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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meet My Friends: Part Fourteen

Well, lovely readers, you are in for a TREAT today! My next guest post is from a fictional character. And no, it's not one of the voices in my head! I have a good friend who writes a fiction blog and she has been kind enough to write a post for us today!

First, a little background.

I met my friend Darla a few years ago in a small town in NC when I directed her son in a couple of shows. On opening night while all of the other parents and kids were giving me stuffed animals and show-related tchotchkes, Darla and her husband gave me margarita mix!

Yes, our friendship was meant to be!

Beyond the love of mixed drinks we also share similar political views (and let me tell you, we were outnumbered in that small southern town so it was important to stick together...and drink) and people as a whole (most of them should just get the hell out of our way.)

Darla has a fabulous, witty, snarky sense of humor so I was THRILLED when she started her fiction blog this summer. Her main character, Joy, shares some of Darla's great traits--stylish, sarcastic, a giver--but is definitely meaner. How nice to have a character who says all the things we real folks can't!!

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Joy Woods from JK! The Fictional World of Joy Woods created by my good friend, Darla Smallwood. Enjoy!

I’m so grateful to Lucy for inviting me over today. Although I’ve never really thought of myself as a mommy blogger, I recently realized that apparently any thin, wildly attractive woman with a fashion sense and a kid is totally qualified to tell all other parents what to do. Well, check, check, check, and CHECK! (Look, I don’t have time for modesty here -- and thanks for the inspiration, Gisele.)

Hell, I might even be OVER-qualified -- and no, not only because of my undeniable chicness and hotness even at . . . um . . . 39 + . . . , but also because I’ve managed to get my kid Harry to age 18 ¾ without his -- so far -- having been jailed or featured on Dr. Phil crying about how I screwed him up and landed him in rehab. And believe me, as your kids get older, you’ll get past your illusions of doing everything perfectly and concede that that’s pretty much the only measure of successful parenting. (By the way, about that Dr. Phil thing: You have to admit my having Harry sign that nondisclosure agreement in exchange for a Playstation III when he was thirteen was genius.)

So, having said all that, I’ve got a few tips for you. I don’t want to be prescriptive or presumptuous and say something inane like these should be made “worldwide laws” or anything. Let’s just call them Joy’s Ten Commandments of Parenting. And, hey, if you don’t choose to follow them . . . well, not everyone wants to be a good parent. I’m not here to judge.

1. Thou shalt not eat (and eat . . . and eat) during pregnancy. When I was expecting Harry, the enablers were always around saying, “Go ahead; you’re eating for two.” Always be wary of these pizza a la mode pushers – notice how they invariably have two chins and wear polyester pants that put the s (for scary) in stretch. They really just want you to join their club. Now there’s even a study showing that gaining too much weight spells trouble for your baby – but, hey, if that isn’t enough to convince you to resist a craving or two, consider spending the next few years dressing for two, trying to pass off a “wide load” flag on your ass as a fashion accessory. Stacy and Clinton are SO not down with that.

2. Thou shalt not respond to questions like “How’s your pregnancy going?” with lots of details. Come on. Wake up and smell the nonfat latte with no whip. No matter how excited YOU are about every step of the whole amazing process -- accept that most people are happy never hearing words like dilate or membrane unless you’re talking about going to your eye exam or peeling an orange. (Actually, probably not even then.) So just say “Great!” and then chat about a subject that should matter to everyone – like the war, world hunger -- or the BOGO sale at Zappos.com.*

*Special exception: This commandment may be (and should be) broken when talking to another soon-to-be parent. In this case, getting graphic to prove you are suffering the most is a pregnancy pissing contest (no pun intended – but I like it), and you are in it to win, honey!

3. Thou shalt not be caught off guard when looking at other people’s babies. When Harry was a baby, I spent a lot of time with other new moms, most of whose babies couldn’t hold a candle to my completely adorable and photogenic child. However, some moms just can’t seem to grasp that their babies are – how can I be kind here? UGLY.

But be ready, because they still expect compliments on their little Gorgon/troll. You obviously don’t want to flat-out lie and say “How cute!” so be prepared with an arsenal of comments like “She’s so tiny!” “What adorable little shoes!” and “He looks just like you.” They’ll never know the difference.

Thank God only those of you with attractive children read this blog, so you should be safe using this little trick. Just be sure to smile sincerely when you deliver the comment, and yes, sincerity can be rehearsed. Trust me.

4. Thou shalt be grateful that -- while there is a Baby Gap – there’s not yet a Baby Abercrombie. Because do you really want your toddler reeking of too much (tapioca-scented?) cologne, and standing around topless in a low-slung diaper with his/ her hand shoved down the front and his/her tiny little ass-crack showing in the back? Enough said.

5. Thou shalt NEVER say what your child will or won’t do. Let’s just say I learned this one the hard way when I bragged to another mom that, while other two-year-olds were biting, hitting, and stealing toys from other kids, Harry was always friendly and played appropriately with his peers. That very afternoon, his daycare called me in to discuss how to get Harry to stop licking the backs of little girl’s knees in the playhouse. Well, I got the friendly part right, anyway. And, no, as much as I wish he had, Harry did not learn that behavior from my husband Matt.

6. Thou shalt not get too smug about how your kid only gets healthy food with no refined sugar, low sodium, blahblahblah. Because I doubt that the squashed caterpillar your kid just peeled off the driveway and ingested while you were telling me this was the kind of “organic” you had in mind.

7. Thou shalt control your children in public. When Harry was little, I had the good sense to recognize that no one appreciates a kid sticking his God-knows-where-they’ve-been fingers in the Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar, crawling under the clothing racks in Target, or blabbing away in a movie theater. Sure, children need a place where they can rip and tear, explore everything, and express themselves freely without any limits or repercussions, but this should happen in a private place, not a public one. (It’s called “Grandma’s house.” Drop them off regularly – and drive away quickly.)

8. Thou shalt carry mace or pepper spray at all times. Like it or not, it’s your job to protect your children, and we live in a dangerous world. (Once when Harry was three, he threw a full-out tantrum because I wouldn’t let him pee in the fountain at the mall. On this occasion, I discovered that mace is also useful for convincing bystanders who offer unsolicited advice like “You NEED to spank his butt” to SHUT THE HELL UP AND BACK OFF!)

9. Thou shalt nod, smile, and then IGNORE Grandma’s advice when it comes to your kids. Sure, Grandma plays an important role in your child’s life – see #7 – but her advice may be a little outdated. For example, when Harry was little, my mom, Frances, told me to give Harry a beer to help him burp and whiskey to help him sleep. That’s what they did in her day, she said. Of course, I didn’t do this. But at least now I understand my affinity for boilermakers.

Oh, and never ask your kids whether Grandma tried out her old-fashioned methods on them herself when you weren’t around. I try not to think about why Harry had an imaginary friend named Jack Daniels and yelled “Down the hatch!” before drinking from his sippy cup when he was two. There’s a reason we call them family secrets, people.

10. Thou shalt ALWAYS read Lucy’s blog – and mine too. Check me out at http://darpar.wordpress.com because really, how can you hope to make the right choices about fashion, parenting – or WTF – ANYTHING – without a little Joy in your life?

Thanks again for having me, Lucy! (Oh -- and Gisele? Next time you feel like spouting some advice, go get yourself a sugar-free popsicle and – as my idol Kathy Griffin would say -- just suck it.)

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