A few weeks ago, Alayna’s boyfriend Raven sent me the following text message:
“Hey, I just finished reading the Nanny Diaries. It reminded me of the Owen and River stories on your blog except yours are better.”
That comment was one big AWWWWW happy hug on my heart because Raven is one of my blog’s biggest cheerleaders and often tells me I should write a book, on and on, blah blah, encouragement, whatever. He’s so nice. BUT, after I thanked Raven, I realized I was missing the bigger part of that exchange which was – why the heck was Raven reading the Nanny Diaries!?!
I’ll tell you why. Because he steals his girlfriend’s books and reads them, often without telling her and then when she’s discussing them with me like, say, the book she forced me to read entitled BIRTH about the process of, you know, giving BIRTH, which gave me nightmares for weeks, Raven chimes in out of nowhere and is all, YEAH, THAT C-SECTION RATE IS SO CRAZY, ISN’T IT? I RECOMMEND GETTING A DOULA.
And then we all just stare at Raven blinking because you are a DUDE, why do you know what a DOULA is?
And then I loudly exclaim, THAT’S SO RAVEN!!!!! which only I continue to find funny because DUDE! Your NAME! And that Disney TV show! Starring Raven Simone! OHHHHHHHH HILARIOUS.
But I’m getting away from the point of the story which was HEY, THAT’S SO RAVEN! I have another Owen and River story for you. And this is how it goes.
Completely unrelated to the story I’m about to tell you, I want to warn you all never to send your children to public school. Or let your children turn five years old. EITHER OR. I’m not sure which. Maybe a combination of both?
All I know is, Owen and River went to kindergarten this year AND they turned five and NOW? One of them is the MOST OBNOXIOUS KID I HAVE EVER MET. And I’m sure the other is close behind. The End.
No, I mean. That’s not true. They continue to be sort of delightful, especially when they repeat phrases I have taught them like, “WOAH! THAT LOUD NOISE TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT!!!” and when they give me half their cookie and tell me they love me more than the universe. I mean. THAT IS CUTE STUFF RIGHT THERE.
But…they also drive me absolutely out of my mind. And this past weekend? HOO BOY. Tryin’ my patience, lemme tell YOU.
Saturday was a full day of 100% complaining about EVERYTHING coupled with that annoying thing kids do which is to call everyone a stupid doo-doo head and then when I put them in a time out for saying ‘stupid’, they insist they weren’t calling a PERSON stupid, they were calling the TOY stupid and that’s not exactly wrong, is it? And when I explained it WAS wrong to use the word stupid ANYTIME to ANYTHING, inanimate object or not, I got hissing and caterwauling from the time out chair of WHYYYYYYYYY CAN’T I COME PLAYYYYYY, my life is so HARRRRRRRRD and LAURA, WHAT DOES INANIMATE MEAN?
It means that I am coming very close to doing something I regret, young man, and THAT is why I placed you in the time out chair. Not for YOU. But for ME. So I can sip my peppermint tea and take a breath and remember that at one time? I USED TO LIKE YOU.
There was also this annoying thing going on where That Twin would just snap at me for NO REASON and whine in the most irritating voice ever, the kind that just gnaws at that space behind your eyes and inside your head until your brain cells slowly fall out through your ears onto the pavement. At one point, I grabbed his hand while crossing the street.
“OWWWWWWW! YOU HURTED ME.”
“I did not! Oh my gosh!”
“YOU DID SOOOOOOO! OWWWWWWWWWWWWW”
“River! Calm down. It was an accident.”
“IT WAS NOT.”
“IT WAS TOO! I DID NOT HURT YOU ON PURPOSE!”
“YEAH? WELL YOU DIDN’T EVEN SAY YOU’RE SORRY YET.”
Oh, I’m sorry, alright. I’m sorry I didn’t BITE YOUR LITTLE FINGERS OFF WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE.
So we were having a bit of a rough day though there were sunshiney moments throughout, like the time we spent putting together a puzzle on the kitchen table talking about aquatic mammals and the trip we made to Moomah which is this incredible place for kids in TriBeCa, a place I would have LOVED as a kid which means now I can just whine to my own mom about how she never took me there even if it didn’t exist when I was small and how that ruined my life and OW YOU JUST HURTED ME.
So! You pick out an art project you want to make and then you sit at tables with your own personal art consultant who helps you put it together. It’s completely kid-friendly, with toddlers running around and moms breastfeeding their kids in slings, etc. and you can sit down and enjoy a decaf soy latte while making Valentine’s Day cards with Owen and THIS? THIS IS A BABYSITTER’S PARADISE. Even River was on good behavior, engrossed with pasting penguins onto an “Arctic Scene”, complete with igloos and snowflakes and copious amounts of blue glitter.
I did have to roll my eyes at the New York City-ness of it all, the gluten-free options on the menu, the organic cotton changing table in the ladies’ room, etc. The best example had to be the sign next to the register that said – 10% OFF YOUR PURCHASE IF YOU ARE WEARING YOUR BABY.
Oh, attachment parenting. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But I’m saying that signs like that make me crack up. And also, once I realized you could get 10% off your purchase, I tried to think of all the ways I could feasibly wrap River around my body and pretend I wore him like that regularly. “Of course! I ALWAYS stick the five year old I’m babysitting down my shirt! HE LIKES TO FEEL CLOSE TO ME.”
Oh God. This blog is getting weird.
On our way back from Moomah, we decided to stop and get some pizza to take home for dinner. Actually, it was River’s idea and it was the one good idea he’d had all day so I jumped on it. (Other less than palatable ideas he’d suggested previously included “Let’s hold this puzzle piece up to the candle and see what happens” and “Let’s sing a song I made up about poop”.)
So we stopped into the pizzeria and ordered a few slices and waited for them to warm up in the oven. As we were doing this, the door to the pizzeria swung open and a homeless man walked in, wearing a knee-length skirt and a sweater vest.
Without any explanation, he immediately launched into an impressive rendition of “THE MONSTER MASH”, sung at the top of his lungs, complete with choreographed dance steps.
“HE DID THE MASH!” the homeless man screamed, swaying side to side and snapping his fingers.
“IT WAS A GRAVEYARD SMASH! HE DID THE MASH!”
He spun. He twirled. He winked at me.
“IT CAUGHT ON IN A FLASH! THEY DID THE MASH! THEY DID THE MONSTER MASH!”
When he was done, he turned around and headed for the door.
He didn’t want any money, he didn’t ask for any help. The man just wanted to dance.
From what I can see, Owen totally understood this guy’s need for creative outlet. Either that or he felt compelled to COMPETE in some sort of bizarre Homeless Person vs. Five Year Old DANCE OFF! and so, right before the door shut behind the homeless man, Owen screamed out, “I CAN DO A SPLIT!” and proceeded to show the entire pizzeria his amazing flexibility.
It was excellent, in case you’re wondering. The guys making the pizzas clapped for him.
We paid for our dinner and headed out into the cold night. I decided maybe we should talk about what we had just witnessed.
“That guy was a good dancer, huh?” I asked them.
“YEAH,” said River. “HE SINGS LOUD.”
“He didn’t see my split,” mourned Owen, dragging his feet on the sidewalk.
“That’s okay!” I said. “I saw it! And I thought it was GREAT!”
“Thanks,” said Owen.
“And maybe you can show him your split the next time you see him,” I offered.
“Welllll…” said Owen slowly. “I don’t think so.”
“Because that man? TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT.”
I told him I completely understood and 100% agreed and why don’t we spend the rest of the night eating pizza, taking a bubble bath and reading books while being NICE to each other and thinking about how lucky we are that we have a safe apartment to go home to with a family who loves us because some people don’t.
And that’s exactly what we did.