Many of you out there know that I have been having issues with my family of late. For those of you who don't know all the backstory -- well, my God, as with any family, it would take me years to get you all filled in, and after the first twenty minutes you'd be heading for the exit, never to visit Blog Blah Blah again.
The short version is that my mom and I have been on the outs for some time, although we never speak of it due to (a) her passive-aggressiveness and (2) my complete lack of patience in dealing with same. My mom lives with my grandmother in a 4 bedroom house 100 miles south of here. My sister lives with her husband and two small sons in the front half of a duplex, which they rent from her in-laws, 5 miles east of here. My grandmother has recently sold her house and bought a 5 bedroom house 45 miles north of here, into which she intends to move my mom, my sister and brother-in-law, and my two nephews.
Three -- oops, no, FOUR -- generations under one roof. A scenario fraught with the potential for disaster, my friends.
And oh, the drama, she has begun.
This morning, I logged on to my Yahoo! account to find two messages from my mom. She is having some difficulty with my brother-in-law/sister, who are concerned about the sheer volume of stuff both my mom and my grandma have accumulated, where it will all go, and the necessity of paring a lot of it down before the move. My mother likes to have a lot of stuff around her. I mean a lot of stuff, like magazines dating back to 1987, newspaper clippings, hundreds of videotapes stashed in dressers, corners, under side tables, etc. She wants my feedback on this situation.
Oh, hell, no.
What am I, an idiot? Pretty much whatever I say is going to come back and bite me on the ass. No, thanks. And somehow my refusal to venture an opinion will also bite me on the ass, as this will be one more way in which I have let my mom down. Jesus.
Thanksgiving is going to be a barrel of laughs.
Woof, Woofier, Woofiest
Have I mentioned that we have a new neighbor on our floor? And have I mentioned that our new neighbor has a pit bull? On the same floor as my two-year-old?
Let me just say this: I love dogs. But I love responsible dog owners even more. And I love Viva, like, 500,000 times even more. And so far, each time that I have seen this dog and its owner, the owner did not have control of the dog. She did have the dog on a leash, but both times that I have been face-to-face with them, the dog strained the limits of the leash, resulting in the dog being much closer to me than I would like -- i.e., within biting range.
The first time, I stopped and stood dead still, waiting for the owner to pull the dog back. She did not, so I eased my way carefully past. The owner said: "She won't bite you!" in this totally annoyed voice.
The problem with this is that I couldn't even tell this wretched woman off because I didn't want to upset/antagonize the dog. But I wanted to say to her, "Have you ever been bitten by a dog?"
I have, and it was a family pet, an Akita that outweighed me by more than 20 pounds (and I was already a "grown-up" at the time, 26 if I remember correctly). He ran at me when I was sitting on the living room floor in my dad's house, and thank God I thought he was coming to lick me in the face, because I turned my head away. He held me down with one foot on my arm, put my head in his mouth, and punctured my skull in four places. It took two grown men to pull him off.
I am therefore a little cautious about dogs, especially dogs I don't know. I don't care if it's a Chihuahua, put your dog on a leash, and control your fucking dog. I don't think there's anything cute about your dog running up and jumping on me. You love your dog, I don't.
That said, I still like dogs. But having an untrained pit bull and pit bull owner not just in my building, but on my floor, is kind of akin to having skinheads move in down the hall. I feel the potential for beaucoup bad shit has just increased exponentially.
We are in the car, on our way to school, stopped at the stop light at Melrose Ave. I look back at my little cream puff, and she is just so damn cute, I have to say:
Mama Blah: Hi, pretty girl.
Viva [incensed]: I'm not pretty!
Mama Blah [horrified]: WHAT? Why would you say that? Of course you are! I think you're very pretty.
Viva: No, I'm a big girl.
Mama Blah: Yes, you're a big girl. And you're also a pretty girl.
Viva: NO! Big girls are not pretty! Boys are pretty!
Mama Blah: Boys are pretty, and girls aren't?
Viva: I am a big girl, I am NOT pretty.
Mama Blah: But I think you're a big girl and you're beautiful --
Viva: No. I am a BIG GIRL!
Mama Blah: You don't think you can be a big girl and be pretty?
Viva: No. [loses interest and starts singing to herself]
I am at a loss here. What I generally try to do is tell Viva how pretty and smart and strong and sweet she is, etc. I don't think I emphasize one over the other. I was never told I was pretty when I was a kid (I know, cry me a river), just that I was smart, which was nice, but made me feel like I was the ugly, smart one, while my sister was the pretty, not-as-smart one. Not so good for either of us.
I'll talk to her more about this when I pick her up from school. Will report back. I hope you don't lose any sleep over this.
Saturday night, Viva and I took a bath together. She was playing with her dinosaurs and I was washing her hair, and then she turned around and said:
Viva: What's that on your chest?
Mama Blah [looking down and seeing nothing out of the ordinary]: What? What on my chest?
Viva [pointing]: That.
Mama Blah: This? [Viva nods] This, and this -- these are nipples.
Viva: Nooples? Can I touch them?
Mama Blah [making the split-second decision, and making the wrong one]: I guess.
Viva [pinching them]: Nooples! Ha ha ha!
Mama Blah [cringing]: Nipples. Okay, that's enough of that.
Viva [stalking me now and laughing hysterically while flailing at me with her grabby little hands]: No! I want to touch your nipples! [Much splashing]
Mama Blah [laughing but trying to get away]: Cut it out! Touch your own nipples!
Viva: My nipples?
Mama Blah: Yes, you've got two of your own!
Oh my God. How does one cope?