OHMYGOD, DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE LEAD PAINT RECALLS?
Yeah, me too. Like the youngest Spears’ pregnancy, I’m not sure I could have avoided hearing about it if I tried. My own mother has taken to reading the recall section of the Tribune and calling me panicked and breathless because “OHMYGOD, MY KIDS COULD DIIIIIEEEEE!”
This from the woman (formerly a chemist) who let us play with mercury as children. It was fun, really.
I guess I just can’t get into the hype around all of it. I mean, people (including us) have lived in ancient buildings with lead paint literally falling off the walls, and hell, we’re okay. I did, of course, check and make sure that the variety of recalled toys were not in my living room, but aside from that, I don’t feel the need to scour the toy recall websites daily. I currently own a Bumbo, but have never been stupid enough to place it on the counter, mainly because I do, despite rumors to the contrary, have a functioning brain stem. I admit to taking away Ben’s stash of Geo-Mag’s but that’s because even at age 6, the child cannot be trusted to NOT put random stuff in his mouth.
Last night, I went over to the new outdoor mall with my best friend. She had to go to Pottery Barn and I had to head to Coach, both errands I was not looking forward to, mainly because The Crazies are out in full force what with the holiday looming menacingly. I guess the planets aligned to make sure our trip was smooth, because not only did I manage to avoid the people in the tin foil hats running amuck (well, until we went to Barnes and Noble, where, apparently The Crazies were not only out in full force, but employed there), but we got a parking spot immediately in front of the stores we were hitting up.
It was when we were walking into Pottery Barn that I made a grave error: I went inside. Now, Pottery Barn is one of my favorite places to scope out, or I should say, it WAS until I had two children.
The halls were decked in beautiful glass ornaments, modern looking furniture, and all sorts of breakable stuff. I was enchanted. My own tastes run much chic-er than my children allow for, and this was magnified ten-fold as I longingly looked at all of the ornaments. I briefly entertained a fantasy life in which my tree was bedecked in glorious (and expensive) schwag, my couch pristine, white and lacking the distinctive and beautiful Throw Up stains. My clothes would be perfectly matched, funky votives a-light all around me, as I was able to use such words as “fuck” and “shit” without the reprocussion and the inevitable repetition of said words in front of conservative grandparents.
My fantasy screetched to an abrupt halt when I selected a tree-topper and prepared to buy it, until, while looking at the back of the box, suggested that children and pets may be harmed by the crushed glass that it was decorated with. Well. Then. Not only do I have two small children, carpeting for the glass to be trapped merrily in, but I have three cats, a dog, a comically large rabbit, a gecko and a hedgehog.
Reluctantly I put the box back, and recalled that my own tree was bedecked in Child Chic, i.e. gaily colored plastic balls and snowflakes, some kid-made ornaments, with a couple of unbreakable Hallmark novelty figurines. This ultra-fancy tree topper would look completely out of place perched atop this tree.
As we exited the store, I told myself that someday, someday my tree would be filled with breakable ornaments that spewed glass and lead paint all over the carpet, without the fear of small children knocking them off and using them as mini-soccer balls.
The moment the thought crossed my mind, I knew instantly it was a lie, the same lie parents tell themselves over and over again: that someday their lives won’t revolve around being Someone Else’s Parent, and they will be free to live as selfishly as possible once again. Because someday, probably in the not-as-distant-as-it-appears future I will pull those brightly colored plastic ornaments from their Tupperware bin and weep as I recall the days when our children were so little that Christmas was truly magical, and the biggest worry I had about them was that they hurt themselves by breaking glass ornaments.
So today I will embrace (not literally, of course) the ugly plastic balls that adorn the lower branches of my tree, sprinkling my carpet with glitter that will likely not be removed until the carpet is replaced, and try not to fantasize too much about when my children are grown and gone. Because honsestly, I imagine that even with the fancy ornaments (possibly even candles!), it will feel much, much emptier when they are gone.