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Friday, March 14, 2008


"That could be a coinkydink."

"Do you mean catastrophe?"

"Yeah, but I just like the way coinkydink sounds."

The X-Man is a nerd and it's totally my fault. Never mind that he knew "coinkydink" wasn't even the right word to describe Baby J standing on the very edge of the kitchen table with his shirt covering his eyes. He likes one of the nerdiest words in the Universe and will use it in place of any long word that starts with a "c." And it's all my fault. I said it once, just once, as a joke, and he was on it like white on rice. He owns that word. Maybe he'll make it cool. I sure hope so. It would be quite the coinkydink if my one time use of that word launched his career in trendsetting. Oops, just used it again.

If nerdiness were genetic, there wouldn't be much my kids could do to change their fate. My husband, by the way, is cool, but my total and complete lack of coolness cancels that out. Sadly, I'm cooler now than I've ever been in my life. That is how uncool I've been. But children don't turn out like their parents. Republicans beget Democrats, tom boys beget girly girls, athletes beget clods. And I should know, because I'm the Democrat, girly girl clod child of an athlete and a tom boy, both Republicans, of course. They made the dire mistake of teaching us how to make thoughtful decisions about our political views instead of cramming their own down our throats. Bet they're sorry now!

There are times when it breaks your heart to realize your children have so little in common with you. One of my friends, a staunch Democrat much like me and my husband, is sure that his son will rebel by becoming a hard-core, right wing conservative. He's probably right, because teenagers have a way of knowing exactly how to push buttons. Often, though, it's just a stage and they come to their senses.

There are other times when you're thrilled to see that your child didn't inherit some awful personality trait from you. My children aren't shy. I was, painfully. I still am, but I pretend I'm not, which helps. When O. was a toddler, first hitting the park circuit, I was terrified that he wouldn't be able to talk to the other kids, because it's all about me, right? I went to the park armed with all kinds of advice and coping techniques*, totally unnecessary. That kid will talk to anyone, anywhere. I love it.

I don't feel guilty about the not so hot aspects of my kids' personalities and I don't take credit for all the good things about them, because they have nothing to do with me. I'm just happy that I have funny kids who I like most of the time. I do feel a tiny bit guilty about "coinkydink" though...

Namasté, y'all!

* There was one piece of advice I really liked, even though I didn't need it at the time. I have to share, just in case you're interested. When parents get to the park with kids and the kid wants to play with kids who are already there, the parent will say,

"Ask if you can play with them."

Bad, bad advice. Tell the kid to just go join the game. Think about it. Kids can leave other kids out, especially if the opportunity is handed to them, and asking to play just seems so...desperate. Do you like grownups who repeatedly ask if they can come hang out with you and your friends? Or do you like the ones who just belly up next to you at the bar and order a drink? And tell jokes. And, more importantly, laugh at your jokes. Teach your kid how to tell a few jokes and do a realistic courtesy laugh in response to other kids' jokes. He'll be the most popular guy at the park.

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