Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inadequate is the new Adequate

Before we touch on the subject of my inadequacy (which will take a lot more than a mere touch, believe me you, and maybe even into the realm of groping) an aside:
Fortune cookies.
I love them. I so look forward to reading my fortune, believing somehow that the cookie actually knows my future, and is a pretty serious prognostication of what my future holds in store. In fact, I still have a fortune from a cookie that I got when I was pregnant with Alex- 'Welcome the change coming soon to your life" Proof. Irrefutable proof that fortune cookies are legit. Because some months later, Alex came kicking and screaming into our lives, and welcome him we did.
So last night when our dinner arrived with two fortune cookies, I couldn't help but tear them open before I even got to my Ginger Chicken, wondering what my fortune would be and hoping (knowing, really) that it was going to be BIG- a promotion, a drastic change just around the bend, the lottery, something.
I was very disapointed. My fortune was: You would make a good career off of wacky inventions.
Not very profound. And I know for a fact that I wouldn't make a fortune off of wacky inventions, because even after pondering the notion for several hours, not one single wacky invention is coming to mind- the hat with a drinking straw is already taken. Alas, the fortune let me down.
And then Geoff gets his fortune, and what does he get: You will soon recieve very pleasant news.
Jealousy surges through me. I want the pleasant news. And so then I convince myself that our fortunes got mixed up. That I was the pleasant news getter and he was the wacky inventor.
Anyways, I guess we will see if either of them has any merit. Somehow, I'm thinking probably not. There's even a disclaimer on the fortune saying 'for entertainment purposes only' and I wonder about that for a second- why they have to spell it out like that? Have there been fortune cookie related law suits?? I can almost see the headline: Man, suicidal, plunges to his death after bizarre fortune cookie coincidence" The article would go on to explain his fortune "Take the Plunge" and how he had, quite literally, taken the plunge, and now the whole fortune cookie industry is reeling and lawyering up, fearing an outpourin of class action lawsuits. It's a weird thing, really, like the disclaimers on shampoo bottles that say "for external use only." Makes me worry for my fellow mankind.

Anyways. Inadequacy. The other day I was reading a parenting magazine, which as it turns out, is something I should not be doing. Until I picked up that magazine, I was actually feeling somewhat comfortable with my parenting ability. First off, the main article was on TV "How much is too much"- it was a pretty lengthy article that I mostly skimmed through trying to get to the part that said "experts now agree that television is educational and should not in any way be limited or restricted", but of course I didn't get to that part and in fact, the gist of the article seemed to be that any amount of TV watching was too much and that parents need to spend thier time frolicking in the pumpkin patches with thier children, bedazzling lamp shades and I guess otherwise engaging in activities that do not include watching Survivor. It kind of bothered me but then I was like 'well, you can't believe everything you read in magazines, right?" and I don't care what they say- it is educational, and besides- look at me- I was raised on TV and I turned out all right.
Sort of.
A few minor neuroses and some mild cholesterol issues.
So then I started to read this other article with "Sanity Saving parenting tips", and I thought, now this is something I need to read. Imagine my disapointment when this was one of the tips (paraphrased):
Vaccumming provides a nice escape from the noise of the children and allows you to focus on something mindless- it is a nice little getaway, and it will keep the dust bunnies at bay as well!!!
Honestly, I think I flipped to the front cover to see if this magazine was somehow originally printed in 1965 but was mistakenly delivered my door. But no. February 2009. I was like what part, exactly, of Stepford are these women from? I mean, vaccumming, as a getaway?? Oh My God. I thought that my ten minute nightly bubble bath was a bit pitiful as a diversion, but now I am thinking it's better than what some people get.
And then... they had this section of recession proofing your baby's wardrobe, with really inspired tips such as 'buy clothing that can be mixed and matched'- I mean, as though I need to read that in a magazine! But anyways, they had this picture of a onesie- the apparent epitome of recession proof clothing because it cost a mere $1.75 (Practically disposable at that price!! they proclaimed). And I realized, with a heavy heart, that there was something familiar about that onesie. It was one that Alex had in his very dresser. And not only that- but it was a shower gift no less!!!
I threw the magazine away. I have plenty to feel inadequate about as it is, thank you very much. My children watch TV. I have, on occasion, fed them Fruit By the Foot for breakfast, on the somewhat shaky (I'll admit) premise that it is (after all), 10% modified fruit juice. They have worn their pyjamas all day, sometimes for more than one day in a row, from time to time. Yes, many of their toys have come from McDonalds Happy Meals. They wear clothes that are, apparently, practically disposable!! In my house vaccumming would never constitute a break, and actually, I think, I might have burnt out the motor by somewhat accidentally/on purpose vaccuuming up a sock, and believe me you, I am not exactly going through vaccuum withdrawals. A getaway in my house usually involves either booze or chocolate- or, in some cases, both.
Anyways. I've said enough. Inadequate is the new adequate.
That's what I'll tell myself. And really, I think I can spin it. What makes us good parents is our readiness to admit to our flaws, our readiness to have flaws. Gone is the generation of 'father knows best' and here is the generation 'of let's just muddle through this'- a kind of noble humility, or I guess I shouldn't speak for an entire generation, but... the idea makes a certain kind of sense.


Lorrie said...

You're always adequate in my eyes dear...well at least 'meeting expectations'!

randine said...

Hey, thanks... I guess.