Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lost in Moshi Translation

Have you ever heard someone talking and for a few split seconds you can't figure out what language they are speaking?

That just happened to me.
In the bathtub.

There I was, minding my own business - Bubbles up to my ears, Time Traveler's Wife in hand, finally settling in for my first moments of real relaxation for the day, when in burst Alena looking forlorn.
And when I say burst, I mean burst. Enough to scare the cat and send him scurrying under the bed with saucer eyes.

What came out of her mouth next left me stunned, dazed and completely confused.
I felt like Paris Hilton must feel in....I don't know - LIFE.

"Mama you know my new Moshi Monsters account well I entered in my new code that I got for my birthday but instead of entering it in my new account that I play on all the time I entered it into my old account and I didn't mean to because I was thinking of the password that I use for Roblox and I forgot that I changed it for Moshis and now I put it on the animal that I used to play with and if you don't play with them for a long time they starve to death and so now his food is at 0 and his happiness is at 0 and he's holding his stomach so I wrote to the people at Moshi and told them that I put it on the wrong account and Nina said they will probably get back to me tomorrow."

Then she stood there.
Staring at me with sad puppy eyes.

The look she was giving me was a look of
"I am expecting an emotional response from you."
All I could do was just sit there, blinking.

I couldn't even figure out what she'd just SAID, let alone how I should respond. Shoulder shaking sobs? Maniacal laughter? Deep knee bends?

I envisioned my brain cells spontaneously trying to eat one another for nourishment.

I sat there for a solid minute blinking and trying to dissect what on EARTH it was she had just told me and why it was bubble-bath-interruption worthy.
She sat there chewing her nails.

What are the sentiments that one should express in times like these?
"Oh Honey. I'm sorry you have to play with starving Moshi Monster?"
"Peace be with you, My Child, and also with your Moshi?"

What the heck is a MOSHI?
Wait.....Are you a spy? Am I surrounded?

I wanted to be caring about this obviously upsetting and tragic occurrence, but all I could do was smile. Because that's what people do when they lose their minds.

I really must be getting old. All this newfangled video game speak is lost on me.

In my day, we had to walk 10 miles in the snow barefooted to feed our Moshis.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Preteen: Creature of Mystery

Over a decade ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who I named Alena.

I remember everything about it -
The way her hot, 5 second old skin felt as it was laid onto mine.
The way her eyes looked as they blinked and squinted and tried to focus under the bright hospital lights.
The way her head smelled.

I remember the first night alone with her - after the nurses had stopped prodding me and poking me - and I unwrapped her blanket, as I held my breath, to really examine her whole body for the first time.

Alena has grown to be many great things.
She is a die hard friend.
She is an insatiable reader. I think in this summer alone (which mind you is only half over) she has probably read a sum total of 4000 pages. Maybe even more.
She loves animals and would probably have us getting arrested for animal hoarding if she had her way.
She is a collector. Of stuffed animals and (recently proclaimed) ERASERS.
And judging by the looks of her room, possibly also empty cups and paper scraps.....

I proudly hung her most recent SAT test results on the kitchen cabinet because her scores are out of this world.
She scored in the top 10% of the NATION in almost every subject, with all of her language grades being in the top 2%!
I bragged.
I gazed lovingly at the report.
I sometimes even stroke the paper with my finger tips as if it's my pet.

All this to say - She is one smart cookie and I'm so thankful that I have her.

And this is where I get confused.

This intelligent, beautiful girl sometimes does things that leave me not only perplexed, but downright scared for her very survival to adulthood.

This morning I asked her to take her cereal bowl and scrape the excess cereal into the garbage before putting the bowl in the sink and later walked in to find her standing about 4 feet from the trash, flinging spoonfulls of cereal into the can as she simultaneously let milk pour from the bowl onto the hardwood. She was holding it completely sideways in her hand. She didn't even notice the splashes of milk on her bare toes.

When I asked her what she was doing, her face went completely blank and she looked off somewhere that I can only guess was somewhere around the top of my ear, and hung her mouth open.

No answer.

She actually never DID answer. I had to do an impromptu cereal dumping tutorial for her as she stood there glazed over.

I shook my head and walked off mentally backtracking to see if I could remember any incidences of catching her eating lead chips.

Later in the day, I overheard her on the phone with her friend.
From far away, I thought maybe they were discussing life, or school or at the very least having an actual conversation. Afterall, they WERE on the phone.
I thought I was safe to assume.

Upon closer inspection, however, I saw she was scraping the mouthpiece with her index finger and heard her say,

"Nina......Can you hear that?....*guffaw*......I'm scratching the talking thing with my finger."



Please someone. Explain it to me.
The Mystery of the Preteen.

Teach me their ways and show me how to communicate.

Impart to me wisdom on how to get concepts across such as:
double dipping
keeping your gum in your mouth
Family Priveledge

Tell me how someone can be so into fashion and sideswept bangs and bangles but yet be lost to the world of showering.

I do remember this age, though.
I remember the insecurities and feeling that I'd cry for no reason at all.
I remember feeling like nobody understood me.

Of course, looking back, even I don't understand me because no one in their right mind would have had this hair:


But, I made it through and she will, too.
I just hope she makes it through without sticky milk feet.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Playground Inspection Schmaground Inspection

This morning we walked my mini group-home to the school to play on the park by the kindergarten room. We go there all the time and usually we're the only ones there.

Today, when we arrived, we saw there were some other women there and I assumed other kids, until Alena -- Alerter of All Things Odd -- came to me and whispered,
"Mama. What are they doing? There aren't any kids with them."

Upon closer examination, I realized they were playground safety inspectors on the job. Cameras in hand. Clipboards at the ready.
(I also saw the "Playground Inspection Kit" tag on their rolling duffle in the walkway.)

The kids ran off to play anyway and I sat to observe.

I watched as these very official women pulled out a plastic yellow head shaped item with a handle from their bag and then tried to shove it in every conceivable crevass.
Between the bars.
Between the stairs.
In the spokes of the pretend Captain's wheel.

After this, they took out a measuring tape and measured the distance from the edge of the stairs to the concrete. Alena asked if this was to make sure that a kid couldn't fall and hit their head on the concrete from the stairs.
I guess she must have been right. Unless it was a freakishly tall kid.

My issue is that with that mentality, one might, say, measure from the end of the slide to the side of the school building in case a kid with great trajectory flew off the end and into space and crashed into the wall.

One woman with a leather berret and a clipboard was very serious about her job.
She surveyed the kids playing without even a twitch of a smile as she scribbled with her pencil.
The only thing I heard her say the whole time was,
"Now we need to check the slide exits."

I had to laugh.
These people had clearly forgotten what childhood was.
They need a Personal Peter Pan.

I mean, I know what the purpose of it is, and I in every way agree with keeping kids safe, but geez - I think we may have gone too far, America.

They have already taken almost all swings out of parks because they have been deemed unsafe.
Swings are one of the cornerstones of park life in my mind.
But maybe that's just me.

When I was a kid almost every slide was metal and rusty and would most likely tip completely over if there was a big gust of wind. If you cut yourself you'd better be up on your Tetanus.
The sides of it were about 1 inch tall and really had no purpose at all if you happened to have any meat on your bones.

There were merry-go-rounds and they WERE merry.
What kid DOESN'T like spinning around at nauseating speeds?
Who cares if there is a *slight* danger of flying off into a few bystanders?
We'd just dust ourselves off, wipe any blood off with some of our own spit, and then get back on and do it all over again.

Kids LOVE that stuff.

I mean just this week we were in the mall and had to stop and wait as Tessa spun around and around in the entry way until she made herself dizzy and went crashing into a large Lucy statue. She then said, "Head", giggled and walked off at an angle.

And isn't getting your head stuck in something almost a childhood right of passage?

In my day, (I must be old to have said that.) parents really barely even watched their kids at all.

We'd go out at daybreak and not come in until the sun went down.
We'd play in the creek without water rings or sunscreen or hats or glasses or those weird little water shoes from the drugstore.
We'd make soup from water in the creek that was, for all we know, a sewer run-off.
We threw rocks and actually ATE our mud pies.
I don't think I washed my hands from 1986 until 1990.

I thought it was normal to get so much sun that you thought you'd throw up.

The adults didn't worry that we'd get hurt.
And we actually rarely did.

As a matter of fact, even when we DID, they'd roll their eyes and huff their breath and begrudgingly get up to search for bandages.
I'm now realizing that this very thing may have been the birth-place of the DVR, because I suspect they just didn't want to miss their "show" for something such as blood and gore and nurturing.

I remember one time, for example, I was running and ran right into the end of a large piece of scrap metal sticking off of my dad's truck and sliced the side of my face open so badly that blood was literally DRIPPING down my face.
When I walked in crying and pale (most likely from the blood loss) my mom's shoulders dropped and she said,


We just made a game of it. One of our favorites was
See Who Can Get The Least Metal Welding Shrapnel Embedded In Their Bare Feet While Walking In The Driveway After One Of Dad's Projects.
It was a way of life.

We actually didn't want HIM to aid us for fear that his remedy would be something you'd only hear of in a book about a mad scientist.
We didn't want our gashes sewn up with horse tail hair.

And by the way, where was that yellow plastic head tool at Sonoma Taco Shop yesterday when Chloe wedged her whole body in the bars at the ordering line and I practically had to ask for the tortilla oil bottle to get her out?

That's not scary.
That's comedy.

Why are we so frightened of a scraped knee?
Isn't that a part of childhood?
Feeling a cool wet cloth on your leg and learning the lesson that sometimes things hurt, but that shouldn't stop you from trying them.
That it's good to dust yourself off and next time just mind your step a bit more.

So please give the kids their swings back.
And the merry-go-rounds, while you're at it.
Then maybe after you're done, YOU should try them for a bit.
Try touching the leaves with your toes on the upswing.
Maybe even jump off from the highest point.
Whirl around and around until you get a little sick.
It's OK to smile even if you ARE wearing a leather hat.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hush Little Baby and other pipe dreams

I am so tired.

Three hours of sleep is just not cutting it.

Lastnight had me looking around my room for hidden cameras because it seemed like such a prank.
I went to bed at midnight after working on a Namescape and catching up on a few shows I'd DVRed.
I thought that almost 8 hours sounded divine and plentiful.

I wasn't accounting for the 2 following hours of tossing and turning and staring at the ceiling.
When I finally DID drift off, Tessa woke up.
Then Chloe woke up.
Then Tessa wouldn't go back to sleep.
Then Chloe woke up again and sat up in bed as I started to carry Tessa off.
I was taking her to our bed to see if she'd sleep there and literally wanted to cry when I saw Chloe's head pop up in her toddler bed.
It was 4:00 in the morning and my arms were full of her 32 pound "little" sister, and she was asking me to tickle her.

How about not.
How about you close your eyes and sleep like a normal human does.
Sometimes I think they are actually not human at all.

I don't know what was up with Tessa. She fussed and writhed and whispered,
"Mama, hold you." in the dark.

She finally drifted off at 4:30 sprawled in the middle of our bed like a queen.
I didn't dare move her again for fear she'd wake up again, so I was forced to lay on my side and get 'comfortable' in approximately 3 square inches of bed space.
I seriously contemplated crawling in her crib.

She had my pillow, and she ALSO had a sly little sleeping smile.


Again - I was JUST about to doze off, finally, when suddenly a chorus of birds arose from the tree outside that left me bug eyed.
I have never, in all my life, heard birds that loud in the DAY time, let alone when it's still dark outside.

I got up to close the window.

I put on my eyemask.
There.....A LITTLE more peaceful.

Then I heard, "Chirp."..........."Chirp"..........."Chirp."
It wasn't the birds.
It was the smoke alarm in the hall. The battery was dying.

And of COURSE it's not an alarm that is close enough to beat with the stick end of a broom, even.
It is a super-lofty-ceiling alarm that would require a trek to the garage and the retrieval of a tall ladder to change. Perfect.
That is where I draw the line at 5:00 in the morning.

Instead of counting sheep, I laid there and mentally listed all the varying types of ear plugs.
There are the spongy ones that you pinch, there are the bright colored silly putty type ones, flexible rubber, headphones.........

Finally, around 5:30, I fell asleep for real, only to be awakened at 7:00 -- 45 minutes before my alarm went off -- by Tessa yanking off my sleep mask with her sticky little fingers and shrieking, "BWATHETH!!!" (glasses-Her favorite thing ever)
She then clammered down and rifled through every item in our bathroom cabinets and came out sucking on the hydrocortizone tube with fingernail scissors in one hand and the toilet plunger in the other.

I had an arrythmia, twitched a bit, then sprung up out of bed.

Justin was pretending to be asleep. I know he was pretending because when he's faking his eyes are closed and when it's real, they're open. Weird, but true.

I wanted to club him.
Not because he'd done something, but because he'd snored and dreamed at I'd tossed and turned and shut windows and cuddled babies and plotted becoming a bird sniper.

He sleepily said, "Good morning."
To which I replied, "I slept three hours."
Then, my kind and sensitive husband screwed up his face and said, "No you DIDN'T."


Me: "Why are you saying I didn't?"
Mr. Sensitive: "I don't know. Just because."
Me: "Well that's what I tallied as I laid there, AWAKE, staring at the numbers on the clock watching my life pass before me sleeplessly."

Mr. Sensitive: "It's funny that you tally."
Me: "It's funny that I allow you to live."

(Actually, that last part I just thought in my head, but I WANTED to say it.)


I guess I'll rest when I'm dead.
Which may not be too much longer at this rate.