Well, hello there! I'm sorry I wandered off (once again). This time, I was visiting a friend I haven't seen in years. I was in the Midwest, hanging out in Chicago, then partying it up at the Indiana State Fair and hanging out with my friend. It was good times. More on that later.
BECAUSE I've been such a slacker, I have a LOT to say. So, I'm writing in chapters. Read whichever ones interest you, and skip over the rest. This might be long.
CHAPTER: ON MISTAKEN IDENTITY
This has been happening for years, but in the past few days especially, I have been repeatedly mistaken as the children's mother. By the Comcast service guy, by the lady at the dog park, by the woman at the skating rink. I don't THINK I look old enough to have a 9 year old and a 6 year old (I'm only 22!)... and yet, that's what I keep hearing.
"He's adorable, is he your only child?" from a lady at the dog park when I was there with just Neptune.
"Oh, Mom, just look over here!" from a lady at the souvenir store outside Yellowstone, when Neptune and I were there last summer. (Firstly: I am not a mother at all. Secondly: I am certainly not HER mother. Why was she calling me "mom"?)
"I know, it's scary watching your kids skateboard for the first time, isn't it?" from the woman who was at the skate park with her kids.
And the Comcast guys addressed me using the kids' mom's name, assuming I was the Lady of the House. Nope.
In short: I was quite grateful to the 7 year old who approached the kids and me today and asked, "Are you their nanny?" YES! YES I AM!
CHAPTER: ON HASSLE-FREE KID CONTROL
Today, after lunch, the children crept into their dog's crate, and begged me to lock them in. I hesitated briefly, aware that many people may [quite reasonably] frown upon the idea of locking children up in a cage. After a moment, I realised that the people doing the frowning undoubtedly did not spend much time with children. And so, I twisted the lock.
I was never more than a couple of yards away, cleaning up after lunch. The children had a splendid time, feeling downright ridiculous in their situation. I even took some pictures, and made a short video on my camera. They could not have possibly been happier. (And, yes, I would have let them out any time they wanted to.)
Then, the phone rang. K picked it up in his office in the back of the house, and shortly appeared with it in his hand. "It's for Clover," he said. I, casually, walked over the cage, opened the door, and handed Clover the phone.
K, seeing all of this, did not react in the slightest.
This is because the man has children... he understands.
CHAPTER: ON THE WONDERS OF TOFU
You're laughing, aren't you? You think that tofu isn't wonderous at all. You think it is, at best, boring-- at worst, disgusting. At least, that's what I hear from most adults who haven't been raised on the stuff. (I am an oddity, myself. I love the stuff, and only started eating it a few years ago.)
That is why you may be surprised--
That the children, LOVE (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) these baked tofu nuggets. Yes, it's true! They RAVE about them-- even Clover, who likes approximately 1 vegetable (green beans) and 1 fruit (apples). Clover, who has survived on a rotation of peanut butter and jelly, fish sticks, and pasta for the past 9 years (ok, VERY SLIGHT exaggeration). Yes. That Clover. She and Neptune LOVE tofu that has been coated in wheat germ and baked.
I can't even handle it.
CHAPTER: ON GROWIN' UP
Last week, I visited Daisy, a friend of mine from Indiana. She and I met when we were four, and I had just recently moved to Indiana from Mexico City. Our mothers instantly were friends, and we followed suit.
Eighteen years later, we are still close. She and her mother met up with my mother and myself in Chicago for a long weekend. We shopped (oh, how we shopped), ate, and had generous amounts of wine and cocktails. It was a weekend not to be forgotten, and very much enjoyed. From Chicago, I returned with Daisy and her mother to Carmel, a suburb outside of Indianapolis. Oh MY has it ever grown! I couldn't even believe it.
And let me say, there is nothing that feels stranger than standing a street you used to live on, one you haven't walked down in 10 years. A street, ind you, that I once rollarbladed on, learned to ride a two-wheeler on, and played "night games" with my friends all summer long. It was where we had lemonade stands, and where a neighbourhood friend and I would drag wagons full of American Girl Dolls to each other's houses to play.
From there, I walked to my old elementary school, a couple of miles away. I couldn't go in, as it was closed, but I took a minute to swing on the playground and remember some moments from my time there.
I'm not old. In fact, I'm young. But going to a place where you were VERY young? Where you had to ask permission every time you wanted to walk down the street? Where you genuinely thought you were bringing in the big bucks with your $0.25 lemonade for sale? Well, there's something about that that makes a person feel old.