Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tonight, We Carve!

I was doing a Q&A once and was highly amused when one reader earnestly asked how my kids dealt with my "celebrity" status. Did it affect their lives, were they proud, did they fit in with kids at their school with nonfamous parents? That reader made my day with her conviction that someone of my talent should be well known.

Let's face it, guys, Brangelina I am not. Very seldom do paparazzi follow my big blue mini-van, complete with soccer mom magnets and Proud Parent of a Terrific Kid bumper sticker, on my many trips to exotic locales such as...Kroger! It's funny because my kids are wowed by authors--like Mo Willems, of Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny fame, or Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House). They just aren't wowed by "kissing books" or mom in general.

I mean, my kids love me. They're just all that impressed. Mommy can tell a story that makes readers laugh, cry or sigh over a happy ending? Yeah, but that's not as cool as Daddy getting to the next level in Mario Galaxy. Mommy's had books printed around the world in Korean, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Greek and Czech? Yes, but can she carve a really cool pumpkin?

Alas, the answer is no. I mean, for real. I was all kinds of impressed with myself the year I managed this:

I am the last person you want on your team if you're playing Pictionary or anything that requires above preschool levels or artistic skill (and, frankly, I can barely hold my own against most of the preschoolers I know.) Then you have my husband, the freakishly talented who once freehanded a Winnie the Pooh pumpkin and an incredibly detailed Goofy. When our oldest was eleven months old and I was pregnant with another, J carved a perfect Baby Einstein logo. And he managed this Franklin-stein from a children's book just by eyeballing it:

When we visit the pumpkin patch as a family, we come back with multiples. J sits at one end of the table with carved out pumpkins to take requests and help peple, and I sit at the other. His end always has a line, while I sit alone calling out, "Look, no waiting!" and get rolled eyes in response. Of course, usually I end up standing in line for one of J's creations myself. You should have seen the Pirates of the Caribbean pumpkin he did for me--unfortunately, it was so intricate I was never able to snap a picture that completely did it justice.

Tonight our family plans to watch Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV, toast pumpkin seeds and carve this year's pumpkins. I will try not to feel inferior. After all, J recently went through a lot of trouble to cook a dinner for us, calling his mom for a family recipe, spending an hour at the the store rounding up all the ingredients and slaving away in the kitchen. Both the kids, though they aren't rude enough to flat out say so, hated it. J was obviously depressed by the reception, so I tried to make a show of finishing mine and ended up sick as a dog the next day (which I keep telling him is probably a coincidence, but it was a severe beating to his self esteem. To compound matters, two nights later, I was lazy and scrambled some eggs for dinner and our seven year old enthusiastically proclaimed me The Best Cook Ever between bites.)

What about your family? Any special talents you or your relatives have, ways that you impress each other? (My grandmother can sew things you wouldn't believe, while I can barely thread a needle. One cousin has a photographic memory.) I have to admit, I'll never be able to compete with this.

Luckily, J loves me for my many other fine qualities! (If our pumpkins turn out well tonight, I'll post pictures later this week on my personal blog for anyone who's interested.)


Ellen said...

I am fascinated by people who can carve intricate pumpkins (I'm a clutz), but I'm equally fascinated by people who can write a romance book. I have no particular talent.

Anonymous said...

ellen, I'll bet that's not true! I'm sure there are things you're good at, even if you don't stop to think about them because they come naturally to you and therefore don't seem extraordinary to you (but might to someone else. For instance, I can get lost in an elevator. I'm in AWE of a friend who has great directional skills, but until she met me, she never even thought of it as a "skill.")

Ellen said...

I know what you mean about directional skills....don't tell me to go North, South, East, or West...give me right, left, straight ahead or oops you missed it.

Lee McKenzie said...

I'll be sure to check your blog, Tanya, for your family's latest creations.

Ellen, I agree with Tanya. Everyone has a special talent. Didn't you used to be a teacher? Ahem. That takes talent.

In my family, my husband is a sculptor and my son is a musician. My daughter is a people person with awesome leadership skills.

Ellen said...

Lee - I never thought teaching took talent....just perseverance and determination and maybe a little love of teenagers.

Anonymous said...

>>>a little love of teenagers

That's BEYOND skill. I know people that have a hard time loving their own teens, much less someone else's...


Estella said...

I can sew and cross stitch, but an artist, I am not!