2015 Sucked. 2016, Don’t Suck, Please.

laughterisbetterthanprozac

Ah, New Year’s, that time of the year when regret is high, commitments are low and we all promise to get our crap together for next year starting right after the fudge is gone. I’ve always had mixed emotions about New Year’s Eve, but then again, any holiday with expectations of greatness (Valentine’s Day, I’m looking at you) gives me pause. In my 40 plus years, I’ve only one or two fab New Year’s Eves and those were so fab I barely remember them. One thing remains consistent though and that is that I’m usually more than ready to usher out the old and ring in the new. This year, it is with great pleasure that I kick 2015 to the curb.

My New Years’ traditions are pretty simple. As a people, we’re homebodies and that coupled with my general dislike of humanity currently, means we celebrate at home. I bust out a big, multi-course Turkish dinner to prove to the Turk I still got it. I then allow my offspring to stay up late, but not late enough to cause Armageddon the next day, and promptly fall asleep on the sofa while pretending to have a “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” Exciting, I know.

But I do have one rather unorthodox New Year’s tradition. I like to look up all the famous people who died and connect them to my life. Self-centered? Uh, yes, but we do live in the selfie era. Morbid? Perhaps, but my mother married a mortician during my formative years and I spent copious time in the funeral biz so my approach to death is a bit off.

Because you’re likely more sane than I and haven’t been trolling obits, here are a few biggies I’d like to share with you. Highlights, if you will.

Omar Sharif – Actor. Omar wasn’t a Turk but he played one from time to time. My Gramma Dink had a thing for Mr. Sharif and since we watched a lot of trashy movies when she babysat, I developed a thing for him too. I credit this with my eventual attraction to The Turk. So since Omar Sharif is responsible for my love of the dark and hairy and I went on to marry dark and hairy, to you Omar, I say, thank you.

Jackie Collins – Writer: The afore mentioned Gramma Dink was also a huge fan of smut lit and Ms. Collins is the queen of that genre. As a kid, I used to sneak off with a few of these masterpieces when Dink wasn’t looking and man, did I learn a few things. (Ok, at 9, I totally thought a burning loin was an overcooked roast, but by 14 I was like, “Oh, my.”) Jackie Collins made me an avid reader at a young age with a continued secret fondness for the trashy. Rest in peace you dirty bird.

Colleen McCollough – Writer: There are many great books I recall from my childhood but none so memorable as Colleen McCollough’s The Thorn Birds. Though only 10 when I read it cover to cover, I had enough life experience to understand it was a moment in trashy literature greatness. Her twisted tale of forbidden love and the priesthood was not only a page-turner, but also a magnificent 1983 mini-series. I’ll give you one guess who let me watch that – you know it, Gramma Dink. Years later, I still credit my knowledge of Catholicism to that 3-night cinematic event. Colleen, they just don’t write them like that anymore.

Wayne Dyer – Self-Help Guru: Back in my early 30’s I was into that whole self-help thing as I strived to be a better human being. I read a lot of Wayne Dyer but once I hit 40 I promptly gave that self-betterment nonsense up. Instead I adopted, “What you see is what you get – if you don’t like it, suck it.” as a mantra. You gave it a good try Dr. Wayne but clearly, I’m not the enlightened type.

Wes Craven – Director: In 9th grade I watched Nightmare on Elm Street. I nearly peed my pants and didn’t sleep for a week. I’ve never watched another horror movie since. Rest in peace Wes Craven, you sick bastard.

James Best – Actor: For the love of God people, Roscoe P. Coltrane is dead. How did this happen and why am I only learning this now? Roscoe, next to Boss Hog, you were my reason for tuning in to the Dukes of Hazzard every single Friday. You will be missed. Ku-ku-kuuuuu.

Sure there are other important dead people, like Al from Happy Days, Ellie Mae Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies and everybody’s favorite father of 8, Dick Van Patten (Though full disclosure, I always thought you moved on to that new wife a little too quickly Mr. Bradford.) It’s also important to note that Spock passed on, and Little Jimmy Dickens (One of my dad’s all-time faves.). The loss of writer Terry Prachett and sports broadcasters Stewart Scott and Frank Gifford (aka, Mr. Kathi Lee) also deserve note.

But here’s a big one that rocked my world. Did you know Donald Featherstone died this year? No? I know, right! Me either. Wait. What’s that? Donald who you ask? * sigh * Clearly you’ve no appreciation for fine America art. Mr. Donald Featherstone was the genius that invented the pink lawn flamingo, an item I owned at least a dozen of over the years. Donald, your contribution to our world was great and it shall live on forever, (and not just because it was made of indestructible pink plastic.)

There are so many more but I’ll stop there because as my Gramma Dink would say, “You don’t need to put all of your crazy on display.” So from my little corner of the interwebs to yours, here’s wishing you the best in 2016! It’s a new start, let your freak flag fly!

Baby New Year (1)

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I Got Your Christmas Cheer Right Here

ChristmasThis is one of those years when it’s hard to get that holly jolly feeling going. With all the crap happening in our world, the hate and stupidity that feels like it’s reaching epic proportions and this weirdo weather, (I’m looking at you El Nino) Christmas spirit is hard to find. Combine that with the normal drama that comes with the holidays like family dysfunction, feelings of inadequacy (I love Martha, but I blame you.) hectic schedules, whiney children and financial stress and it’s easy to just throw a pair of socks in a gift bag and call the whole thing off. (Full disclosure, I did this once in Turkey. My dramatic gesture was totally wasted on my Muslim-non-Christmas-understanding-extended family so I wouldn’t recommend it.)

After all that we’ve been through this year with the Nugget’s health, my not working to care for the afore mentioned sick Nugget (For you long-term readers, things have been tight but, I haven’t resorted to working the pole on Cellulite Night yet, though Christmas could send me over so I’ve worked up a little number to Brickhouse just in case.) the Turk’s crazy work stress and the strain of a new home, new town and new school, I seriously considered a repeat of the socks in a bag scenario this year. (Full disclosure: I also considered putting a receipt for dental work in one stocking and a hearing aid in the other with a note from Santa that said, “Here kids, Santa took the practical route this year.”)

Luckily, a couple weeks ago a brilliant man who’s only been celebrating Christmas since he married a stunningly good-looking American broad, saved our Christmas. “You have to relax. You cannot cancel Christmas. The boys will be little just for short time. I know you are tired and worry about money but we are very lucky this year. We made it through everything. We have forever for saving money.” While my gut disagreed, my heart knew that crazy, hairy bastard was right. So, I adopted a few well-known mantras to change my Christmas vibe and I now pass those to you.

  1. News and Politics- Just say No.SANTA (1)

The Turk and I are news junkies. NPR, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CNN TURK, HaberTurk, Cumhurieyet, we subscribe to them all. The crux of our marriage has long been discussing both Turkish and American politics. But right now both of our countries are panic-stricken train-wrecks and all this hate-mongering and sabre rattling is killing me so I’m checking out. No Turkish news. No American news. I’m going to just say no and to be honest, having my morning coffee with Curious George instead of George Stephanopolis has been rather nice. I’m choosing a week of ignorance and two days in, I can say ignorance has definitely been bliss.

  1. Stupid People – Let it Go

We’ve all got one. You are minutes away from diggin’ into some figgy pudding when your gun-lovin’, NRA-fundin’ Uncle Dick starts spewing his views on the need for all kindergarten teachers to pack heat in order to fend off evildoers. Before he’s done he will go on to tell you that Obama is a Muslim, Trump is going to make a great president and Starbucks started the war on Christmas with those red cups. I don’t think I’m the first to point out that Uncle Dick is crazy. (Unfortunately, in my family we’ve got several scattered on both sides of the globe) Sure, you could put down your hot toddy and try to school Uncle Dick but he’s already been lost to the Dark Side. You can’t fix crazy so why let it ruin your Christmas? Let it go. Sing the song in your head while he’s talking and let it go. And later, when you log onto Facebook and see ridiculously racist posts from people you’ve not spoken to since high school graduation in 1990, do you need to chime in and school them? Nope. Remember, you can’t fix stupid either. Just let it go. It’s only hurting you. Feel free to pick the fight up again in few days but as for Christmas, pour yourself a tall glass of wine, sit back and watch the crazy train pull right past your stop. Don’t get on, just let it go.

  1. Food, Drink and Fun– Treat Yo Self!

The holidays are a time for indulgence and for those of us who cannot buy our beloved a new Lexus with a bow on top or an armful of Le Vion diamonds from Jared, (not that I know what those even are) we must turn to budget indulgences. My budget go-tos are usually food and booze. I’m classy like that. Give me an iced Santa cookie with a cup of Folgers for breakfast or some $3 chardonnay with a port wine cheese ball and I’ll turn into freakin’ Little Mary Sunshine. It’s the little indulgences that make things special and that is also what the kids remember. So, treat yo self. Have cookies for breakfast. Push bedtime back. Cheat at Memory (I’m old. I have no other choice.) Have a dinner of cocktail weenies and peanut clusters. It’s Christmas for godssakes. And when faced with the age-old dilemma- Should I have that additional glass of wine before heading to mass? WWJD? Jesus would say, “It’s my birthday. Treat yo self.”

So there you go – Just Say No like Nancy Regan, Let It Go like those broads from Frozen and Treat Yo Self like Tom Haverford and you too can find your holiday Zen and avoid a socks in a bag Christmas.

As for me, I think it’s acutally working because I was awakened by a barfing toddler this morning and I’m still feeling pretty damn good. Now, go Treat Yo Self to a bottle of $3 merlot. It’s Christmas.

From our half-breed – bi-cultural home to yours, Merry Christmas- Mutlu Noel!

christmas tree

I’m Really Smart In My Language

I’ve been a parent for seven years now. That’s really not that long but there is one thing I’ve learned in those years and that is that as a parent, you have to admit you’re wrong a lot. (Or maybe that’s just me and I screw up a lot?) Now I’m not saying you have to issue a full-on mea culpa with every damn whoopsie. Oh God no, that would be a sign of weakness which could drive the little hellcats to eat you in your sleep. No, I’m just saying there are a lot of times when it’s really important to admit to your kids that you were wrong. I’m having one of those today.

For 2 ½ years I’ve spent most of the day alone with my silent sidekick, the Nugget. He’s the Teller to my Penn, a funny little dude with perfect comedic timing who fabulously compliments my surly nature without uttering a word. Back when his brother was my 2 year-old sidekick he was the opposite. He had the vocabulary of a 50-year-old college professor and talked like a damn Republican on a filibuster. I was accustomed to narrating our day and getting full running commentary in return. I often felt like I was with a really, really short adult. Because of his vocabulary I probably gave him more credit for understanding things than he probably deserved but it’s hard to remember a kid is only 2 when they can out-talk you in two languages. But as much as I’ve overestimated Number One Son, I’ve underestimated my Nugget.

Because he’s got one ear and is partially deaf and had a lot of health issues in his first two years, I’ve always babied Nugget. (I’m also old and he’s my last so that didn’t help either.) In addition to his bum kidney and missing ear, he has Apraxia of Speech which means that so far, he’s got no verbal communication and when you’re a super verbal mom with a kid that can’t speak your language, it’s easy to think they’re not understanding anything either.

Think about it, when people meet someone who doesn’t speak their language, they tend to speak louder, slower and more simplisticly to help them. When the foreigner doesn’t respond, it’s assumed that person didn’t understand and may not be that bright. I know, it happened to me all the time when we lived in Turkey and I was learning the language (I wanted to hand out cards that said, “I’m really smart in my own language.”) and it happens to my husband, The Turk, every time he opens his mouth with his thick Turk accent here in middle America and he’s a freakin’ engineer. (Full disclosure- my mom only stopped speaking loud and slowly to him last year and he’s been around for about ten years.)

Today I realized I’ve been giving my Nugget the foreigner treatment. Thanks to an amazing woman we met though our Deaf Mentor program, we started learning ASL about six months ago and for a toddler, Nugget’s really picked it up fast. He signs all his basic needs, his colors and is working on his numbers. He signs along with the songs on his favorite show, Signing Time, as well as signing animals and other nouns about town. So while the little dude can’t talk, he can sign like a champ. And while he’s been mastering sign language, I’ve been half-assing it. I sign  and I work  to learn them but I still push my verbal language on him. I don’t always remember to sign what I say and I don’t always have the patience to try to decipher what he’s signing to me. Crappy right? I narrated everything to his brother in both English and Turkish when he was little. I spent hours working on pronunciation with him and listened to what he had to say. Sure, maybe some of this has been second child syndrome (Ain’t nobody got time for crap with child number 2). But I think a lot of it has been that I just didn’t understand that ASL is his language and I need to accept that and communicate with Nugget in his language.

Last night he kept doing a bunch of signs that didn’t really make sense to me so I brushed it off but this morning he did the same sequence again. Me, Santa, football, hat, want. It hit me like a brick. “I want Santa to bring me a football helmet.” I asked him if that’s what he was saying. He signed yes, waved his hands in silent applause, hopped up and down and giggled and giggled. Mom finally understood.

And I just cried. I sometimes forget that the little guy in there is smart and amazing and not a baby anymore. He’s a big guy who loves football, understands how Santa works, has a rapidly growing vocabulary and is now making sentences.

So my darling Nugget, I’m sorry. I was so wrong. You are really smart in your language and I’m a dumbass for expecting you to adapt to mine instead of using yours. From now on Mom is going to give you the same treatment she gave Big Brother and just like I worked to learn your father’s language, I will work to learn yours. Maybe eventually, you will be able to use my language but even if you never do, it’s ok because you are absolutely brilliant in your own language. (And P.S. I’m going to get that message to Santa STAT!!!)

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El Nino You’re Drunk, Go Home

This weather is ridiculous. Sunshine, 60 degrees and no snow. WTF? It’s mid-December and this is the Midwest; this kind of weather is unacceptable. Normally by this time of year we’ve got a blanket of snow and ass-numbing cold. Instead we’re riding bikes and wearing flip-flops (And it’s quite evident that most people do the mani and skip the pedi in December. Ewww.) Mama is not down with this.

According to the perky blonde weather girl with the Zumba-butt on last night’s news, this weather isn’t going anywhere either. It seems the majority of the U.S. is caught in an extreme El Nino weather pattern bringing unseasonable warmth and it’s likely to remain until late January. Now, I’m not banking on Zumba-butt being correct as Indiana weather people are notorious for being wrong, (I’ve never seen weather people that are so reliably incorrect. A few weeks ago they predicted possible rain showers. We got 3 inches of snow.) but the thought of a few more weeks of this blows.

All of this begs the question, just who is this El Nino anyway? I’d never heard of him until a few years ago when he blew in throwing hot air everywhere and now he seems to coming back on the reg. Who issued El Nino a visa? Has he been checked out with Homeland Security because I find his motives questionable? (I’m married to a foreigner and spent 7 years in immigration hell so I get to make immigrant jokes.)

This whole weather thing is troubling to me for many reasons. For one, next week is Christmas and this weather is killing my Christmas groove. I haven’t been moved to consume a single schnapps-filled, hot cocoa by the fire yet because it’s too damn hot for a fire. And what do I wear? Don we now our… ugly Christmas …t-shirt? All my gay apparel is cold-weather wear. How is Santa supposed to arrive? On a bike? And what do we leave out for him, a tall glass of ice-cold margarita (Ok, now that I think about it that might be a great improvement. Perhaps I’ll suggest the kids leave a little umbrella in it too.)

But the real issues is the damage already caused to me by El Nino. I love winter for three very specific reasons. These little cold weather perks are what get me though those months of sweat pouring down my butt-crack while my pastey skin turns crimson but now, El Nino has taken them from me like a damn thief.

  1. Cold weather provides a much needed hiatus from the playground. 

I love my children but I’ve done a lot of years at the playground and I’m over it. That, “Push me Mom!” crap gets old and I’m looking at eight more years, at least, on my playground sentence. When winter sets in, it is the only time I don’t have to spend copious hours of my day outside throwing a football, pushing a swing or pulling my child away from kissing every freakin’ dog within a two mile radius. I live to say, “Too cold to go outside, go upstairs and play.” Thanks to El Nino, I’ve been at the playground every damn day for a week and I see no end in sight. You bastard, El Nino.

  1. Cold Weather is a little gift, allowing one to take legit exercise vacations.

Another perk of winter is that I get to slack off the exercising. I hate gyms. They’re stinky and humid and the last thing I need are walls of mirrors displaying the exact bulges and dimples I’m there to execute. Give me a trail or an outdoor track and I’m good to go. The advantage of this outside only exercise regime is that with cold temps my excuse to lay off is legit. “Can’t run today, too cold. Can’t bike, too cold for the kid in the trailer.” It’s perfect. Thanks to El Nino, I haven’t had a single break in my normal exercise schedule. You bastard, El Nino.

  1. Cold weather calls for all the joys of hibernation preparation.

In order to successfully make it though a Midwestern winter, one must adapt the practices of the animal kingdom, packing on the pounds and laying on the ass. Moderation in food consumption and limited television won’t get you though -15 degrees. No, winter is the time to choose the full-fat mayo and binge-watch for survival. One needs those extra bits of cellulite on one’s thighs to make it to April and the best way to keep that is through chowing-down and not burning a single calorie. It’s a scientific fact. (I mean, I have no clue if it is but I’m sure somewhere in one of those Dunkin Donut funded university studies they’ve proven this. P.S. what do I need to do to be a test subject in a study like that?)

Thanks to El Nino, with all the exercising and playgrounding I’ve not managed to gain a damn pound. I’ve only my normal, year-round level of thigh dimples. What if El Nino up and rolls in a few weeks and the frigid weather arrives? What will become of me? I shudder at the thought. You bastard, El Nino.

I think my case has been made El Nino. You’re more than welcome to hit me up around March, after I’ve spent a few months huddled under multiple layers and trapped indoors with surly children, but now I need a little winter. I’ve worked hard and I need my “Too cold to go out,” response. As is my usual norm in social situations, I will be the one to say what everyone else is thinking: “El Nino, go home. You’re drunk. No one wants you here.”

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Perhaps this is El Nino?

Khat-ing Around

For years I’ve been the Antonin Scalia on all judgements in the family pet battle.

Can we get a dog? No. Too much work.

Can we get a cat? No. Too bitchy.

Hamster? No. Too close to a mouse.

Guinea pig? No. Too close to a rat.

Bird? No. Too annoying.

Fish? Ok I did say yes here but after five toilet bowl funerals, many tears, an aquarium leak and a rehoming mission that resulted in the Turk driving around Indy with a fish in a Ziploc begging someone to take him, my no fish stance is firm.

About three Christmases ago I thought I might have won the battle when I got to match the Midge’s request for a dog with, “No, but I can give you a brother.” That worked for like a day.

A few months ago the Turk decided that the best reward to the entire family – myself, the caretaker, obviously excluded- for making it though everything with the Nugget’s health, was to get a family dog. My reply was a predictable, “Aw hells no.”

Nothing against man’s best friend but I’m not a dog gal. Ok, I’m not a pet gal at all. I hate sharing my space with something that cannot talk back to me (Yes, I realize I do that with the Nugget but he signs so that point is moot.) I hate fur all over. I hate that nasty ass smell that comes with pets; you know the one that is a combination of pee and pet food. Most of all, I hate stray turds. I have a potty training two-year-old; my world has enough stray turds.

But ten years with this Turk and I know that a hard “no” would only drive him and the risk of him turning up one day with a Fido surprise was solid, so I countered with the feline card. “Maybe we should get a starter pet. You know, one that can pet-sit itself, is relatively silent and poops in a contained space. Let’s get a cat.” I barely believed it was my own voice uttering those words but once they were out I had to stand by them.

“No. I had cat in Turkey. Boncuk. (The Turk pet name equivalent of Fido) Boncuk was asshole. All cats are assholes. I will not live with another asshole cat.”

In Turkey cats are everywhere. They’re like furry, surly little street gangs. As for their coexistence with society, Turks fall into one of two camps – they either adore them and feed them from their front doors or they hate them and kick them on the down low. The Turk was raised by one from each camp- his mother adored the cat but his father despised it. No wonder Boncuk was an asshole.

“You know not all cats are like the one you had in Turkey in 1979. Right?”

“No. They are all the same. Assholes.”

“Fine. But there will be no dog in this house until every single person in this home uses a toilet on the reg.” (Though we started with a bang, my stubborn Nugget only uses the toilet when the spirit moves him or if we’re in a public restroom with an exciting toilet. I see this trend continuing for the long haul.)

I’d put my foot down but the boys, led by their captain, The Turk, continued to dog shop at every chance. But one magical day when the Nugget and Turk were out on the town they stumbled across a cat up for adoption. The Turk witnessed first hand the weirdo love the Nugget has for felines and being a total sucker for anything Nugget, he was swayed.

Fast forward to last weekend and he confessed that he’d been test driving cats for weeks and he’d finally found our perfect match. We were set to pick it up in the morning. I steeled myself and agreed under the premise that I get to issue the cat’s moniker. (My family members are known for sucking at pet naming and I wasn’t about to spend the next 20 years with a cat named Cat or, God forbid, another Boncuk.)

Unlike when I named my children and was tasked with finding a name that was Turkish for citizenship reasons but pronounceable in English (PS- your options are pretty freaking limited. There are seriously many online groups filled with people struggling with just this half-breed naming quandary.) my options were wide open.

Should I name it J.J. Walker so I could yell “Dyn-o-Mite!” whenever I called him? What about George Jefferson (Wheezy if a girl) so I could sing “Movin’ on up” when he ran the stairs? Seventies TV is my usual go-to, (I once had a cow named Magnum PI) but I decided to go classic. Cleo-cat-ra, Miss Cleo (like the 80’s fortune teller) for a girl and Gengis Khat for a boy. Cengis (pronounced Jengis) is a common Turk name so we comboed the English/Turk versions so he’d match the kids’ weird names.

Gengis Khat has been an Ozemet for four days now and he’s blended right in. He sleeps with the Nugget, cuddles with the Turk, plays with the Midge and screeches at me when his food bowl is empty. I’m pretty sure he’s Turkish.

The biggest holdout seems to be the one with the instantaneous attachment. The Turk has been away on business all week but texted to see how the new addition was getting on.

-How is my boy?

-Good. He just got home from school.

-No the other one.

-Good. He just got up from his nap.

-No. The other one.

-Gengis??? Are you seriously asking about the cat over your kids?

-Yes. Does he miss me? Scratch him behind the ear for me.

(Eye rolls as I plunk more money into our children’s therapy funds.)

Welcome to the nuthouse Gengis Khat. Things don’t  make a lot of sense here but you’ll get the hang of it soon.

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Kid Music is Crushing My Soul

A couple months ago I made a fatal error while driving with the Nugget. He was on the brink of a car seat melt-down as two years olds are wont to do, and being the tired, old mom I am, I sought a quick fix. As I glanced down, I saw at my fingertips, a CD from his music class. I’d never bothered to pop it in before but had hopes it might sooth the savage beast. It worked, but since that day the chubby dictator in my backseat has been holding us all hostage with demands for his, and only his, music.

Any parent that has successfully reared a child through toddlerhood is aware of the horrors of kid music. Barney, The Wiggles, Raffi, the list of horrors goes on and on. I personally remember demanding a particular rendering of “Rubber Duckie You’re the One” brought to life by the nasal voice of Ernie, over and over long before I could put the needle on the record. (Yes, I’m that old you young whippersnapper!)

With Number One Son I suffered though a series of ditties performed by Turkish Muppet-like creatures from the show Benimle Oynar Misin? (Won’t you Come and Play With Me- for you non-Turkish speakers.) Seven years later I’m still singing one tune in Turkish about the phone ringing every time my damn phone rings. (P.S., in Turkish the phone goes vhir-vhir. It doesn’t really but it’s kind of like how in Turkish the dog says how how how. You know the Turks, they’ve no need to conform to your standards. That’s how they roll.) Thankfully when we moved to America we discovered Yo Gabba Gabba, which was far less nerve grating. I still sing their classic, There’s a Party In My Tummy, every time I have a good meal. Now that’s a musical masterpiece.

But the Nugget’s music is killing me. His taste is horrible. I blame his father, the grown-ass man with the musical taste of a tween girl. I’ve tried to subject him to some more funkily tolerable kiddie tunes but he’ll have none of it. He’s got his jams and those are the only ones he will allow, but his jams have become rather redundant.

Last week the Turk was departing for Home Depot with the boys in tow. As he got into the car I informed, “Track 27 is the one you’ll need.”

He gave me that look that says, ah hells no, and replied, “No. I will not listen to that crap.” (Who are you to judge, old man with One Direction on your gym playlist?)

I gave him that look that said, fool please and replied, “Good luck with that.”

Upon their return the Turk looked battle ragged. “Well?” I prodded knowing exactly the horror he’d faced.

“I don’t understand. Why that song and why is Sam the Dinosaur scared of the mouse? He is big. That song is stupid.”

Indeed.

Recently I made yet another bonehead move and got him a new CD at the library. It’s the soundtrack to his favorite show, Signing Time. Signing Time on it’s own is a brilliant series developed out of necessity by a mom of a deaf kid. (All great things can somehow be tracked back to moms.) It uses perky kid songs to teach ASL. (Full disclosure: I, and many other hearing loss moms credit the show to our own ASL retention.) The songs are catchy but repetitive so you can practice the signs again and again in time with the music. It’s about the only reason we have Netflix as Nugget watches it constantly.

Since we got the new CD the moment we near the car, he signs ‘I want Signing Time music.’ Listening to the tunes on constant replay was bad enough but now he demands I sign along. Now to you parents of hearing kids, you might not know the dangers of signing while driving but I’m here to tell you, it’s a risky venture.

First off, many signs require two hands, a move not compatible with operating a motor vehicle. I almost took out a minivan in the school lane last week during the Days of the Week song. Damn two-handed Sunday.

Next, there is the whole turning around to figure out what your backseat passenger is trying to tell you. I’d been nearly running off the road  repeatedly for months before I learned that car companies actually make special mirrors compatible to your car for signing passengers. Who knew? (This is why the state assigns you a deaf mentor from the get go to help you navigate. Points for you Hoosiers.)

And finally, there is the offensive misconception issue. When you are driving along and see some broad in a car with no visible passenger gesturing rapidly, the automatic assumption (as I’ve recently learned) is that she is flipping you off in an act of road rage. Trucks full of landscapers are hard pressed to believe you’re doing the Won’t You Be My Friend? song in sign language for an unseen toddler. (In some situations you will need to produce said toddler to prevent escalation. Trust me.)

The moral of the story is, maybe someday Nugget will be able to speak, maybe not. We just don’t know but either way, he’s a music nut and the best we can hope for is that in time his musical taste will develop as well. My hope is that if I keep peppering his crap music with a bit of mine, eventually he’ll understand and leave the dark side. It hasn’t worked with his father and his older brother has been making us watch him Whip and Nene for months, but there’s always hope for the younger generation.

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