They Work Against You In Ways You Never Expected

Unless they were saints, your parents at some point said to you, “Just wait until you have your own children!”

You probably thought (not said, because you knew better than that) Well, when I DO have my own children, I’m going to be cooler than you! I’ll let my kid stay out til dawn/listen to heavy metal/smoke pot/eat ice cream for breakfast/not do their homework/(fill in the blank with the opposite of whatever patently uncool thing they wanted you to do).

Here’s the thing that your parents knew that you can’t possibly understand until you are raising children yourself:

Kids work against you in ways you never expected.

True, on occasion, your kid acts exactly like you did, and you suddenly understand how freaking annoying you were to your parents and marvel that they didn’t kill you.

Then they act the opposite of you. Remember the Keatons from Family Ties? The hippies who birthed a Republican? Yeah, like that.

You envisioned  being the kind of parent who would not censor the music your children wanted to listen to, and promised to not overly scrutinize it for profanity, unsavory characters, the expression of strong emotions, screaming, or screaming guitars. Your children like Justin Beiber and anime theme songs.

You decided at age eleven that you would never pull a book out of your child’s hands because it was deemed “too old” for them. Your kids would rather clean their rooms than read a book.

You promised yourself you would not give any girls you had a hard time about wearing skirts with a hemline above the knee.  Your girls almost never wear anything other than sweatpants and consider jeans to be “dressed up”.

Even when parents differ on certain issues, kids have an innate sense of how to execute a maneuver that will get to both of them.

Early on after the kids came to live with us, #1 asked me if I would go with her to get her first tattoo when she turned 18. I said yes. Her father rolled his eyes, hoping we would both grow out of it.

But when the time came, she no longer wanted my input.

She came home one day with the words “I now walk into the wild” tattooed on her ribs, in gangsta script.

Her father was apoplectic.

CC: A Christopher McCandless quote? Are you serious? You got the words of a loser tattooed on your body forever? What is wrong with you?

#1: He’s not a loser, he’s awesome!

CC: He went into the wilderness completely unprepared and died. That’s the very definition of losing.

#1: Nuh-uh!

Me: Where did you get it done?

#1: That place at Willowbrook next to Hollister.

Me: You got a tattoo done at the mall?!?! What is wrong with you?

CC: Wait, let me see it again. Did you read this? It says “I no walk into the wlid.”

#1: Daddy!

CC: Hmm, maybe if he had put it like that, he would have lived.

Me: Please tell me they didn’t actually tattoo the quotation marks.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 2.39.51 PMAt least none of the kids want to be clowns.

Yet.

How do your kids get to you?

One Beautiful Sunday

Hey. It’s One & Done Sunday.

I woke up yesterday at 6:15am to give #2 money to go to Atlantic City.

Don’t judge me. Her high school choir was performing in the Miss America parade.

Beauty pageants pretty much represent everything I’m against: overemphasis on outer beauty, popularity, conformity, and vapidness. I’ve always had a closed mind to them. Then I was forced by my children to watch enough of one episode of Toddlers and Tiaras to be totally okay with my mind slammed shut against beauty pageants.

Until this week, that is, when CC sent me a link to an article on one of the contestants in this year’s Miss America pageant. I started digging around and found more that made me open my mind just a little.

Sergeant Theresa Vail from Kansas, whose platform is Empowering Women, Overcoming Stereotypes, and Breaking Barriers. She’s an expert M-16 marksman, a bowhunter, and field dresses her own game. When she walks in the swimsuit portion of the competition, you’re gonna see her tattoos. She’s my favorite, so she gets two links: the People magazine article and her own blog post explaining why she chose not to cover up her tattoos.

Nicole Kelly from Iowa was born without her left forearm. Her platform is The Power of One and she wants to go on the road as a theater stage manager. Nicole, I know people! We can set you up. Here’s a link to the Today article.

Jennifer Smestad from my former home of Arizona was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at age 10. She keeps it in check today with acupuncture. Her platform is Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness and Advocacy. Here’s a link to the Daily Mail article.

All the contestants do their own hair and makeup for the final televised competition tonight. This is because, during her reign, Miss America has to do it all herself anyway. And every time she walks out the door, she has to look like Miss Freaking America. Can you imagine? No running out for half & half in last night’s mascara and the yoga pants you slept in, no swinging by the dry cleaners when you just ran five miles at the gym and are drenched with sweat.

I may still not be completely enamored of beauty pageants, but Miss America has my attention tonight. 9pm on ABC.

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Happy Sunday.