mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

how many astronauts


Confession: While not a Tiger Mother, exactly, I tend to fall on the COME ON! TRY IT! side of parenting. I will admit to not having a lot of patience with overly fearful kids; although, if I had one, I like to think I would adjust and be respectful and compassionate. You parent the kid you have, after all, and it just so happens that Nora is usually the kid who needs to be told to “be careful,” not the one who needs to be told “you’ll be fine.”

She does have her issues, of course, and one of them is sleeping in a familiar spot. Grandma’s house is fine, hotels are MORE than fine since she usually gets to squash herself up next to me, but slumber parties are unfamiliar territory. The very nice kid on our block extended a birthday invite, and I thought hey, perfect opportunity, close to home. Nora was excited about the party, but was also pretty firm about the fact that she would get picked up (“late, Mom. I want to stay up REALLY LATE”) and go to bed back at our house. She wasn’t upset or concerned about it, but was just like, “Nope.” Several times I mentioned that maybe it would be super-fun, and she would want to stay, and instead of picking her up I could just trot on down there with a sleeping bag and pajamas whenever it was time. Nope again. This kid sleeps in her own bed.

I found this sort of tricky, for a few reasons. I knew the birthday girl was a good egg, but what about the rest of the guests? Kid-me would have been mortified to be the only one leaving a slumber party early, even if I really wanted to, because what if they talked about me afterwards? What if they thought I was a lame-ass kindergarten baby, fit for nothing but sticking her head in gravy? Nora appeared to have never considered this possibility, which hell, good for her—I certainly wasn’t going to bring it up. Because kids SHOULDN’T make fun of each other, and you SHOULDN’T do something that makes you uncomfortable just out of worry about what others will think.

Maybe kids are legitimately nicer these days (or maybe they always were pretty nice and I just had too much social anxiety as a child), but I really doubt anything was said about Nora’s early departure anyway. We texted a bit while the girls were watching their final movie, agreed on midnight as the latest-possible pickup time (and oh man it was still excruciating for my three-beers-with-dinner self to survive until that hour, especially without punk rock or a raucous tavern to distract me), I walked down to the neighbor’s house, Nora put on shoes and coat, we said warm, sleepy goodbyes, and went back home. To sleep in our own beds. Nora even ended up going back in the morning for pancakes and playing, having designed her own unique two-part sleepover, and nobody seemed to think anything of it.

Not that it’s so very important that one attend slumber parties at a certain age, but part of me wishes she had branched out a bit and given it a try (see my default setting, above). But another part of me thinks it is cool that she is self-aware enough to know what just won’t work for her. I guess we don’t have to have that “peer pressure” talk. Not yet, anyway.

I don’t really remember what scary dealbreakers I had when small. Except of course sitting through this segment of Sesame Street, which reportedly used to make toddler-me scream and cry and run out of the TV room to find my mom. I still find it kind of unsettling, to be honest.

Another unsettling-to-me thing, which may not seem so at first glance: corgis. What is it about these dogs? There are all sorts of corgi-focused websites and whenever I see them I go “awwwww” at first. But the more I look at corgis the more I find them sort of creepy and Uncanny Valley-ish. They’re just always Looking At You and Making A Face in a way that other dogs aren’t.

I also recently had an experience with an ill-behaved corgi, which may be coloring my perception a bit. I hate it when people have ill-behaved dogs and then THEY give YOU instructions on how to make the dog stop being a pain in the ass. Turn your back on him! Use this hand gesture and tell him to sit! Blah blah blah my dog sucks and I’m making it your problem! Uh, I came over here to drink wine, not to be your goddamned dog whisperer. Put the dog in another room and aerate the shiraz, asswipe.


Me: I don’t like Caitlin Moran so I hate that she said something smart on Twitter about the Hilary Mantel/Kate Middleton flap that was just published in the London Review of Books.

IM Friend: Man you are the biggest dork

Me: As soon as I typed that I realized it was true

Me: I am sad now

IM Friend: (just kidding I have a Guardian piece about that whole thing saved to read later)



What could cause my last several entries to not show up in RSS feeds? Several people have mentioned that, but I am a time traveler from the year 2000! Witness my hotmail account, my long list of browser “bookmarks” that I drop in on from time to time, my inadvertent publication of an actual paper book! I do not use RSS feeds, so I don’t know how to fix this. Sorry.

—mimi smartypants is always sorry.