Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mine! But Why??

We have hit two particularly important and irritating developmental stages at my house. My 17 month old son has discovered the power of "mine!" Or, as he says it, "MIIIINNNNNNE!!!!" Everything is his - stuff he played with 10 minutes ago, stuff he played with last week, stuff he has never played with, and stuff he wants to play with tomorrow. He is fully subscribing to the Toddler's Rules of Possession, except for the last one. He would probably still say it was his even if it was broken.

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in anyway.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

It also apparently applies to my things as well. In the last two weeks, he has claimed the following items are his: my computer, my car, a corkscrew, the lawnmower, the remote control, one of my black high heels, my cell phone, all of my case books from law school (frankly, he could have those, except for the fact that they each weigh at least 15 pounds and he always drops them on his feet), my hair, and a box of tampons he found in the bathroom cabinet. Lovely, really.

As for my daughter, she has moved into the "Why?" stage, which is only slightly less irritating than the "mine" stage. Here's the dilemma with the "why" stuff - I don't want to discourage her inquisitiveness or curiosity. I want her to grow up to be the type of young adult who questions things. I want her to ask why things are the way they are and maybe try to change them. But, at two and a half, some of the why questions are driving me crazy.

For example, we went to the zoo on Saturday. When we walked in at 3:30, the cashier said, "You have plenty of time to see the zoo before we close at 5 (yeah, no kidding), but you need to start outside and end inside because we close the inside part last." No problem, except for my daughter wanted to see the meerkats first, which are at the beginning on the inside.

Me: Come on, babe, let's see the animals outside first and then we'll come back and see the meerkats.

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because the outside zoo closes first and we want to see all of the animals outside before it closes.

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because we want to see all of the animals, right?

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because we like all of the animals.

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because we share the Earth with them.

Well, that shut her up for awhile. But then we went the petting zoo and had to wash our hands afterwards.

Me: Okay, babe, let's wash our hands with lots of soap.

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because we touched the animals and we need to wash the dirt off.

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because the animals might have germs that could make us sick.

Daughter: Why?

Now, I'm stumped. I have talked myself into a corner where I either have to explain germ theory to my two and a half year old or give her one of those answers I hated as a kid - "Because I said so" or "Just because" or "I don't know why, just do it." Or I could just not answer her but then I would get, "But why, mama? But why?" for 15 minutes until I went crazy. Or, I suppose I could just make something up . . . but then I fear she will remember only the silliness I made up and not the real answer when she gets old enough. UGH!

It reminds me of the scene in Big Daddy where Adam Sandler is trying to get to McDonalds before they stop serving breakfast and the kid stops to talk to Steve Buscemi as a homeless person. I'm paraphrasing:

Kid: Why are you on the street, mister?

Steve: [gives reasons]

Kid: But why?

Steve: Well, in retrospect, I made some really bad decisions.

Kid: But why?

Adam: Listen, I'll bring you an egg mcmuffin if you end the conversation.

Steve: [falls asleep]

Adam: Look, look, he fell asleep.

Maybe I should just pretend to fall asleep when I can't answer the questions. Somehow, I don't think she'd buy it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who Am I?

Awhile ago, Jennifer posted a challenge on her blog to write my biography in six words or less. I have been slacking on blogging (otherwise known as working at my real job) but I have been thinking about this challenge. It is very difficult for someone, like me, who is so verbal to describe myself in six words. But I tried and here it is. And I sprinkled in a few of my favorite quotes, just for fun.

The first four words came easily . . . .


I know I should probably have put mother or woman first, but I really think that the word "attorney" describes a great portion of my personality. I love being an advocate. I love studying and conversing about the law. And I have been an attorney longer than I have been a mother. Becoming an attorney was the first thing I did that fundamentally changed my entire life, my entire sense of being, my entire psyche. I changed from a shy but witty girl to sharp-tongued (but still witty) woman who is not afraid to take on the best legal minds in the country, mano-a-mano. And I am damn proud of it.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt


Of course, this was a close second, if not a tie. This was probably the second thing I did that fundamentally changed my identity. While there might be some point in the future when I stop being a lawyer, I will never stop being a mother. In some ways, the two roles are very similar. They were both incredibly difficult to achieve. On a regular basis, both roles continue to bring me happiness, frustration, pain, laughter, messes to clean up, friends, sleep deprivation, fulfillment, and pride. And I wouldn't give up either for the world.

"Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of - to hell with sugar and spice." Anonymous


When I looked this word up on Wikipedia, I got the following definition (among others): "A self-description of individuals without romantic partners, particularly applied to women in their thirties introduced in the novel and film Bridget Jones's Diary." Yep, that's me. I hope there is some point in my life when my biography does not contain this word. However, I must be honest - the greatest percentage of my life has been spent as a Singleton. And becoming comfortable with that fact and liking the person I am anyway, has been one of my biggest struggles.

Welcome to your life. There’s no turning back. Tears for Fears, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"


I debated whether this word was simply repetitive of "attorney." But, as I was writing this, I realized that it isn't. I love to write, whether it is legal writing or not. I hope the contents of this blog demonstrate that fact.

"Sometimes you know the story. Sometimes you make it up as you go along and have no idea how it will come out." Ernest Hemingway

Member of a Family

Now, this is where the one word at a time thing got a little blurry. I couldn't think of one word to describe all of my roles as a member of my family. Is there one word that describes daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and cousin? And what about my other family - all of my good friends? So, I cheated a little here, for those who are counting. But, my biography would not be complete without listing my membership in my family. Crazy and unique, bad or good, my family members have helped make me who I am.

"No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you." Wilma Rudolph

One Who Makes a Difference

Again, another one I couldn't describe with one word. In the end, I mean, the real end . . . my death . . . I want people to remember me for all of the above-listed things and, hopefully, remember that I made a difference in the world.

"The sense of obligation is present in all of us. A duty to strive is the duty of us all. I felt a call to that duty." Abraham Lincoln

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who's Next?

Katie's latest post about her boyfriend joining the blogging world got me thinking: Which one of my household members will be the next one to start a blog?

I'm sure my two year and a half year old daughter's blog would be called "Tales of a Misunderstood Drama Queen." She would post daily, of course, to maximize the number of hits and the amount of attention. Her posts would include:

Monday Fun: how to convince your preschool teachers and mother you have fractured your knee and can no longer walk and must be carried around school and home for 24 hours.

Tuesday Follow-up: how to be extra cute and charming after doctor's appointment for said knee "injury" to avoid punishment for Monday Fun.

Princess Debate: Who's better - Cinderella or Belle?



My 16 month old son's blog would be entitled, "Balls, Buses, and Bubbles" because those are his three favorite words. His posts would include:

My Favorite Things - Balls, Buses, and Bubbles

Why it is so Funny when I Stick My Finger Up My Mama's Nose!

Admit it, I'm Cute!

Ode to Goldfish Crackers


The dog's blog would be called, "Because I Can and You Would if You Could." She wouldn't post that often because it would interfere with her nap schedule, but here are a few:

The Squirrel Conspiracy

What the Hell Did I Eat Last Night?


Principles of Strategic Shedding

Why the Postman is Evil and Must Be Destroyed

The cat probably wouldn't lower himself to blogging, but if he did, it would be called, ". . . And Your Little Dog Too!" His posts would be full of swear words and rants against "the establishment" and include:

Who are These People and Why are They Touching Me?

Why I am Better than the Rest of You

How Hard is It to Keep My Food Bowl FULL!?!?!

Wow. It is probably a good thing I have a laptop that is on a high shelf. Of course, since none of them can type, all of the entries would look like this:

s DUH;W8Q NAe f;o234q
sakjdf 23489 sdflgmj awer:oGT DFHP0ERU9QT
hklsdf 394t sdakl erg12=4 daf; a)tre xbg
qw[ kpSDF ;94T'KDAFGq912-]94813
RSDFAGsdf w3rt9hn ;sdf awrfolwet n'ujio

I think I am safe for now.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Well, Maybe You Shouldn’t Date the Easter Bunny

One of my best friends for many years just turned 37 and is still single. Single and bitter, really, which differentiates her from me because I remain single and hopeful (and I am not quite 37 yet) with only occasional moments of bitterness.

Anyway, she was talking to my two and a half year old about her Easter Basket recently. (Even though Easter was several weeks ago, the Easter Bunny is still a big topic of conversation of our house, particularly the things the Easter Bunny brought in the baskets.) After discussing the contents of my daughter’s Easter basket with her, my friend H. said to me, "What the hell kind of Easter Bunny came to your house!?!"

"What are you talking about? They got tons of stuff in their Easter Baskets!" I replied.

"Yes," H. said, "But the kind of stuff is a little disturbing."

"What is disturbing about it?"

H. rattled off the list of my daughter’s Easter Basket’s contents: a jeweled tiara and wand, sparkly hair things, a pretend pink talking cell phone, a metallic orange purse with flowers, sparkle lip gloss, two small princess books, princess sparkle stickers, and a bottle of bubbles.

"So?" I said.

"What, is the Easter Bunny gay?"

Considering the contents of my daughter’s Easter basket, I could see she had a point. "But," I said, "my son’s basket had cars, balls, a red cell phone, truck books, bubbles, and train stickers. So, the Easter Bunny is actually really butch too, but he has a feminine side. He’s metrosexual, really, which is a hard thing to say about a pretend rabbit that neither one of us believes in."

"Well," she said, "I don’t think the Easter Bunny is metrosexual. He sounds like most of my ex-boyfriends - either gay or overcompensating for something."

Friday, April 4, 2008

I’m Funny, But Not That Funny

I just got a phone call from my brother, which is weird enough in and of itself. He’s never been a phone kind of person. However, the subject of our conversation was even weirder. Here it is:

Brother: Hey, I have a question for you.

Me: OK, what’s up? (Thinking it would probably be a parenting question)

Brother: I was trying to remember this joke you made once.

Me: Well, you know . . . I make a lot of jokes.

Brother: Oh, yeah, but this one was really funny. It was about specific heat capacity and Junior Mints.*

Me: I told a joke about specific heat capacity and Junior Mints? When was this? I mean, was it recently, because I’m pretty sure I would remember it if it had been recently.

Brother: Well, it was when I was in high school and you were in college.

Me: You mean, like 15 years ago?

Brother: Well . . . yeah.

Me: You are calling to ask me about a joke I made 15 years ago?

Brother: But it was really funny!! I remember giggling about it forever!

Me: You know . . . I can’t even think of something funny to say about specific heat capacity or Junior Mints right now. I seriously don’t remember what would have been funny about them 15 years ago.

Brother: Oh, come on! It was hilarious! We both laughed forever!

Me: Listen, now that I think about it, don’t you think it is more likely you told a joke about specific heat capacity and Junior Mints? I mean, you are more likely to be funny about scientific theories than I am. My humor tends toward the snarky, sarcastic, making-fun-of-people, stupidity-of-others genre.

Brother: No really . . . I think it has something to do with you dropping a Junior Mint in your boyfriend’s lap or something.

Me: Are you sure you are not thinking of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer drops the Junior Mint?

Brother: What’s Seinfeld?

Me: Nevermind - it’s a TV show. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me.

Brother: Will you call me if you remember?

Me: Yeah, sure. Did you call Papa today?

Brother: No. Do you think he will remember the joke?

Me: No. Seriously, if I actually told that joke, I sincerely doubt I told it to our father and he remembers it 15 years later. No. Did you call him because it is his birthday today?

Brother: Oh, shit. I better do that.

Me: Yeah.

*I created this link to the Wikipedia article about Junior Mints because it was interesting, not because I think people don't know what Junior Mints are.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Will I Never Learn?

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

I will not cut up old debit card until making absolutely sure the new one works.

Damn it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: Blue Man Group Show is Repetitive

The Peoria Journal Star is reporting this morning that the Blue Man Group show at the Civic Center was good but "strikingly similar to last year."

Umm . . . ya think?

Seriously, there are only so many ways of entertaining an audience with a show based on some guys with shiny electric blue rubber masks on their heads, banging PVC pipes and garbage can lids (or is that Stomp?), launching themselves and other objects around the stage, all set to ear-splitting techno music. Is this really entertaining more than once? And if it is one of those things that you just LOVE (I mean, I do have certain movies or books I watch or read over and over), why would you be shocked if it was similar to the last time you saw it?