Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today is my last full day in California.
To be honest, I'm ready to come home but that will happen tomorrow.
The conference is fun and I'm enjoying California, but I'm ready to be in my own home.
Since I'm still in San Francisco so you get to be entertained by Miss Lauren!

Lauren isn't a blogger, but she is my Baby Girl.
"Baby Girl?" you might ask.
You see, this is how that nickname came about one day on G-chat.

Lauren: Is there ever an appropriate time to use the term "baby girl?"
Jen: Only if you're a black rapper and you're referencing your main woman and not one of your ho's. For example, Tiny is TI's "baby girl"
Lauren: So I shouldn't call you "baby girl?"
Jen: No.
Laurn: Ok, baby girl. (you see what I did there? I called you baby girl anyway.)

And that folks, is how we started calling each other baby girl.
She's even saved in my phone like this

You see, I love Lauren so much, I over look the fact that she's a Cowboys fan.
Blech!

Be prepared to be entertained.
Lauren is full of sass, snark, and sheer hilariousness.
Enjoy!

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When my dearest baby girl, Jen, asked me to compose a“guest blog post” for her amazing website, I wholeheartedly agreed as there is simply nothing I would not do for my baby girl, and yet, now, as I sit down to actually compose this thing, I realize my monumental error in judgment. Admittedly, Jen assured me that I could write about anything, perhaps even test my theory that when life lets you down, pop culture always provides a satisfying scandal to save your day (i.e. Lindsay Lohan). Perhaps, since my baby girl is such a fan of T-Swifty, I could provide some insight into why Taylor Swift cannot seem to find true love in her many, many relationships (i.e. What is the common denominator in all of these relationships? Right, it’s you, Taylor. Post concluded). Still, the lawyer in me is always reluctant to take too many pot shots at these even very deserving public figures, so I opted instead to take up space on my dear friend’s blog talking about my own personal weirdness as I prepare for an Oklahoma summer as a toddler mom with virtually no maternal instincts whatsoever. I suspect I am about as equipped for that as I am for guest blogging, but I trust my baby girl will forgive this little foray.

Before I dive in, I need to provide some slight history to bring everybody up to speed on my life path that went from maddeningly ambitious attorney to mommy. Three years ago, I was in the middle of growing my own law practice when I inadvertently contracted the mommy flu from my husband of seven years. In the blessed three and a half years that followed, I really started to think I was surprisingly hitting my motherly stride. My kid is cute, relatively well-mannered, and generally takes direction without shrieking in hysteria in the middle of some department store. I survived breast-feeding, dirty diapers, and all-nighters with an admittedly uncharacteristic Mommy Zen. He speaks his (brilliant) mind with the same edge his mother has, wipes his own you-know-what, and still naps for a couple of hours every afternoon like clockwork. I really feeling a little proud of my adjustment when I learned apparently that summertime means I have some obligation as a parent to socialize my child with all the things I dread: day camps, field trips, play dates, swimming lessons, amusement parks, all in usually blistering heat.

Recently, a culmination of experiences reminded me that, even as a now “tot-mom” (i.e. Jen, I totally just pictured Nancy Grace talking about the Casey Anthony trial and laughed inappropriately), I am apparently ill-equipped for parenthood because I feel like I need a stiff drink after (and during) every play date activity. For example, a few days ago, I took the kid on a play date with my sorority sister and her son for “Pre-School Time” at what I can only describe as a house of inflatable horrors. The place was truly crawling with screaming, sweaty toddlers without shoes literally climbing on one another in piles to get to the top of a grimy balloon slide (or take down a helicopter mid-flight like the sugar-fueled, mouth-breathing zombies they were) while other toddlers rammed tennis balls into makeshift air guns and opened fired on the herd. It was germ guerilla warfare, and I arrived for battle without a ten gallon jug of antibacterial hand gel. In fact, my PTSD is so intense, I literally just made myself a cocktail recalling this place, but for me and my baby girl, Jen, it is just another Tuesday night!

Although my sorority sister and I vowed never again to return to this establishment, we somehow found ourselves on yet another play date less than a week later…at a petting zoo. My sorority sister patiently parked her stroller just outside the little farm yard, and the boys seemed to momentarily enjoy interacting with the goats, pigs, sheep, and apparently gay bunny rabbits with surprisingly few inappropriate questions about the miracle of life. Suddenly, my sorority sister sprang to action, running to the fence to try to wrangle a goat that had stuck its head through the fence and was polishing off a few stray Cheerio’s inside her stroller seat and washing them down with by lapping water out of her son’s water bottle nestled in the cup holder. For a moment, I chuckled at her expense until her son pulled at my pant leg and held something out to me inside his cute little hand, something small and round, pellet-like really, and freshly deposited quite recently by an excreting billy goat. As I frantically tried to keep him from touching anything else while dragging him screaming to a hand-washing station and my sorority sister, now armed with some zoo staff members, tried to extract the goat that oddly enough shared my son’s name from her stroller, another stray animal (a peacock we affectionately deemed Roger) randomly eluded another zoo keeper while my kid just looked confused as the strangers in khaki uniforms violently shouted his name and demanded he get back in the pen. That’s right, bottoms up, gang!

We again vowed never again, but a few days later, we were already chatting about future play dates. I mean, what could possibly go wrong if we decided to allow our children to explore their creative at a pottery painting studio? Or, even yet, decided to load up the entire gang in her mini-van and go to the one place in this world that still causes me to break into a cold sweat: the amusement park. Allow me to explain my anxiety…

Certain elements are absolutely essential for any successful visit to an amusement park. No amusement park visit is complete unless the temperature is at least ninety degrees Fahrenheit with one hundred percent humidity. You must feel sweat in body crevices you did not know you had such that you are willing to literally dip yourself in the brown, foamy water on the graffiti-splattered log ride to cool off and wait in an incredible line for the opportunity to do so. Once you feel the sweat begin to bead under your eyeballs and start to trickle down your cheeks, you know you are ready to pack yourself into back-and-forth rows of humanity for the exciting privilege to be jerked around in a loop for thirty seconds or so. A little wobbly, you step off the ride only to observe a mass of sweaty humanity (and their thirteen barefooted children) stuffing their respective faces with fried food and multi-colored drinks composed mostly of high fructose corn syrup. During any solid amusement park visit, this will certainly not be the last time you observe these dietary delights.

Amusement park visits offer a cornucopia of germs, particularly when I think about how my toddler will touch every surface therein. My mother always told me that as a small child, I would always avoid filthy bathrooms. One time, Mom and Dad convinced me the circus was over at intermission because I refused to use the toilet in the arena. I have to admit that I still experience that apprehension, particularly in amusement park bathrooms. It always seems like there is one working public toilet in the entire park with the rest of the stalls closed with handwritten signs indicating they are not in working order. Despite these signs, park visitors always seem skeptical. Why is that? You could put up a sign that says, “Some creep loaded the toilet with paper towels and smeared feces on the walls of this stall. Out of Order” and people would still peak inside just to be sure. At amusement parks, the floors of the bathroom are always wet, and the origin of the water is always unknown. Filthy children with face paint peer beneath stalls. Employees leave the restroom without washing their hands (Although frankly, I am not convinced they are any dirtier than those of us that elected to wash our hands in the amusement park restroom). You wait in line to use the facilities, and inevitably, the longer that you wait, the more concerned you become about what your predecessor is doing the stall you are soon to occupy. Waiting with a clenching toddler in tow does not seem prudent.

Still, I am confident that there are many that would say I am simply an uptight snob. The truth is, I really would not argue with that sentiment. Since I officially became an adult, I don’t know that I have ever visited an amusement park that I am not a little embarrassed to be there. Amusement park attendees are always colorful: Gigantic women in wet tube tops with Tinkerbell tattooed on their right shoulders eating a turkey leg followed by a line of barefoot and crying children wearing the remnants of an oversized lollypop on their faces, the “Pat”-like visitor that, despite your best efforts, you cannot tell whether he/she is a man or a woman, families dressed with matching, tucked-in polos armed with professional cameras snapping pictures of some absolutely indistinguishable concrete monument erected in front of the saloon fa├žade, teenage brace-faces covered in pimples getting hot and heavy against a tree covered in about a thousand hardened gum wads, each a different fluorescent color. Frankly, the amusement park crowd operates like social birth control-It is a warning to our society about the all-too-real results of hasty couplings. Despite these thoughts, I see the irony in being judgmental while I myself am a visitor at the amusement park. The odds some visitor will look at me, my sticky toddler and my loved ones and think we are a pack of disgusting weirdos has to be fairly high.

So, after giving this road trip to the amusement park some serious thought, I have decided, in light of my past experiences and our recent play date history, I just may have to deny my kid that I love dearly this sacred summertime rite of passage. His frazzled mother should be spared the overwhelming anxiety of so-called amusement, right? I mean, right? Who is with me? (Awkward pause) Yeah, okay, sure, this Saturday works for me. I’ll bring the juice boxes and the fruit snacks for the ride.

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