Oct 25, 2010

Is Being a Grown-up Fun?

I think we no longer make being grown up something young people look forward to.

We (as a society) let our children’s activities dictate how our free time is spent, we let our teenagers epitomize cool, we think a body in it’s young twenties is ideal and we spend hours recapturing toys we had as a child or forwarding lists confirming we grew up in the 70s/80s when in fact our birthdates provide adequate evidence for which decades we lived through just fine. There’s an entire industry of clothing companies thriving on shirts with Oscar the Grouch/Smurfs/Transformers/Rainbow Bright on them for adults.

I am guilty of all of these things. I’ve shopped in the junior’s department, held my ideal body as the one that fits my prom dress, let my children’s activities run my day, coveted those Hello Kitty diamond earrings and watched every I heart the 80s show on VH1. That novelty Snoopy Joe Cool t-shirt has become daily wear for a lot of us. It really has me thinking. Can you picture your grandmother in a t-shirt with Snoopy on it? How about Michelle Obama? There’s a certain amount of sophistication lacking when constantly reminiscing and simultaneously worshiping youth.

I’ve been wondering if the grown up culture is shrinking and our cultural intellect with it. Are we loosing some of the rights of passage or mores I expected to embrace and instead increasingly believing being old stinks? Ok so, I’m not exactly sure what those “grown up” things are. As a child I was sure they’d have something to do with the nightly news, coffee, voting, cigarettes and slinky dresses. Now that I’m in my thirties, those things don’t seem as fun as I thought they’d be, nor do you need to be a grown up to do them.

So I’m still trying to define what “grown-up” things are and aren’t for both myself and my daughter who cornered me on the subject by asking me if being a grown up is fun. Having not really been ready for such a question, like all questions children have, I quickly replied “Yes! You get to vote and drive, get married, push important buttons, have a job, drink wine, spend money, stay up late and do whatever you want with your life AND be the boss of your kids.” But it haunted me that my list wasn’t longer or better or perhaps more that she had asked at all. Did I not appear to be enjoying adulthood?

I wished I had a better answer and after much thought this is what I know. Being a grown up is fun because it means having informed ideas, conversations and interactions that only people who have experienced life can have even if those conversations revolve around novel or childish things. It means having a mature palate and an appetite for things based on experience. It’s having character, convictions, talents and relationships that are solid and strong because they’ve formed slowly over a long time.

This isn't exactly the Justin Bieber squashing answer that makes forty the new seventeen, but having fun being a grown up includes not having to know who Justin Bieber is.

Photo stolen from: www.squareamerica.com

Oct 19, 2010

Can of Worms at the Fall Festival

"We encourage kids to wear Halloween costumes to the fall festival (nothing scary & no masks please.)" - note home from the grade school

Who gets to decide what's scary?

Oct 16, 2010

Crazy Hour

Most days at about six pm, imps raid my apartment for easy afternoon marauding. They tell the dog if she feels barfy that she should lie down on the couch next to the sleeping baby and that will certainly help expel the grass she ate. The rest of the gang topples delicately stacked clean laundry from the top of the dryer directly into the garbage and a third faction makes sure to incite riots on the play ground insuring the kid will be outraged and in tears when she bursts in the door. The imps make a hasty exit as the dominoes of chaos clack into each other and I grasp desperately both simultaneously trying to stop the progression and knocking down completely new sequences. Sometimes I burn dinner, overflow a bath tub or shatter a glass and assuredly this is the time slot teachers, doctors, my husband and publisher's clearing house choose to call. I stopped being upset and surprised and even ceased bracing for it. Sometimes the imps come on Saturday at ten am or Thursday mid-day just before parent teacher conferences. So if you happen to call me and on the other end of the line you hear a crash and I say “Let me call you back, crazy hour just started,” now you know.

Oct 7, 2010

We Went to the Zoo

We went to the Houston Zoo last weekend. The animals were... well they were zoo animals, just like any other zoo. Elephants and monkeys and otters all that, which is indeed exciting to look at but by far the favorite exhibit of The Kid was the new animatronic dinosaurs. For an extra two bucks we wandered through a little side exhibit and stared down the nose of a T-Rex that moved (it made the hair on my neck stand up a little.)

Jack's favorite was the little salt water aquarium (I think a trip to the big aquarium is in order soon)

And I liked the landscaping. Seriously, there are bamboo and palms and other amazing tropical looking plants that most Houstanites grew up with in their back yard, that still make me feel as if I'm on vacation, planted all over the zoo. I may never get over how beautiful a palm tree is.

In the afternoon, we all got crabby...

So, we decided to get some eats. Please note, the food at the zoo is overpriced and gross, imagine my surprise <- sarcasm. Next time we'll bring sandwiches from home. Despite the floppy greasy pizza, we had a great time.

Oct 3, 2010

Fredrick's of Hollyween Store

I brought my six year old out to look for a tooth fairy costume. In essence it requires a white tutu a pair of wings and a wand. I figured we could get all these things in one package of Angel stuff and add some toothy things to it. She liked the idea of a bag with "Teeth" written on it but got very sad when I mentioned a set of bloody pliers on a tool belt. So, I took this child of extreme delicate sensibilities to The Halloween store next to the mall, where the percentage of items actually meant for children were almost nil. I drew a diagram