Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Parenting: September Issue

As Lucia pulled herself up on every surface and object in our living room this afternoon, I scoured the latest issue of Parenting to find things to mock. I didn’t have to look far. On page 23, in a short bit called “A Better Day, Stat!,” I found the following pieces of advice for how to uplift my spirits without taking a weekend trip:

“Lie down: Research shows that it’s easier to deal with bad news and criticism when you’re lying down versus sitting up. So the next time you hear ‘Mommy, I don’t like you!’ or “You’re so mean!’ fling yourself down on that couch.”

“Color your world: Bye-bye, blues; hello, bright hues. Looking at things that are yellow or green can boost happiness, says research. Stock the fruit bowl with lemons, bananas, and apples or set your computer’s desktop to a grassy green.”

COMMENTARY: Lying down and staring at a fruit bowl—it sounds relaxing, indeed. It also sounds a bit…troubling, especially if done for long stretches at a time while one’s screaming child is running hog-wild around the house. Also: What if I need a better day, stat, while I’m out of my house? Can I then lie down and request to look at lemons and apples wherever I am? Also: Where are you, overzealous copyeditor? I don’t think it’s accurate to say “set your computer’s desktop”; I think it’s supposed to read “set your computer screen-saver” or “computer wallpaper,” or even “set your desktop’s wallpaper.” A desktop IS a computer. Perhaps we should add a gentle reminder in there somewhere, too: “With permission, set your computer’s wallpaper to a grassy green.”

Next, I perused an article about how to prevent Mom Hair, even though I was annoyed even before I started it. My own hair, long overdue for a cut, may be messy right now, but Mom Hair? I bristle at the idea that my frequent ponytails are Mom Hair. It just sounds so…blah. So…giving up on life. My inability to relate to this article was solidified when I read this from one of the article’s quoted experts:

“I see a lot of women who found a color they loved in high school, when they were probably tanning a lot more.”

COMMENTARY: By using the comparative phrase “a lot more,” this expert seems to be assuming that readers of Parenting still do tan. Does anybody tan, anymore? As a person who neither colored nor tanned, then or now, I can do nothing about this article but turn the page.

Finally, this being the Halloween issue, there was an article detailing a variety of easy-to-make costumes for kids. Ho-hum: a mailman, Princess Leia (do kids still get this reference?), a Frenchman. Certainly I understand the rush and chaos that must go along with trying to fashion a costume for a young’un amidst the other millions of things that go along with daily life. But these costumes aren’t even that fun! “Smarty-Pants,” for example, involves hot-gluing rolls of Smarties to a pair of black pants. Far be it from me to boldly claim I’ll never be that hard-up to find a last-minute costume. But, being a lover of all things Halloween, I certainly hope I can do better than that.

Ranting aside, I had to laugh at this bit from the costume called “Tree With Bird’s Nest.” You take a wreath and put it around the kid’s waist and decorate it with fake birds and leaves. You make “suspenders” with ribbon to keep the wreath in place. Then you put a bird in a smaller nest, glue that to a branch, and slide it in place under the suspenders. OR:

“Another option for girls with thick hair: poke it through a ponytail or bun.”

COMMENTARY: Or, if you’re the adolescent Orlando girls, simply use a portion of your own hair to make a veritable nest. Or ten.

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