That’s the first paragraph of my essay “What Happens in Hawaii Stays in Hawaii,” which is on Brain, Child Magazine.
I wrote it a couple of years ago, so fun to see it see the light! And a great reminder that my chickens are not only awesome humans but the source of really great material. You can’t make this stuff up! Thanks, babies. Keep it up.
I won second place in the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association Excellence In Craft Contest, for an article in the mobile casino Camping/Travel category for 2013.
The story was written for Alaska Air Magazine last summer and ran in the August issue of both Alaska Air Magazine at its affiliated Horizon Air Edition.
They sent me this lovely certificate and a check for $50.
Hip hip hooray! It”s the little things, you know?
For her seventh birthday last week, Chicken Little got two fancy dresses from her aunt. There exists a longstanding family debate that Little might actually be my sister’s daughter instead of mine. It’s true that at the time of Little’s birth all three of us were in the room. Still, I’m pretty sure I remember which one of us was doing the half-naked flopping around and groaning, and, for that matter, who came out of whom. Yet. Evidence points to the possibility that souls and/or lineage got mixed up in the moment.
My sister and my daughter look alike. Moreover, they share certain tendencies and personality traits that are decidedly well outside of my realm. A love of the glamorous life, for instance, like the spa, jewelry, shopping and fancy clothes. An affinity for cooking lovely meals, or cooking anything at all without losing it and screaming, for that matter (see Cooking With Children, The Graphic Novel). A willingness to wear heels. Ever. Anywhere. The two also share an old soul wisdom and Zen calm that is almost too much to take on top of the glamour and talent. I mean come on people. Are you human?
So, come Monday morning, the day after her birthday, Little rose as usual just after six a.m. She likes to leave plenty of time to not only roust her semi-comatose mother in a game of Uno and eat some oatmeal, but also carefully choose her clothes for the day and do her hair and makeup. Oh yes, of course: hair and makeup. Don’t you know, every outfit must be perfectly accompanied by a unique hairdo, a specially chosen nail polish, and whatever cosmetic touches Little can scrounge from my sorry collection.
In this case, the selected dress was blue, and the rest of the ensemble followed therein.
Chicken Noodle, on the other hand, rolled downstairs about 20 minutes before go-time, rumpled and grumpy and in yesterday’s clothes, which I knew from experience she had no intention of changing out of until Thursday at the earliest, let alone doing something wacky like brushing her hair, so why even bother asking. I managed to coerce her towards a toothbrush before we went out the door, but as I was busy making cold lunch and stuffing packaged snacks into backpacks and tending to my own pathetic attempts at self-adornment, I failed to notice some of the rest of what went down in our morning pre-debut until we were in the car en route to school.
At this point, I caught a glimpse Little in the rearview. “Are you wearing blue eye shadow?” Why I should be incredulous at this point is anyone’s guess.
“Yes,” my first grader replied, batting her eyes.
That being pretty much a done deal, I turned my faltering motherly attentions to Noodle.
“Noodle, you promised me a bath or shower this morning. That didn’t work out, so tonight, okay?”
“Noo, no, no!” she wailed, as if I’d asked her to jump into an icy lake with a bottle of castile soap.
“Alright,” I tried, “let’s go big picture here. How often do you think you should take a shower or bath?
“Once a month.”
“Okay, every ten days.”
“Every ten days. So what happens when no one will sit by you at school because you smell?”
(laugh) “That would be awesome!”
Advice welcome on either personality extreme. Sis?
These days in parenthood, the best conversations are spontaneous, child-generated and fleeting: a hilarious romp you’d better get in on while you can.
In the car, on the way home from Fred Meyer:
Chicken Noodle: Mom, did you kiss a guy and not marry him?
Me: Yes. I kissed several guys and didn’t marry them.
Me: You shouldn’t marry the first guy you kiss. What if you meet someone you like better later?
Chicken Little: Yeah, like what if you’re about to kiss a boy but he’s gross and a nerd but then you look over and there’s another guy, and, you’re like, wow, he works out a lot.
Noodle: And then you’re like, yo, I work out.
Little: And the nerd is, like, nerdy, and likes math.
Noodle: And you’re like, ugh, math! And you look at the other guy and you’re like, look at that eight-pack!
Me: So what kind of guy do you think you might want to kiss?
Noodle: (pause) A sexy guy.
Me: What does that mean?
Noodle: (pause) I don’t know.
(more giggling and Justin Bieber references)
Me: I like smart people. Smart guys.
Little: So—don’t fall in love with a nerd who loves math. Fall in love with a hot guy who loves math.
Problem solved. Is this the origin of mathematical model?