Monday, May 10, 2010


So my son can wear a dress to school 2 out of 3 days a week, but I'm not supposed to let my daughter have a short haircut....Tim resisted, but now he's on board.

She isn't as much of a gender bender as my son is, but she only humored me for about 5 minutes to wear the pink hoodie dress. The source of her insistence on no skirts, no dresses, short hair and monster truck sleepy suits is not so much a desire to be boyish. It's a combination of spite, competition, comfort and adoration...

It's clear that Jack Peter likes dresses because they are comfortable, cute, twirly, and he gets a lot of attention for wearing them. Steel's refusal to wear dresses is still a mystery to me, but her love of his clothes is primarily a desire to have the things she knows he wants. I blithered away drunkenly to Tim the other night about wanting to instill in her an ability to figure out what SHE wants. How does one do that? Jack Peter always has wanted exactly what he's wanted. Steel either wants what he has or wants to lie in my arms and be fed pretending she can't what Toby wants. Ironically, she's the most demanding of my children.

I not only want her to want what she wants...I want those wants to be the right wants. I want her to want broccoli. I want her to want exercise. I want her to want equity in the world. I asked when she was griping about not getting the armrest chair, "Steel, would it be fair if Jack Peter ALWAYS got the armrest chair?" "NO!" "So is it fair that Steel ALWAYS gets the armrest chair?" "YES!"

Competition must be at the root of it. Tim always maintains that he has NO INTEREST in competition, and yet he has to deal with competition regularly as an architect. He is convinced that how someone else performs doesn't motivate him at all. I, on the other hand, am unabashedly competitive through and through. My mother always described me as "the one to get the 2nd A." Once I knew it was possible to do something, I wanted to do it too and better. Why would I try to squelch my innate competitive nature when it's always served me well?

Now I work entirely alone. Is it that I don't want to deal with competition? I don't even enter shows. The payoff for entering juried ceramic shows never seemed worth it to me, but maybe I don't want to ignite that competitive little lacrosse player and risk NOT getting the ball....

We had a couple over who had both been laid off. The husband was interviewing at a firm that Tim knows to be rapacious. Tim said, "If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you be interviewing at that firm?" Of course we all had to answer what we'd be doing if money were no longer a factor. Tim wants to be an urban farmer! Maybe the competition is getting to him. I'd do the same thing I already do except I'd give the pots away-maybe with some arugula in them if Tim's farming so much...I'd definitely have more flowers, massages and yoga in my life.

My dad has always done exactly what he wanted. He is turning 75 next week. He's thinking he might have to give up living in the middle of nowhere in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Tim has been suggesting a condo here in Philly. Grandpa Peter is mulling it over, but the big hurdle for him, in a thick Rhode Island accent: "I won't be able to get loaded at night and blast my music!"

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