Greetings! I Notice You’re Fat!

There’s a little charity thrift store around the corner from my office, staffed by nice Jewish senior-citizen volunteers. Usually when I stop in there, which isn’t often, someone offers help, then leaves me alone, which is just as it should be. Sometimes I’m even ignored, which is fine, except for the times I’m looking to donate items.

I generally don’t want overly helpful service in a regular store, and that’s even more the case in a thrift store. I come to browse, or to look for a particular kind of item and then to browse. Today I stopped in to see if they had any light hand weights that I could use in my office, so I could take small steps toward getting in shape during my spare workday moments rather than sitting on my ass, checking Facebook.

Today, one of the volunteers was a cheery yet overly helpful saleswoman. I was looking at some hand-crocheted blankets that were offered for under $10 when the lady placed a pair of fuzzy-trimmed boots on a chair nearby and pointed them out to me. She was being quite — helpful — with other customers too. Then she turned back to me.

“We have some nice tops, and they’re large,” she said in an enthusiastic tone, pointing them out to me. “Here are the dresses, and these are all laaarrrge.”

Um, did I mention that I didn’t ask for help in this store?

Thanks, lady, for letting me know you noticed my fatness! Never mind I may be shopping for my daughter or husband (I browsed for them, too), or that I may be here hoping to pick up a deal on some workout equipment (yep, that’s one way fat people get lean). It’s reassuring to know you saw me and thought, “Laaaaaaarge.”

I thought of leaving right then, knowing that whenever I looked at any article of clothing I might purchase, I would remember the saleslady saying, “laaaaarge.”

I stayed, though, and found a pretty blouse for $4.95 that probably was at least 10 times that amount new. It’s nice, and laaaaaarge.


Serious Enough?

The sheriff said misdemeanor charges he planned to file against the Balloon Boy Father seemed “hardly serious enough” given the circumstances. He was checking with the FAA to see if there might be fitting federal charges, as I’m sure there are (risking an air catastrophe)? If the state child protective services scrutinize that household, they might come closer than the sheriff or the Feds to a consequence that addresses the unseemly nature of what occurred here.

There apparently are no Earthly laws that address the matter of conning people on several continents into worrying and praying for the safety of a small boy who was safe all along, except, perhaps, from the shenanigans and wrath of a mercurial, hyperactive, attention-seeking, narcissistic father. People seem to feel cheated that the boy wasn’t in the balloon and instead was hiding, even though, really, that’s what we prayed was the case. They feel cheated because, apparently, although he denies it, the boy’s father pulled a fast one, using his young sons to concoct a phony dramatic emergency for a publicity stunt that he hoped would further his TV career.

Fret not, those who prayed. The father may not have garnered quite the kind of attention he wanted in the long run, yet it may be the kind his family needs. If this stunt gets a child protection agency to look at parents who put their children up to lying on international television, holding them up for humiliation, driving them into hurricanes, having them make a bratty, foul-mouthed video for YouTube, then perhaps it was worth it. Perhaps it’s working out as well as it could have, given the circumstances. No one was physically injured, parents who probably need to be scrutinized are being scrutinized, a guy who probably thinks he’s smarter than everyone and that his needs matter more than anyone’s is finding out he isn’t and they don’t.

The family does need your prayers. Maybe the ordeal the parents allegedly cooked up for themselves ultimately will set the family on a better path — if it doesn’t tear them apart.

She’s Ready

The little girl has had a two-month break from preschool. She’s four, and had been in childcare full-time or close to it for most of the past three-and-a-half years, so while her less structured summer has been fun, and she’s had lots of playdates, she misses school. I suppose she misses the regular interaction with friends and the routines. For weeks, she’s been asking when she will go to her new school. Her pre-kindergarten year starts in a little more than a week.

I told the little girl yesterday that there’d be a get-together at her new school this evening, for the children to play with each other. She immediately asked me what she should wear to this event. (This concern for fashion does not come from mamawhelming. Perhaps from mr. mamawhelming?) The little girl suggested she bring a second dress in case she needs to change.

She woke up early this morning and quickly announced she was going to pack her backpack for the school event. As I readied to put on makeup before work, she appeared in the bathroom door and said, enthusiastically, “I’m all packed!”

I reminded her that the get-together wasn’t until later in the day, after Mommy got off work.

“I know!” she chirped.

She and her daddy picked me up after work to go to the school. She had her backpack with her change of clothes that she had packed, “in case I  tinkle.” She stepped out of the car, smiled, and said, “This is my first day at my new school!”

I should have just savored that cute little moment, of course, and let her savor it, rather than obsessive-compulsively explaining to her that this wasn’t her real first day of school, it was just a playdate. She made herself at home, trying out the playground equipment, looking around her classroom and chatting with new friends. She didn’t want to leave when most of the other families had gone home.

I think she’s ready.

Impatient Mommy

The cute weather-girl story notwithstanding, my mommy performance tonight was less than stellar.

I started out OK this morning. We had a fine, fine cuddle, I snuggled and kissed her like a baby, her head on my chest, and rocked her side to side like a mommy rocks her wee one. The little girl seemed to soak it in happily. I had to rush off to work, which meant showering and dressing and cooking eggs, and telling her I didn’t have time for the fashion show she wanted us to have.

I worked a little late and met her and her daddy at the park around the time we should have been leaving the park. I felt tired and impatient. We played a little while, I carried her half the way home before my back told me to let her walk — she wanted me to carry her the whole way — and we had a semi-chaotic dinner, with a little of this and that, in the living room, with the end of an episode of “Noddy” (gah), then “Caillou” and “Frances.”

She needed to go to bed then, as it was close to 8, she’d been awake more than 12 hours with no nap, and well, she just needed to get to bed! She went from dinner to nightgown to tooth-brushing to bed in a matter of minutes, not the best pacing. She was being a sweet girl — and restless, very restless, and maybe stalling a bit, and the less patient Mommy was, the less patient Mommy was with the sweet little girl’s antics. She requested a reading of “Miss Spider’s Wedding,” not my favorite — sorry, Davd Kirk — as it’s a long book with fancy, flowery verbiage for a kid’s book and a shrewish beetle and a very scary mean he-man spider and a saccharine spider love story. Every sentence or two, the little girl asked a question: Does he want to marry Holley? How are they stuck there? Does he think he’s the boss of everyone? Who’s that?

These are, of course, adorable, probing questions from a sweet, adorable girl. And it drove me slightly mad. I mean, the book is long, with lots of paragraphs on each page. It can take a while to read through these pages of thick verse. With five questions per page, it could take hours to get through “Miss Spider’s Wedding.” I put the kibosh on the questions — not something a mommy should be doing. “No more questions!” Nope, not good mommying.

When she tired of my impatience and my refusal to let her leave the room a second time to kiss her daddy goodnight, she asked to have her daddy come in instead of me. We did this, and it was not a great scene, as she really wanted me there. So as I sat on the sofa in the living room and tried to relax, the little girl would emerge every few minutes with her soft, cozy velvety pink blanket over her head. And again, impatient mommy would carry her back to her room, barking occasionally. When I was too barky, she’d tell me to leave, even though she wanted me there. I told her if she left her room again, there’d be a consequence — no tutus tomorrow! That should be a big consequence, because she loves her tutus, and it’s big for us too, because she’s happy and very cute in them, and now we have to round up and hide her tutus to show we’re following through on the stupid consequences. Anyway, when we threatened this consequence, the little girl said, “Good. I like that consequence.” Oooh, she’s quick.

Finally, after carrying her back in there for at least the third time, maybe the fifth, I asked the little girl if she wanted me in the room. She nodded. So I told her daddy to skeedaddle and soft-barked at the girl to get her whole self on the bed and there’d be no more foolishness and it was after 9 and so forth. There was some tossing and turning, some conversation, some guilt.

“Mommy, do you know why I kept coming into the living room?”

“No, why?”

“Because I wanted to kiss you.”

She at last snuggled into the place she calls her “home.” I sang goodnight songs to her. She asked for another sip of water! I barked and gave her her cup. I said goodnight to her toes and fingers and such the way the monkey does to herself in “Goodnight Me.” She exhaled at the appropriate time, when the talk turns to breathing, which seemed to relax her. She drifted to sleep as I sang prayers to her. Then I kissed her and told her I love her and apologized for being grumpy. And that, my friend, is what’s known as falling short.

The Weather Girl

The little girl, with a concerned little frown, occasionally lets us know she can’t decide what to be when she grows up. We try to assure her that at her age, now 4, she needn’t know yet. Recently she told us she’d be a princess on Tuesday and a firefighter on Friday, then quickly amended the plan, saying she’d be a princess every day.

Tonight, she informed me with certainty that she will be a weather girl when she grows up. I didn’t even know she had heard of a weather girl.

“You can be a meteorologist,” I told her at bed time.

“No, weather girl.” (Pause) “What’s a meteorologist?”

I explained that a meteorologist is a scientist who really knows about the weather, whereas a weather girl or weather guy on TV might not be a meteorologist and might not really know much about the weather.

“I’m going to be a weather girl,” she stated. And then she gave a little forecast.

“And tonight the weather is going to be cold.”


In car:

“Does Diego have a different tinkler?”


“And Dora has a girl tinkler?”


Hours later, at home:

“Does Caillou have a different tinkler?”

“Yes, Caillou has a different tinkler.”

“And Caillou’s daddy? Does he have a boy tinkler?”


“And Caillou’s mommy has a girl tinkler?”

“Yes, Caillou’s mommy and Rosie have girl tinklers.”

Also in car:

“Mommy, I still don’t know what to be when I grow up.”

“That’s OK, honey. You don’t have to know now.”

“I know! I”ll be a firefighter on Tuesday and a princess on Friday!”

(Mommy laughs.)

“No, I’ll just be a princess all the time!”

Dora y Frida

Is it my imagination or is the background scenery in “Dora the Explorer” inspired by the artwork of Frida Kahlo? This would apply to the background only, not the faces, as Dora has no visible eyebrows.

“Why, Mommy?” the little girl asked when she heard me comment to my husband on Dora’s lack of eyebrows. “Why does Dora not have eyebrows?”

“Oh, she probably has eyebrows, honey. I think her hair is hiding them.”

Of course, Dora is generally quite upbeat, and Frida’s works are generally quite disturbing, so there’s little commonality there, even considering the reader in which Dora and Boots jump over a nest of snapping clams. Dora seems to have a happy life, Frida appeared to have an extremely painful one. Dora, however, not unlike Frida, is famously associated with someone named Diego.

Anyway, re the artwork, you be the judge.

Here’s Frida, with monkey, and green leaves in the background.

Here’s Dora, with monkey, and green leaves in the background.