What is the smallest thing around me right now? My buddy, the blue plastic lizard. He came from a silly awkward boy a few years ago, who thought it would scare Mom if it was hanging out on her computer. But I liked it, so I kept blue lizard, and he watches over my monitor or one of my external hard drives for me. My son was astonished that I kept blue lizard– poor kid didn’t know what to do with the whole Mom-didn’t-scream-and-freak-out thing. Oh well, me and blue lizard are cool….
Cola Slurpees, definitely. Alone in my car, turning up the volume and bass to max (I’m Deaf) and playing rap music. My particular car causes even the gas pedal to vibrate to the music. Putting my arm on the car door is great! Sometimes the drivers seat gets involved in the beat too. Risk: police officers don’t usually understand that all that racket is Not Distracting Me From Driving at all. My children are embarrassed when I’m waiting in the carpool lane. They say You Can Still Hear It really loud half way across campus. Going to Dog Beach when the weather is good. Getting visitors to my blog. Inventing play on words across ASL and English. Only about 2 people in the world understand them, but I amuse myself at my ingeniousness. This is an Eccentric Result of losing my hearing as an adult and being bilingual….
That although my personality is very intense, I tend to try and not swing too far one way or another in philosophies, opinions, people… From the time I joined La Leche League 20 years ago, I found there were moms who were very extreme in their child-rearing practices, both unbelievably strict (we’re talkin about babies here, not Marine recruits) and extremely lax (“I support you in expressing your frustrations. Would you like to beat on this toy instead of pounding and kicking my very pregnant womb?”) But I learned it’s best to try and find what fits for you and leave the Adamantly Opinionated alone. They probably have been told before that their practices are overly-______, and if they feel so strongly about it they’re probably not gonna change much. I learned not to be defensive about my choices and explain away why I wasn’t/was doing something so awful from their point of view.
I also try really hard to put myself in other people’s shoes. Empathy is a great teacher, as I learned the “jerk”, or “radical” or whatever person has a family too, had horrible experiences in their lives, have been known to be kind and moderate to other people, and even that some people are just shallow. They are not asking me to make them deep. They are okay with who they are. One of my biggest empathy lessons learned was that there really were many other people in the world who did not need closure As Much As I Do. I tended to try and re-instate the conversation that got distracted by the dog running through the house soaking wet. Because the conversation was not yet “finished.” I also thought all reconciliations had to be “complete,” if I forgave somebody of something wretched they did, I had to be their best buddy now and trust them like nothing ever happened.
I don’t remember exactly the moment when the light bulb went on inside my head that there are many other viewpoints in the world, and nobody designated my way of seeing things as the correct one. Five people witness a car accident, five different stories of what happened. Extremely different many times to the extent that you think how could all of these people seen the same thing with so much conflicting information? Which people are lying? None of them, they all saw the accident in the context of their life, whatever they were doing at the moment, whatever reminded them of that thing they saw on tv one time, whether they were contently drinking their starbucks–or just had the hot liquid spill all over their lap. People are fallible and actually do make mistakes and behave in atrocious manners without it having anything to do with me personally. I’m pretty sure the CIA is tracking me though…. they want to know what causes a person to use so much sarcasm in a blog.
Planet Teenage Boy (PTB) and Planet Teenage Girl (PTG), specifically, their citizens. Constantly befuddled by their responses, sudden random acts of sweetness, moodiness, angst….. I always thought infancy was the most “fragile” time in mothering, you’ve got this helpless baby dependent upon you for everything, and whatever you do, as a mom, don’t screw it up. Then I Had Teenagers…. Now I truly believe the teenage years are the most “fragile”, because decisions of who they are and what they will become are bubbling up during this time. A sweet kid can suddenly veer off into random territory and it’s frightening. Other times, a teenager can be incredibly thoughtful and candid. The trick is, you never know what’s going to happen next. With a baby, some things are fairly predictable — the Eat, Sleep, Play Cycle. Teenagers are either eating everything in sight 24/7 or not eating at all and being freaked about being “fat”. Sleep… either up all night long as-though-this-is-not-going-to-affect-me-tomorrow, or sleeping 14-16 hours a day, Like A Rock. Play involves all of the social complicated-ness, boy/girl stuff, who they hang out with, and it’s not the result of an Arranged Play Date. Parenting teenagers is hard work, constant chaos, and yet attempting to appear Serene (insert perfect melodious music here). Infants require changing the diapers constantly, teenagerhood just brings in the poop a different way.