Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Things I Do...

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on August 18th, 2012.]

This will come as no surprise (uh, unless you just stumbled upon this blog randomly, in which case I say where have you been and have you read the archives?!)—

Ahem. Anyhow, this will come as no surprise to those who’ve been here a while (or who know me in person), but I make people laugh.

Bigger surprise? (Erm. Or maybe not a surprise at all...) Sometimes not on purpose.

Shocker, yes?

I have what I like to call a “broken filter” coupled with a strange lack of shame. Sure, I get insecure at times—I’m human, after all—but generally I’d rather err on the side of looking human, and giving bystanders onlookers a chance to laugh at with me, than appear unapproachable and cold.

This means I tend to engage with strangers in public. A friend of mine says it’s a clear sign I’m from a small town. I might agree. Somewhat. I couldn’t care less.

And it’s in my manifesto.

Of course, in practice, you have to realize that when wrangling a pair of boys solo through the third largest zoo in North America, your rambling monologue (which, let’s face it, isn’t floating as high over your kidlets’ heads as you’d like to believe) will earn you a few odd looks. Maybe a snort. A guffaw here and there. An open grin from a zoomobile driver...

What am I teaching my kids? That mom says stuff out loud, isn’t afraid to appear be weird, but most of all, that she explains stuff to them.

Yes, folks, this blog post is brought to you by the whine of another parent’s child, who was begging her mom to disclose why, oh why, oh WHY must we put more sunscreen on, we JUST did it this morning?!

For the love of everything mysterious and wonderful in this universe, just explain it, for crying out loud!

“I’m putting more sunscreen on because you got soaked in the thunderstorm, and the sun is back out bright and strong, and we don’t want your skin to burn off and shrivel up until you resemble a french fry.”

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. She’ll remember that.

My kids are used to it. So they don’t blink when we go someplace new and I make them wear matching shirts so I “don’t have to remember what you’re wearing” [read: can spot them more easily amid the throng of short people vying for a glimpse of some fuzzy/slimy/gross thing behind glass].

They don’t complain when I say, “all right, go stand at the wall so I can take the mandatory ‘this is what my kids look like today’ photo in case you get misplaced.”

(A dad manning a stroller nearby chuckled as they patiently waited for me to verify it’s a half-decent photo, then admitted it’s a great idea. For the record, they DO have faces. Just sayin’...)

They don’t flinch when I ask a restaurant clerk, “may I borrow your pen, please, so I can write my cell phone number on my kids?” and then follow through. Her snort of laughter earned her a wink from me.

They might roll their eyes, but they wait while I struggle with the camera to take a photo of us with hundreds of fish in the African Rainforest Pavilion, because the thunderstorm has scared off most zoo visitors and I say that if I don’t appear in at least a few photos, it’s like I let my kids loose at the zoo WITH NO ADULT ACCOMPANIMENT.

Which, let’s face it, is a dream come true. For them, AND for me. (Though in slightly different capacities. Heh.)

To one wandering gentleman who was clearly baffled by me (I could tell by your head shake and quiet chuckle): Yes, I meant it when I told the boys that if I don’t appear in a few photos IT’S LIKE I NEVER HAPPENED.

I’ve seen those photos. Albums and albums of them. And you know who’s missing? My mom. Because she was always behind the camera. Lesson learned, thanks.

So yes, I might explain things too much. And yes, I might earn a few laughs and bizarre looks along the way.

But when I get to the end of our busy busy day, and the boys want my foot added to the pic, instead of just theirs, it’s because they mean it when they say, “we want to remember you were at the zoo, too.”

They get it.

A little explanation goes a long way. Go figure.


  1. It's amazing how much they absorb when we don't think they're listening.

  2. Thanks, Serenla! Thanks to anxiety my oldest isn't known to perform well under pressure, so giving him the power of knowing he doesn't need to remember that phone number quells a lot of nerves. And let's face it, he comes by it honestly, so the morning-of-pic can be very helpful. ;)