Don’t Squeal If It’s No Big Deal

Approximately four thousand times a day, I say to my kids, “Just worry about yourself.” For example: “Mom, J told you he was going to READ AND NOW HE IS DRAWING! He is DRAWING on PAPER with a PENCIL!” Um, OK, just worry about yourself. Or “MOM, L is doing ballet REALLY LOUDLY and in ballet you are supposed to land SOFTLY!” Oh my god, just worry about yourself, and for the record, you were doing the running man while making fart noises with your armpits earlier. Or “MOM, J just found your black eye make-up and is coloring in his eyebrows HUGE!” Sweet Jesus, just worry about yourself, and excuse me while I sneak up on him to take some video.

But now, thanks to the wonder of the intranets, instead of feeling frustrated when I say “Just worry about yourself,” I giggle a little. All because of this little jewel.

I wish I could have that little girl in my pocket and just pull her out when my kids need to calm themselves. She would totally handle them. Also, I can imagine her telling her dad, “Snitches get stitches.” Very soon. I hope he is ready.

And here is a more grownup and slightly more pleasant-sounding version of just worry about yourself. Kacey Musgraves was born about 2 minutes ago, sings “new” country music about trailer parks and gay marriage (I’m kind of serious), and reminds me of my Missouri roots even though she’s from Texas. I love this song – it is catchy, and sad, and lovely. Please enjoy.

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.

Happy Mama’s Day

Get ready for your new earwig. My husband has nearly redeemed his musical tastes with this video. One of his FB friends posted it (thanks, dude) and he showed it to me, and it almost made me forget that he occasionally listens to Ke$sha on full blast.

Is that amazing or WHAT? These are two Icelandic musicians from Of Monsters and Men, and the singer’s name is Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir. Nanna’s voice is haunting and childlike and makes that already solid MGMT song even better. Also, Icelandic is super complicated sounding. From my rudimentary understanding of the language, her name means she is the daughter of Hilmar, who is a blonde banana farmer. Which is weird because I did not know Iceland had many banana farms, but global warming? Probably.

Nanna’s sassy Amish bowler hat reminded me of a former musical obsession.

In junior high English class we had to write an essay about someone we admired and then present it to the class. I didn’t even have to think about it; OBVIOUSLY, I would write about Debbie Gibson. Because did you know she wrote her own songs, and performed live at all of her shows? This is particularly impressive, given the complexity of her lyrics (such as “Shake your love, I just can’t shake your love, shake your love, shake it!”), and the fact that she was a pretty crappy singer.

We kept our topics a secret from each other before our presentations, as if we were giving out highly competitive awards. So imagine how ridiculous I felt when I discovered that I was almost the only kid who did not write about my mom. Probably 90% of my classmates wrote about how great their moms were, a couple boys wrote about professional athletes, and I wrote about a teenage pop singer who wore neon jelly bracelets and oversized menswear while singing lame girly songs in mall food courts.

It wasn’t that I just didn’t write about admiring my mom that made me feel so awful – it was that the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I just knew that my classmates would go home and share their essays with their moms, who would weep with joy and lead more fulfilled lives knowing how much their children loved and admired them. And my mom would take one look at my essay and realize she was raising a borderline-obsessive nutjob. So I did not share my essay with her. I think the wall of Debbie Gibson posters and the Electric Youth perfume I bathed in daily gave her a pretty good idea of the depth of my feelings.

So now I think about Debbie Gibson when my kids don’t even seem to notice that I’m in the room, or when they don’t have any clue about the nine million things I do for them every day. Another mom told me once that you want your kids to take you for granted, to know that your love is there all the time, and to know you’re dependable and will be there when they need you, because otherwise they’ll be insecure and constantly jockey for your attention.

I get that now, and I think I learned that lesson from my mom. She had done such a good job of always being there that it freed me up to devote my admiration to superstars like Debbie Gibson. My mom’s love and support was something I wasn’t even consciously aware of — it was just constant and always there, and I could (and did) totally take it for granted. In fact, I bet if I had shown her my essay she would have been proud of me, or at least said she was. That’s what I tell myself to not feel like a complete ass, anyways.

So happy (early) Mother’s Day to my mom, who I admire for many reasons, but especially for letting me be my slightly weird self all the time and loving me in spite of it. Maybe even because of it.

Robyns are the First Sign of Spring

Here is just what you were waiting for: some Swedish house techno music to get your weekend started. I saw Robyn live last year when she opened for Coldplay, and she blew my mind. She strutted out on stage with her platinum blonde mushroom hair, wearing a bubble wrap see-through jacket and a neon green plastic kilt, and performed a ridiculous set of songs while doing a combination of slow-motion aerobics and having a seizure. At one point, she played a wood block so passionately that I stood up and cheered. She made Will Ferrell’s SNL cowbell playing look like a preschool talent show.

[Sidenote: OMG, how have I not used that picture before.]

I wanted to hate her, I really did. I tend to like my women singers hippie-ish and tortured, with long, flowy skirts and peasant blouses. And I like them to play an instrument. But this robot-dancing Swedish singer, whose instrument playing consisted of pushing a button on a synthesizer and smacking a wood block, made me love her. I came home from the concert and got some of her music, and now she’s my go-to when I want to get pumped up for something (and with my fast-paced life, that is ALL THE TIME).

These are my two favorite Robyn songs. They go well with pickled herring and remaining neutral in international conflicts. Wait, that’s Switzerland. Right? Whatevs, go dance on your own.

He Sings in Those Truck Commercials

This is my favorite news story of the day. I have many questions:

1. What the hell did this woman’s friends and family – who I assume had been waiting patiently for her to wake up – think when her first words were, “I want to go to a Bob Seger concert.” Maybe they are all better people than me (I mean, odds are good), but I would be PISSED. “Hey, grandma, you know who came to check on you and worried about you constantly during your half-decade long coma? Let me give you a hint: it was NOT BOB SEGER. So how about a little shout out when you wake up.”

2. What the hell did Bob Seger think when a nursing home called him and said, “Bob, you’ll never believe this, a 69-year-old woman who was in a coma for five years has one request: to see you in concert.” I could see him thinking (a) “Oh my god, the only people who want to see my shows are in comas.” OR (b) “That is one bad ass grandma and I want her to be my oldest groupie.” Because all musicians think about groupies constantly, right? I would. Anyways, the correct answer: (c) “If only I still had my long, flowing hair and blunt bangs from my youth, I bet I’d be getting phone calls from ladies who are not in nursing homes and/or comas right about now.”


3. Who the hell is Bob Seger. I am sorry, but white male musicians from the 70s and 80s kind of blur together for me. For example, when I found some pictures of Bob Seger, I thought he could be Kenny Rogers, Jerry Garcia, that Metallica dude, any of the Allman Brothers, or the Unabomber. (I know the Unabomber was probably not a musician but one of the pictures of Bob Seger looked a little angry and militant.) Because I am not exactly sure who Bob Seger is, when I first read the headline for this story I thought the woman had requested to see Bob SAGET, which I would totally get, because I was obsessed with America’s Funniest Home Videos when I was younger. Here is a clip of Bob Saget with his flowing, feathered hair and elephant-sized shoulder pads doing his best prop jokes and hosting magic:

I am not sure, but I think he could kick Bob Seger’s ass, or at least run away from him. And if I was in a coma and could choose between seeing Bob Saget host America’s Funniest Home Videos from the early ‘90s or seeing Bob Seger do…whatever he does in concert, clearly, Saget wins.

4. Also, America’s Funniest Videos still makes me fall off the couch laughing, because look at this.

Something about that girl running mummy-style in her fancy little dress and screaming her curly-haired head off just kills me. Interesting sidenote: when I showed my kids this video, they did not think it was funny. Like, at all. My son said, “Why are you laughing at that girl crying? She wants her mom! Where is her mom?” I mean, I guess that’s another way to look at it.

Anyways, I hope that woman enjoyed her Bob Seger concert and that she got her family members some awesome souvenirs. Because if she wants anyone by her bedside the next time she (heaven forbid) slips into a coma, she better start buttering them up now.