Do you remember the Berenstain Bears books? It’s this series of children’s books written by – wait for it – a couple named Berenstain. Yeah, they named their creations after themselves. Not the humblest bears, are they?
There are roughly eleventy billion books in this series. I think after the 90th book or so, the Berenstains just started calling them in. Recycling old books into new ones. Getting ghost bear writers, etc. After a while, you gotta run out of didactic topics to write about. You see, most of the Berenstain Bears books are designed to teach lessons to children, yet they don’t answer some of the most basic questions themselves. For instance:
What were Mama and Papa’s names before they became parents? Girl Bear and Boy Bear? Likewise, before Sister Bear (creative, am I right?) was born, Brother Bear was called Small Bear. Which means he had to change his name because of a sibling. That’s just asking for sibling rivalry right there. I mean, giving up your freaking crib is bad enough, but your name? Jeez, people.
But then, having exhausted every other idea, they decided to have the Bears have a third cub. Well, there’s a problem there. I mean, there’s only two official sexes, at least when it comes to bears. So what to call the third bear? Other sister bear? Other brother bear? Number Two? It’s not like they could just start calling the bears Thing One and Thing Two or something I mean who would do that to their children?
The third one was named Honey. Unfair. This kid gets a name. And that’s not all. Brother and Sister have friends with actual names but they are stuck with Brother and Sister, at least until they get married and then I guess they become Mama and Papa, though hopefully not with each other. Also notice their last name is Bear. That’s like saying my name is Alice Human. Hi, Mrs Human, how are you? Just fine, come meet my children: Brother, Sister, and Other.
But what does this have to do with cake? I’m getting to it. See, I remember one of the Very Important Lessons they taught to children was one about eating too much junk food. In fact, the book was called The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food. There’s also one called The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday, which could also fit, but I’m going to concentrate on the junk food one because that one just ticks me off.
See, in the story, Mama notices that Papa and the cubs are getting too fat. I think that’s a bit presumptuous of her. She ain’t exactly Kate Moss herself. And wtf with always wearing her nightgown? Like, get dressed already.
She gets a bee in her bonnet, so she goes all Michelle Obama on the family and takes them all to the doctor to hear about healthy food. Because doctors totally do that. My question is like, why wasn’t she just serving it in the first place if she’s so healthy? Oh, wait, I bet Papa bought the food, and as you know, dads are almost always buffoons in cartoons and TV shows. So Mama buys them healthy food like carrots and the kids actually eat it.
Back the truck up. I want to know how she got them to do that. There is no mention of ketchup in the books, so what caused the sudden change?
At the end of the book, they all run in the Bear Marathon. Whoop-te-poop.
You know what I say? I say the Berenstains need to quit being so judgmental. How many of these books can you take? The Berenstain Bears and The Truth (I can’t handle that book), The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, The Berenstain Bears Beat a Dead Horse. I mean, enough already. I don’t want any more lessons. I want cake.
I might have had a little too much cake, though, because wow I just totally powered through this whole post in no time flat! So toooo much birthday for Alice! Tooo much cake! But how to stop? I read all these Berenstain self-help books and they have not cured my sugar addiction. For realz, I mean, I cannot stop eating cake. I actually stood at the table and ate cake with a spoon. I forced Thing One to help me, which didn’t take much forcing, so that I didn’t eat another two pieces myself. I have a cake problem.
I’ve heard it said that sugar can give you the serotonin rush you need, thus turning you from a Sad Pony into a Squirrel. It totally does. But this isn’t such a good thing, because my stomach hurts and I just injested like 5,000 calories and I’m afraid that typing and vibrating in place doesn’t burn nearly enough of these calories off. So what now? How do I solve this problem?
One more birthday to go this month – mine. More caaaaaaaake!
Today is Thing One’s birthday. Thirteen. I feel old. I told her I wasn’t ready for her to be a teenager. She said she wasn’t ready to be one either. Who is?
If you’ve been keeping up, yes, my children have birthdays 7 days apart. It’s like having twins, only different ages and stages and not exactly the same day so you still lose your sanity, just with a very short break in between. Before, we’ve done a joint party with kids. We’ve also had a lot of family parties consisting of my parents and cake because my tolerance for any sort of party, especially one with lots of small shrieking people, is very, very short.
But this one was special for Thing One, so I wanted to do something more grown up. This took some thinking on my part. Thing One is very hard to shop for these days. Not on purpose – she knows what she likes, she just can’t seem to convey this very well until she looks at something, and it’s all over her face that no, this was not a good choice.
It didn’t use to be this way. I used to dress her however I wanted, which was “small Laura Ashley clone” Later she had an accessory sister. I dressed them in matching or coordinating clothes and they were gorgeous. Great pictures. Back then, Thing One loved wearing dresses with matching hair bows and lacy socks and shiny shoes. Her baby sister didn’t care because she was too busy eating her shoes or tossing them out of shopping carts. Still, they made a perfect set. Their grandmother loved buying them clothes, so even though I was poor, my kids were freakin’ stylin’.
But then Thing One got older, and decided she didn’t really want to match little sister. She likes jeans and T-shirts now, not dresses. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I rarely wear dresses either, but losing my little “doll” was tough. For a little while. Until I realized I was getting a real, live girl in return. Thing One started out with a verbal delay. She didn’t talk well until after four, but the entire time she was listening and processing. And one day the results all started spilling out.
This girl has opinions – based on facts. Like her sister she is smart, beautiful, creative, and so funny. Unlike her sister, she spends more time thinking on things, turning them around in her head before speaking her mind. She has friends, but she doesn’t seem to need them around like Thing Two. She is content to entertain herself in a world of her own, or play the same weird computer game for hours. A game where you’re an animal that bounces around “chatting” with other animals or playing stupid games. Come to think of it, it’s just Facebook for the younger set, only more honest.
She and her sister also love to hang with me, and follow me around, even though I’m not nearly as cool as they are. I know there will come a day when Thing One won’t need me as much, but right now she’s at such a tough stage. Not a little girl, not an adult, not quite a moody teenager really. She’s right on the cusp, and I remember how confusing and frustrating that can be.
Yet she’s much more self-determined than I was at that age, or even now. When her friend made fun of a strange, awkward girl, she stood up for the kid. She said to her friend, “Hey, wait, you got baptized. Aren’t we all supposed to be brothers and sisters and be kind to each other?” Oooh, snap! Yes, the kid reads and understands and puts good lessons to use! I’d have been a big fat weenie and not said a word, though I knew it was wrong. I was worried about fitting in. Thing One is more worried about doing what’s right. Thing One is awesome.
So I decided that since Dad had planned a rocking party for little sister, I would plan a day out with her. I got her a purse (that she picked out so I knew she’d like it) and a wallet with money in it. Money she could spend on a shopping trip with me, once we were done having manicures for the very first time together.
It was a great day. We got our nails done (I’m jealous, Thing One’s look better than mine.) while Thing One gave a commentary on the People Magazine. “Oh, wow, they actually reported on the Boston Marathon bombing instead of just Kim Kardashian?” Once again, love this kid.
We went to the city and ate at an Italian fast foodish restaurant with free breadsticks. Not sure how many that kid ate. I miss having that metabolism. We headed to the mall next where she spent money on a bracelet and asked why she was being charged the Canadian amount. She’s still getting used to that whole ‘tax” thing. Bummer, that.
Fortunately, Thing One wears out as fast as I do. She is not my “shopping” kid. So after eating some double stuffed cookies (no calories there!) we headed home. The teenage years may be tough, but maybe they are off to a good start, at least.
Happy Birthday, my Thing One.
It just occurred to me that it’s Father’s Day and I didn’t do a special post on it. I’ve been busy, what with practicing my devil yoga and managing facebook accounts for two animals and celebrating the second birthday of the month (one more to goooooo!) So Father’s Day is really in a bad place here. Three birthdays is really enough. To top it off, my parents also have their anniversary this month. I remember it because there are flags everywhere commemorating the union that led to yours truly. Some say it’s Flag Day, but heck with them.
So now we have Father’s Day. I have no idea what the history behind Father’s Day is but I’m guessing the greeting card industry had something to do with it. Probably also the people who manufacture men’s cologne and ties. Even fathers don’t always care about Father’s Day because they already have 20 bottles of cheap cologne and a dozen Garfield ties. They’re pretty much set.
Also I posted more this week than usual. My apologies. I blame the ADHD or the OCD or some other letter combination. But I was talking about fathers here, and what they mean to me. They are much more than that little bit they offer to make a child. Sometimes they are much better. Other times they are much worse. And some are dead. People with deceased parents just LOVE Mother’s and Father’s Day because they like constant reminders of loss. It’s not like they can send cards to the underworld. That would cost a fortune.
Another annoying thing about Father’s Day – the ads. For once, they’re filled with guy stuff. Guy clothes, golf clubs, barbecue grills, tools and snooooooorrrre. I’m not saying all men like these things. That’s just what Sears and Target think they should like, so it’s everywhere even though, generally speaking, it’s women that like to shop. But we don’t like to shop for guys. Well, I don’t. And most Father’s Day stuff is crap. So my husband is buying his own Father’s Day present because he knows what he wants and it’s something for his garage that I can’t remember the name of or lift for that matter, so I’m perfectly happy letting him choose it himself.
We bought my father a book on cars. I might throw in cologne. He’s one of the few men I know that actually likes getting cologne. But really, I hate these made up days. Isn’t it bad enough that we have to remember people’s birthdays and whatever winter holiday it is they celebrate? I think we should all boycott stupid holidays. I bet I could get people behind that one because it’s pointless and doesn’t actually help say feed anyone or something. So boycott Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Siblings Day, Basset Hound day (I actually only made the last one up – probably). You’ll be glad you did. Unless your Dad is into revenge.
So tell me – do you like Father’s Day? Did you remember to buy a gift? Was it a tie? Why did you do that?