Ready For My Close Up

The Author's various roles (clockwise): Roy the Lion, A Monster Called Sarah Palin, Hugh Downs, Atlas, Old Witch, The King, and Miguel The Cowardly Bull Fighter

Before I became a parent, I was whoever I wanted to be, whenever I  pleased. I’ve been a hell raiser, a heart breaker, a pirate, a poet, and a hippie—all in the span of a single weekend, even. My persona was totally my call– factoring in circumstances, climate, and company, of course. I cast myself as the heroine of every scene. When Mabel came along, I figured parenting would be simple matter of finding her the right costume for whatever occasion came our way. How wrong I was!

Mabel essentially ripped the stage out from under me with the finesse of a thundering herd of termites. I’ve found myself stripped of the glamorous self-flattery that was my diva birthright, and have become a cast of thousands, completely unto myself. The following is a resume of my most notable roles.

Underwear Face: An arch villain who wades through a sea of toys and roars “pick up this mess.” At the time, I thought I was just being a mom intent on teaching the value of order and organization to her child. I had no idea I was performing the role of Underwear Face until I heard Mabel bitching about me to her doll as I walked away.

Funk Legend George Clinton: Funk music is the unofficial soundtrack of our home, as mandated by Mabel. When the funk plays, Mabel breaks out her star-shaped sunglasses and becomes bass legend Bootsy Collins. When Bootsy is afoot, there is no rest for funk elder statesman George Clinton. In fact, George barely has time to change out of his bra and into his magic kaftan when he comes home from work. Fortunately, I’ve been able to make my character’s advanced age work for me: I mostly just croak “Tear the roof off the mothersucker” and read the paper while Bootsy pilots The Mothership (aka the couch).

Old Witch: I can do a pretty mean Margaret Hamilton impression, and we just so happen to have an enormous witch hat stashed in the toy box. All I have to do to become the Old Witch is act naturally while wearing the hat and speaking in the voice of Margaret Hamilton. It’s uncanny.

Sarah Palin: What do you name a monster that farts fire and keeps dead trouts in her armpits? As any preschool-aged child of a lefty household can tell you, that monster is called Sarah Palin.

The King: We are a royal family: Mabel is the princess, Kate is the Queen, and I am the King. Gender is a pretty malleable concept when you’re a 4 year-old who has two mommies. I think I drew the King straw for the following reasons: 1. I’ve been told by the Princess that I have “a handsome boy face”, 2. Everyone knows the Queen is the true power behind the throne, and the King, a jolly figurehead. It seems even Mabel has sussed out this dynamic between the Queen and I, and 3. SOMEbody has to be the boy. I must admit, it is quite an ego-boosting spirit-lifter to be addressed as the “King”, especially when I’m performing menial tasks such as mowing the lawn and dragging the garbage to the curb.  And it can also be stingingly ironic; it depends on how well the Queen and I are getting along.

I look back on my swashbuckling poet hippy days as so much embarrassing community playhouse theatre. I have grown in my craft and I am now the Meryl freaking Streep of the Land of Make-Believe. I’m a chameleon dancing on the rainbow of the human experience and a mirror to the world! And I owe it all to my four-year-old director.

About Hellraisin


  1. Naomi says:

    THat’s quite the impressive resume you got going there. My latest role in our personal home playhouse is the Ghost with No Face/Superkitty. Not sure how these 2 roles fit together. Ask my 4 year old. I’m sure he’d be happy to explain. Hahaha!

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  2. Mandy W. says:

    hey – fancy meeting you here! is this your new gig? Congrats! Maybe I’ll see you at BlogHer someday ;)

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    • Hellraisin says:

      This is indeed my new gig. It remains to be seen if there’s a place for me at BlogHer…unless, of course, Aiming Low needs someone to dress up like a coffee cup and hand out brochures. (PS I do a mean cabbage patch, editors!)

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  3. Lori says:

    Wow..I didn’t know that the Sarah Palin monster had antennae.

    How did I not notice?

  4. Kelly E says:

    As someone who has watched Hellraisin play with Mabel on a few random occasions, I can say that HR truly throws herself into whatever role she’s been assigned. And she does so with gusto and complete abandon.

  5. HeatherS says:

    Your characters vividly came to life in this post! Bravo! I don’t think I have any characters, which is strange, but I have a very good Mommy-voice. My kid are now 6 & 9 but this voice seems to come out for littler kids. I’ve noticed it recently at birthday parties and today when I was volunteering at the Elementary school with some smaller kids.

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  6. IzzyMom says:

    My cat is named after Bootsy Collins. Mabel has good taste :)

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  7. Laura says:

    Sarah Palin. I die of laughter. Fantastic.

    My former life seems boring, suddenly. :)

    Loved this!

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  8. I love that you have a 4 year old (I have twin girls that are 5) and that she is lucky enough to have two mommies. KICK ASS! You are indeed the King. ;-)

    Thank you also for your kind comments about the troll. I so needed to hear all of that. You are wonderful!

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  9. Hellraisin says:

    I am indeed wonderful…at leaving my cell phone in the fridge! I’m glad I could help you out, sweetie. “Keep on keepin’ on!”

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  10. JW Moxie says:

    Sarah Palin. LOVED IT. Not her. Loved that she = MONSTER in your crib. She is the face of my nightmares. For realz.

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  11. Hellraisin says:

    “The scariest monsters are the ones that want you to vote for them”, as my grandma always says. We don’t fear the bogeyman at the Hellraisin house, but Rick Perry scares the living beegees out of us.

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  12. Henceforth, you shall be “Underwear Face” to me and mine. Our beloved UF.

  13. Hellraisin says:

    Tattoo it in a big ol’ Rococo heart, forever yours.

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  14. UnknownMami says:

    Brava! You are a chameleon. Maybe I will be Underwear-wolf Face for Halloween.

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  15. Hellraisin says:

    Watch out, Werewolf! You’re no match for the terrifying Wereunderwear!

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  16. Peryl says:

    Underwear Face makes me laugh so hard – I’m sure my boys would think that was the ultimate insult if they thought it up. I will keep it to myself until I need it!

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  17. Hellraisin says:

    It’s guaranteed to burn their proverbial playhouses down to the ground!

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  18. I think I’ll name the voice in my head that bothers me about my own messes and disorganization Underwear Face. It will be easier to not take it seriously.

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  19. Hellraisin says:

    Feel free to use the image of my face, if you need a laughably-irrelevant-authority-figure visual to go with that voice.

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  20. Really fun pictures, love the monster! :)



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