Sunday, March 25, 2012

Older is Not Necessarily Less Fun

A few nights ago I went with some friends to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. We left once our children were in bed, and after one of our husbands returned from a meeting. We arrived at the theater to find lots and lots of teenage girls. And we felt a little old, because we were older than the vast majority of the vastly female audience filling most of the theater. Still, we enjoyed our girls' night out probably as much as any of them. And we weren't so different.

We did not braid our hair, make t-shirts, pick teams according to the male character we hoped the female lead would eventually choose (seems kind of pointless since the entire series is out), or paint our skin and hair. We did, however, play games, take pictures of ourselves, drink caffeine, and generally fill in the member of our group who hasn't read any of the books but came along for the fun. And, inspired by the row of girls playing the "I Never..." game behind us, we discussed some of the craziest things we've done. Our stories were much better than theirs; we've been to college.

Then, when the movie was over, we spent the ride home discussing the cinematography, the effects of violence in our culture, the quality of writing in the books and the modern day location of the various districts of Panem. And, in all my 2:30 a.m. haze, I was grateful to be at a place in life where I have friends who want to be a little crazy and go to movies in the middle of the night, spend the ride home discussing the cultural and political messages of the story and the editorial choices in adapting the books to film, and would drowsily commiserate with me when we all took our daughters to Kindermusik at 9:15 the next morning.

The only thing missing was Sheena, the friend who got us all reading The Hunger Games in the first place.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Striped Tights and Other Fashion Adventures

We've reached that glorious stage through which every little girl must pass. We're out of the nudist phase (mostly) and into the independent dressing phase. This phase is distinguished by garish clothing choices, pattern mixing, multiple outfits per day for no apparent reason, a puzzling refusal to wear certain perfectly cute articles of clothing and an obsession with one or two particular items that can never be worn too many days in a row.
A jumper that's too small, gym shorts and technicolor striped tights? Sure. Heck, those tights will also go nicely with a plaid skirt and heart patterned shirt. At least it's easy to find her in a crowd!

On Becoming an Adult

When I was little, I thought that adults wanted to floss their teeth and clean the house. They wanted to do all those things that I had to do and hated, like eating foods that I found disgusting. Being an adult would be wonderful, I believed, because I would do all the same things I already had to do, but I would want to do them. I also believe that all adults went to bed at 10pm. My parents told me their bedtime was 10pm, and I certainly wasn't up that late to check. Little did I know.

Now that I've joined this elite group we call grown-ups, I've realized some things:

1 - My mom and dad probably weren't really going to bed at 10, but they could tell us that because saying that they had no bedtime at all probably would have been too much for me to handle. Becoming an adult means that you transcend bedtime, but it also means that you feel it a lot more if you forgo bedtime altogether.

2- While some foods, like peas, do become delicious when your tastes mature, some still aren't that great. However, being an adult means that you determine the menu. So Spanish rice never makes it onto our menu. If I don't like it, I'm not going to cook it. That's why we almost never ate French Toast growing up; Mom didn't like it. Adulthood brings not only improved in enjoyment of many foods, but also reduction of necessity of eating foods you don't like.

3- Adults don't particularly want to vacuum the couch any more than kids do. However, they want the couch to be vacuumed badly enough to do it anyway. The pain of the problem is greater than the pain of the solution. I took a major step toward adulthood when my uber-messy roommate moved out and I decided that I wanted my bed made and my floor free of clutter just because I liked having my room clean. The journey was complete when I started teaching Scout to admire how pretty the Living Room looks when she's done cleaning up her toys at night.

4 - I'll probably never want to floss. The rewards are a little farther away than even my adult mind can grasp. Accompanying a friend to have her rotting teeth pulled out and replaced by dentures helped, but even that wasn't thoroughly motivating. I'll go ahead and confess that I still don't floss my teeth every day (sorry, Mom). But I do do it often because, for me, flossing your teeth is the ultimate sign of maturity. Flossing is an activity engaged in by the most adult of adults, those who really have it all together. So, every time I take those extra 45 seconds to floss, I feel really good. I feel like I have my life together. Flossing is my way of telling myself that I am an adult and I no longer need to be told to pick up my socks, make my bed or eat my vegetables. Flossing makes me feel old, in the best sense of the word.


Why don't my children sleep anymore? They're really sweet and cute from 6am until 7:30pm. But, by about 7:45pm, they're supposed to be soundly sleeping so I can work or relax or whatever it is that I need to do. They're not cute anymore. Staying up until well past nine whining, eating or generally demanding that I continue to be a parent for a full 24 hours rather than the 13.5 hours a day I prefer is just not doing it for me. They used to sleep so well. What happened?!
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