One, cook up a mess of fish right before you give them a ride home from school with their four new friends.
Two, for maximum effect, fry the fish. My sister almost died of embarrassment the time our mom did that.
Three, when in public settings, talk in a clear loud voice. You may think you’re talking in a normal, living-room sized voice but even that has too much volume for your kids. “Whisper!” they hiss at you. “M-o-o-o-m!’
My sixth grader laid down the law with me when it came to giving rides to the guys on his soccer team. (Mum: DON’T say funny things. In fact, don’t interact with my friends at all.” Don’t interact with them? Well THAT wasn’t going to happen. We talked, we laughed, while my own child sat rigid with dread in the front seat beside me.)
Four, wear out-of-date accessories, like the tiny backpack I bought back in the 90s which I should have known even then was designed for a much younger person.
What did I care though? I’ll take a tiny backpack any day over those bags you wear over one arm that have come into fashion more recently, you know the ones I mean. They’re what matrons wore in the 60s and early 70s. Pat Nixon wore them.
Now I knew Pat Nixon. I once rode down in an elevator with Pat Nixon. I’m no Pat Nixon, or anyway I didn’t want to be.
So here’s me still walking around with the tiny backpack, even if it does make me look like an organ grinder’s monkey.
Oh so that’s Five: Make out-of date references, like “organ grinder’s monkey.” I bet not one person in ten knows that a musician called an organ grinder once made money on the street by playing this instrument while his monkey, dressed in comical satiny get-ups, scampered about with a tin cup collecting coins from the crowd.
The other day I was eating lunch with the three high school freshmen in my life when one of them picked up my tiny backpack and said, “Wow! Cool vintage bag!”
That made me feel great – until I noticed this huge milk stain down one whole side of it from the thousand cups of drive-through coffee I buy in a month, then treat with my own travelling pint of Skim because I don’t trust that the people at the drive-through are really going to use Skim, even when I ask for it.
“I have milk all over my bag?!” was my first thought. “Oh God, is it breast milk?!” was my second thought. But no, it’s been a few years since we had that particular housekeeping problem. The mid-80s was it?
Such have been my tortured purse thoughts – until last week when I got an email from a mom who says she too had no idea her tiny backpack wasn’t cool.
“I’m glad you filled me in on how dorky it is but I love, love, love it! Having straps on both shoulders is the only thing that helps me feel balanced in my life. Also, I need both hands free to catch my four-year-old.”
Then she told me that hers was getting so worn out she just ordered a new one online, and was sending me a link to this cute NEW tiny backpack so I could do the same.
And I did, then and there. We dorky parents have to stick together, I figure. Plus SOMEONE’S got to entertain the kids, right?
me dressed to go out on the town