Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Can I Come Up With a Title When I Don't Have a Topic?

My cats have lost their water privileges.

Recently, I've been finding one of the two cat water dishes tipped over or splashed, or even just the mat under them wet. I took that dish away, assuming it was too tippable—it was just a "disposable" storage container—but it didn't solve the problem. I caught Maya—the good cat!—deliberately tipping over the other, more stable, meant-to-be-a-pet-dish dish. I'd just filled it, and the water cascaded across the freshly washed kitchen floor. So now they have no dishes. They mostly drink out of the dog's water dish, anyway.

Why do kids always say, "Mom, I need a note" five minutes before it's time to go to the bus stop?

I miss Doyle.

I'm watching Angel season 1, and Doyle was my favorite character. The way he died was great, well done, but the fact that he died has brought the show down in my estimation. And it was only the ninth episode! I didn't believe it until Wesley actually replaced him in the opening credits.

I looked up the actor, because to leave a show that early, I figured he had to have gotten something else, like a bigger role on a new show. But not only did he not get a new show, not only did he hardly ever do anything again...he died of a drug overdose three years later! It's tragic. My husband suggested that might be the reason he was canned, the drugs, but if it was, it didn't show in his performance. He was sweet and brave and weasly and Wesley has his points, but he just doesn't measure up.

I felt borderline hypocritical yesterday, but then I realized I wasn't at all hypocritical, I was exactly what I'd always said I would be.

Number One has gorgeous hair. It's so thick, we can't find ponytail bands that will hold it properly. When she's on the soccer field, it looks like a horse's tail. And she's 13, so it's lush and healthy as well as long and thick.

Well, it was long. Almost small-of-her-back long. And it was due for a trim, but she wanted it shorter, like shoulder length. I lamented, but said it was okay. I mean, it's her hair.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law was telling me about a friend's grandchild who'd gotten a spiky mohawk and colored it some putrid color. I said "so what?" She didn't debate the topic, but the look on her face said I was nuts. I've always felt that hair is not worth fighting over; there are more important things to put your foot down on (facial jewelry is one of the minor ones—overnights with a boyfriend would be a major one).

Anyway, the hairdresser of course tried to talk her out of it, but Number One kept saying, "It's just hair" and "It's not like it won't grow back." So then Lisa, the hairdresser, was measuring how much she wanted off, and said if she went about an inch higher, she could donate it to Locks of Love, something she'd done once before, and she immediately agreed. We feel good about that—her ponytail was about the size of two normal ones, and it takes 15 to make a wig for a kid with alopecia. And when someone donates, Lisa doesn't charge for the haircut. So I wasn't going to argue.

But when she cut off that tail...oy. Some of the shorter hairs were at the nape of her neck. So instead of being just above her shoulders, it's just below her chin in front and barely at her neck in the back.

It's a lovely cut, with ragged ends and a great curve that looks adorable on Number One, and she's delighted with it. But I cringed a lot, and made noises in the back of my throat, and kept asking if she was okay with it--like it could be put back or something. That's when I felt hypocritical. But then I realized, I always said my kids could make their own decisions about their hair. But I never said I wouldn't be vocal about my own thoughts on the matter.

I don't know why I keep reading Supernatural: Rising Son. Okay, I do know. I keep reading because I got the comic book store to put every issue in my husband's box, and once it's there, I can't make myself give it back, and I don't think to cancel it. But every issue, I hate it more and more.


Okay, I can buy the storyline as an alternate "what if" scenario, but not something that really happened in the canon of the show. I mean, they made Sam a killer. He's old enough in the comic to REMEMBER that in the present. To remember that people were after him, and that he could do things. His visions wouldn't have been so out of the blue.

Worse, they made John a murderer. Not someone who hunts supernatural evil, but someone who pre-emptively kills men in horrific ways, and I just don't buy that of John. Sure, he was a terrible dad, but that's because he left his kids alone all the time and was obsessed with finding Yellow Eyes and raised the boys to have all kinds of issues. The John in the comics who's killing all these guys is not the John who would be in so much pain when Meg kills his friends. Murder deadens you, hardens you, makes you less able to connect to other people, and in the comics, this is happening way before he had "falling out"s with all his friends.

Plus, Dean killed a man, a regular person, and whenever that happened in the earlier days of the show, it was a Big Deal. If he'd first done it at age 10, he'd be a totally different kind of person in the present.

The thing I do kind of like—well, I guess I'm conflicted about—is that Lilith has been introduced as someone who wanted Sam way back when he was a kid. I don't like the details of it, what she's trying to do, and a lot of the worldbuilding in the comics doesn't jibe with the worldbuilding of the show. I mean, sure, if Kripke had the budget, he'd totally have a demon build a monster out of shattered train parts and have it go after the Winchesters. You can do more in comics. But the creation of a semi-sentient hunk of autonomous, killing metal? Doesn't belong.

Anyone else bothering to read them? Liking them, or not?

So we got a phone call last night. I didn't answer, and I was asleep when J came to bed, so he didn't tell me about it, and we don't really cross paths in the morning until he's in the car. I found out from one of the moms at the bus stop that the call was an Instant Alert from the school superintendent, telling us to check the website and our e-mails. Apparently, there's a guy in a white van with brown curly hair and a tattoo trying to pick up kids. He tried at the high school and at one of the elementary schools. Not the one my kids go to, but one friends of mine have kids attending, and those schools are only two miles from my kids' and less than five from my house. Easily expandable territory.

This is where the balance of parenting gets so hard. I walk Number Two to the bus stop, but not Number One, and they both walk the half a block home on their own, with the other kids from the bus. That's the only place they'd really be vulnerable, and now I feel I have to meet them every day, or at the very least go outside to watch them get off the bus. I don't want to let Number Two practice soccer in the front yard, or walk up to her friend's house. Yet I don't want to make her a prisoner or be overprotective, either.

We were talking about this the other day, a group of us, about how when we were kids, we left the house in the morning and roamed the neighborhood all day. Parents didn't know where we were. At my cousins' house, we were often deep in the woods (probably not as deep as it seemed, but out of calling range) or way up the street and around the corner. We came in when the streetlights went on. No way can any of us let our kids do that now. There are more cars on the street, driving faster, and the risk of abduction just seems too damned high.

I bet it's not. I bet that proportionately, the risk is the same as when we were kids. What's changed is the information society. When a child in Florida gets abducted in a car wash parking lot, we hear about it almost instantly in Pennsylvania or California. With video. So 20, 30 years ago, if we didn't know someone it had happened to, it wouldn't affect our behavior. If we did have a personal connection, if we knew someone who'd been taken, it would scare us into taking precautions. Now, though, we know everyone. Everyone could be us. And we live our lives accordingly.

And we try to find a balance between giving our kids some independence and protecting them from the horrors out there, knowing that we don't really have that much control.

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