Friday, January 20, 2012

Dance, Little Bird

Beak-2-3-4, wings-2-3-4, tail-2-3-4, clap-2-3-4
I picked L.E. up from daycare today and her daily report said she loved doing The Chicken Dance. That completely warmed my heart and made me tear up. See when I was in nursery school, we learned The Chicken Dance. I loved it because it was easy to do and didn't require a lot of thought like The Hokey Pokey. Also, it's a polka. Polkas were a huge part of my childhood because of Pap. He would listen to them every weekend on AM radio. This was in Southwestern Pennsylvania where the Eastern European influence was still strong. Polka halls were not a thing of the past.
  Jack Tady's Polka Place was Pap's favorite polka program. It was on every Saturday and Sunday. Jack Tady and the Tady Bears were pretty big on the accordion circuit. (Yes, there's an accordion circuit. Be nice.) They toured with Frankie Yankovic, the Polka King of Cleveland, many times.
As a card-carrying member of the SNPJ, Pap was very proud of his heritage. And I absorbed as much of it as I could. To this day, I not only know what a Kishka is, I may actually know who stole it. When someone says, "Hail Hail, the Gang's All Here..." I know to respond with, "What the heck do we care, what the heck do we care..." So when I learned a dance that goes to a POLKA at SCHOOL(!) I couldn't wait to tell Pap. The only problem was, this was before the internet and the song had no words. I only knew it as "Dance Little Bird" but didn't know the artist. I wanted to own this song so I could do the dance any time I wanted. And when you told Pap you wanted something, no matter how vague, he would get it for you.
We went to every record store in the tri-state area. He called K-Marts and Hills Department stores. Nobody had it. Finally, he decided to call the only man who had a direct conduit to all things polka: Jack Tady. Jack was nice enough to order the record for him. It cost $7. I could not have been happier to have that 45 in my hands! I could beak-2-3-4, wings-2-3-4, tail-2-3-4, clap-2-3-4 to my heart's content. And it was all because of Pap.
When my sister got married, I made sure the DJ played that song so that Pap and I could Chicken Dance together. So hearing that L.E. enjoyed it so much really made my heart burst. We came home and I brought up the song on YouTube. She did the dance once and really wanted me to pick her up and twirl. So that we did. We rolled out the barrel of fun, all in triple-time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Like me! No really, LIKE ME!

Hip-Baby Mama is now on Facebook! You can like me here:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Fine Line Between Hilarity and Embarrassment

My kid embarrasses me. But sometimes I think it's adorable.
We'll be in the middle of the grocery store and she'll shriek as though she's on a playground slide. At first I was mortified by it. But when I realized she was no more bothersome than the crazy crackhead yelling, "Happy Birthday" at the top of his lungs or the lady with 2 teeth telling a loaf of bread about her day, I got over the embarrassment and laughed. This made me aware of two things: 1. Kids and parents are always going to be humiliating each other, no matter what. And 2. I really need to find a new grocery store.
We've been teaching L.E. the difference between Inside Voice and Outside Voice. She sings along to the Yo Gabba Gabba song (I can't find a link to the video and can't remember what episode it is. The words are simple: Inside voice, quiet. Inside voice, shhhhh. Outside voice, BIG AND LOUD!) When she does her shriek, we tell her, "Inside voice!" This makes her put her fingers to her lips and says, "Shhhh" and then dissolves into loud giggles. Nothing makes me laugh more than a giggling toddler and if you know me, you know my laugh is more of a witch's cackle...not subtle. So you end up with a shrieking toddler and her cackling mommy. Who's embarrassing who now?
L.E.'s latest is yelling, "BOOBIES!" at every woman while pulling on her shirt. This didn't bother me much, except for when she did it to our neighbor who just underwent a mastectomy. Sure we all had a good laugh but I was embarrassed, nonetheless. Fortunately, our neighbor is a wonderful woman who thinks the world of L.E. so it ended up being ok.
It's restaurants where I really feel the burning-hot pain of toddler-induced mortification. We've been taking L.E. out to eat since she was 3 days old. Once she realized she didn't have to stay in her car seat the entire meal, it became something she genuinely enjoyed. She holds court in her highchair, smiling and waving at anyone nearby. She loves people and they love her. But as she gets older, she needs more things to entertain her. Like books, toys and snacks. If we're unprepared, sugar packets, straw wrappers and spoons do the trick. I try my hardest to make our dining experiences pleasant for us as well as the servers and other diners. Times are tough; going out to eat is a treat. I get that. And I will make sure my child is well-behaved, even if it means carrying her outside surfboard-style because her macaroni and cheese isn't ready yet. 
A lot of places aren't kid-friendly and I avoid those. But that doesn't mean the only places to eat are tacky chain restaurants with mass-produced processed food. We stick with locally-owned restaurants and try to go during off hours or when it's really crowded so nobody would notice if L.E. gets upset because we won't let her have a sip of our beer. For the most part, we've been pretty lucky. Except for the time she took an entire plate of rice and dumped it on the floor. I didn't help my embarrassment by crawling on my hands and knees under the table to try to clean it up myself. (This brings up an interesting question. If your kid makes a mess at or under the table, do you clean it up or just leave a big tip? My answer, backed by almost a decade of restaurant experience is at least attempt to clean it up and still leave a big tip. Chances are the server will see you try and insist you let them take care of it after you leave. Still tip over 20%)
 Of course, people love seeing a happy, smiley L.E. and she normally does the appropriate amount of flirting. And when I exhausted my supply of toys-books-spoons-straws-sugar-packets, I found an almost-empty tube of lipstick. It was a miracle-worker!

Isn't she pretty?
But what about the times, and all of the future times, I'll embarrass her? I already have a trove of stories that would send any teenage first date running for the door. (See above photo.) For not even being two, L.E. sure has done her share of sitcom-worthy moments. Copious amounts of streaking. Peeing on the floor. Spinning in circles for no apparent reason. Humping her highchair...the list goes on. Just wait until she's a bratty teenager... I already have enough ammo, just with this blog!
So it's a two-way street. She'll embarrass me with her shrieking and food-throwing. I'll humiliate her with stories of her shrieking and food-throwing. Maybe then she'll never date!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Studies show that if you write down your New Year's Resolutions, you're more inclined to keep them.

In 2012, I resolve to live more simply and remember what's most important: L.E., T, family, friends and being happy with what I have.

I resolve to make things easier for myself.

I resolve to not be jealous of what others have. I have a pretty good life, despite bouts of depression and feeling overwhelmed.

I resolve to wear more dresses.

I resolve to cook more without putting undue pressure on myself. (Last night's risotto didn't turn out great and I cried; it was still 2011)

I resolve to write more.

I resolve to maintain my journal. 

I resolve to run more.

I resolve to drink less.

I resolve to only eat french fries once a week.

I resolve to be a hard worker at my job and keep a positive attitude.

I resolve that no matter what happens with L.E.'s next hip appointment, I will remain positive for her sake.

I resolve to give more hugs.

I resolve to keep at least 2 of these.

Enjoy 2012, everyone!