What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Elf on a M'Fing Shelf

Can I just start this post with one big SIIIGGGHHHH?  That’s me exhaling great disappointment in myself.  I...oh man....how do I admit this?  Yesterday, I went to Target and I...um....I...I BOUGHT THE DAMN ELF ON A SHELF, OKAY?  You people....all you PEOPLE with your little ELVES with names like Tingles and Joy and Snowball...I couldn’t take the PRESSURE anymore of my Offspring asking me, badgering me, with their sad, little, pathetic eyes...why don’t WE have an Elf on a Shelf?  And instead of giving them my honest answer of-”Because Mommy is lazy and can barely remember to put chocolate in the Advent Calendar every night  so how can She be expected to move a money-sucking little Elf around each night, and, also, I think you should just be able to BELIEVE in Santa without any extra stimulation because you are a LITTLE KID and that’s what LITTLE KIDS do...blindly believe in Santa”...I told them something to the effect of-”I’M the Elf on the Shelf and I should be the only motivation you need to have good behavior because me and Santa are likethis.”  That worked last year.  This year...not so much.  It seemed as if every house I entered, there was this little Elf staring deep into my soul, pleading with me, begging me, asking me the question...Why?  Why am I, this cute little Elf, so bad?  Why can’t you bring your Children the joy and magic they deserve?  WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?  And, trust me, there are only so many times that you can have an imaginary conversation with an un-living thing before you crack.  

But that is not all.

No.  No it is not.

As I strolled into Target, spending my obligatory $1.95 first on a coffee, I must have had a lost look on my face because a Friendly, Well-Meaning Employee actually stopped me and asked me if I needed help finding something.  Me? Help finding something  in TARGET?  Um...yes...uh...actually I do.  Do you guys sell, um....you know, the, ahem... Elf on a Shelf?  She swiftly moved me along, telling me that why YES, of course they do, actually they have them in three different spots in the store and she took me to the first and there it was.  Except...wait...it’s a GIRL elf?  I didn’t even know they made those!  And then she asked me...did you want a boy or a girl?  And I looked at her, my eyes panicked at the thought of Son losing his shit over a GIRL Elf and asking me 68 questions about why all his friends got a boy and he got a girl and then I thought of how Daughter wouldn’t care if it was a boy or a girl and GOOD GOD YES LADY TAKE ME TO THE BOY ELVES!  And then, I hung my head in shame as she directed me to the back of the store.  Et, tu, Gelato Mama?  Giving in to the sexist ways of our society?  AN ELF ON THE SHELF AND REFUSAL TO BUY GIRL?  Who am I?  Some days I don’t even know anymore.  SIIIGGGHHHH.  

So.  There you have it.  Boy Elf on Motherf*#%*ing Shelf.  Currently, he is perched on a lamp where the Children will notice him when they get home from school, but can’t touch him because WE DON’T WANT TO RUIN THE MAGIC.


I admit.

It probably will be pretty magical to see their faces light up at the sight of their new friend.

But after that...it’s just going to be a pain in the ass.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Brightly Lit Dressing Rooms

Okay.  I mean.  Why?  You know what I’m talking about.  Why do dressing rooms have florescent lights?  This makes no sense to me. Who is in charge of this?  Is it somebody’s idea of a joke?  Not only do you have to go jean shopping today, you get to do it in a small room bright with unflattering light!  Oh, those pants feel a little tight?  Well, to make you feel even BETTER about yourself, we’ve gone ahead and put special lighting in here to highlight those unfortunate stretch marks your Firstborn inflicted upon you while in-utero, and juuusstt in case you are all like, these are my Warrior Marks, not Stretch Marks, that doesn’t explain how your lower abdomen slightly resembles a burrito when you bend over, so just go ahead and get a better view of that.  And OH!!  We’ve also gone ahead and installed this dressing room with TWO mirrors...one BEHIND you, so when you’re like, trying on bathing suits, you can get a goooood look at your ass in these florescent lights.  I mean, they say almost every woman has cellulite, but in case you thought maybe you didn’t, YOU WERE WRONG.  And there it is in all it’s glory.  BWHAAAA!!!!  
You would think that maybe it’s just the Targets of the world with badly lit dressing rooms.  But no. Nope.  Bra shopping at Nordstroms?  Yep.  Go ahead and take your shirt off and let a nice lady feel you up while staring at the bra strap fat in terrible lighting.  Or that time I went to JCrew looking for a pair of shorts and instead left crying and more convinced than ever that I should just not wear shorts.  Ever.  (Side note-Do you think Michelle Obama ever left JCrew crying?)  And I realize that maybe this...aversion...I have to Brightly Lit Dressing Rooms says more about my insecurities and body dysmorphia, but, still, would it kill retails stores to put in a nice, dim light?  Or just one that doesn’t make me feel like I’m in a line up?   Think how much better bathing suit shopping would be if they put in a skinny mirror and a 55 watt lightbulb?  Damn, I might even buy two bathing suits then!  I might want to try them all on because LOOK HOW GOOD I LOOK IN THIS LIGHT!!  And when you think about it that way, really, who can say that I am doing anything except trying to boost retail sales to improve our economy?  We don’t need women leaving dressing rooms crying!  We need them leaving full of confidence and empty wallets!  THIS IS FOR YOU, AMERICA!

You’re welcome.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Really Skinny People

The thing about living in an area of the country where people are ultra-obsessed with carbs and protein and bones protruding through their bodies is that you easily lose sight of what is “normal.”  As you can imagine, when one is surrounded by professional volleyball players and wannabe swimsuit models, it is quite easy to develop a complex and/or psychological issues.  And you know, damn it!  I’m tired of feeling fat all the time because all these Really Skinny People just can’t bring it down a notch.  Good God, what is this desire to be less than zero?  I will never, ever be a Really Skinny Person and I don’t even want to be, so why am I always feeling so bad about myself because my ass can fill out my jeans?  So, in order to try and put a stop, at least a temporary one, to my feelings of inadequacy, I’ve composed a couple of lists to remind me that Really Skinny People might be really skinny, but they are also maybe just a teensy weensy, little tiny bit crazy.
Really Skinny People have many fears.  Among them:
Missed workouts
Spin class being cancelled
Going from a size 2 to a size 4.  (Fat ass.)
Running out of kale

Really Skinny People also have many obsessions.  Among them:

Whole Foods
Organic coconuts
Coconut water
Coconut milk
Coconut oil
Whole Foods

(I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these Really Skinny People survive on coconut alone.)

Also, on a somewhat related side note: I’ve recently decided that I can’t be friends with anyone who wants to get a chicken in their backyard so they can have fresh eggs. I don’t want to not like you, but you’re making it hard with this Urban Chicken Coop thing. 

I just...can’t...jump on board of the Really Skinny People ship.  It’s too consuming. So, I’m going to try and forgive myself for my imperfections and maybe even try to enjoy them.  So, go ahead and get back to your kale smoothies.  I’m going to go have an ice cream cone with my kids.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teenagers Drinking Coffee/Almond Milk/Waiting in Line

Sometimes I feel like I don’t even need to explain things...like Teenagers Drinking Coffee should really be enough for someone to read and say, Oh yes...that is totally annoying, but if for some reason you’re all...what?  Why is it annoying for teenagers to drink coffee?...I’ll share.
First of all, Teenagers: please stop trying to be all grown up and stuff.  Trust me...you have the rest of your life to be Grown.  I still feel like an insecure 16 year old who is not nearly Grown, but for the sake of my Children, I need to appear that I’m Grown and like...know how to do stuff.  Drinking coffee makes you look like you want to be Grown, but really, just stop drinking coffee and go outside and play with your friends.  You’ll thank me later.

Second of all, this makes me angry because of the giggles I am forced to listen to as seven 15 year old girls, dressed alarmingly hipster prostitutes, order  frapuccinos with no whipped cream, followed by the 27 minutes I have to wait while the sole barista makes the said frappucinos.  Because you know what?  All I want is a cup of coffee.  I don’t even want a latte or a mocha.  And no, I do not want anything with soy or almond milk because, although I don’t necessarily have anything against soy beans or almonds, I just don’t want to sound like an asshole when I order coffee.  I just want coffee.  In a cup.  I’ll add the cream myself.  Cream from a cow.  When did dairy become the devil?  When did almonds step up and be all, Oh, Dairy...I am now the new Superior Milk in the Land?  Also, I think Starbucks should have a special line for people like me.    All the frappucino and soy chai almond tea people can stand in one line and the people who take approximately 17 seconds to order, receive and pay for their coffee can stand in another line? Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?  Everybody wins.  Again, you can thank me later.

And while we’re at it, Teenage Girls?  Put some damn clothes on.  Your worth and value in this life are so much more than your booty shorts.  Think about it.  (And your Mother let you wear that?  Oh wait...she’s wearing the same thing.  You might be screwed.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Things That Make Me Angry: Take 1


I’m pretty sure you just shuddered when you read that.  And if you read ‘Meal Planning’ and a shiver didn’t go up and down your spine, then you have no idea how much I envy you.  I will happily shop for the food.  I will happily cook the food.  I do not mind cleaning up the food.  But, oh my God, if you could only know how much time a Mother’s Brain is thinking about FOOD and what’s for dinner, and what’s going in lunch boxes and who gets what snack and we had apples for lunch should we have grapes for dinner...you just might be nicer to her.  Does your brain sound like mine?  See below.  

The Thought Process of the Meal Planner: 

Okay.  This week. Let’s see.  I could make that, but we just had it last week, but it’s so easy and Picky Eater won’t protest too greatly.  But Good Eater requested this and why shouldn’t she be rewarded for not having a mental breakdown when a vegetable is presented on her plate?  Okay, so we’ll have that tonight and Picky Eater can just deal with his shit.  Then tomorrow, let’s see, I could make that, but I really don’t want to eat all those carbs, but I know everyone will eat that and Husband will probably be really happy about it so I guess I could just put my part over lettuce because lettuce is the new bread and I’ll just be jealous of everyone else at the table.  Let’s see...next night...hmmm...I could make that, no...just had that.  How about this?  Oh God, I would rather stab my ears with a fork than listen to the complaining about serving that for dinner.  Oh...what about this?  That sounds delicious and healthy and somewhat kid friendly...oh wait Husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes.  But why should I care if He doesn’t like them?  Why can’t I just have some fucking sweet potatoes once in a while?  I’m just going to do it.  I’m going to make that.  Okay....so....let’s see.  What’s next?  Okay...um...what can I make...let me think...anyone have any requests?  No?  Okay, um...I could do...um...something new? Yes! Something new.  Let’s see.  Let me thumb through this cookbook.  Oooo...that looks good, except Picky Eater...oh Good Lord he would eat absolutely none of that.  Ohhh....yum...I could make that...if I wanted to be rewarded with whining.  Oh, how about this?  Yes...that looks good.  Good Eater will probably eat that, Husband should like that, Picky Eater will...um...shit.

Fuck it.  We’re having pizza.

And repeat.  Day after day...week after week...for, apparently, THE REST OF MY LIFE.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dear Lego

Does anyone else want to tell Lego to suck it?  Anyone?  I mean, really, I can’t be the only one who has experienced the painful whine of a child who’s Recently Put Together Over Priced Random Lego Set slips from his hands and crashes to the floor and falls apart in a way that a NASA engineer might have a hard time putting back together.  I can’t be the only parent who has proclaimed a sick sense of victory after finding an impossibly small piece of plastic shaped like some sort of weapon stuck in a sofa cushion just TO MAKE THE CRIES STOP.  And, please, I know I am not alone in the joy I feel when I may or may not accidentally vacuum up what may or may not be little Lego nun chucks.  Hey-I’m not the one who deserted them in the carpet.  It’s like you WANT me to destroy them. 

But recently, I got to thinking that hey...maybe these Lego Executives don’t know that people want them to suck it and just need a little feedback.  I mean, clearly, these people have no children and hate mothers, why would they even have an inkling that many people consider them the devil?  So, in the name of fairness, I have composed a letter to alert them of this fact.  

Dear Lego,
Well, aren’t you just so clever?  You know, back in the day I used to really like you, Lego.  A big box of colorful bricks just waiting for my endless childhood imagination to build magnificent masterpieces all of my own creation?  Heaven.  But that wasn’t enough for you, was it?  No no no.  You had to go and get all greedy.  You had to go ahead take over the world with your Harry Potter/Star Wars/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Lord of the Rings/Lone Ranger Lego sets.  Even THAT wasn’t enough for you.  Oh no no no.  You THEN had to go ahead and CREATE TELEVISION SHOWS whose sole purpose is to SELL LEGO SETS.  I know you probably think you must be absolute geniuses to have thought of such a thing, but the truth is, you are going to Hell.  But it will be a special Hell, designed just Lego Executives.  In this Hell, you will rotate from one Lego Created Painful Experience to the next.  Here are some examples.

ONE: Standing in the Lego aisle at Target surrounded by tired, hungry Children unable to function as Normal Human Beings because Mean Mommy refuses to even entertain the idea of purchasing an $80 Legends of Chima Craggers Command Ship, hence- you have ruined their lives forever.

TWO: Standing in a room full of Children who’s Lego sets keep accidentally crashing to the floor, breaking into 327 pieces.  I think you know what happens next.  

THREE: Listening to two children fight over who gets to be ‘Ninjago’s’ Jay and who gets to be Kai.  This may not sound terrible, but don’t worry...it will be.  

FOUR: Losing eyesight while trying to find miniature Lego handcuffs that have lost themselves in a tub of let’s say....3567 other Lego pieces.  Good luck.

FIVE: Trying to figure out which step a Child missed exactly in the 400 page guide to Wakz’ Pack Tracker.  Was it step 8?  Step 98?  Step 47?  The only way you will ever know is to Start.Over.Again.  For eternity.

You don’t have to go to this Hell, Lego.  You can just...stop.  Stop.  Please, for the love God, stop.  It’s enough.  We get it.  You can turn this back around!  Just create moderately priced colorful bricks and let the Children take over!  I swear...their own creations are far more interesting than your Special Lego Sets will ever be because they did it on their own.  

That’s all I got, Lego.  I will now retreat back into my own special hell called: “DON’T TOUCH MY LEGO BATTLE SCENE IN THE PLAYROOM!”  I think I’ll just go ahead and close the door and pretend that it’s not happening.  

Gelato Mama

Friday, August 2, 2013

Four Letter Words

Let me go ahead and start out by saying that if you find muttering four letter words under your breath around your Offspring and/or maybe sometimes flipping them off behind their backs offensive, you should just stop reading this now.  Go ahead and have yourself a nice, curse-free day.  But...if you’re like me and often think to yourself, wow...my Children really bring out the F-bombing in me, then keep reading and maybe we should consider being Best Friends.  Now, if you DO find this offensive and are STILL reading, then I take no responsibility for your choice and think maybe you should lighten up a little and that you might be lying about the words you may or may not be muttering under your breath or thinking in your head during the more...trying times of child rearing.

Being a parent demands an enormous amount of patience.  It requires you to actually be an adult and remain an adult even as the most obvious solution to a six year old child throwing a tantrum better suited for a two year old child seems like it should be to also throw a tantrum.  All day your Children are testing you...daring you even...to just come on down to my level, Mom.  Come on.  Come down here and act like a total asshole with me.  It’s fun.  But...you can’t.  I’m the Adult, you repeat to yourself.  I am in charge. I must remain calm.  I am the Parent.  Oh, shit.  I’M THE PARENT.  So when you joyfully proclaim to your Offspring that it is time to go to Target and this announcement is met not with a Sure, Mom...I’ll get my shoes on...but with a Physical Collapse on the floor followed by a long soliloquy  about how their lives are so UNFAIR that they have to run ERRANDS and why are you so MEAN, you must, as a Parent, explain to them that it is summer and the majority of their days are spent playing and if they like to wipe their butts with toilet paper and drink those delicious yogurts they like so much, a trip to Target is necessary and I’m not asking you, I’m telling you, that it is time to get your shoes on and Get.In.The.Car.  

When clearly, what you really want to say is: Shut the hell up.  Get your damn shoes on.  And get in the fucking car.  And buckle the fuck up. 

But you can’t.

Because, as a Parent, you have to use Gentle, Firm Mom voice.  And surely, Gentle, Firm Mom Voice would disapprove of the truck driver living inside your brain.  Sometimes that Truck Driver wants to get out, but you have to keep him down....way way down...but just for fun, let’s explore what Truck Driver would say in daily, somewhat frustrating situations in the life of a Parent.

What I’m saying in Gentle, Firm Mom Voice:
Get out of the car please...come on guys...let’s get a move on.
Truck Driver:
Fucking seriously get out of the fucking car. I could have brokered a fucking peace treaty by the time it has taken you to slowly, tortuously, slide your body out of the damn car.

What I am saying in GFMV:
You know what, guys?  I’m not really in the mood to be jumped on right now.  Let’s find something else to do that doesn’t involve Mama breaking a rib.
Truck Driver:
Get.The.Fuck.Off.Of.Me.  I gave both of you my BOOBS for twelve fucking months.  Would it kill you to give me some PERSONAL FUCKING SPACE ALREADY?

What I am saying in GFMV:
Yes.  That’s what we’re having for dinner.  Eat it or be hungry.  Your choice.
Truck Driver:

What I am saying in GFMV:
I’m sorry that you think you’re not tired, but it’s time for bed and you may not come out of this room again.  Good night.  I love you.
Truck Driver:
We just spent every possible damn second together today and now I need to have a very large glass of wine on the sofa and watch some terrible fucking television.  Good fucking night.  Go the fuck to sleep.  And I fucking love you so fucking much it makes my heart fucking hurt.

Of course, the most important reason to not speak to your Child like a Truck Driver is because you want them to feel secure and loved and after all, every day they’re learning.  They’re watching you, the Parent, to teach them how to be kind and decent.  But sometimes, every once in awhile, I wonder if they’re thinking, Damn, lady.  Can you get me my fucking milk already?  I only asked you like, 7 fucking times.  

And that, for whatever fucked up kind of reason, makes me smile just a little.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Fun

So, I’m not counting or anything, but I have approximately 13 hours of peace and quiet to myself until The Offspring are sprung from their school schedules and thrust into what is quite possibly the greatest time of a child’s life, while at the same time sends shivers down the spine of parents everywhere...yes...it’s Summer.  Now, I have to cautiously declare that after my first year of “real” school with my Kindergartner, I am kinda ready for summer.  I’m ready for a break from homework (Yes.  I need a break from Kindergarten homework.  Judge away.)  I’ll be happy to not pack lunches every morning and then washing those godforsaken little reusable containers every afternoon.  I can maybe relax a little over the next 10 weeks or so not thinking every day...what am I missing?  I must be missing SOMETHING!  I’m looking forward to lazy afternoons at the beach, exploring a few new museums with The Children and hitting the road for a couple vacations.  It’s kind of like I’m this little puppy dog, filled with fresh energy, my tail wagging with anticipation of all the FUN! and ADVENTURE! that awaits the Gelato Family.  Summer?  Bring it on!  

But who in the hell am I kidding?  We all know that in a couple weeks, maybe 10 days, hopefully not before a week passes, I’ll be thinking to myself: THAT WAS SO CUTE HOW I WAS ALL LOOKING FORWARD TO SPENDING EVERY WAKING SECOND WITH YOU and then I will cry when asked to play Monopoly Junior for the 72nd time that day and I’ll entertain visions of going to a JOB where I leave the Children with SOMEONE ELSE.  Every day.  It’s not that I don’t WANT to be with my Children, it’s just that sometimes I want to be somewhere else.  Alone.  

The other day, Son wrote a letter to his friends that he wanted to mail to them.  But instead of making a special trip to the store to buy a very large envelope that the “letter” would fit in and then going to the Post Office, GOD ANYWHERE BUT THE POST OFFICE PLEASE, I suggested we make the 12 block walk along the wood chip trail near our house to hand deliver the very special letter.  First, it took at least 17 minutes for Son and Daughter to get their shoes on.  Then, another few minutes to convince them to please go to the bathroom before we leave.  I know it’s fun to pee in the bushes, Son, but it’s not like we’re camping right now.  Then Daughter, in her eager anticipation to get the walk started, tripped and fell off the steps.  And cried.  A lot.  As she tends to do.  Once we settled down, we started off.  We made it about half a block before Son asked how much longer.  After one block and ten minutes, we made it to the trail and then made it almost 10 feet before Son stated complaining that he was getting wood chips in his shoes.  Oh, really?  And when I calmly explained that that is why I told him he should wear tennis shoes instead of crocs when we walk the trail, he not quite so calmly told me I was the meanest mom ever and he WON’T WALK ON THE TRAIL.  Okay, so off the trail we go and instead meander on a very narrow sidewalk which isn’t nearly as peaceful as the trail considering the cars whizzing by and my stress level heightened as I have visions of Son or Daughter slipping off the curb and getting hit by a car. (This is what Mothers think about.  It’s not so great.)  After that, Son walked into a telephone pole, Daughter fell again, and everyone’s legs were SO TIRED and HOW MANY MORE BLOCKS?  4 more blocks.  How long will it take?  Well, the normal equation is one minute per block, but at the rate we’re going, Son, we should get there sometime before dawn.  At long last, we arrive to the intended mailbox, fight over who gets to open the box, who gets to put the letter in, who gets to close the box.  And as I called Daddy to see where exactly he was and is there any way he can pick us up because I don’t think I can make it the 12 blocks home without going temporarily insane, my only thought was...THIS IS GOING TO BE MY ENTIRE SUMMER.

But, call me crazy, I’m still looking forward to it.  Because at the end of the day, when all is said and done and I’m snuggling with my kids before their goodnight kisses, there really is no one else I’d rather have test my mental stability.  

So...good luck this summer, Mama’s.  It’s always comforting to know that you’re not alone, isn’t it?

But for now...I gotta go.  12 hours left.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Crazy Love

In honor of Mother’s Day, I was thinking I should write something sweet and sappy about being a Mother to Son and Daughter and how they fill me with joy and wonder and my love for them is endless and how I couldn’t imagine my life without them and seriously, what did I ever DO on a Saturday before I had kids?

And all those things are 100% true.

But then last night, Daughter roamed around the house screaming for, um, you know, like two hours about, um, you know, I HAVE NO IDEA and Son was extremely upset about getting knocked out in Sorry even though we’ve played that game together maayybbee 100 times and each time we start with a disclaimer:  Warning-you WILL be knocked out in this game and it is NOT a reason to cry.  And Husband was out “networking” for the third night in a row and I was trying really really really hard to not have a glass of wine until 5 pm and I’m pretty sure I sent Husband a text that said something like “I hope those f*%&ing people are appreciating your f*$#ing time right now” which, in retrospect was probably kind of mean and unnecessary but at the time seemed perfectly reasonable and totally necessary because HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS MISSING OUT ON and I thought maybe he would want to know.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to come home to a Wife that sends you such lovely messages?  And then, of course, there was dinnertime, which is always a joy and sends smiles down my spine when I hear those words “What are we having for dinner?” and I know...I know SOMEONE is going to complain about peas, or chicken or macaroni and cheese. (Yes.  Someone on this planet complains about having to eat macaroni and cheese and that someone is a shortish, youngish male who lives in my house.)  And then, ohmygod, how many more BITES do I have to EAT to get a TREAT?  But...you don’t get a treat tonight because remember when I was just being all Motherly an hour ago and WE MADE COOKIES TOGETHER and we ate all that cookie dough?  And a warm cookie from the oven?  REMEMBER?  But please, continue your emotional breakdown because it FILLS ME WITH JOY.  And then there was that lovely little ditty Daughter was singing in the bathtub at the top of her lungs.  I think it went something like this:  I I I I HATE HATE HATE HATE THE THE THE THE BATH BATH BATH BATH.  Those were the only lyrics and it happened to be a really long song and then I realized that I had no idea where Son was and when I found him, he was hiding in the top bunk playing with legos asking me- Why is She so crazy?  Also, I’m pretty sure he realized that Mommy could only handle so much crazy so he decided to shut up about losing in Sorry and just practice self preservation and very smartly played quietly while I chased Daughter around the house with a hair brush because the PAIN, oh the PAIN of hair brushing is apparently excruciating and oh my God pleasepleasepleaseplease let it be time for bed and how in the hell is it only 6:45 pm right now?

Tomorrow will be better, I told myself as I was finally able to close their bedroom door for the night and make my way to the sofa for terrible television and delicious wine.  Tomorrow will be better.  A mother’s mantra.

And tomorrow came.  And it started, as it so often does, with two pajama clad sleepy heads telling me to scoot over and I want to be next to Mama, no I want to be next to Mama until they are both next to Mama, 4 sets of arms draped over each other for a few precious minutes before the morning hustle begins.  Tomorrow is already better, I thought to myself as I inhaled the sweet morning smells of my Offspring.

So, dear Son and Daughter, on this Mother’s Day, I want to tell you that I love you endlessly, you fill me with joy and wonder, life is unimaginable without you and you keep my Saturdays and my every day full of...adventure.  (Although I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to sleep past 6:30 on Saturdays.)  Being your Mother is an honor for which I am eternally grateful and I am really really really  trying to not screw you up too much.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mama’s.  Enjoy that Crazy Love.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I’m so lucky tiptoe into my Children’s room at night and watch them sleep.  I’m so lucky to feel their breath on my face as I lean in for one more silent kiss.  I’m so lucky to quietly sneak around their room, turning off their bed lamps, leaving them in a quiet whisper of darkness as they tangle themselves in blankets.  I’m so lucky to be awoken each morning by the footsteps of Daughter as she makes her way into our bed to snuggle for a few precious minutes before announcing that, really, Mama...it’s time to wake up.  I’m so lucky to be able to get frustrated with my Children.  To put them in time outs.  To laugh at their jokes.  To listen to their extremely detailed stories.  They are mine.  And I love them more than anything.  The thought of losing them is so extremely painful that one must not think of it.

As I watch the coverage of the Boston bombings, my mind can’t help but wander, wondering if our city, our town, is only a news story away from being the next sensational act of terror.  Why couldn’t it be?  Why shouldn’t it be?  This new reality...this constant threat of lives destroyed by shameless terror attacks...is this the world my Children are inheriting?  As I laid in bed last night, my mind swirled with thoughts; dark thoughts.  I thought of all the places we go as a family where something like this could happen.  I wondered how we would stay together.  How we would survive.  What would we do?  The tears squeezed out from my eyes and I rolled over to ask Husband...what is going to happen?  How does this keep happening?  There is no innocence.  How can my Children live in this world when there is no innocence left?  He held me tight and let me cry.  I’m so lucky.

It seems almost cruel that in such times of tragedy and terror, we are reminded so much of the beauty and inherent goodness of humankind.  Strangers helping strangers.  People concerned more about the welfare of their neighbor than themselves.  How a nation that is too often divided and hateful to each other can still unite and put aside all of those differences to help lift one another up.  Don’t we learn from this?  When will we learn that we can always act in kindness and love?  To be patient and tolerant of those around us?  Can it last longer than a few weeks?  A couple of months?  How long before we argue about guns?  How long before we berate someone for being different from us?  For having different beliefs, different love?  How long?

As I woke up with my Children this morning and hustled them along in their morning routines, Son was enthusiastically explaining to me how some people live in space.  Can you believe that, Mama?  Some people live in SPACE!  Oh yes, they do, Son.  Isn’t that amazing?  And Daughter piped in explaining that of course there must be a mailman in space, too.  How else would those people in space get their mail?  I smiled and laughed and almost suggested that maybe their families on Earth would keep their mail for them until they return from space.  But then I thought better of it.  

Let them keep that innocence.  Just for now.  

Space Mailman.  Totally exists.  

God Bless you, Boston.   

Monday, April 15, 2013

Little Lessons

As a parent, I can feel intimidated with the responsibility of teaching The Offspring the basic lessons of life.   Lessons such as the golden rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated. I often wonder if I will be able to teach compassion and generosity. Will they be able to lose gracefully but also win graciously? I worry that growing up in an affluent community will make it difficult for them to realize that less is more and more is just...more.  But, most importantly, how can I ensure that Son and Daughter grow up to be Kind Human Beings?  I mean...isn’t that what we all really want?  Children who mature into healthy, adjusted Adults who aren’t douchebags? 

But these thoughts are quickly interrupted when I realize that, once again, Daughter has run outside to play with no pants on.

And I remind her, once again, that pants are...necessary.  

And...once again, I am reminded that as a parent, I am not only responsible for teaching Major Life Lessons, I also have to teach The Offspring that People Wear Pants Outside.  And: We Don’t Lick Our Sister.  Also: Please Stop Eating Your Shirt. And let’s not forget: Please Attempt to Appear to Live in a Home That Has a Bathtub and You Actually Use It.  Oh, you think that the desire to wear underwear comes...naturally?  No.  No it does not.  Neither does brushing your teeth.  Or not walking around with a rat’s nest on your head.  Mention the words ‘brush your hair’ to Daughter and she will react as if you just announced it was now time to pour hot lava on her head.  Hey...peeing feels good.  Try to do it more than once a day.  

These lessons...these daily reminders to behave and dress in a somewhat appropriate manner while respecting the laws of basic hygiene, are not the lessons I dreamed I’d be teaching my Beautiful Geniuses while they were growing safely inside my body.  I was dreaming of the big picture; the end result.  How they would be so funny and happy and successful and love to try new things and go on adventures and eat sushi. I didn’t realize that most days, the opportunity to teach Major Life Lessons would be in the tiny, minute to minute victories that sometimes pass by without you even realizing.  Keeping my cool instead of losing my mind.  Accepting 107th daily Go Fish invitation instead of doing the dishes.  Taking the time to give a neighbor or stranger a hand.  Because it’s only when you recognize yourself in your kids do you realize one of two things: Wow...do I really sound like that?  Or: Wow...I created that Little Human and he is awesome.

And let’s face it; being awesome trumps being a douche any day.  (And seriously-stop eating your shirt. It’s gross.)  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Losing My Marbles...

When I was a kid and long summer days loomed ahead of my siblings and me, we would stumble downstairs in the morning, the house emptied of parental figures who were off to work, and find a daily note from my mother with a cheery Good Morning followed by our list of To-Do’s for the day that needed to be completed before she got home.  Clean the bathroom, mow the lawn, vacuum the floors, dust the furniture, ect ect.  This was normal.  Expected. It wasn’t just a summer day of life, it was an every day of life.  Each night after dinner, we did the dishes.  We shoveled the walk of freshly fallen snow at 6 am on more than one occasion.  I spent many a spring and summer day with my tape player attached to my shorts listening to Kris Kross while making neat lines in the lawn with the mower. We raked leaves and took down storm windows.  For God’s sakes, we even painted our own damn house one summer.  There was no monetary reward for this.  There wasn’t an empty jar waiting to be filled with marbles for some sort of fantastical reward. We were a unit; a team.  You know what my reward was for cleaning the bathroom?  A clean bathroom.  (And in my 32 years on this planet, I have been forced to use some pretty awful bathrooms so turns out, this is a very good reward.)  

This whole Chore Chart/Marble Jar/Sticker System/ Reward  ThingaMaJiggy stresses me out. We did the Sticker System and lost the stickers.  We tried the Chore Chart and I would inevitably forget to mark down chores completed.  Then came the Marble Jar and The Offspring spent more time fighting over who got to open and close the jar and how many they each got to put in and why is Mama taking all of our marbles and shoving them into her ears?  I’ve had to admit to myself lately that maybe this whole Reward System isn’t for me.  Maybe it’s because I’m too lazy to keep up the consistency required.  Maybe it’s because I have a deeply innate issue with bribing my kids to do things that I would, yes, I’m sure complain about doing once in a while as a kid, but knew that it didn’t matter what I thought about it...I was expected to make my damn bed every morning.  It’s one of those phenomenon's that you can only experience about your parents after becoming a parent yourself: HOW DID YOU DO THAT?  How did you get us to just...DO stuff without the promise of you know...something?  

It’s just another example of this Parenting Journey that I can’t help but question my daily habits.  Do I coddle my kids too much?  Do I sometimes resist the urge to force them to put their pajamas away because oh my God it’s just easier if I go and do it myself?  Each afternoon when I pick Son up from school he tries to hand me his backpack.  Each afternoon I explain to him that it’s his and he can carry it.  Every other afternoon he finds this to be an unacceptable answer and does his best to embarrass both me and himself with his trademark Irrational Breakdown.  And I can’t help but question, as he is dragging himself behind me trying to hand me his backpack, what the fuck, dude?  It’s a backpack. You have to carry it for two blocks. THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL.  There will be plenty of big deals in life.  Trust me.  Buck up.

So...I’m going Old School I think.  I mean, of course I’m not going to give up bribing completely...I’m not insane.  But last night, as Son was sitting naked on the living room floor, trying to explain to me that he wasn’t ready for his bath yet...I looked at him and instead of saying ‘5 marbles if you get in now!!’...I said...Dude.  What part of you thinks you have a choice right now?  Get. In. The. Tub.  And He did.

Minor victories keep us parental types motivated.  We don’t even get a sticker for doing something well.  But...I will take a glass of wine.  If anyone’s offering.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homework Blues


The very word sends shivers down my spine. I had heard, oh I had HEARD the tales of torture from friends with Older Children about the endless supply of worksheets, projects and book reports that seemed suspiciously non age-appropriate, but in order to protect my fragile mental state, I chose to block out the very idea of my evenings being spent with a Homework Packet until My Time Came.

My Time...it has a come.  And, yes, the rumors were correct: it’s unpleasant.  And let’s face it, people; I’m only dealing with a six-year old’s KINDERGARTEN homework.  Now, I put that in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for a few reasons: 

One: The very fact that yes, a child in kindergarten has Homework.
Two: The very fact that yes, kindergarten Homework makes me unhappy.  What happens when I...uh...I mean...the Offspring have algebra Homework?  Three words: Go Ask Daddy. (Or, more likely: Get A Tutor.)
Three: The very fact that Son coming home with Homework is yet another reason in a long line of reasons that have recently inspired me to utter the dreaded tell-tale sign of age: “When I was a kid...”  

Before I proceed, it must be known that I love Son’s teacher.  She is funny.  She is The Boss.  She is able to keep 25 six year olds quiet and in control.  I worship her.  I wish she would hang out with me and tell me all her secrets.  She is exactly the teacher that Son needed and also the one I needed.  And cursing homework is not a reflection of her, her teaching, or my love for her.

It is a reflection of my purely selfish desire to not have to deal with or accept the fact that I have to do homework again.

It is a reflection of my concern and confusion about how these kids will survive and enjoy at least 12 years of schooling when the pressure is already on in kindergarten.  

It is a reflection of my never ending anxiety about the competitive environment in which my Children are being raised.

Yes, I think it’s amazing that Son is starting to read at age six.

But, does he know how to be bored?

Yes, I love that Son has access to learning on iPads and computers at his school.

But, will he soon forget that climbing a tree on a beautiful sunny day is 1000 times better than playing Angry Birds?

I love that my Children have the opportunity to play organized soccer, baseball, football, basketball, every season of the year.

But, will they be able to enjoy a quiet afternoon of shooting hoops by themselves?  Will a simple game of catch in the alley with Mom suffice?

We spend so much time and effort trying to stimulate our kids; trying to give them a leg up; trying to make sure they are set up for success that I fear they won’t know how to fail with grace and composure. 

Because only with age do you realize that the greatest lessons are learned from our natural inclinations to fail at something.  Many things.

I must depart as it’s time for me to go pick up the Offspring from school.  But before we go home today to work on our 10 pages of worksheets....we’re going to go learn how to ride a bike...perhaps the greatest example of failing...and then trying again...and failing...then trying again...and winning.