit that the thought of adopting a girl (my eggs are old) has crossed my mind.

Instead, I have been adopted. By my neighbor's dog. (It's a girl).
My screen door doesn't shut completely without a little effort. So Sprocket comes over and nudges her nose into the opening until she gets in. If the main door is closed, she pushes on the screen door repeatedly until we let her in. She comes to the living room searching out fallen crumbs (of which there are many) and then takes a nap somewhere. Today she crawled up onto the couch with a snowman.
She's lonely. Her family is busy and she is left alone frequently. Apparently she has decided that she just wants someone to keep her company. And that's ok with me.
I have also been adopted by her 7-year old master, Brit. He has a 16 year old brother and 2 working parents. Brit learned long ago that he had a lot more in common with my 3 boys, than with his older brother. So he comes over alot to play (at least he knocks on the door). He is a sweet little boy and blends in well here. What's one more boy when you already have three!
I love that Brit and Sprocket feel as comfortable in my house as in their own. They add something to my life and I enjoy both of them - together or separately.

My Son the Rock Star

Last week, my son and his friend, Kyle, performed in the junior high talent show. (My son is the short one). They played Good Riddance by Greenday. In the middle of the song, Gunnar jumped off the stage with his guitar and ran through the auditorium, much to the delight of the audience.

Gunnar is never happier than when he is on stage. He can barely contain his excitement. I'm pretty sure that he inherited his musical talent from me, but where on earth did this confidence to perform in front of people come from? I'm almost more proud of him for that than his ability to play guitar.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my 14-year old, Aidan, plays bass in the high school orchestra, and my 10-year old, Brody, is learning piano. I have a photo of Aidan and me before a concert, but I can't post it since it isn't very flattering of me. Sorry, I'm vain.
Brody wants to learn drums, but I'm not a total glutton for punishment! (Although it's only a certain amount of time before I cave).

Maybe someday they'll create a wildly successful brother band (like The Jonas Brothers or Naked Brothers Band) and buy their mom a big house and Mercedes. Probably not, since they can't be in the same room without beating each other up. I guess I need a job!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

1. I resolve to close my free legal service business and re-open as an elite law firm with no paying clients.

2. I resolve to tell my mother she is being a bitch when she is being a bitch (like when she asks me if I have gained weight).

3. I resolve to stop yelling at my kids when they poke my increasingly flabby belly.

4. I resolve to stop gloating about the election to my Republican friends (ok, this one might be hard to keep).

5. I resolve to relearn Russian since I just found a bunch of my college books in the basement and I can't believe that I used to understand it (it's a Flowers for Algernon kind of thing).

6. I resolve to limit my alcohol consumption to champagne.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I Need to Change My Locks

I left my house twice today - once to go to the eye doctor (who gave me the brilliant diagnosis that I am far-sighted which would explain the ten pairs of reading glasses that lie around my house) and to pick up my aspiring actor son, Gunnar, from school where he auditioned for the school musical. I called Aidan on the way home from the Dr. to see if he wanted a slurpee at 7-11. He said "yes." Then he told lme that Granny had come over and proceeded to whine to him about how upset she was that we didn't call her Sunday and that she was so bored and lonely that she cried. My son is not a licensed psychologist, which makes we wonder why she thinks this is an appropriate thing to say to a 14 year old. He is not responsible for her boredom. And if she was so bored and lonely, then she wouldn't have then left soon thereafter. (Although that was better for Aidan).

As I was waiting outside the school for Gunnar, Aidan sends me the following text:
"Granny tried to lock out Brody (from the house) and when I didn't let her, she told Brody I was a fuddy duddy in the kitchen where she thought I couldn't hear her." So now she's back to insulting Aidan (previous readers will remember the time she called him a "bastard."

I know one can't expect a pit bull to change it's colors. But my naive self thought that a grandmother pit bull just might. She has definitely aimed her arrows at Aidan, so far. My thinking is that she knows inherently that he is the one who is the most sensitive to this kind fo thing. Of course, this is not a conscious thought. It's just disturbing that my mother is now extending her damage on to the next generation. At least I can help him understand that she's whacked.