Here's what I learned today.
I learned that I am the world champion at skeeball. In my daughter's eyes, that is (and what else counts?) Evidence for my world champion status consists primarily of two facts, the first of which is that I broke a sweat while playing. Impressive, I know, and no, we're not going to discuss whether said moisture could possibly be attributable to hot flashes...it was inspiration, not perspiration. Got that? The second fact concerns the correlation between my championship level playing and the number of small beige tickets being excreted from the left side of the skeeball machine (the balls are on the right, silly), which can then be traded in for...well, almost nothing, since even a stuffed animal the size of a dime "costs" at least four times the number of tickets you have, and that's if you have a LOT of tickets, which if course we did, because I'm world champion.
I learned (in reference to yesterday's post) that one way in which I'm just like them is the apparent shared inevitability of Saturday afternoons at the kid-arcade-ride place (no, not Chuck E. Cheese, but same basic idea). This I cannot deny. Sigh.
I learned that they--in this case, CNN--are saying that "Bad Parenting" is in now, and they are attributing it to the economic crisis, when it is clearly a well-oiled book publicity campaign being staged by Ayelet Waldman's promoters. They're doing a bang-up job, I'll tell ya. I'd hire them in a minute. Effin' brilliant. Oprah, even. No, I don't have anything against the book--how can I when I haven't read it? It's just fascinating, from a sociological perspective, what traction can be gotten by being willing to use the moniker "bad mother" to make people feel okay about parenting (which of course, most people should, at least as far as I've heard). Because really, what role does guilt have in parenting? (stifling hysterical laughter) Um....everything?
I learned, for the eight-hundred-and-fifty-seventh time, that my child is what some people call "highly sensitive". For today's purposes, it means that she has to swear off television if she should encounter a show in which a person vomits (or nearly vomits), it means that she can watch a show in which people are breaking their backs working in the pouring rain and mud, and she feels terribly for the black dog that is shown for one second with rain falling on its head, it means that eye drops and band-aid removal are pretty much out of the question (as are their evil cousins, children's flavored cold medicines), and it means that she remembers--in detail and seemingly out of nowhere--the clothing and socks and weird energy of a dog-sitter that (apparently) cared for our dogs one time, several years ago, maybe when she was four. And it means that she hates me talking about her with a passion unrivaled, so I'll stop now. I've already said too much. But before I go, I want to say that I also learned, for the eight-hundred-and-fifty-seventh time, that I love this about her with every cell of my being (despite how it may occasionally appear).
I learned that on the scale of "girly-ness", two of my friends from high school are 97% girly, and that I am a man.
I learned--well, not exactly, it's more like I admitted--that there still lies within this simplicity-craving, ecologically-minded, socialist-leaning, live-in-the-country-and-grow-my-own-food resident of a 750 square foot house, an irrational desire for an enormous home with every sort of room that I always wanted, on a piece of land big enough so I can't see neighbors from my front porch (deep and wraparound, dontcha know). You know. A craft/sewing room. A library. An office. A true mudroom. A playroom. A glorious kitchen. All those regular rooms too. Oh, and that slide that goes from my 2nd floor bedroom into the indoor swimming pool with the roll-back walls and the retractable roof so that it can become an outdoor swimming pool in the summer (a lingering dream from childhood that I have never fully abandoned). Today, I learned I also wanted a well-appointed doggie room with easily cleanable floors and cozy bedding and direct access via a doggie door to the dog run, so that any dogs (including those with trauma issues) that I may have at this point (see trauma issues above) or at any point in the future can have a safe and fun place to hang out that does not involve crates. I hadn't known about that room before; it has now been added to the mental blueprint. Capitalism dies hard. As my friend Jimmy Carter said, "I have lusted in my heart".
I learned that some people actually practice self-care as scrupulously as they advocate for it. I am Impressed.
I learned that I can write even when I struggle all day, believing I have nothing to write. Even if it's late. Even if I'm tired.
Lastly, I learned that the big bag of baby beet greens that I got for the first time ever a week ago from a local mega-farm stand and loved beyond life itself are only available for three days every year. I'm hoping they hire a blimp next year to announce their arrival, just in case I forget. You're all invited to come over for a monster salad of baby beet greens, spiced pecans, cranberries, and gorgonzola cheese (on the side if necessary, not everyone likes that), with maple vinaigrette dressing. It's drop dead great.
Just look for the blimp.