Before you scar a second grader for life by explaining to her why “She had boobs,” is not really an appropriate sentence for her grammar homework, make sure that second “b” is not an attempt at a cursive “k.”
Tag Archives: parenting
Except for the little bit I sprayed on the tops of my feet as I felt them start to sizzle, I am not wearing sunscreen. My shorts are short enough that when I lean my leg to the side, I can see the naked curve of the foothill of my ass spread on the curb. The Child is hot already after just a half hour sitting curbside waiting for the parade to begin. The sunscreen I sprayed all over her body less than an hour ago appears to be acting more like cooking spray than sunscreen — she is browning up nicely and doesn’t seem to be sticking to the pavement. When she removes her big, turquoise straw hat, she reveals sweaty hair, and the bangs that I cut for the first time and too short (of course), are glued to her sticky forehead.
This is our third year at the Piedmont July Fourth Parade, and I love it. Small town parades have been a delight to me ever since I saw my first one in Cedar City Utah nearly fifteen years ago with my then boyfriend and my younger sister whom he was trying very hard to date. I digress. Other than trying to stay awake all night as he slept in between the two of us in a small tent in the Utah desert, the most memorable part of the trip was that magical parade.
It started with a gaggle of local kids cruising down Main Street on their bikes and trikes all decked out with glimmering red white and blue streamers. They were followed by the firetruck, and several people who owned nice cars. I think one may have even been a convertible! After a truck crammed with local beauty queens sweltering in the July heat under the weight of fiercely teased bangs and glamorous tiaras, there was one more girl on a tricycle. She must have been about four, and she, like those who came before her (five or six floats and cars and trucks before her), was engulfed in July Fourth decor — her high pigtails dancing and tickling her flushed cheeks. She leaned into the breeze, a determined grimace on her small, round face, and with nearly every rotation of her pink Hot Wheels pedals, she hollered, “Wait for me, guys! I’m coming! Here I come!”
I can almost hear her now, so vivid is that memory, so etched in my mind and heart and soul. This year’s parade was not as memorable, but it was still absolutely delicious. It is delicious in the literal sense because the small bystanders are literally pelted with candy thrown haphazardly by passengers in official parade vehicles and passed out gingerly and randomly by those walking in the parade. It is a lovely opportunity to watch otherwise calm, yoga-fied, hipster Oakland parents (who normally wouldn’t even give their kids candy in the first place) call on their long-dormant aggression to advocate with perfect strangers for their child’s “right” to a certain piece of candy. I saw a mom dive in front of an older child to retrieve a Tootsie Roll for her toddler (admittedly, that mom may or may not have been me).
Today marks a deviation from the norm in more ways than this. Not only are the children allowed to have candy, a rarity in and of itself in these parts, they are allowed to take it from strangers, and if said strangers fail to deliver it effectively, the children are allowed — nay — encouraged to pick it up off the street and eat it. And then there’s the street. Cautious children who “look both ways,” and “hold hands,” are standing in the middle of the street while their parents drink beer out of empty kombucha bottles, and strangers drive old cars erratically, and pelt everyone with candy, the air thick with antique exhaust. This is what it means to be free. Truly free.
Happy Independence Day!
Wise children know that quantifying things can sometimes improve the situation:
Me: I am so confused I don’t even know how confused I am!!
Child: Want me to guess?
Me: [pause] Um, sure.
Child: A trillion and a hundred!
Me: Yes! Exactly! How did you know?!
Even if you’re an anti-Disney, anti-princess sort of mom, trying to raise a strong, independent daughter, sometimes the urge to let her play princess is irresistible:
“Mom, pretend I’m Ariel, and I listen to all your words, and I’m always helpful.”