By Phaea Crede
I was oblivious to how much I used the word “okay” until my toddler started saying it constantly. “Okay,” we’d both declare before tackling the dishes or making lunch, before rearranging train tracks or chunks of clay. We’d say it with a pointedness that suggested the task ahead of us was a pain in the ass, and we slightly resented having to do it. “We need a new word.” I told him while folding a mound of laundry. “Goddamn it.” He replied, not looking up from his trucks. “Jesus Christ.”
Recently, my writing team of Crede & Shatraw completed our first 15min script for the upcoming Cartoon Network show "Sonic Boom", which is incroyable.
Crede & Shatraw also authored an episode of "WordGirl" for WGBH earlier this year. Go cartoons!
The summertime sucks. Its already too hot for me. I miss the 300 year long winter, and I am not ashamed to it.
This has been Phaea's thoughts on the summertime.
Autumn 2013 has been very productive around the ol' Crede homestead. Harvey is walking, talking and occasionally sleeping. We bought a pouf ottoman from Jordan's Furniture. And I discovered that beets aren't that bad!
Plus, I'm working on a bunch of new, exciting projects. The highlights include:
- Grant writing for the worthy organizations Hyde Park Art Association and Wellmet Project. Please check out their sites and contribute heavily. They are both doing incredible work.
- Promotional text writing for Kirkus Reviews. If you need book recommendations, let me know. The Woodcutter by Kate Danley. There is one.
- Weekly recaps for the CW show 'Reign' for popcrush.com. This is literally a dream job. Literally.
- Plus, an article of mine will appear soon on sheknows.com. I'll post the link here when I can. It's, not surprisingly, about baby stuff.
I'm also still working on my novel, which remains 50 pages long. I am hoping to have some time to finish it between now and Christmas 2016.
I've never been what you would call a classic "good friend." Oh, I care in my way. I'll gchat you, or send you a picture of my cat making a dumb face, but I'm terrible at making plans. And if I manage to make plans with you I am 80% likely to get sick and cancel. I blame anxiety/my burgeoning agoraphobia/the toddler I own.
But despite my less then-user-friendliness, I happen to have some amazing friends. Friends I can play Nintendo with or go to IKEA with. Friends who don't mind that I only want to talk about my cat's dumb faces. And now as I get older I also get my friend's spouses. Or more accurately they get me with my inability to feed myself, grumpy sleeping requirements, and insane German need for schedules. Also, they get the occasional manic screaming. But I assumed that they loved me as much as their spouses did. Do?
And then I found out that all my friend’s spouses think I’m a moron.
I never would have known if a lot of them hadn’t adopted puppies around the same time. Every time I showed up to meet the puppy, the same scene played out.
The spouse takes me aside and sits me down. Spouse says: “Phaea. Don’t scream at the puppy. That will scare it. Don’t poke the puppy hard. And guess what? The puppy is very small. If you hug it too hard, you might hurt the puppy.”
I am offended. I begin to play dumb. “What am this?” I ask.
SPOUSE: That’s the leash.
ME: So that is what ams ties the puppy to your fist? Oh.”
I am introduced to the puppy.
ME: What am those?
SPOUSE: Those are the puppies teeth.
ME: If that puppies does bites me with teeths, is ok I bite back? Oh. Otherwise how else does he learns? What does puppy eat? Does puppy eat pizza? Oh. No pizza for puppy? Now I sad. I sad there no pizza party for puppy. I also sad, because you are married to my friend I always have to spend time with you if I want to see her. But ha the jokes on you because you have to spend time with me, and I am very, very stupid. Now hand me your puppy so I can pretend to do the Lion King and accidently hit it into the ceiling fan. Ha. Did not cover that in your speech. You should have.
I gently Lion King the puppy into a slow moving ceiling fan. This did actually happen with one of the puppies.
It was totally fine. But it did prove the spouses' point.
THE UNSHAVEN LEG!!
NO MILK? NO CASH!!
NO HOT WATER BY 930AM!!
CAT BREATH: A MORNING STORY!!
THIN AND UNHAPPY OR FAT AND TAKING CELEXA!!
SHE NEVER WON A 'WORDS WITH FRIENDS' GAME!!
DOG HAIR - INSIDE OF THE COUCH!!
THEY WERE LOCKED IN THEIR BEDROOM WHILE TRYING TO INSTALL A DOORKNOB ON THEIR OWN!!
THE SLIGHTLY NOISY NEIGHBORS AT 10PM!!
THE GIRL WHO DID ANYTHING SHE COULD TO AVOID WRITING!!
REALLY? MORE SVU?!
A BAG OF POPCORN...FOR LUNCH!!
I love my kid. That means I take him to a lot of kid activities, like (free) music classes and (cheap) sing-alongs. I do this so that he can learn to socialize while learning to love the world of music, which they say is good for the soul.
They are, of course, wrong, because as every parent can attest, listening to these goddamn songs over and over is like having a drill-driver inserted in one temple and out the other and repeatedly turned on. Some of the songs are just irritating because you hear them so much. Songs like:
The Wheels on the Bus (ARE DRIVING ME STRAIGHT TO HELL)
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (THE ORDER OF BODY PARTS I WILL STAB MYSELF IN)
If You're Happy and You Know It (NOT ANYMORE, YOU JERK)
The Hokey Pokey (CONTINGENT ON HOW MANY BODY PARTS ARE COVERED. IF ITS WRAPPED UP IN 3, (ARMS, LEGS, WHOLE SELF) FINE. IF WE GET INTO ELBOWS I'M OUT.)
Then there are the ones that come up less often but disturb me far greater. Tunes such as:
This Old Man (Knick Knack Paddy Whack)
This old man (OK.)
He played one (SURE.)
He played knick knack on my thumb (UM, GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY BODY, OLD MAN)
Knick Knack Paddy Whack (RACIST)
Give a dog a bone (WHERE DID THAT DOG COME FROM?)
This old man came rolling home (WHAT THE FRICK???? IS HE DRUNK? IS HE IN A BARREL? DO WE LIVE TOGETHER? NO NO NO NO NO)
It's Raining, It's Pouring
It's Raining, It's Pouring (FINE)
The old man is snoring (HIM AGAIN???! SLEEPING IT OFF I GUESS?)
He went to bed and bumped him head (FUEL TO THE DRUNK FIRE)
And couldn't get up in the morning (IT'S A COMA! THIS SONG SHOULD END WITH A 911 CALL!)
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed (COOL)
One fell off and bumped his head (UM...)
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said (DOCTOR? THIS IS SERIOUS!)
No more monkeys jumping on the bed (ABOUT AS HELPFUL AS TRIBECA PEDIATICS...AM I RIGHT???!!)
...and so forth (MY FRIEND BEATRIZ TURNED TO ME AND MENTIONED SHE THOUGHT THIS SONG WAS MACBRE. IF MACABRE MEANS GLORIFYING MONKEY TORTURE, THEN I AGREE.)
Your Are My Sunshine
I HATE THIS SONG SO MUCH I CAN'T EVEN TYPE OUT THE LYRICS. LET'S JUST SAY THAT WHEN IT GETS TO THE VERSE ABOUT WAKING UP WITHOUT THE PERSON THEY LOVE IN THEIR ARMS I AM BAWLING. THANKS, CHILDREN'S SONG.
And yet there are amazing songs that aren't nearly played enough. Songs like Raffi's Banana Phone....
Songs like Disney's All Aboard the Choo-Choo Train...
Songs like The Presidents of the United States' Death Star...
OK, Death Star is not technically a children's song, but I sing it to my boy every night and it's great. Also great? I was at a singalong the other day and the singer covered "I Love Trash" by Oscar the Grouch. That's what I'm talking about. More of that please. MORE OF THAT, LESS OF THE SONG ABOUT THE FIVE LITTLE DUCKS WHO WENT OUT ONE DAY AND DIDN'T COME BACK FOR FIVE DAYS AFTER THE MOM GETS SAD. NO MORE SAD DUCKS.
In other news, this post took me three weeks to complete. Being a mom is hard.
Over time even the most popular sayings and adages can warp and change, sometimes shedding whole segments that render the original meaning obsolete. As a serious writer I've taken a particular interest in the history of this phenomenon and through intense research I uncovered some truly amazing origin stories. Below are some examples.
Note: Common usages are in bold.
- Happy as a clam at high tide
- The proof of the taste is in the pudding
- Beggars and the Irish can't be choosers
- Haste makes waste makes chaste makes taste makes shmaste
- Better safe then sorry you drowned a friend/lover
- If at first you don't succeed try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again
- One bitten, twice shy, thrice a total ass bag
- It takes two to tango, four to quadrille, and twelve for a kick line; there I've explained dance to you
- Don't look a sick horse in the mouth
- All the good roads lead to Rome, but the shittiest ones all take you home
- Nothing ventured, maybe something gained, you never know
- What goes around, comes around, not
- There is more then one way to skin the cat, oh I'm sorry that's a horrible thing to say, many apologies.
I have a little dog called Gus. He's about 30 pounds, all black, mostly schnauzer, and loves to poop all over our neighborhood. That's one of the great pleasures of being a dog, after all. Pooping on flowers, garbage, bits of grass you manage to find in an urban environment such as NYC, and everything in between. And I, of course, allow his this pleasure because I am a good dog-mom.
While being a good dog-mom, I also want to be a good person-mom and follow the rules of the neighborhood RE: poop. I always pick it up. I don't let him pee on motorcycles or strollers. What more could my community want? Well, they also want me to "curb" my dog:
Great! I will curb him! If only I actually knew what the hell "curb" meant. You may be reading this and thinking, "Phaea, you are a moron..." but stay with me here, I have an antidote.
I was letting Gus poop under a sign that said "curb your dog." My husband told me I was doing wrong. He explained that "curb" meant "keep your dog away from here and don't let him do his business", which is quite a stretch for a little word. I told him I thought the sign should just come out and say that if that was, in fact, the message. My husband told me that it implied that message.
That's bullshit. A word means something that it means. It can't imply a secret message to humans and then be let down when we don't pick up on it. I asked my mother if she picked up on the secret message and she told me that "curb" meant "make your dog do his business on the curb."
I love my mother. But this only made me angrier/more confused. What does that really mean? Make your dog poop within in the one foot wide section of the sidewalk that squats between the street and where people walk? Another friend suggested it meant dogs should only do their business in the street. THE STREET! Where livery cars wait at every corner to run my dog over? Fuck that shit! Why is this dumb little word so vague and confusing?? I always thought it meant "restrain your dog." Which I do. With a leash.
Hello non-confusing sign! You win the award of actually explaining yourself. Leash-curb! I get that! Curb is a verb meaning to hold back your dog with a leash. Perfect. Why can't all signs be like this?
Or even better! No pets allowed! Clear. Concise. Even the visuals make more sense then that damn CURB word. Yes, I ignore the sign, but that's my choice.
Here we have the winner. A sign that comes out and says what the rest of the signs are all thinking. This sign I respect. This sign speaks its mind. And cries over poop. As do I.
As do I.