life on the funny farm

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2 - 12

2:00
Picked up Daniel from school.
Drove over to our other school to pick up Julie and four of her friends for her belated birthday party.
I now have my 11 yr old son, plus five 11 - 13 yr old girls in my car. The girls all immediately begin whipping out cell phones and texting with blinding speed.
All except two: Julie, who asks me for mine so she can follow suit. She doesn't have her own yet but rushes to tell her peers she'll be getting her very own cell phone when 6th grade is over. They kind of sigh in relief. And her friend L, who sits morosely and stares at her thumbs lying lifeless in her lap. She has to wait till her birthday. In August. Collective gasp of horror and looks of pity come from the other girls, who understand that August is a lifetime away.

3:00
Five 11 - 13 year old girls change into bathing suits and jump into the pool.
Two 13 year old girls sit in the bathroom with me as I play nurse, trying to give a lesson in matters feminine so they can join the others in the pool. There are books involved. There are demonstrations and gestures that would make Vanna White proud.
Two 13 yr old girls change into bathing suits and gingerly make their way to the pool to join their friends.

4:30
Seven 11 - 13 year old girls, still wet from swimming, sing happy birthday to Julie. She blows out her candles before we finish singing, then looks up, sheepishly, to explain that she forgot to wait and make a wish. Everyone laughs and finishes the song anyway.

5:30
Seven 11 - 13 yr old girls belt out songs at the top of their lungs as we drive down the road. Windows are open b/c the spilled milk from two days ago still smells like a possum rotting in the Louisiana sun. But nobody seems to care.
I cringe as they scream out pop music lyrics, including but not limited to:
sex in the air, I don't care I like the smell of it
whips and chains excite me
first I'll disrobe you, then I'm gonna probe you
fill me with your love, inject me with your poison
abduct me, I wanna be your victim

I try in vain to educate the girls to the objectification of women but no one's listening so I give up.

6:00
Seven girls carefully select the best seats in the theatre, hold out their paper bags for me to fill with popcorn, and giggle incessantly while they wait for the show to begin. The lights from the screen flicker across their faces in the darkness of the theatre, creating the illusion that they are little girls whose feet don't quite touch the floor. I would never dare share this with them.

8:30
Sit patiently at our booth at Friendly's.
Help girls make their dinner selections.
Try to keep the noise level down.
Play tic-tac-toe and hangman.
Tell them no more inhaling the helium from the balloons.
Tell them no more than two to the bathroom at a time.
Tell them to let go of the drama over the attitude of one of the girl's boyfriends.
Tell them to stop texting each other when they're sitting right next to each other.
Tell them to finish their dinners.
Tell them to say thank you.
Tell them to finish their ice creams.
Tell them to buckle up.
Tell them to open their windows.
Tell them those lyrics are awful because blah blah blah....

11:30
Give reminders about Dorito crumbs in the bedroom.
Give reminders about noise levels after midnight.
Give orders about no sodas.
Give hugs.
Give smiles as the girls tell me this is the best birthday EVER!

12:00
Fall into bed and let exhaustion do its thing.

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