Bite Me, Barbie

I have a love/hate relationship with Barbie. Growing up I had dozens of dolls along with the sailboat, uneven bars (Olympic Gymnastics Barbie!) and even the infamous Growing Up Skipper, which grew taller, slimmer and bustier with the turn of her arm.

When I had my daughter four years ago, I jumped on the prevent-unrealistic-body-image bandwagon and decided to boycott Barbie. It went about as well as my earlier plan to shield my older son from toy guns (i.e. not well…you’re welcome, Nerf, for those third-quarter results).

Fortunately, my daughter idolizes her older brother and has grown up obsessed with cars, trains and booger jokes, so I thought I’d dodged the Barbie bullet. Then she played with someone else’s Barbie. And she loved it.

As @eliskacounce  tweeted to me when I took my grievances online, where are the realistic Barbies? Is Astrophysicist Barbie too much to ask? What about Cankles Barbie? Or PMS Bloat Barbie? I’m not picky—I’d be happy with Botox-free Barbie, Settled-for-the-Dork Barbie, or Realistic-boobs Barbie.

Now, one birthday party later, my daughter is the proud owner of a pimped-out Barbie camper and an assortment of dolls, including the following:

Thing 1 and Thing 2:

They came in different boxes, from different people, but they both appear to be from the Hugh Hefner Collection.

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I think the one on the right had a face lift.

Eastern Bloc Whore Barbie:
I’m not sure which (circa 1992) rave this chick stumbled out of, but she is looking rough.

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The smudged red lipstick tells you everything you need to know about this one.

Ethnic Barbie:
In my attempt to add a little diversity to the mix, I bought Urban Barbie but ended up with Kate-Middleton-with-a-Tan instead.

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Check out those non-knees.

Stepford Camping Family:
Alas, the Serb never ran into these kinds of campers on their father and son trips.

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Like Toddlers & Tiaras, but these girls are more lifelike.

Confused Ken:
Unfortunately, this was the only Ken I could find* and he looks more like a Late-in-Life Lesbian than a hot surfer dude, which is a far more realistic representation of our culture than the creepily perfect blonde family.

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Your purse isn’t helping your case, Ken.

As the Serb watched me spend an hour dressing, posing and photographing my daughter’s Barbies, he made a comment that speaks to Barbie’s enduring appeal:

“For someone who fronts like she’s anti-Barbie, you seem to be having a lot of fun playing with them.”

Well played, Serb. Well played. (And speaking of playing, Barbie and Ken have a mani/pedi date. I gotta go…)

*Confession: there was a “Sweet Talking Ken” for sale with the ability to record a short message that Ken repeats. Can you imagine what kind of filth the Serb my kids would record and play back to me?

Guns and Pedicures Don’t Mix

I’m not a fan of guns. Years ago I went to a firing range with some girlfriends as part of a “Charlie’s Angels” day (shooting followed by mani/pedis and tarot card readings). While a few of the ladies loved shooting those targets, I was completely turned off. There was something about holding a weapon capable of blowing someone’s head off that didn’t appeal to me.

Unfortunately, my kids haven’t inherited my disdain for firearms. In fact, they can’t get enough of them. I suspect it’s my karma for trying to provide a “weapon-free” home for my children (stop with your laughing).

My son is now eight, but before he could talk he would pick up anything—a spatula, a rock, a cracker—and point it at me while making a “pew” sound. He didn’t watch TV and we never had guns as toys, so he didn’t even know the word “gun” (he called it a “pewer”).

The Serb advised me to go with it (“Kids love guns. Plus, he’s half Serbian.”) but I was compelled to make my son understand the inherent danger of guns. My solution? Bambi.

It was the first movie I ever saw and I’m still scarred by his mom’s death by the hunters. Since my kid had to leave the theatre in hysterics when Wall-e left his little cockroach buddy behind, I figured one viewing of Bambi would scare him straight.

We set up a movie night and I snuggled in next to my son. He was riveted as Bambi’s mom approached the clearing. The shots rang out and I felt him jump beside me. He slowly turned to look at me.

“Mommy, is she dead?” he whispered.

“I think so, sweetie,” I answered.

“Did the hunters shoot her?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “They shot her. Dead. Bambi’s mom is dead.” The time for subtlety had passed.

He looked back at the movie. Bambi was scrambling around, calling for his mama. I was risking an aneurysm trying to hold back my sobs.

Finally, my son looked at me.

“Do you think the hunters will cut her up and eat the meat at the campsite, or take it home first?”

Feck.

If you can watch this without hyperventilating in a fetal position, then we may be fighting.

How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket Without Throwing Your Panties

You know how some women complain of Dummy Mummy syndrome when they’re pregnant? When they can’t remember/find/accomplish much of anything because most of their brain power is being siphoned by a 3-ounce fetus? I suffer from a particularly virulent strain of Dummy Mummy that has lasted well past gestation, through toddlerhood, and appears to be settling in for my children’s tween years.

I can lose my keys when I’m holding them in my hand. I once put a package of mushrooms away in the dryer. My kids play Let’s Find Mommy’s Glasses on a daily basis and, more often than not, they are found on my head. My point being, I’m often operating at a level that would suggest I not operate heavy machinery.

A few years ago I was driving my son to school—stuck behind a school bus going the speed limit—and we passed a speed trap. I slapped on a mental post-it to slow down on the way home and promptly forgot all about it. Ten minutes later I blew past the police car going 45 kilometres per hour over the speed limit (29 miles per hour for you non-metric types).

The officer who pulled me over was not impressed with my Daisy Duke driving demonstration. He was even less amused when I couldn’t find my registration. After spending ten minutes in his cruiser, the officer came back and informed me that not only was I speeding and lacking proper registration, but my driver’s license had also expired. Sixteen months earlier.

At that moment I did what women (and more than a few men) have done in my situation since the first Model A Ford rolled off the assembly line: I cried.

Through my tears I explained that when the license had expired I was pregnant and on sick leave with pneumonia, impetigo (!), pink eye, strep throat and a host of other maladies, leaving me barely able to stand, let alone take notice of a renewal notice.

The policeman told me that by law he should confiscate my car on the spot and release it only when my paperwork was in order. Then he glanced in the backseat at my sleeping nine-month-old daughter, and at me with my uncombed hair and stained pajama top, and he took pity on me.

The speeding ticket was reduced from $250 and four demerit points to $70 and no demerits. Driving without registration was going to cost me a whopping $600, but he advised me to fight the fine with my medical records in court.  Since I’d been stopped only a few blocks from where I lived, the officer followed me home (rather than impounding my car) after I promised to get new registration that day.

A few weeks later I showed up in court and faced the judge. With one smack of the gavel my charges were dropped. Lesson learned: if you get stopped by a cop, try crying. If that doesn’t work, blame your spawn. If all else fails, throw your undies. As a last resort, put the three together. Game, set and match.

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Now this is my kind of speed trap.

It Ain’t Easy Being Amish

Like Kim Kardashian and turtlenecks, technology and I do not mix.

I don’t get TIVO, literally or figuratively, but I use my VCR several times a week (fun fact: I still have The Bachelor’s Andrew Firestone proposing on one of my tapes). I had an answering machine until last year, when my phone company informed me I’d be getting voice-mail and call-waiting whether I liked it or not. My 89-year-old grandma had to bully me into joining her on Facebook and I was on Twitter for a month before I dared to tweet.

My home life isn’t the only casualty of my technical no-how. Before getting knocked up nine years ago, I worked for a huge telecom company as an account director for their eBusiness clients. The day I was offered the position, I ran (no joke: I got shin splints) to a bookstore and bought Internet for Dummies, however…it did not help.

I muddled along for a year channeling Amanda Woodward* while spouting terms like “Portal” and “UNIX” but I was a disaster. Getting my husband drunk (and getting myself pregnant) was my only way out that mess.

Now I stay home with my kids and write fiction, but I don’t understand how Kindle works—can I order a book to read online if I don’t have a Kindle? Who’s keeping track of all these eBooks? Where’s the *&$#*  library?!?

Google Connect is on my blog because it’s on every other blog, but I have no clue what Google Connect really does. (p.s. to the twelve of you who’ve joined? Thank you for justifying the three days it took me to get it on there.) As for this Google+ hullaballoo: is it even a real thing? Do I need it? Why is Google trying to take over my life?

Two years ago I got an iPod from my justifiably appalled sister and it took me six months to figure out iTunes and how to upload (download?) music. It’s not like I’ve simply fallen behind in recent years: I missed the entire CD Man trend in the 90s because I was loyal to my Walkman.

Also? I’m a fossil.

*For those of you unfamiliar with the deliciously malicious Ms. Woodward, first of all: how dare you! Secondly, sit back, relax, and learn from the master:

You Know You Want To

Tweetness

Making My Granny Proud!

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