Addie J cracks me up.

Cam had a lacrosse tournament yesterday, and we decided at the last minute to bring the girls, too. It turned out to be a good decision, because another family brought their girls, and all the kids were able to spend the day together and it was a lot of fun. But I’m telling you about it mainly because of this: while Addie J and I were walking through the parking lot, I saw a lone slice of deli ham lying on the ground. “Look, Addie,” I said. “Want some ham?”

And Addie did a perfect double-take and responded in the most hilariously sincere lament, “That’s ham? Oh, NO- not the HAM!!!!!”

Honestly not sure whether she was kidding or serious.

    Things I’ve learned about boys.

    A team of male high school lacrosse players, while discussing their performance in a game, can get really animated. They can start yelling their points at each other, and whip themselves into a frenzy. And then one of them will calmly request that someone calm down, using a phrase that is inappropriate to use in any place except a team huddle, and the entire group will start laughing and indeed calm down. And then, even if they’ve been angrily yelling at each other, it’s over. There’s no drama. There are no hard feelings. No one intended anything personal and no one took anything personally. This has been a learning curve for me: more than once I have heard someone yell at my son on the field and asked him about it later. Usually he looks confused for a second, then says something like, “Oh, yeah. It’s fine,” shrugs dismissively, and that’s it.

    Dave tells me that this is standard male team dynamic: when they bond and trust each other, they create room to also get mad at and yell at each other. And recognize when they need support, and provide that for each other very matter-of-factly. And just learn to work together for a common goal, without leaving anyone behind.

    It’s actually pretty cool to see.

      This actually happened (I think):

      Last night, I was having a rather intense discussion with one of my children. No one was yelling or anything- but it wasn’t going anywhere: the child in question was too busy providing reasons why this was not their responsibility to hear what I was saying. If you are a parent, then you’ve been there.

      Then, one of the other kids came into the room and said, with zero sarcasm, “Give Mom the respect she deserves and listen to what she has to say. She’s trying to help you.” –Gave the kid in question a hug, and walked back out again.

      What I’m saying is that, due to the weather migraine I experienced yesterday, I may have been hallucinating.

        Driver’s Ed

        [Note: I wondered about the apostrophe in “Driver’s Ed.” When I looked it up I could not find a consensus. My state actually calls it Driver Education which I clearly cannot do. I’m accepting opinions on this matter.]

        Cam has his learner’s permit. He is driving my beloved Saab around. He is doing fine. And I am feeling the following things:

        • Low- to mid-level apprehension, the whole time he’s driving
        • Pressure to seem relaxed and confident, all while primed to be like, “STOP!!!!!!!!!!” at any moment
        • Impressed with how relaxed he actually is while he drives.
        • Sad (always this) that my dad isn’t here to let him drive the truck and give him his little no-nonsense tips
        • Surreal. Because, isn’t this the little boy who required that I attach his Batman cape to every outfit he wore, at all times? That kid with the chubby cheeks, sweetly uncoordinated like a puppy, who stole my orange scarf to be Michelangelo of the Ninja Turtles? Who is this lean and athletic young man, sliding confidently into the driver’s seat? It’s not a bad thing that he’s getting older; in fact, he’s turning into a great person, so in a lot of ways it’s awesome. It’s also, just…. surreal.
        • This is not just his milestone. My God, it’s mine too.


          Addie J, the Sociologist

          ADDIE J: Mom, who’s your favorite kid?

          JULIE: I don’t have a favorite.

          ADDIE J: No, come on. Who is it?

          JULIE: When each one of you was born, a whole universe of love opened up in my heart that belonged only to you. So Cam has his own universe of love, and Gabby has her own universe of love, and you have your own universe of love. You can’t compare sizes of infinite universes, after all.

          ADDIE J:

          JULIE: So, no: I don’t have a favorite.

          ADDIE J:

          JULIE: Because it’s impossible to compare universes of love.

          ADDIE J:

          JULIE: Which you all have.

          ADDIE J: That’s not what they said on the news. On the news, they said that moms have a favorite kid, and it’s usually the youngest. So it’s probably me.

          I guess that’s that.

            Oh no. Gabby has discovered astrology.

            Of course she wants to be a Leo. Check out her sign.

            So yesterday, Gabby spent a large portion of her day checking out astrological charts and reporting when they made sense and when they did not. Gabby is a Leo, so this was immensely fun for her. Basically, all of the information out there about Leos is highly flattering: Leos are strong, Leos go for what they want, Leos are highly successful blah blah blah. All day I heard about this. Then she said, “Mom, what are you?” “Pisces,” I replied.

            See what I’m saying?

            Long silence, while she read up on Pisces. Then:

            “Wow, Mom. Bad luck for you,” she said.

            And back to Fun Facts About Leos.


              A couple of stories.

              You already know, I think, that I have a chronic case of Resting Bitch Face (or as I like to call this apparently totally offensive phenomenon, “my face”). I am therefore especially susceptible to that comment that some men make to women: “Smile! It’s not that bad!” The takeaway here is, what? That because I am female I must always look happy? Do these gentlemen, so busily exhorting me to put on a more pleasant expression, ever tell that to their male colleagues? –Because no they don’t. This habit is not harmless. It is patronizing, it is belittling, it sends the message that a woman is not acceptable in public unless she is putting on her prettiest face. But not all men do this, and I have two stories to illustrate it:

              There is some street art downtown that says, simply, “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” About a month ago I was waiting to cross the street near this sign,  a gentleman of maybe 55 or 60 waiting as well. The light changed, and as we started across, the man suddenly said, “What do you think of that?” -indicating the street art. I was taken aback for a second, then I was unsure where he was headed with this question. Then I finally just replied, “I like it,” and inwardly braced myself for a series of tone-deaf objections. Instead, he just nodded. No other questions, no arguments; he just completely accepted my answer. We were approaching the sidewalk now and clearly headed in opposite directions. “Thanks,” he said. “I figure, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know, right?”

              My second story is from a few years ago. I was attending an event for my alma mater. Sitting in a room full of people and waiting for the guest of honor, who had just been announced, I was chatting quietly with my friend Ann’s husband. The huge room was filled with people chatting and waiting. Then, a man leaned toward me and shushed me, his eyebrows drawn together angrily. “SHHHH!!!!!!!!” he hissed, as though he was scolding a toddler. I looked around in disbelief, and in particular at the loud group of gentlemen, laughing and talking boisterously right next to this man: clearly, he didn’t feel like he could tell these men– the actual source of his issue– to be quiet, but he certainly felt well within his rights to shush a woman. I was irritated…… but honestly, only for a moment. Because Ann’s husband was incensed. John is a gentle giant, very quiet, calm and polite by nature; when I was singled out by this guy, though, John stood up and silently faced down the man, the “gentle” gone, all giant. He talked about it for the rest of the night, too: John could not believe the sexist nature of the interaction, could not believe that these things actually happen in the real world, was infuriated on my behalf. (Also, happy birthday, John!!!)

              So today, on a day when I was instructed to smile for the pleasure of the guy at the coffee shop, I remind myself that not every man behaves this way. I am married to one of the good ones– and thinking about my friends’ husbands, I can’t imagine a single one of them ever uttering the words, “Smile! It can’t be that bad!” to me or any other woman. Hopefully this antiquated and inappropriate habit is going away. Maybe, if we’re lucky, my daughters will never have any man objectifying them because of their gender.

                What does a migraine feel like?

                I still remember my first migraine. I was in sixth grade, and it started after colliding with another girl on the playground in the morning. My head was still ringing and my vision was still blurred about an hour later at lunch. Later that afternoon, I threw up and fell asleep, and woke up feeling much better.

                But the experience of that headache has returned hundreds of times. In my early twenties, before I discovered that hormonal birth control was exacerbating my migraines, I was getting 3-4 each month. Figuring that out and getting off hormonal birth control was a life changer. These days, my migraines are mainly tied to rapidly changing weather or accidentally ingesting MSG; I’d estimate I get less than 10 in a typical year. Last year I think I might have only had 3 or 4, total, and the severity has lessened considerably: if I take medication as soon as I see an aura, I can avoid the major pain cycle (although nothing affects the aura, the light sensitivity, and the sense of disorientation and fogginess afterwards. I call that the migraine hangover). So I am by no means complaining; my migraines are totally manageable and do not affect my daily life.

                And also check this out: a fellow migraine sufferer shared with me this video, which gives non-migraine sufferers an idea of what it’s like. I’m sharing here because I found it fascinating that they are able to so closely replicate the visual experience of a migraine. Check it out, if you want to feel a little dizzy and nauseated for the rest of the day. (Or just take my word for it. And then be nice to anyone you know who suffers from migraines. Most of them have it way worse than I do.)


                  Things a parent has to say, Part A Million…

                  “Addie, that is a word that means ‘rooster.’ And please stop saying it. Say rooster.”

                    This is my brain on text.

                    I currently have possession of the phone of one of my children. Texts continue to roll in- the child in question must have told their peeps that I have the phone, but I guess they’re thinking optimistically- and I must have turned into a crabby old man overnight. Because I cannot take these constant texts. They’re about nothing. NOTHING. It’s nothing but a desire to remain constantly connected, a concept which did not exist when I was that age. I mean, we were aware we could not remain on the phone forever. So I don’t identify with it, and I cannot stand it, and I am losing brain cells every time this phone buzzes with a, “Yo,” or a, “What’s up.”

                    I might give the phone back just to get myself out of this misery.


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