...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

i got no car and it's breaking my heart

You might remember in May we bid farewell to the Little Tikes turtle sandbox that had been in our backyard about a year longer than my boys cared for it to be. The day after dragging it to the curb for a citywide clean sweep, my Tool Man purchased a bag of grass seed, intent on offering the 43" x 47" circle of barren land back to Mother Earth. I watched him that weekend, sprinkling the ground, imagining the moment was like New Year's Eve on Time Square for the ants and other insects dwelling in the dirt, the seed falling like ticker tape from the sky.

I'd hoped having grass growing there, emerald green blades bursting upward, would help me forget the fact that we'd tossed out a link to my childrens' not so very distant pasts, but over the summer, real rabbits replaced the plastic turtle in our yard, and those rabbits circled the area like pygmies around a boiling cauldron, the seeds serving as their version of the hapless jungle explorer tied and trussed and prepared to meet his doom. Four months later, the grassless circle where memories and sand castles were made is still the first sight my eyes land upon when I look out my bedroom window each morning. Quite honestly, it still makes me sad.

"The rabbits are a sign," I told Tool Man one evening after I'd counted eight of them sunning themselves in the yard, perhaps smoking fat cigars and downing shots of aged scotch after another seed feast. "You know what they say about rabbits. I think the rabbits want us to have another baby."

Tool Man rolled his eyes because he thinks that I think everything wants us to have another baby. He made me stop finding reasons to go to Target last week during their baby sale because I'd return home and sigh about how I must have just missed that day's shipment of adorable infants. "I think if you buy five, you get a free $5 Target gift card," I'd wistfully remark. "Perhaps I should see if they're issuing rain checks!" Needless to say, no baby.

And now no Wiggles Big Red Car taking up a corner of my family room. When I returned from one of those many Target trips last week, I walked into the house and was immediately taken aback by the wide open floor plan. "There's something different going on here," I deduced while Tool Man remained calm and quiet. "Did you vacuum while I was away?"

"I sold the Wiggles car," he said. Then there was silence. Then some more silence. Tumbleweeds released from the expanse of open land where once the Wiggles parked their Big Red Car next to the couch may have actually rolled between us. I was physically crestfallen. In the hour and a half I was gone, this man who never gets rid of anything up and sold the Wiggles car. "I wish you would have just vacuumed," I cried, and not just because there were apparently tumbleweeds in our house.

Granted, my youngest son, for whom we delightfully purchased the Wiggles car as a Christmas present years ago during the height of his Wiggles love, is advancing toward the age when he can drive a real vehicle and not some plastic car one navigates with Fred Flintstone-like precision, tooting his horn at me when I jaywalked through the kitchen or watching for stuffed animal crossings. So many days my boy and his four Australian lads would cruise through the house, occasionally stopping to pick up that minx, Dorothy the Dinosaur, and sing ditties about fruit salads. For the last couple of years, the car's roomy front seat was the table where I rested my cup. It's trunk, with the gas tank lid that was typically flipped up because I'd reach down and flick it up and down with my index finger while we watched television, balanced my laptop each night when I logged off. Tool Man might say I kept the large toy car around these last few years because of my residual crush on Anthony Wiggle, and to that I would say...maybe.

Mostly, however, it was there for the memories. The memories and the lingering hope that maybe I'd come home one day, from Target or elsewhere, with another child who would cruise the house in it.

Toot, toot, chugga chugga, weep, weep, weep. The Big Red Car is gone.

"I got 20 bucks for it!" Tool Man said. Considering the car is practically an antique and formerly retailed for $39.99, I'll confess I was momentarily impressed with the man's salesmanship. But still...

Later that afternoon, my youngest son returned from school and plopped down on the couch next to me. "So, Dad sold your Wiggles car," I told him. I may have been pouting a little. "Yep," he nonchalantly replied. "That kind of makes me sad," I said. "How about you? Does that make you sad?" With a look on his face that stopped just short of including an eye roll, my sweet 7 year old responded, "Mother, honestly, I can't even remember the last time I used that car."

Honestly. So...so much for memories, eh?

(at least the ones I'm going to keep tucked away now that some other child is cruising around in the Big Red Car!)

With that, he asked for a snack (and in the spirit of all things Wiggles, I - albeit unsuccessfully - suggested fruit salad)(why? because it's yummy, yummy) and then was on his way, and Tool Man and I are 20 bucks richer. You know what you can buy with 20 bucks? A few memories, perhaps, and a hell of a lot of grass seed.



Blogger Swirl Girl said...

I would have loved to seen the types of responses you got had you sold it by advertising your 'Wiggles Car' on Craig's List. I sold a small 3 hubcapped BMW and a glider. I got some pretty interesting requests.

Monday, September 14, 2009 1:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

I have learned kids don't do nostalgia...

Monday, September 14, 2009 2:43:00 AM  
Blogger Sailor said...

At seven, he's much more concerned with immediate things; but, I love your quote, "Mother, honestly..." I can just *hear* the tone!

Hard to see 'em growing up sometimes, but sometimes, you just have to grin & bear it- and buy grass seed.

Monday, September 14, 2009 2:55:00 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

My daughter just went through her room with a trash bag and got rid of old toys. She claimed "even Studley is too big for these."

Maybe she's making room for that new Wiggles car she bought with her allowance, from some nice man with tumbleweeds in his hair.

Monday, September 14, 2009 5:01:00 AM  
Blogger WILLIAM said...

A story well told.

We have rabbits in our yard...should I be concerned that my wife wants more kids?

Monday, September 14, 2009 7:29:00 AM  
Blogger justmakingourway said...

The Wonderboy's love for the Wiggles was epic. *ahem* We saw them twice in concert. The Pixie likes them, but not in the fanatical way of the boy. Needless to say, I probably would have jumped at a $20 Big Red Car if only to extend the Wiggles presence in my house a bit longer. Sigh.

Monday, September 14, 2009 7:42:00 AM  
Blogger Chasity said...

I understand your target baby sale pangs- only in a slightly different way. Whenever I buy diapers and toddler food at our local Super Wal-Mart, I often find myself wistfully salivating over the baby girl clothes. And then my youngest screams loud enough to clear the store and I wake up.

Monday, September 14, 2009 7:50:00 AM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

I burst into tears last week while sitting behind a school bus dropping off a kindergarten boy.
My son being 14 is harder for me than my daughter going away to college.

Monday, September 14, 2009 7:55:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin McKeever said...

My girl might have gotten all sentimental about her Barney doll, but once she found she could make money selling her old videos, CDs and toys online, the greed gene kicked in.

But alas, I do miss playing my guitar with Murray.

Monday, September 14, 2009 8:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I get so sad selling my kid's outgrown things. Sigh.

Monday, September 14, 2009 8:56:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Well, you know, there's plenty to enjoy about your kids in their more 'grown up' stages, too. . .

Heck, somewhere between high school and age 25, they get to where you can have actual conversations with 'em. . .

Monday, September 14, 2009 9:15:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt Juicebox said...

Babies are in the water. I've been nudging my own husband in that direction. Sigh. It's not working. Can I borrow that $20? Maybe I can bribe him.

Ya know, I think I read somewhere you are supposed to plant grass seed when it's still cold?

Monday, September 14, 2009 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy B! said...

Oh, man. Getting rid of baby/preschool gear is the worst. It's like a giant door slamming shut. Gah. Makes my stomach clench just thinking about it.

Monday, September 14, 2009 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, I have rabbits that smoke my cigars, too. Between them and the cat my lungs are so much better.

Monday, September 14, 2009 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Wiggles always creeped me out, so for my sake, I'm glad Tool Man got rid of it. Again, I tend to purge my house of EVERYTHING so I'm not that much of a memory keeper. You would get along well with my sister.

Monday, September 14, 2009 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa @ I Pick Pretty said...

I've also looked for babies during the Target sales; perhaps they're hiding them in the back?

But seriously, what a bittersweet, lovely piece. I can only imagine this sort of thing truly is difficult.

Monday, September 14, 2009 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger lime said...

if you're buying more greass seed you might want to set some asside for rabbit cigars and scotch too. ;)

Monday, September 14, 2009 1:08:00 PM  
Anonymous TwoBusy said...

Tell me about the rabbits, fadkog...

Monday, September 14, 2009 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Stiletto Mom said...

Why do these darned kids of ours insist on growing up?

Monday, September 14, 2009 3:07:00 PM  
Blogger Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Watch out; he's out of control. Next thing you know, he'll be selling the kids!
I'll bet your son was touched that you were sad over his car, but just too cool to show it.

Monday, September 14, 2009 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

Cars should be treated with more respect. I've had two relationships fail in the time I've had my car, which has never broken down on me in 6 years.

My conclusion is that you can get better mileage out of a car than out of a woman. But as always YMMV ;-)

Monday, September 14, 2009 6:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

Oh no, not the Wiggles car! Bittersweet... all that space, no more wiggly tunes. My daughter says Greg Wiggle is her fave actor, and Wiggly Christmas her fave flick. I just love saying "Beauty, mate!" Good luck w/ all those rabbits... ;)

Monday, September 14, 2009 6:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kate Coveny Hood said...

I get sad about putting clothes away - and seeing DVDs become too babyish for my recently no longer babies... But I have to admit, I revel in getting rid of the plastic crap. I think it has something to do with twins (just 18 months after child #1). I kind of OD's on all of that plastic. Enough already!

But I hear you about the nostalgia and reluctance to see certain eras pass. I still pick up my gigantic four year old just because I can. And soon enough I won't be able to.

Monday, September 14, 2009 7:38:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

As you know, I don't have kids. I do however have a tiny grand piano, a doll house, a box full of giant legos, fake fashion jewelery, etc.

The time came for me to sell the doll house and I couldn't do it. My husband (aka desensitized poopoo head) is like "you don't have kids, dump it!) but the memories of my little niece playing and arranging furniture... nope can't do it.

Monday, September 14, 2009 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

As someone who is currently holding onto teeny tiny infant clothes, carseats and swings (with absolutely no intention of HAVING more babies unless babies were to FALL into my lap somehow and not out my cootchie), I am silently weeping at this post.

Okay, NOT silently.

Monday, September 14, 2009 9:52:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

He really said the words,"Mother, honestly..."? too cute. I get it, though, lady!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

I have to go camping with my oldest tomorrow. FOR THREE DAYS. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I will be at the mercy of the woods (and M. Night Shyamalan's interpretations thereof). I have to go FISHING. Fishing and my shoes do not mix.

How about, I give you a baby, and you go in my stead????

This could TOTALLY. WORK!!!

P.S. Even though my "baby" is six, you won't even notice the difference if she just scrunches a little.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I know exactly how you feel. My youngest is taking his driver's test next week. In a real car. I have to keep from even thinking about all the precious time gone by, or I'd cry all day.

On the other hand, that's one less place for stuff to land, and you have $20 to buy liquor (or maybe that's just me).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Deb Rox said...

This is so good, so poignant. I feel ya!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

Must they grow? I get this 100%. I hate change. We're about to hit the end of cribs around here and I am fighting it every step of the way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I can understand this.

Anthony Wiggle is/was sort of hot. I may or may not have had dreams of him. I plead the fifth.

Also? I understand the mourning of letting go of these artifacts of a mother of babies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Isn't it funny, they let go of a toy like that, but just try and take away their favorite stuffed animal and you've got a fight. I still see my high schoolers sleeping with their favorite stuffed animals. Some things change, other things don't...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

I'm really late in commenting on this. Sorry.

My wife is a huge Anthony fan. Years ago she took my daughter to see the Wiggles (LIVE!) when they were in town. I think my wife squealed louder than my daughter. It embarrassed my daughter, actually.

I'm a Jeff-man myself. Because I like to nap.

I do miss hearing those Wiggles songs all the time, now that my kids have outgrown them. Man, those were the days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger bernthis said...

I felt that way when my kid switched to a booster seat. I only have and will only have one. Each stage that she passes through will be the last time we both experience it

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger AiringMyLaundry said...


My son used to LOVE The Wiggles. We still have some toys left behind.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Hopefully the 20 will also cover a small wire fence to put around the circle until it's green again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Who's going to drive you home... tonight?

I'm sad that you got no car, really sad.

BTW I agree 100% that Dorothy is a TOTAL MINX.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

I am commentless but still lust you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:53:00 PM  
Blogger MsPicketToYou said...

so Bridget, 10, says, "i have never been to a concert!"

i say, ohhhhhh yes you have.

she makes me swear to keep it a secret.

Friday, September 18, 2009 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

I do remember you getting rid of your turtle sandbox, because I quickly followed suit.

Ahh... breathing room.

I think it helps when you get rid of these things while they're still little.

Perhaps when they're both at school and I'm getting lost in all the empty space I may feel differently. For now, I'm just lucky if I don't wake the whole house by stepping on the Schroeder piano while heading to the bathroom!

Friday, September 18, 2009 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger That girl from Shallotte said...

This gorgeous, dreamy piece took my breath away. I do hope you submit it for publication somewhere, because it's too perfect to just exist in the blogosphere. In the meantime, I'm doing my part to make you famous and forwarding it to my friends with children who probably feel this way and who could never express it as perfectly as you, my talented friend.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 8:37:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I puffy-heart love you and this post.

And I love that my 16-year-old still has "some" of her American Girl dolls in her room.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger blissfully caffeinated said...

Childbearing would be so much easier if we could just mosey on down to Target and pick up a six pack 'o babies.

Lady, get some wine, some black lacy thong underwear, throw out the condoms and get yourself knocked up. On second thought, that's probably rude and peer pressurey. Instead, I'll just let you babysit in 4 weeks or so.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

My kids would have asked for the $20 because, after all, "it was MY toy!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

You may have no car but you do have a brand spankin' new Savage award waiting in lust for you on my blog....

Sunday, September 20, 2009 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Swirl Girl - Oh, now you're just trying to scare me, too!

Kat - Seriously. Damn their short frame of historical reference!

Sailor - I think I should look into stock in a grass seed business.

Susan - It is a darn good car! There are many things I *wish* my kids would get rid of in their rooms!

William - I'd only be concerned if she gazes at them wistfully!

Just Making My Way - That car was cherry! I suppose next on my list of things to go are the Wiggles DVDs and books.

Chasity - I found myself paused for several minutes in front of a rack of those snap/onsie shirts while at Target last week. Maybe Critter needs to come scream at me sometime!

Cocotte - Gah! I completely understand!! I see tiny faces in the bus windows each morning with my second grader and I have pangs!

Always Home - I do have Captain Feathersword's feather sword laying around still if you need a little tickle.

Tuesday Girl - I get sad and overwhelmed at the thought of selling it. There's so darn much!

Des - I can only imagine how bizarre and completely out there some of the conversations will be with my kids when they've grown bsed on the kinds we have now! Also, I can't believe you missed the Beatles lyric in the title of this post!!

Aunt Juicebox - If bribery worked, I might have three other kids at this point!

Kathy B! - It takes me forever to regroup for the seasons or pack away stuff because of the nostalgia kicks in when I come across a particular toy or tiny outfit. I need a month just to prepare myself!

Chris - I wondered if maybe I just didn't drink something odd in my tea to imagine smoking rabbits...

Meg - I'll admit, there's something a wee bit creepy about the Wiggles. I'm more an original Blue's Clues kind of girl.

legallyblondemel - I think they're letting the employees have first pick and that's why we're not seeing the babies at Target. Kind of like they did during the Cabbage Patch Doll craze and a new shipment would come in!

lime - The rabbits in my yard are totally big pimpin'. It's like a paradise back there for them!


Stiletto Mom - It's downright rude, I tell ya. Someone should teach those kids some respect and some manners! ;)

Maureen - Oh, believe me, I've got a nice little pile of his Star Trek stuff I'd not mind seeing him sell!

Brian - Hasn't it got something to do with how hard you drive 'em?

Bethany - I died a little inside when Greg Wiggle had to bow out.

Kate - I so relish a clean sweep. Oh, how I love getting rid of things. However, this now being faced with having to get rid of these kinds of items is killing me! Also killing me? My back, because I still attempt to hoist up my 7 year old!

Bee - There are definitely things one should hold onto forever, I think, and those sound like good treasures to keep.

Aunt Becky - From one who still has the baby clothes, the swing, the high chair, etc., et al., I love ya.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:14:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Christina - He honestly did! He is a wise old man spirit wrapped up in the cuddly body of a 7 year old!

1blueshi1 - I pray you have survived your epic adventure in the woods! You are made of stronger stuff than I!

Mary Ellen - Recently, a friend mentioned that my oldest son will be able to drive in a couple years. I was nearly blinded by the smile that burst on the kid's face as he marveled at the thought and I panicked!

Deb - Thank you!

anymommy - It's crazy how fast it is! It's also crazy that I still have the crib stored away in the basement!

Heather - When faced with our choices, it was really a toss up between Anthony or Greg. Anthony wins purely by having that slight air of mystery, I think. ;)

Mike - I've had some surprising debates with the boys over some of the toys that have held little apparent sentimental value they wish never to part with. My son is particularly attached to a bobble-head of a baseball player he's never even heard of. My house will never be clutter-free!

ftn - Oh, I WISH I'd seen them in concert! I can only live the magic through DVD and CDs around here. At least until I up and get rid of those of my own free will. Unless you want them...

bernthis - I'm almost embarrassed to tell you how many booster seats we have stored away in the shed in our backyard. The fact we need a shed is evidence of my sickness!

WhisperingWriter - Tucked away in my son's closet (for eventual - sigh - removal) are some wiggles toys. That damn Captain Feathersword's feather sword comes on by itself in the middle of the night, which is not cool at all!

JoeinVegas - Ah! Good idea! We need to make that happen!

motherbumper - Saucy. That Dorothy is saucy like my mamma's marinara.

Savage - I stockpile the lusts!

MsPicket - One should never be too ashamed of tossing the rock hands at a kick ass rendition of "Play Your Guitar With Murray."

Zip n Tizzy - By the time they're both in school you're going to need all that space to make way for the papers and art projects they bring home!

LA - First, if I knew the first thing about how, I would. Second, you never fail to make me blush and love you more...

Laggin - Ahh! That is sweet! First, thank you! Second, it's good she's keeping some of her American Girl items. That's an investment in sentiment!

blissfully caffeinated - Oh! A SIX PACK O' BABIES!! That would be delightful. And scary! Barring that, I'm going to keep putting the other items you suggested on my Target list. ;)

Under the Influence - Seriously! I think the only thing that stopped my son from asking for the pay out was seeing how sad selling it had made me!

Savage - I'll be around...thanks!

Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:33:00 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

I do apologize; I absolutely caught the reference, but neglected to include it in my comment. I'll try to be more perspicuous in the future. . .

Sunday, September 20, 2009 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

"Mother, honestly, I can't even remember the last time I used that car..."

Too frikkin adorable. We do seem to hang on to stuff and they don't. Why won't they just stop growing up for Wiggles sake!

Monday, September 21, 2009 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Des - See that you do! ;)

Petra - I'd be quite happy if my kids stayed the ages they are now. Of course, I want them to move out eventually, so the pressure is on me to make sure they're able to be 7 and 12 and live independently and make rent!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Bex said...

beautifully written - and not just because i'm on a sentimental kick lately. i love how you tied the grass seeds from the beginning back in at the end. genius. what CAN you get for $20? a bottle of rum to wash away the pain. (i'm kidding)(sort of) but i am definitely going to tell my husband that the rabbits want us to have another baby. i'll let you know if i have any luck with it.

Friday, September 25, 2009 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Bex - If that rabbit thing works for you, I'm giving you a direct line for my husband to plant that baby idea even deeper in his mind!

Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:23:00 PM  

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