My 100th Column

Leslie was very young when she wrote her first column! Image © Daviddomi | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Leslie was very young when she wrote her first column! Image © Daviddomi | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Writing 100 columns sounds like a big deal, doesn’t it? You’d think my editor would have thrown me a party or at least bought me a candy bar or something.

I started writing this column right after Koss started kindergarten. When he had his 100th day of kindergarten, they had a big celebration and all of the kids had to bring in 100 of something. Most of the children brought in buttons or pennies or crayons or fish crackers–you know, kid stuff.

As an overambitious first-time kindergarten mom who really needed to impress the teacher, I had the brilliant idea that we bring in a jar filled with 100 wishes. Of course I didn’t realize at the time that Koss only had the attention span to make about 47 wishes, and 23 of those were to have another one of the cookies I used to bribe him to focus on the remaining 69 wishes.

Despite all the duplicate wishes, I eagerly anticipated my gold star from his teacher, who would surely be blown away by our creativity.

Instead she tactfully suggested that perhaps I was giving my son too much sugar, and that his attention span might improve if he expanded his vegetable repertoire beyond potato chips and French fries.

I’ve learned a lot since then. Don’t ever let you kid tell his teacher what he really eats for dinner, for starters. And don’t ever start work on a class project until you’ve had at least one glass of wine.

I’ve learned a little bit about column-writing too. For example, even if I had learned 100 things since I started writing this column, I would never have enough space to include them here. Besides, 100 is an even number, and if there’s one rule I’m absolutely sure of, it’s that odd numbers are funnier than even numbers. My husband told me so. He also seems to think the number 69 is a lot funnier that 67 or 65 for some reason.

Writing this column has really done a lot to deepen my relationship with my husband. Now, instead of crying or throwing things when we fight, I get out my notepad and start taking revenge, I mean, ahem, taking notes.

And when my son does something horribly embarrassing or cute, I get out my camera and my notepad, and sometimes my tape recorder too.

My parents didn’t realize it, but when I started tape recording their childhood stories last weekend, it wasn’t just for the family archives. You never know where you might find new material.

Another great thing I’ve learned is that when you’re writing a column about your life, everything you do can be considered working.

“Why are you napping, Leslie? It’s the middle of the day.”

It’s work. I’m writing a column about napping.

“Why are you shopping/drinking/staring at your navel in the middle of the day?”

I’m working of course. There’s never a minute for myself, I just work, work, work, even when I’m sleeping I work. It’s 25/7 around here.

Apparently writing all of those columns hasn’t done anything to improve my math skills.

This is actually my 101st column. I realized that at some point last week, but I wanted to write about spring break, so I fudged it a little bit.

See, unlike my other job–as a reporter, where you have to pay special attention to things like truth and accuracy–you get to fudge a little when you’re a columnist. So when I tell you that this is my 101st column that doesn’t mean it’s my 101st column for THIS paper; I worked for another paper before this. And it wasn’t my fault they went out of business–although it might have helped if THAT editor had thrown me a party.

Originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on April 13, 2007