The Worst Decision I Ever Made

This is turning into “I love Facebook” week around here (see previous post). I swear I don’t own the stock. But another reason that I love Facebook is because it’s chipped away at our isolation as parents, our feeling that no one else knows how to fail so spectacularly. These days, whenever I feel alone in my ineptitude, all I have to do is check my news feed to get a fresh hit of camaraderie.

This from a fellow camp counselor (two decades ago) just this week:

As you can see by the photo, I “liked” this very much, because I took great comfort in it. I also have a new winner for Worst Decision I Ever Made with my own two sons. Boxing gloves? Pshaw. The Worst Decision I Ever Made? Introducing my nine- and seven-year-old sons to Beavis and Butthead.

And come to think of it, it was Facebook’s fault. My friend Liz over at Peace Love Guacamole put a picture of her kid on Facebook, wearing the neck of his T-shirt up over the top of his head. As any fellow Beavis and Butthead fans out there know, that is just what Beavis did whenever he assumed his alter ego, the dark lord Cornholio (which happened whenever Beavis had large amounts of sugar or caffeine). Liz’s photo, innocently enough, reminded me of this.

And who can sit down and write when there’s cartoon footage from twenty years ago to find on YouTube? I found it, then watched it about eight times in a row, until my stomach hurt from laughing too much for me to play it again.

And then the next day? “C’mere boys,” I said. “You gotta see this.”

That was about a month ago, and after returning from a three-day “boys’ vacation” with our sons, my husband (not unkindly) informed me that showing this video to my sons was quite possibly the Worst Decision I Had Ever Made.

In my defense:

  • no cuss words. Unless you count “bunghole.”
  • I want my kids to have good senses of humor.
  • Therefore they must know about Beavis and Butthead, the bedrock on which Regular Show (their current favorite) is built.
In the other column:
  • “Bunghole” is definitely counted by some as a cuss word, particularly when shouted by an eight-year-old on an airplane, repeatedly and at high volume.
  • Or when his four-year-old sister says it (with nightgown over her head).
  • The word “tepee,” as in the Native American dwelling place, has now become in said eight-year-old’s mind “T.P.,” as in what Cornholio needs for said bunghole.
  • My eight-year-old will be studying Native Americans at school this year.
Yep. Worst Decision I Ever Made. What’s yours?

not ready to forget

Today marks eleven years since what almost any New Yorker would tell you was one of the worst days of our lives.

I woke up this morning and flipped on Morning Joe to listen and remember. They were talking about Beyonce’s baby.

I turned to the local news channel, New York 1. They were discussing whether Vitamin D might be the long-sought cure to male pattern baldness.

I picked up the New York Times, the gray lady. Their coverage of 9/11 was tireless. Today, September 11, 2012, there is no mention of 9/11 on its front page.

And then I went to Facebook, where I found a news feed full of pictures and poems and heartfelt remembrances and vows never to forget.

We hear a lot about social media and how it’s bringing the death of civilization, the end of productivity, the porridge-ing of our brains.

But for me, today, I found community and comfort.

The internet’s not all bad.

Off to remember and pray on this sad day.

anyone else STILL not back to school?

The kids and I are famous this week! We had our picture in the New York Times as part of Pamela Paul’s story about how the back-to-school process is creeping back ever earlier, like Christmas nipping at the heels of Halloween. I was quoted extensively about my current expertise: an extreme dislike of this commercial, a thirty-second Target back-t0-school spot which started airing twice a minute before the Fourth of July sparklers even went on sale. (Perhaps I’m mostly just envious of the residual checks that actress must be getting.)

To me, what is even more perplexing than the expanding back-to-school shopping season is how school itself is back in session earlier and earlier. According to the Times article,

In Baton Rouge, La., children traipsed back to campus on Aug. 8 in 90-degree-plus heat, the same day school opened in sunny Palm Bay, Fla. Parents in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles are still lamenting the lopping off of summer vacation after their school district decided to reel children in three weeks early, on Aug. 14.

In New York City, my children will start school September 10th, a full week after Labor Day. (I’m not counting the “orientation” the Friday before, which will involve as much travel time to and fro as it will time in the classroom.) That means my kids are starting a MONTH later than their  friends in Vero Beach, FL; three weeks later than their cousins in Omaha, NE; two weeks later than their cousins in Scranton, PA.

Based on my vast Facebook feed research, my kids are definitely the outliers. And I’m thrilled. Okay, yes, I’m ready to get my productive weekdays back. But it’s sunny and glorious and HOT outside, and I don’t think kids are supposed to go back to school until they’re so bored they’re cross-eyed. That’s the proper way of the world.

The other part of this that baffles me: my kids will be out of school around June 8th, 2013– and some of these same friends whose school years start earlier will still have schools in session for two or three weeks more. I’m not sure how my kids are getting away with such a relatively short school year on both ends.

Whatever happened to starting school after Labor Day? Whatever happened to August being part of the summer rather than part of the school year? When did your kids start school this year (or haven’t they)- and if your school district’s start dates are earlier than ever, how do you feel about that?


(Photo by Yana Paskova for the New York Times)