Hide and Seek Gone Bad

Oh no, did you see this story? In a nutshell, a 4-year-old girl went missing from her grandma’s house during a family get together. Insanity ensued, the police came, POLICE DOGS searched the house, and no one could find her. And then, guess what. Someone discovered her sleeping peacefully under her grandma’s bed surrounded by “items” — probably blankets, and stuffed animals, and her poor grandmother’s fragile nerves, which were destroyed in one unannounced game of hide-and-seek-with-the-authorities’-help.

So much to say.

First of all, those police dogs are an embarrassment to the profession. Finding a kid under a bed in a house must be Doggie Police Academy 101, right? Like a prerequisite class before taking “Finding Heroin in Butts and Greyhound Buses” and “Scaring Foreigners at the Airport.” These dogs are going to lose their fancy street beat and face a lifetime of boring police paperwork.

Second, I sympathize with that grandma. You’d think that you could relax about your kids a little bit when you have a house full of adults, but let me tell you what happens: all the grown-ups assume that some other responsible person is watching your kids, and no one is, and then they wander off to some corner of the attic and set fire to a battery and eat expired prescription pills. Or just play quietly, one or the other. But my point is you just never know.


Third, I really hope that girl is amazingly cute and charming, because it is going to take a lot of adorableness for that grandma to get over these shenanigans. I imagine this girl at her college graduation years from now, proudly crossing the stage to get her diploma with honors, and that grandma in the audience: “Summa cum laude?! How about that time you hid under my bed for six hours WHILE THE POLICE AND THEIR DOGS RANSACKED MY HOUSE?”

But thankfully the story had a happy ending and now everyone has an amazing story to tell. I’m sure those dogs will think about that when they’re stuck behind a desk, trying to figure out how the hell to type.

Help, My Pants Are On Fire

Yesterday at bedtime, I tried on one of my daughter’s pink plastic tiaras. I would say it was because my hands were full and my head was just a convenient way to carry the tiara, but that would be a lie. I really just wanted to see what I looked like with a tiara on. And I will have you know I looked hot. Regal, even. So I sat in the bathroom, wearing the tiara while my kids brushed their teeth, and debated with my son about whether or not I was actually a queen.

Me: “I mean, I could be a queen, right? And just not know it?”
J: “You are not a queen, because queens don’t do anything except wear a crown and sit on a throne and boss people around.”

I pointed out that at that exact moment I was wearing a tiara, sitting on the toilet (sitting, not going – even I have my limits), and yelling at people to brush their teeth. As this information sunk in, both J and L got very quiet and stared at me for a few seconds. Now I think they’re wondering whether I’m really a queen and what’s in it for them.

Someday soon my kids will discover that I am not royalty and that, instead, I am just a liar. But aren’t all parents? For example, this week my son has two wiggly teeth and lots of questions about the tooth fairy. Every word that comes out of my mouth in these discussions is a huge, elaborate lie. But they are lies that I learned from my own parents that I have perfected with details I’ve learned from my parent friends. We are a multi-generation community of liars, who regularly tell our kids never to lie. Awesome.

I’m not psyched about my kids discovering that I am a big, fat liar, but I kind of can’t wait for the day when my son figures out that I have totally lied about the lyrics to a bunch of his favorite songs. Some day he will realize that Psy does not sing about a woman playing the saxophone in Gangnam Style (“Hey, saxy lady!”). And that Kings of Leon is not singing that someone’s socks are on fire (“Heeeeeeeeey, your sock is on fiiiiire!”). And that Matt Nathanson’s song “Come On Get Higher” is not about someone flying in an airplane. And that shopping at a Thrift Shop is not “really” awesome. Nope, it’s fucking awesome.

When I was my son’s age, I was obsessed with the song “Just the Two of Us,” which always made my parents giggle and I never understood why. In my 6-year-old mind, the song was about two friends who enjoyed spending time together. So imagine my surprise when, years later, I realized the song was about two REALLY good friends who LOVED spending time together, ifyaknowwhatimean, probably while naked and in a hot tub with mood lighting and essential oils. Why did my parents not just turn off the radio (or 8-track or phonograph or whatever the hell they used back then)? Why did they let me just believe that this was a sweet, innocent song about buddies?

I will tell you why: because it bought them three or four minutes of peace and quiet, and it made me smile. String together enough of those moments and you’ve got a pretty sweet day with your kids. Who cares if it involves a little lying on your part. That just means that you care equally about your own sanity and your kids’ short-term happiness.

And that is what I call balance.