Sunday Smorgasbord

Since Mass starts in fifteen minutes and we’re all still in pajamas, my spidey senses tell me that we’ll be making our weekly appearance of shame at the evening snoozers, boozers and losers Mass. It turns out that try as I sort-of-sometimes-pretend-to, I will never join the ranks of the neighborhood mothers who can have a baby every other Friday and still show up, perfectly coiffed and five minutes early, for Sunday morning Mass with their well-behaved offspring. Ah, well. Someone has to provide the rest of Ave Maria with prayer intentions. Might as well be me.

One thing I have managed to do this morning, and every day in the last week and a half, is read a little bit of Kathleen Norris’s book Amazing Grace. That’s right, every single day. Shocked? So am I. But honestly, I love it. It’s giving me things to think about that are actually edifying, plus it’s written so well that it’s like getting a glimpse of the Beautiful in the midst of the Chaotic. It’s even inspired me to abandon my increasingly masochistic reading of Game of Thrones, hopefully forever.

Has anyone else read the Game of Thrones books? I made a real effort with those books. I actually made it all the way to the middle of book 3. I tried so hard to like the books, to like the characters, to care whether they lived or died, but mostly I felt like I was being punished every time I picked the book up. I think I feel that way because I keep waiting for something good to happen…for someone innocent to be rescued, for someone noble to win a battle, for a child to be protected instead of exploited, for Lysa Arryn to get the axe already, but it never happens. Good never triumphs. The book may be set in a fantastical world, but it revolves around ordinary, everyday, awful people. And quite frankly, I don’t want to read books about people being people. I like to read about people being extraordinary. This book is like soap opera of Machiavellian intrigues, with dragons. It’s like Jersey Shore meets Mob Wives on the set of Reign of Fire, only they forgot Christian Bale. No, thank you.

But there’s only about a hundred pages left in my Kathleen Norris book, and I’d like to read a fiction book after this that I haven’t read before. So does anyone have suggestions? I love Connie Willis’s time-travel books, Harry Potter, Salman Rushdie, and Animorphs. (I refuse to be ashamed by that last one, so don’t try.) I’d like something that’s gripping, fun, easy to read, and preferably long enough (or in a series) for me to enjoy for at least a week. (So you have something to judge by, I read the seventh Harry Potter book in 24 hours. All 759 pages of it. Granted, those were extreme circumstances and I hardly slept, because Harry Potter, but at least it gives you a frame of reference.)

In other news, sometimes I can’t believe the commenters that Camp Patton attracts. I’ve had some doozies myself, but Grace seems to be a magnet for (always anonymous, of course) people who have nothing better to do with their day than make sure she understands that she is the worst mother ever, and that her kids are totally going to be scarred for life. Let’s take a little informal poll. Which activity seems more mentally unbalanced to you: writing hilariously snarky posts about motherhood to get you through your husband’s endless residency, or scouring the internet for people whose lives/blogs you disagree with so you can publicly point out the damage they are doing to their children? Cast your votes below.

Okay, here’s another informal poll, but this is less tongue-in-cheek and more “please help me learn to parent because I have no idea what I’m doing”. Remember this video that I posted last week?

I love this video. It’s hilarious. And I love that it’s goofy and doesn’t contain all kinds of sexually explicit dance moves. In the past week, I’ve gotten in to the habit of putting it on in the mornings after Sienna is at school, when I need a boost to get moving and put a smile on my face. Charlotte and Liam like to dance along to it and don’t watch too carefully, and aside from having to explain to Charlotte not to repeat the “hey sexy lady” line, I haven’t been conflicted about having the video on. But this morning I put it on and Sienna watched it with us, and suddenly I found myself freaking out. Not only about the close-up of the yoga girl’s bum, but also about the guy doing the weird pelvic-thrusting dance in the elevator, the three girls in silver who do about half of a suggestive dance move, and even the pretty girl in the metro, not because she’s dressed inappropriately or dancing inappropriately, but just because Sienna is getting to the super-aware age where she wants to emulate every pretty girl she sees and I’m trying to surround her with images of beauty that isn’t just superficial. At the same time, I’m confident that in the years ahead we will have to battle seriously bad influences (Lady Gaga, anyone?). I don’t want to start by being hyper-protective and reactionary, especially if it means forbidding videos like this one, which are 99% goofy fun and 1% questionable. What do you guys think? And moms who have older, teenage kids, how do you strike a balance? What influences do you guard against most, and what things do you let slide?

And now, I think I’ve ignored my kids enough for the day. Tomorrow morning I have to go have a dentist appointment that I’m terrified about, since it involves deep gum cleaning and numbing and all kinds of horror, so I probably won’t post unless I somehow manage to survive unscathed. And if that happens, I’ll be sure to include all the histrionic details. Happy Sunday, everyone!

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