Thursday, May 10, 2012

extemporaneous thoughts, with a little debbie downer mixed in for good measure

I have noticed a rash of people asserting that it is likely that there are animals out there that are smarter than people, but we just don't know it because we don't speak their language. Just to be clear, I am pretty pro-animal rights. I am not out there throwing paint on fur coats, but I am sorta on their side and I've donated to ACPA in my day. I do think that some animals are a lot more sophisticated than we ever knew (like elephants--they recognize the bones of their family members), but it just seems a little crazy to say that there are animals out there that are smarter than people. One guy on an NPR broadcast breezily asserted that octopuses would be ruling the world if it were not for their lack of opposable thumbs, and the interviewer was happy to learn that interesting new true information. This whole line of reasoning seems obviously wrong and crazy, and yet I keep hearing it nonchalantly accepted all over the place.
Porter is obsessed with "doing homework" all over everything. He calls it "EIEIO." It is horribly adorable and sometimes he desperately cries out in his sleep, "EIEIO!" I always wonder what, specifically, he is dreaming.

I realized today that I am in the ranks of annoying people whose needs will always escalate to match the resources. I will never feel I have enough. I am hoping that realizing this and admitting it will help me to correct it. Also, I think this revelation will be surprising to people who see me or my home or the interior or exterior of my car in real life. I definitely do not dress or carry myself like I have this affliction. The hunch of my shoulders under my dirty and wrinkled shirt as I slouch over to someone to file an awkward remark to a cheerful acquaintance does not scream "Materialistic!"
It is pretty unfair, if you think about it at all, isn't it?
Which reminds me: I am the Hester Prynne of drivers. While I am not responsible for the giant ugly "bonk!" (Porter's term) on the back bumper of the car, I deserve for it to be there. The shocked and dignified other mothers at Andrew's school have encouraged me to repair or paint the bumper, but I deserve to outwardly advertise on my car who I really am. I keep getting in these ridiculous accidents. I rear ended someone last week. I scratched the paint on two other cars in the last 6 months. I am really proud of myself for installing my own mailbox a few months ago, but I only had to do that because I backed over it first. I am Mayhem. Interestingly, the common denominator in each incident, besides me behind the wheel, was that I was driving in a city (DC or Baltimore) on the way to a medical appointment for Will. That is your cue to feel sorry for me. Oh, the other common denominator is that two of my victims have claimed physical injuries. I hope that the mills of God do grind exceedingly fine, because both incidents took place under miles per hour, and one had no car body damage at all. >
also, this really is how my kids are, too, so the photo is perfect.

Relatedly, I have realized that the joys of home ownership over renting have been greatly exaggerated in my own mind. I wish we were still renting, looking for The One. Buying a house really is just like getting married. If you buy a project with high hopes of renovations, or deluded fantasies that you won't notice or be bothered by the roar of traffic night and day coming over the freeway wall in your back yard since it has that cute kitchen, you will end up with buyers' remorse when you see too late other homes in your price range that had both. Fortunately I realized that I did not want to marry a project, but unfortunately I was a little desperate when it came to houses. (But I am a huge complainer since our house is great, I would never have thought I would have ever owned it and we are totally blessed to live here). The marriage-home buying analogy is possibly superior to the Parable of the Cave and I could probably write a dissertation on it.

Back before I had children, I thought that I would want to have that kid who can write his own talks and then read them flawlessly from the pulpit when he is in Kindergarten. The kid who is reading precociously in preschool and has other savant-like academic qualities. Of course, things like that are great. But I no longer am harboring desires to sculpt my kids into anything other than the best versions of who they just are. It is freeing to sort of drop out of that race, so to speak. They don't need to be geniuses; they need to be hard-working. They don't need to be the star of the team; they need to have good sportsmanship. I need to teach them to have good manners and be thoughtful and honest boys who live the gospel. I am starting with getting them to not jump all over people's couches within the first three minutes of entering their homes, and trying to find better responses when Andrew asks me, in the context of an argument over why he cannot watch tv on Sunday and his declaration that he would rather be undergoing strenuous testing at school than sit through church, how we even know we are worshipping the right God, anyway.
Relatedly, again, you will learn more about parenting from Cesar than from any other human on earth. Even Nanny Jo, and I am only slightly exaggerating.
I sometimes feel pangs of sadness that I never really did anything with my law degree, or other pursed with any seriousness my other ambitions. Having children can make it more difficult to pursue such things. But I also realized that if I watched less tv and went to bed earlier, the day would not be far off when I could organize myself enough to have hopes and dreams to pursue. I also realized, and this type of realization hits in the small moments, like today when I was jumping and peeing on the trampoline with my kids that they are the best, most important legacy I could ever have, the only thing that will really mattered that I have done, even if I were to find success in other parts of my life. Which I won't.
I gave Will another lesbian haircut yesterday. Brigham is now calling him Butch. I really need to post a photo, but this old one from his singular visit to the Hair Cuttery will have to do. This is what he was looking like, days ago. He has such cute hair and I always think I am going to do a better job than I am.


Jenny said...

I loved this post. When I was pregnant with Justin I watched a lot of "It's Me or the Dog" and I still regularly apply some of the behavior conditioning I learned there with my kids.

Alisha said...

You are so articulate with your thoughts. I wish I had that ability. You are a great mother.