Lessons Learned

I think this is the first year that Alexis has been aware that it was International Women's Day, which is weird, but only because she's a far more effective feminist than I am. While life has beaten me into believing some things just aren't fixable, she's wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to kick some butt for equality.

See also: Today she busted into class and asked if anyone knew what day it was. When nobody guessed the correct answer, she declared, "It's International Women's Day!" She's in fifth grade now, so of course the kids are old enough for there to already be that one sexist jerk in the class. He played his part perfectly by replying, "Well, that's dumb. We should have International Men's Day because men are better."

Based on some past stories, he wasn't jerking Alexis' chain. He legit is THAT guy.

Alexis being Alexis, she had a comeback. "And YOU are why we need an International Women's Day."

So, here's the thing - sometimes I worry that I need to teach Alexis to simmer down. From where I sit, it seems as if people raise their fists in solidarity with strong girls, but strong women are a completely different story. There's an age at which we stop celebrating defiance, persistence, and strength. I don't know what that age is, but of the 20-somethings I know, every one of the women have lost that spark.

I know I lost mine right about then. It's really only back because I have these two little girls looking up to me and the thought of them encountering all of the same crap I have makes me feel about 135938509135 pounds of guilt. I have an obligation to try to make things better.

Just as Alexis finished telling me the story of the time she owned That Jerk with a little feminist wit, her favorite commercial came on the radio. And by "favorite" I mean PLEASE STOP PLAYING THE DAMN GRANITE COMMERCIAL ABOUT THE WIFE'S MIND BEING BLOWN, KISS FM. Every time it comes on, Alexis yells "THAT'S SO OFFENSIVE" at the radio and it legit startles me. I am going to crash the car one of these days.

For what it's worth, I see why she thinks it's offensive. It makes me want to roll my eyes, but I'm not REALLY bothered by it. It's more of the kind of sexist crap that exists in the background but that isn't worth getting riled up about because there are much bigger fish to fry. Like, you know, politicians who think it's totally cool to grab body parts. Ahem.


In the moment that I was thinking about how misplaced her annoyance is, it dawned on me.

Her annoyance isn't misplaced.

She doesn't accept ANY sexism. She believes that equality is equality and the size of the offense isn't what matters. In her head, you speak out about it all because maybe then sometimes you'll be heard. You stand up, you speak your mind, and you keep standing there until the offender sees the problem.

You persist.

So, hey. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks because here I am learning how to persist from an 11-year. Thanks for the International Women's Day lesson, Alexis.


I Super Like These Kids

I've been promising Mila that we would buy Moana for a week now because I am dumb and I do things like make promises that can't happen until the future to people who don't comprehend the concept of time. There were seven sleeps and then six sleeps and, well, that's a lie because there was no sleep. I promised Moana, so I was reminded of that promise around the clock for a week.

Fortunately, today arrived.

"Do you want to go buy Moana?" turns out to be the most effective phrase for motivating and relocating a toddler. I have never seen that kid move with the kind of urgency that she did when I picked her up from daycare. She rushed her little butt to the car, climbed into her seat faster than a squirrel can climb a tree, and was so ready so fast.

As we navigated our way to buy Moana, Mila reminded me of our destination. "We're going to Target to buy Moana," she said. 103913123 times. Fortunately, Alexis grew tired of hearing the record on repeat the 103913124th time it played, so she interrupted Mila.

"Oh, boy," Alexis said. She started to continue on with a rant about Mila forgetting to breathe between words, but Mila interrupted her.

"I'm not a boy!" Mila said.

"Are you a girl?" Alexis asked. She often engages Mila in little conversations when it's time for Mila to stop doing something annoying. I, for one, cheer my sparkly glitterbutt problem solver.

"No! I'm not a girl!" Mila replied.

"Silly! If you're not a boy and you're not a girl, what are you?" Alexis asked.

"I'm a Mila!" Mila said as she pointed to herself.

"That's the best answer ever," Alexis replied before they continued their conversation in another direction.

I don't get to take credit for that little exchange, but HECK YEAH to that little exchange.


You Know You're Old When...

I've seen like 10 movies in the past 10 years, and probably 9 of them starred animated characters whose paychecks were signed by Mickey Mouse. I just don't have the attention span required to watch a movie at home. If I'm going to the theater, I'm probably taking a kid with me.

It's a character flaw, I suppose. At least, that's what people who speak in movie quotes say because I never know what they're talking about. Alas.

The weird thing is that the movies I've seen are not the right movies. I mean, I've seen Dude, Where's My Car? but not The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (And, if I'm being honest, I had to google to find the name of a movie that came out in the past ten years that people would be familiar with. I HAVEN'T SEEN ANY OF THEM.) I end up seeing the wrong movies because life is random and I do weird things like pull up stuff on On Demand and then watch whatever pops up first.

The TV is background noise for me. See also: attention span says what? SQUIRREL?

On Friday I did exactly that - I opened up On Demand, navigated to the first free movie I saw, and then promptly stopped paying attention. I ended up picking Hush because writer lady main character action blah, blah, blah.

I admit I didn't really read the description. It didn't seem like an awful choice, though. It's not like I was going to pay attention to it.

Except that I did.

Mila, she of many cuddles, was all "I'm not sleeping in my bed" and I was all "Yes, you are" and she was all "Nope. I'm sleeping on you KTHXBAI." I ended up giving in because there are some battles not worth winning (remind me that I said that if she's still sleeping with me when she's in college). At first she was content to just lie on the couch next to me so I could get some work done, but then she was all "NOOOOOOOOPE. In your arms, lady. Do the mom thing."

So I did. I held her. She fell asleep. Cuddles are good.

When my hands are occupied, I can't chase squirrels. Just as I accepted that fact, the movie right in front of my face flipped from happy little conversation between two women to stab-murder-blood-awfulness.




Soooooo ... I'm officially too old for gratuitous violence. I might have been okay if it had been more pretend-like, but it was full on scary dude in the middle of nowhere stabbing a lady and ACK. Fake murders aren't any cooler than real murders and can't we just all be nice to each other? Please? And then things got more murderous and WHY WAS THERE A HORROR MOVIE ON MY TELEVISION MAKE IT STAAAAAAAAAAAHP.

But there was a sleeping baby in my arms.

And I couldn't reach the remote.

And I decided that there was no way the heroine wouldn't end up the heroine because of course she had to defeat the scary guy with the knife because otherwise there wouldn't be a movie. Also, sleeping baby.

I had to stick it out.

As much as the whole movie was making me want to curl up in a ball and hum Kumbaya, I had to keep watching because it was all going to work out just fine. Nobody else was going to OH EM GEE HE KILLED ANOTHER PERSON AAAAAAACK.

I mean, I don't learn. But I had to stick with it so I could see the writer lady prevail and I couldn't risk waking Mila and ...

Well ...

Basically I started using Mila as my security blanket. You can't be a complete disaster when you're holding a sleeping baby, plus I swear that kid can protect anything. She bites, you know. So if murderous creepy dude was going to leap out of the movie and show up in my living room, I was prepared. With a biting toddler as my weapon.

Just shoosh. I know it doesn't make sense.

Nor does it make any sense that I'm making Mila sleep with me for the rest of forever because obviously I'm scared of the dark now. It's a good thing she has sharp teeth that will keep me safe.