I don’t know about you, but I like “weird.” Weird is different. Weird is unique. Weird is interesting. Weird is special.
And now that I’m a parent, I’m way weirder than ever before. This oddness has manifested in the least expected ways, but I’ve learned to cherish them all. Among the weirdest:
1. I check the weather obsessively.
Before children, I mainly checked the weather to figure out if I’d be wearing a raincoat that day … but now it’s all about questions relating to the kids, such as, “Is it so cold that the children will need three layers of clothes? It is so sunny that the children will need three layers of sunscreen? Is it so windy that too-loose clothing will mean that one of them could get caught by a strong gust and wind and become airborne like a tiny human kite?” If I somehow screw up and my children’s clothing (or sunscreen) is not completely weather-appropriate, I’m clearly the worst mother on the planet. Duh.
2. I “ship” cartoon characters.
These days I watch more children’s television than I do primetime TV. The former is actually pretty entertaining, but what’s missing for me is romance. I enjoy nothing better than plotlines involving unrequited love, nascent relationships, and yes, maybe even an affair or two. Of course you’re not going to find any of that on toddler-targeted cartoons, but that doesn’t stop me from secretly wishing that Jake and Izzie from Jake and the Neverland Pirates would finally acknowledge their mutual attraction. Hello, did you SEE how Izzie looks at Jake in the show’s opening credits? Talk about chemistry! And don’t get me started on the completely inappropriate romantic tension between Daisy Duck and Mickey Mouse. Cool it, you two — kids are watching!
3. I drink my juice out of mugs.
Cold, refreshing juice should be served in tall, clear glasses, right? Not in my house, where I strive to limit my kids’ sugary juice intake, but haven’t done much to curb my own addiction to the sweet stuff. Here’s the problem: If the kids see me drinking delicious apple juice from a glass, they’ll demand glasses of their own. So instead, when no one is looking, I pour my juice into opaque mugs and the kids can assume it’s tea or coffee or some other grown-up drink that doesn’t interest them in the slightest. If only I could figure out a way to eat chocolate from a mug, too!
4. I often eat full meals standing up.
I’m betting I’m far from alone on this one. During dinners, I’m often so busy shuttling back and forth between the boys — to do things like add seconds, help someone use his fork, or just wipe a messy chin — that I find it’s easier to just stand and eat rather than settle into a chair. Somehow, this habit has carried over into lunch, even though the kids are usually at daycare at that time. But it’s OK, because standing while eating burns more calories, right? Let’s just pretend it does.
5. I strike up unnecessarily long conversations with strangers visiting my home.
I work from home, a career choice I made for the sake of my children. It’s generally a good situation, but boy, as an extrovert, I really do miss being around other grown-ups on a regular basis … which means when I do see other adults, I turn into quite the loquacious lady.
For example, I imagine that an average person’s conversation with a plumber is limited to something like this: “The toilet’s clogged. Can you fix it?” “Yes.” “Great!”
But whichever poor plumber visits my house is likely to get an earful of questions about the weather, current events, or heck, even sports. “Aren’t the Mets doing something impressive right now? I don’t really follow baseball, but please keep talking because the sound of another adult human’s voice is like a thousand angels singing in my ear!”