Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Lost in Lost

I don’t know where our family has been the last five years—under a rock apparently. Actually, I know where we’ve been: parenting younger children. But now that we have an almost 13-year-old, and the new season of Lost has begun, Leah has suddenly brought the show into our home, even if we are five seasons behind.

Since we don’t have cable TV, Leah is watching Lost on the computer. The upside to watching TV on the computer is you can watch your show whenever you want. The downside to watching TV on the computer is you can watch your show whenever you want. Leah started with Season 1. In two weeks, she’s nearly through it and anticipating Season 2. We’re to the point of saying, “No more Lost for the rest of the day.”

On the other hand, we do have fun discussing it at dinner. Because, guess what, the rest of us are tuning in too.  I admit it, I am hooked on the plot.

Dinner conversations, though, are less about plot for me. Leah wants to talk plot and the bigger implications and hint at what she’s already seen. (The rest of us are many episodes behind.) But I find myself comparing the show to Survivor, which she’s never followed.

“It’s not realistic that they’re not losing weight,” I keep saying. “Hurley? The big guy? He should be skinner by now. You can’t live on fruit and not lose weight. And where’s the food, anyway? They should be obsessed with it. And what about Shannon? I’m sorry, you can’t look that good when you’re sleeping on the ground every night. And how come they haven’t built an outhouse, anyway? That’s just unsanitary. Jack’s concerned with sanitation. Why hasn’t he brought it up?”

Leah sagely reminds me that although we all know people have to poop, they don’t have to include it in a TV show. For some puerile reason, though, I want to know these things about being plane-wrecked on an island, never mind if it’s a TV island.

Ty is quick to point out that we did get to see Hurley gathering large leaves and not for eating. Ty and I think the leaves are pretty funny, and at least a token effort toward acknowledging the obvious. I also want to know what the women will do once a month—raid the suitcases?—although I haven’t said this out loud to my kids (Leah would be mortified), and why none of the women have armpit hair growing, and why the men all have three days’ beard growth, never more, never less. And why isn’t Jack’s short hair growing out? You never see anyone cutting his hair. Come on, Hollywood, a little reality please.

Leah gets impatient with me. Who cares about poop and other unmentionables? She just wants to catch up with her friends so she can discuss this season’s plot. Life is not in the details, apparently, it’s the bigger picture that’s important.

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Public Appearances with Mom

Yesterday, Leah came home from school and told me she was going to the high school football game tonight with her friend, H. “Were you planning to ask or just inform?” I said.

“Oh. Can I go?”

“Is her mom dropping you off or is she going too?”

“She’s going too. So’s H.’s dad. They want to see R. (H.’s older brother) in the half-time band performance. ”

If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s high school marching bands. I have no idea why because I never did band myself, but now as a parent I find those horrible uniforms quite endearing.

“Really?” I said. “Hmm, I might like to go too.”

Leah’s face fell. “You want to come? Why would you want to come?”

“Why not, it would be fun to see R. in the band.”

“I don’t want you to come.”

It’s here. That day everyone told us would come, but I never quite believed would arrive. That day your kid no longer thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread, and not only that, she would rather lick the toilet seat than be seen with you. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as bad as the toilet seat, but we’re a hair away, I can feel it. Somehow I always thought I’d be exempt, that I would never be quite that uncool. Okay, I admit I’m not cool, but I didn’t think my daughter would notice. Or care. 

Today, Leah and I negotiated. She decided it was okay if I went as long as she and her buddy could sit elsewhere and I promised to sit with the adults. And not bug her.




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Leah’s Car Washing Tips

A couple nights ago, my daughter listed the most environmentally friendly ways to wash cars. We never wash our cars so I’m not really one to care, but I did learn something.

1. The best way to be environmental is to use a professional car wash business. They are required to dispose of grey water properly.

2. If you’re too cheap to pay for a professional job, be sure to wash your car on gravel or grass. Both will act as filters for the water before it hits the water table.

3. Avoid washing your car on cement at all costs. The soapy water will run straight to the storm water drains. This is the least environmental option.

Since we don’t have grass or gravel to park our car on (Leah pointed out), we need to go to the car wash place.


“Besides, I’ve never been through a real car wash.”

Uh huh.

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Modern Motherhood

A couple days ago, Leah asked me if she could start shaving her legs. On Facebook.

Is this the girl equivalent of playing alongside your boy so he’ll talk to you? (Shoulder to shoulder, I believe is the phrase.) Or is it that our children—girls—are now relying to screens, as they rely on texting friends, to communicate with their parents?

My first thought, when I got the message—one of those pesky little emails you get whenever someone writes on your wall—was that she’d alerted the rest of the world with her request. I asked her if she’d meant to go public with such a personal question (which begs the question why am I blogging about it? More on that in a minute.).

“It was just to you, Mom; no one else knows.”

Ah. And indeed, when I checked, she was correct. I think I need another Facebook tutorial, so challenged am I with this popular communication tool.

So we talked about the issue at hand, in person, which she didn’t seem to mind, although I couldn’t think of much to say except yes, and who else in her class was shaving her legs, and was this popular now?

There is that whole argument that my mother gave me at that age, which is that leg hair will grow in thicker and darker once you start, but it didn’t stop me—is this even true?—so I figured why go there? Also the argument that she just doesn’t need to, too young, etc. But the reality is we’re here. At the leg-shaving stage. Everything is at hand these days.

Which leads me to reassure you I won’t be giving pubescent updates when milestones are reached. Privacy at stake and all that.

But Facebook… I couldn’t resist this latest development. (You know, if it gets the conversation rolling, I’m all for it.)

I wonder where the parents of today’s infants will be in ten years.


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The R Word

There’s been a lot of talk in the last week about the incident at Squalicum Beach. It’s been on my mind as much as anyone’s because I’m one of those independent types who likes to run alone, and Squalicum Beach happens to be my regular running route. I’ve been running there for thirteen years, in fact, with not a single scary moment to my credit. Of course, I’m not running right now because of my healing ankle, and part of me is relieved. Also angry. For myself. For the doubt I now feel about running alone.

But what’s on my mind even more than my own safety is what this means to my ten-year-old. I have been thinking about this incident with Leah in mind for lots of reasons—her future safety as a woman, her safety now as a child, and whether she worries about assault happening a lot to women. But mostly I’ve been thinking about the R word.

Leah reads the paper every morning, you see. And there was the Herald issue last week with the huge headline announcing the rape, and my first thought after seeing the headline myself was okay, here we go. Partly because of the headline and partly because Leah had told me kids were talking about the incident at school, and right away I could imagine gaggles of girls hovering together, talking about rape and what it is. How some of them might know and others mightn’t and the definitions—inaccurate or accurate—that would fly. Bottom line: I want to be the person who tells my daughter what rape means. Every mom I know feels this way.

When Ty disappears upstairs to get dressed, I ask Leah if she’s read the paper.


“Did you see the headline about the woman running at Squalicum?”


“That she was raped?”

“Yeah.” And then, “What does that mean, anyway?”

Right there, I feel a hitch in my motherly goal to share my explanation. She doesn’t know what it means. Maybe she doesn’t need to know. But then the thought of those ten-year-old discussions at school remind me of why I had decided to have this conversation.

But I keep it simple: “It’s when someone forces you to have sex against your will.” I know I’m not conveying in that explanation the issues of violence or power or that it’s really not sex at all, but it’s all I can think of as an explanation for the mechanics of rape. I wait to see if she reacts or asks more questions.


Huh. Okay, I guess that’s all she needs. I weigh in that moment whether I should go farther, but I decide not to, reminded once again that kids let us know what they need to know. Her response is an indicator of what she needs in this moment. Not much. When she needs to understand this idea, this word on a deeper level, when she grows old enough to understand the act behind it for what it is, old enough to learn to fear it, she will seek deeper meaning. I wish she didn’t need to know. 

Several days later…

I ask Leah if kids are still talking about Squalicum Beach at school. “Oh no,” Leah says, “No one’s talking about that anymore.”


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