Life Lessons From Tiny Taylor

WARNING: Adorable baby/toddler pictures to follow.

If you didn’t see my first post on fashion tips from Tiny Taylor, quit everything you are doing and go there now. The whole post is just an excuse for me to share a bunch of super-cute photos from my childhood. So is this post.

Tiny Taylor may have been confused about a lot of things in life, but there were a couple of things she got right.

1. Always act like a lady.

Toddler Taylor Dressed Up

You must always sit prim and proper. Also, if your outfit matches your couch, that’s a bonus.

Toddler Taylor Dressed Up For Easter

A true lady always wears a hat.

2. Know how to defend yourself.

Taylor At Karate Class

This was one of the rare times where I wasn’t staring at myself in the dojo mirrors.

3. You are never too curvy to rock a bikini.

Toddler Taylor And Her Sister At the Pool

Look out, swimwear models.

4. Never be afraid to be glamorous, even when others might deem it inappropriate. (Like at the pool.)

Toddler Taylor Wearing a Sailor Outfit

“Sailor chic” is a thing.

Taylor and Dad At the Pool

I was literally too cool for school. I wish I were this glam now.

5. Life is never too hectic for naptime, wherever it might occur.

Baby Taylor Napping

Like on the floor.

Toddler Taylor Napping in a Suitcase

Or in a suitcase.

6. Don’t be afraid to wear provocative sayings on your clothing. Express yo’self.

Baby Taylor Wearing A "Spit Happens" Bib

Keeping it sassy since the early 90’s.

7. It’s important to love one’s country.

Toddler Taylor Holding An American Flag

YAY AMERICAN FLAG

8. When in doubt, eat the cake.

Baby Taylor Eating Cake

I loved cake from a young age.

Toddler Taylor On Her Birthday With Cake

Do you know how many cake pictures I found of myself? It’s almost upsetting.

Baby Taylor With Her Face Covered In Cake

I even wore cake as an accessory.

Todder Taylor Eating Her Sister's Birthday Cake

And here is me (in the red) eating my baby sister’s birthday cake with my face #noshame

9. Never hesitate to get excited about the small things in life, like bath time, bike helmets, time with friends, and pretty flowers.

Toddler Taylor At Bathtime

Omg it’s bathtime! This is awesome!

Toddler Taylor Excitedly Wearing a Bike Helmet

LOOK AT THIS BIKE HELMET!!!

Taylor and Her Friend

I’M WITH MY FRIEND PLAYING THIS IS UNREAL

Toddler Taylor Excited About a Flower

A FLOWER WHAT HERE IT IS MIND BLOWN

10. Swag. Always.

Baby Taylor's Swag Face

What are your favorite photos of yourself during your childhood? Go to my Facebook page and share them on P&L’s wall, if you’re brave enough!

Xoxo, Taylor

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I Was Completely Wrong About Being a Grown-Up

When I was a kid, the world looked completely different through my eyes. My eyes, sadly, were not much lower to the ground than they are now, so literally it looked about the same, but that’s besides the point. Figuratively, the world looked completely different. Also, I was wrong about a lot of things.

-When I was little, I thought that you couldn’t kiss someone unless you were in a relationship with them. I would watch movies and see actors kissing and wonder how that was supposed to work, since they were often married to other people. I deduced that the only reasonable way this could work was that actors put a piece of plastic or something between their lips, so they weren’t really kissing. I always looked for it when I watched movies. No, I was not sheltered. Yes, I was lacking in common sense.

-I thought that writing a check allowed you to avoid paying money, like an IOU. I always wondered how Mom got away with that all the time. I also thought it was super awesome, and wondered why everyone didn’t use checks. Good thing I figured this out before I had my own bank account.

-I thought that I’d know how to do more things by the time I was 20 (I’m months away) like curl my own hair, have self-control when eating pull-and-peel Twizzlers, and have a conversation with other people without saying at least one thing I regret later. I was, as it turns out, completely incorrect.

-I thought I’d be taller by now. Enough said.

-I thought that 20 was super old, mainly because there was a bank commercial that played often, featuring a little girl talking about growing up. The last few lines were “..when you’re 19, you get glasses, and when you’re 20? That’s when you’re OLD.” I’m almost 20 and I don’t have glasses, nor do I feel in any way like I am capable of being an adult.

-I thought that being the guy who mixed paint colors at Home Depot was the coolest job ever. I have no idea why. It just seemed fun to press all the buttons on the paint mixer machine.

-I thought that being the first female president would be cool, like if I got bored doing whatever else I was doing. I didn’t really realize you have to have some sort of background in public policy, millions of dollars to campaign, and be tall enough to see over a podium. My bad.

-I thought I would marry my junior-high crush, because the selection of men in junior high was apparently all the men I would ever meet ever. I also thought of love as “picking someone.” I didn’t realize mutuality was involved. Surprisingly, I didn’t ever go all “Misery” on someone and lock them in my house or anything. You can even ask Brandon…he’s totally with me by his own choice, though I don’t know if he always wants to admit that.

-I thought that we had two separate stomachs, one for dinner and one for dessert. Okay, I didn’t actually think this. I just used it as an excuse to be full of dinner but still get dessert. I still use that excuse.

What misconceptions did you have about the world as a child?

Xoxo, Taylor

Football and Family: A Reflection

Football has always been of the utmost importance in my household. Sundays were sacred game days, which meant making hearty homemade soup and gathering around the television. If you even dared to change the channel, you’d hear it from Mom. And if you didn’t change the channel, you’d still hear it from Mom. She and Dad would sit in the living room, loudly “coaching” whichever teams happened to be playing, while Dog #1 would try to jump on Mom’s lap, mistakenly believing she was in pain and in need of consolation.

The Super Bowl was a big deal in our house, almost more of a big deal than the other national holidays. Mom always said she didn’t like having big parties because she didn’t want to “chat with the women,” she just wanted to watch the game. Super Bowl meant trays, bowls, and dishes of barbeque wings, taquitos, chips and dip, and other miscellaneous heart-attack-inducing snacks. I’d sit around and wait for the commercials, not particularly interested in the game, and Sister’s attention couldn’t even be held for that long. We’d eat until we were stuffed, then wait and eat more. I’d cheer for the team Mom and Dad said they were going for, and the whole thing would end with a food-coma-induced nap.

Thanksgiving dinner has always been followed by a retreat into the living room to watch the game, and when we were younger, that was always followed up with a front-yard game of football. I could throw a spiral ball by the time I was 8. Dad and I would run mini plays in the front yard on weekends, and my PE teachers always said I threw better than the boys.

Teams were a big deal. We each had our own, and a healthy dose of trash-talking would ensue whenever one of our teams played another. I was a New York Jets fan from the age of about three, because I mistakenly thought they were the New York Jetsons, and who wouldn’t root for the Jetsons’ team? As I got older, I began to understand football, and while I remained a Jets fan, I was aware of the fact that they were unassociated with the cartoon.

Football wasn’t just a sport of choice in the house; it was part of who we were as a family. Mom was kidding-but-not-really when she told me and Sister that if our future significant other didn’t like football, he wasn’t going to fit in. Boyfriend, luckily enough, is an avid football fan, so Mom and Dad gave the stamp of approval, even though his team and Dad’s are fierce rivals.

Between Parents and Boyfriend, my life is often measured in units of time called weeks-until-the-playoffs, weeks-until-the-super-bowl, and weeks-until-it-starts-again. Being away from home hasn’t changed this – Boyfriend never fails to remind me how long we have until the draft, until Aaron Rodgers can get back on the field (I feel like I know the guy personally).

I had never really noticed how much football was a part of my life until I came to college. Many of my friends didn’t care much for the game, or had never watched. I myself enjoy watching football, but certainly not with the expertise or passion that Boyfriend or Parents do. When Super Bowl Sunday came, however, I couldn’t help but sit down and watch. It almost felt wrong to do anything else.

While I miss most football Sundays now, living halfway across the country and all, I think football will always be a small part of me. It’s how my family comes together; it’s where we find common ground. It’s part of how we relate to one another, and I have a feeling it will continue to be part of my life as long as the Green Bay Packers walk the face of the earth.

On Unpredictability and Being Punched by My Five-Year-Old Sister

She is much less sweet than she looks in this photo, let me warn you.

Who knew that she would turn on me so quickly?

Sister and I stood by the front door, waiting for it to be time to go to school. I was around 9, and she was around 5. I can’t exactly remember why, but I’d decided to entertain myself by opening and closing the screen door. Sister was not amused, and she insisted that I stop. I ignored her and continued to open and close the door.

“Do that again, and I’ll punch you in the stomach.”

She’d issued an ultimatum, but I certainly didn’t take her seriously. Undeterred, I opened the door and wham. She wasn’t kidding. Sister drew back her tiny kindergarten arm and punched me square in the stomach. I doubled over, upset and shocked more than anything. Sister and I didn’t ever fight physically; we usually just sassed each other. I made a fuss and Parents rushed over to see what was the matter. I explained the situation, and Mom, who is usually a decisive parent, was lost for words.

I could see the wheels in her head turning. “She really shouldn’t have punched her sister, but at the same time, she did warn her…” Eventually, Mom and Dad both gave up trying to referee the situation. Neither of us were punished, but Mom told me to stop opening the door and told Sister she shouldn’t probably punch people anymore or issue threatening ultimatums.

This incident has remained salient in my mind because it’s been a huge joke among our family, but also because it is a poignant example of unpredictability. I can’t read the minds of my parents, but I’m guessing that by this point in our lives they probably had the parenting thing down, especially when it came to our bickering. They knew how to placate both of us and how to swiftly judge who had to say sorry to who. But this incident was something they had absolutely no idea how to make a judgment call on. Who was to blame? Obviously Sister shouldn’t have punched me, but at the same time, I had to have partial culpability for completely ignoring my sister’s warning. There is no way my parents could have predicted this absurd situation would happen.

As I’ve begun to apply for summer internships and look at jobs, I find myself scared of unpredictability. What if they ask me to do something I haven’t done or something crazy happens and I don’t know how to respond or I respond incorrectly? The fact is that, like in the case of the punching ultimatum, life is full of uncertainty. There will be times where you’ll react well, and times where you’ll react incorrectly. One time, while working as a receptionist for Mom’s business, I answered the phone and mistakenly gave a telemarketer Mom’s personal cellphone number. Years later, she still gets calls. Whoops. If that isn’t messing up, I don’t know what is.

Regardless, you can’t ever be completely prepared for what life throws your way. Whether it’s at your job or as a parent (I hear that one is particularly unpredictable), life is going to throw you things that you’ll have no idea in the slightest how to respond to. All we can hope for is that we will possess the wisdom to at least make a half-right decision. This summer, I’m hoping what I’ve learned here in college and in life will serve me well in a career. I’m also hoping no one will threaten to punch me in the stomach.

Inspired by the wordpress prompt “With or Without You.”

Some other excellent writings on the subject:
Drawing a line in the sand: Daily Prompt | alienorajt
Brandon’s Mentor And The Daily Prmpt | The Jittery Goat
Fighting Ultimatums | Ana Linden
Nicki Minaj and A Free Fall. | meg lago
Giving Ultimatums To Cats

“Pencilgate”: My Funny Valentine

It was second grade. This was back in the days where my hair was down to my waist, my bangs were much too short, and my fashion statement of choice was a good pair of multicolored stretch pants. School was a source of enjoyment for me. I loved the orderliness of classes and the opportunities to learn.

I was a staunch rule-follower, with unflinching intolerance for rule-breakers. As such, I was often sat near the “naughty” kids, the kids who talked too much and sat still too little. This is why I spent part of second grade year sitting by Matt.

Matt was the worst, in my opinion. He was loud, fidgety, and despite sitting next to Taylor the Enforcer, never seemed to behave. He was always being called out by Teacher for some sort of wrongdoing. As the long days of second grade dragged by, I listened to his chatter and witnessed his evident naughtiness. He talked while I was trying to do my times tables and focusing during spelling? Forget about it. I couldn’t imagine how things could get any worse. Until Pencilgate.

Over one weekend, I’d had a playdate with my BFF. At the end of our playdate, she gave me a super-cool camouflage pencil. I couldn’t wait to take it to school and show it off. Not everyone’s BFF gives them awesome pencils, after all. I brought it to school on Monday and put it in the little pencil well in my desk, giving it a special spot apart from the other pencils. I was going to be so envied when I used it. So envied.

Unfortunately, that day never came. When I went to open my desk between classes later that day to get my language notebook, Matt spied the pencil.

“Ooh, what’s that?” he asked mischievously.

I stared daggers at him. I was not in the mood.

“It’s my awesome pencil my best friend gave me. Leave me alone.”

“That’s a pretty cool pencil. Can I see?”

“NO!”

I watched in horror as if it were slow motion, as he reached across and snatched my pencil from my desk.

“Give it baaaaaaack! Give it baaaaaack!” I was indignant. I couldn’t believe this kid! How could he?
This was the pencil from my BEST FRIEND FOREVER. This was no joking matter.

He held my beloved pencil far above my head as I reached for it, trying to get back what was rightfully mine. My struggle was interrupted by Teacher, who was ready to start class. We sat down and Matt slipped the pencil into his desk. Defeat.

With steadfast faith in the law, or the classroom rules, as it were, I decided the mature thing to do would be to go to Teacher at recess and explain the situation. She knew Matt was naughty. She would remedy the situation.

To my surprise, I was not only stolen from, but insulted. When I went to talk to Teacher, I was not met with the due process of rules I was expecting. I told my story, and when I’d finished, Teacher looked at me with disdain.

“You can look in his desk!” I said. The proof would be in the pudding.

After recess, Teacher went to Matt and asked him about the pencil in question.
“It’s mine!” he claimed. “I don’t know why she’s saying I stole it!”
“But Teacher!” I exclaimed. “Matt stole my favorite pencil! I saw him!
Teacher looked at me with disdain I wouldn’t soon forget.

“Taylor, it’s not okay to try to steal things from people. This is clearly Matt’s pencil. I’m disappointed in you that you’d try to take it from him. We don’t lie in this classroom.”

I was speechless and appalled. ME? A liar? Where was the justice? How would I ever get my pencil back?

It appeared that I wouldn’t, so I decided on revenge instead. Valentine’s Day was coming up, and I’d bought these valentines that had female smiley faced characters dressed up in stylish outfits with captions like “You’re cute, Valentine.”

Most were pretty gender-neutral, save the stylish and girly characters on the front, except for one, which had a smiley face character in leopard print and a boa with the caption, “You’ve got style, Valentine.” How girly! It would be super embarrassing, I thought, if a guy got one of these. Like, horrifying. Any boy in the second grade wouldn’t be caught dead holding a valentine like that. I knew who the perfect recipient of such a valentine would be.

Valentine’s Day came, and I passed out my valentines to the class, names carefully written on each. Best friends got the cutest ones (obviously) and the rest were carefully assigned based on some sort of selection process I’d decided upon. I cackled to myself in my second-grade malevolence as I handed Matt his super-embarrassing valentine. You’ve got style, I thought. HA. You’ve got some nerve is what you’ve got. But that’s no matter. I’ll show YOU not to steal my pencil again.

******

I’m pretty sure that Matt was not upset in the least bit by my Valentine, but at the time, I felt deeply satisfied. I’d exacted my revenge on that dirty, rotten pencil stealer. And it was a Valentine’s Day that’s stuck with me until this day. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I can remember how scandalized I was by being called a liar or by having my favorite pencil stolen. Or maybe it’s because it’s a great demonstration of my complete inability to be truly mean. The lesson here is that it’s not wise to double-cross me, because I’ll give you the most complimentary Valentine ever.

Inspired by the WordPress Daily Post prompt My Funny Valentine.

Some other great writings on the topic:

  1. MY FAIR LADY – GARRY ARMSTRONG | SERENDIPITY
  2. A Journey of Ten Years | A mom’s blog
  3. Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love – Strangely True | SERENDIPITY
  4. MY STRANGELY WONDERFUL ROMANCE | SERENDIPITY
  5. My Funny Valentine | Vampire Maman
  6. Hallmark holiday | Mindful Digressions
  7. False Expectations | snapshotsofawanderingheart
  8. Playlist | Perceptive Pot Clueless Kettle
  9. Fragrant valentine | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
  10. Valentine’s Day Can’t Insult My Intelligence if There’s Snow | Bumblepuppies
  11. Love Surrounds You | ReFreshing Life
  12. Lessons from the Ghosts of Valentines Past | The Femindiary
  13. Day 25: Why I Married a Man who got me a Hairdryer for Valentine’s Day | The Ravenously Disappearing Woman
  14. Validation Day – Valentine’s Day from an Honest Woman’s Perspective | Shoot the messenger
  15. Weekly Writing Challenge| Single Awareness Day | Amy (and The Teddy With Sunglasses)
  16. my first valentine | Musings of a Random Mind
  17. Afraid of Valentine’s Day? | Myammy! Moving in together at 50…
  18. Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine. It’s Not Always FUNny. | Tales from the Motherland
  19. I’ve been alone for a long time | “The Ish,” presented by the Bohemian Rock Star
  20. Ah Bloody Valentines! | The life of T
  21. Brief facts on Valentines day/Weekly Writing challenge | standinginthestorm
  22. Weekly Writing Challenge – Valentine – The Hopeless Unromantic |
  23. I Should Have At Least Called | Sam’s Online Journal
  24. Ode to My Valentine | DCTdesigns Creative Canvas
  25. Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine? | imagination
  26. Not Your Average Valentine | The Short Pages
  27. My Funny Valentine: Monday Monster Mashup meets the Weekly Writing Challenge! | jak & Cimmy’s Journal Jar
  28. (Un)Funny Valentine – Daily Post “My Funny Valentine?” Challenge 2/10/2014 | blogged artistry
  29. To My Valentine… | Babbleogue
  30. Love of Many Shoes | Mary J Melange
  31. Valentine, Part Two/DP Challenge | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  32. It’s Valentine’s Day! | TNT
  33. St. Hallmark Day Doth Approach | The Eclectic Poet
  34. Valentine’s Day…some wifely advice
  35. The Boy I Married | East Meets Breast
  36. The Valentine’s Letter I wished I’d sent…. | Brownies, Pixies & Horny Toads
  37. [WWC] Valentine’s day | Reatividades
  38. My Funny Valentine? | “Crone-ing”
  39. My Forever Crush | My Weigh To Lose
  40. Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine? – Love, Love, Love | SA:ME (사메)
  41. A STRANGELY WONDERFUL ROMANCE | SERENDIPITY
  42. Last Minute Expressions of Love | Moments for the journey
  43. The Good Wife | Cabin Pressure May Change
  44. Weekly Writing Challenge-Love As An Earthling- A Comedy | The Lyons Den
  45. We Will Review The Cows! | Not the Family Business!
  46. Preparing for My First Real Valentine’s Day | Lilly Lane
  47. Get your lovin’ on | why i left my job
  48. VISITAS Y PAISES | palabrasdecielo.wordpress.com
  49. » Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine? | Chiquitita