Thursday, February 8, 2018

Zoe vs. Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling": A Parody

Have you ever tried to leave your house with a child? As in, a child who had to leave with you or Social Services might serve you with side-eye and a summons? If so, you may have noticed that leaving took longer than you would've thought possible.
When you try to leave your house with a child, time seems to slow down as if you're being pulled into a black hole, one involving mismatched shoes, unnecessary Lego adjustments, and general nonsense.
On Sunday, as the Husband, Zoe, and I watched the Super Bowl at a friend's house, I was reminded how difficult it is to get her places and then get her out of those places in order to return home. During the halftime show, as Justin Timberlake was transporting sexy back and forth from one thematic set piece to another, I looked over at Zoe and thought, if it takes as long to leave here as it took to leave our home in order to get here, I better start telling her to get her shoes on even though we have a few more songs and a couple more quarters to go.


Today I've written a parody of Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling " to express that certain special frustration that every parent feels when they're trying to leave the house with a child who does absolutely everything but actually get themselves ready to go. I'm calling it "Please Stop, We're Leaving." Enjoy!

Please Stop, We're Leaving!
Each time we're leaving, from our home
You have to be asked 10 million times to put on clothes
You dropped my earring. You lost the post.
Then yell, Mommy, can you help me blow my nose?

Now I've got used tissues in my pocket
Got a feeling of defeat
Feel frustration in my body as the iPad drops
If I take my eyes up off you
You progress infinitesimally
Check the clock, see how it mocks me
So please stop

And under the bench is where all the shoes go
Yes, put them on, but first put on clothes
Why you're not ready, no one really knows
I can't imagine, can't imagine, can't imagine

You know we're late, why haven't you put 
on pants, pants, pants?
We should've left a while ago, put
on pants, pants, pants
Stop doing stuff you shouldn't do
instead, get on pants, pants, pants
I guess we won't be leaving soon
and now you're dancing

Please stop, we're leaving!
Get on pants, pants, pants
We should be leaving!
Get on your pants, pants, pants
Come on

Ugh, it's something tragical
You pet the cat, you stare in space, turn TV on
I'm losing all reason, losing control
My frustration's high, I can't believe you're on my phone.

Cause I got used tissues in my pocket
Got a feeling of defeat
Feel frustration in my body as the iPad drops
If I take my eyes up off you
You progress infinitesimally
Check the clock, see how it mocks me
So please stop

Stop flicking lights and put on your clothes
I'm gonna cry, feeling so lachrymose
Why you're not ready, no one really knows
I can't imagine, can't imagine, can't imagine

Put your toys back in your room
Put on pants, pants, pants
How many times can I say we're leaving till you
Put on pants, pants, pants
Come on
Stop doing crap you shouldn't do
Besides getting on pants, pants, pants
How come your butt's not getting cold
Without pants

Please stop, we're leaving!
Get on pants, pants, pants
We should be leaving!
Get on your pants, pants, pants
Come on  [repeat]


Please stop, we're leaving!
(We are leaving, everybody.)
Time to be leaving!
(Specifically your body)
It should be leaving!
(With everyone else's body.)
Can we be leaving? 
Breaking down now.

Zoe: 178; Universe: 0


 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this parody of J. Lo's "Ain't Your Mama" about the Oxford comma.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

We haven't left yet. Click here to subscribe. 



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Zoe vs. Frustration, Despair, and Bowling

Is bowling making a terrible comeback? Or is it just coming back terribly into my life because a bowling alley is the kind of place you find yourself if you are or if you have a child and need something to do in the winter?
Either way it's unwelcome. Terribly.
I hated bowling as a kid. I hated wearing shoes that had been on strange people's feet. I hated waiting for my ball to come back and then getting my fingers crushed between it and another ball.
But mostly I hated it because I was bad at it, which wouldn't have been so bad in itself, it being generally okay to be bad at something if you're alone. It's the being-bad-at-things in front of other people---especially if the other people are good at the thing you're bad at---that's just kind of super discouraging.

Bowling in a sea of despond
Something something metaphor for parenthood.

Anyway, when I went bowling with Zoe a few weeks ago, how good or bad she bowled was not her issue. She was happy just lobbing a heavy object at other objects to knock them down loudly. Basically, her raison d'etre.
The problem came when she took another little girl's turn by accident and three little girls yelled at her at once. And if you've ever had three little girls yelling at you it's like at least three times that many little girls yelling at you.
Zoe's bowling career seemed over before it started as she ran off to put her head down on a table, the posture that says "don't even try to talk to me, however, if when I raise my head there's not a crowd of people in line waiting to console me, there will be hell to pay!"
I looked around, and realizing I was the mother, I picked up my plastic glass of bowling-alley wine---which either wasn't as bad as you'd expect or my judgment was influenced by a need for survival, and furthermore, made me see bowling in a better light than I had as a child---walked over to Zoe, and basically told her that she'd just made a mistake, and the girls had just been excited, but that she had to just get over it or we'd just go home, after I finished my bowling-alley wine, this final clause left unsaid. Just.
She stayed. Probably because I also mentioned the social studies homework that was waiting for her if we left for home now.
The only thing worse than bowling when I was a child was homework.
But also going to the dentist to have my retainer tightened.
And then there was that time the tongue guard "fangs" on my retainer---which were supposed to keep my tongue back---actually went through and perforated (which may seem redundant but I feel needs to be stated twice) my tongue, trapping a small piece of toast between the roof of my mouth/retainer and aforementioned tongue. This is a Seminal Memory, if you hadn't guessed.

I think this mouth might have bigger problems than an errant tongue.

So Zoe had this project to do for school. A few days after bowling I pushed her to get started on it and she cried for forty-five minutes, on and off, through her tears of despair asking:
Why did she have to do this homework?
Couldn't she do it tomorrow night?
Couldn't I help her?
So I sat with her and made suggestions, which upset her even more, leading to:
Why couldn't she do it her way?
I got up and washed some dishes while she continued to alternately cry and demand I help her which we all know really meant:
Why can't you just do it for me?
Ohh no-no-no-no. No.
However, I wasn't completely off the hook. This was because she needed pictures of New York City tourist destinations, which meant I had to print out a bunch of pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building at work, probably making my co-workers think I was planning some sort of attack or heist.
I find, though, that when some sort of involvement in your child's homework is required, it's hard to extricate yourself, especially when you watch that child filling in the allotted lines using ABNORMALLY LARGE LETTERS and repeating the same sentence three different ways: "There are a lot of places to visit in Manhattan. New York has a lot of beautiful places to see and go to. These are some sites for tourists to visit."
In the end the project took her a few nights, less crying each night, like the Ferber Method for homework, and Sunday night, the night before it was due, she finally finished.
So much unnecessary drama, but at last it was done, and I was relieved.
Until the next night when I was checking her homework, and I opened her folder, and guess what I found? The project, still there.
"Zoe, why didn't you hand in your project?"
"Oh, I forgot, I'll hand it in tomorrow. It's fine, Mommy."
Inside, I cried. For more than forty-five minutes.

Zoe: 177; Universe: 0


 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

Don't think of it as homework. Click here to subscribe. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Zoe vs. 2018: A Seven-Year-Old's New Year's Resolutions. Plus Her Word for the Year

This year's list of Zoe's resolutions is late because it was the first New Year's she stayed up to watch the ball drop---and I haven't recovered yet.
I am a walking yawn.
But even sleepy I'm working hard to entertain my five readers---see how much I care?---so this year I decided to add Zoe's and my "word" for 2018.

Word of the Year

Have you heard about this? People now pick a word for their personal year, and then attempt to live up to that word for the rest of it.
I'm not a New Year's resolution type of person, but I am a word person, so I feel like I'm a natural passenger for the logophile train.
However, this took some soul-searching, because I'm also not the sort of person who thrills to memes featuring people scaling cliffs at sunrise or rowing a skiff at sunset with words like "Aspire"  and "No Limits" written at the bottom. If I ever say I'm "living my best life," you should know that my best life includes sarcasm.
In the interests of becoming at least the sort of person who's maybe not like the sort of person I am, I decided my word for 2018 will be "insouciant." I like the way it sounds and I think I'd like to be insouciant.
Think devil-may-care. Think champagne and fluttering clothes in fabrics that need to be hand washed, which is very impractical and also annoying, but do I care? No? Correct. Because I'm now insouciant.
I was also rewatching Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade---a movie I've seen a million times---over the holidays and I decided I want to embody that movie, Henry Mancini score and all. Charade's a movie with insouciance to spare.

A Child's New Year's Resolutions
"How about making me Vice President in charge of cheering you up?"
Actual line from movie. Can you stand it? I can. Because I'm insouciant.
Still, I think I'll start being insouciant tomorrow, which is when my diet starts. Now, here's Zoe.
(Warning, she uses the phrase "pretty much" in almost every sentence and it pretty much drives me crazy.)


Zoe here! I can tell Mommy's tired because she slept past her alarm the past three days and this morning when she opened the spoon drawer to get me a spoon for my cereal she dropped the spoon, bent down to pick it up, and then hit her head on the open drawer when she got up again. Poor Mommy! I said. After I stopped laughing. Here are my resolutions!

Zoe's New Year's Resolutions for 2018
1. Decide on my word for 2018. (I got a dictionary for Christmas and thought it was boring until I saw it had words like "die" and "feces" in it.)
2. Get the last Lego dragon I don't have, the Queen dragon, which is white with gold and purple wings, and is pretty much bigger---and apparently pretty much more expensive---than all of my Lego dragons put together which gives me an idea.
3. See if I can connect all of my Lego dragons together so it will pretty much be a necklace of Lego dragons.
4. Play all the YouTube videos I want for one thousand one million googleplex hours till Mommy uses the weird voice she uses when she's amusing herself with some imitation she should know by now I can't understand to say I should go outside and play in the fresh air which I know she doesn't really mean because we live in an apartment and so she'd have to go with me into the fresh air, like the air at the park which she hates though she tries to hide it but pretty much doesn't try very hard.
5. Write more run-on sentences.
6. Learn Italian.
7. Write run-on sentences in Italian. Molto bene, abbastanza.*
8. Gain weight. (I put this one in to mess with Mommy because she's trying to do the opposite. Don't know why it's so hard for her.) 
9. Go to the bathroom when I have to go and not wait till I'm so desperate it's almost too late and sometimes pretty much a little bit too late. 
10. On the other hand, don't stay too long in the school bathroom just to show each girl who comes in the bad word (the one that starts with "f") that was scratched in the cell [Ed: stall] door so that I pretty much miss snack time. A bad word is not a reason for show and tell, and show and tell and bathrooms should never go together, unless you require medical attention. Plus, I could get in trouble, even though I'm sure it was a bad boy who snuck in and wrote it cause a girl wouldn't do that. Right, Mommy?

That's all! And I already did my first resolution.
Ready to hear my word for 2018? Schadenfreude.
Because it may be wrong to laugh at others' misfortunes but it's also funny.
Though next time Mommy drops my spoon then hits her head on the open drawer I'll ask if she's hurt first before I laugh. Pretty much.

Zoe: 176; Universe: 0

*Very well, pretty much.

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like last year's resolutions.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

Come for the laughing with me. Stay for the laughing at me. Click here to subscribe. 


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Zoe vs. the Parallel Universe, Again

Sorry I haven't been around in a while. I was busy writing satire! Hopefully I'll have more both here and on other sites in the new year. In the meantime, here are two posts I have on Medium.

Humor writing on other sites

Zoe is automatically against anything called "medium." Her objections are threefold:
1. She dislikes how "medium" tries to bridge the difference between "small" and "large," She feels it's trying to have it both ways, which is both "unseemly" and "repugnant." Her words.*
2. She wears a "small." But she likes her hot chocolate and stuff "large." Ergo, "medium" has no place in our society.
3. She doesn't know the other definitions of medium that relate to media or fortune tellers and is frankly uninterested.
Without further ado, here are the links to my posts on Medium.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Zoe: 175; All Universes: 0
*no
 If you enjoyed this post, you may like my first Parallel Universe post.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

Can't stop? Won't stop? But like to nap? Click here to subscribe. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Zoe vs. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I can't get Zoe to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with me. She insists it's too babyish. I point out that she never watched it as a baby, either. 

Zoe vs. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
We go over her viewing history, each December since birth. Here's what she watched year by year in the weeks preceding Christmas.
Year Zero: her hands
Year One: whatever sparkled
Year Two: whatever I wouldn't give her
Year Three: Elmo's World. Over and over, please fast-forward Sesame Street till we get there, OMG, I don't care about anything else!
Year Four: Little Einsteins or Paw Patrol
Year Five: Blaze and the Monster Machines and Paw Patrol
Year Six: Lion Guard and, a nod to Christmas, the Elf on the Shelf movie (which I do not consider a canonical work!!).
At seven, she's obsessed with watching other people play Minecraft on YouTube, so much so I've found myself saying, without irony, Are you sure you don't want to watch some TV?
Specifically, now, I want her to watch Rudolph with me. 
Rudolph is for all ages, from one to ninety-two, I tell her. She is unmoved.
Then I sigh and take her little face in my hands, so I can lift it from the glow of the iPad, and say, "The only reason people have children, which you'll understand someday, is so they can relive their childhoods by watching stop-motion animated Christmas specials with them."
She rolls her eyes and goes back to her screen. As usual she is neither amused nor swayed by my attempts at absurd humor but we'll get there. I have a five-point plan, all five points of which are obnoxious.
Feigning defeat, I put Rudolph on in the background and make a big passive-aggressive show of watching it by myself---how's that for reliving my childhood? Ask my sister. I was a pain in the ass then too.
As I watch---both Zoe and I competing with each other by taking turns raising the volume on our respective devices---I'm actually hoping to enact a scheme that's reverse psychology adjacent, much like when I cut up fruit "for Daddy," knowing that when something belongs to someone else she finds that something immediately desirable.
I get through the first commercial with no reaction and then it happens, the sound I was waiting for, actually the lack of sound, when she pauses her video to watch. 
What's caught her attention is the scene where the bossy elf foreman is unreasonably yelling at Hermey the elf because Hermey's more partial to dentistry than toy-making. She is transfixed. Until the singing starts. At which point she makes a disgusted sound and goes back to her video. 
She resurfaces again after the "reveal" of Rudolph's horrible deformity at reindeer flight training, when the insults and jeering from the other reindeer fly freely. When that scene is over so is her interest. 
And so it goes, Zoe only pausing her videos for the "dramatic" parts---Yukon Cornelius saying anything, the Bumble---and ignoring everything else. 
I try one more time to get her interested, when the poor misfit toys are at last coming to terms with their essential unlovableness only to be interrupted by Santa, led by Rudolph, arriving to rescue them (spoiler alert) by handing them over to small children whose "love" is actually quite deadly if you're a toy.
Alas, Santa saving the misfit toys is apparently too saccharine for Zoe's taste, and she gets up from the couch and goes into her room. 
Was motherhood ever so thankless? A child ever so heartless?
Tomorrow I'll try How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Zoe: 174; Universe: 0

If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one, which includes a recipe for an Italian Christmas dessert!

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

Like to shout out with glee?
 Click here to subscribe.