Not just pizza buffets and Amy Adams movie marathons. It’s easy to do with parenthood. It’s good to jump in emphatically when you become a parent, but you have to find a way to do so with two feet – and your identity intact.
A young mom to a boy named Reiko – whose name means love and gratitude – balanced motherhood and self-preservation, even tossing in photography and her blog. She shares with me an appreciation of all things Jennifer Lawrence.
Sometimes, the idea in your head sputters on the turf.
Luckily, it was just practice. My mind drew up a box with two teams of eight, a 1v1 battle inside, passing out of the box. It looked lively in my mind, challenging, ever-changing, active. I split my squad up and put everyone in place.
The two girls in the middle immediately faced off.
This Beautifully Awkward Project isn’t easy. I have a great list of ideas from you all, from yoga class to community service to block parties. I will choose another for the next of three installments on this endeavor I’ve taken on with fellow blogger Melissa Bond.
Some of McDonald’s drive-thrus are open 24/7, and my kids’ brains aren’t far behind.
It’s not always for good. Luckily, much of their thinking time is spent on Avengers heroes, pizza toppings and Go Ask Daddy questions (that’s paternity certainty that not even Maury Povich can get).
Keeps them off the streets.
I’ve avoided most potty questions and nearly everything they might see on Friends reruns and How I Met Your Mother commercials. There have been close calls – Grace, still in a car seat, once picked up an issue of Creative Loafing off the piles of socks and snacks in my backseat.
For all the shouting for blood there, though, there usually isn’t a cash payout. Well, there usually isn’t a threat of a police sting to break up the fun, either. But maybe there should be.
I told my team to warm up with my oldest daughter, Elise, while I had a quick parents meeting.
One girl stepped up with a request: “Can you please ask them to stop yelling at us on the field?”
Today’s batch of questions has a bite to it, from growling parents to sharks and piranhas (they’re an obsession in my house) to David Lee Roth.
1. Can parents get carded?
Technically, no – but I’m in favor of placing them in time-out.
The FIFA laws of the game dictate that only players can draw yellow or red cards for misconduct. Not even a coach can get one, although we can be sent off. Not that one ever should, in youth soccer. It’s as if we’ve forgotten why we’re there in the first place: To foster a child’s love for the beautiful game, while teaching them skills and setting an example of how to handle the highs and lows life tosses at us.
Parents who berates an official, their own child, their children’s teammates or the opposition (including players, parents and coaches) clearly are in need of a hobby.
The American Youth Soccer Organization holds Silent Saturdays every year. It’s a game day devoid of cheering from the parents’ sideline, and coaching the other. It’s not easy. I don’t yell much, but I do like to encourage and remind players of their positions. Not on Silent Saturday, though. I’m all for it.
2. Will a piranha jump out of the water to eat something?
If he did, would he get a red card?
According to a story on komonews.com, a fisherman in Arlington, Wash., late this summer caught a pacu, a relative of the piranha, at Lake Ki. The pacu, a herbivore with dagger teeth, jumps out of the water to – get this – break.nuts. Are you kidding me? A vicious, sharp-toothed fish, who eats nuts?
That’s … nuts.
That’s like LeBron James settling for layups. Or, the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, bunting every at bat. Or, Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a moomoo.
It just ain’t nat’rul.
3. Brakes have shoes?
Yep. And that’s not all.
Cars have hoods
Tables have legs
Potatoes have eyes
Planes have noses
Combs have teeth
Bottles have necks
Downtowns have hearts
Cyprus trees have knees
Christmas trees have skirts
And some sidelines have rear ends
Brake shoes are a component of the brake lining in cars that use drum brakes. So, brakes also have drums, in fact. The brake lining is glued or riveted to the shoe, which presses it against the inside of the drum when you, as they say in the south, mash the brakes in your car.
Or, you can do like this guy.
4. How many teeth does a shark have?
Bet you didn’t think this one would come down to math, but according to sharkwatchsa.com, it’s elementary, my dear Grace:
Rate of tooth loss X average life span of the shark = how many teeth in a lifetime
At last (and very fast) count, a great white sports about 24 visible teeth. Behind those are about five rows of developing teeth, ready to spring forth should Sharky McSharkbreath lose one or two on his next seal attack.
Either way, you’re going to take a considerable chomp.
Like, worse than a pacu on a cashew.
5. What songs does Van Halen sing?
I’m a right-leaning, heterosexual carnivore, so this applies to the David Lee Roth era only. Sammy Hagar, who took over as Van Halen’s lead man in 1985, was cool, but Van Halen without David Lee Roth is like LeBron James taking layups. Or Jennifer Lawrence in a dodgers jersey.
Just ain’t nat’rul.
Van Halen’s songs, including Jump, You Really Got Me and Runnin With the Devil (which, fittingly, played on the radio just before Marie’s cross-country debut) are among the hits of their heyday, roughly the mid 70s to mid 80s, most often played today.
I’ll leave you with a video of the most memorable song from my youth, mainly because I was 13 years old. This song (and video) left me with more questions than answers about the world.
And if that ain’t a bite in the nuts from a pacu, I don’t know what is.
I took my U11 girls soccer team – the Dynamite – to a game at Hickory Ridge High. Some kids weren’t watching when Northwest Cabarrus scored one if its goals – a pretty nice shot, actually.
Those who missed it instinctively looked toward the end zone, hoping to catch the replay on JumboTron. Not in Harrisburg, N.C., you won’t.
It made me think of Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a favorite of my girls. As he sprinted to a 70-plus yard score during Super Bowl XLIII, he glanced wide-eyed at the JumboTron at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, just to see who was around him.
Funny, he could check on the widening gap between him and all Pittsburgh Steelers defenders, yet officials couldn’t look at it to see Santonio Holmes’ alleged winning touchdown actually shouldn’t have counted.
One foot in, incomplete pass.
We’re not bitter, though. As Ice Cube once said, “The worst thing you can do about a situation is nothing.”
So, we’ll keep complaining.
Here’s what the girls have asked lately.
1. Are those just big TV screens?
Yes. It’s the ultimate big-screen TV. God bless America.
Sony created this technology so that Larry can check where Troy Polamalu is, but also so we can see close-ups of Ellie Goulding or Ke$ha or The Kinks in concert. JumboTron is Sony’s registered trademark, but, like Kleenex is for tissues and Tampax is for … well, like Kleenex is for tissues, it’s the accepted lexicon for any big-ass TV screen in any big-ass stadium.
Except at Hickory Ridge High in Harrisburg. There, you have to pay attention the first time something cool happens.
2. Does the guy who does Ferb’s voice do two people’s?
No. Thomas Sangster voices Ferb, the green-haired brother on Phineas and Ferb, and only Ferb. It’s also not true that the premise – two step-brothers who embark on epic science projects to the chagrin of older sister Candace – was conceived from the diaries of a delusional real-life big sister who committed suicide, as one of your sisters might have gleaned from Facebook or some such.
Although, Grace and Marie, I think you make Elise delusional at times. Or should I blame my most-hated Disney Channel show going, Austin and Ally?
I’d rather watch the Steelers win a Super Bowl with a lousy official’s call than a single episode of that stinker on a JumboTron.
3. Why do they put Fla. after Miami in the college football scores?
So that boosters’ illegal payments to football players will go to the right place – South Beach, not Southwest Ohio.
Miami is in Oxford, Ohio. It’s in the Mid-American Conference, and the RedHawks won’t soon be confused with The U. – the University of Miami Hurricanes. Miami of Ohio might not have any football titles to its name, but it’s more than 100 years older than Miami of Florida. And they have really cool new helmets.
Heck, Florida still belonged to Spain when Miami of Ohio welcomed its first students. And Ferb was just a glimmer in his papa’s eye.
4. Can a woman who isn’t married get pregnant?
I mean, yes. She can. So, be careful.
For the love of Shawn Kemp, Octomom and baby mamas everywhere.
This one’s tough.
There are 17,000 former professional athletes who wish they couldn’t. And twice as many high school boys who couldn’t be bothered to stop by the Circle K for some provisions before landing at a girl’s house between the last school bell and mama coming home from her bank job.
What, you couldn’t just watch Phineas and Ferb, son?
OK. Yes, she can get pregnant. But my hope is she won’t, until she’s married.
Ice Cube, the hip-hop record producer/actor/screenwriter/film producer/director and keeper of cold Coor’s cans, was born O’Shea Jackson. He’s clearly too cool to go around being called two last names – the first of which is Irish, for Pete’s sake – while pioneering the fine art of gansta rap.
Seriously, what MC could go by Fresh Dog O’Shea?
I entered O’Shea Jackson into the rap-name generator at myrapname.com and came up with Methodical O’Shea J Force.
Not as cool as Ice Cube, no.
Also not as cool as Harsh Dollar Eli P Spin, a.k.a. Lethal Flash, which is what it generated for “Eli P.”
Only you don’t want to see Lethal Flash’s mug on a JumboTron, do you?
Take kids to baseball games. And buy ice cream in baseball hats.
Coach soccer teams and chaperone field trips to museums.
Partake in post-game snacks and post-season pizza parties.
Snuggle on the couch to watch Indiana Jones movies.
Explain rules during football games. And baseball games. And why we hate the raiders.
Say “yes” to a little snick-snack at the grocery store.
And … research Go Ask Daddy questions. Like the first one this week.
Someone’s got to do it …
1. What other movies is Jennifer Lawrence in?
J-Law’s signature role, of course, is as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games. But other movies, such as Winter’s Bone, for which she learned to chop wood, fight, and skin squirrels, likely prepared her to become Katniss.
And to handle awkward male fans twice her age.
She was also in The Devil You Know, Silver Linings Playbook and House at the End of the Street, after which I had recurring nightmares. And by nightmares, I mean dreams about her character scampering through the forest in jeans and a white tank top.
2. Do worms have hearts?
Worms do not have hearts in the sense that we humans do. In fact, a worm is shaped like a section of intestine, because it basically is an intestine, with a mouth on one end and a pooper on the other. Worms have two aortic arches rings that pump blood back and forth around the digestive apparatus that make up the vast majority of the worm. But we wouldn’t call it a heart, in the true sense.
Worms do not observe St. Patrick’s Day or get teary when they hear the National Anthem.
3. How does the water at the beach stay so clear?
After a lifetime of visits Myrtle Beach and the Charleston area beaches, wrought with murky waters and angry jellyfish, you finally got to visit a beach, Grace, where you could stand in the water and see your toes.
Without dipping a beaker into the waves to test it, my guess is that there’s less algae and plankton at Topsail than some beaches. Pollution plays a role, too. Pure water is perfectly clear; ocean water isn’t pure, but the less stuff it has floating in it, the better clarity it will have when you look at your toes.
I’d prefer to believe in this theory than consider sharks, whales and ocean-swimming families are dirtier in Charleston and Myrtle Beach than in Topsail, mostly because I’ve had my mouth open when I swam in those places.
4. Why are softballs bigger than baseballs?
Because, Jennifer Lawrence.
Actually, because softball players participate in far-off tournaments an average of once every 17 minutes, the balls they use are swollen from constant battering by expensive aluminum bats.
NO REALLY, softball diamonds are several feet smaller than baseball fields. If softball players hit the smaller, harder baseball on the smaller diamond they play on, can you imagine how dangerous it would be? Softball players would be toothless gum-chummers with bruises upon bruises upon bruises.
And not even worms deserve that.
5. How do they take up-close pictures of sharks?
Because strapping a camera to the arse of a yummy seal proved costly and provided gruesome footage, nature biographers took to using underwater cameras they hold out in front of them. Discovery Channel used an $18,000 camera for the most recent Shark Week, a high-tech model they call the Phantom HD Gold – and which some sharks refer to as “crunchy appetizer for human flank steak.”
No thanks. I’d rather be gummed to death by softball players using the wrong ball, or slowly digested by overzealous worms. Because a dad has to draw the line somewhere.
I wouldn’t film these sharks for anything.
Not even an armload of Jennifer Lawrence’s pizza crusts.
These girls ask great questions. Sometimes, though, it’s not at the most opportune time. Like, in the waning moments of a tense NFL playoff game. Or, while the grill is in full flame. Or, I’ve got both hands on a gorgeous slice of pizza.
I try to jot them down on anything I can get my hands on, but I’m looking at a pile next to my laptop that includes a 2012 Carolina Panthers media guide, a cardboard box of crap I cleaned out from my car on Saturday, and an ESPN the Magazine with a jinxy cover of Colin Kaepernick.