Poodles In Space

Monday, April 03, 2006

Will it be the Fairy Princess or the Princess Fairy?

When my daughter was a young toddler, she had no use for dresses. She screeched and flailed around if I tried to put her in one. She was extremely physical. She walked early, she climbed anything in sight and she had zero fear. Skirts swishing around made mobility difficult for her. I liked it! She was a little monkey, climbing around on everything, wearing her hair very short and always running ahead of everyone including the boys. To hell with these people who raise the foofy girls, I told myself! Occasionally though ... I secretly grieved a little. The other girls were so sweet in their dresses and my girl had a tantrum if I even held a dress in front of her in the clothing shops. It might be nice to have dresses for at least Christmas, or Easter. I have a picture of her on Santa's lap when she was 2 with a tear-stained face. I had cajoled her into a dress for the occasion and she immediately threw a fit for her pants afterward.

Then came her third birthday. The day my daughter turned three a gift of princess clothes appeared from the neighbor. The box included a tiara and a wand and even shoes, and plastic paste jewelry. I had seen my friends' girls hit the SuperGirlie stage, so I was prepared for the eventual possibility. I embraced it a little at first, and then more! It was fun to buy her dresses she'd always refused. For about 3 months straight that winter, she insisted on wearing the same pink ballerina leotard every single, solitary, day. In the bitter cold she would scream every morning as I insisted she wear a coat and tights. I would pick her up at school to find she had abandoned the tights and coat in the hallway and was running around with only her tutu again.

Over the past few years, we have visited every single imaginary inch of PrincessWorld. Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine. The Disney princesses. The non-Disney princesses. The vintage Princesses in books. Princess dresses, princess clothes, princess cakes, princess dishes. And the fairies. The wings, the sparkles, the pixie dust. For walks every night dressed like fairies, inquiring what the fairies eat, reading about fairies, leaving food for the fairies. Every Halloween I hoped-against-hope to sew a creative, clever, costume. Every Halloween she demanded the same storebought girly-type costume. Or, as a friend emailed about her sister's 4 year old girl once on Halloween, "Well! What'll it be this year: the Princess Fairy or the Fairy Princess?"

My delight in the dressup dresses was long gone, replaced by a growing discomfort. I began to worry and develop a real hatred for those princess outfits. I tried my best to de-emphasize them. She was obsessed about physical appearance, the costumes, the wands. Too wrapped up in pursuits of tulle and glitter, she rarely wanted to play physically. What about her self-esteem? What about teaching her to rely on inner strength? What about being self-contained? What about science and math!? What about Betty Friedan?? Last year I signed her up for tae kwon do. She reluctantly agreed and much to my profound relief, she enjoyed it. However, she insisted on wearing a fluffy dress with a huge skirt everyday to class, frequently asking the Grand Master to fix her hair clip. She would change into her uniform onsite in the DoJung bathroom, refusing to be spotted in the loathesome, plain uniform.

Last week, she woke up on Tuesday morning and for the first time in about 3 years she came out of the bedroom dressed in jeans and a very plain t-shirt. Stunned, I purposefully said nothing about it to her. She combed her hair, put on her shoes and we left for school. I kept glancing at her in the back of the car, sitting there calmly looking out the window in her jeans. The next day it was back to a big-skirt dress again. But! then Thursday, back to the jeans. On the way to school in the car Thursday, I casually asked her about the jeans. She informed me, "Mom, I really can't climb trees much in dresses and I've been getting to the top of that big one in the yard. I need to practice." I picked her up later that afternoon and we ran to the park. I watched her, wild uncombed hair and jeans black with mud and pine needles. She looked so grown up, like a big school girl. I realized with a certain dread that the princess-dressup phase is truly coming to an end.

And I really didn't take enough photographs of those costumes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

What are you going to do now?

We're going to Disneyland in May. I'm ridiculously excited for this trip.

I went to Disneyland in 1973. I was 5 and a half, the same age my daughter is right now. My little brother was 3. Eric was last there when he was 17, which was strangely 18 months later in 1975. When I went to Disneyland with my parents, we were living in a State Park outside of Los Angeles, in a 21 foot Holiday Rambler. My folks were probably about 24 and 26 at the time.

My mother sewed a lot of our clothing. She had made for me several matching outfits with stripey tops, and solid bottoms, 1000% polyester. I had a set in lime green, a set in periwinkle, and I think maybe one in blue. She knitted cardigans to go with them. On the day we went to Disneyland, she had laid out the green set for me to wear. I put it on dutifully, but decided I preferred the periwinkle cardigan to the green, a decision that still haunts me.

My most vivid memories of Disneyland are my mother become horrified in the car, halfway there, when she realized I was mismatched and shrieking, "People are going to think I dressed you that way!!!" I also remember "It's a Small World" and singing the song repeatedly until people's heads hurt from it. I recall walking through the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse because I had recently watched the film on Wide World of Disney. Most clearly and probably through a combination of bad park food, lying down riding in the back of the car, and excitement, I remember vomiting several times on the way home.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What Would Viv Do?

For years I've wanted a wedding band. I don't have one. I know exactly the type for me - an art deco band. Not the really fancy 1920s kind with the square diamonds. Instead, I like the super thin, plain, platinum or white gold bands of the "Oh FUCK are we poor!" depression era - - very early 1930s. Most of them are inscribed.

When Violet was born, I asked Eric for a wedding band like this. He doesn't take a hint easy, so I asked him again when Milo was born, and I gave him the exact store where I had seen a display of them. In fact, I think I mapquested it and left it for him in writing. "Go here, please buy this ring. I'll be giving birth to your son tomorrow. Bring the ring to the hospital. Kthx." I think a couple Christmases in between I also asked for the ring. No deal!

Last week I was having the car detailed and I walked through the antique shop I'd pointed Eric toward last year when Milo was born and voila! There was the selection of platinum art deco bands for $50 - $100. I found one, inscribed "Ray and Vivian 6-1-1930".

I purchased it and married myself! Piss on waiting for someone else to give me the ring! I love it. It's beautiful, tiny, simple, with just the slightest bit of carving. I haven't taken it off since I bought it, and turns out I'm a wonderful spouse and very easy to please. I'm sure Viv would have done the same thing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Identity Insanity.

I am filling out Violet's Kindergarten registration.

The Seattle school system has "school choice" and so I have to apply for several schools of my choice, and there are "tie breakers" such as address, or siblings currently attending a school, which can make the difference for admission. In the past, ethnicity has been used as a factor. At this point, pending legislation, it is not used. But they still ask for it. I guess I am OK with them asking for it. Certainly I want to know the demographics of various schools.

But.... this system is so, so broken.

Specifically the form says:

Ethnic Code: The ethnic code listed in BOX 1 will be used by Seattle
Public Schools primarily to meet various Federal, State and
District requirements. Select a code from the list provided that it describes
thestudent's ethnicity and enter it in BOX 1. If you choose not to respond
tothis item, please indicate by signing here. If the ethnic code isleft blank,
Federal reporting regulations require us to assign a code for thestudent. If you
wish to enter a second ethnic code for this student,select the appropriate code
and enter in Box 2.

Eric read it and said "Oh, the familiar old "Please choose ONE" dilemma!." Of course, our kids aren't "one". Decisions....decisions.... I suppose they are 3/4 white - genetically speaking. Do I put "WH" for white? And, then, in the second box I'll put "BL" for black? Legally, only the first box will be counted. The second is just to appease us, I surmise. Then my kids will be counted as white. They are also minority and that part of their identity is important to me - legally, emotionally, personally, ethically. Then again ... Violet certainly LOOKS white. Maybe that means I should put "WH" for her, and "BL" second. Milo is browner than her though, he may not LOOK white. Soooo - maybe I put "BL" first for him, and "WH" second? Maybe I just put "BL" for both of them, and nothing else, and let the school district figure it out. I know! I'll just skip it, and then as detailed above, the district will "supply an ethnicity" for me, I'm just guessing here that it will be non-Hispanic white.

Eric says, "Why don't you just ask Violet. Tell her you are filling out a form and amongst asking for her address and birthday, the form asks if she is black, or white?" I asked her and she says with an eye-roll "Mom, I'm black." OK, well that's charming, but it raises another anxiety in my heart doesn't it.

Now, just for kicks, let's take a look at some of the codes.

WH: Caucasian, a person whose ancestors lived for many generations
inEurope, North Africa or the Middle East but who does not consider himself
orherself as Hispanic, a Gypsy, or East Indian. (OK, so if you're Moroccan or
Somali you are now White too.)

HW: Hispanic White: Aperson whose ancestors
originally came from Europe, North Africa or the MiddleEast. (Off White? Check

HA: Hispanic Asian/ Pacific Islander: A Hispanic person whose ancestors
came from Asia, thePacific Islands or the subcontinent. For example, some
Filipinos mightconsider themselves as Hispanic Asian or Hispanic Pacific
Islander. (Filipino, check here)

FI: A person whose ancestors lived formany
generations in the Phillippine Islands (Oh, wait. Filipino, checkhere).

OA: Other Asian or Pacific Islander: Aperson whose ancestors lived for many
generations in parts of Asia or thePacific Islands not listed above. Examples
might be countries like Tibet,Eastern Siberia, Guam, Tahiti, Hawaii or the
Native people of Australia. (Um, so Australian Aborigines are now Asian?)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Some Stuff on my Tivo.

Invasion: What the fuck? OK, so are these things manmade, like in Surface? Or, are they dropped upon us from outer space in lighted pods? They seem to have zero interest in raising young, but a strong mate-for-life instinct. More importantly, how can I be watching two "invasive species" shows in one season, on network TV no less? This is a Tivo development - I've watched zero network TV for years (OK, except American Idol!) I said to Eric this last episode about the 19 year old hottie, 'Watch she killed her entire sorority." YEP.

Random 1: I've only watched one episode but this is an interesting show. OK so these guys drive around the country in a shitty truck, even shittier than Eric's if that's possible - and help people. There has to be more screening than they let on. Certainly they can't just pull up on the street corner and start helping people, they'd get robbed and the "needy" are mostly dope fiends anyway. I think we can all agree on that.

Rollergirls: Need I say more? I usually skip to the match the last 15 minutes. I guess there's a real derby in White Center, but everyone says it's mostly a drunken vomit contest by the end of the match.

Starting Over: Yes. Alright, there, I've said it outloud. I watch a soap opera. God help me, at least I skip 50% of it.

Country Boys: This PBS documentary is so depressing, *I* feel like getting drunk and working in a coal mine by the time I'm done.

My Name is Earl: This show is so fucking funny, it makes me piss myself. "Earl, get in there and wipe down the baby changing station! That baby skootched himself across it like a dog."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Violet has a crush. She is mad for a boy in her pre-K class, named Jesse. I've had mixed feelings about it. I feel sad to see her set aside her previous interests in order to follow Jesse around all day and play blocks. I don't want her to experience rejection. Of course, all part of growing up.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. Where is MY first crush. His name was Paul, and he rode the bus with me in 2nd grade. He would put his square tin lunchbox on top of his head, and zip his coat up over the top of it and scream at me that he was the Headless Horseman from Hell. Also, he wanted to be a ventriloquist and had a real "dummy" that he brought everywhere with him.

I googled him. Turns out he got married in Oregon to a lovely chick in 2001. Who knows if he went into the family "Porta Potty" business or not? Sure is humbling to think I can bring up so many memories of Paul 30 years later, whilst chalking Violet's crush up to a passing silliness!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tae Kwon Do

Violet has been taking Tae Kwon Do for about 4 months. She has her yellow belt, and next month is supposed to go for her orange. Thing is, the place we're going for the classes is completely across the city in Fremont. Originally we started there for the "month free" my brother acquired for us. I figured we would take the month free, and then quit and move somewhere closer if she liked it. Geez, I live right by the International District. But, the teacher is just SO good. He is a Grand Master, and when I'm around him - I feel like I'm in Karate Kid, The Movie. He's just that type "Be still, Little Grasshopper." Sigh. OK so every week I'm driving her out there every Tuesday and every Thursday to take lessons from Master Cha. To make it even nicer, let's add in the fact that Milo is afraid to be in the carseat after dark. So since about mid November, we've listened to nonstop wailing for 30 minutes across town, rush hour traffic, and Violet whining about how she's tired, and she's hungry.

Last week I told him I simply couldn't do two weeknights anymore, we'd have to try a Saturday class. OK, he says, that's fine. We show up and there is nobody there - only Violet. So tonight, back to the Tuesday / Thursday grind again. But as I was leaving tonight, he asked me if I wanted to move the class up to 3:45 so that it's right after her school and I don't have to be in rush hour traffic.

Milo is commando-crawling. He has been belly-skootching for about 3 weeks now. Unlike Violet who basically said "I'm going to crawl, hey! now about this walking thing!" he seems to be perfectly happy hanging out on the floor. I am about 99% certain he's going to end up at the ER with either an elastic hairband, or a Polly Pocket shoe lodged into his throat.