Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Princesses Use Sledge Hammers, Sometimes

My son is waving his arms in frustration. "No no, no! Princesses don't put together big girl beds. They're not builders! Boys are builders. Go in your kitchen and make me and daddy some ABC Pastina." I'll have the blue plate and daddy will have the red one." I'm about to step into this conversation and set my son straight when I hear the princess' reply. It's a happy-go-lucky, "Okay." Followed by, "Do you want some milk or soda with your Pastina?" This is shocking. Should I tell her not to take that kind of bossing from her brother? Maybe it's my fault. I'm letting her watch Walt Disney films too often. She's dressed like Snow White and her plastic princess shoes click-clack on the floor as she prepares a plastic lunch for the "men." Clutching an overloaded basket of laundry, I pause in the doorway to watch. As I peer over the dirty sock near my nose I wonder, maybe she's just like me.

Downstairs there is construction going on in the kitchen. Ned the contractor is motioning for me; he's ready to take down the outside wall. I was promised a sledge hammer and the opportunity to help, just like they let homeowners do on HGTV. Ned gives me directions before I start, in the odd language that only his crew and Tigger the tiger seems to understand. "Now, take the thing, swing hard and aim for the bottom of the hoo, hoo hooooo!!" He stands back. Far back. I swing the hammer as hard as I can, and one by one the century old beams dislodge and crack. I'm having so much fun smashing the wall; I'm guessing this might be more therapeutic than Yoga. Ned and his crew have paused to watch me, grinning. They're obviously getting a kick out of this scene. Everyone is standing around me cheering when I hit the new Sheetrock. "Oops, I say, dropping the tool." I feel like Lucy Ricardo
minus the red lipstick, house dress and heels. Ned pats me on the back. "Fugetaboutit! The "Rocker" will patch it up tomorrow. (He's referring to the amateur boxer who resembles Rocky, but actually is the Sheetrocker who comes on weekends, Ipod on belt, dancing, on stilts.) Ned congratulates me. "You took down the wall all by yourself!" I had such a blast I feel compelled to ask..."Ned, can I help you once in a while?" He pauses, eyebrows raised, "You wanna work with these ladies?" The contractor gestures to his all male crew, who mutter politely inaudible responses to his ribbing. "Sure," he laughs, not serious.

I resume sorting the laundry, thinking about roles and the differences between the sexes. My daughter is tugging on my shirt. "Mommy, brother is saying I can't help daddy put my big-girl bed together and I have to make lunch for them. He says I'm a girl." I bend down to her level. "You are a girl, but I don't think your brother is being fair."
"Brother is ri-dick-lous Mama, so I play a trick on him." My daughter's wearing her plastic mechanical wings that I bought at a garage sale from another industrious little girl. At the moment, she resembles a garden fairy gone bad."What did you do to him?" I'm wondering why I haven't heard protests from him yet. "I-don-know," she shrugs, grinning. Minutes later brother storms in holding a play napkin like evidence. He points, accusingly. "She blew her nose on this picnic napkin and put it on my pillow!"Little sister digs her hands into her hips, ready for a fight. "You were being mean and I am ANGRY! I'm a magical mermaid who can make mysteries happen! I'm going to marry a prince when I am big and his name WILL BE CARLOS!" Sister storms out, metallic wings flapping. Big brother and I are silent, surprised by her confident speech and interesting future plans. After all, she's only three years old. I'm thinking I want to be just like her when I grow up!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere! I always get a rush from doing something "masculine" like using power tools. (In fact, my husband doesn't like using tools so they are all mine.) The other day I used my jigsaw to cut a few pieces of scrap wood to make a safety gate and it just made my day!

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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