Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Send in the Clowns

As a young child, I was terrified of clowns. I can't say if it was the make-up, the clothes, or the over the top antics, but I was terrified of them. Apparently my mother thought this fear was best addressed with "exposure therapy" and had a clown come to my fifth birthday party. So there I was in my pleated skirt, crisp shirt, bobby socks and piggy tails in the middle of the living room staring down a clown that wanted me to reach up her sleeve for a prize. The reasons I remember so little of my childhood are suddenly becoming very clear.
Now, as the mother of my own 5 year old daughter, I believed her clown fear would be best resolved at the "clown college" of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. The first exposure exercise was with a clown that hardly qualified as a clown. He was in a sequence Phoenix Suns jersey, giant shoes, and minimal make up. Still, it did not go well. He was passing out clown noses for the kids. Never one to turn down the possibility of free treats, Hollywood quickly outstretched his arm to receive the prize. Next one was tossed to Curly. The toss to her was not met with quite the zeal and the packaged nose ended up right in the hands of the wee one. Our first exposure therapy failed.

We then moved on to the stilt walkers, acrobats, magicians, and more clowns caught in precarious positions. There was even a painting elephant. The more they saw, the more enthralled they became. Gradual exposure from a safe distance with 200 other kids paid off and we gradually made our way to our seats for the real show to begin.

When they asked for volunteers, I respectfully declined...
Can you imagine the nightmare that would be?

Long gone are the days of the three ring acts, it is more of an assault on the senses these days. Each time I looked over at the kids, I thought I would have to wipe drool from their gaping mouths. There was magic, clowns, acrobats on ribbons, swings, and wheels. There were zebras, horses, elephants, tigers, and even dogs. There was music, smoke, lights, and lots of color. Of course no show would be complete without cotton candy. Although it's been years since I went to the circus, and my distant days of working with the PETA crew had me a bit on edge with the animal trainer, I would be lying if I didn't admit it truly is "the greatest show on earth."

Sunday, June 28, 2009


On occasion when I am in the drudges of my own fox holes in the war on life, I forget that there are many people out there with bigger problems. I would love to say these short bursts of actualization come from reading the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times or even CNN; but the reality of the situation is, I most often realize this being a blogger stalker. I would say that I am a blogger reader, or even engager, but that wouldn't be necessarily true. This is when I decided there were a few rules of blogging I have learned along the way.

Rule 1. Bloggers love comments. My first indication of this should have been all of the posts that people write on their walls. "I love comments," "Leave as many as your heart desires," "You leave comment, I love you long time." But being the emotional dead head I am, I didn't get it until I was totally called down on it after a friend chided that I apparently only leave a comment when I have the opportunity to win something. Touche.

Rule 2. Bloggers view blogs as more of a phone conversation than an online journal. Sure it's a record of life's events, both big and small, but journals don't usually come with a comment feature, and a journal isn't usually checked daily to see if its answered any of the questions you asked it.

Rule 3. Bloggers seek validation. I am of the belief that secretly, most people still feel like the 14 year old freshman on the first day of school looking for a crew to hang with. This is the function of the "Follow this blog" section found on most blogs I write, I mean, stalk. Truth be told, I actually get angry when I see that someone has 161 follows and I have one. Sure I get that I have a polarizing personality, but jeez, one follower that's family. Frankly, it makes me feel like a loser. So I removed the feature. I don't need to be reminded of the fact every day when I am checking to see if anyone has left a comment, or to see how many people have visited my blog to date.

Rule 4. Bloggers that reveal their soul get more comments. Which makes me think if I didn't glaze over my life events the way most glaze their Thanksgiving turkey, I might receive a few comments now and again. Dully noted. Can't commit, but noted.

Rule 5. Bloggers are actually people. Something I often forget. I process the information like I am reading People or E! online. So I hereby promise not to mentally grammar check or fix the flow of your writing anymore. I will remember that you are my friends (or used to be) and that you are writing about your very important lives. I promise that when you blog about the brownies you made for Family Home Evening, I will comment that they look delicious and that I wish you would bring some over. After all, brownies comfort me when people don't comment on how funny all my posts are.
**Editor's note: I tried to remove the "follow me" feature, but my 14 year old self wouldn't allow it. She is still dying to be popular.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


It's now been 26 days, 8 hours, and 22 minutes since our summer vacation started. Not that I am counting the 61 days, 23 hours, and 15 minutes until school starts again, I'm just saying that in the 26 days, 8 hours, and 25 minutes, there has been a lot of "sibling discussions" occurring in quite loud tones. Hollywood is annoyed that the wee one keeps taking all of his stuff. Curly Sue is annoyed that Hollywood won't play house with her, and that the wee one keeps taking all her stuff. The wee one is annoyed that Hollywood and Curly are home all the time to watch her take their stuff and play with them. I have come to realize she quite enjoys being the only one at home with momma on most days.

But with all of the "sibling discussions" in loud tones, and everyone annoying each other, and a mom who is sick of wearing a black and white striped referee shirt complete with whistle, a few creative trips have come to fruition. All I can say is thank goodness for the library. So far there has been a puppet show, a juggler, and a craft session. Still on the horizon is the African Drums show and a sand art workshop. Who knew the library would be the cool place to hang out this summer? Or that the kids would beg to go every day?

The other hot spot has been the Water Park at the community center. We go at least twice a week despite Curly's love/hate relationship with the place and the infamous water slides. See Curly's at that precarious state in which she really wants to ride the giant water slides that require 48 inches of height to ride, but she is only 48 inches when her hair is dry. And fluffy. As a drown rat, she is only 47 inches. This all leaves her at the mercy of the lifeguard on duty. So, if the lifeguard on duty sucomes to those giant blue eyes, and perfectly shaped face, she gets to ride until her heart's content. Conversely, if the lifeguard hates their job and is sick of seeing kids squeal in delight as they whoosh down the slides, well then, she's outta luck. What all of this translates to is about 30 minutes of blissful sliding, followed by 30 minutes of crying, which is then topped of with 30 minutes on the 5 meter diving board and swimming with a friend from school or church that she has run into.

It's that same 5 meter diving board that taunts Hollywood's love/hate relationship with the Water Park. He loves the freedom he has to move between the heated pool, and the Water Park. His 52 inches of height allow him to slide until his heart's content. About every 5 minutes he watch his lean frame gallivant up the 2 story flight of stairs for yet another ride. Sometimes with a tube, other times with a buddy he knows. Inevitably, the unheated water gets a little chilly, and he meanders over to the heated pool where he watches Curly pop right off the diving board. Never one to be out done by his younger sister, he briskly walks over to the diving board, climbs the stairs, walks out onto the board....stands there....leans over...squats to the fetal position...and essentially rolls off the board. It is the funniest thing I have ever seen. He HATES that board, but as long as Curly is jumping, so is he. Reagan and I ofter watch from the warmth of the pool stair steps and laugh.

Perhaps in the next 61 days, 22 hours, and 40 minutes Curly will grow that desperately needed inch, she is after all eating her vegetables everyday and drinking her milk so that she will "grow tall enough to go on the water slides." And perhaps Hollywood will give up the five meter board all together, conceding just this once that his sister can do something without him doing it better. One thing I am however quite sure of is that in 61 days, 22 hours, and 35 minutes, the wee one will be awfully glad to have her momma and everyone elses toys all to herself.