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my youngest

Many would be mightily disappointed by the misleading title of this post. My apology.

By Tardis, I mean the awesome Tardis fleece blankets found on ThinkGeek. Each of the boys got one for Christmas. I was blue with envy as soon as I touched it. So soft and fuzzy.

Tardis blanket

AND it’s bigger on the inside! My son who’s holding the blanket in the picture is 6’2″. I decided to keep the two extra ones back home that I had ordered for my Whovian friends. I of course promptly forgot about them. The blankets. Not my friends.

Since Monday, Chicago along with the rest of the Midwest fell into the evil grip of Polar Vortex (Great name by the way for 1. a band, 2. a Bond villain, 3. an X-Men member, 4. a super powerful blender). I have proof:

20 below zero

 

This was why this happened at Lake Michigan shore:

Chicago ice town

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

Our school districts were closed for two days and the kids were suffering from cabin fever. As an argument was about to break out over who owned the Tardis blanket that’s downstairs (as opposed to the one upstairs), and I was about to step in and declare that it’s, surprise, surprise, MINE! I remembered and brought out the extra two Tardis blankets. Peace was restored. The boys and I wrapped ourselves in the deep blue plushiness and walked around the house like royalty.

Naturally, they’re late getting ready for bed again.

“Seriously. I am the worst parent.” I added, after I threatened to really enforce discipline this time if they did not go upstairs straightaways.

My 11-year-old boy turned to look at me in the eye. “You are the best parent,” he said quietly, “from a child’s perspective.”

So. Yup. There you have it. Definitely the worst parent.

 

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I am using this title because I don’t know what to call this post. The original title choices were:

Called a Psycho Mom on Mother’s Day and am proud of it

but that would leave nothing of substance for me to write because the title is basically the story.

or

Possibly One of the Best Mother’s Day Cards

and that would most likely make my youngest child sad because he’s been planning his awesome mother’s day gifts for me for days

Mothers Day 2013 I love my youngest for remembering how to fold the crane after I showed him only once, and what my favorite candy is after I mentioned it in passing…

 

while his oldest brother admitted, with pride mind you, “Hey, mom. I made this card more than two hours before. Aren’t you proud of me?”

 

Mothers Day Card 2013

 

 

We all got a good chuckle again because we watched Psycho together last night and found it ironic and hilarious and maybe even fitting that Psycho was our family movie night choice on the eve of Mother’s Day. A discussion over “What is the best Mother’s Day movie?” continued over Mother’s Day brunch (yes, yes, how typically suburban…) and the Alien movie franchise was agreed upon as the best cinematic tribute to mothers. You want proof?

The fundamental myth in mothers (even surrogate ones) genetically coded to do anything to protect their young is obvious in this image chosen to promote Aliens.

Aliens poster

 

Just look at Ellen Ripley, so deliciously played by Sigourney Weaver. (Most of us cheered when she uttered that famous line, “Get away from her you bitch!”) From the other side, didn’t the Queen Mother (the matriarch alien) fiercely protect the survival of her offspring? Not to mention all those scenes of forced cesarean births…

Instead of leaving you to ponder the above, I thought I’d leave you with something more lighthearted: Mother’s Day Cards That Should Exist” (Thanks to Mary Lee for a great chuckle!)

 

[Disclaimer] I am fortunate enough to have a great mother-in-law. In fact, sometimes I think I like her more than her son… Those cards though funny do make me a bit anxious from imaging my future daughter-in-law wanting to send me one of those…

[Sidebar Convo]: Being an overtly protective 21-century mother who feels guilty if not doing some helicopter-parenting and also if not providing my kids with sufficient independence that I am, I have not allowed my kids to watch any scary movie such as Fridays the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They can decide to watch crazy horror films from Asia such as Ringu when they are adults, but never ever when they are still under my watch in my house. I’ve seen similar horror films when I was little and I regretted ever since. Till this day, the memories of horrifying images and scenarios stay with me, and they always resurface to the top of my consciousness when I am alone in a hotel room while on business trips. It’s very tough to be on intensive business trips if you can only fall asleep after 3 or 4 am from watching all the  reruns of Law & Order you could find on cable. It’s ridiculous.

[One more thing] After the kids presented their mother’s day presents, we all looked at my husband. “Hey, I made you a mother!” I guess we should thank all the dads on Mother’s Day.

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By taking them to the exhibit dedicated to the 1980s at Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, of course!

 

I am kidding on the square, seeing how this is a hard glance back at the 1980s with a critical eye: feminism, gender politics, race politics, AIDES, political upheavals in the Latin America, Disappeared, Reaganism, NEA, Robert Mapplethorpe. How do you explain to a young child what happened in the 1980s when all they heard nowadays was how in the 1980s everybody was happy because the economy was great?

It’s kind of scary how little the kids know about what really happened in the 1980s.

It’s also kind of difficult, as a parent, to gauge “how young is old enough” and “how much is too much”. I don’t like to shelter my children but I also want to make sure what I share with them is “age appropriate”…

 

Race politics. Passing. Stereotypes. Racism. Gender politics.

I believe I screamed, just a little, when I saw Adrian Piper’s My Calling (Cards) on display since I’ve used this often as an example of how one performance artist has chosen to deal with racism in mundane, daily life. MCA has them on display, in multiple copies, free for the taking.

 

Coming off from my high, I was immediately put on “high alert” when next we walked into the wing dedicated to “Gender Trouble”. Because of the in-your-face shock value of the protest art, I felt I had to prepare Mr. Monk, who’s in 3rd grade, even though he’s a mature 3rd grader, for the images on display. Here’s what I came up with in a panic:

The rise of feminism means that women artists started questioning the social orders in the society: why are men given more power and authority than women? What makes a man a man? What makes a woman a woman? And that’s why they show the anatomy of human being to confront the man-made meanings and differences between men and women, and that’s why you are going to see a lot of penises.

He dutifully nodded, and laughed to mask his discomfort. Nobody wants to hear their mother utter the word “penis” in public even at a whisper.

As I went through the internal struggle of whether to impose “censorship” on the fly, I instinctively shielded him from an open, video screen room [Later, The Husband told me that the room came with a warning sign outside so I guess my instinct was correct]. Then across the room were these:

 

Robert Mapplethorpe.  The artist that embodied two main Reaganism in the 1980s: the government’s willful negligence towards the Aides epidemic and  its fight to censor what it deemed as “obscene” art. Without thinking, I had strategically positioned myself between these photos and Mr. Monk’s sight line. To this moment, I am still questioning myself whether I had done the right thing: If I disagree with the conservative’s accusation, why did I shield Mr. Monk’s gaze from these pictures, esp. the leather-encased penis? [In my defense, I was not worried about my 13-year old; he roamed through the exhibit without a chaperon]

 

Lots of questions were asked: Why was Reagan’s portrait there? Was it for sarcastic reasons? Why? What did he do? Why were people upset?

What is AIDS?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think Mr. Monk understands this picture or at least walked away with his own interpretation.

Photo Courtesy of The Husband

[After all, he got it when Jack Donaghy said, about Kenneth the Intern, “He’s a white male with hair, Lemon. The sky’s the limit.”]

 

Even though this is a child who is extremely mature for his age, sensitive and observant of the world around him, has watched possibly all episodes of The Simpsons, and Weekend Update on SNL with me, I left the museum still questioning myself: Was is it too much? What is too much? Have I shown my child “age appropriate” material?

 

Photo Courtesy of The Husband

This is such a difficult picture to look at straight on. But it is not difficult to grasp the messages. Should I have shielded him from the ugliness of the world?

 

 

So… 1980s. I almost forgot. It’s not just about the cheesy music, leg warmers and big hairs.

 

 

More pictures from our visit to MCA that day here:

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Merry Christmas dear, and oh by the way…

December 25, 2011 no manual for parenting

Santa is not real. I am worried that I may have ruined my son’s childhood. On Christmas eve nonetheless. Before he went to bed full of anticipation for Christmas morning, I decided to tell him THE Truth. Well, I did not really decide per se. He turned 9 this year and he’s always known that […]

16 comments

How to Care For Introverts

October 16, 2011 no manual for parenting

  I first discovered this instruction and posted it in 2009. I just recently found the original article where this set of “rules” came from: The American dream is to be extraverted. We want our children to be “people who need people.” We want them to have lots of friends, to like parties, to prefer to […]

21 comments

Old Soul

October 12, 2011 no manual for parenting

My 8 year old, Mr. Monk, is on a “Back to the Future” kind of mission lately. He’s acquired two rotary phones earlier this year for a buck each at a garage sale. Probably my fault for I might have explained to him, with too much excitement, how we used to hate folks’ phone numbers […]

14 comments

What caused time space discontinuum…

September 26, 2011 no manual for parenting

 

16 comments

Raised by My Child

September 2, 2011 no manual for parenting

  “All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting to encounter yourself.”   — Gore Vidal   This is going to make me sound like an awful mother, ok, more than usual. I know many of you who are kind enough to read my blog on a regular basis adore my precocious youngest child. […]

46 comments

The Ice Cream Index

August 8, 2011 Making sure you know I read the Economist so you know I'm not dumb, just obnoxious

Earlier today I learned of these numbers today from Mature Landscaping: Salary of retired US Presidents ……………$180,000 FOR LIFE Salary of House/Senate ……………………..$174,00​0 FOR LIFE Salary of Speaker of the House …………….$223,500 FOR LIFE Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE Average Salary of a teacher ……………….. $40,065 Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN […]

35 comments

The Lesser of Two Evils

August 6, 2011 no manual for parenting

Yet another interesting conversation with my 8-year-old that makes me worry… [In the car] Mr. Monk: Mom? Me [Distracted by This American Life on NPR]: Huh? Mr. Monk: What’s the drug that starts with an M? Me [Paying attention now]: Eh… You mean Methamphetamine? [Crap! How did he know about Meth?!] Mr. Monk: You know what […]

12 comments