Monday, May 09, 2005

To Talk of Many Things.

As my memory is decaying like a milk product in the hot sun, I am going to take this opportunity to write down some things I noticed well before I started this blog. I wait another week, and all these ideas could go to hide in the part of my brain which remembers where my safe-deposit box key is.

World Lullabies

Daughter had a CD of lullabies from around the world. One night, while waiting for her to settle on which stuffed animal slept with her, I started reading the translations of the lyrics. It was fascinating. I determined that from palazzo to mud hut, there are only two kinds of lullabies-

1) Pleading variety-
I love you so much
(Go to sleep)
You are the shining star in my firmament
(Please go to sleep)
I have waited countless lives just to bask in your beauty
(If I sign the house over to you, will you sleep?)

2) Threat variety-
Little child of my heart,
It is said that a wolf prowls these hills.
It is said he eats the toes of any child awake after eight p.m.
I am not saying this story is true.
But I believe I hear a soft growling coming from under your bed.
And the smell of child’s toes upon wolf breath.
You might want to shut your eyes.

These sound wonderfully soothing when you haven’t a clue what they are singing.


Temper Tantrums

Daughter was about a year old, and we were in a mother/child group. One of the women had a son who was slightly older, as well as a four year-old. She was talking about how her younger son had thrown his first tantrum that week.

I said brightly “Wow, my daughter yells and cries. I wonder if she’s had her first tantrum, and I didn’t even know it”.

To this woman’s credit, she didn’t hit me. She just gazed at me and said wearily “Oh, you’ll know”.

For those who might not have witnessed one yet, the difference between normal angry and a tantrum is duration. Imagine dropping something heavy on your toe. You might say

“Ow!”

(Or something more obscene, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt)

Let’s say “Ow!” is normal angry. Now imagine you dropped something on your toe when you were tired, hungry and touch hormonal…

“OW! WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAPPEN TO ME, I’M A GOOD PERSON, I THINK I BROKE MY TOE, IT’S YOUR FAULT, WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME, STOP TOUCHING ME, ALL I EVER ASK FOR IS JUICE AND NO ONE EVEN CARES, MY HAIRCLIP IS TOUCHING MY SCALP IN A HORRIBLE WAY, I AM GOING TO MOVE INTO MY OWN PLACE AND SEE HOW WELL YOU ALL GET ALONG WITHOUT ME, WHY ARE YOU WALKING OFF, WHERE THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?...”

That’s a tantrum. Except they don’t have language, so the whole thing is expressed with something like “No go! Bad Mommy! Goo-bah!”
It’s a tiny little furious alien visitor and you without a Toddler-English dictionary.

I do remember Daughter’s first tantrum. I don’t remember exactly what set it off, but I do remember that we were getting in the car to come home from somewhere. I remember the horrible sound she made, and continued to make. After trying to buckle her into her car seat for a few minutes with her arching and shrieking like a feral cat, I gave up. I told her we would stay there until she calmed down enough to not damage my eardrums. I unrolled all the windows, walked to the back of the car, and cleaned out the trunk of debris while she screamed.

It took twenty minutes.*

I stuck my head in the back seat a few times to offer loving support, only to notice that my very presence seemed to set her off again. For my kid, this is what separates mere bad humor from a tantrum. A tantrum is like a random brush fire that has to blaze through her head periodically; any human interaction works like a gust of pure oxygen. I put her someplace safe and boring until it runs its course.

She recovers without incident. I recover with gin and tonic.


Toothbrush

I think part of my brain resides in my gums. This is the only reason for the fact that when I brush my teeth, I suddenly remember something I simply have to do. It’s as if some bristle kicks a critical ganglion into wakefulness.

QUINN: (Brushing) What is our home insurance deductible?

At which point, I cannot move forward until I have learned the answer to whatever question has been jogged loose by brushing. This is why I have been found in every room of my house, and once my car, with my toothbrush lodged in my cheek. I have been known to go back to brushing, if it’s a situation where I can multi-task. Over the years, I have figured out tasks that naturally go together, like brushing your teeth while reading your insurance policy, and things that are best done separately, like brushing your teeth while emptying the cat box (Note: I didn’t do that one twice).

It’s really only a matter of time before, while trotting to the kitchen because I must have a precise inventory of our fruit leather, I trip and impale myself on my toothbrush. I can only hope it will be one of those dignified, adult brushes which massages my brain -- I mean my gums -- and that I haven’t gotten something on sale. I would really hate to be found dead with Shrek protruding from my skull.


* In the interest of full disclosure, it actually took forty-five minutes. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Quinn,
Found your blog after seeing it mentioned in Newsweek and I'm here to stay. I've read all of Feb archive but have to stop b/c my neck is getting stiff from looking right to read my screen (baby boy fell asleep in lap nursing and 6 year old daughter under left arm watching Spy Kids 3 - I'm successfully pinned!)Anyway, I have enjoyed it more than I can express - good grief I even bought a hip hugger. Have always disliked my baby sling for carrying an upright baby - too bulky. So I'm excited to fing this slimmed down version. Thanks and keep writing, you have a great style. Barbara Warren

4:27 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Well, being the fairly illiterate computer user that I am, I could not figure out how to e-mail you directly so I am reduced to posting a comment instead(Run on sentence?) Actually, my name is Michael and strangely enough, I am the cousin who has lived in the same relative sphere as you for some 15 years now and has still not visited you nor your mother Jan. I happened upon an article in Newsweek which directed me to your blog and after sharing it with your other cousins in Minnesota (Not using names because we all know how famous they are)I thought I would come online and see what you were writing. What do I find but someone as eerilly as sarcastic as myself. Aren't we like 2nd or 3rd cousins? I would think that means we really should have no similiar personality traits but, well, genetics are a rather strange and fascinating thing aren't they?
Anyway, I very much enjoyed your blogs though I will admit that, I have not come anywhere close to reading all of them as of yet. If you should, for any reason, decide to reply to me, you can do so at:
o911dog@hotmail.com
Take care Quinn,

Michael O'Do.....

4:35 PM  

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