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All-true Confessions of a Suburban Rickshaw Soccer Mom

I realize I have promised three weighty topics to you, including but not limited to free speech on blogs, more on healthcare, and kids and blogs. However, I have a full agenda of To Dos today and oh, yeah, I'm still sick.

So I decided to take it easy today and figured you'd have no objections.

I thought it was time for a true and real portrait of my life.

This is me on the average day in my momiform and mode of transportation to and from school:

I call it the suburban rickshaw.

I believe people in the neighborhood set their watches by me. I also believe they count on the little chuckle they get when they see me. Here's how it goes: chuckle, glance at watch, chuckle again.

I don't actually just suspect it: they'll tell me.

"I see you every morning just pedaling away trying to beat the tardy bell," says a friend with a smile, "You're like the perfect suburban mom with that bike and trailer and your little momiform on. Gives me a chuckle every day."

So there you go. And photographic evidence of how we appear to our neighbors on a daily basis.

All caught me. I don't usually have a decorated trailer, a police escort, or that hat much less beads. That's us preparing for the Mardi Gras parade. Here's what's true in that photo:

* Persistence does usually wear a tiara on a daily basis. And a princess dress. Luckily we have expanded the definition of princes dress and it now includes any dress that has a somewhat full skirt, a ruffle somewhere and/or pink, and must fall below the knee. Girlfriend has more rules for dressing appropriately than Judith Martin.

* I do almost always wear a hat (most often the battered old ball cap from a company a long time ago, mostly because I fling it on the shoe shelf and so there it is when I am ready to go)

* The outfit is sad but true: I am often dressed in workout capris and an old t-shirt.

Here's a secret: If you are inherently sloppy, lazy or a slacker and tend to not get gussied up on a daily basis, wearing workout clothes is a great excuse. You can look like a slob and people will not mind. "Heading to the gym?" they'll ask. "Trying to!" you can say cheerfully and somewhat truthfully, because seriously, aren't we all always trying to head to the gym?

Note: Yes, I often wear hats. I have a large collection. Hats make me happy.

This also makes me happy---and actual photo of me with my daughter! HA! I'm usually the photographer and so there aren't that many photos of me with the kids. Tons of my husband and the kids, because I'm goopy sentimental and love the dad and girls shots. My husband swears it is no reflection of his affection but he feels no similar call to the camera.

I wonder if this is another one of those mom v. dad deals. You know what I mean. If a mom hugs a child and all the world sees it, does anyone notice? If a dad hugs a child and all the world sees, will we be overwhelmed by the noise of the ooohs and aaaahs? That's right. You know what I mean.

My solution is to enforce goopy sentimentality in my husband.

"Hey hon, look over here! Isn't this an ADORABLE PHOTO?" I'll call out.

He'll glance over, "Sure, very cute!" He'll probably even smile, and will likely even enjoy it.

This is when I remember countless tidbits of advice my husband and many other wives I know have offered: you can't subtly hint.

"So get the camera, you know, and take a PHOTO!" I'll call out.

"Oh! Right! The camera, a photo," says my husband, who is actually an extremely intelligent person, if not necessarily clued in to the small details.

After having employed the photographer, I now have to convince my child(ren) to stay right there for the photo. This is actually the larger challenge. As my sister says, my kids are the sort who believe the camera steals your soul. As such, they are very averse to being photographed. It generally requires bribery and threats.

The end.

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Julie Pippert REVIEWS: Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE
Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS: A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products
Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.


Anonymous said…
You look just fabulous (Ok, I was worried about the beads...).

I am so glad for the digital camera. My husband will take an entire roll of film and get not one useable shot. But at least he's trying.
Liv said…
Awwww.....J, those are so cute!! My two small peoples are home from school with the crud, and content is lacking. Relax, enjoy, sip some tea and just come back to us when you're ready.
Anonymous said…
I think it is incredibly green of you to use the rickshaw, healthy and good for the environment!! One thing though, you really ought to trade in the hat for a helmet. The girls will probably not know what to do if you are driven off the side of the road and hit your head... (don't mean to be preachy, but seriously, I have had friends that have had accidents and it doesn't preclude suburban neighborhoods with speed limits of 30mph).

And I totally agree about the camera. Obviously I am a photo-holic and thankfully my kids all ham for the camera, but I do have to thrust the camera into my husband's hands once in a while. I don't mind not having a lot of pictures of myself (such a hypocrite!).
Unknown said…
You are all beautiful! My husband is similar with the camera - though also very bright.
Here's my question:
Want to move to Northampton, MA with us?
Unknown said…
Somehow I knew those beads were related to Mardi Gras...

I should invest in some hats. With school, I rarely do more than get my hair washed and it could stand to be hidden! It apparently makes such a difference when I blow dry my hair that I end up spending the day telling people--in response to their kind "You look so nice today" comments--that it is all because I blew dry my hair!

As always, I love when we get pictures of you and the kids!
Anonymous said…
I'm just loving the khakis, tee, and newsboy hat. I used to wear a hat every day. I have no idea why I stopped...

But enough about me. I will ask an uninteresting, mundane question: how fast do you type? If you don't know that, then how long, on average, does it take you to compose a blog post?
painted maypole said…
love your cool hat! and the decorated rickshaw! ;)

and as for a question. Um... can you convince everyone to NOT blog so I can catch up with the over 400 posts that were sitting in my reader when I returned home? thanks.
Julie Pippert said…
Yolanda, I am glad you like the khakis and tee. That's my *dressed up* look, LOL. I vary the tee color at times, but the tan khakis are pretty much SOP.

Every now and again I'll say I need a new pair of pants and come home with tan khakis and my husband will sigh in resignation.

I think all that freedom to dress any way I liked all my life finally overwhelmed me. ;)
Sukhaloka said…
Cute, cute pics :)

I love the rickshaw. Here it's a really popular mode of transport over short distances, but... umm... owning one personally would not occur to anyone above the povery line, lol.
Seems like the poor Indian's bread-winning vehicle has become the environment-conscious American's family cycle.
thailandchani said…
I liked the beads. Unusual looking people are very attractive, in my opinion. These photos are great!
Liv said…
okay, okay, stalker... :)

ummm....i'll go to slouching mom's questions for me:

1) what do you wear to bed?

2) are you going to BlogHer?
Christine said…
i have no weighty topics at my blog.


so a light post is always ok by me! LOL

and i loved the post card--i tried to send you and ecard, but i don't think it worked.

check your real mail soon though! ;-)
Magpie said…
Oh my, I love love love your rickshaw. Heaven.
Girlplustwo said…
the beads gave me pause.

you are so gorgeous, sister.
Mad said…
You are gorgeous. The pics are great. I think we are married to the same man. And, my god, woman put a helmet on your head! And on your offspring as well. This public service announcement brought to you by a woman who survived head trauma by wearing a bike helmet.
thordora said…
I look like a moron in hats. I have this giant head that Vivian has inherited. At two, she was wearing a hat designated for a 10 year old.

To be on a bike in Feb....I wish....
Lawyer Mama said…
Those are adorable pictures! I love hats too. Unfortunately, my kids will no longer allow me to keep one on my head. So I compensate with more purses and shoes.

My hubs is the same way. I must put the camera in his hand, stand him in a certain position, go back to my pose with the kids (who have now run away and must be hunted down), tell T exactly when to take the picture and how to do it. It only takes about 40 minutes to get a "candid."
Unknown said…
Too true with the work out gear-- love the hats. and the camera observation-- my husband is a horror behind the lens- bossy and never happy that the picture wasn't exactly what HE was seeing... unfortunately he grabs it more than he should. Ugh.
Anonymous said…
Which writer do you most wish you could be more like?
Anonymous said…
Love the pics!
Kat said…
Look at all that grass! I want some grass. You all look so happy! What lovely pictures!

You look fabulous in hats!
Dana said…
Before you confessed, I looked at the photo of the bicycle and trailer and thought, "They're going to a parade!"

I love that picture. You all look so cute!
le35 said…
Those clothes are totally my style. The no make-up no dress up person decribed at the bottom almost describes me, except I'm a no hair brusher as well. . . Hmmm. However, I love the tips, and I enjoy taking out the bike and trailer. I'd ride the bike out to most places if I didn't have to ride into a two foot ditch every time a car comes. Post coming on that soon.

Smile big, Get well soon, and don't worry about us until you're feeling better and somewhat caught up from getting sick.
Terri B. said…
I started chuckling when I read the bit about husbands not getting the subtle hint. I was a much happier wife once I found this out and learned to just tell him what it was I wanted from him. I assumed I was being polite by not being so direct, but it just doesn't work that way!
Mary Alice said…
You and your hats are adorable.
Karen Jensen said…
Great hats! I used to be a hat person--don't know why I stopped. You have inspired me to return to the closet for a look at head gear.
Kyla said…
I love those photos of you and the P's. The hat suits you well!! I love it.

My momiform is polos and jeans most days...but after dinner it become pajama pants and jeans. Josh always jokes about setting a clock by when I change into the jammie bottoms, or if I don't, he'll say something like "Is something wrong? You're still wearing real pants, you know."
I love hats too. Can't live without them because I am a slacky slackerton when it comes to doing my own hair.

And that first picture! Your kids are going to be so happy you guys took that one when they're older. When they're teenagers they'll tease you mercilessly.
Great pictures. You're lucky... I couldn't capture a Kodak moment if it was limping in front of me with a broken leg.

My secret: I wear a tiara on a regular basis too. Shhh.
Jennifer S said…
What a beautiful family. Glad to know the beads aren't an everyday thing. Nothing against beads.
Robert said…
Well, my wife already beat me to the comment that I have seen ger in identical clothes minus the hat and beads. She has extremely similar taste, and only recently recut her shoulder length hair. We have a nearly identical bike trailer always hooked to one of our two identical bikes. The other has a kid's seat for when one of the kids can't handle the trailer that day. She would be wearing a helmet, though.
Victoria said…
Great pictures! I love the momiform!
flutter said…
you are friggin adorable in a hat!
Ha! I was wondering about the beads too.

Love the hats. And the photos are great, no matter how many not-so-subtle hints it takes to get them.
Suz said…
You look great!! And I love the hats.
Gwen said…
Yeah, yeah, you're gorgeous, baby, GORGEOUS! (and I tend to run away when the camera is pointed at me ....)

I want to know this: you're a high school librarian; which five books of fiction MUST your library have?
Anonymous said…
You look cute in hats!

And I have that same rickshaw, but in yellow. We love it!
ewe are here said…
Great pictures!

I have the same problem here... I take tons of pictures, so there aren't that many of me with the boys. I practically have to hit my husband over the head with the camera to get him to take some of us sometimes.
Love the pictures, the hats, the rickshaw, all of it!! I use the workout clothes excuse all the time. Also works for when you didn't have enough time to shower, as in, well, I was going to run so I haven't showered yet. I am over-using both of these excuses lately!!

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