Mermaids are a Boy’s Best Friend

dancing mermaid

Just as we had hoped, kindergarten has been a year of enormous growth for our son. As evidence his pants are further from the ground each day, his teeth are dropping faster than the temps on the East Coast, and his adorable “Boston” accent is gone thanks to a record-setting articulation intervention for his r’s. (We had a Wodney Wat situation going on, which apparently isn’t so cute to kindergarten teachers who focus on phonetics).

While I celebrate the many achievements and milestones along the way, I have to admit to feeling relieved when I see glimpses of lingering youthful innocence. Simply put, the kid still loves mermaids. Sigh.

Here’s to not growing up too fast.

You didn’t have to grow up in the 80’s with a Jewish mother and you don’t have to love the (hysterical!) TV series The Goldbergs to appreciate the significance of the mother-son dynamic. Or the mother-child relationship in general. Can you fault a mom who is never satiated by enough “snuggies” from her “yummy” kid who “smells like the dryer?”

Here’s to the Beverly Goldbergs of the world.

Back to the mermaid. She sits next to me now as I write. This gorgeous creature was created by a spectacular balloon artist who entertains at the hip eatery Snooze on Sundays. Waiting for our pancakes, we saw that she was making the rounds and flagged her down as she approached our table. At first my son requested a puppy because it was safe. A safe bet for both of them. Somehow–perhaps after seeing the fantastic mermaid he had drawn on his placemat–the balloon artist knew that puppies weren’t really his thing. Gently and subtly she encourage him to challenge her skills.

“Would you like a merman? I did one for the bartender the other day. It came out great!” She assured him.

Bashfully my son shook his head.

“Oh, a mermaid? I think I can do one of those. But you need to tell me what color hair you’d like her to have.”

And with that we were all captivated. Yes, she twisted balloons into a fantastic form with uncommon skill. But, moreover, she read the mind and heart of a child, and celebrated a spirit that is often dismissively squashed. Yes, even Santa has second-guessed my son’s requests, and the cashiers at Target have questioned his choices. But the balloon artist? No, she was inspired by his creation. The result was one incredible mermaid and one ecstatic little boy.

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Boyish, Girlish or Scottish?

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Sam looks smashing in a skirt. As instructed by “Santa” we left the new outfit on the counter one evening so that Sam, our holiday elf, could stealthily slip into it. The kids were thrilled with the results in the morning. It was my son, our resident fashion adviser, who campaigned for the accoutrement. And it was my daughter, our fact-based literal thinker who decided that Sam could sport the skirt for two reasons:

One: Sam, who had always been referred to as a he, might actually be a she because the tight, red onesie doesn’t grant access to anatomical parts.

And two: Sam might be Scottish, and so a kilt is completely within reason.

It’s as if my daughter, four at the time she named Sam, knew that gender has no role in holiday cheer. We celebrate gender fluidity and creativity all year so it’s only fitting that we were granted an elf who blends right in with the family.

Boyish, girlish, Scottish… no matter. Sam is smashing.

P.S. To see what other elves are up to–naughty and nice–check out these hilarious ideas on Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/jhudziak/crazy-elf-on-the-shelf-pics/

The Hijacking of a Holiday Classic

‘Twas some weeks before Christmas and all through the town

Halloween decorations came tumbling down.

The very next day signature cups were here

As Starbucks abound brought red holiday cheer.

 

But I’m not ready; I protest you will see,

Thanksgiving was rushed— was passed by easily.

Christmas scenes at malls were quickly erected

Before the plump turkey was even selected.

 

Hold onto your bells and red Santa Claus suits;

With commercialists and marketers in cahoots!

Slow down premature spending for goodness sakes;

We hadn’t had time for giving our thanks.

 

Not to mention out here, all the way out west,

We needn’t a coat—only sweater or vest.

New Yorkers we know that it’s no big charade:

The real Santa shows by ending the parade.

 

Now that the cooking and the feasting’s been done

And our dear guests and family have all gone,

I relish this now, oh so sweet Monday morn

When I sit silent, not any bit forlorn.

 

I need just a day—fine maybe even two

To recover from this before something new.

It’s not just Christmas but New Year’s, too,

And thanks to my mom, I’m a little bit Jew.

 

To gather the gifts and an additional eight,

Which one on what day, when shall we celebrate?

Palm trees do twinkle with festive bright light

Faux evergreens are seen in windows at night.

 

It’s weirdly warm, supposedly normal—

Strapless can be worn to the Christmas formal.

Ready now, I embrace holiday season;

To delay any longer I have no good reason.

 

On browsing! On buying! On wrapping! On giving!

At toy stores and books stores, clothes stores and e-stores:

Shop away! Shop away! Shop away, all!

 

Sam, too, has arrived—our own elf on our shelf,

Each night he reports to the big man himself.

He keeps us in line, or he tries to at least.

But how does a tiny guy tame our two giant beasts?

 

Four weeks more until school is out once again.

That brings a fortnight of true solid mayhem!

The day that I rest, the day of pure glee,

Is way off on 1-7, 2-0-1-3.

 

My effort’s complete; here ends my festive rhyme.

Happy prepping to all, and to all a good time!