Have Some Cake (and Parenting of Course)

In honor of the Grammy’s I was planning on doing a post of the WORST songs ever (Rhiannon, McArthur Park, Spill the Wine, Sylvia’s Mother, Seventeen, That horrible roller skate/key song, The Thong Song, Free Bird, anything featuring Barbara Streisand, Ariana Grande, St. Vincent, or The Doobie Brothers.) I decided to skip it for something not so negative. Musical taste is so subjective.

But it was fun this summer driving across the endless Utah desert with my child, after the air conditioner had failed, listening to the worst songs ever. Let me explain…when a song on the “worst songs of all time” list came on I’d turn it up as part of my daughter’s cultural education. She listened to the entire performance of McArthur Park. I had to explain that the cake out in the rain and finding the recipe was a metaphor for lost love or some bull shit like that, while my seventeen year old child laughed out loud. We both laughed out loud in our 400 degree F car driving along about two hundred miles from the nearest town.

Everything in life isn’t good, no matter how hard you try to put that twist on your child rearing philosophy. At least there are times, like with music, when you can use humor to teach your kid about bad taste, bad judgement, bad fashion, bad friends, bad politics, and all of those weird things that come across our pathway.

Music, like art, literature, and cats, is something you can share with your kids. It brings people together. Stay with me on this because I know a lot of people hate their kids music. At least you can make an effort to understand what they like, and why they like it. Or maybe you can find something new together. Expand your horizons. Take a leap of faith and turn to a different number on the radio dial together. You might hate it. You might love it. But you did it together – with your kid.

Now for the real reason I brought up music. Yesterday I posted a story about a couple of Vampire kids in college called “Why I Hate Valentine’s Day.” Blog traffic was through the roof (because I am the Queen of Love Letters). But NOBODY, not a single person mentioned the reference to a song in the story. Oh come on guys, humor me a little.

And yes, I do love each and every one of you who reads and follows this blog.

OK, here it is. Listen and look for it.

Listen to the next songs too. Have fun even if you don’t like it. Or as your mom would say, “Don’t complain, it’s good for you.” Here are a couple of the best covers ever. Yes, listen to the Vampire – it’s good for you. Don’t complain.

By the way, the band CAKE is from Sacramento, my hometown. We’re a creative kind of place.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman





Charms of Youth

We watched our nineteen year old son drive down the street and back to college.

My husband was caught up in his own thoughts. Times were different when he was in college. He was different.

Nineteen is so young, but when you’re there it feels so grown up. It seems like everything is just a countdown to twenty-one. Those odd two years of nineteen and twenty are just stuck in-between being an adult and being a real adult.

I remember one warm September night in 1878 when my brother Valentine and I discussed the matter as we dug our toes into the wet sand on the riverbank. I was nineteen and a month from twenty. Val was twenty-one.

We had years of crazy, hair brained adventures, but on that night it seemed as if our carefree days of youth would soon be over. We played the remember when game.

Remember when we saw the orphan Werewolf children on this very beach.

Remember when we broke up a dog fighting ring.

Remember when you fell in love for the first time.

Remember when we ran wild through the streets at night because we could.

Now we were expected to be respectable but we knew that wouldn’t always be the case. We laughed over the prospect. Sure, we laughed but we were both scared at the prospect of being serious and respectable, or worse, dark and brooding like so many Vampires of our time.

Of course what we thought was love was far from it. But no matter, because we were both natural flirts and charmers. Remember, we’re Vampires. Of course we’re charming. But being charming to other Vampires is always a challenge, or at least it sometimes seems that way for the younger of our kind.

In our time on Earth, Val and I had experienced a lot. Just that week’s news included floods, outbreaks of diseases which left the dead piled in the street, news of Sitting Bull, evasive crops, and of course murder.

We watched a boat drift by and waved to the occupants. We knew they were surprised at our formal dress as we stood barefoot in the sand. I held my skirts up to my knees, while Val had removed his jacket but still wore his top hat.

Earlier that evening we’d been to a formal party. We’d become bored and made our way down to the edge of the water. We were at a point where we had become bored with a lot of things – well, pretty much most things. That would change soon. We couldn’t even imagined the adventures we would have.

I kicked water up at Val. He came back at me and pushed me into the water. Soon we were both soaking wet. We laughed so hard I thought I’d crack a rib.

So I stood in my front yard knowing my own children would have adventures, both big and small. I knew, as a mom, that my kids were much more prepared than Val and I were.

My husband Teddy and I have been deliberate parents. We have let our children explore ideas and experiences, all along discussing those ideas and experiences with them. We’ve taught our children that there are consequences to their actions that lie far beyond the moment and parental anger. Things they do now can and will affect the rest of their lives. And other things won’t matter later on. It is the key to know what does and what does not matter. Our kids get the big picture. They know about the world around them. We’re not helicopter parents. We don’t shelter our kids. Yet, we are always there for them.

We’ve raised them to feel joy and wonder that will last far after childhood is gone.

Hugs are in large supply.

My kids are ready to be adults. I’m ready, so my logical self says. It does go by fast, so make sure if you have kids that you are there for them and involved far after babyhood is over.

Be it the rare Vampire child, Werewolf triplets, or a Regular Human baby, it is our job to teach them so they’ll be adults we’re proud of. We need to teach them to be the adults we’d want to be – or better. Always better.

And like I say here, the key is to talk to them. Don’t wait until they talk first. From the first day they are on this earth make sure you talk to them. And even after they are grown, or think they are grown – talk to them, and with them. Discuss, laugh, debate, share, laugh, cry and be together in mind and spirit.

Have a good weekend everyone,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman