31 March, 2009

Ode to My Mom

Here are the benefits of having a mom who is a biologist:

1. Help with your biology homework.

This would have been quite quite useful for me had I either taken upper-level science classes in high school (I took the bare minimum) or had a science teacher who was not an idiot in the science classes I did take. My sophomore year, I DIDN'T GO to my biology class for the entire last quarter, and somehow managed to get an A-. What in the world? Granted, the entire last quarter of biology was the dissection of various animals, to which I was morally opposed, so I suppose I kinda had a legally viable excuse for not showing up. I was a conscientious objector of sorts. This broke my mom's heart. She loves dissecting things.

I admit that, in college, I have called my mom a few times to ask for help with my GE science classes. It probably would have been more helpful if I could have seen what she was madly gesturing about over the phone. I did not inherit my mother's natural aptitude for science. Which is evidenced by my grades in my GE science classes, which I am too ashamed to admit here. I'm sorry, Mom. I never meant to disappoint you. And I'm pretty sure Carlos is headed towards a career in science, so there remains hope for your posterity.

For little boys, there are no disadvantages to having a scientist mom. She took us to all sorts of cool science exhibits and museums and camping trips, and she usually knew more than the tour guide and the signposts. It was awesome. I admit that after our third trip to Mt. St. Helen's, I got a little tired of Mom waxing poetic about the amazing pyroclastic activity. I have no idea if I even spelled that right. But bless her for her efforts, because I am pretty sure Carlos will grow up to be a volcanologist. Or one of those guys that blows up old buildings.

However, as a little girl who loved dolls and wanted more than anything to fit in with her peers, there were some disadvantages. To be fair, my mom was picky about toys to begin with. She wanted our toys to be "educational" and in line with her political/social beliefs. Nothing wrong with that. However, she is deeply, morally opposed to any toy that violates basic laws of biology. Like this toy right here:

Remember this? It's Puppy Surprise!!!! Which sounds like a terrible dish at a shady restaurant. But I digress. It's a "pregnant" mama dog with a velcro tummy full of little puppy dolls. When you buy it, the puppies are inside the mama dog, so you don't know how many there are, but then you buy her and bring her home and rip open her cloth tummy, and you have a surprise number of puppies!

Dear Lord that's disturbing. My mother was right.

Anyway, I loved animals then as now and oh how badly I yearned for a puppy surprise. But my mother refused to buy one for me, claiming that it was a "misrepresentation of nature." Sometimes, she would remind me about how baby dogs and humans were actually made. I had learned about sex at five when she was pregnant with David, so that was old news.

Let's not forget this little gem, which my mother also refused to buy for me.

I think I mostly just wanted a little Barbie baby. I didn't much care about the untimely ripping of the pictured infant from the poor Barbie's uterus. Also, in an act of revenge and treachery as of yet unparalleled in my life, my dad bought me a cheap knock-off of the the pregnant Barbie at a dollar store. My mom was pissed, but I think I ended up throwing the freaky Barbie away and keeping the baby anyway, so no harm done.

Don't get me wrong. I had dolls. They were just all anatomically correct. Because I was so used to it, I don't recall it ever fazing me that my dolls had little bitty penises and vaginae. But it caused quite a stir when I had friends over.

My roommates and I were sitting around reminiscing about the Good Old Days (when did we get so old?) and about all the cool toys we had growing up. This is when I remembered what a little freak I was in elementary school. Both Celia and Pamela had all those odd little misrepresentations of nature to play with, just like my playmates in first grade did. They did not, however, have anatomically correct dolls. I forgot to ask, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume they didn't have the toy dinosaur excavation kit either.

And that's why my mom is awesome. The end.


pamily said...

I didn't even know dinosaur excavation kits existed until about two years ago. When I bought one for Ross. They're freaking awesome. Celia, however, DID have excavation kits. She was mildly obsessed with dinosaurs apparently. So. 50% right.

Also, I'll try to find my kitty surprise for you when I go home. Though I suspect it's long gone. You never know though...

Ashley said...

Yeay for awesome moms! I hope I grow up to be one.

Those pregnant barbies freaked me out as a kid. I played with dolls until I was too old for it (hey, I had a younger sister I played them with)--we used Quints for our babies.

theFinn said...

I didn't have many cool toys, either. We were a strictly My Little Pony/ basic Barbie family. You know what creeped me out? Those babies that peed when you put water in them. And the gymnast barbie who could bend in every direction. Even as a four-year-old, that seemed wrong to me.

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