Momofascism, plus ten songs

Tough day today; tough night last night.

Parenting does something weird to your mind. It takes all your notions about self-determination and personal responsibility and freedom of choice and completely inverts them and turns you into a screaming goose-stepping fanatic waving the banner of the One True Way, and woe betide any little people who don’t go along with the plan.

Like noise. Noise is a big issue in the Newman household right now. Sometimes noise is inadvertent, such as when you’re trying to pull the giant cast-iron frying pan out of the cupboard and it’s on the bottom of the stack and the pot lids are rolling around clanging together. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as when you’re drilling a hole through the family room floor so you can re-run the satellite hookup to the other side of the room and move the TV into a more inconspicuous location.

And sometimes it’s just freakin’ unnecessary. Like, does every movement of one’s arms have to be accompanied by chew-chew-chew Star Wars blaster sounds? Or, is it now impossible to pick up a spoon without brandishing it  threateningly and making machine-gun noises by flapping one’s cheeks? And, when one has been asked reasonably nicely to Quit Making That Noise Right Now, is it strictly necessary to make the noise one more time before lapsing into smirking silence?

My Beloved Brother, whose birthday we celebrated four days ago, was an extremely noisy child. Noisy to the point that it may or may not have been Tourette’s Syndrome (he got better; and no, it wasn’t the swearing kind of Tourette’s. That seems to be my affliction alone, goddamn it motherfucker.). I was an extremely sensitive-to-noise child (how this translated into being a Slayer and Skinny Puppy fan, I do not know). Hence, his and my relationship was, to put it mildly, often strained. Errr, really, rather more like "SHUT UP RIGHT NOW BENJAMIN BEFORE I SMACK YOUR FACE!" followed by "Hee hee. Merp. Merp merp smee chew-chew-chew *sprinkler noise*."

So, as you can imagine, I am not adjusting at all well to the heightened noise level. And it’s making me generally cranky, short-tempered, unpleasant and all those other delightful parental characteristics that I was going to escape by being an Enlightened and Kind-Hearted Mother with her Children’s Self-Actualization at heart. Um, which I am’n’t, and the healthy dose of guilt is really going a long way toward dampening my overall mood. The snake bites its own tail; the vicious circle is complete.

I wonder if it would warp my children for life if their mother were to wear those Bose noise-cancelling headphones for the rest of their living-at-home career?

And now, ten songs:

  1. Beck, "Nausea" (has been stuck in my head intermittently for the last several weeks, alternating with Blood Brothers’ "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck" and, just this morning, Marilyn Manson’s "Beautiful People")
  2. Emmylou Harris, "Red Dirt Girl" (This song makes me think of a girl named Tina I knew in junior high school. The last I heard of her, she had moved out of her parents’ house and in with a bemulleted speed dealer with a patchy beard. I fear her life may have turned out just as happily as Lillian’s in this song. But she didn’t even have the consolation of a cool name like Lillian.)
  3. Flaming Lips, "All We Have is Now" (This, along with the previous track on the album "Do You Realize??" are kind of a duology of atheist hymns… bleakly realistic, yet somehow uplifting. Maybe we can find a place for them in the liturgy of the Church of Listening to Radiohead.)
  4. Bloc Party, "Price of Gasoline" (I used to get this song stuck in my head every time I went to fill up the gas-chugging minivan. But now, between the Toaster’s abstemious habits and the ever-sinking pump prices, I don’t have to worry about that at all, tra la…)
  5. Soul Coughing, "So Far I Have Not Found the Science" (This is how the world works. I had thought about putting this song on this not-so-random Ten list, but decided against it ’cause I really didn’t have anything to say about it. But then I wasn’t sure what to put on next, so I clicked the Shuffle button, and wouldn’t you know… this song popped right up. And now I have something to say about it, so it’s all good.)
  6. Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy" (While rearranging our family room yesterday, a process which involved about eight hours and a whole bunch of deshelving and reshelving books, we had the TV tuned to Fuse, apparently the only channel which actually plays music videos any more. As expected, most of the music sucked; Jim said "All these bands sound the same" so many times I was ready to hurl a pillow at him. But when Gnarls came on, it was such a breath of fresh air–they sound like nobody else, and this song is still rockin’ despite my having heard it approximately 10400 times.)
  7. godspeed you! black emperor, "Terrible Canyons of Static" (One of the fundamental differences between Beloved Sweetie and me: I love noise rock, he can’t stand it. And another: he likes singer-songwriters, I can’t stand ’em. Get yourself a damn band already. And some percussion.)
  8. Siren’s Echo, "All My" (One of the fantastic things about Portland is that there are enough ass-kickin’ local bands that there was just a 2-CD set released called PDX Now! of all-Portland metro acts. And, hearteningly, there’s a minimum of navel-gazing indie rock… there’s lots of other stuff too, like this snide-voiced all-girl rap outfit.)
  9. Rufus Wainwright, "Foolish Love" (Know what’s cute? My dad singing this song.)
  10. Dead or Alive, "Brand New Lover" (We watched "100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s" on VH1… all four hours of it… the boys freakin’ loved it… anyway, one of their choices was "You Spin Me Right ‘Round," by this band. Humph. Clearly "Brand New Lover" is a far superior song. Shiny-happy love songs are a dime a freakin’ dozen… songs about getting bored and venturing out for sexual exploration are much fewer and farther between, also more interesting. And I can remember listening to this song on KWOD 106.5 back in the days before KWOD became synonymous with endless Linkin Park rehashes, i.e., they started to suck.)

About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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4 Responses to Momofascism, plus ten songs

  1. Mimi says:

    Oh yes, KWOD! Those were the days. I agree “Brand New Lover” is better.
    And, yes, parenting – rough, rough, rough. And so loud.

  2. Helena says:

    I feel for you! I’ve actually been thinking about getting some earplugs.
    My sister Betsey dropped out of preschool because all the singing bothered her. (Apparently something about being in a room with a bunch of shrill three-year-olds who can’t carry a tune….) She’s also the one who’ll complain if you’re breathing too loudly.
    My other sister dropped out of preschool because her teacher didn’t love her enough. She always was a sensitive child.

  3. summer says:

    You know, what is it with the relationship between a boy, and an empty wrapping paper roll that it immediately fuses to said boy’s hand to become “sword, saber, bludgeoning too “? And how is it, that said boy is only `4 months? I enjoy reading what path my life will eventually take…

  4. Herm says:

    Where are the Rivers and Tides?
    As for noisy boys: Not mine. He’s going to be silent and pensive. Hahaha. He has a mighty kung-fu kick, though.

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