Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I hate parks and my Happy House

"Eves, on our swing out front.  "Can we go to the Pawk?"  she asks.  "Hey, how 'bout I just push you on the swing?" I say.

Tonight Mills and I are going to Marmon Valley Ranch for a Mother-Daughter horseback riding overnight.  It is estimated to be, oh I don't know, 1 degree outside tonight with sleeting rain scheduled for tomorrow.  All I keep thinking is, "What have I done?"  All Mills keeps thinking is, "This is going to be the greatest 24 hours of my life!"  I've already told her that we need to leave early.

Yesterday, I went to the park with my youngest, Eva.  I used to go to the park all of the time with the other two, but as is my nature, I am all burnt out on all of the elements that are expected to instill in Eva a normal childhood, so I think this was the first time we had ever gone to the park together, just the two of us.  Eva is five. I used to walk or put them in the stroller or ride bikes to the park.  This time I drove, and then I sat on a bench and looked at my watch every thirty seconds.

I was actually thinking that it wasn't so bad, because I was wearing the right amount of layers and the I had found a sunny spot, and I was enjoying the breeze when a young mother approached me and decided to strike up a conversation about how she was going to hold her son back, in terms of kindergarten, because of his late birthday. She went on to site various points that were made in this book that she was reading about it.  I was immediately reminded of why I hate parks.  It's because I hate to make small talk with people I don't know about things I don't care about.

Listen, right off the bat, I know what a bitch that makes me sound like, but I am just shootin' it to you straight, peeps.  That is my strength, I am told.  Soooo if you have stricken up a conversation with me at a park in the last ten years, and I didn't know you, then, yes,  I did go to my happy place mentally while I chatted on about the dangers of homogenized milk.

By the way, my happy place is dark, and it is a HOUSE, so it's a little different from other people's happy places that involve beaches and sunsets.  I actually sleep in my happy place, because that is where I am happiest - asleep.  I like it when my family sleeps, too, but that is another room in my Happy House.  There's no kitchen, either, because I never cook.  And you guessed it, no laundry room - just that lovely Asian fellow that I take my dry cleaning to, who hands me all my clothing in plastic bags.  He always says, "It's okay. You pay next time," as he nods his head because I've forgotten my checkbook again.  I think I genuinely am in love with him.  He makes me happy and that is why he lives in my Happy House with me.
My sweet, sweet angel sent from Heaven above.

You know what else is in my Happy House?  It is actually a new edition to my life.  My IPhone.  There is not one single material thing that I own, that gives me more pleasure.  It's so pretty and white and I got it this new pearly white outfit that also protects it's delicate little body. I have long, meaningful conversations with Siri everyday, and she is so positive, and helpful, and nonjudgemental when I ask her to look up dirty words.  I see now why everyone who has an IPhone is always whipping it out to illustrate some point or show you the fastest route to the nearest drive thru liquor store.  I used to think that it was weird because my relationship with Brad's hand-me-down Blackberry was at it's best, platonic.

I can only equate my IPhone's modern day homecoming, with my own family growing up, when we got call waiting.  It was just so FORWARD THINKING, to have a mechanism on your phone that allowed you the opportunity to answer multiple calls.  If you called one of your friends and their line was busy, you just KNEW they had two friends on the line and were clicking back and forth between the two. My kids are absolutely riveted by the fact that I have an IPhone now.  It is like they are proud of me, or something.

The morning after I got my IPhone my kids announced to their two neighborhood buddies that meet at my house each morning to walk to school, "My Mom got her IPhone!!!"

"Sweet,"  they said in tandem.  "White, huh? NIIIICCCCEEE."  Dat's right, lil' beeaaccchhheeess.  Respect.

In my Happy House, I keep my new phone in this glass case that I got from from Westminster Abbey.

I got a gift certificate for my IPhone from Brad, for my birthday.  I could not get one until April 17th, though, because that is when my contract was up.  My OTHER phone literally stopped working two weeks before my contract was up, so I had to use this loaner shithole phone, whose battery lasted 15 minutes fully charged.  I did not receive emails and all of my contacts were lost.  I spent a lot of time in my basement watching Mad Men those two weeks.  Streaming Netflix is a blessing and a curse, my friends, a blessing and a curse.

Anyway, my guidance to you today, is to delay gratification for something you want really really bad.  It makes you appreciate it so much more!  If you don't want to do it to yourself, at least do it to your kids, and then log the results.

For instance, Eva was getting out of her bed all of the time about a year ago.  It was making me absolutely mental.  I was not sleeping well and she was asking me for all sorts of things during the night like drinks of water and snacks and shit, that she is constantly on me about during waking hours.  It was misery.
Eve's bed

Her stuffed aminal stash.  It is almost grotesque.

So, I devised this system where every thirty days, if she stays in her bed, I take her to the store and get her a stuffed "aminal".  It started out a weekly thing, but then I realized that this exercise was going to last all of eternity and that was going to break the bank, so we had to go to the thirty day program.  I tell myself it is also teaching her to count backwards. 

Also, I have to answer no less than sixty times a day, how many days are left until she gets her toy and we have discussions, ad nauseum, about which store she is going to buy her toy at, but for the most part, other than the sizable financial investment in stuffed aminals, it has worked like a charm.  I do admit to repeating a number now and then, (as in "Don't you have 26 days left, and not 25?) but she always catches me in the act, and then I worry why she is developing trust issues. 

I guess Pavlov was right, positive reinforcement does change behavior. I just have found that delayed gratification makes you more grateful, as well!!!!

Okay, the takeaway, besides delayed gratification, because that is too preachy:  get an IPhone, Netflix Streaming is the bomb, you can never be too detailed in building your Happy House, and finally, don't be ashamed of the fact that you do not enjoy some of the things that society expects you to enjoy with your children.  From Easter Egg dying, to days spent at the Zoo -  I loathe them all, but that doesn't mean I love my children any less than those who pretend to enjoy those things.  I am just being honest about it, and I am not giving any excuses about why my opinion is better than anyone else's, because I am not judging other people, so I expect the same courtesy, I guess.

SOOOO, see you at the Zoo, posers!