Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fashion Maven

I've always admired people whose children look coordinated and stylish. When confronted with my own children, insisting that they wear X or Y, I surrender immediately. Unless it's Shabbes, I just can't force myself to insist on clothing that is appropriate for the occasion, let alone coordinated.

With that in mind, allow me to share some of the recent outfits my daughter has selected.

For a trip to the park: Tutu, Hello Kitty leotard, bright pink knee socks, fairy wand, doll, fairy wings.
For Kumon: A "Spidergirl" dress, Spiderweb mask purchased from the dollar store and altered to add an elastic strap.
For the community centre: one purple sock, one white sock, both worn with sandals. cord skirt, pink. Pink shirt bearing bubblegum logo. Masquerade mask on a stick. Straw hat.
For Maariv, evening prayers, at synagogue with her daddy: A complete Care Bear outfit.

Genome is rather more subdued. He simply wishes to wear the same shirt (Star Wars) every day for the rest of his life. He can't understand why I cruelly insist on watching it when he's worn the shirt so many times that even unobservant neighbours are making comments. I'm afraid that please of "I wash it when he's asleep!" don't really make me sound better.

He would also prefer to jettison pants altogether. I suppose he is a sans-culottes at heart, but if I get my head cut off, I'm going to be irritated.

His yarmulke has Spiderman drawn in puff paint and is usually cocked one way or the other, or flying off. His tzitzits fall to his ankles.

Most curiously, he pulls the outfit together with a pair of rubber boots, even on the hottest day of the year. I'm not sure whether this indicates a lack of observational powers (other people rarely wear boots unless it's raining quite hard), or an excellent understanding of the local climate.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The other day, Genome was angry and wouldn't speak to me. To voice (as it were) his displeasure, he hid in the closet. With two feet sticking out. He lasted perhaps twenty seconds before he hurried out.

"Genome, why did you leave the closet?"
"Der GHOSTS in dat coset!"
He hurriedly closed the door, giving it an extra shove for good measure.
"Keep the ghosts in DER."

Genome is becoming a young man. Yesterday he cheerfully suggested that his toy be fixed with duct tape.

Someone suggested that if I didn't allow (nay, encourage) my children to read the types of books that they do, it's possible that they wouldn't communicate in knight-and-ghost talk. This is in all likelihood true. On the other hand, that Jack is out of its box, and I can't say that the results aren't colourful. I'll have to cook up some theory of being inspired by Bruno Bettleheim and advancing their psychological development in some way.

I live in one of those rainy single-season coastal cities that never gets particularly hot, nor particularly cold. It only becomes really hot for a brief period, perhaps a week or two interspersed with rain. This means that owning a pair of shorts is really surplus to requirements, let alone a proper summer wardrobe, one capable of keeping the wearer cool while maintaining his dignity. Come heat, people dig in their closets for whatever seems vaguely appropriate, unwilling to spend any actual money for what amounts to seven days of wear.

This week has been hot. About half the people I see are in their gym strip. Not "sports-styled" clothing. Actual gym strip, ratty shorts and occasional school athletic logos. Other people choose to wear the same Summer Outfit they've had since they vacationed to Disney World in August of 1985. One man in his late middle age looked particularly fetching in a pair of neon-on-neon shorts. Those were ravingly cool when I was a child. It was orange neon flowers on a green neon background. Do you remember orange neon? I never see it around now.

I can't wait until winter. That's when all our children go sledding in their rainboots, stuffed with several pairs of cotton socks.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Last week, the Captain was riding the subway home from work. Our subway system has no turnstiles. Instead, your ticket is checked by a highly paid, unionised employee who is also in charge of general crowd control, policing, and so forth.

Since the employees are highly paid and unionised, there aren't a whole lot of them. And since there aren't a whole lot of them (and, I assume, they're giving priority to resolving potential or actual Situations over checking tickets), not a lot of ticket-checking goes on. It's not uncommon to go months, even years, without being asked to show proof of fare.

So on Friday, the Captain was asked to show his proof of fair. He absent-mindedly pulls out his transit pass. The transit cop points out that he hasn't scratched out whether this is a transit pass for zone one, two, or three. Quite true, he hasn't. He scratches out zone one.

Walking home he notices that he has forgotten to replace his pass this month. He is riding on July's.

My daughter is on acid. She hears orange, thinks it's very pink today, and feels sorry for eight having to be there by mean Mr. Nine. She's usually having a good trip, but it's been known to go the other way.

My older son is on marijuana. He's happy and laid-back. He always has the munchies. He really, really likes Scooby Doo.

I don't know what my younger son is on. He buzzes around happily doing something or nothing, and then at the ninety minute mark he erupts in shrieking, the world's most hideous broken alarm clock. He does this at ninety minute intervals throughout the night, and sometimes throughout the day. He has this shriek that penetrates your reptile brain and urges you to suffocate him for the good of the tribe, lest a sabertooth tiger eat you all.

On the other hand, it's plausible that like a skunk or a hedgehog, his shriek is a way of signaling to sabertooth tigers that eating him isn't worth the aggravation.

I could be on anything, except I've got a massive addiction and I haven't had it for three days. In other words, today I could plausible feature as an addict in Intervention.

The problem is I didn't do any drugs (i.e. have any fun) to get here. It's just a manifestation of living with the world's loudest broken alarm clock.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Munchkin was punished for general bratty and impossibly spoiled behaviour, which she had the charming sense of timing to break into in front of several visitors.

She went in to the bathroom and poured out her woes to the toilet paper.

"Toilet paper," she said, "I am so sad and so tired. I have had such a hard day. I wish someone would come and carry me to bed and tuck me in."

I went into the bathroom. "Munchkin," I said, "may I carry you up to bed and tuck you in?" She agreed. I scooped her up and she said good night to the toilet paper.

As I carried her to her bedroom, she put her head against my shoulder and closed her eyes. "Mummy," she said, "how did you know where to find me?"

I should not let my children look at pattern collections. Other people, people with standards, have children who wear normal clothing. Maybe these children even request new regular clothing to wear. Someone has to be buying all of the clothing sold outside of the "costume" section.

My son alternates between dressing as a superhero, and as a dinosaur.

The other day, Genome was wandering around wearing a Darth Vader mask. He was carrying a long sword in one hand and a cutlass in the other. He was singing to himself: "I like dogs. I like dogs."

Good to know.