Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Childhood Icons

Yesterday, Ty and I were hanging around the house together after his soccer camp, when he wandered through the kitchen past the radio and the breaking news it was airing.

“Hey,” he said, after he came to find me, “you know Michael Jackson?”


“I think he died.”

“He died?” Isn’t he my age?

We both headed to the kitchen to listen the news, and sure enough, he had “apparently” died. Apparently? Not too long later, the newscasters were saying he did die.

Wow. Michael Jackson has died (and it turns out he was older than I thought, though not by much). I didn’t own any of his albums when I was in high school, but I certainly remember his hits and his moonwalking taking the country by storm, although it wasn’t until yesterday that I learned his album “Thriller” was the top grossing album of all time (and now I can’t get that song out of my head). Even more memorable, I have been to the gate of his Neverland Ranch in California, very close to a private school my grandmother worked for, where I somehow managed to mar the landscaping with the car as I took the little loop drive at the entrance a little too sharply. My sisters guffawd when I did it. “You ruined Michael Jackson’s landscaping!” Thankfully, no guard sat in the guard box, or whatever you call it, and we escaped undetected.

When Curt got home from work, I asked if he’d heard the big news, and of course he had.

“Farrah, too,” he said.

“Farrah Fawcett died, too?!”

“Well, she had cancer, you know.”

“I know, but still. I loved that show!”

“You did? I thought that show was a guy thing,”

Oh. Well, maybe it was, but growing up as I did with no TV in the house, I was desperate to watch anything, and I remember loving the tough chicks with the big hair in their stylish clothes. Did other girls? I have no idea.

“What show?” Ty wanted to know.

Charlie’s Angels,” I told him. “Remember when we watched the movie Charlie’s Angels while we were at Disneyland? Farrah Fawcett was one of the original angels in the TV show.”

Sorry, the movie will never cut it for me. No one could replace Farrah Fawcett. I’m not sure why she looms so large in my mind, but likely because I was ten or so when she was so hot, and watching girls kick ass was cool. It was the age of feminism, after all, and I don’t recall too many other models of sexy feminine strength, except maybe that show Isis that kids watched on Saturday mornings. Anyway, Farrah, with her red bathing suit, curling ironed hair, and white, white teeth, will always be one of those indelible associations with childhood in the 70s. Michael Jackson was cool, too (although he got too weird for words), but I never related to him like I did the girl power Farrah embodied for me. 

I wonder who the icons will be for my kids when they’re adults. I hope it’s not Miley Cyrus.


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Hanging with the Brady Family

Now that the weather seems to be acting its age—today is truly a stellar day—we probably won’t be hanging indoors as much as we have been. Actually, we haven’t been indoors that much because ‘tis the season for soccer.

But when we are, there’s a certain song my kids hum a lot. It’s the theme song from The Brady Bunch. Over spring break, we lazed around in the morning, watching episodes on DVD. Sometimes the kids watch several episodes in one sitting—that’s the beauty and the danger of watching TV shows on DVD, but we prefer this to paying a cable bill.

My kids love this show. Have you watched it since you’ve become an adult? Yeah, I feel a little sheepish admitting I watch over my kids’ shoulders. Call it revived childhood (my family lived mostly TV-free, and I did the best I could to get my fill at other people’s houses).  But you know what? It’s actually fun.

Here’s what I get out of it: 70’s memories that remind me of a less plugged-in life—phones with cords, rotary dials, making tapes on old-style tape recorders (remember how fun that was?), records, banana seat bikes, and bad kitchen decor. No cells, no texting, no wii. We watched an episode devoted to women’s lib, and another devoted to the oh-so common tonsil surgery back then. And another about Peter dealing with a bully and his standing up for himself rather than the school or his parents stepping in. And no one got expelled. My, how times have changed.

The Brady kids also seem to come and go on their bikes whenever they want, to wherever they want, even the youngest, in a way our kids can only dream about (no helmets, of course, and also no round the clock news about the latest boogeyman).

 Language: “far out” and “groovy” and “out of sight.” Did we really say this stuff? Okay, maybe that’s Hollywood. 

Here’s what my kids get out of it: they love the kids. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. The kids and their various phases of interest and their problem solving skills. I’m guessing my kids also like the parenting style that is uh…kind of different from mine. Firm but always calm and kind. Mike and Carol never get mad—at the kids or at each other. Oh, to have parents like these. They present a united front, and more often than not they leave the kids to discover necessary lessons on their own, as Mom and Dad ruefully shake their heads, waiting for the inevitable fall. The kids always learn, of course, although sometimes they get a little discipline nudge from their parents (who never, ever cave even if it means the kid missing a special camping trip). Need a lesson in effective parenting? Take it from Mike and Carol. 

The Brady kids also always apologize to anyone they’ve wronged, and always with sincerity. That’s the part I keep hoping will rub off. But they also bicker like real kids do—not in the pat, witty way of today’s TV kids. In fact, they sound a lot like mine (mine: “Don’t be a jerk”; “I’m not”; “Are too”; “Am not”; “Are too”; “Am not”: “Moooommmmm.” And so it goes).

After we’re done with The Brady Bunch? I think we might try Gilligan’s Island. I hear it’s pretty funny for adults—lots of stuff to get that we missed when we were kids.

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