Category Archives: Hey! That Reminds Me!

If Grey (With Pink Polka Dots) Was A Spring Color

Today always brings a wistful melancholy.

Forty years later. I still remember.

I was in kindergarten. My friend Jeannie was in one class. I was in the other. We walked to and from school together every day. But once we reached the building, we took off our coats and hats and gloves and boots and put on our school shoes. She went to her class and I went to mine. We saw each other at recess and at “Morning Time.”

At Morning Time, the two classes sat together in the  common area between the two classrooms. We sang a song. We talked about which day of the week it was. And if the date was significant in some way.

First Day of Spring.

Jeannie and I were sitting next to each other. Like we always did during Morning Time. It was cold outside. Still snow on the ground. I was wearing my favorite dress. A soft, grey wool sweater dress with a pink polka dot border at the bottom. It twirled. A little. And I had on tights. And little grey boots. The boots click-clacked when I walked. I felt grown-up. Pretty.

It was the first day of spring. And it was still very cold. But Jeannie was wearing a short sleeved white dress with little blue and yellow flowers all over. Her dress really twirled. It had a ruffle at the bottom and at the sleeves. She was wearing white tights and shiny patent leather shoes. She felt grown-up and pretty.

Mrs. Kay, Jeannie’s teacher, was leading the group. She asked us about spring. And the new life and colors it brings. She asked everyone who was wearing pretty spring colors to stand up.

I looked down at my pretty, pink polka dots and smiled. Jeannie and I clasped hands and stood up together.

Mrs. Kay talked about each of the colors she saw and when she got to me she said, “Jane, sit down, please. You’re not wearing spring colors today.”

“But Mrs. Kay….I’m wearing pink polka dots.”

“No, Sweetie. Your dress is grey.”

All she could see was the grey. All I knew was that my favorite soft, grey wool dress with pink polka dots was now ugly and itchy.

I plopped down as I heard Mrs. Kay say, “Now everyone look at Jeannie’s dress. White with those pretty blue and yellow flowers! What a wonderful celebration of spring!”

I didn’t hear much after that. My grey dress was no longer my favorite. One sentence took that all away.

………..

To recognize the First Day of Spring today, I wore my favorite grey cardigan. With a pale, pink blouse underneath.

In honor of Mrs. Kay.

I do that quite often now. For the past 20 years, or so, I wear a combination of grey and pink on the First Day of Spring. My adult self, showing my 5-year-old self that grey and pink can feel like spring. It’s an attitude. It’s from within.

And words will not diminish me anymore.

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Filed under Growing Up, Hey! That Reminds Me!

A Retro Style That Needs To Make A Comeback

Who remembers Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock?

I know this style is very ’80s.

I love it anyway.

And I wish this was one retro style that would make a comeback.

(Will somebody please drag me into this century?)

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The Best Age To Explain The Birds And The Bees? It Doesn’t Matter.

(The following post was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Christine at Naptime Writing. Read on to make yourself feel better about any successes or failures you may have with “the sex talk.”)

My mother was  a nurse. And she had me in the 60′s. My dad wore a peace sign necklace and fashioned a dove with an olive branch out of coat hanger, wrapped lights around it and hung it in our living room window for the entire length of the Vietnam War.

I saw my parents naked. They didn’t parade around the home but when I slammed into that bathroom, pleading for more sunflower seeds and yogurt, they never covered up. They just told me, “No. You’ll spoil your dinner.”

They were very open about sex. And what it was/is. We never called our vaginas our hoo-hoos. A penis was a penis. My mother proudly  tells the story about the time the babysitter got an earful from her (prodigy) 6 year old daughter of all the proper body parts and what sex really is. (I was nothing, if not a bit precocious.) 

I’ve followed my parents open, free-minded example. I’ve done the same with all of my children. When the ultra-sound technician pointed out my son’s “winkie” on the screen my 10 year old daughter could not fight back the giggles. I was bouncing so much  on the table trying to hold back the laughter, the tech had to stop the exam.

“What?” she asked. No one said a word. My husband and daughter just shrugged.

But in the car, all the way home? “Winkie?!? Doesn’t she know it’s a  PENIS?!? What’s a winkie?!?” my daughter said over and over, cracking herself up every time.

My boys know a penis from a winkie. And they’re not afraid to let me know, either. “Mom? There’s something wrong with my penis!”, “Mom! My penis stands up by itself! Watch!” and “Mom. Did you know that sometimes my penis does stuff that I didn’t even tell it to do?”

But like the story my mother also likes to tell, I’m realizing that truly understanding sex and the significance of our private body parts is wholly dependent on brain development. And maturity. And  5th grade.

“Mom? Is this what sex REALLY is?” I proceed to explain, in fairly graphic detail, the sex act. My mother is surprised.

“Yes, that’s what sex is,” she responds, “We’ve talked to you about this before. And there’s that book we looked at together that explains everything (well, not everything) that we’ve looked through a number of times. Do you want to read it again together?”

“But you and Dad don’t do that, right?” I’m incredulous. I’m completely weirded out. And I remember this moment like it were yesterday.

“Well, when two people love each other…”

Her voice trails off. Because by now, I’ve screamed “Gross!” and run out of the room and slammed my bedroom door.

I couldn’t look my parents in the eye for a week. (My mom always cracks up at this part of the story.)

Just the other day, my youngest son (He’s 8 but so is his brother…for another few weeks, anyway. They’re 10 months apart in age. But that’s another biology lesson. Actually, it involves adoption but it was  a fun tie-in, so work with me here.)….my youngest son is in the bathroom, about to hop in the shower. I set the water temp for him and insist that he hurry up and take off his clothes. We’re wasting water. He slaps his hands over his penis and says, “But you can see my penis. I need my privacy.”

Yes. This is the kid that grabs constantly so that we have to have a code word in public. (“Scratch” and then he’s supposed to bring his hands to his head and scratch behind his ear in order to move his hands away) This is the kid who discovers new things about his penis and has to share them with me, his dad, his brother. Not his sister, though. She put a stop to that early. This is the kid who bounds into the bathroom like clockwork after I have stepped into the shower to ask for: snacks, permission to play xBox or watch TV. Suddenly, HE needs his privacy.

You see? It’s all relative. It all depends on where your child is in his development. You can talk about it from the time they are wee-little ones, on and on. You can wait until they’re 10 and try to explain it then.

And their reaction, when they finally “get” what sex really is, will be the same.

Delayed.

Complete and total shock.

And when you least expect it.


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Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, Hey! That Reminds Me!

Dodging The Bullet On Family Picture Day

We took our family pictures recently. The more kids you have, the more schedules you have to coordinate around, the tougher it is. And this year we dodged a major bullet.

Exactly 2 hours after the photo shoot, my youngest son came down with pink eye. That morning I was struggling with clothes that weren’t too matchy-matchy. Arguing with two little boys who would rather ride scooters at the park then pose for pictures. A daughter who fussed over hairstyles. A husband who snapped and growled because his only day off that week was going to be interrupted for a photo session.

But it was all worth it.

This is what we got….

Pre-pink eye.

(Thanks, Merrilymarylee, for reminding me to celebrate the little victories.)

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What IS All This Brouhaha Over Facebook Changes?

Sipping tea, watching Headline News yesterday morning, I hear Robin Meade mention the changes on Facebook and how everyone’s panties are in a twist.

I think, “Oh no. Not again. Not something new for me to get used to.”

So, I rush up to my computer and log onto Facebook to check it out.

Changes? Huh?

What changes?

Oh, sure. There’s a little ticker on the right sidebar that shifts every so often. (No different from the little ticker at the bottom of the television screen on most news programs.) And now there’s a handy, dandy little blue triangle located in the upper left hand corner of homepage posts. (What it’s for, I have no idea. And I don’t care, either.)

But people tweeting and twittering decrying these changes? Or, shouting out to fellow Facebook friends with evil status updates belittling Facebook powers that be?

Silly.

A little change never hurt anyone. (Except when they messed around with the formula for Coca-Cola, of course. But that’s for another post.)

Change keeps us young. Change challenges us to adapt. Change encourages problem solving.

Change is good!

All this crying about change reminded me of a pithy comment I saw on a church sign recently:

“If you are resistant to change just remember the beauty of autumn.”

Truer words were never spoken.

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Filed under Because I'm Curious, Deep Thoughts, Hey! That Reminds Me!

Let’s Go Back. And For Some Of Us, It’s Going To Be Waaaaaaay Back.

A memoir by a 6-year-old still has me stumped. And it got me thinking about what my own memoir would say, if I were still 6. Some of you, in your comments to my previous post, mentioned a bit of what your memoir would contain. (Thanks for the inspiration Dawn and Tori!)

I’d love to hear more!

Let’s all think back. Waaaaaaay back. And post the memoir you would have had as a six-year-old. It can be a poem. It can be prose. It can be long. It can be short. But all of them will be sweet, I’m sure.

We’ll meet back here on Friday and share!

Sound like fun?

Then get those fingers tapping!

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Filed under Because I'm Curious, Blogging, children, Hey! That Reminds Me!

Men! They Just Don’t Get It!

(To all three of the men who read my blog: You are not included in this rant. I have a feeling, especially since you follow my blog, that you are among the enlightened few. And a special note to LLCoolJoe – I apologize in advance for this sexist slant. But I’ve had it up to here!)

Yesterday, I was trying to catch up on my blog reading. I came across this, featured on Nap’s blog, Naptime Writing:

Now, Nap had a lot to say about it. She was annoyed. And you can read all about it here. I watched the ad and thought, “Yeah, but it’s still funny.” So I re-read her post and thought, wait, she’s right. It’s backward. Stereotypical. (Which makes the title of this post all the more amusing.) But my husband is still going to love it.

And he did. He thought it was hilarious.

And then I quizzed him.

Me: So, as a parent, what does the dad do?

Him: Has tea parties with his daughter?

Me: Correct. Now, what does the mom do?

Him: pays the bills, kisses the boo-boos, bakes for the bake sale…

Me: Right. Everything else.

Him: You gotta remember. This is marketing. They’re marketing this minivan to MOMS. Moms who think they do it all.

Me: THINK they do it all?!

Him: Yeah. (All smug and shit. Oops. Sorry. Now I’m starting to talk like a rapper. Word!)

That’s where the discussion ended. I wasn’t going to get into it with him. Because, it’s not news to me. My husband thinks HE does it all, too.

We live a very traditional, stereotypical existence. We even joke about blue jobs and pink jobs. And frankly, I like it that way. I like the way I clean a bathroom compared to him (using actual cleaning products). Or doing the laundry (separating colors). Or cooking (as opposed to opening a can of pinto beans, pouring it over rice and calling it supper.) It works for us.

And oh-so-fortunately, he works outside the home, and I’m able to “stay home.” Which translates to: work (unpaid) at his office one or two days a week, be available for the kids at any hour of the day and run day-to-day household things. 

My husband works very hard. He puts in 10-12 hour days. He’s not afraid to work weekends. I’m so very proud of how he has built up his business. He yields success that many others in his field never attain.

But he doesn’t get it.

He has never bathed the boys. I can count on one hand how many times he’s supervised a shower. Wait, make that one finger. The very first time he ever “watched” the boys alone was when they were 3 and 4 years old. And when I came home he said, “That wasn’t so bad,” and the house looked as if a tornado had blown through. On the weekends, my husband’s threshold for patience ends about 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon. “I can’t get anything done,” he says, sending the boys off to watch TV.

Yes, when we added kids to the mix my workload increased to infinity and beyond! My husband’s extra chores? Not so much.

In Nap’s rant she says that even in 50/50 marriages it abruptly switches to 90/10 once the kids are born. I wholeheartedly agree. It might not be 90/10 in OUR household. More like 80/20. But it’s not my husband’s version of 60/40.

No. Freakin’. Way.

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, Hey! That Reminds Me!, Motherhood, Soapbox