Wednesday, April 20, 2011

inherited genes

An extremely exciting development in my life is that Steel has inherited my purge gene. She'll get rid of anything if she can. Her brother has trouble parting with a used kleenex or a headless plastic hammer, but she'll send every playdate away with a pile of clothes and toys.

It was a little awkward yesterday because we had Josephine over. Phine has 2 moms. She's a vegetarian. She's not allowed any Disney because of the bizarre way those films insist on killing moms off. (It is weird when you think about it. Bambi, Peter Pan, Finding Nemo....the list goes on. They took the single mom in Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs and turned her into a single dad.) Phine comes over and goes straight for the princess stuff. Her moms are hoping for an instant playgroup at our house, and she sits by herself playing with Steel's barbies, the forbidden fruit of a feminist existence. Steel was trying to pack them all up for Phine, and could not grasp the concept that Barbies are politically unacceptable in Phine's household. Tim and I are bonded by our hatred of musicals and Jack Peter is obviously headed for Broadway. I can only imagine that Phine will be on t.v. wearing a tiara, heels and a bathing suit vying for the "Miss Pennsylvania" title 10 years from now.

Apparently I was difficult to dress when I was little. Steel has also inherited that gene. She refuses to wear anything but her black candy corn pants and an orange shirt with a black cat on it. Her birthday is on Halloween, and she's a kid who loves candy, but it's still uncanny.

Steel's first "Halloween" was the August before she turned 2. We were at a massive family reunion in Canada; Tim's dad was one of 14, and most are still alive and have reproduced. Everyone camps lakeside on the grounds of a bed and breakfast owned by one of the Aunties. Apparently there was some mention of a Halloween celebration in the pre-reunion literature. All of the Canadian kids had costumes. I wrapped JP in toilet paper and told him he was a mummy. Steel was little and had just eaten a chocolate ice cream cone, so she was sticky and horrible enough to call it a costume. We went to the first tent with a posse of kids. Cousin Lawrence handed out a pile of chocolates to each kid. Steel refused to leave his tent. You guys can leave; I'm staying right here with this guy.... No one had ever handed her a pile of candy and told her to have as much as she wanted.

We also did a tai chi class at the reunion. There were about 25 of us following along. Jack Peter hopped up onto a play structure in front of the class and started shouting to everyone. My dad does that. If a flock of birds lands in front of him at the beach, he'll bellow, Thank you all for coming....I've gathered you all here for an important announcement! I guess Jack Peter got the Kinder pontificating gene.

As you can see from photos, Toby has inherited my obsession-with-underwear gene.

I seem to have inherited somebody's forgetful gene. I often forget about Toby. Last week I gave the big kids milk, and we went out somewhere, the 4 of us. Toby looked up at me and said plaintively, Toby's baba? I don't think I could have felt like a worse mom....until Sunday

Sunday, I forgot about a playdate with one of the cutest, most well-behaved kids at school. He and his dad rang and rang the bell. We were out, and I was phone-less, so they had to turn around and go back home. We rescheduled for Tuesday. His mom made sure to text me beforehand. She's a person who makes me feel like a self-absorbed disaster....She teaches yoga to old people and does social work. She started school research WAY before I had and flummoxed me with her knowledge and has since decided that none of the free options will do and is sending her kid to quaker school. She took a breastfeeding class to brush up for her second kid. Her first kid is extremely well-behaved and hates dessert. Dessert is the only thing that connects my children to good behavior.

The long-awaited playdate was a little chaotic. I picked up the date, Steel, and Jack Peter from school and brought them home to a fragile Toby. I let the big kids go down to play with the "Lightening McQueen who changes color when he goes from hot to cold," my gift to the date for standing him up. I could hear tub noises. I went down and all of the cars had been dumped into the tub. The date was naked. It was stinky. I figured it had been a while since he had taken a bath, so I let them tub. I picked up his clothes from the floor and put them in the dryer assuming that they had gotten damp from the process of putting Lightening McQueen back and forth from hot to cold water.

I went back upstairs to start dinner and give Toby a little attention until Steel screamed something about POOP ON THE FLOOR!!! I strapped Toby into her chair and sprinted back down. All 3 looked at me and said, "It's all cleaned up!" I clorox wiped things and made everyone wash hands and bums and went back upstairs to make dinner and assuage screaming Toby. I also checked my phone and read the following text from playdate's mom: FYI he can always use a reminder to go potty especially when focused on play...Yep, I'd solidified excrement onto his clothing and onto the interior of my dryer with my sophisticated hot treatment. The poor kid had done his best to clean up after himself and not tell me, and that's how I repay him????

Any doubts I'd had about the etiquette of giving gifts to both the date and his mom were disspelled. She got a bouquet of my tulips. I grew the most astonishing tulips this year. I planted them in our garden plot, and they are truly remarkable. Do they compensate for a crestfallen Sunday and a kid returned in clothes that were a little too small for him, I don't know. At least the date does not share Steel's passion for specific clothing. Meanwhile Jack Peter was a little traumatized to see the date leaving in his he always complains about because they fall off, but nonetheless his clothing.

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