Thursday, June 15, 2017

Zoe vs. the Book Review: But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low

Mommy's in another book. I know this because I overheard her begging a friend to give it a "review." So when she was alone and defenseless, i.e., in the shower, I asked her two questions.
1. Why hadn't she asked me for a review?
2. What's a review?
Gamely wiping shampoo from her eye, she told me a review is when you tell people what you thought of a book you'd read, good or bad.
So, I said, you asked that lady to give you a good review or a bad review?
She hesitated then said, "I told her to be honest," adding, in her pod-person voice, "Everyone should always be honest." 
Then we played who'll-blink-first and I won.

But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low
Available now! See the sidebar. It's right there!

"I'd like to review your book," I said.
"No," she said, flat-out, just like that. "First of all, you fall down on the floor and have a break down when I ask you to read Hop on Pop so there's no way you're getting through an anthology"---she rushed on when she realized she'd used a ten-dollar word I'd surely ask about---"and second, it has . . . adult words in it."
"You mean bad words. Curse words. Like---"
"Yep. Now scram so Mommy can get soap out of her eyes," and with that she wrested the shower curtain from my hands and snapped it closed. 
So I found a copy on my own, and yes, it was too long, but I skimmed it which means not really reading it, like Mommy does with letters sent home from school. (Ed. note: this is not true! Besides, I am a very good skimmer.) 
Then I wrote my review, in one sentence, using a lot of "ands" because I'm learning about joining words in school.
The overall theme of the book is parenting advice, taken, not taken, and the shenanigans that ensue.
(Ed. note: click the hot-linked phrases to find out who wrote each essay--it's a fun surprise AND you'll find a new hilarious person to follow!)
Ahem! If Mommy will stop interrupting then we can get on with:

The Best Book Review Ever 
by Zoe
The first story is about these three little girls whose pet dies, and in my opinion, the Mommy writing it lacked appropriate solemnity, but Mommy said it was "laugh-out-loud" funny, and that story is followed by a different kind of horrifying-but-supposedly-natural thing, which is breastfeeding, and I learned breast is best, or maybe it isn't, or at least not all the time, the conclusion kind of left it up to you, followed by a Daddy who hates baby talk and I concur vehemently, after which we have some plane poop, which is better than the gross body stuff in the next story about that thing Mommys and Daddys have to do to make babies but sometimes do when they don't want to make babies, why I don't know, followed by a Mommy who makes her kids work for her, which seems criminal and I will be reporting her to the proper authorities, then a story about hipsters who like to eat green babies and so the Mommy who has one escapes to Greece, which is where green comes from, maybe, or at least they both start with the same four letters, followed by a Mommy obsessed with putting her kids in the oven, which is just sick, and after that I was ready for unsolicited advice from a lady without kids who sounds fun to hang out with and like she hasn't been beaten by life yet and I refuse to see any correlation with her being childless, followed by scary toys that come to life in the night, then the story I call "good catch, Daddy," and I bet you want to know what he catches, don't you, then a Mommy who doesn't lie but thinks she should have, about the toilet, but it's never good to lie and I'm surprised that this Mommy entertains the idea, then comes Mommy's essay, which was not cleared with my people, then a story about a Mommy obsessed with socks, which I find is a pretty common parental obsession---they're just socks, people---then a story about a Mommy who tries to be a Daddy and be fun and almost dies, which is what happens when Mommys try to be fun, just sayin', then this Mommy who's unheathily obsessed with becoming a cheerleader---let it go, lady, to paraphrase Elsa---followed by a Daddy who's got some issues about his teen daughter driving, which I hope she ignored, cause girls can do anything better than boys, and sometimes Daddys too, circle of life, etc., then this little kid whose style I like is just keepin' it real but the Mommy gets embarrassed---this is a good one cause the kid in it curses---then this other Mommy talks about how she was left alone as a newborn, and I thought, big deal, it wasn't till I had a few months under my belt that I could cause some real trouble, followed by this pottymouth Mommy talking about her teenage son, and she uses so many bad words I was kind of impressed so had to slow my skim so I could write them down, and after that I learned that though I should try not to vomit in a tube park, I will never have to clean it up cause that's a Mommy's job, and next up was a soccer dad, and he is an actual coach of his daughter's team, which I think Daddy didn't know he could do this and I will have to tell him, followed by another forgetful, neglectful Mommy who doesn't read instructions carefully (are all Mommies like this?), and then a Daddy who says if your own Mommy is very careful, you'll be less careful when you get older and I'm not sure if this was supposed to be good or bad, and then the next Mommy had a question: "Urine is sterile, right?" and I wondered why she didn't just google it, unless she was afraid of getting pee on the keyboard, followed by pee's friend, poo, and a story about this kid I really like because she really likes poo, then a story about those stick things Mommy has in the cabinet that she gets annoyed when I take them out and play with them because they're fascinating but I'm glad I don't have to use them and don't get how they even fit in your front butt, and this one was followed by the one that made the most sense because it was about a Mommy who was told don't fall with your hands in your pockets, and when I read that, I slowed my skim again because that really resonated with me and made me so happy, but then I got to the lying Mommy who only pretends to stay nearby---and I won't even tell you how she does this because it's so devious and disgusting---while her poor kid goes to sleep unaware he lives in a world of lies, but then I got over it when I read about this magical place called Port Authority where I've never been to the bathroom, and next time I will drag Mommy there because it's now on my bathroom bucket list, and this was followed by a story about an anthropomorphic candy bar with bad timing, but is there ever a good time for a giant candy bar to be anthropomorphic because then it's not a real giant candy bar, and that's just the worst sort of disappointment, then a funny story I liked about a baby vomiting on a stranger on a plane, which is the height of comedy, get it?, because it's on a plane, then about this lady who keeps having kids and the births never go according to plan and I'm not sure if she keeps doing it till it comes out right or what, then an interesting story about a Mommy telling her child to ignore bullies but it seems there are exceptions, which is good to know because someday I'm going to learn how to kill a man with one finger, then this Daddy who thinks parenthood needs a cure and I wasn't sure what he was getting at and if I should be happy about it because he kept zigging when I expected him to zag, and another story with my favorite subject, a little kid like me cursing and getting away with it, sort of, I mean, the Daddy didn't like it but the Mommy I think was coaching the kid and teaching her all the best curse words so I like this Mommy, and finally we end with a story by the lady who put the whole thing together for her Aunt Ology---whoever she is, and I'm not sure what she's going to do with all this advice---and hers is about how boys stink when they become teenagers, but I think they already do, at least the ones in my class do, and aren't I lucky that I'm a girl and so I'll never stink? The end. 
Oh, and I liked the book fine, I guess. Maybe even the story about me.

But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low, hilarious stories of parenting advice gone wrong, but occasionally right. Available now. In fact, if you just glance over to your right, you'll see it right there in the sidebar. See it? Reward yourself for your smartitudes: click it!
Zoe: 166; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like Zoe vs. "The Book Blurb."

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I need a win here, people. 

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Zoe vs. David Lynch

Scenes filled with a nameless dread. Encounters with the surreal. Disturbing violence and psychological terror. Unnerving silences. Parenting involves all those things. Which is why it has a lot in common with the oeuvre of David Lynch.

Zoe vs. Twin Peaks

I was a big Twin Peaks fan, so when I heard David Lynch and Mark Frost were going to bring it back, well, it felt like all the gum I'd ever liked was going to come back in style. 
Twin Peaks was one of the early touchstones in my relationship with The Husband. Soon after we met, we bonded over our love for Agent Dale Cooper and his love for coffee---"black as midnight on a moonless night"---not to mention pie. We loved the Log Lady and eye-patch Nadine's quest for perfectly silent drape runners. Like so many others, we wanted to know "who killed Laura Palmer?"
Everyone was obsessed with this blond beauty. We wanted to believe she was an angel; we suspected she might be the devil. Am I being too subtle? 
It's not just Twin Peaks that reminds me of Zoe. It's a lot of David Lynch's movies. I mean, have you seen Eraserhead? The whole movie was a reenactment of my brain the first year of Zoe's life, filled as it was with never-ending diaper changes and never-beginning sleep. Hallucinations. A tiny creature completely dependent on you filling you with equal parts dread, responsibility, love, and not a little repulsion. That and the main character sports the most spectacular bed head.

A) Shower B) eat or C) take a nap? Whaddaya mean "D"?

Or how about Lost Highway? If you've seen it, you probably remember the Mystery Man who approaches Bill Pullman's character at a party and tells him that he (the weird little man standing right in front of him) is currently at his house and says if you don't believe him, call him. Bill Pullman calls his own house and guess who answers. Freaks me out every time.
A little shorter and a cuter haircut and this could be Zoe appearing at my bedside at five in the morning to ask who's going to put her to bed that night. 
Did I mention how midway through Lost Highway one character switches heads with another? If that's not a metaphor for parenting, then I don't know what is.

"Hello, me? It's you."

And then there's Blue Velvet, featuring villain Frank Booth, who is, shall we say, disrespectful to a character he addresses as "Mommy." Luckily I still have both my ears, though I've been tempted to rip them off myself after Zoe's been telling me the same disjointed story three days straight about how she may or may not have a little bit but doesn't remember put up her middle finger but not on purpose and is that bad?
Mulholland Drive, and I can't believe I'm saying this, I think I understood. It's about the corruption of Hollywood and broken dreams. There's role-playing, a possible parallel universe, non-sequiturs, and nightmare visions.
Just last night Zoe was telling me a story about a monster who lived under a bed. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be her bed or someone else's, but either way, with Lynchian nonchalance, she said, "Then the monster comes out and puts his head in your mouth." She paused, then said, "Or maybe it's your head in his mouth. Anyway, that's what I call a nightmare."
"It fits the bill," I tell her, giving her a thumbs-up, a la Agent Cooper.

Sorry if I woke you from the nightmare you were having about me.

Speaking of dreams, I can't help but think the giant and the dwarf who appear to Cooper are metaphors for how the things parents say to children and vice versa are often mysterious and perhaps can only be understood twenty-five years later, and on an alternate plane of existence.
It's been twenty-five years since Twin Peaks originally aired and now it's back. Since I'm in a different place in life, I'm more willing to suspend disbelief this time around. Or maybe it's because I'm too tired to try to make sense of David Lynch and that's why his solipsistic narrative logic doesn't trouble my literal brain as much. In any case, I'm just sitting back and trying to enjoy the ride. Just like parenting Zoe. Who I'm pretty sure doesn't have, or need, an evil doppelganger.

When you've just cleaned the sink and your kid spits toothpaste in it.

Zoe: 165; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like Zoe vs. Karl Lagerfeld.

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I need a win here, people. 

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