Wednesday, April 15, 2009

i messed with texas

And Texas, without hesitation, kicked my Yankee ass.

You see, down here in the Lone Star state, it's a springtime right of passage to photograph your child in the bluebonnets.  What are bluebonnets?  If you ask my dad, they're "stupid girly weeds".  If you ask Texas, they're her blueish purple state flower.  If you ask me they're the devil, because in my quest to assimilate by getting some shots of A amongst these things, I ended up with red welts on my hiney.

Let me back up.  I was originally disinterested in this Texan bluebonnet picture tradition.  But as each of my Texan friends proudly showed off their baby smiling amongst the bonnets, and when we spotted a few families out along the roadside taking bluebonnet pics on Monday, I started to crack.  So this afternoon, when A woke early from his nap and we had a half hour to kill, I dressed Mister A in his finest Ralph Lauren and headed out.  Not to a field, because I have no idea how to find a bluebonnet field.  But there's a big patch of purple flowers near our house, I figured it would do.  I also made the assumption that any ugly-ish purple flowers growing in Texas = bluebonnets.  Foreshadowing, my friends, stay with me.  We arrived, I spread a blanket out so A wouldn't come in contact with nature and squatted down low to get to his eye level.  Then fell backward onto my derriere.  Now's when I sheepishly admit I was wearing shorts.  SHORT workout shorts.  I wore shorts to a field full of weeds because I'm an idiot it's laundry day.  So I just stayed there with my behind exposed to the ground, snapping (really bad) shots of A looking totally baffled and somewhat annoyed.  Squinty too.  This was starting to seem like a dumb idea.  And is it just me, or is my hiney starting to itch?  I clicked on.  About two minutes later, I felt a tingly, mildly itchy sensation from my legs to my lower hiney.  And about two seconds after that, it started to burn SO badly that I leaped to my feet and shrieked, pretty sure some awful swarm of insects was feasting on my rear.  This startled A, who (bad mommy alert) toppled forward off the edge of the blanket and scraped his forehead on the stupid weeds.  Now we're both near tears, I've got 13 sucky photos, and I'm totally over this stupid flower thing.

A was fine as soon as I wiped his forehead and handed over the Whoozit.  But mama?  Not so fine.  Burning and itching don't exactly do my malady justice.  More like "try really hard not to scare the bejeebies out of A by screaming in anguish  and get home as fast as you can to rip these shorts off and make this torture stop".  It required a good 20 minute soak in a cool tub full of baking soda to start to feel slightly less like I might die, while A sat in his exersaucer quietly eying me with what I swear was an "I told you that was a dumb idea" look.  

Oh, but wait.  The dumbest part is still coming.

THEY WEREN'T EVEN BLUEBONNETS.  I found out later it was lavender.  (Thank you, FireChiefsBride.)  My only bluebonnet spotting experience was, well, looking those photos I was telling you about and having J point out patches of blueish purple flowers and say "look, honey, bluebonnets!"  I really should have done some google research.  But this is my style- I get an idea, I run with it, no time to ask questions or rethink.  Most times, this quick thinking works in my favor.  Today, it welted my hiney and netted some really fugly pictures of my poor kid in some dumb looking weeds. 

I should have listened to my dad and stayed away from the weeds.  Mark my words: NEVER AGAIN.  I'm hereby announcing my personal bluebonnet ban.  A will probably have his Texan card yanked later in life when he's unable to produce any "baby in a bluebonnet" photos.  So be it, he can point back to this post (forever in internetland) and blame his northern mother.

And no, I won't share the awful photos of A in a bunch of weeds.  I can't believe I even shared this story.  But no pictures.  I've got some pride.

But I will share this evidence that I'm not totally brainless.  I mean, can you sort of see why I got confused?

Bluebonnet Imposters:


Lisa said...

Too funny, Mandie!!! As a fellow northerner, I can say, "who needs bluebonnet photos?" The sacrifices we make for our children, I swear! :)

Melissa said...

This was so funny. Maybe you will start a new tradition. :)

Tabatha said...

FWIW: I'm a native Texan and (to my knowledge) do not have any photos of me in a field of bluebonnets (or any other flower/weed for that matter).

Harmony said...

Hilarious! And I swear I only know about the bluebonnet thing from the Nest!

Monica @ Writer Chic said...

Obvioulsy, it was a good day in the Gregory household, but seriously? This post? Highlight of my day. =)

The Lunoff Adventures said...

Holy hell I just spit my Mighty Fine chocolate shake out! That is hilarious! I'm sorry the bluebonnet imposters welted your hiney. Maybe some fake ones from your local Michael's would be safer? :) Tracy (richardslove)

Sara said...

Ha ha! Oh my, I'm so sorry... but at least you brightened up a lot of people's day with your story ;)

Next year I'll make Jimmy swear not to mow our bluebonnets down and you can just hang out in our backyard, which will surely be safer for your hiney!

Jimmy said...

I also think the whole idea of mixing babies and wildflower fields (especially on the side of the highway where this is quite popular) is a bad idea. To add some flare to your experience: Usually this activity is done without any blankets, towels, etc. between the (clothed) child and said field.

In my experience, at the time of year when these flowers are at their best, the weather is too hot for outdoor lallygagging, the fire ants are at their most active, ground-dwelling killer bees and wasps are ready to pounce, and solar radiation is heightened to skin-curdling levels (on its way to skin-searing level which doesn't happen until late July).

Did I mention that scorpions are common in this area too?

Okay, so the killer bees aren't too much of a problem in practice (you can usually discover them and run away in time). But fire ants are not to be trifled with. Fire ants are known to take out young livestock (yes, I mean cows) if they are born near a mound.

But the resulting pictures are pretty cute. You may be able to get an adequate replica of the result from a photographer that uses background pictures in a nice, indoor studio. Or one that uses photoshop to compose the baby pic into the field of flowers.

Sara said...

Cover your ears! Don't pay any attention to those stories from my husband - he's a yankee who has very little appreciation for our Texan traditions and is just trying to scare you away!!


Rhinelander GM & Toyota said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mandie lane said...

I'm filing Jimmy's post away for next year. You know, when it's spring and pretty outside and I start to think "hmmm...maybe I should give it another try". If my itchy hiney memory won't stop me, the thought of scorpions and killer bees (seriously? those are real?), well, that should keep my hiney out of the weeds.

And for those that might be wondering, my hiney is much less itchy today. Thanks for your concern in this difficult time.

Lisa said...

Ohhh... sweetie. You have to do the bluebonnet thing. You don't want your son to get his ass kicked in middle school. Here is how you do it: Go to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (about a mile from my house) and go to the little patch of bluebonnets with the concrete slab in front that they've laid out just for people to sit on and have their picture taken to make it appear that they are in a huge field. It works and it doesn't hurt a bit!

Kristin said...

Texas really does seem like its own world.... That was a great story and it put a smile on my face!

Michael McCready said...

I just found your blog today and have been reading your posts out loud to Janessa. They're great!