I had a moment a couple of months ago when I realized that I was getting to that age where stuff that I thought was really dumb when I was younger suddenly started to seem like a good idea. I’m pretty sure I was a shitload of fun in my youth, in the same way that doing taxes and getting your first endoscopy are fun, because I know I was totally up for anything as long as it didn’t involve anything that would result in (1) loss of dignity; (2) noise; or (3) mess. Now that I’m older though, I’m starting to lighten up on requirements 1 and 2, partly because I’ve discovered that I have no dignity and probably never will (though I still hold out hopes for my 70s, assuming I get that far) and 2 is pretty much ruled out because I went and had a kid.
(By that same token you could also rule out 3, but hope springs eternal, and I hate doing laundry.)
The other thing I realized is that you have to make your own fun. I discovered that because Hobbes is constantly demanding to be entertained, like he doesn’t have a fully functioning brain of his own. 1
He alternates between wails of, “I want to do something fun!” and “Come play with me!” which are both really cute the first time, because he has really bad diction so they come out sounding like, “I wanna do somefin’ fun!” and “Come pway wif me!” 2 After the fourth or fifth time, not to mention the fortieth or fiftieth time, they get a little old.
“Go find something to do!” is my standard response, though I sometimes mix it up with, “Use your imagination,” or “I am not your pet poodle.” He doesn’t really understand the poodle thing, because he continues to have a deeply skeptical relationship with dogs as a species ever since a shiba tried to eat his head for smelling like a sausage (not really, but I think that’s how it ended up being stored in his wee brain, so whatever) but the other two he understands perfectly.
His retort is usually some variety of, “I’m using my imagination, and it says you should come pway with me.” I’ve told him repeatedly that hearsay is not admissible, and unless he can produce said imagination to testify that it actually said that, he’s not getting anything from me. One of these days he’ll be smart enough to ask whether I even have a law degree, at which point I will pat him proudly on the head and say, “Well played, grasshopper. Well played.”
That probably won’t happen for at least another year, so I have some time yet.
Anyway, this takes us back to the subject of fun — just go with me here — and the Good Idea part of this title. Basically, I decided to dye my hair (“Was I supposed to spell that with an ‘i’ or a ‘y’?” asked my sister the nurse, busily texting on her phone, “because my boyfriend’s freaking out now.” Well done, Sako!) an attractive shade of smurf blue.
It’s in streaks, in case you’re wondering, and it looked fantastic for the three weeks it lasted until it blanched into an odd greeny-yellow color. Lesson learned: do not go swimming the day after dying your hair.
Hobbes was an immediate fan, and promptly put together a relatively cogent argument about why he should be allowed to dye his own hair purple. I exercised my authority as an arbitrary and inconsistent straddler of galaxies, and told him he wasn’t allowed to do it until he could pay for it himself.
“You should give me money, Mommy,” he said craftily.
“Not unless you work for it.”
“I do evewyfing,” he said with exasperation.
I’m proud of the boy. He may be remedial in other areas, but he’s already whining at a 7th grade level.
On the other front, the Bad Idea front, we’re going to be going on a long road trip shortly. A long, multi-state road trip. With a 3-year old. This isn’t the brightest thing we’ve done in our time, but then again, I’m almost positive we’ve done dumber things (though none immediately come to mind. Still, I’m sure if I give it some thought, something will occur to me.) I’m tempted to see if I can make myself journal through the entire thing, but given my attention span and inability to stay conscious in the car, that might not be something that happens.
In the meantime, Hobbes is obsessed with dinosaurs, and makes us read him fat encyclopedias and reference materials about the subject every fucking night. It’s getting so I start out our bedtime ritual with, ”Please. I’m begging you. Let me read something with a plot.” Unless his dad intervenes, Hobbes just stares at me like he’s James Cameron and doesn’t know the meaning of the word, and shoves yet another dinosaur book in my face.
He’s turning into an expert. It’s infuriating. The kid can’t even say “thumb” without including an extra ‘f,’ and he’s lecturing me about the proper pronunciation of Latin words. “Di-PLOD-a-cus, Mommy!” Or the other night, “Ark-e-OP-trix.” Which, I tell you, is not how ‘diplodocus’ and ‘archaeopteryx’ look like they should sound.
DIP-lo-DOKE-us. ARCH-e-op-ter-ix. Right?
“Say ‘library,’” I ordered.
“When you can say ‘library’ like a real person, then you can lecture me about Latin, okay?”
He rolled his eyes so hard, I swear they were about to lose suction and spring out at me like ping-pong balls. “Oh, Mom,” he sighed. “You’re hiwarious.”
- He doesn’t, by the way; I think it’s because it’s so small, but I’m pretty sure there are some parts missing. Don’t tell him I said so, though. I’m hoping those missing parts make him gullible enough to think I’m a supportive and nurturing parent. ↩
- See? I really am a supportive parent. I transcribed him like he was an articulate human being the first time. That totally counts. In years to come, when he’s being eviscerated by the press for pounding on a podium and announcing, “My name is Hobbes and I am wunning fo’ pwesident!” he’ll think back to this and realize how nice I really was. ↩
- A Good Idea Followed by a Bad Idea
- Childrens’ Day and other things
- Stories on an afternoon drive
- Bring your kids to work day
- Tech support.
- A little daring
- I don’t know about you….
- A little bit of validation
- In which good intentions mean diddly-squat
- Things I need to remember not to forget
- Sometimes they will surprise you
- England and other errata