Monday, July 14, 2008

Bailouts, Etc.

I'm just going to say it: I'm more than happy to pay to help bail out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. And just as soon as they start turning a mad profit again in a few years, I'll be just as eager to receive my dividend check. You know, the one that will be going to every American taxpayer who chipped in this year to save their asses.

Oh. What? You mean it doesn't work that way? What? What moron would create an entity in which the profits remain private but the pain is taken public? What kind of corporate welfare would allow such a situation to exist? Sometimes I can be so naive...

Speaking of naive, I have no story relating to naivete. I simply needed a paragraph transition there. Although I can regale you with multiple kiddie stories, if you can stomach even one more from my Mama Chronicles. We went to a boy's 4th birthday party on Sunday. It was, let's say, a Handy Manny themed party. We did all the activities even though Bambina was so not interested, in my attempt to teach her about being "a good guest" at a party. The party was going along swimmingly when a knock at the garden gate revealed a visit from none other than!!!!...the real-live Handy Manny!!! Total bedlam ensued, but not for obvious reasons. The kids completely freaked out with fear upon seeing this life-sized being that they'd only previously seen him about 6 inches high on the television. Added to the drama was the fact that it was a wee bit of a "low-rent" version of the costume, so even to my adult eye, there was something kind of "Chucky" about the large head rather than benignly Disney/Nickelodeon-ish. So kids started crying or backing away from the creature. Only about 2 kids went near it. Even the birthday boy was terror-stricken behind his mom's legs. And the worst part? All the adults started laughing. I personally simply could not control myself. It was just so hilarious to have this beloved character walk in the gate and have mass panic ensue. It literally took about 10 minutes to restore order once the parents pulled ourselves together and the offending Manny left the area, with Bambina continuing to wonder if he really was gone, like did he get on a plane or is he out there walking the streets? The sad thing? It still makes me laugh, which might make me a child sadist. I don't know.

What I do know, after being a mom for a grand total of 4ish years now, is that life is a whole lot happier--and easier--when you accept your child for who she is. My kid hates kiddie chaos, doesn't like people in her face, and generally has no time for people she doesn't know, especially adults. Beyond trying to teach her basic manners and doing the required work to encourage her out of her shell, I've really come to the firm conclusion that so much damage can be done to your relationship with your kid if you cross that line between "nudging onward through uncomfortable situations as a means of building confidence" and trying to change your kid's personality. My daughter is exceedingly outgoing and talkative once she knows you. Or in small groups of kids. But put her in a 20-kid birthday party free-for-all and she's not having a happy day. I was asking her if she wanted to do the pin-the-tail game and she kept saying no. But I kept asking on the theory that hey! It's a party! Have some fun! And then she said, "Mama, I already said no 89 times! That rude to keep asking." And she's right. If I were out with my friends and one of them didn't want to do karaoke or whatnot, I wouldn't hector her for 10 minutes to keep checking if maybe she really did maybe perhaps want to do something that is not in her nature. I'd say "cool" and let it go. So why the difficulty with our kids? Because we don't want them to miss out on stuff? Maybe. Or maybe, in my case if I'm honest, I wasn't TRULY accepting Bambina for who she is; wasn't truly accepting unconditionally the personality that God gave her, but rather was trying to give her my own or one that would make life easier on me. I recalled that, as outgoing (some might say exhibitionist) as I am today, I was a painfully shy, fat, nervous kid till about 8th grade. For real. My mom didn't take a crap alone till I went to school, so nellie-ish was I about being away from her. There wasn't a birthday party I attended where I didn't end up crying about something or other in a way that I'm sure just ruined my mom's buzz. I was light years beyond Bambina in my distaste for crowds, noise, agro and chaos. I was that girl who got stomach aches before gym class, who didn't want to talk to kids I didn't know, and who if she were 9 years old in 2008 would no doubt be prescribed Paxil.

Somehow, amazingly I turned out just fine. Why? Because my parents didn't make me feel bad for being me. They didn't make me feel like there was something wrong with me for being shy. They didn't make me feel bad about being fat. My mom would always just say to people who brought up that risible statement, "She has such a pretty face!" "E will lose the weight when E is ready. Or maybe she won't." I never processed it at the time, but looking back there is no greater gift your parents can give you than saying in a variety of ways, "She is who she is and that's fine with us." So that's where I commit to being with Bambina. Because the truth is, who she is really IS fine with me. I love every atom of her so much it could hurt. But when the rubber hits the road and my kid is behaving less-than-sparkly in public, do I have the courage of my convictions to defend her and let her be her God-given self even if I think it somehow reflects poorly on me? The answer is "of course."

To the point of Bambina being fabulously and wonderfully who she is, she told us today that for Halloween she is going to dress up as "a vitamin bottle:"

How awesome is that?! Especially when she added that I should be a microwave, the BBDD should be an oven, Gram should be a table and Pop should be a TV. I asked if I couldn't just be a witch or something and she said, "Mama No! That boring!" I want to say that she rolled her eyes as she said it, but I'm blocking that memory out until she's officially 13 and supposed to be embarrassed by me.

In the meantime, if you have any idea how to make a person look like a small kitchen appliance, I'm all ears.

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