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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Tegan and Sara performed a sold-out show Wednesday night at the Pabst Theater.
Tegan and Sara performed a sold-out show Wednesday night at the Pabst Theater. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)
Tegan and Sara played a three-song encore.
Tegan and Sara played a three-song encore. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)

All eyes were on Tegan and Sara

Last night's Tegan and Sara show was an absolute blast. The identical twin sisters from Canada were witty and energized, ripping through dozens of their punk-infused power poppy songs, mostly from their latest recording, "The Con."

Highlights of the evening included "Walking with a Ghost," "Like O, Like H," "I Bet It Stung," "So Jealous," "Back In Your Head" and a rippin' version of "Nineteen" that had fans spilling into the aisles only to be scolded by the super stern security. (The only song on my mental list but not on the set list was the melancholy "Soil, Soil.")

The sisters were backed by a trio of male musicians, all of who faded into the backdrop -- a massive line drawing of three tree stumps -- because of the girls' all-encompassing presence.

Both Tegan and Sara dressed in black, with similar a-symmetrical, quasi-mullet haircuts, and both took turns singing and playing keyboards. Even though they were born only eight minutes apart, Tegan has the air of a "big sister"  whereas Sara is the slightly more lighthearted little sis. Together, they create a complex dynamic that's rooted in love and rivalry.

I thought a lot about my sister during this show, mostly wondering why the hell we spent so much time hacking the hair off our Barbies and fighting over sweaters instead of jamming out with guitars.

Known for their witty banter,  the sisters Quin dished up cute quips for Milwaukee fans. "I would like to address how adorable it is when you talk," said Sara. "But I have a really hard time impersonating it -- not to your faces of course, that would be rude -- but your accent is really cute."

Later, she promised to return to Milwaukee someday, and when she did, to give everyone in attendance a unicorn. 

Also, they addressed a longstanding issue about whether or not it's OK to stand during a concert. Particularly at The Pabst, concertgoers quibble over this because some like to watch the show as if it were a movie whereas other…

A nursing bra modeled by a non-lactating hottie.
A nursing bra modeled by a non-lactating hottie.

Victoria's Secret line of breastfeeding bras

Did you know Victoria’s Secret has a line of nursing bras? I didn’t, until yesterday. Sadly, my nursing days featured bras that brought the expression "over the shoulder boulder holder" true to life. They looked more like something a nursing home resident would wear instead of a nursing mom.

That said, I think it’s great that VS has sexy nursing bras. Post-partum mothers have a hard enough time feeling attractive again, and it’s even more difficult when your brassiere could double as a circus tent.

But these Victoria Secret ads -- oy, these ads.

First of all, I'm willing to bet my preschooler that none of these women are breastfeeders. In fact, they look like they barely feed themselves, much less an infant or two. I know, I know, the argument that models don’t represent real women is a dried-up issue, so I won’t go down that road.

I will, however, go down this one: These ads sexualize breastfeeding, which contributes to the existing belief that nursing should be done in private and behind closed doors like other sexual acts. In my opinion, it’s outrageous to expect breastfeeding mothers to spend half their day locked away from the world. Covering up is one thing, but being required to sequester during lactation is another.

I’m not actually suggesting the designers of these ads should Photoshop veiny, sprawling stretch marks across these washboard tummies or that they should depict engorgement, blocked milk ducts or any of the other real aspects of nursing, but it would be nice to see models that didn’t perpetuate the "I love naked pillow fighting with my sorority sisters" stereotype.

I’m not going to lose any sleep over these ads, but I definitely see them as strike against the struggle for breastfeeding to be recognized as a form of healthy fast food, and not something sexual and therefore restricted to the back bedroom.

However, I gotta admit, had that leopard-skin one been around during my breastfeeding…

"Yes, Levi, sometimes monkeys wear shoes," I said.
"Yes, Levi, sometimes monkeys wear shoes," I said.

Parenting can be so cruel

Every morning, my 4-year-old son climbs into bed with me and snuggles into my body. Yesterday, while gazing up at me, he says in a croaky morning voice, "I like your face, Mom."

This is quite possibly the strangest and sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.

Once we are out of bed, he asks me, "Do I have school today?"

"No," I say. He claps his sticky hands together and says, "Yay. It's a 'Mama Day.'"

I'm quite certain that no one has ever applauded at the mere thought of hanging out with me.

On the days he does have school, when I pick him up, he sees me from across the room and immediately, his eyes widen, he shrieks a little and runs to me. "Mama," he says, burying his face in my neck. "Mama."

No one has ever been this happy to see me. No one. Not even my dog when he really has to use it.

Oh, I've made my share of Oedipus jokes, but most of the time, I find myself thinking in sappy clichés. "Can I freeze you?" I actually asked him.

Today, it is raining, and he is singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" and chattering about whether or not monkeys wear shoes and I can barely stand it. To know a 4-year-old's love and to know you will have to let go of it is almost unbearable.

Balloon poodles are really kinda phallic, aren't they?
Balloon poodles are really kinda phallic, aren't they?

Clowns are no match for today's kids

It’s not just my kid that seems really smart; it’s your kid, too, right? In fact, most wee ones are remarkably sharp these days. They seem to learn faster and have a deeper understanding of concepts at a much younger age. Maybe it’s because many of our households are child-centered, or the modern commitment to breastfeeding or that it’s every generation's “job” to surpass the last. In fact, many times, I hear moms and dads say that 3 is the new 7, or 6 is the new 10.

That said, this weekend my 5-year-old debunked clown magic.

We attended my grandma’s 90th birthday party in Freeport, Ill., and she hired a clown to provide magic tricks and balloon art for the grandkids.

Most of the adults agreed the clown was on the creepy side -- she didn’t smile at all despite her heavily made-up face and had kind of a low voice. She also wore a button that said, “God loves clowns.”

Overall, my kids enjoyed the clown action. However, when she tried to wow them by pulling a flag out of a seemingly empty box, Kai said, “Can you pull a Guatemalan flag out of that box?”

The clown said, “You bet I can,” and proceeded to pull another flag -- definitely not the Guatemalan flag -- from the box.

“That’s not the Guatemalan flag,” said Kai.

“Yes,” said the clown firmly. "It is."

“No, it’s not,” said Kai, who was born in Guatemala. “The Guatemalan flag has two blue stripes and is white in the middle.”

Then he told the clown it was OK that she made a mistake and she should try again. The clown looked flustered and glanced at me with a “help me” look. So, I distracted Kai by asking to see his poodle balloon hat.

Later, I thought about the fact that if Kai could read more than three-letter words, he probably would have asked the clown how she knew God loved clowns. Luckily for Clarabelle, he can’t.