My husband, the media mogul, just returned today from a three-day-long extravaganza where a lot of people got drunk and reps from all of the major cable channels tried to schmooze their way into a Comcastic nirvana. Apparently, there was a trivia contest about HBO's polygamy series, "Big Love." I don't let my husband watch that show because I don't want him to get any ideas, so I'm not entirely sure how he did it, but he won the game.
This was the prize:
I kind of want to laugh, but I think I'm too disturbed.
They serve breakfast at Sam's preschool, but he doesn't want to eat it ever. I was worried about his not eating because he seems to come home so hungry. So, this morning I talked to him about it. I said, "Sam, how about you eat breakfast at preschool today!"
To which he replied, "NOOOOOO!!!!"
I asked, "Why don't you want to eat breakfast? Do they serve bad food?"
He got kinda mad and said, "No mom! I'd just rather turn into an ALIEN."
To which I said, "Um . . . okay."
I guess being an alien is better than food . . . Or something . . .
So, I have this activity that I do in my writing classes. First, I read a shockingly unknown yet profound piece of literature, created by me: age 7. It goes like this: "Onecupun a time ther lived a duck who did not quach she meoued. She never ever quached never. Just just meoued. She wood alwese be chast by dogs. One day, a dog got her and she was never seen agen. The end."
Gotta love it, eh?
Well, then I pass out second grade paper and I make my class write me a story with their non-dominant hand. (With pictures.) Then we read the stories.
The point I try to make with this exercise is that we all have an intuitive sense of story structure. I mean, look at that masterpiece of mine (Spelling corrected this time!). 1) Situation in place and/or time: "Once upon a time" 2) Introduction of protagonist: "There lived a duck" 3) Conflict: "Who did not quack, she meowed." 4) Escalation of conflict: "She would always be chased by dogs." 5) Resolution of conflict: "One day, a dog got her and she was never seen again." It's about the shortest possible story that includes all of the basic elements of the classic story cycle.
But lately, I've been discussing with some friends the fact that there is something about the "traditional" story structure that is so *male.* And I've been starting to suspect that the archetypal female story looks a whole lot different than: conflict, escalation, resolution.
Well, today I did the exercise in class again. And I noticed something that I might have missed before. The men all wrote brilliant pieces that completely typified the traditional cycle. For example, "Once upon a time in the jungle there lived a lion. He had to stay in the treetops because the monkeys were always harassing him. One day, the monkeys started screeching so loud and harassing him so much that he decided to jump out of the tree and kill them all. No monkeys survived. The End."
But this exercise--designed to pull out the most *instinctual* sense of story from people (cause I just handed them the paper; I didn't say anything about story cycle), brought out something different in the girls. Half of the girls didn't follow the "traditional" structure at all: they wrote the stories of relationships. Like, "Yesterday I went to the pet store and bought a fish and named him Betty. He and I became wonderful friends and we talked and talked about everything. The worst day of his life was when I cleaned out the fish tank. The End."
The other half of the girls *did* follow the traditional story cycle, but their plot resolutions *always* ended with relationships. For example, "There was a sparkly unicorn who lived in a barn. All of the other unicorns made fun of her because she was so sparkly. One day they made fun of her so much that she ran away. But when she ran away, she met a girl named Cindy and now they are best friends!"
So, what do you guys think? Do girls have a different instinctual, archetypal sense of story structure than boys do? And if they do, WTH does it look like?
(I figure that if we can all figure this out, I can write the quintessential "girl" book and make millions! MWHAHAHAHA!!)
Steve proposed and I said yes! There was a sunset, a thesis that didn't get turned in on time, and a fat hunk of a ring that I can't even wear around the babies cause it's hazardous! Here's a picture of what we looked like back then!
It's of one of the branches of my Chinese "Money Tree." But I think it looks like pot. Not that I know. I've never actually seen/smoked/imbibed pot. I do have this reoccurring fantasy where my mother in law (it's always my mother in law in my fantasy; I can't explain this) makes me "special" brownies and them gives them to me without telling me that they're "special." All the fun, none of the guilt! (But then the fantasy always disintegrates into guilt for having it. And that sort of spoils the point, I think.)
I was getting Sam ready for bed the other night and he said to me, "You know what, Mommy? Sometimes, at night, I come in to your room to check on you. I check on Daddy. I check on Mommy. You're asleep!"
(What he did not mention was that he then always decides that he needs to jump into bed with us. So the whole "unknown stalker" thing doesn't really apply.)
So, we're getting ready to go somewhere today and Steve is supposed to be putting the kids in their carseats. But he seems to do it really fast, so I ask him, "Are the kids in the car already?"
He says, "No, they're in the garage."
And I say, "That's not OK." Cause Lily is always getting into trouble in the garage. Playing under the cars. Climbing up toward the gardening shears. That sort of thing.
Steve just goes toward the bathroom, ignoring me.
Now, you should know that I am half naked right then. Steve was supposed to be getting the kids in the car while I got my pants on. But: no kids in the car and no pants on.
I'm thinking to myself, "Well, they've only been alone in the garage for a few seconds. I have time to put my pants on before I go to check on them."
But the funny thing is, even as I am thinking this, my body is moving. Fast. Right toward the garage. (Holy Ghost? Mother's instincts? Definitely, definitely *something.*)
I get to the garage and I find that Sam has opened the garage door.
Lily is running and she is *in* the street, running straight for a car that is going *fast* and doesn't seem to be slowing down. We live on a busy street. The speed limit is like 35, though everyone seems to go about 45, so this scenario is exactly the nightmare that I have over and over.
So, now I'm sprinting. I'm jumping over Sam. Over stuff. I don't think I've ever moved so fast in my entire life. I'm screaming Lily's name. And remember, I don't have any pants on.
I jump into the middle of the street just in time to snatch Lily from right in front of that speeding car.
It was like something you'd see on a movie.
I have absolutely no freaking idea how I'm going to keep this kid alive.
My cousin Jen, a survivor of Hodgkin's disease, is going to be running in the Nike Women's Walk Half Marathon as a member of Team In Training (TNT). Her goal is to raise $3200 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you'd like to support Jen, go to her TNT training page:
What changed my mind? Well, we got a toilet lock for the toilet. I thought the toilet water was safe. Alas. Not only did she defeat the toilet lock on her very first try, she pushed open both toilet lids (she didn't used to be able to do that) and then got herself a STRAW and drank out of the toilet WITH THE STRAW.
She is the grossest kid that I know!
Here's a picture of her eating mud. It's not as gross as what she was eating the other day out of the toilet, but the visual may help your imagination with that.