Thursday, June 23, 2005

Chastised! Episode II: Revenge of the Pith

I've been thinking about my last post in which I was chastised by a stranger for using sarcasm with my child. While there was probably nothing worthwhile I could have said to my critic, I am now in the process of considering pithy responses. Today's incident was not a Costanza moment for me ("oh yeah? Well I slept with your wife!"). I would never want to actually say any of these but its sure empowering for me to think about it.

Responses to "children don't understand sarcasm":

"Shouldn't we do something about that?"

"Oh, was I being sarcastic with my kids?"

"They would if you used sarcasm as much as I do"

"How else am I supposed to entertain myself?"

"Thats nothing, you should hear me at home."

"Hey, I'm not coddling my kids. Its a tough world out there."

"You're assuming I want them to understand what I'm saying."

"Oh, and I guess I shouldn't tell her when she's being a bitch either."

"Oh dear, and I really thought I was a shoo-in for Mother of the Year"

"Its alright, I'm a homeschooler."

Responses to any unsolicited parenting advice:

"That which doesn't kill them, makes them stronger."

"Don't worry, the State has already assigned a social-worker to monitor our

"I'll take it under advisement." -- legalese for 'screw you'

"Thanks for the advice, you will now be mocked on the internet."

"I was raised with sarcasm and I turned out fine."

NOTE: Comments on this post can be found here.


We went on a field trip today to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. I love the cathedral and have visited many times -- my brother was even ordained there. The field trip was through a homeschooling field trip group to which we belong -- all homeschooled kids from babies to about 6.

When I go into public with my kids, I feel like Greg Focker in the water volleyball scene from the movie Meet the Parents. They are playing volleyball and he keeps missing or flubbing shots and everyone gives him a hard time about it -- he finally gets mad and spikes a shot -- it hits the bride-to-me right in the face. "Its only a game, Focker" is derisively yelled at him. He can't win. When I'm out with my kids, I can't win -- I'm either too uptight and people give me the vibe that I need to relax or I'm too relaxed and I encounter uptight people who want me to rein in the kids. I don't really enjoy going out in public when its just me and the kids because of this -- plus, its exhausting, but I joined the group because my girls like it and maybe I can learn how to behave. When my DH is home, we often go out but that's a different dynamic -- I have a helper and an ally.

At the end of our field trip, we went into the gift shop. I was worried about my kids and breakable things but my kids are not destructive so I wasn't too worried. There were some toys my kids were looking at, but I moved them along so I could look at some sale books.

An older woman sidles up to me as I'm thumbing through a picture book. She says something along the lines of "kids don't understand sarcasm. I know because I'm a grandmother. Its a big 'no-no.'" I don't know what I said to her, maybe something like "oh, okay." I was trying to think of what I had said that was sarcastic. I figured I was already being sanctioned for being a bad mom and that admitting that I had no idea what I had said would be further evidence of bad mothering. I was also thinking that my oldest is beginning to learn what sarcasm is because we've discussed it. Only about 40 minutes earlier, she had actually asked me "mom, are you being sarcastic?" Again, I thought this is probably evidence of bad mothering since it would show that whatever sarcasm I had just used was not an isolated incident. Thus, I went with "oh, okay."

I seriously picked my brain for the next hour trying to identify what sarcasm I used. I think it might have been when my younger DD was looking at some soft, stacking blocks and she showed them to me. I said something about them being nice and maybe I said "just what I need, more toys in the house" or something to that effect. I'd also argue that I wasn't actually saying it to the child, but I'm guessing that muttering sarcastic comments around the kids is another bad mother indicator.

I agree that belittling comments are not to be used with children and that can include a certain kind of pointed, mean sarcasm. My sarcasm tends to be light-hearted and along the lines of "oh, just what I need." I also talk to myself -- out loud -- a lot. I know I've used it at home when my DH is around and he lets me know when I'm out of line, so I think I'm okay, but I'm interested to know what you think.

Oh well, its probably karma from the non-pregnant woman incident.

NOTE: comments on this post can be found here.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Odd, but True

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

There's no doubt about it: you're eccentric. You wear your heart on your sleeve. You don't hesistate one bit when it comes to talking about squeamish topics. Although you like to have peace and quiet, you often find excitement in a random crisis or two.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Okay, I don't have a tongue stud, but the rest has the ring of the familiar.

Thanks to Robbo for the link to this quiz.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

Loved it. I think I'm not supposed to, I think I'm supposed to be disappointed in the wooden acting and implausible plot-lines. Sorry, loved it.
Personally, I don't think the originals were that much better, I think its the passing of a few decades that makes us more discriminating. Okay, enough, I don't need to defend myself here. But I will explain myself -- I loved the fundamental question -- how does one become evil? I originally thought the story might be something along the lines of what might have happened if Jesus had taken the Devil up on his temptations before he began his Earthly ministry (yeah, that Bible thing I mentioned). I thought it would be more like Anakin deciding he didn't want to fulfill the prophecy and save the galaxy, that he'd rather have power. It wasn't really like that, though. It was more about the perversion of love/attachment and how it can blinding it can be. I totally loved Yoda doing the Buddhist priest thing with Anakin, who is definitely more Western in his thinking. You must let go Yoda says essentially. Wasn't working for Ani, he was more interested in keeping what he had. I also liked the moral ambiguities throughout and I found Anakin's choice to be plausible. That he became such a dedicated disciple to the dark side so quickly was a bit mind-boggling, but if you're going to pledge allegiance to a murderer, you'd better do it full force -- there is no half-way there. BTW, I took three years of Latin in high school and I always think of that when I hear Yoda putting his verbs at the end of his sentences. I haven't taken any other foreign languages, perhaps, as well, they do it.