The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
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Iceland: Channeling Mrs. Sedaris-- part 3

Sandra Tsing Loh takes her nine-year old to ice-skate.

Tiger mothers demand high PERFORMANCE from their children. French mothers demand that domestic SCHEDULES are never rocked by excessive kid activities.

A failure on both accounts, today I am driving my nine year old to ice-skating. This occurs Monday and Friday, 5:30 to 6 p.m., at which point we drive 45 minutes home, making even Souplantation a reach. Meanwhile, my daughter is--? Well, picture a spindly giraffe in parka, earmuffs and glasses, wobbling forward while five year olds half her size skate CIRCLES around her.

The rink, called "Iceland," is in Van Nuys. It's run by surly chainsmoking Russians. IT is so VERY far from the Colburn School. Cursing and late, I type "Iceland" into googlemaps -- and up pops a globe with a big red arrow pointing -- not to our destination, but to the next closest thing-- the CONTINENT of ICELAND.

Hyperventilating about my TOTALLY INEPT PARENTING, I fall back on my new mantra, which is: WHAT WOULD MRS. SEDARIS DO? I figure David Sedaris's mother smoke, drank, watched TV-and yet, her children turned out brilliantly! What Mrs. Sedaris DID provide, was poor quality fun TIME.

So today I allow my 11 year old hot cocoa-- From the machine! We share some sixth grade gossip--about girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, girlfriends and boyfriends OF the parents-- This being Studio City, a hotbed.

And going home, here's a freeway game your family can play TOO called "Songs for the Lesser-Known Holidays." It began when my girls were in politically correct preschool, where at holidays the obedient four year olds sang "Jingle Bells," "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel," and THEN lit Kwanzaa candles.

But where was the Kwanzaa song? We wrote one:

Raise your corn, it's Kwanzaa morn!
Seven principles, seven candles!
Wear a dashiki and don your sandals!
Celebrate all the African nations
In red, black and green-hey!
In kindergarten, all my OLDER daughter could GRASP was that her Iraqi girlfriend's family was fasting. With apologies to non-Zankou-eating Muslims, to EXPLICATE this holiday's BASICS to small CHILDREN, we wrote:
Ramadan, Ramadan
Rumble rumble rumble!
Ramadan, Ramadan
Grumble grumble grumble!
I'm feeling kind of awful
I'd like a warm falafel
And pita, and hummus
On Mohammed's special day-hey!
Finally, here’s Presidents' Day, to the tune of Leonard Bernstein's "Wonderful Town":
President's Day! President's Day!
There's nothing to do on President's Day
There ain't no cake on President's Day
There ain't no gifts on President's Day Just mattress sales on President's Day
From George to Abe, it's a nothing Monday!
That’s the call.

Then the response is:

President's Day! President's Day!
There's LOTS TO DO on President's Day
Wash your cat on President's Day
Take two naps on President's Day
Youtube crap on President's Day-
Not done yet, but thank God we're on the freeway 15 hours a week!