Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Weeks and Counting...

Three weeks.

This is how long my children have off from school for their holiday break.  If your kids don't go to public school here in Los Angeles, I'll bet your jaw just dropped to the ground.

As a child, I don't remember being home for anything for three weeks - unless it was to recover from the chicken pox...or mono.  What the h-ll am I supposed to do with my kids for three weeks?  It's just not fair.  To the children, I mean...

As the holiday season rolls around every year, all the moms and dads at our school look at each other with masked smiles as they help out with classroom holiday parties and paint scenery for the school concert.  "Oh yes...we're very excited about the holidays."

"We're going to my sister's in San Diego for Christmas." one friend tells me, trying to sound optimistic - the furrow in her brow betrays her.  That should keep her kids busy for, like, two days.

Lots of facilitites around town offer what they call "Winter Camp" - an activity filled alternative to the hours of television and Nintendo DS that would no doubt otherwise occupy their time.  But my kids don't want any piece of that.  "We're on vacation" they remind me.

Sure I'm a "Stay at Home" mom, but that doesn't mean I want my children to "stay at home" with me.  I have a life!  And I can't live it with three children hanging around the house fighting with each other and bugging me every five minutes to say "We're bored. Let's do something fun."

I throw out a few ideas.  "I have an idea...let's go to the gym!  They have a babysitting room and I'm sure they'll let you watch movies or something."  The horrified look on their faces suggests this idea is not going to fly.  "NOOOOOO!!!!!" they shout in their first unified statement of the vacation.

"How about we make popcorn?"


"Let's ride bikes."


I try to get clever.  "Why don't you clean your rooms?"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOwaaahh!"  The "waaahh" tacked on to emphasize that this line of thinking is unacceptable.

I'm at a loss.

In the past week they've been to Arrowhead, had playdates, sleepovers, made beaded necklaces, played cards and even went on an impromptu trip to Disneyland (a desperate move on my part to show how "exciting" I can be).  And I still have two more weeks yawning out before me.  I'm running out of ideas...and patience.

So with no new toys left to open, friends out of town, and a bad case of cabin fever already setting in, the song "Let it Snow" keeps playing through my mind and I've made up my own lyrics:

"Oh the fighting inside is frightful...
 and my daughter's feeling spiteful,
 friends are gone and the schools are closed....
 Make them go,
 Make them go,
 Make them gooooo!"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Card Etiquette

Does sending out and receiving Holiday cards ever carry a certain amount of angst for you?  (Do you send a card to this person who f*cked you over?  Do you send one to that person who perhaps feels you f*cked them over?)

Listen to my NPR Podcast with Rob Sachs of "What Would Rob Do?"  Where we explore the question, "Can you say "Happy Holidays" after you've already said "F*ck You"?  This was a  really funny show (...and even funnier for the people who know the parties involved.) 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Ingredients for the Perfect Vacation

(Note:  We're home now!  Obviously, this was written last night while I was still away.)

I'm wearing my flannel nightgown and I smell like bacon.

Oh, and it snowed last night.  We live in Southern California...snow is a pretty big deal.

The boyfriend, kids and I have been up in Lake Arrowhead with friends at their cabin for the past few days.  No internet, no Tivo, and no holiday crowds.  We've been cooking delicious eggs and bacon breakfasts on the oldest stove I've ever seen, we've laid at least fifteen different sledding tracks in the powder outside (one unintentionally ending in a rocky culvert...don't worry, Ben will be fine...) and when we're all too exhausted to drag that sled up the hill even one more time, we go inside for hot chocolate and marshmallows. The kids play Monopoly for hours while the grown-ups drink eggnog with brandy by the fire and cheat at Scrabble. (Alright...I cheat at Scrabble).

It's heaven.

Flannel, snow, friends and bacon. The ingredients for the perfect vacation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Holiday Concert

I yelled at my daughter today.

I know, I know...what else is new.

Every morning, she sleeps in till the absolutely latest possible moment then she moves like molasses - oozing down the ladder of her bunk bed, across the floor to her closet, and through the hall to the bathroom where she stays forever despite the fact that she's only 6. (My God, what could a 6 year old be doing in there for 20 minutes!)

Well today is "Winter Concert"at school and I wanted all of the kids to be dressed and ready with plenty of time to spare so they could focus on the excitement of the concert and their "lines" rather than the proximity of shoes and the need for pants.  I'm a performer.  I know the value of being in a great mood before going on stage.  It really makes a difference.'s only an elementary school concert...but my only personal memory of a holiday concert is from kindergarten when I barfed under the school's Christmas Tree right before the show and was scooped up and taken home before the curtains even opened.  I would like my kids' experience to be a bit more positive than that.

So this morning as Livi was 'oozing,' I started 'seething' and I ripped her "a new one."  "LIVI!  COME ON!  IF YOU CAN'T HURRY UP, YOU WON'T BE IN THE CONCERT!  YOU'RE RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE!  IT'S NOT FAIR!  COME ON, HURRY UP!!"  I saw the light disappear from her face.  She got on her shoes and made it out the door.  I felt like crap.

On the way to school she sat quietly between her brother and sister and didn't make a peep.  I think I saw her talking to herself - a sure sign of the dementia I was obviously causing.  I could see on her face I had taken away whatever enthusiasm she might have had for the day.  I was the worst mommy for sure.

We were late for school so I had to use the drop off lane rather than park and walk them inside.
"I love you!"  I said to her as she picked her backpack off the front seat.

"I love you too." She parroted.

"I'm not mad anymore, honey.  I just want us to work well as a family.  I need you to move faster in the morning.  Okay?"

She nodded silently.

As my kids emptied the car, Livi kissed me with equally empty eyes.  All happiness vacated.

I rolled down the front window because I wanted to say more, but the woman at the gate was shooing me to keep moving and I had make room for the next car in line.

I watched her walk inside, dejected.

My stomach ached.  She was so sad.  I was so sad.  I just wanted her to get ready for school at least as efficiently as her brother and sister (which isn't even that efficiently). We had done everything we could to avoid this fight.  Her outfit was planned ahead of time.  I even toasted chocolate chip waffles as motivation to get out of bed.  What more could a mom do?!

But the more I thought about her and how I had ruined Holiday Concert day for her, the worse I felt.

I circled the block and parked.

I went into the school walked straight to her class.  They were on the carpet discussing long vowels.

"Mr. Skye?  Can I borrow Livi for a minute?"  He nodded and she turned, smiled SO HUGE and came over to the door.

I got down on my knees to look her in the eye and I said "I'm sorry I yelled, Livi. I shouldn't have.  I was wrong."

She forgave me and we hugged - tight.

We agreed to work on a plan for getting up earlier and as I smoothed the hair away from her eyes and and rounded cheeks I saw them flood again with light.  

Yeah, I think they'll have a great concert today and I think they'll  have a lot of fun.

Unless someone barfs under the Christmas Tree.  But that one's out of my hands.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I was on NPR again today!

I was on "Tell Me More with Michel Martin" again today where we had a "roundtable" discussion about "The Princess and the Frog."   It was really interesting.  I wish we could have gone on longer.

In short, I liked the movie.   It wasn't Disney's best, but it was good.  One or two songs worth singing in the car and Anika Noni Rose's voice is crazy fabulous! 

Click Here to hear the podcast. 

MILF Monday: Caught with my pants down

My man caught me with my pants down tonight.

And, I wasn't even trying to lure him with sex.

It had been a busy day and I had spent it with the kids and cooking for a family Hanukkah meal.  I made a roast pork loin stuffed with winter fruit dressing, Orange-honey carrots, salad, home-made potato latkes, chocolate chip cookes, and a roasted chicken on the side.

By the time I was done cooking I had been on my feet for 3-4 hours and I really needed to pee.  But the food was done, my daughter had to go to  some activity, we had to celebrate Channukah before she left and so I decided to sideline the peeing in order to just get dinner on the table.  I'd go when we were all done.

 So I called everyone to dinner.

As I sat down, I secretly unbuttoned the top button of my Rock and Republic jeans under my blousey shirt so that the waistband, which I refused to accept was already a bit snug, wouldn't press in on my bladder while I was eating.

Then I forgot about it.

As I stood up from dinner to clear the plates, my boyfriend saw my pants unbuckled and broke down into a major fit of laughter.  "Really??" was all he said.

I was mortified!

I quickly buttoned the top of my jeans and attempted to convince both him (and myself) that I wasn't actually the kind of woman who unbuttoned her pants at the dinner...usually.

"You don't understand. I had to pee.  I was holding it in."

"Honey, most people don't have to unbutton their pants to make room for that."


From now on, I'll pee before dinner.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Present Doctor

My children are obsessed with presents.  What kids aren't...but mine appear to have a serious fixation.

Every time they walk by the pile of presents next to the fireplace they stop and crouch down to measure the size of the pile, then they organize it so that the "most promising gift" is on top and immediately accessible for opening.  But then, the next time they go to the bathroom, go to their rooms, or come through the kitchen for a snack they pass the pile again and reorganize the whole thing from scratch, invariably concluding that a different present is the most worthy and deserves to be put on top. 

My oldest seems to be more obsessed with the contents of each gift than the organizing of the gifts and has dubbed herself "The Present Doctor."  She examines each and every one of her gifts thoroughly and "diagnoses" the contents.  

Like a fine physician, she gives each gift a thorough physical.  She touches, gropes, smooths, pokes and shakes each gift before holding it aloft against the lighting to see if the contents reveal themselves in the x-ray view.  It's impressive, really. 

She proudly shares her conclusions with everyone in the room.  "This feels like a book." Then "This one is soft and lumpy.  It's clothes."  And the more impressive "This box is American Girl Doll stuff.  I can tell by the box, it's an outfit."

After she has analyzed each of her own presents, she sets to the task of figuring out each of her sibling gifts.  They do not like this.

"STOP it!  I don't want you to know what I got!"

"Don't touch my presents."

"You're going to break it!"

But she can't help herself.  Like Dr. House she loves a good puzzle.  Each gift presenting her with intriguing and seemingly unconnected clues as to the contents therein.

So she lifts an interestingly shaped, long, rectangular box - her brother's "chosen" gift on top of the pile - and while poking and prodding it, she accidentally rips a big ol' hole right down the middle of the package revealing the contents.

"Look what you did!  I TOLD you to stop!" he screamed.

"I can fix it, I can fix it." she said.

We take the disfigured present to my room (for gift surgery) and tried to patch it up.  We use a lot of tape along the rip and the sides trying to fix the hole and make it look like new.   But despite our best efforts, the gift is scarred.

I think she might have a malpractice suit on her hands.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"MILF Monday" - Skinny Genes

I have skinny jeans and I'm not happy.

I've never had skinny jeans before.  Of course I've put on weight since my college days - probably around 20 pounds (I was 5'8" and 125 when I graduated.  Hate me?  That's okay.  I hate me too now).  But I never noticed a dramatic change.  It just sort of snuck up on me - this morning. 

Sure over the past 10 years I've given birth twice - once to twins - and I noticed that I am rounder, softer...a bit more "zaftig".  And it's not like 143 pounds is even so bad.  I actually feel pretty good about myself naked.  My butt is still kind of yummy, when I suck in from the side I can achieve a lovely silhouette, and my boobs have magically maintained a firmness and defiance of gravity despite the shifting landscape upon which they are perched.  It's just that there's more "stuffing"as my daughter referred to it recently, and I never really noticed.

I had always been thin.  Naturally thin.  I spent my life eating exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, and it burned right off.  When my 10 year old was a toddler, I could eat the macaroni and cheese off her plate and still look fabulous.  It wasn't till I hit 40 that I noticed the hint of Spaghettios on my butt.  But I chalked it up to just not having a lot of time to exercise.  I could get rid of it whenever I wanted to.  Or so I thought.

"I'm so lucky, I have a fast metabolism." I would say to friends who dared to eyeball the cup of chocolate pudding occasionally found in my hands.

And I believed this twist of fiction.

My jeans always went out of style, or I had long since lost track of them, before I ever outgrew them.   And if I did have a pair of jeans long enough to notice they were getting 'snug', I always had a great reason why they were no longer hugging my hips, but rather strangling the bajeezuses out of them; they were in the drier too long, I'm bloated,'s Thursday.

Maybe if designers had kept the waistline of jeans up around my midsection, I would have had some sort of "control" group - some reality smacking way to gage the growth.  A "constant" against which I could judge the ever increasing, pudding and childbirth induced wave of flesh.  Maybe then this wouldn't have happened.  But no.  My fat responded positively to this fabulous new trend and like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed flat from the bottom, the "paste" came up and out the open flip top cap.  Hey, if they closed, they fit.

But this morning, I went to put on my favorite jeans which had disappeared for about a year and had  resurfaced after a good closet cleaning.  They didn't close.  And, it wasn't pretty.

I couldn't use any of my old excuses and I had to face the music.  And put down the pudding.

So now I have "skinny jeans."  And maybe - just maybe - one day they'll fit again.  If I diet and exercise and don't pick at my kids' chicken nuggets.

Or maybe, even better, I'll just wait for them to go out of style.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Home Movies

My teenage niece caught my sister smoking.

My sister doesn't smoke.  Never did.  At least not as far as my niece knows.

It wasn't like she caught her out behind their garage, or found a pack of cigarettes in her bag.  No, the 14 year old caught her mother "red-handed" with the smoking gun...uh, her hand.

She saw her do it on a home movie.

A couple of times a year - on the big holidays - we take out old videos and pop them in for the kids.  Despite my family's best efforts to avoid me and my camera, I've managed to take a lot of video of them over the years for which they are now all very grateful.

This particular video was of my sister's wedding about 16 years ago.  I schlepped my video camera - 20 lbs of the latest in compact home video technology - all the way to the Berkshires.

I carried the monster around on my shoulder for the whole weekend and followed her, my brother-in-law-to-be, and their friends around asking them stupid things like "Do you have anything to say?", "Are you excited?" and "Would you like to say a few words to the bride and groom?" 

At every turn I was thwarted with hands over faces and chastised for being an annoying little sister: "Stop it, Sarah!"  "You're bugging everyone!"  "No one wants you to videotape them!" she'd say from between the fingers covering her face.  But I persisted.  I thought "Some day, she'll want to see this.  Someday, she'll be glad I taped her wedding weekend.  Someday...she'll be grateful."

So I videotaped her and all her friends, at breakfast, at dinner, hanging out, and I got a lot of footage.  Footage we never watched...until now.

As we assembled in my TV room for family videos I said proudly"Guess what?  I just put your wedding video on DVD!  Wanna watch?"

"Really????!  Put it in!  Put it in!"  See?  I told you she'd be grateful someday.

So we're watching footage of all of us 16 years ago - partying, celebrating...and what do you know...I apparently had the camera right up behind my sister's head and said "Hey!" so she'd turn around unguarded.  Sure enough, she did and she was smoking a cigarette.

My neice shrieked!  "MOMMY!  YOU SMOKED!"

My sister froze.

I peed.

Maybe she's not so grateful after all.

Diversity in the Toy Aisle on NPR

I got to use the word 'Shtetl' on national radio.  Now how many people can say that.

 Click to go to NPR "Tell Me More" Show - "Diversity in the Toy Aisle"

You may need to click on the "Add to playlist" button or the "Download" button to hear the broadcast.  It will download like a normal MP3 song - only free.

Monday, November 30, 2009

NPR calling! (a/k/a "the best phone call I ever received before 8:00AM)

My phone rang at around 7:45 this morning and I glared at it like "What the f*ck!"

I hate when people call me early in the morning.  I don't know why.  Early morning phone calls seem to sound an alarm for doom and gloom or at least carry requests for favors.   And they feel all the more burdensome because they come at my busiest time of the day and carry the expectation that I'll put aside my priorities to deal with the caller's issue immediately.   It just totally bugs me.  I know this isn't normal. 

I could tell from the caller ID number that it wasn't my mom, sister or ex - the usual suspects.  I saw a (202) area code and tried to figure out - who do I know in Washington D.C.?  (Okay...I won't lie, at first I thought it was Connecticut).

I answered the phone with a tentative and fairly unfriendly "hello?" in preparation for hearing about "lowered Mortgage rates"and "ways to consolidate my bills".

"Uh, hello?  Is this Sarah?"

"Yes.  Who is this?"

"It's me, Rob."

It was an old family friend.

"Oooohhhh....Hi, Rob!"

"Uh...did I call at a bad time?  I know it's early"

"It's fine.  I'm sorry.  I hate mornings.  What's up?"  He told me he was calling to ask if I'd be a guest on NPR's show "Tell Me More" an hour!  Woo-Hoo!  I don't think anything has jump-started me so quickly since I discovered Dunkin' Donuts Dark Roast at my local Vons.  I was so excited!  I was so glad he didn't hang up on me when I snapped his ear off.

So an hour later I showed up in sweats (after all, it is radio...) and we had a lively discussion about the rise in availability of ethnic dolls (and no, I don't mean the Kardashians) and whether or not as moms of varying "ethnicity" this trend affected our buying choices when it came to what we purchased for our daughters.

Okay, I know what you're thinking...Jewish isn't technically "ethnic"...and my family has been in America for five generations...and I'm not particularly religious ...but my hair is brown and curly (at least under the Brazilian straightening treatment) so I can say I truly understand on a deeper level (at least to my scalp) the burden ethnicity brings - especially when it's humid.

But the point is...I am going to be on NPR.

Or, maybe the point is that not every early morning phone call is necessarily bad and that I shouldn't be quite so snappy.

Either way, I hope you'll tune in tomorrow to "Tell Me More" on NPR.  You have to go to to find out when it will air in your timezone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

"I'm thankful for Asia"

I suppose a comment like this would surprise a parent, but not me.

Last night at my sister's house we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for.

My twins, as always, responded to this with the expected amount of propriety.

"I'm thankful for my mommy, daddy, Wii, and food" said Ben.  Okay.  I was pleased.

Always one to one-up her brother given the opportunity, Livi said "I'm thankful for my Mommy, daddy, my house, candy and Scott - including my boyfriend in the mix to gain extra points.  I was on to her, but what the heck.

My 10 year old nephew says "I'm thankful for my dogs, my mom and dad, video games, food and movies."  My sister nodded approval.

Her teenage daughter said "I'm thankful for life."  Brevity is the hallmark of teenagers.

Then we came to Isabel.  "I'm thankful for Asia."

"Excuse me?" Only a child of mine would say something like this.

"I'm thankful for Asia.  If there weren't any Asia there's be a big hole in the ocean - Asia is HUGE.  And we wouldn't have Chinese Food."

Maybe the girl makes a point.  We all recognize the gift of obvious things; food, life, videogames, health.  But isn't it nice sometimes to give thanks for things we would never consider?  Maybe I'm thankful for Asia too.  After all, I do love  dumplings.

My Clip!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's the most wonderful meal of the year

Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving.  It's my FAVORITE meal of the year!

I love crispy, buttered turkey skin, sweet potatoes whipped with more butter and topped with melting marshmallows, pies, cakes, cookies (all made with butter) and an over-indulgence of cheeses and charcuterie to nibble on as we wait for cider to mull.  Yum!

My kids hate it.

Every year I try to ply them with sweet potatoes with a high marshmallow to potato ratio and they pick at it like I've given them collard greens.  They don't like pumpkin pie, they won't touch stuffing, and when I point out how moist the turkey is I get asked, "Can I have ketchup?"

Apparently, if it's not smothered in ketchup, laden with sodium, sprinkled with colored sugar or artistically crafted into the shape of a dinosaur, it's "gross".

They didn't start out this way.  I did everything "right" to make them good eaters.  I gave them vegetables before they ever had  fruit.  I pushed roasted chicken, lasagna and made smiling yummy faces as they sucked down creamed spinach.  I thought it was working.

But somewhere along the way, they decided there to boycott my efforts.   I blame myself.  As they slowly limited their intake of "healthy" food, I  made "accommodations."  They didn't want steak, so I made hamburgers, they didn't like lasagna, so I gave them plain pasta, they didn't want grilled fish, so I gave them fried fish sticks.  They rewarded me by cleaning their plates and even asking for seconds.  Success!  Or, so I thought.

When I was little, my mother cooked things like chicken croquettes, tuna casserole and liver.  We ate what we were given and we didn't complain.  Okay, we complained, but we got spanked for it.  Totally not worth it.

This is doubly frustrating because I love to cook - and I'm really good at it.  I've spent hours making homemade meatballs, lamb chops and roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary.  I tell them that my cooking is filled with "love."  "Can you taste the love?"  I've actually said this to them - What an idiot.

My point is that I've noticed parents provide  children with options and every time they sit down to a meal we think is wonderful and delicious, they believe there is a better alternative out there - if only they hold out. 

 Well, tomorrow I head over to my sisters and we'll spend the whole day cooking amazing dishes that fill the air with the promise of the most delicious meal of the year.  (See Pumpkin Trifle above).  I will expose my children once again to the favorites of my childhood.  And they'll resist.  I'll say "It's delicious - try it!" and they'll respond by taking the teeniest, tiniest pinpoint-sized glob on one prong of their fork and they'll extend their tongue toward it like contact will cause electrocution.  If they go back for a second "lick", I'll know they like it.  I'll dangle cookies in front of them to bribe them to taste it all in hopes that at least one dish will bring an enthusiastic response.  And maybe, just maybe, one will.

But just in case, I'll be packing some dinosaur chicken nuggets.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stabbing is "Bad"

My child wants to stab someone and I'm a little concerned.

Out of respect for that child - and fear of losing future playdates - let's call the child "Pat".

The other day my boyfriend, Scott, was in the playroom with the kids and "Pat" said "I feel like stabbing someone."

Scott shot "Pat" a look of horror.

Pat saw the look and said "Uh-oh.  Am I in trouble?"

Scott, that hippie man of mine, didn't want to get "Pat" in trouble for her "feelings" - even if they were about maiming someone - and calmly said "No.  You're not in trouble.  I am curious though...are you angry about something?"

"No.  I just really feel like stabbing someone."

He sat "Pat" down and explained to her why stabbing is bad.  It's not right.  It could really hurt someone.  And saying you want to "stab someone" means you want to cause someone a lot of pain.  "Do you see why stabbing is wrong?  You don't really want to stab someone, do you?"

"I still want to stab someone."

Scott was out of his league  so he brought "Pat" to me.  I was in my room folding laundry and he said  "Pat has something to tell you."  Standing at the foot of my bed covered in folded laundry, I could only see the top of Pat's head and she says "I really want to stab someone."

"Pardon me?" I said.

"I really want to stab someone."

Was my kid some kind of psychopath?   Maybe she was just expressing emotions of anger.  In a world where our children are bombarded daily with easily remedied violence in the media, this was normal, right? 

We're told we shouldn't engage our children if they say "I hate you" or "I wish you were dead" or "I want to kill you." Did Pat's  laissez-faire attitude toward "stabbing someone" fall under that category?  Do I punish her for her feelings?  Squelch her freedom of speech?  I mean, wasn't she entitled to "feel" like she "wanted" to stab someone just as long as she knew she wasn't supposed to actually stab someone?  Hey, I'm divorced, I have an ex, I've been there. 

So I said to her "Why do you want to stab someone?"

"See Scott????  I told you if we told her she'd want to know "why"?"  Pat was pissed.

I looked at Scott.  Yes.  Pat was a psychopath.

Scott said "Sarah...Pat didn't want to tell you she wanted to stab someone because she knew you'd ask her "why" and she has no idea "why".

"Oh.  Well, Pat, do you know what "stabbing" means?"

Pat made an "I told you so" face to Scott and was silently tilting and jabbing the head in my direction.  Like I was the problem.

Scott explained to me that in their previous discussion in the playroom, "Pat" and he discussed what "stabbing" meant, why it was wrong, and that she didn't know "why" she felt this way.  She only knew  she wanted to stab someone.  I could see she was frustrated.

Not really knowing what to do, and trying really hard not to freak out, you know, because she hadn't actually stabbed anybody - and because letting your children express their emotions is supposed to be a "good" thing, or so they say - I said the only reasonable thing I could think of.

I asked "Are you going to stab someone?"


"You know you shouldn't."

"Yes.  I know.  But I still want to."

"Do you want to talk about anything?

She was totally exasperated with me. "No!"

"Alright.  But you're not going someone?"


"Okay then." I shrugged.  "You can go."  As she walked out of the room I added "You can talk to me if you figure out why you want to stab someone!"

"Yeah.  I know!"  She shouted from down the hall.

I'm not sure if I handled the situation the right way or if I should take her in for psychiatric evaluation, but I think I did alright.  After one's bleeding.

Maybe I'll only give her plastic knives just in case.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Love Stinks

So I'm tucking in my daughter - giving her all of the love I had missed giving her these past few days while I was in NY.  I'm snuggling, cuddling, nuzzling - feeling a perfect mommy/daughter bedtime moment.

And she says "Mommy, your breath is so bad I can smell it with my ears."

Was it Bon Jovi who said "Love Stinks"?

Yo, Yo, Yo...

My daughter channeled a rapper tonight.  She tried to convince us we should play this game she made up called "Yo, Yo, Yo...Risks and Consequences."

I don't know why Hasbro doesn't pick it up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream...and No One Gives A Crap...

When I grew up in the 70’s, we got spanked.  This wasn’t shocking.  Everyone got spanked.  In fact, if you didn’t get spanked, it was understood that you were the product of liberal hippies and chances are your mother didn’t wear a bra and your lunch contained natural peanut butter. 

Believe me, I didn’t like it.  In fact, I hated my parents for it.  I was embarrassed, humiliated and emotionally scarred by the experience.  So much so that I vowed, like the millions of other parents who grew up in my generation, that I would never strike my own children.  And I don’t.  Not ever.  For any reason.

But BOY, can I yell - and I don’t just mean in bed.  I yell at my kids all of the time.  I’m not sure if it’s any better than my parent’s more “hands-on” approach, but it’s certainly effective.

I don’t want to yell.  In fact, I start each day with the notion that I’m not going to yell…ever again.  I’m going to be “easy-going” and “keep my cool” and impress upon my children that their mother is peaceful, serene and just.

But inevitably, after being with my three children through 20 minutes of wrangling, dressing, brushing, serving, feeding, making lunch, bagging snacks, finding library books and locating their backpacks, my patience begins to wear thin.  “I am asking you again, could you please pick up your plate and brush your teeth?!” “Why didn’t you tell me I had to fill this out last night! “, “You need a diorama of the polar ice cap TODAY?!”

I know what you’re thinking.  “This is your fault.  If you prepared your children the night before and left a little extra time in the morning for “breathing room,” you and your children wouldn’t feel so stressed out and you wouldn’t need to yell.”

Let me tell you.  I’ve tried this.  I’ve spent the half hour before bed laying out clothes, making lunches “to order”, placing homework inside of backpacks by the front door – and it does makes things easier.  But it does not solve the problem.  “The problem” being the three children who decide they want something for lunch other than what I packed the night before, or that they’re hot and need to wear a different shirt, or that they want their hair in braids, or a different lunch box, another muffin, the “good” syrup, more milk, less milk, no milk, or maybe even a pony – all before they go to school.

I smile for as long as I can, forcing the edges of my mouth upwards through the tensing muscles that want to make all things on my face furrow and frown.  I use breathing techniques I learned in birthing class and I say things like “It doesn’t look like we have time for braids today.  I’ll braid your hair tomorrow.” And “We don’t have anymore of that syrup.  Why don’t you try the Mrs. Buttersworth.” and “I’d love a pony too, but it’s just not going to happen today.  Come on, we really have to go.”

And they’ll ignore me.  The clock will be ticking and they just keep right on arguing with me about braids, shirts, and ponies.  “You guys?  Could you please put your lunches in your backpacks and put on your sneakers?  Seriously.  We’re going to be late for school if we don’t leave right now!”

And they continue to ignore me.  And the clock is still ticking.  And then I’ll catch one of them watching me out of the corner of their eye to see just how close Vesuvius is to eruption, and they’ll smirk - and that’s when it happens.

“YOU GUYS AREN’T LISTENING TO ME!!!!  I’M LEAVING WITHOUT YOU RIGHT NOW!!!!!!”  Of course I wouldn’t, but a mom can dream.

And THAT’S when they line up.  They grumble and moan and say things like “Mom’s in a bad mood…again.”  Nice.

So many magazines and books espouse the idea that talking to your children quietly, reasoning with them, addressing whatever issues they have in a calm tone, will help you raise happy, well-adjusted children.  I think if you stick to those rules, your children will happily live in your home until you stop making their lunch to order…or you die.  Whichever comes first.

So, it looks like my kids are going to grow up thinking their mother is a banchee.  But I think I can live with that.  

Just as long as I’m not still making them lunch.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New York, New York...

I can't stop smiling.

I'm in New York and I feel awesome. *

I am pretty sure that my mood has ALMOST everything to do with the fact that my memories of my life in New York are wonderful, so many of my close friends are here, and...I have no kids with me.

Even the pretzel guy on the corner outside Bergdorf Goodman said to me "I like your face.  You look happy."

And I said "I am happy.  Thank you.  My kids are 2000 miles away."

Is that so wrong?

 (* I woke up today at 11am.  Walked to H&H bagels to get a fresh, hot, moist doughy rondele of cinnamony goodness schmeared in walnut raisin cream cheese. YUM!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Don't call me, I'll call you...when the kids are in college...

If you call my house, chances are you won't get to talk to me.  At least not for very long.

Today I was sitting in my room filing papers.  I had been up for hours, gone to the market, and made fresh french toast for the kids who are home for Veterans Day.

Then the phone rang.

The second I picked up, the call was interrupted by my son who asked for a cream cheese sandwich despite the fact he had JUST eaten breakfast.

Annoyed, I got off the phone, made him a sandwich and went back to work.

The phone rang again.

I answered it and managed to get "hello" out when my son interrupts again.  He needs pants.  Right away.  Pajamas just won't do.  Even though he's been wearing them for hours.  I end my call and find my kid pants.

"Ben, do you need anything else?"


"Are you sure?  Because every time I pick up the phone it seems like you have a problem.  I'd like to be able to talk on the phone.  Can you let me talk on the phone if someone calls?"




"Okay.  You have a sandwich, you have water, you have got everything?"



I went back to filing.  The phone rang.


"Hey, it's me."  My sister.

Sure enough..."Moooooooooooooooommmmm!"

Are you f*cking kidding me????  "WHAT, BENNNNN????!!!!!  WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?!

He came in holding a phone receiver.  "You have a phone call."

Obviously...that's the problem.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Ben and the Weather" CD Collection Infomercial

This was a long week.  I was sick, the kids were sick.  Everyone was stuck inside....

So yesterday, my eyeballs were throbbing and I had a DESPERATE  need to do "something," ANYTHING to stop the endless rounds of "Mooooom....I'm bored"!  And then my son announces that he's going to hold a little concert.  He's written some songs and wants to sing them to us.

Alright...that's "something."  I'll bite.

So, he holds a concert in my living room.  He sings his songs.   Interestingly enough, all of the songs revolve around the theme of "weather."  Who knew he was so inspired by weather.  We don't even have weather.  We live in L.A. 

Anyway, he's singing songs about lightening,  rain, floods...(come to think of it...his songs are more about natural disaster than weather) and I think...I have GOT to get this on video.  So I grabbed my new Kodak Zi8 (Kodak's Flip camera) and decided to take it for a test drive.  (I must say - if you can get your hands on one of these - they are AWESOME!  I shot the whole thing in HD and plugged it in to upload it on my computer - Mac and PC compatible.  SO small and SO easy!  Wish I'd had this when my 9 year old was little!  Okay...enough with sounding like a plug - I just loved this thing.) 

So then, later I'm watching the videos (as only a mother would do) and it hits me, we could do something with this footage.  Something that would involve the whole family.  Something that would ...dare I say it...occupy the kids. 

So Scott and I wrote a little script (with the help of Izzy, Liv and Ben), the kids dragged out a few of their favorite costumes, and we decided to chronicle the career of a fictional (well...maybe "future") music icon. could happen.

Click HERE to watch "Ben & The Weather" The Collection

They like me! They really like me!!...

I am so excited to thank April at Pickles & Lollipops and F.T.M. at  Adventures of a First Time Mommy for giving me an award!  I'd like to thank her ever further for taking the time to explain how to get the damn thing onto my site!

Thanks so much April and Mom O' Bug!

In the spirit of the award, I need to pass this along to 15 other blogs I love - the hard part will be picking only 15.  There is some great stuff out there.

1. Laura @ My Life is a Piece of Cake
2. Life in the carpool lane
3. The Urban Baker
4. Zen and Motherhood
5.  If Evolution Works
6.  Confessions Of a Stay-at-Home Mom
7.  Confessions of an Imperfect Parent
8.  A Starbucks a day Keeps Life at Bay
9.  Baby on Bored
10.  Womb at the Innsane
11.  Crazy Suburban Mom
12.  Sweatpants Mom
13. Mommy Wants Vodka
14. The Bloggess
15. Lola B's One Girl Talks

I hope you'll check out some of these amazing blogs.  These women rock!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Star is Born...Literally...

Have you heard about the woman who's going to give birth live on the internet?  That's right, Lynsee (that's two "E's"), a 23 year-old teacher from Minneapolis, is going to bring forth her 1st child live on camera for the whole world to see.

Am I shocked?  Not really.   Grossed out a bit, but not shocked.  She's going to famous.  Really, really famous...for like half a day...maybe longer if she goes for the Petocin.  Now who doesn't want that?

According to CNN in this era of YouTube, Facebook and Reality TV bonanzas, "it seems like everyone wants to be a star and is willing to perform outrageous acts on camera and revel in the attention of strangers."  So why not Lynsee?  I mean, what's a little placenta between strangers? 

So now, perhaps you're wondering, "hmm...I'd like to be famous for half a day - maybe 2 halves - but how do I let America know that my family is fascinating enough to be worthy of intense scrutiny and media frenzy?"

Well to help you, I have compiled a list of 10 Reality TV show ideas and/or potential "staged" scenarios * that are guaranteed to capture the media's interest and ensure that your family becomes America's next Sweethearts:

1) Have five rounds of in-vitro all at once.  Keep the babies.

2) Build a small sound stage around your vagina and allow The Learning Channel to film your progressing effacement.

3) "Kidz Kutz" Open a hair salon where Toddlers compete to become a real hair dresser.  Each week a child is told "You don't make the cut" and they must immediately pack up their scissors and run home.

4) Babies compete to become "America's Next Top Baby Model."  Prizes include a 7-page spread in Parents Magazine and a $100,000 contract with Johnson & Johnson.

5)  Sell the rights to your child's life to a network at birth.  They have the right to make choices for your child and film how it turns out.

6)  Make a rocket and pretend your child accidentally launched it and was headed for the moon.  Week 13, find kid inside watching Nickelodeon.

7) Adopt a tiger.  Let it sleep with you.

8) Make a series of "Babies Gone Wild" videos.

9) "Iron Baby" - Chefs from all over the word compete to make a meal one particularly picky baby will eat.

10) Pregnancy Fear Factor - Pregnant women compete for money by doing shots, smoking cigarettes and eating goat cheese.

* - These suggestions are intended for humor purposes only.  I do not endorse the exploitation of fertility treatments, half-dressed babies,  or the adoption of tigers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Goddess of Soup

Barbarella, the Goddess of Soup has visited my home.

I shouldn't say "visited" so much as drove by, dropped hot, fresh soup on my doorstep, and ran for her life.  I don't blame her.

As I ate my soup in my bed, I felt so nurtured, cared for...loved.  A little nauseous too, but that's not her fault.

Every woman should have a Goddess in their life.  I have mine.  Thanks, babe!

The Last Man Standing...

I'm sick.

I'm really, really, really sick.

Swine flu.  My two daughters are home with me each on opposite tail ends of this crap.

My boyfriend is wearing a jock strap on his face (medical mask) and I think the police have cordoned off my block.

Cecelia, my "wife" as I call her (she's technically my nanny, but that word just doesn't seem to encompass the deep love and commitment I feel for and from this woman.), keeps plying me with soup.  I should have been such a good wife. 

The only one unaffected?  My son.  Which is ironic because when he was a baby I jokingly referred to him as "the weak link."  I know that sounds mean.  Especially from the boy's mother, but it was true.  He ALWAYS got sick.  If someone in Poughkeepsie sneezed, he was down for the count.

But now he seems to be holding up in the midst of this plague.  His Y chromosome thumbing it's nose at us.

We'll see how long it lasts.  Fingers crossed people.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Toilet is Booby Trapped!

My toilet seat is booby trapped.

There have been clues all along, but I just put 2 and 2 together. 

Every time I sit down on the toilet my kids are alerted and suddenly I am bombarded with "Mommy, I need you." "Mooooooom?  Where are you?" and "MOM! Do you know what Ben did?"

They could have been in their rooms quiet and content for hours.  They could be out in the playroom deeply enmeshed in a game of Mario Kart.  Hell, they could be down the block at a neighbor's house.  But the second my butt hits that toilet seat they come running.

I'm not sure if the alarm is depressed by my sitting, or if there is a motion sensor, so I decided to check this out.  I examined my toilet.  I lifted the seat, I waved my hand over the bowl, I even looked under rim.  Nothing.

I pressed my kids for answers.  "What have you done to my toilet?" I asked.  They stared at me with blank faces.  Livi giggled.  I'm on to them.

I'm not sure if they wear wireless receivers that buzz them the moment my ass hits the seat or if some high-pitched sound, one that can only be heard by dogs and children under 10, is emitted the second my buns are exposed above the bowl.

But either way, it is an effective system that alerts them to my whereabouts - letting them know I am not busy on the computer, not cooking dinner, and hence completely available to them for conversation.  A captive audience so to speak.

I would love to find the bug and deactivate the alarm.  To make it so that when I enter the bathroom it is the bastion of peace and solitude it used to be - before they installed the system.

If I could only find the little bugger!

Last night we went to a friend's house for dinner.  Afterwards, nature called and my friend offered me use of her private facilities upstairs in her room.  So I could have a little peace and quiet.

The kids were all engaged in games, movies or playing with the dogs outside.  So I took her up on her offer.

I sat down and thought "Ahhhh...peace and quiet."

Sure enough "Stomp, stomp, stomp..." I hear my son coming up the stairs and he's calling for me.  "Mom????  When's dessert?"

I couldn't believe it.

I guess their toilet's bugged too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peace Troop

This is my daughter's "Peace Troop."  They're like "Green Girl Scouts" and they're amazing.  One mom started this here in LA and our goal is to nationwide! 

The Daily Ocean

Happy Birthday to my Younger Man!

Today is my man's birthday.

If you follow "Mommy Lite", you might be wondering "which man?"  And I'd understand.

It's my boyfriend's birthday and I want to take a moment to give a "Shout Out" to this wonderful man in my life.

You tolerate my ex-husband.
You tolerate my kids.
You tolerate me.

You embrace the insanity of my life (usually...)
You embrace my children (even when they smell bad)
You embrace the whole package that is "me."

You fill a void in my life that has been there for as long as I can remember.  You've taught me the meaning of friendship, the meaning of love, and are truly one of the best people I have ever known.

I have waited for love.  I have waited for happiness.  I have waited for you.

It may be your birthday, but I am the one who has received a gift.

Thank you.

I love you.

Happy Birthday.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Booty Trap

My toilet seat is booby trapped.

There have been clues all along, but I just put 2 and 2 together. 

Every time I sit down on the toilet my kids are alerted and suddenly I am bombarded with "Mommy, I need you." "Mooooooom?  Where are you?" and "MOM! Do you know what Ben did?"

They could have been in their rooms quiet and content for hours.  They could be out in the playroom deeply enmeshed in a game of Mario Kart.  Hell, they could be down the block at a neighbor's house.  But the second my butt hits that toilet seat they come running.

I'm not sure if the alarm is depressed by my sitting, or if there is a motion sensor, so I decided to check this out.  I examined my toilet.  I lifted the seat, I waved my hand over the bowl, I even looked under rim.  Nothing.

I pressed my kids for answers.  "What have you done to my toilet?" I asked.  They stared at me with blank faces.  Livi giggled.  I'm on to them.

I'm not sure if they wear wireless receivers that buzz them the moment my ass hits the seat or if some high-pitched sound, one that can only be heard by dogs and children under 10, is emitted the second my buns are exposed above the bowl.

But either way, it is an effective system that alerts them to my whereabouts - letting them know I am not busy on the computer, not cooking dinner, and hence completely available to them for conversation.  A captive audience so to speak.

I would love to find the bug and deactivate the alarm.  To make it so that when I enter the bathroom it is the bastion of peace and solitude it used to be - before they installed the system.

If I could only find the little bugger!

Last night we went to a friend's house for dinner.  Afterwards, nature called and my friend offered me use of her private facilities upstairs in her room.  So I could have a little peace and quiet.

The kids were all engaged in games, movies or playing with the dogs outside.  So I took her up on her offer.

I sat down and thought "Ahhhh...peace and quiet."

Sure enough "Stomp, stomp, stomp..." I hear my son coming up the stairs and he's calling for me.  "Mom????  When's dessert?"

I couldn't believe it.

I guess their toilet's bugged too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Bond

What God hath created between girl and piggie, let no man put asunder...

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms...

This has been a crazy week trying to deliver for my agent so she doesn't catch on that I'm a total idiot (at least not yet...) and I've started writing at least 4 posts, but they're not ready yet.

So to keep you entertained, I thought I'd post one of my favorite stories which I posted WAAAAYYYYY back when - before most of ever even heard of Mommy Lite.  

This is a true story and the names have not been changed as I have no interest or inclination to protect anyone's privacy.  Obviously, I'll be sued one day.

"The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms"

"People make plans and God laughs..." A very wise girlfriend taught me this in college.

Well, I'm back from my well-planned NY vacation with my kids and I can tell you that God laughed his ass off plenty.

The "Plan":

- Week 1: NYC with all 3 kids. My "Ex" who is flying out with us would drop us at our hotel, kiss the kids goodbuye and make a plan to see them in a few days. Meanwhile, the kids and I would visit Museums, parks, friends and relatives.

- Week #2: Drop off oldest daughter at sleepaway camp (her 1st summer away - that's a post in and of itself) and settle into my relaxing cabin in Woodstock with the twins. Boyfriend would come to visit for a week. We'd have lots of sex and maybe play a little Scrabble.

- Week #3: Twins would enjoy daycamp in Woodstock and I would finish the book proposal for my second book.

- Week #4 - The twins and I would go visit "Grahamcrackers" (their grandmother on my side) in the Hamptons where they'd pick berries, pet ponies and harass her dog.

- End of Week #5 I would pick up my daughter at camp and return to LA where we would all collapse in smiles and relief on our sofa.


- Week #1 (Day 1): We arrive at our hotel in NYC and "ex" joins is and makes camp on the sofa in our suite. At 1am, my son throws up. Housekeeping is not happy when we call them. We spend the next day watching On Demand in our hotel room and soaking smelly clothes in the mini-bar sink.

- Week #1 (Days 2-5): We get Lice. We spend every day of our NYC trip at Hair Fairies in Hell's Kitchen. Housekeeping curses us further when we request that our room be "turned" every day due to the "infestation." Stuck inour small room in rainy NY, Nintendo DSi is my children's best friend. My "ex," however, is not mine.

- Week #2 (Day 1): Leave for Woodstock. "Ex" unexpectedly joins are thrilled. I am not. We don't have enough beds and my "ex" sleeps on the porch.

Week #2 (Day 3): Boyfriend visits! "Ex" still there. No sex. Well, not between me and my boyfriend anyway...but I notice my "ex" and boyfriend seem to watch a lot of tv together.

Week #2 (Day 4): "Ex" leaves. AAaaaahhhhhh. Children cry. I rejoice with a small bottle of vodka I nabbed on the plane. I put the moves on my man who complains of stomach pain.

Week #2 (Day 5): "Ex" picks up twins for 2 days so boyfriend and I can have a little alone time. Wee-Hoo! Surely now...

Week #2 (Day 6): My boyfriend is diagnosed with a raging case of Diveriticulitis. Or at least that's what they tell us after 10 hours in the ER of Kingston Hospital. He convalesces on my couch in Woodstock for the next few days. No Scrabble, but I let him beat me in a game of "Spit". It seems to raise his spirits.

Week #3 (Day 2): Boyfriend goes home and takes all chances for sex and Scrabble with him.

Week #3 (Day 2...Evening): I see a mouse in my kitchen. He eats my banana. And my english muffin. I cry.


Week #4: I throw all care and caution to the wind. I pack up the house in Woodstock and head out to my mother's house in the Hamptons without a plan, a plot or even a scheduled meal. I even made an unexpected trip back into the city where we make it to the museum, Hayden Planetarium, Serendipity, Dylan's Candy Bar, AND the boathouse in Central Park.

We had NO plans and NO problems!

Even my "Ex" who was still in town, shows up at my doorstep and is WONDERFUL! Spontaneously, he takes the twins for the night and I get to eat out by myself and see a movie! It is heaven!

I pick up my oldest daughter at camp with NO expectations, only to find that my child (the one with Asperger's Syndrome) made FRIENDS at camp. And not just a few! A LOT of friends!!!!! AND she was crying when she said goodbye! I cried too.

When I got home, I was greeted by my AMAZING (and finally healthy) boyfriend who had surprisngly cleaned the house and put out fresh roses for me upon my return.

Then, I got laid.

Oh, you can bet I was listening...hard! But I didn't hear God snicker even once.

While I am now, more than ever, completely sold on the fact that my friend's wisdom is correct, I DO note that it is incomplete. So, with all respect to my Yiddish elders, I am editing your wisdom.

My new motto?

"People make plans and God laughs. So stop making plans and he'll stop laughing at you."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Night Dinner

The scene:  Sunday night family dinner.

The Players; Me, Scott, Izzy, Ben, Livi and my "ex" who has surprised us with an impromtu visit.

At Sunday night dinners we cook together, eat together and gear up for the week ahead.  It's one tradition that's really important to me - and a something I hope will build memories for all of us.

We finish dinner and I'm about to get the kids ready for bed.


"MEEEEEEE!!!!!!"  The kids say in unison.  Ice cream on Sunday night means sugar rush and a late night. 

I give him my best combination "exhale and glare."

"I can see why you guys got divorced..." says Livi.  She's 6, but she's observant.

I don't think we all laughed that hard together in over 2 years.

I guess you never know what's going to make Family Dinner memorable.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Genitalia Rex

Sorry everyone for slackin'...

I've been working on delivering my book proposal to my agent and finishing up some articles for and, so I haven't posted anything new here (duh...obviously).

So, with that in mind, as a thank you for your patience and your continued support, I'm going to give you a sneak peak at my article about funny names for genetalia that's going to be running on next week. :)  Enjoy!


Genitalia is funny. 

And it can be the dinosaur in the room when we have to talk about it, especially when it’s our own kids’ genitalia.  But while there are arguments for the proper usage of terminology (i.e. safety, psychological impact, body image, etc…), we just can’t seem to help ourselves from coming up with silly nicknames for their relevant body parts whether we’re relieving diaper rash, wiping a poopy bottom or pointing our little boys in the direction of the toilet bowl.

Here are some of the funniest we’ve heard:
1.      1.      Hoohah & the Tally wacker
2.     Woo & the big Stick
3.     Tulip & the Clicker
4.     Scootie & People doodle
5.     Suzie & Bug
6.     Under carriage & Johnson
7.     Cooties & Peanut
8.     Pudge & Mr. Who-dilly
9.     Biscuit & Winkie
10.  Carrot & Mountain
11.  Nina & Weenis
12.  Dangly Bits & Mr. Winkie
13.  Tu-tus & Pee-tails
14.  Pek-pek & Ti-ti  
15.  Hootey hoo & Nay-Nay
16.  Pickle & Pookie
17.   Pot-pot-potties & Pee-pee
18.  Willy & Foo- Fi
19.  Indoor & Outdoor plumbing
20.  And finally, my personal favorites: J-J & Penisaurus Rex

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The WORST Halloween Costumes Ever

I am so, very, very sick today.

Too sixk to wpell or rit anything worthy of your reading.  But I can share with you the absolute most amazing compilation of offensive and horrible costumes every.

I laughed so hard when I saw these - and it hurt.   then I coughted.  then i puked...

but it's reelly good.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Scariest Decoration of All

I love Halloween. 

I love the costumes, I love the candy and I loooooooove to decorate.

October 1st, I’m in the garage with the kids weeding through numerous boxes containing our ever growing collection of Halloween decorations.  We lay them out all over the ground, separate them into piles, and catalogue them:  fake rats, flashing eyeball lights, bloody limbs…

We toss the stuff that didn’t survive the year in storage and make a list of what we need in order to bring our vision come to life…or death…Mwoooohahahahaaaaa.

People think that decorating for Halloween simply means putting out a pumpkin and hanging up a few cobwebs.  But there’s a lot more to it than that.  I mean, if you want to do it right.  If you really want to set the mood and touch people on a deeper level.  Like we do.  After all, Halloween decorations are an expression of your family’s personality.  They show people how you interpret your world and can classify you to your neighbors as either sophisticated or sophomoric.

The most important tip to decorating brilliantly is to try to think out of the “coffin.”  Anyone can have bones planted in the ground to make it look like a rising corpse.  But it takes real genius to create decorations that stop pedestrians in their tracks and slow cars as they come around the corner.    And that’s where my family really shines.

We walk around the house and look for toys or dolls and everyday household items we have that we can use to enhance “the mood”.

Our biggest showstopper is our Cage O’ Rats. 

We start with the pen we use for our guinea pigs when they graze outside.  Then we sprinkle in some fake rats.  The guinea pigs just sit around doing what guinea pigs do, munching grass, pooping.  But when people walk by they see something in the cage move and it FREAKS them out.  It’s awesome.  I’ve actually seen this in action.  Once I watched a woman walk by with her lunch companions (we live off a main street) and one of the guinea pigs jumped over a fake rat.  The woman freaked!  Jumped clear off the sidewalk.  We’re not insured for that kind of reaction, but it was totally worth the risk.

Another Halloween favorite in our family is “Barbie in Distress”.  We put loads of webs on one of the bushes on our front yard.  Then we wrap up a Barbie in cobwebs so she looks like a mummy.  (We’ve found that Barbie from the Nutcracker works particularly well…the tiara that makes her look extra vulnerable).  Then we add an enormous fuzzy spider and position it on the bush to look like it’s wrapping her up and is about to eat her. 

The beauty of this decoration is that the casual passer-by will see the web on the bush and just think, “Oh, webs.  They’ve decorated for Halloween.  How quaint.”  Then they look a little harder and see the spider and are all, like, “Ew!  Spider.  Creepy.”  But then, they’re drawn in, mesmerized, wanting to examine the decoration further…they wonder what the spider is doing with that wound up white blob at its’ foot-tips.  They move in closer for inspection.   And that’s when they see the golden hair cascading out of the wound up webbing and notice a beautiful face frozen…ney, paralyzed…as if injected with poison from the ravenous arachnid….oooooOOOOOooo.  You’re terrified, right?  (Okay, I think I need a day job…).  But the point is, it’s novel, it’s scary and it is so very, very us.

And finally, the piece de resistance.  It’s ingenious, sophisticated and truly the scariest decoration we have.

When the kids are all done hanging webs, carving pumpkins with smiling faces (pulling the pumpkin “innards” out of the mouth so as to make it look like it’s barfing), and hanging up various My Little Ponies and Webkins in the front yard…I hang an “Insane Asylum” sign on my front door. 

And people run for the hills.

That F@#king Fairy!

Ben lost his tooth yesterday, and if you've followed this blog for even a week you would already anticipate what I'm about to say...

I forgot...AGAIN!

No, I didn't do this for drama.  I didn't just not do it so I'd have something to write about.  I seriously went to bed and didn't get up until the next morning when the kids were already watching television.

Now, if this were Livi, there'd be all kinds of trouble here.  But it's not.  It's Ben.  And he's as flakey as I am.  In fact, luckily, Ben seems to have forgotten about the tooth under his pillow altogether.  I snuck the dollar bill in right after breakfast (after mouthing to my boyfriend "Oh My God! I forgot the tooth!" and pointed at my lower front tooth behind Ben's head.  Scott's jaw dropped to the floor as he realized what I was mouthing and at the sudden realization that he was dating such a total idiot.

It's 11:00am right now and Ben still hasn't mentioned anything about the tooth.  What a flake. 

Looks like the tooth doesn't fall far from the fairy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Badge of honor...

My boyfriend and I were in line at Starbucks the other day waiting to order coffee (I ran out at home).

"What's that?" he says pointing to the spare tire flesh that has accidentally become exposed above the top of my jeans. 

"My fat." I said

"No, on your fat."  He smiled.  It's a good thing I love him.  "You have a bruise.  Right there." He pointed to an area on my hip.

I looked down, kind of lifting the flab o' meat (as I like to call it) a little so I could see the hip hidden beneath.

Sure enough, it was a bruise.


"How'd you get that?"

"I don't know."  And I just stepped up to order my vanilla latte (and no, I didn't go fat free...)

"Aren't you curious?"


"Doesn't it hurt?"  He poked it.

"OW! It does now."  I poked him back.  Hard. 

What he doesn't realize is that I'm covered in bruises, I just barely notice anymore.  I take a pounding from my kids every day. 

My kids step on me, knock into me and climb all over me.  I'm like one of those mother lions you see on Animal Planet.  I'm just lying down in the grass, hangin' out, surveying the land, and one kid's biting my ear, another is playing with my tail region and the other is tackling me over and over, like he's trying to catch his dinner.  I yawn.

Every day I discover new bruises and have no idea when I got them.  I know they're from my kids, but I can't even remember the incident.

I've even made a bit of a memory game out of it.  I'll see a bruise on my thigh and squeeze my brain trying to recollect how and when I got it by assessing the size, shape and color intensity of the bruise.  "Hmm...what's that?  It looks fresh, so it must have been in the past couple of days.  And it's really dark in the middle - like there was a sharp impact point.   Oh, yeah!  I got stabbed with a tinker toy on Tuesday."  I'm like a CSI crime unit but with dirty hair.

I've had friends say "you can buy makeup to cover that."  But there's no point.  I'll just get something new somewhere else.

Like with a grafittied wall, every time you paint it, some hooligan (yes, I used the word hooligan) comes along and marks it up again.  Maybe my kids are "tagging" me, like a little gang, and they mark me up to show I'm their turf.  Little black and blue warnings to my boyfriend, "Back off! She's ours!"

Besides, I wouldn't cover them up anyway.  After all, if hickies are the badge of being a teenager, these bruises are the badge of being a mom (...or a victim of domestic abuse...but hopefully a mom).

So I'll just deal with my bruises from all of the squeezing and punching and kicking.  After all, when you're a mom, you should learn to roll with the punches...or at least learn how to jump out of the way.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Daughter Hates Me...Got any good jokes?

That's right.  She's sobbing in her room right now.  And thumping.  And inconsolable.

She's been way too mean to her brother and sister for weeks and I finally put my foot down and took the computer out of her room.

I heard someone say "I hate mommy" and for the first time in my life, they were talking about me.

I'm heartbroken.  Too heartbroken to write.

Besides, it's against the rules of my blog to write anything sad on Mommy Lite.

So, I'm asking you have a good story about disciplining your children that might make me laugh?  I could use it right now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Confessions of a Bleacher Mom

I am very excited.

I'm sitting in the "mommy holding pen" of a local gym where my 6 year old daughter is now on the gymnastics "team".  There's huge glass window overlooking the gym and we moms are lined up against the glass staring up sporadically from our iPhones and laptops to watch as our agile progeny flip and sashay across the matted floor.

I am officially a "Bleacher Mom."

Don't get the wrong idea.  I'm not one of those moms who is under the delusion that my children are "gifted".  They're not.  Izzy shuns all things sports, and gallops like a newborn gazelle missing a hoof.  My son is really strong, but he couldn't hit a target if it was the brick wall upon which he was perched.  They do well in school, but I spend hours helping with homework they should be able to do by themselves, and I have had the pleasure of saying on more than one occasion "Why are you hitting yourself?"  To say that I expected anything "extraordinary" from them is an understatement.

But it turns out that Livi positively ROCKS at gymnastics!

Since she was a baby people have marveled at her agility.  She was standing at 8 months, walking at 10 and unanimously elected "President" of her Mommy and Me class when she was 1.  In preschool she was the first to master the monkey bars and people would stop me at the park to ask her age as they marveled at her spinning around the bars like a 3 year old Shawn Johnson.  

By the time she was 4 she didn't walk anymore...she cartwheeled.   Just cartwheeled around town in a perfect little line with a hands-up finish.  People would say "Oh My God!  She's incredible!  How old is she?"  "Does she do gymnastics?"

I would try to be blasé, but pride would fill me up till my smile broke the barriers of my cheeks and I would say "Yes!" and "Thank you!" and "I know!  It's crazy!  I am so proud."

Last week she mastered falling into a back-bend and pushing into a walk-over.  Something I could only deign to dream about when I was six despite the hours I spent bending and contorting myself in my back yard.  I still have the neck injuries to prove my failure.

I'm not stupid.  I realize this could all end tomorrow.  She could come home one day and say "Mommy?  I don't like gymnastics.  Can I get a recorder?"

But right now I see the other moms watching her.  She's so small, so fearless and so good!  How can you not watch?  It's poetry in motion.

And I suck it all up.

I make myself look busy like the other moms.  I try to make it look like I am not enamored of her - like I am so expectant of her talent that I can focus on other menial things.  I look up occasionally from my laptop to make note of where my child is on the floor and I chat politely with the other moms and say "Oh, which one is yours?" secretly comparing their child's skill level to Livi's.   I note, "They've got nothing on us..."

And for a moment, I let my mind go there.  "Hmmmm...2016, could she make it?  What kind of money is there for a gymnast in endorsements?  Could she make a good living?  Would it interfere with her ability to have children?  Would she be happy?  Could she buy me a really, really nice house?"

My mind conjures up an image of Livi on a podium; gold medal around her neck, hand over heart, and tears in her eyes as she sings along with the National Anthem.  She's about to give a speech thanking me when I'm knocked out of my daydream by one of the coaches who shakes my shoulder and hands me the crying kid she's carrying.

While I was dreaming, Livi's class ended, she grabbed a snack and tripped coming up the stairs.  Apparently, that's what happens when she walks and chews a fruit roll-up at the same time.

A friend recently told me "sometimes God speaks in whispers."  In this case, it was more of a whine, but I got the hint.

I wonder if the music shop down the street sells recorders.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Wrench in the Machine...

So my daughter was watching Disney Channel and saw an ad to check to find a number to for the "Disney hotline" and record a "haunted sound" that Disney can use on-line or on tv.  All in honor of what they're touting as "Wiz-tober-fest".

I said fine.

Being technologically adept (certainly more than I am) she managed to do all of these things without my help.  Disney clearly knows their audience.  They choreographed everything perfectly to catch the kids' attention, get them to "log on" to the website and call in - all on their own (with consent of course...).  They've got one pretty smooth machine.  Very impressive.

She pressed the numbers and grinned her big front teeth at me in excitement, holding the phone up to her ear in expectation.

Then her looked turned to confusion.

I said "What's happening?"

She shrugged and handed me the was a busy signal.  Big surprise.  I hung up for her.

"What was wrong?  What was that sound?  Why'd you hang up?"

"You got a busy signal"

"What's a busy signal?"

It occurred to me that this child had never heard one before.  It totally threw her for a loop.

I wonder how Disney will deal with that wrench. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Calling the Tooth Fairy...again...

Crap.  Livi lost the other tooth today on a playdate at Baskin Robbins.  (that's the's white chickletiness contrasting against the pink in the letter "B").

She proudly handed me the drool and mint chocolate chip ice cream covered tooth and I carried it home in my pinched thumb and forefinger and Hell-bent on NOT forgetting about it...this time.   I was momentarily distracted  by the newly decorated windows at Neiman's, but I made it home safely and put the tooth into the silk pouch from last week.

All I've been thinking about since this afternoon is "don't forget the tooth, don't forget the tooth, don't forget the tooth..."

I  canceled a reflexology massage because I was afraid that in my relaxed state I might come home, pass out, and completely let go of all thoughts "tooth" related.

So far, so good...Now if I could only find a $1...

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