Monday, February 17, 2014

Take It From Me! Life Advice with Julia Rehder

Dear Julia - My kid is driving me crazy, like so crazy I might just sell him to a child collector like Angeline Jolie or Mia Farrow. How do I find the patience to continue parenting?

Oh honey, I feel your pain. Recently, Ward has become very contrary. He will constantly defy any statement I make (whether directed at him or not): "No mommy, dat ice not cold. Is hot." "Dis apple blue, is not red!' and the creme de la creme  "No, I am not Ward! I am Ward!" He has also begun begging for time outs, which I assume is some sort of sophisticated strategy to render time outs moot. NOT GONNA WORK PAL. Or maybe it will, I'm weak-minded. Hope that helps!

Dear Julia - I really love brussel sprouts, but they smell terrible! Every time I make them, my entire neighborhood smells like Del Taco farts for a week. What do I do? 

Here's what you do: you keep making brussel sprouts. You don't stop making brussel sprouts. Make them until your kids leave home, make them until your friends abandon you, make them until the sun burns out because you are a hero and no one can tell you how to live your life.

Dear Julia - Is it actually ironic or just Alanis Morissette ironic that I have an addiction to the TV show My Strange Addiction

Both.

Dear Julia - I often imagine that I'm a unicorn who is disguised as a human so that no one will kill me and harvest my enchanted horn to make faerie dust. Is that weird?

Mikyn, is that you girl? Just kidding, I already know it is you because you're the only person obnoxious enough to spell fairy that way. But to answer your question, no it's not weird. Being a unicorn is a common fantasy, as is imagining your life is a movie or pretending to be Indiana Jones while trying to get under your closing garage door without tripping the sensor.

Dear Julia - Do you think by now that everyone has figured out that you're actually the one writing all of the questions in this post? Because no one has ever asked for you advice before even though you're obviously KILLIN IT at life. 

Listen, I don't know who sent this question in (I do), but people are DYING for my advice! Sure I'm not perfect, but you're not living life unless you're making some mistakes! There are two types of people in this world: the ones at the fancy party who stand in a corner sipping their virgin cocktail and the ones knocking down the candelabra as they seductively lie on a baby grand piano to croak out a slow jazz version of Raspberry Beret. Which one do you want to be?!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Appreciate Your Man Even Though He's an Idiot!

Early this morning, my precious toddler kicked open our bedroom door SWAT-style and demanded to be read The House That Jack Built. My response was to let out an awkwardly loud "GUUUUUUH" while rubbing my nose for thirty seconds and pulling the covers over my head, so Ward went over to Daddy's side of the bed to whack him in the face with his book repeatedly. Sloan, like the parent-of-the-year that I am not, drowsily sat up and read the whole thing to Ward, so now if there's something that I am an expert at, it is hating the repetitive nature of this is the cat that killed the rat that crawled out of bed that laid down in the shower that put her shirt on backward that ate Taco Bell for breakfast that just needs some sleep in the house that Jack built. How is a person supposed to function with only 17 hours of sleep a night? I am not Superwoman! 

Anyway, as I listened to Sloan groggily stumble through the boring saga of Jack's house, I thought to myself, "What a good daddy! Not many other dads would do what he's doing right now." I then proceeded to fall asleep for three more hours while Ward tore up half of his books and helpfully placed them in the garbage (silver lining!), which I wasn't against doing after his early-morning story time.
But the more I pondered on my original thought, the one about not many dad's reading to their babies at five in the morning, I realized that wasn't true. A LOT of dads would do something like that. My dad would have done that! And so would've Sloan's dad. My brother would do that for his babies, too (if by some miracle they could rouse him from what I like to call the "iron slumber"). My brothers-in-law, also, would all do something like that for their babies. I know because I've seen it time and time again from them.
This made me consider more seriously my feelings about men in family roles. I am really terrible at addressing and expressing thanks to all of the strong men in my life. For various reasons, it's easy to vilify the paternal role, especially in our culture today. I think one reason we don't give a lot of men enough credit is because of the partial truth that dudes can be gigantic morons at times. From the bar fights to the pyromania to the amateur stunts, it's common to mistake masculine idiocy for poor character, and that's not fair to all of the idiots out there. Idiot men can still be good people! So what if your brother lights his farts on fire? He can still be a responsible and loving father! Big deal if your boyfriend upper-decked his brother's toilet! It doesn't mean he isn't a compassionate person! Who cares if a couple of weeks ago Sloan wore band aids over his nipples to combat chafing and then said he kinda liked how it looked like a sexy band aid bikini and started sashaying around the bedroom singing Lady Marmalade? He's allowed to have a little fun! ("I NEVER DID THAT" Sloan is shouting somewhere as he absentmindedly rubs his chest where those beloved band aids used to be. Yes, during that brief time when his nips were safe he could honestly say he was happy. He had achieved a level of nipple nirvana that few others could even imagine. But eventually, reluctantly, he returned to normal life. He had bills to pay and mouths to feed, after all. Band aid bikinis forever? That was just a pipe dream.) Hey wait! I see that look on your face! You're totally judging Sloan right now, aren't you! How dare you?! See this is exactly what I'm talking about! Wait, where are you going? We can still be friends! I was just kidding about all of that stuff! Sloan isn't weird, he's super normal okay!

Fine! Whatever! I didn't need your click-through anyway! I have several, if not DOZENS, of hits to my blog every month!

*facepalm* So naive, Julia! Why did you think people would understand the band aid bikini situation??

Oh! Some of you are still here! *ahem* Well, even though it's obvious a few readers have learned nothing from this entry ("I've always wondered why Sloan's pockets, backpack, and car are forever littered with band aid wrappers," says every judgey person he knows), I'm still proud of myself for publishing my progressive and empowering opinion about men! Love them despite their idiocy!
And while I do have all of the sweet, dopey manchildren in my life to thank for helping me come to this conclusion, I more importantly have myself to thank because I'm the greatest mind of this generation (...according to no one. But who knows! That could change someday! Reach for the stars!)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Parenting: Take my advice, cuz I'm sure not using it!

Parenting is like any other skill: It's hard to be good at it. Heck, you have to be pretty good just to be bad at it. I don't know HOW people have the energy to do things outside of raising a kid, let alone more than one. I see my other parent friends stop whatever they're doing every thirty seconds to calmly explain to their toddler why they shouldn't chew on the trash can lid or why their soiled diaper doesn't belong in the refrigerator and I'm just over here yelling, 'WARD QUIT IT," from the couch watching reruns of People's Court in my high school gym shorts lookin like Mama June (that's Honey Boo Boo's mom for the uncultured among you). And some days it takes everything in me just to get out of bed and rub my two brain cells together enough to properly dress and feed Ward without accidentally scooping dishwasher detergent into his bowl (which still might be healthier than some of the cereal he eats). To say I'm an inadequate parent is the understatement of the century.
Ward's impression of me.
They say that exercise helps with raising energy levels, which sounds counter-intuitive to me, but science is one big, cosmic mystery anyway so I tried out a new workout today called T25. I'm proud to say that I dominated my first session with the help of a couple of minor modifications like only doing about seven minutes of it and then spending the other 18 minutes lying on the floor surfing the internet while it continued playing in the background. (We get it, Shaun T., you're sweaty!)

But who knows if I need energy much longer anyway. My baby can now speak in full sentences so I might as well find my sunglasses, put on my darkest shade of lipstick (which is currently a fifteen year old tube of Dr. Pepper flavored Wet n Wild lipgloss, y'all know I keep it poppin) and drive off a cliff cuz mama ain't got a purpose no more. Why do kids grow up? Why don't they stay little and dependent forever like Gary Coleman did? Why is Ward suddenly saying, "Mawmee go daway!" to me like he's a bouncer at the club? I just want to stroke your cheek with the back of my hand while singing "Cat's in the Cradle" in my crying falsetto! You are not a bouncer! You cannot bounce me! If anything, I am the bouncer! I say who stays and who goes, and you sir, my tiny golden-haired cherub with ruddy cheeks and dimpled elbows are STAYING. So bounce that!
But I must accept it: I can't have my cake and eat it too. I can't have a baby who is happy, healthy, and wonderful unless I allow him to grow up. It's like that one time I found the golden AND the silver egg at the campground Easter egg hunt and my mom made me give one of my prizes to some baby who was too slow to find the good eggs. He was just sitting there in his bunny romper crying until I handed over one of MY chocolate bunnies and he was suddenly all better. He didn't even say thanks! I'm sure there's a metaphor for life in there somewhere.