Saturday, March 8, 2014

You Know You Live In Fairfax County When

You've said or heard the following....

Regarding Traffic:
- It took me 45 minutes to get home from Tysons.
- Ever heard of a turn signal, buddy?
- It took 10 minutes just to get from 123 to Nutley.
- My signal was on for like 5 minutes and that *bleep* still wouldn't let me get over.
- Oh. My. Lord. We aren't moving. I hate 66.

Regarding Dining Out:
- You guys want to go to Coastal Flats?
- Let's have drinks at Ozzie's first.
- Want to meet for lunch at Cheesecake Factory?
- I saw like 10 people I know at Bonefish Friday night.

Regarding Hosting Out of Town Guests:
- Are you flying into Dulles or Reagan?
- My cousin and her kids are in town. We're going to the Air and Space Museum.
- Lucky! How did you get White House tickets?
- Ugh. I have to take them all the way out to Mt. Vernon.

Regarding Kids Sports:
- He made the A team!
- He made the B team but that's good because he will get more playing time.
- He made the C team. He wants to quit.
- I put her in golf lessons, I hear there's a lot of scholarship money for women's golf.
- He plays travel, AAU and takes privates twice a week. He signed up for four AP classes next year and is organizing a charity coat drive. He wants to major in engineering, maybe go to MIT, Tech would be his fall back. What's your eighth grader up to?

Regarding School:
- When are they going to get rid of half day Mondays?
- Who's your math tutor? Can I have their number?
- We spent four weekends filling out college applications.
- Did you sign up for SAT classes? I heard they're full.
- She has a 4.3 and didn't get into UVa.

Regarding Knowing People Who Work for the CIA:
- She works for the (air quotes) State Department.
- He works at (emphasis) Langley.
- I heard he works for the (whispers) government.
- I don't know, she's a government contractor or something.

Regarding Fast Food:
- I totally need a Five Guys. Wanna go?
- Whatever happened to Roy Rogers? I heard there's one left in Springfield or something.
- Why do I always want Chik fil A on Sunday?
- Let's just drive through McDonald's.

Regarding Local Celebrities:
- Have you SEEN Yorktown High School? I heard they have a Starbucks now. Apparently, Sandra Bullock donates millions.
- Is your kid following Ryan McElveen on Twitter? I don't get it.
- Had dinner at Jackson's the other night and saw a bunch of Redskins hanging out.
- Sorry I'm late. Things came to a standstill to let he presidential motorcade pass.

What They Don't Tell You

Nobody tells you how hard being a parent is going to be. I suspect it's to keep the human race from expiring. I know I might have reconsidered had I known some of what was coming. Whatever the reason, they don't tell you.

They don't tell you that your newborn, contrary to those peacefully snoozing you've seen only in formula commercials, could have colic. What is colic, you ask? Ask a pediatrician and they'll tell you they don't know. We can cure erectile dysfunction and hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden but THEY DON'T KNOW what colic is. I'll tell you what it is. It's when your baby screams bloody murder for hours at a stretch and you're powerless to help. Mercifully, it's temporary. You can't do much to help your wailing little boo except love him. But you can take survival measures. I recommend expensive noise canceling earphones, long walks while someone else takes over, and Hostess cakes. Any variety. As many as it takes. 

They don't tell you that your cuddly two year old could one day morph into a terrifying dictator that would make Kim Jung Il look like Gerald Ford. No amount of patience, positive attitude or bribery with Dora the Explorer fruit snacks will make them budge once they've made up their mind to do, or not do, something. Ever try to cram a huffy toddler hell-bent on walking into a stroller? With other parents in the mall agape in quiet judgement? You chase after your kid, who's clearly intent on conquering the mall with or without your tiresome ass. Once captured, he goes wet noodle on you, slipping through your hold and flopping onto the floor. Mustering all the cheery authority you can, you scoop him up again. He then transforms from lifeless heap to ninja octopus. Outraged by this subordinate attempt to thwart his freedom, he kicks the stroller and it goes skittering, spilling fruit snacks and sippy cup, towards two elderly mall walkers. They just smile at each other and look back at you with pity.

They also don't tell you that sometimes during the elementary school years, you'll lose patience and yell and say things you wish you hadn't. Like when your child starts a project at 8:00 p.m. That's due the next day. And involves clay and dowel rods you don't currently possess. They don't tell you that when they're in middle school your heart will break as your formerly snuggly kid no longer wants to be hugged. That during their high school years you will lose sleep worrying about whether they'll get into college or end up in your basement playing XBox for all eternity, surrounded by empty gatorade bottles and Frito bags.

My niece is pregnant with her first child. Do I tell her these things? I don't know. I do know that with time, fussy infants grow into delightful babies. Stubborn toddlers grow into independent and determined young men. And boys that didn't want to be hugged in middle school will come back around as the time approaches for them to leave for college. If she asks for my advice over the next few years, I will tell her that colic is temporary, to let the toddler walk and to give the teenager some space.

She will learn on her own, as we all do, that her love for them will be strong enough to survive colic, mall tantrums and college applications. Nobody can quite accurately tell you about that certain magical, yet very ordinary, kind of love. Which is as it should be. It's best discovered along the way.