Category: Uncategorized

Mom

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I found this photo of my mom that I took on the day we moved from our old house on Brookhaven Drive to our new house (well, new to us but 100 years old) on East 8th street. I was in the 7th grade. All I cared about was meticulously transferring my Paula Abdul posters in a Trapper Keeper to my new closet door in my new room, and confirming multiple times that the Nintendo would work in our new house. I did not care that my parents had done all the tireless work required to find a family of four a new house to live in. I didn’t care, because I just didn’t know. They made it seem so easy. Look at my mom right here, so deep into the moving process that she’s up to the part where you pack the food. She probably even reminded my dad to drink that last sip of orange juice in the fridge because she knew he would be annoyed if she poured it out. She definitely rolled her eyes while doing so. She had probably just days before done something like allowed 9 prepubescent girls to sleep over and scream at the top of their (our) lungs until 5 am, then after 1 hour of sleep made everyone breakfast. Or finished sewing my sister and I some kind of amazing couture outfits out of any fabric we wanted from the sewing department of Wal-Mart (it was spelled with a dash back then, I wonder why they changed it). She never said a curse word, and barely ever raised her voice. She’s so full of love. She will probably make a snarky remark or point out one of my grammatical mistakes in response to this, because she never wants to admit to her amazingness. But all I know is that any of the patience I have with my own kids today comes from her. So a million times, thank you mom.

Momspreading

 

momspreading

mom·spread·ing
ˈmomˌsprediNG/
noun, informal
The practice whereby a mom, especially one traveling on public transportation, adopts a sitting position in which her children take up multiple seats while looking out the window, asking for snacks, demanding you play “I spy” while you are looking for said snacks, fight over who gets to swing around the subway pole similar to children who ride in cars calling “shotgun,” ask you what character you would be if you were in the film Moana and getting frustrated at you for not answering right away because you were chasing your stroller that has practically rolled out the door as you forgot to apply the break while trying to stop your youngest child from smearing chewed up granola bar residue on a lady’s nice jacket, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats. The offending mom might even feel a small shred of remorse for momspreading everywhere if she ever had a chance to stop for 2 seconds and realize what exactly is going on once in a while.

 

 

M. Night Shyamalan Ate My Daughter

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My 5 year-old has been working on a play for about the past 3 months called “Walking In Fear.” She’s always adding bits and pieces to the story, sometimes as we’re on the train ride back from school, then when we get home she sketches the newly added chapter on a loose sheet of typing paper. Yesterday she asked me to make a list of the characters so she can keep track of all of them.

“Mommy, write down all these names for Walking In Fear. Sara the Mouse, The Flower Girl, King, Queen, Zombie, Alien, Ghost, Candy Girl, O’nay, Kana, Little Girl Named Lisa, Big Donut, and The Baby. WAIT!! No. No no no, I totally forgot, The King, Queen, Zombie, Big Donut and Little Girl Named Lisa are actually from a different story called The Runaway Queen. That one is a movie and also a book, but Walking In Fear is a play. It’s a musical. The Runaway Queen is not a musical.”

“Ok, I’ll write all those down. This is the first I’ve heard of The Runaway Queen, what happens in that story?”

“So, the Queen and the Little Girl Named Lisa got captured by the Zombie. Then they both woke up and realized it was actually a dream. But after that, a few days later it came true and they really DID get captured by the zombie. Also what you don’t know until the end is that the big donut is really the zombie. Everyone realizes that the zombie had been under a spell the whole time that made him want to be a donut, and he had on a donut costume.”

“Cool! So do you want me to make this a separate list from the characters in Walking In Fear?”

“Mom. It’s the SAME STORY. That’s what nobody realizes until the end too, Walking In Fear and The Runaway Queen turn into the same thing and it’s all a play, a movie, AND a book. Oh, and I play Candy Girl. Because she likes candy a lot.”

Doorman

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We were leaving a play date at a friend’s house, and when we were walking home my daughter mentioned that “the guy told her a funny joke when we were leaving.” I asked, “What guy?” and she said, “The guy who opens the door for us at Orly’s apartment, you know, the owner of the building.” Then I realized that she thinks doormen actually own the buildings where they work. There’s something so charmingly blind to society’s constructs about that. I’m usually very honest with my kids, but I’m not ready to tell her the truth about this one.

Anything But Screaming

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I took my kids to the doctor the other day because they had been coughing and not feeling great for a couple of days, but by the time we got there they weren’t acting sick at all. They were dancing around the waiting room singing, “Shake your booty!!” then started playing “Library” with some medication brochures displayed on the front table, pretending they were books. At one point they were both climbing all over me and squeezing my nose, my son yelling, “ME BLOCKING YOUR SMELLING!” He was consumed in a fit of laughter. A girl sitting quietly across from us asked, “Are they always like that?” I laughed and said, “Yeah! They have fun together.” But when I saw her face I realized she wasn’t asking in a nice way. I could tell she didn’t have children, because she had clearly not heard of my revolutionary new parenting technique called “ABS” or “Anything But Screaming.”

My husband and I have developed this life-changing technique over the course of the past 2 years, and when we sat down to write our sure to be bestselling book on the topic, we realized that all the information you need is way too short for a book and decided to pass it on to you absolutely free of charge. Basically all you do is let your child do anything they want, as long as nobody is screaming (and also as long as they’re not hurting themselves I guess, but that would probably involve screaming at some point so instead of ABSOHTOO or “Anything But Screaming Or Hurting Themselves Or Others” let’s just call it “Anything But Screaming” as people with small children have limited space left in their temporal lobes to remember long acronyms).

This technique was inspired by our second child, who is loud. So, so loud. Don’t get me wrong, he is the sweetest little boy who has ever walked the face of the earth, but there is just no getting around his loudness. Our downstairs neighbor once texted me at 2 in the afternoon asking if we were practicing the sleep training technique “cry it out.” At 2 pm. It was very difficult to explain that our toddler was upset because he had asked for a bite of peanut butter on a spoon, and I had given him too big of a bite. So I scraped some back into the jar, handed him the spoon, but this time it was too small of a bite. This proved to be too much for him, as he wailed, “I wanted a MEDIUM bite!!” There was no getting him back after that. He was in full non-medium peanut butter bite meltdown mode, and nothing could stop him. To further put this in perspective, you know how scientists say one of the only sounds that can break the sound barrier is a jet engine? Well let’s just say that those scientists have never met my son. I’m pretty sure that jet engine could peacefully lull me to sleep after the experience I had with my son as a baby.

So how do you implement this genius plan? Let me give you a few examples:

Did your child just grab a jar of Nutella from the grocery store shelf, somehow ripped it open and is now happily eating it with his bare hands? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “I was going to buy Nutella anyway. Good idea, buddy. Anything but screaming.”

Is your child currently writing all over his entire body (mostly his face) with a permanent marker just as you’re leaving for school? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Look at how creative he looks. Anything but screaming.”

Are your kids laughing in the tub while playing tug-of-war with a wash cloth in their mouths, ingesting dirty bath water in the process? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “That totally helps their immune systems. Anything but screaming.”

Are you on the train with your child in the stroller who has just finished eating a granola bar and is now eating the wrapper as well? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Those organic companies totally use biodegradable wrappers. That’s like, their whole thing. Anything but screaming.”

And referring to the photo above, are you at a coffee shop with your children, one who has not had their nap today, and the only thing keeping that adorable smile on his face is the fact that you’re allowing him to take his sweater off and rub hot chocolate all over his bare chest? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “I’m making all the other parents in here with fully dressed children feel like REALLY good parents. Maybe they were questioning their parenting abilities, and this gave them the dose of confidence they needed. It’s my good deed for the day. And look at how happy my kids are. Anything but screaming.”

Good luck out there.

Questions I Have Because I’m Old

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Questions I Have Because I’m Old:
1. Why do people who have snapchat put virtual flower crowns on their head when it probably wouldn’t even be that hard to find a real flower crown?
2. Is “Catch Me Outside” a song?
3. When people use the word “goals” now, why is it always about what they wish their hair looked like or how they want to be friends with Taylor Swift? #Hairgoals? #Squadgoals? When I was a youngster, goals were like “I want to make the basketball team” or “I want to become a doctor.”

Today I am Hopeful

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I have high hopes for our next generation of girls and boys. I want the term “ladylike” to go away completely. I want women to curse whenever they feel like it. I’m glad “mansplaining” is a word now. I want women to talk more about being on their periods (because let’s face it, if men had periods there would be some sort of constitutional amendment that they were allowed to sit at home and eat ice cream for a week out of every month, no questions asked and with full pay). I want men to be 100% comfortable with this. I never want another teenage girl to think she has to put on makeup before she leaves the house. In the future, I want my daughter to tell anyone left who catcalls her to “fuck off” with a swagger so confidant that the guy feels stupid and never does it again. I want catcalling to be as outdated as rotary phones. I want the idea that “pink is a girl color” to be as outdated as VHS tapes. I want miscarriages to be normalized in our society. Because they are very, very normal. I want breastfeeding babies in public to be a nonissue. I want breastfeeding toddlers in public to be a nonissue. I want breastfeeding 5 year-olds in public to be a nonissue. I want safe, legal abortion for anyone who needs it to be the biggest nonissue of all. I want everyone to think that worrying about other people’s genitalia is the creepiest thing EVER, and when someone says they’re transgender you accept it as casually as you would if they said their favorite movie is Star Wars. I had to say “Star Wars” because in 100 years when this finally happens, they will still be making new ones. I never want another human being to feel intimidated by someone they’ve never met. But most of all, I want none of us to have a reason to feel this defensive ever again.

Mom of the Year

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Nothing makes you feel like mom of the year quite like when you’re checking out at the grocery store and misjudge the ratio of bag weight vs. child in the stroller weight, and as you hang the last bag on the handle it tips over backward and suddenly your child is on the floor pleading in a scared voice, “Mommy what happened, mommy my head!” You look down and he’s buried in plastic bags, spilled apples and a can of chicken soup. The cashier looks horrified. Then you laugh and say to her, “Oh he’s fine, that happens all the time!” Not until the walk home does it occur to you, “You know, in retrospect maybe I shouldn’t have said that happens all the time. I mean it DOES happen all the time, but maybe telling a random stranger about it didn’t exactly make me look like I should be in charge of a tiny, helpless human being. Huh.

Obligatory “Participation Trophy” Parent Opinion Post (Kill Me)

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Confession: I had a pretty trophy-heavy childhood. From swimming to beauty pageants to t-ball (ok, I played for one season and stood in the outfield the entire time with my glove resting on top of my head for “shade,”), everything was a competition. By the time 17 years of living under my parents roof was up, my bedroom shelves were adorned with many “participation trophies,” a noticeably bigger “most improved” plaque, the occasional second or third place award, and even two huge first place monstrosities won for being the very “best” at whatever it was I happened to be competing in at the time. I was so proud of those. And on the flip side, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the small participation trophies, other than to contemplate how they balanced out the shelf as a whole. Should my stuffed Garfield collection go above or below the trophy shelf, or should I splice the smaller Garfields in between some of the trophies for a comedic effect? I spent hours contemplating this.

So back to the sadly misunderstood “participation trophies.” They were like 6 inches tall at best. They did not as I recall, say “winner,” like the ones you got when you really DID win, those 7 foot tall monstrosities you had to put on the floor because they barely fit in your room, much less an actual shelf. It was painfully obvious that participation trophies were just, ahem, slightly different, and no kid has ever felt special for getting one. But what we did feel was a tiny bit of gratitude that someone had noticed our efforts. A grown up had noticed that we showed up to practice day after day and worked as hard as we could, even in early summer when the mornings were cold and everyone on the swim team jumped in wearing their t-shirts and Umbros, desperate to stay warm*. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we went on as adults to write thank you notes for gifts we didn’t exactly love, because getting participation trophies as a kid made us feel what it’s like to have our efforts noticed, even though they clearly weren’t up to “7 foot trophy that won’t fit in your parents car” standards. And isn’t gratitude one of the most important lessons we all try to instill in our children? Nobody was excited about participation trophies, but we were appreciative of them. There is a huge difference.

Oh man. I can’t believe I’ve reached the pivotal moment of parenthood where I’ve actually formed an opinion about “participation trophies.” I promise my next blog post will be about 90’s hip hop videos or leggings with unicorns on them or something fun.

* That was on the first day of practice, and at that moment I decided not to join the swim team that summer. What can I say, it was freaking cold. I remember my dad explaining to me with disappointment, “You can’t just sit on the couch eating Pop Tarts and watching TV all summer.” He had been a professional athlete, and the fact that he didn’t lecture me every single day about my lack of motivation makes him the greatest dad in the history of dads.

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A Make It Work Moment

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My son was wide awake until 3 am for absolutely no reason. Just hanging out like it was daytime or something, saying “Mommy, what are you doing?” Like I was the weird one for being in bed. My husband was out until 1 am setting up an art show for his gallery’s print release today, so he only got to party for the last 2 hours before everyone passed out, most of us on the floor next to the bed because we were at the mercy of a child who really wanted to have a slumber party on the lammie rug all of the sudden. Whatever it takes. Then our little party animal woke up at 6 am like usual, and started building a house with Lincoln logs. Bleary eyed and exhausted, I sat down on the floor with him. After a few minutes of building, he looked at me and said he wanted to go to a Halloween party. He was extremely disappointed when I told him it wasn’t Halloween. He also wasn’t the least bit tired. Side note: since my daughter was 2 months old she has slept 12 or more consecutive hours each night, and has never once come to get in bed with my husband and me. I always wish I could average out both of their required sleep hours and get a nice even 8 hours or something. Like grading on a curve, but for sleep.

Do you watch Project Runway? Was that a terrible transition? Did I mention I’m really tired today? Well, I know a lot about terrible transitions. For example, I know that if my son were on Project Runway for Toddlers, he would get kicked off on the “Day to Night” challenge. Because he does not transition well from day to night. We always laugh when they mention the “day-to-night” challenge, because the only time Nina Garcia cracks a smile is when someone achieves the ultimate Project Runway goal of “an outfit that will transition from the office to an art opening that night.” As if all of America is going to art openings NONSTOP.
This morning as my husband slowly realized that between work today, his opening tonight, and the all-night toddler kegger we were just getting home from, he will have to be up for more than 24 hours, he came into the kitchen after getting dressed and said to me in that special sleep-deprived way, “How is my outfit? I need something that…wait a minute…I have to…transition…from day to night! This is really happening! I have to go from the office to an art opening!” Then we both died laughing.