Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mama tried, mama tried . . .

My mom. God bless 'er. In addition to teaching us good grammar, she took a very creative approach to correcting bad habits that she saw us developing. They didn't always stick but they left funny memories. And it's great to have funny memories from your childhood, don't you think? So I thought I'd share some of my mom's creativity with you . . .

"Don't slump!"
My mom hated it when we would slouch because she wanted her girls to have good posture. She was always on us about it, especially at the dinner table . . . I guess she didn't like it when our chins hit the table. Not one to give up easily, she decided to make us eat dinner while balancing a book on our heads. This might sound like a good idea until The Great Gatsby comes crashing down into your meatloaf. But we had to give her credit for trying.

"Take smaller bites!"
My mom also hated it when we put too much food in our mouths. So, being the creative mom that she is, she came up with what she thought was the perfect solution: she drew a red circle on our plates and we had to put any bite of food in that circle first before we could put it in our mouths. If the bite was bigger than the circle, it was too big and we had to fix it before we could eat it. This was annoying at the time but kind of funny to think about now. My mom was proud of her idea . . . until we started noticing red streaks through our mashed potatoes. It was then that my mom realized that she hadn't used a permanent marker. So that idea was short-lived, thank GOODNESS. And we're still waiting to find out if we have some sort of ink poisoning from the whole thing.

"That doesn't sound like a very nice song."
I remember one time I was singing "Papa Don't Preach" at the top of my lungs and my mom asked me what I was singing. I told her and then she asked me if I knew what that song was about. Here is the chorus:

Papa don't preach
I'm in trouble deep
Papa don't preach
I've been losing sleep
But I've made up my mind
I'm keepin' my baby

So it was an easy question to answer. This song is OBVIOUSLY about how this girl's dad is a preacher and she is telling him not to preach anymore. And she OBVIOUSLY calls her boyfriend "baby" and she's telling her dad that she is not going to break up with him. I had no idea that she was singing about an unplanned pregnancy and that she didn't want her dad lecturing her about it. That was an awkward conversation. And from Madonna - who knew she was so risque, right?? I'm glad I wasn't walking around singing "Like a Virgin" instead . . .

So my mom decided that we needed to really pay attention to the words of the songs that we were singing. Her next creative idea was to make us write down the lyrics to a song that we liked and then read them at the dinner table so that we could discuss what they meant. Erin picked "Walk this Way" by Aerosmith and Run DMC. Let me tell ya, people, you have not seen awkward until you've sat across from Erin as she reads dryly: "Walk this way. Talk this way. Walk this way. Just gimme a kiss."

I chose the song All Cried Out by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. I had taken the task very seriously and had sat in front of my "jambox" rewinding the tape over and over until I had recorded the entire song in my little spiral. It wasn't full of little gems like Erin's choice was but it was much less awkward to discuss around the dinner table. Unfortunately, a week or so later I left the spiral I had written the lyrics in over at my neighbors', Tiffany and Alana's, house. Their mom found the spiral, opened it up, and stumbled across the lyrics for All Cried Out. The problem was that she had never heard the song so she thought I had written it myself. At the age of 11. You can imagine her distress when she read:

All alone on a Sunday morning
Outside I see the rain is falling
Inside I'm slowly dying
But the rain will hide my crying

And you, don't you know my tears will burn the pillow
Set this place on fire 'cause I'm tired of your lies
All I needed was a simple "Hello"
But the traffic was so noisy that you could not hear my cry

Ah, I gave you my love in vain
My body never knew such pleasure
My heart never knew such pain
And you, you leave me so confused
Now I'm all cried out over you

Never wanted to see things you way
I had to go astray, oh, why was I such a fool?
Now I see that the grass is greener
why oh why
Is it too late for me to find my way home,
How could I be so wrong?
Leavin' me all alone

Don't you know the heart will cause an inferno
Romance up in flames, why should I take the blame
You were the one who left me neglected
I'm so sorry
Apology not accepted, add me to the broken hearts you collected

Ah, I gave you all of me
gave me all of you
How was I to know you would weaken so easily
Ah, I don't what to do
I'm all cried out over you

Ah, I gave you my love in vain
My body never knew such pleasure
My heart never knew such pain
And you
I left you so confused, now I'm all cried out
Now I'm all cried out....over you

My body never knew such pleasure?? Needless to say, Vicki and Richard planned an intervention with my parents to let them know that I was deeply troubled. And possibly a tramp. But my parents were able to clear things up and explain the purpose of the lyrics in my spiral.

And we never had to write the words of songs again.

You don't know how glad I am that this all happened LONG before "I Touch Myself" came out because THAT would have been awkward . . .

So here's to my mom and her never-ending creativity. As I sit here slouched over my computer with my mouth stuffed with too many pretzels and humming Papa Don't Preach, I declare: YOU DONE GOOD, MOM!!


Emma said...

Laughing out loud at the memories! Another great closing line, too!

Unknown said...

SO Funny! This was a good one Catch.

Unknown said...

NOT to say the others weren't good. But this hit home and made me laugh out loud.

Erin said...

crying AGAIN, I'm laughing so hard. I just kept picturing poor Vicki reading it and holding her heart. So funny.

Mom's mood beads were good too...and I think she originated the chore chart too.

steph said...

alright so now i got all these songs stuck in my head! seriously, way to give props to your ma :)