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This crutch looks like it wants to kick me

My son has been employing an interesting new linguistic crutch lately. He’s in that development stage where kids discover that they can be part of conversation if they participate in the natural back and forth of discussion. The problem is that sometimes he starts to talk before he knows what he wants to say.

“Mommy?” He’ll say, getting my attention. Then nothing, until he feels the need to fill the silence to keep the attention. “I love you but…”

This phrase chafes.

It implies that there is going to be a low blow dealt to my parenting psyce. But it doesn’t come. He says, “I love you but…can I wear jammies with feet tonight?” or “I love you but…are we going to park?” It’s just a verbal filler to him. But it’s a crutch I picture with a big steel-toed boot on the end that’s poised to kick me in the ass.

I love you Mommy, but you're freakin' me out right now!

My daughter, during the same period of verbal development, would say “can I join your conversation?”  A much kinder, gentler introduction into the banter of life, no?

But she hasn’t always been the sweet lollipop of empathy she is now. “I love you but…” gets under my skin because she used to say it to me. Usually when I was at my most harried. “I love you but…I love Daddy more.” And she meant it. I am proud of myself that I didn’t throw a four letter word at her. And I mean that.

It wasn’t really surprising, though. The two of them have had an amazing relationship from the start. He was the one who could calm her down best during her colicky episodes. And when real estate kept me out working nights and weekends, they created a bond that I could not duplicate with her.

I’m okay with it now. Time has healed that wound and she and I have our own special (and completely different) relationship. Plus I read The Wonder of Girls and it drove home the importance of a good relationship between fathers and daughters.

So my son can say it all he wants: I love you but…at school I played with Reed yesterday. But…when are we going to California? But…I had a dream that I was. A. Lion!

This morning he said it again. “I love you but… I just love you.”

And of course it made me smile, because their two variations of the phrase sum them up. One honest and open. The other simple and understated. Except when it comes to dancing naked around the house. Then they’re both freakshows.

Sing It To My Face!

I really like musicals. I like the drama and the costumes, the dancing, the lights and music. I like imagining I have that level of talent. Most of the time it’s good old escapism for an evening. But sometimes I can’t overlook that corny thing that pulls me out of the moment. It’s when I look at the actors on stage and think: that would never happen.

The same thing occurred last night when I went to see In The Heights at Keller. It is inevitable that two people in a musical or opera will end up singing into each other’s faces. This usually involves the woman holding the man’s face, then the man grabbing her hands and pulling the two of them close with their hands grasped between their heaving chests. About half the time one or the other throws their hands away and walks in a dramatic circle around their portion of the stage. The only exceptions are Rent (because the characters are sometimes two men, but really, they do the same thing) and Avenue Q (because they’re puppets).

I could be a director of one of these things.

Could you imagine if we did that to communicate with our partners? That would never happen. Although, I think it would actually be an effective way to get your point across. Especially with men who are not great at reading emotions. You’re upset that he hasn’t been helping with the housework or needs to spend more one-on-one time with the kids? Sing it to his face! Loud! Want more attention while she’s watching Project Runway? Grab her hands and make puppydog eyes while you sing!

God, that would get old fast.

So while I was watching Benny and Nina (Arielle Jacobs, who has a fabulous voice) sing into each other’s mouths, it sort of distracted from the story. It’s a bit formulaic, because Daddy never thinks anyone is good enough for his daughter. Otherwise it’s really good and I shouldn’t get pulled out of it over staging. If you’re not familiar with In The Heights – and you’re already forgiven if you don’t know of it – the you should know that I may be being a bit harsh on it. It won a bunch of Tonys in 2008.

I just think that sometimes directors should make these people a little more real. I mean, even when John and I were falling in love we didn’t do anything like that. How about staging it the way real people live* life. Like lounging at opposite ends of the couch. Or standing in the kitchen talking while secretly wondering who is going to bend and do the dishes first. And not singing.

I guess that wouldn’t work after all.

*Please note: apparently there is an exception to this singing into each other’s faces thing. Apparently it IS the norm in Finlandto do it. I don’t know. I’ve never been.

Let’s DO This Thing

For the record, let me just say that I think that people who Blog are crazy. They often share too much and are probably a little narcissistic. But there’s a “but.” I like to read them, it’s nice to see that others are as weird or normal or whatever as you, and it’s fun to write. And, maybe, I also find myself gazing at my reflection a little, too.

Not my lieteral reflection. It’s a little too uninteresting for my taste. I like a little bit of the exotic. But reflection in the dictionary’s “fixing of the thoughts on something” way. [I wanted to insert a pic of me looking reflective in a mirrored reflection. It was A) too silly and 2) Um, when did I get those sunspots?]

Last weekend I skipped my college reunion. Let’s just say it was my 10 year reunion. Just say. Instead I went with some girlfriends to the coast.We relaxed and drank fancy drinks and talked and had an impromptu dance party and talked more. (BTW, happy birthday Jen).

Arch Cape with the ladies


We weren’t there for any sort of retreat, but there were a few conversations that felt a little bit that way. We had a support group for floundering carreers. We had a kumbaya session on how we actually really like our husbands. I realize the cheeziness of it, but it was really nice. I left the weekend feeling really good about life and my place in the world.

As I was driving home I thought, no, reflected on this. I decided that I’m finally feeling inspired to actually write instead of talking about writing. So here it is. I have no idea who will read it, but it doesn’t really matter. I have friends who support me, kids who love me and a solid rock of a husband who both loves and supports me. I’m going to write whenever I can.

Then I got home and walked in to flopping, boneless, tantrumish kids. I realized that taxes were due and I hadn’t even started them. I was behind on paperwork for a couple of transactions for work. Ugh. What was I feeling just a moment ago? Inspired? Yeah, I’m having trouble locating that feeling again.

No, no, scratch that. The kids are fine, they just missed me. The taxes, after pulling my first all-nighter since the aforementioned college, are all done. The paperwork is fine thanks to my fabulous transaction coordinator. It’s all good.

Let’s DO this thing. I say this knowing that with so many projects I start out strong and energized and lose momentum a little too easily. I have some problems with follow-through. No, really I do.

So (for now) let’s DO this thing!