1. “When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” (Erma Bombeck)
I’m with Erma on most things, including the playpen – or its euphemistic cousin, the play yard. Like suburban homes throughout the Western world, my home comes equipped with a Time Out Chair. It was originally a spot for William and Vivian to plant their butts after they committed various offenses such as biting their mother or throwing a bowl of Cheerios at their father’s head. Now, though, I’ve co-opted it. “Mommy’s having a time out,” I say. “Leave her alone.”
2. “People who say they sleep like babies usually don’t have them.” (Leo J. Burke)
“Sleep like babies” has to be ranked highly on the list of World’s Stupidest Similes, beating out well-known clangers like “cute as a button” (since when are sewing notions cute?), not to mention comparisons requiring birth control, such as “multiply like rabbits.” When an adult sleeps like a baby, it means she’s got the flu or she’s drunk: Like a baby she aspirates, flails, and wakes up the entire household.
3. “The worst feature of a new baby is its mother’s singing.” (Kin Hubbard)
Of all my talents (I think I have three, if I count my ability to sneeze like Donald Duck), my most accomplished one is knowing what I’m not good at. The first item on my Things-I-Suck-At list is singing, followed closely by wrapping presents. Six years ago, in my pregnancy phase, I was placed on bed-rest. Bored – or in a delusional state – I composed a lullaby for my twins:
Good morning my children, how are you today?
Did the morning wake you, or was it the blue jay?
Let’s get you moving to see what this day brings,
For the sunshine is up and something something something.
Yes, the ending needed some work and the rest of it needed the great-delete-button-from-the-sky, but no matter. By week three of their post-uterus lives, Vivian and William would protest my singing, crying before I missed the second note. Bye bye lullaby and Idol aspirations.
4. “Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, and hold our breath, and hope we’ve set aside enough money to pay for our kids’ therapy.” (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Good lord, Michelle. Not only were you the cover girl for People magazine’s first “50 Most Beautiful People in the World,” but you also have a sense of humour? So not fair. Not to mention the fact that my kids’ therapy fund – if I could manage to save beyond payday – would eat up 50% of my salary. Ya ain’t making me feel much better, Mitch.
5. “Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world’s worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come stay with you.” (Anne Lamott)
I email this quote to every expectant parent I find. It decreases the number of invites I get to baby showers. But maybe this is another simile that doesn’t work. I know many people who’d choose Janis Joplin as their roommate because she’d take medication and eventually pass out. As for a baby…