Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Listen to This.

Coco was in the car the other day demanding, "Mean King!" I had no idea what I was talking about, until I realized that she was referring to the song King George sings in Hamilton. We listen to the Hamilton soundtrack pretty often, and Zuzu will occasionally ask questions about the lyrics (which are, admittedly, not necessarily age-appropriate...). King George sings a song called "You'll Be Back," which is the song of the British monarch to the American colonists and sparked an inquiry from my backseat of what a "fully armed battalion" is, exactly. It also includes the lyric, "I'll kill your friends and family to remind you of my love!" Anyway, the girls love it and would totally have joined the revolution and dumped some tea in the harbor. The king! He's so mean! 

I love the podcast On Being with Krista Tippett (she should read audiobooks, too, I think) and I really liked this one where she interviews Alain de Botton on "The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships" (you can click the link and listen on your computer/phone online, or you can use the podcast app on your iphone (it's purple and looks like an antenna) and search for On Being, then scroll through the episodes to find this one). 

I thought of it today when I picked up Zuzu and she was exhausted from a school day without a nap and with a lot of playing outside. She and her bestie, Gemma, were in the middle of an elaborate game that involved foraging for stems of grass and inedible berries and I interrupted them when I arrived. She was a complete pill about leaving, and it turned into a huge debacle, where one teacher held her while I pried open her fist to drop the berries and grass (it's a school rule that nature stays outside in nature) and then she did the whole boneless thing, so I literally had to pick her up and carry her out to the car because I was not in the mood to mess around and threaten bribe reason with her, and so another teacher held Coco's hand, but Coco was unreasonably panicked about not holding my hand, so she was crying and Zuzu was threatening to bite/hit/pinch me and I was so irritated and then she proceeded to scream "I HATE YOU" at me from the backseat, particularly vicious because the h-word is not a word we use in our family (as I calmly reminded her, before I gave up, rolled down the windows, and turned the Hamilton soundtrack on at full volume as we got on the highway).

Anyway, de Botton mentions in his interview how we are quick to understand and excuse that kind of shit behavior in our kids--she was overtired, she was hungry, she obviously doesn't actually hate me--even though I did put away a new toy she'd gotten from Pepaw when we got home because in this family, there are consequences for being a total B to your mama. Sure enough, she gobbled down a string cheese while I was making dinner (by which I mean warming up leftovers) and by the time dinner was over, she wanted to snuggle and told me unprompted that she loves me. In contrast, we are quick to take personally perceived slights or insults from our partners or spouses, rather than giving them a similar benefit of the doubt (although David will occasionally ask tentatively if I'm hungry when I'm being particularly crabby... and he's usually right). Obviously, I think we should expect more general politeness and considerate behavior from a partner or spouse than we can always expect from a preschooler, but it is useful as a reminder that someone else's behavior is more often motivated by something going on with them (tired, hungry, bad day at work) and not about me.

Other things I'm listening to... Pod Save America, Call Your Girlfriend, and Terrible, Thanks for Asking. (My friend Laura just became a monthly contributor to TTFA so she gets a t-shirt and I'm thinking about copy-catting her.) Also I listen to Young House Love Has a Podcast, and now I want a beach house. I mentioned John and Sherry last weekend when my cousins were here because Crafty Cousin Amanda also listens and my cousin Brandi asked who we were talking about and Amanda was like, "This blog we read" while I was like, "Our friends" and it was clear who has a hold on reality and who is living in a hybrid reality where people I've never met are my internet besties (LIKE MANY OF YOU--SO GLAD WE ARE FRIENDS).

Should I be listening to other podcasts? Do tell. But they have to be well edited and they can't creep me out too bad (David recommended some podcast about a true crime story where a kid disappears and I was like WTF are you trying to do to me?). 

This month is so insanely busy. We have three days on our calendar that don't have some event scheduled, and David and I are basically alternating who is at home parenting our kids on any given night. I submitted final grades yesterday, but I still have a couple weeks of going to work for meetings and assessment stuff and prepping for my fall classes. Then a summer of reading, writing, and going to the swimming pool. There are worse ways to spend a summer, I think.

Mother's Day is coming up and I just want to say that I hope it's gentle on everyone. I feel meh about it this year, which makes the first year in seven years that it has not produced some pretty huge emotions. I don't know if the day will hit me harder once it gets here or not (but I'm aware that grief likes to be a sneaky bastard, so it very well might!).


  1. I mean OBVIOUSLY you should listen to my podcast (and I listen to all the ones you mentioned plus My Favorite Murder).

  2. Baby-sitters Club Club is my favorite right now.

  3. Have you listened to S Town? When I'm in the mood for something more uplifting/short/random I like to listen to Mike Rowe's "The Way I Heard It" as he just tells brief stories (10 minutes or so) about some random thing in history or person and a backstory behind that thing/person you never really knew about, but once done listening I think "EVERYONE should know about this!" or at the very least I was entertained.

  4. What Should I Read Next and Elise Gets Crafty (currently on hiatus, but great back catalogue). I also really like Radio Cherry Bombe, but not with my son in the car.

    1. Oh, and Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.

    2. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is awesome. I even contributed $$ to their fundraising.

  5. I don't listen to many podcasts, but I have enjoyed a few episodes of The Axe Files, hosted by David Axelrod (of President Obama's White House). He has some really great guests & interviews them in-depth for a full hour. Once in a while, they will broadcast one on CNN. He'll be interviewing California Governor (past & present!) Jerry Brown there tomorrow night.

    Wishing you a gentle weekend!

  6. Sam Sanders has something new coming out, loved him on NPR politics. Also like Call Your Girlfriend. Pod Save the People is my new favorite, but I'm a DeRay McKesson fan, for sure. I love that episode of Krista Tippet - I feel like it was on awhile back, maybe it was just a repeat, or you listed to episodes later.

    Big de Botton fan, want to read The Architecture of Happiness, but haven't yet. How Proust Can Change Your Life is my fav. But I also think Proust changed my life, so there's that.

    I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to introduce you to Sherry and John, but they totally said you were one of their best friends.

  7. I love Happier with Gretchen Rubin (a lawyer turned writer), and Note to Self, which I just started listening to.

  8. OK, I was in our local megabookstore recently, & guess what they were playing on the PA system? I am not entirely familiar with the Hamilton soundtrack, but I do recognize this track from seeing it on the PBS special. All I could think of was Coco and "Mean King" (and try not to giggle), lol.