Sunday, April 27, 2008

This is why we can't have nice things

*title stolen from the World's Largest Rock and Roll band.

Even though it was her alma mater's band and they played some of her favorite songs, Mom always rolled her eyes at them while she laughed at them. She used to claim that they weren't like that when she went there, although she could never provide evidence of that.

I believe it was somewhere around the time of John Elway's final college game, a victory that was stolen from him by some criminally bad special teams play and a trombone player, that she started referring to the band from her alma mater as "your band." Although I went to a Cal-system school, I felt that was a fair euphemism for them, so whenever I was speaking to her, I also referred to them as "your band."

Mom would roll her eyes and laugh at that too.

And so I can imagine her hearing about 3B and rolling her eyes and laughing. She would roll her eyes when I told her that he loves to burp, and when he can't, he just shouts out a loud growl, and then says--or yells--"Excuse you!" See, Mom not only used to hate how loud a few of us kids--and grandkids--belched, but also that we'd make a point to follow up with an Emily Post "excuse me" afterward.

"Why don't you just not belch?"

"I can't help it."

[Eye roll.]

For the record, the fact that 3B says "excuse you" rather than "excuse me" is all on Mama.

And Mom would laugh--at me--when I told her that 3B loves to wait until my slow digital camera and I are ready to take a picture and then a) run straight toward me b) grab the camera c) turn away d) stop what he's doing, sit down, stick his thumb in his mouth and give me his best "what the hell are you looking at?" scowl e) all of the above.

See, Mom also loved to take pictures. Mom had a keen eye and took photography classes to learn technical skills and even had our upstairs bathroom outfitted so that it could be converted into a darkroom. She kept a roll-away enlarger in the broom closet next to the bathroom.

Especially because Mom couldn't instantly see her shots as she took them, she would often take several pictures of one sitting or setting, to make sure she got what she wanted. When she would say, "Just one more." I would roll my eyes and laugh. It was never just one more.

So, perhaps it's all my fault, or perhaps laying it at my feet is merely blaming the victim of photophilia, but at some point, I do admit that I did start messing with Mom. OK, we all did. Back in those days, she had a split-focus viewfinder, which was easiest to focus sharply on a vertical line. There must be hundreds of pictures of us standing with our index fingers held up in front of us for her to focus on. ("OK, just one more...without the fingers!") Actually, it might have been Dad who started the finger thing.

That became too easy, however, so when she would focus (This was back when people actually had to focus cameras themselves--oh, the horror!), which could take a few seconds or weeks, I would slowly lean forward and backward. Of course, this only doomed me to more hours before the camera, but it was fun to watch her get it in focus, and, not quite...OK, now it's in, not quite...OK, now...what is going on? Of course, Mom caught on and that time passed.

And then there were the timer shots with my blue nose, but we'll leave that for another time. Suffice it to say that Mom would find 3B's efforts to thwart my harassment-by-camera amusing. Had I known then what a pain in the ass karma is, I might have been a better kid.

No, you're right, probably not.

And as a kid, I was, as I am now, a boy. Very much a boy, except the part about the stuffed animals, and later on with the makeup, oh, and the earrings...but I digress. So, it should come as no surprise that 3B has some of those same traits, especially since he's a boy. Actually, I suspect that more of this comes from his age than his gender. With his fascination in pushing everything to, and past, the breaking point, he could either be a regular toddler, or a future failure analysis engineer.

I understand the instinct, having conducted several similar experiments myself, some of which pushed me past my breaking point. I even broke one of Mom's favorite vases, and so I understand that these things happen--that even though I gave this to Mama for Valentine's Day, along with a ride in a rented Mini Cooper, that one small red-headed object of her affection would do this to another small red-colored object of her affection:

...we can't have nice things

And, I think that the next time a firefighter offers 3B a helmet, we'll decline. After all, we've got enough scattered around the house for a squad of firefighters, however, they're all in a state similar to this:
This is why...

At one time, I believe I asked Mom why there weren't more pictures of me from a particular time, she just leaned slowly forward and backward, rolled her eyes and laughed. I'll have to remember to keep at least one helmet nearby and intact, so that when 3B asks why we didn't indulge his love of all things firefighter-related, I can slowly tear it apart and say, "Daddy break it. Daddy rip it." And roll my eyes and laugh.

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  1. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Belching is a natural body function. When she acted all offended, I used to tell my mom, "Better than it coming out the other end!" She was never swayed by that powerful argument.

    My kids are complete hams when the camera comes out. The boy likes to make goofy faces, while the girl puts on a fake megawatt smile. Off-Broadway, here we come.

    3B's gotta learn the breaking point of things around him before he can learn what "gentle" means. And of course lots and lots of repetition.

  2. I hope that is the worst car accident 3B ever has.

    I remember what you were like as a boy, and the apple is not rolling too much.

    Some day, you can both have nice things, as long as they are made of plastic and stress tested before you bring them home.

  3. I can remember a certain uncle teaching my kids the proper follow up to a good belch. Even when his young neice could put him to shame.

    "Sounds like a barge coming through!"

    "Tasted better going down than going up." which can get humorous in the other direction.

    "Excuse me." In very tiny print