Friday, July 22, 2016

Not Your Sisters' Childhood

It is a miracle that our youngest daughter is the lovely, kind,, hardworking young wife, mother and HR professional she is today. No, she wasn't kidnapped by aliens.  But D3 did NOT have the same childhood as her older sisters. Not by a long shot.

In theory, D3 should have had the best childhood. D3's sisters were 12 and 14 when she was born. God knows her parents were experienced.  But also OLD.  Were OLD the day she was born.

Our wake up call came the first time we had dinner guests. Mr. Wonderful tiptoed into the adjacent room to check the sleeping cherub in the low basket, quietly lowering himself for a closer look. Then his knees went, "Pop! Pop!" and D3 woke up screaming. Um, that was new.

And we have been distracted all of D3's life. When you have two teen-aged daughters, you had better be paying attention to themThe toddler should be easy-peasy by comparison, right?

Fact is, if you turn your head, your toddler might fall and break a tooth. I did and she did.

Yet, it seemed inconsequential compared to D1's early arrival at home that same day, due to a locker bomb exploding at the high school.

And with the age gap, the older girls had to be doting, worshipful, siblings, right?

"The Sisters," as she called them, did, in fact, love D3 madly. They read to her, entertained her, and applauded her every success as if she was the first baby in history to pull up or make a sentence.

And shouldn't she learn a lot from The Sisters? She did! Oh, boy, did she!

They were responsible for the little voice in the carseat saying "Burn rubber, Dude!" For dressing her in "Asian Cabbage Patch" duds. (Signs of sisterly affection, right?) For fostering a love of books and Scooby Doo.

So I am not certain when I first noticed that, D3's view of the world was evolving into "teenage wannabe."

Maybe it was when the pediatric dentist (whom we saw for her broken tooth) asked if her stuffed rabbit, Foober, would like to join her in the chair. D3 gave the man an eye roll and replied "it's a stuffed animal."

Maybe it was when she began to fret about being unemployed. Non-stop. At age three.

But I didn't become alarmed until things got crazy at preschool.

Suddenly, D3 began diving under a table to hide as soon as we arrived.

Back home, she explained. "Bobby Vaccaro asks me to marry him every day!" After a little mother-daughter chat, I thought we were good.

Until the next time I picked her up at preschool.

Why were the teachers stifling giggles? I had to ask..

Yep. Bobby Vaccaro had again asked D3 to marry him. It was D3's answer that had everyone in stitches.

Did she say "No, no, go away!"?


Maybe, "Boys are yucky!!"?

Not even close.

In response to that day's marriage proposal, D3 said, (quoting, now):

"I'm sorry. I'm not ready for a commitment."

Yep. The. Sisters. Gave. Marital. Advice.

To. D3.

At. Age. Three.

Not kidnapped by aliens.

Programmed by The Sisters.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fireworks - A Cautionary Tale

Long ago, there was one Fourth of July that Mr. Wonderful missed due to business travel. Before heading out, he reassured D1 and D2 that they would still have fireworks - he was leaving some for mom to light.

Thank you, dear.  Predictably, the girls awoke at dawn with cries of, "When can we light the fireworks???" It would be a long day!

Now I am the first one to break out the red, white and blue for patriotic holidays. Up goes the flag. Crepe papered bicycles and patriotic outfits - no problem.  Dressed someone up as the Statue of Liberty one year. Flag cakes and red and blue jello molds. I have always loved these colors.

But fireworks? Gulp. In the olden days, the neighborhood kids had firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, M-80's and M-100's - mainly weapons of the Scofflaw family. (see Disclaimers - not their real name!) Legend had it that their mom locked them all out of the house daily for her own protection. They were short - growth stunted as they started smoking in second grade before dropping out of school - but scary.

Anyway, my personal experience was limited to holding a few sparklers that someone else lit.  The supply that Mr. Wonderful left us had names that were mostly foreign to me. Of course, there were some snakes (the point - what is the point?), some smoke bombs (ditto), some sparklers, some really loud thingies, and - the piece de resistance - a whistling chaser.

It wasn't even dusk when I relented and lit the punk. D1 and D2 were having a grand time with the snakes and sparklers and smoke bombs. We could hear a couple of neighbor families picnicking nearby.

Then I lit the whistling chaser. And it did. Chase-her! CHASE ME!!

It pursued me up our driveway, around, around, around and down. up the street, up another driveway, AROUND, AROUND, AROUND, back down the driveway and into the street. What the heck! Did it have radar?

I screamed like a girl! (Hey, I AM a girl!) I invented new moves! I ran for my life!

D1 thought it was hilarious. D2 knew FOR SURE that mom was going to DIE!

True to form, D2 sounded the alarm. She flew to the neighbors' yards and summoned them with shrieks of, "Help! My mom lit the whistling chaser and now she's ON FIRE!!!!

Thus, an audience arrived - the only thing we had been missing.

Decades later, this day is legend. You can bet I had a few snarky remarks for Mr. Wonderful on his return.  Of course he was laughing too hard to hear them.

So today I have hung the flag, put patriotic placemats on the table, and am wearing red, white and blue. And later, when I bring over a plate of cookies with patriotic sprinkles, consider yourself lucky.

I could be lighting fireworks in your driveway.