Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dear Ivanka

Yesterday morning as I listened to analysis of the daily disaster that is President 45, I had an epiphany of that goes against my better judgment in terms of offering any sympathy to this Administration at all. But, here goes:

Ivanka, your Daddy needs you. But more importantly, so does your country.

No, we do not need more of those tastefully bland dresses, bangles or shoes from what you call a fashion line. You know, the one that is being designed by someone else who is probably pissed that s/he ever made that deal to gain exposure by hitching onto your family name? Because as much as I feel bad that you are losing high end retailers left and right (not really), I think that is the least of your worries. But I promise if you have someone read this to you, then there is a slight chance of a turnaround (for your fashion empire, not your Daddy's disastrous presidency).

And a quick word about Step Mummy before I make my modest proposal--yeah girl, your country needs YOU, not her.

So dear Lady Ivanka, will you please step up to the plate and start acting like a First Lady? Instead of staring at Justin Trudeau, who is admittedly quite dreamy, would you please do something traditionally First Ladylike so that you can inspire the nation? Because after four weeks of hating your Dad, we need a break.

Traditionally we tend to like our First Ladies, even when we are deeply divided by opinions on their husbands. In my memory, the most polarizing First Lady was Nancy Reagan, but that changed once she became an advocate for Alzheimer's disease. Actually that isn't true when I consider how much folks still hate Hillary Clinton some 20+ years later, but I dare you to find anyone other than a few curmudgeons out there who harbor bad feelings towards Rosalyn Carter, Barbara Bush or the Lovely Laura Bush. And only the racists hated on the recently departed Michelle Obama, so what do you have to lose? Especially since Step Mummy wants no parts of the Washington fishbowl.

And for the record, we don't hate Step Mummy; we feel sorry for her. We get that her refusal to move into the White House is a declaration of independence of sorts, a means for her to plot her eventual escape. She just wanted to be an Upper East-side lady that lunches. But you dear Lady Ivanka were born for this. And besides, it offers you an altogether different and more lucrative opportunity...

To be our First Working Lady, the title that eluded Hillary Clinton in the 90s. The title that Laura Bush really didn't need since she was retired, and that Michelle Obama had to eschew for other historical considerations. However, you have a gold-plated opportunity to update the ceremonial persona of Presidential-consort by presenting us with a different, bolder, and more modern role-model. And you don't even need to wrack your brain to select any issues to highlight since you already identified plenty in your convention speech last summer. You said that your Daddy would be the champion for working women, so now is your chance to help him do more than launch another hashtag rebellion.

Here is the deal: we don't like your Daddy and there is a snowball's chance in Hell that will ever change. His dismal approval ratings might not be of concern to you now, as you bask in the afterglow of winning but you need to consider that he is a political novice who has limited political capital. Regardless of his oft-repeated mantra about an electoral landslide, he is vulnerable. All you have are his first 100 days when he gets only so many chances to fuck up.

Therefore, Lady Ivanka, we need you to deflect attention from his bizarre pressers, poorly crafted Executive Orders, and groggy 6am tweets. Find a magazine willing to put you on the cover wearing one of *your* designs. Address the unique challenges of being the First Daughter/Lady. Get accidentally photographed at a soccer game for one of your kids while touching a stroller containing another kid. Fire your undocumented nanny, have her deported, and then kvetch about how hard it is to find good help that doesn't waste taxpayer money.

It's almost time to announce the White House Easter Egg Roll, so here is what you should do: (1) make the announcement at an inner city DC public school where only "the blacks" and "Hispanics" attend; (2) have Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos invite the entire student body of W.E.B. DUBOIS Elementary School in Chicago; and (3) in a savvy nod to the changing of the celebrity guard from Jay Z and Beyonce, make sure that Tom Brady will be there with Gisele Bundchen and their brood.

People will love that shit.

To be clear, I am not advising you to sell out and order cupcakes for some charity function. Nor am I suggesting that you need to feign interest in poor people by riding past a soup kitchen. We don't need you to adopt some cause other than promoting yourself. Working women need to see you excel at what the rest of us barely manage because it will reinforce what we already know--First Ladyhood is easy when you have a staff and access to great makeup at your beck and call.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Modern Inconveniences

So here's another life-is-hard-outchere-in-these-streets-for-a-new-mother rant...

I desperately needed to decompress from some of the stress I have been experiencing (and unleashing on others), so I decided to take in a few movies this week. I wanted to see one film in particular today because it has a limited release. So last night I took out my movie app, found a theater, selected the appropriate movie time, and generally planned my day to balance appropriate child-centered activities with a little Me-time.

On a typical day, my child is well-behaved. I can take her to most places and expect that she will not cause any major damage to property. That being said, she did not cause any major damage to property despite her unusual rambunctiousness. So I am not here to complain about her; I am here to complain about everyone else.

We started the morning with the aforementioned child-centered activity, which was story time at the local library. On a typical day, she would have expended a great deal of energy before, during and after story time sufficient to allow me to have enjoyed the matinee while she napped. In the event that she was not asleep, my plan B was to provide her with her own popcorn and snacks to keep her occupied until the end of the movie (which was not that long). And I chose the Monday matinee, so what's the worse that could happen???

Well, I saw about 20 minutes of the film before she got antsy, needed to be taken to the bathroom, proceeded to squirm and wiggle, and then she needed be taken to the bathroom again. She also decided to chat and sing and chat and sing, so I never made it back to my seat.

This is where the veteran parents should offer to deconstruct what went wrong for me so that I know how to plan accordingly next time. But I suspect most of them will simply offer me a knowing shrug, pat me on the head, and assure me that I will be able to sit through a movie again one day. The film will air on TV at some point, so I'm cool.

What was not cool, however, was the judgment of the other patrons, beginning with the person who felt the need to shush every time my kid made even the slightest sound from the moment we took our seats. And then the look of disgust that one couple flashed at us as they left the theater (while I was standing outside in the lobby). And then the way that it seemed like EVERYONE was so fucking offended that I had the gall to bring my kid out in public!

Apparently no one has enough patience, tolerance or compassion for anyone or anything that disturbs how they wish to experience life. Meaning, I can never venture outside of predesignated kid zones without suffering the consequences of rudeness, impatience, and lack of common courtesy. Had I brought a howling dog to the movies, I would have generated less ire.

So allow me to issue my sincerest apologies to any parent whom I might have maligned in my BC (before child) past. I regret if I ever shot you an annoyed glance when your child whimpered a little too audibly or if I got testy if you took too long to bring their tantrum to an immediate end. Let me also remand any final judgments I might have made concerning your lack of complete control over any number of situations. Like any judge presented with new facts, I have reconsidered my initial verdict and have found in your favor because you were doing your best...children are unpredictable and quite possibly insane.

And to those who have forgotten what it was like to be the parent whose entertainment options on most days was limited to whatever animated character the kid demands to watch over and over again, it is a minimal inconvenience to simply be kind. Be understanding. You got to see the movie--I paid $11 to watch my child run around in circles out in the lobby.

On the way home from this debacle I recalled how I humiliating it was for me on that flight home from Chicago when my daughter essentially screamed the entire flight. I have no idea what was wrong and trust me, I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to quiet her. I felt horrible even though we had to pay extra to sit together and when I accidentally sat in the wrong row with my inconsolable child, some woman insisted that I move because I was in her seat.

I don't want the world to cater to my needs; I just want to feel that my existence is not a societal inconvenience. Like if you are standing in the curb cut when I am approaching from the opposite side of the street with the stroller, MOVE. Make room on the elevator, ask me if I am waiting for the larger bathroom stall before walking past me, and seriously, can someone hold the damn door open for me instead of letting it slam in my face!?!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Weary Blues

Toddlers are...

And I wouldn't trade mine for anything. So instead of complaining about the little cherub (because right now, she is amusing herself with the training potty, the box it came in, and that donut stacker toy). We didn't make it to play group today because I haven't been able to get myself together since Sunday. At least I finally got a shower.

I have had a crappy week and I am in no mood for anything. I barely want to eat. I just want to sleep. I imagine all mothers hit this wall where every little thing becomes annoying and difficult, but my blahs aren't about dealing with the Babe. It is about my mother.

Today is her 70th birthday. I thought that I would organize a party for her, but she has been out of sorts since Christmas. The details are all over the place, but suffice it to say that between some of her health issues and the accompanying family drama, I have absolutely nothing. Other than a card.

Since I missed playgroup I should be getting us ready to go out to wherever my Dad wants to take my Mom for lunch, which is probably Red Lobster (my least favorite place to go with them) but I don't even have the energy to protest. I just want to go along to get along at this point. The Babe is partially dressed and playing with the potty while watching one of her shows, so I am taking this time to vent.

Let's start with the Babe and our adventures in potty training. I have no plan, no clue and no guidance because I have no Mommy friends, no Mom, etc. Yet, I thought that it might be time to start the process so I brought the toilet up from the basement yesterday. When she saw the box, she decided to push it into the dining room to use as a prop for whatever imaginary game she was playing that involved needing a box. This morning I got the bright idea to introduce her to the toilet while watching Sesame Street, and so far, she gets that she is supposed to sit on it. Or stand on it. Or get her legs stuck in the hole where the bowl is supposed to go.

I pulled up a video that claimed to offer the secret to potty training in three days, but after wasting ten minutes watching an animation about a woman who allegedly perfected her method after she spent $329 on a pair of black silk Prada pants only to realize that she was selling a book and not providing any actual tips, I am sitting here now half dressed and even more flustered and overwhelmed.

I don't want to finish getting dressed. I don't want to leave the house. I don't want to bother with potty training. I don't want to go to Red Lobster. I don't want to sit through another wrenching lunch experience with my Dad, Mom and her home care aide. I don't want to see my mother wearing an ankle boot (she sprained her ankle somehow...but I won't even ask how that happened since she doesn't do that much). I don't want to be confronted by another family member's passive aggressive accusatory bullshit.

I don't want to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday today.

I am not being selfish, I am just being honest. I love my mother and know how blessed I am to still have her given the dreadful prognosis of early-onset Alzheimer's. I know that I need to take every possible moment to celebrate her, what she has meant to others (like her former students who took us to see Fences), and what she has meant to our family. We should all be together, but we aren't.

However, I do not wish to waste another day in my house and watch my child spin herself into butter because she has cabin fever. So I am about to shut this computer off, finished getting dressed, head over to my parents' and go to lunch with them at Red Lobster. I will give my mother her cards, listen to my Dad talk about westerns and politics, then wait around for my Niece so that she and the Babe can play together. I will muscle through the day even if it takes every ounce of strength because today is not about how I feel or how pissed I am or about how mad or pissed anyone else might be with me.

Happy 70th Birthday to my Mother!