Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Don't Like that Kid and I don't Like her Parents Either.

The party had evolved, or rather, devolved into the kids making-out on the patio and skinny-dipping in the pool. The parents, tucked away in their palatial kitchen-- lined with granite counter tops and high end stainless steel appliances… were apparently oblivious to the children’s activity—I hope. This was not a high school party—this was a 13 year olds’ birthday party.

You know I obsess about The Beast’s friends, but I am not sure if I mentioned it—I have an unhealthy fixation with the parents of her friends too. I know…for someone who refers to her child as The Beast, has questionable parenting practices of her own and relates her personal rag-tag upbringing on-line…one would think I should not talk…yet, chatter away I do.

Perhaps it is unfair to equate house size or level of luxury to parenting style, but just on anecdotal evidence I have noticed a decrease in control/engagement with the child the larger the house or the appliances. McMansions, Viking stoves, Architectural Digest kitchens, Audi in the driveway are all red flags to me. Red flags that suggest the parents are driven, busy and probably pleasing their children rather than parenting them.

When I think back on my own childhood—it was the rich kids in the new development houses that had THE parties. They had the basement rec rooms with the pot and alcohol. I think I witness more pot consumption in suburban basements during my high school years then in my entire college career—which is saying a lot. I can only imagine with these larger houses and busier parents this little pre-view of the Young Teens Gone Wild Pool Party is just the beginning of a long slide downhill into the high school years.

I am thinking boarding school.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


“We are orphans now!” my oldest brother gravely announced the day my father died.

“You know…when I think orphan—I think of a hollow cheeked Oliver Twist or perhaps Jane Eyre starving at some horrible charity school with sadistic teachers.” I said…trying to unsuccessfully cheer him up. “ I don’t think about a bunch for middle age people with kids of their own qualify as “orphans” in the strictest sense. “

My eldest brother always had a dramatic flair…in a Shakespearian sort of way…NOT a Barbara Streisand/Judy Garland way…. The rest of us find this personality trait annoying, but my mother always reminded us—he keeps life interesting. Of course she was not the one being roused from a sound sleep to creep down three flights of stairs and out of the house to the local graveyard to “avenge the death” of our missing cat that was probably run over by a car. She was not the one charged with “securing” one part of the house since a mentally challenged person was reported missing from a half-way house and my brother insisted that he was no doubt a "criminally insane murderer" stalking our ramshackle home.

Of course, my parents both agreed that ONLY an insane person would willing stalk a house full of wild children, assorted smoking, chattering adults and too many animals to count.

Yet—my brother is right…this once. Even if it is only symbolic…there is certain feeling like the bottom has dropped out of your life when you realize that your parents are gone.

A friend’s 87 year old mother died a few weeks ago. She had lived a long and happy life and had just come back from Norway where she saw her childhood town, but my friend was so, so sad. Her pain bought back my own clear, sharp, longing after my mother died. It is as if some invisible mooring has been removed from your life and you are waiting…waiting for a line to be thrown to you, but you know it is not coming, yet you linger. Sometimes…just sometimes…a Shakespearean view of life is appropriate.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Social Moves

“Well…we moved to this little artsy-fartsy town to expand my son’s social horizons.” explained the mom to me when we were introduced at the cool hippie-dippy toy store in my town.

I am often amazed by the parental commitment so many moms have in this affluent suburb. This actually the third mom I have encounter who moved to Nyack because their kids wanted to live here. Barring burning crosses on our lawn or out and out violence—I would be hard pressed to move again unless it is to a beautiful Riverside Drive apartment with roof garden, views of the Hudson and working fireplace.
I would never consider moving because my daughter wanted to go to school with cooler kids. In fact—I think I mentioned we were stuck in the non-hippy-dippy, Red State school for the six LONG years of elementary school before being released into the middle school which has much more of the artsy-fartsy flavor of our little enclave of the super pseudo-liberals.

Still amazed by this act of selflessness on the part of the parents—I curiously asked…”Did you think of other options before moving? Like…
signing him up for a class in the Y or The Art Center that pulls kids from all over the county…or, I know it is daring, going into the city with him? Camp…camp is another good option—kids come from all over to go to camps in the middle of nowhere. “ Because frankly—that would be the most I would be willing to do for The Beast’s “social horizons”.

The mother stared at me in amazement. Apparently no one ever did this little problem solving exercise with her. “Camp” she murmured….”I loved camp. That is a good idea.” Hopefully this bit of Lazy Mom CafĂ© wisdom will help the mom to realize that no matter where you move your son—he is still the same person. Classes might help.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sexy is the New Pink

Have you noticed? This new sexiness the 13 year olds have? I see it all over Facebook…because I am THAT much of a masochist...yes, yes, yes...I ACTUALLY look. And my gut feeling is that a lot of mothers are not looking because it is just too disturbing to see. Thank you Steve Jobs and Apple for making it SO easy to take photos and post them on line...

Remember when they were little girls…
First there was pink—everything had to be pink. The sneakers, the backpack, the fleece. Then pink and glitter, then purple and glitter, then just purple….then rainbow…then rainbow and peace signs….The Beast made a quick foray into acid green, but …now…NOW…it is sexy. It is odd how you can tell a girl’s age just by looking at the colors they are sporting.

Today--everything is about cleavage or a thick, beautiful, mane of hair or highly mascara-ed eyes—or in my case all of the above. Of course I look at her friends pages too..because I am that type of Nazi mom—pouty lips, glossy hair cascading down perfect faces… One can only sigh with resignation.

I am hoping this experimentation with sexy will go the way of the Barbie pink and the glittery purple to more subtle explorations of adulthood. I am trying to remember when sexy became something that I watched out in my dress style rather than actively seeked out. I think it might have been after spending more time in the city…I think it will take some time…