Wednesday, February 24, 2010

T. S. Eliot Had It All Wrong

April is not the cruelest month at all. It's definitely February. Especially February in the Midwest. It's hideously ugly, it's cold, and there's nothing exciting happening. I'm not into the Olympics, and because of them, all the shows I like are re-runs.

The girls aren't saying much of anything funny. On the contrary, Lucy is whining and grizzling every single day about having to put on her tights for school. Words cannot express how old this gets. And she hates having her statick-y, tangled hair brushed. This is what we go through every morning. I say, "Lucy, come gt your hair done." She comes in the bathroom, dragging her feet. Then she puts her hands over her hair and starts to cry, saying, "It hurts! It hurts!" Keep in mind at this point the brush hasn't even touched her head. Then I lift her hair carefully and gently in my hands and show it to the brush. She claps her hands down even harder and wails, "You're hurting me!"

It's so much fun. Except not at all.

Then they both got into Scooby-Doo cartoons, which is a fun blast from Darren's past that he wanted to share with them. But then they watched a bunch of them, and we couldn't figure out why they were so rowdy and doing lovely dangerous things such as pushing each other while getting out of the slippery bathtub onto the equally slippery tile floor, and we finally traced it to Scooby- and Shaggy-induced madness. So, no Scooby-Doo for awhile.

Life just keeps going around with dropping kids off at school and picking them, putting coats/hats/boots/mittens on and taking them off, driving to the swimclub and waiting an hour in the waiting area while the girls swim and then going to the pool area where it's 1000% humidity to get them and taking them to the locker room to shower and dress and then drying their hair and putting the coats/hats/boots/mittens back on to drive home.

And last night, I read a bunch of stuff from facebook that led me to articles about some parents who got into some radical fundamentalist parenting techniques and spanked one of their little girls to death and hospitalized another. That traumatized me so much that I had to run upstairs after Lucy and Elaine had already gone to bed, get them out, hug them, and tell them I was sorry that I had shouted at them before dinner.

"That's OK, Mom," said Lucy. "We forgive you. We know you're not perfect."

And Elaine rubbed her cheek against mine and sang the Dino-dance song for me and then announced, "I did not pick my nose ," which is a surefire indication that indeed, she had been picking her nose.

So unless you wanted to read all of the above, I've had nothing to write about. I was casting around my mind for things to write on, and I had a lovely little post all written up in my head about my kitchen stool and how my mom had one like it while we were growing up and then she gave me this one and how it's metaphorical for all the conversations I had with her and now my daughters have with me while sitting on it. Then February hit me in the face again, and I realized that I was actually going to subject you to a post about my kitchen stool, for crying in a bucket.

Last Friday I went to see my mom, and she said, apropos of nothing, "Let's get your dad to bring up the sewing machine out of the basement, and I could show you how to sew." I whined, "Do we have to?" which might not have been the kindest thing to say, but it was worth its weight in gold for nostalgia's sake from my teen years.

My dad lugged the machine up, and my mom patiently showed me how it works, but if you know me, you know I really have no patience for anything mechanical or technical or that has small parts or needs an instruction booklet or requires following procedures (I know, with those qualifications, I am a shoo-in for a parenting award, right?) And my mom kept telling me how smart I am and that I'll get it in no time and all sorts of other sweet lies that we mothers tell our kids when they're hopeless at something.

And let me tell you, that machine, which my mom says is simplicity itself, is absolutely diabolical. It takes seven, count them, seven steps just to thread the needle, and that's only on the top part, not the bottom part with that inexplicable bobbin thingy. I could man the space shuttle once I figure that thing out.

So I grumpily ran the machine until I gave up (not very long), and my mom said, "Next time you come [wait, there's going to be a next time at this?], let's sew something you can use, like a cover for your kitchen stool because the last time I was over there, I noticed how beat up it was looking." Now teaching me to measure and cut out material and sew a cover for my kitchen stool is akin to teaching a chimpanzee to paint some frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, but I admire her nerve and enthusiasm.

Here is my kitchen stool in its current state (see, it truly is in sad need of a cover):

If there ever actually is an "after" picture, I promise I'll show it to you.

And maybe February will be over by then.


Melanie said...

Love this post. Love them all. Thanks, Alice!

Juliet said...

Hey, Gary could recycle that stool!!!

Kacie said...

Hah! February DOES have something big in it, Founders week. Except I have no idea who scheduled it in February, but they were crazy. Walking 2 miles a day in below-freezing weather is NOT conducive to spiritual growth.

Oh and I spent hours trying to figure out how to thread a mini sewing machine I picked up at a garage sale. LITERALLY hours. I finally threw it away. It was (I think... I hope...) broken.