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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Im-possum-ble Dream...

My daughter loves animals. Let me daughter is OBSESSED with animals. One of the aspects of Aspergers - it's her "passion".

When she was a toddler, we bought her plastic animals in bulk to play with and she would spend hours organizing them in a marching waves across the tv room floor. The penguins in front, polar bears off to the side - so they wouldn't eat the penguins - monkeys pushing up the rear.

As a Jewish mom I didn't let it throw me. I just thought, "so, she'll be a vet." (Hey, there's good money in animal care.)

Today we were in the car on the way home from someplace air-conditioned and we started talking about animals. Izzy wanted to know what kind of animal I thought she was most like. First I said "Bird." She liked that. Then I said "Wait, Squirrel." She liked that more. Then I thought " is an opportunity to use her "passion" to tell her something great about herself - to INSPIRE her." So I said "'re like a leopard! You're brave, you're fast and you're incredibly smart!"

She smiled but said "You know, mom, I know a girl who spent the whole school year pretending to be a possum! Now that's awesome!" Obviously, she didn't care so much about the animal's actual traits, but rather was Wowed by the fact that this girl could pull off being a possum for a whole year.

I have to say, I'm impressed by that kid too. The level of commitment is astounding. A whole year - probably spent mostly upside down on the monkey bars. I too was Wowed and satisfied that the possum story sent a positive message.

After all, it takes a lot of commitment to become a vet.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How To Bathe a Guinea Pig

Today, we gave our guinea pigs a bath. All 3 of them.

Milo threw a little fit first, but my Izzy, who is obsessed with animals, was able to soothe the savage beast and get the job done.

Here's the funny thing about bathing guinea pigs - when you're done, they smell like wet dog. Not sure it's worth it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Fairytale Morning...

This morning I awoke to birds on my bed. It was like something out of a disney movie, only they didn't try to dress me.

My kids learned how to make origami birds with their babysitter yesterday and they must have been incredibly busy because there were like a hundred of them. I thought it was so sweet I didn't even yell at them for waking me up.

Then we made pancakes (the shake and pour kind...they liked them just as much as pancake puffs (see "Pancake Puffs" entry if you have no idea what I'm talking about)) and we all sat together at the table for breakfast without any screaming, yelling or kicking anyone. They told jokes, we hugged, we kissed, we played with our food and no one got hurt.

Okay, maybe the birds didn't sing me a "happy little working song", but for me, this morning was a fairytale.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Milestone

My daughter has learned to answer the phone. This is very good news. Every time my kids learn to do something new for themselves, I am filled with pride as they move further towards complete self-sufficiency. Every skill adding to their usefulness in our home.

I think about all the freedom this new skill will bring. If I'm in the shower and the phone rings I can yell "Izzy, can you get that?" If I'm in bed with a headache and don't want to talk to anyone I can mumble "Izzy...will you get that?" If I'm outside and she's not, she can answer the phone without me having to race inside potentially tripping over the obstacle course of shoes and toys that dot our floors.

This morning, I was making pancakes (no, NOT pancake puffs...the old-fashioned kind and it did go over just as well...). I was wrist deep in blueberries and batter when the phone rang. I peeked over to check the ID and see who was calling. It was a telemarketer.

Izzy said "I'll get it!"

I said "don't bother, it's a telemarketer." The phone continued to ring.

"You mean one of those annoying people who always call and try to get you to buy their stuff?"


She picked up the phone and said in a bad mock English accent "Oh, hellloooooo??"

Someone must have responded because she was snickering quietly and listening.

Then she yelled "Lady, get a life!" into the phone and hung up.

Yup. This new skill will indeed be useful. And I am proud.

The Dark Side

My 9 year old daughter informed our dinner companions last night that I have a "dark side."

Despite the fact that it's true, I was alarmed that my daughter picked up on it. Of course, my sister and cousin were hysterical laughing and pointing fingers at me. I told them to "shut-up."

Does a 9 year old even know what a dark side is? And if so, when did she see it? Did she see me scratch my nose with my middle finger at some old lady who cut us off the other day? Did she sense how serious I was when I told my 13 year old niece "stop now, or I'm going to have to kill you" when she was 8 verses deep on some happy birthday song learned at camp? Or most unnervingly...did she hear me having sex? Those things weren't so bad...I mean, I'm a good person! I know this for a fact. People I've been nice to have told me.

I put on my warmest smile on, and pulled her aside to ask ..."Iz, what makes you think I have a dark side, honey?" She shrugged and said "that's for me to know and for you to find out."

It's just that kind of cryptic answer that drives me up the wall, but I wasn't going to show it. So, I ignored it all and moved on.

This morning I asked again. "Izzy, honey? Remember you said I had a dark side? (I asked with a big warm smile crinkling my nose to look funny) What did you mean by that you silly girl?" She laughed. She was on to me. I really wanted to know and she knew it. And she wasn't going to give an inch. "That's for me to know and you to find out."

Was she kidding?? What the hell did that mean? Why was she driving me insane? Didn't she know she was killing me?

Well, I'm dropping it for now, I know better than to push this with Izzy. Now it's a game to her and I'll never know. But one thing is for sure. I must have a dark side because clearly my daughter got it from somewhere.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Boo Boo Magnet

Last October, my son got hit in the face with a dog. You heard me. The dog didn't bite him, it didn't growl, there wasn't any attack of any kind. Ben was just sitting there petting the dog, the dog was loving it, and then the dog (a bull-dog with sharp protruding lower teeth) JUMPED up (apparently there was a donut was involved) and his teeth rammed into Ben's face ripping gaping holes in his upper lip and bottom opposite side lip. A trip to the ER and 25 stitches later, he was regaling his kindergarten friends with stories of his valor.

Now, this might seem weird to you if you didn't know Ben. But my son is a disaster magnet.

We go to petting zoos and he gets chased by goats. We took him to Underwood farms and a Turkey pecked him in the forehead. If there's a toothpick on the floor, he'll trip on it; a glass to knock over, he'll nail it; an edge of a chair, he'll fall off it.

I'm exhausted from trying to save him from himself!

Today, he got nipped at by my sister's dog. The dog just didn't like his vibe at the moment and decided to send a message. Boy was I pissed at that dog - Ben was totally innocent!

I gathered my boy into my arms against his will. He was like "Mom, I'm fine. I'm okay." Ben's eyes were rimmed in tears he was fighting so hard to hold back. My little man. "It's okay to cry, honey." I told him.

Ben's response "It's okay mommy...I'm used to it."

My poor boy. Even he knows it.

Maybe he'll grow out of it. But for now, I'm considering a helmet and body armor. Would it be wrong to stuff his clothes with Cottonelle?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hush Puppies

It's funny what you remember as a child and what you try to recreate for your children because the memory you have is so wonderful.

Right now I'm making hush puppies. My grandpa used to love hush puppies. He was the cutest old man with a very slight southern accent that betrayed his North Carolina roots despite the fact he had lived most of his adult life on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

He had the deepest, most resonant voice. And, his hands were enormous. He was an Orthopedic Surgeon. I bet he could have wrapped his hands around a femur and thigh bone and melded the two together by sheer force. He was the most formidable man I had ever met.

But he was also the sweetest, most loving man I ever knew. He had a softness for his ten granddaughters, 2 grandsons, brownies and all things fried. My grandma, Dorothy, used to try to curtail his childish side. She was a lovely and proper German Jew, always dressed in couture and "sitting shoes." Even when she cooked. His family was 2 generations American, but still Easter European Jewish and their families clashed. But he lived for her and she lived for him and they were really happy together. Sure she kept him in line, but you could tell that was how he liked it.

I remember going to visit them in Boca Raton - where all Jews go in the winter. When my sister and I got off the plane he would hug us and kiss us and tell us we were "beautiful". He would say "I have the prettiest Granddaughters, I am so lucky." The twang of his accent infusing his words to make them sound even warmer, more casual and more intimate. I felt so special.

At least once every trip south, my grandpa would have my sister and I pile into whatever newest edition of the Mercedes sedan was available and parked in his driveway and we would head down the middle of one of Boca's major streets with the yellow strip of the road rolling under the center of our car. "Grandpa, is the yellow line supposed to be under the car?" I remember asking this once. His answer wasn't friendly. I didn't ask again.

Anyway, the trip always led to the most fantastic fried chicken joint on the "wrong" side of Boca. There Grandpa would order a whole fried chicken, 4 sides of french fries, 2 sides of cole slaw and 2 sides of hush puppies. Hush puppies were these balls of corn meal with onions deep fried till the crust was sweet and crunchy and the inside was moist and like a tasty little bite-sized corn muffin. Obviously, despite the fact he was a prominent surgeon, he had little concerns about trans fats. He LOVED hush puppies. And I loved him. And I loved that he loved them and despite the fact I lived on fries and peanut butter and jelly, I gave hush puppies a try at a young age to impress him and learned to love them.

Tonight, I'm making my own hush puppies in my kitchen. I popped one in my mouth, and tasted the sweet crunchiness of the crust and the moist interior. They were exactly what remembered and they took me back to my grandpa Irvin, his enormous hands rubbing my hair.

I gave one to my daughter. She wasn't impressed. Other than it being fried bread, there was no real charm in it.

Maybe the hush puppies only work their magic when you drive down the middle of a busy road to get them and are told at the same time that you are the most beautiful creature on the earth while enormous hands rub your hair and pull you in for a close hug.

Otherwise, I suppose they're just fat central.

Anyway, I'm going to eat my hush puppies and despite the fat content, I'm going to once again feel like the most beautiful girl on earth.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Me Booty...

So, I hear from across the house "Mom?! MOM??? (I usually wait for three calls of "MOM?!" before I encourages them to figure whatever it is they're trying to do out on their own...or maybe I just like to annoy them.)

On the 3rd "MOOOOM?!" I finally answered. "YEAH?!"

"WIPE ME BOOTY!" my little girl yelled out, muffled by the bathroom door.

My little Pirate pooper.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Look What I Made!

So the twins were busy with Legos this morning while I slept in. They came running into my room yelling over each other "Look what I made," "Look what I made!" Ben had a Lego car and Livi had some kind of Lego crocodile. They kept shoving them in my sleepy face yelling "Maaaaaa....Look what I made! Maaaaaaaaaaaaaa....Look what I made!"

So I turned over to both of them, grabbed their little faces and said "Look what I MADE!"

Mommy wins.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Can You See Love?

I am diverging tonight from my "norm" of writing humor to post something in honor of my daughter, Izzy (that's her in the red t-shirt with one of her counselors at camp).

Most of you already know this, but Izzy was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (Autism) when she was three. After years of occupational therapies, speech therapies, social skills classes, art classes, karate, therapeutic horseback riding, and anything else I could find that I thought would help her make a connection, she is thriving!

Today something happened that I thought might never happen for her. It wasn't a big deal, but to me it was everything. She had friends phone her from sleep-away camp because they missed her (she could only handle one session so they were still there). They told me how much they missed her and how much they loved her and that camp just isn't the same without her, and"is she coming back next year?! Do you promise?!"

I am so proud of the bonds she formed and the young woman she is becoming. She makes me smile every day and has shown me that love shows itself in the most unexpected ways.

I wrote this for her some time over the past year in an attempt to clarify for her how she might recognize love, but today, I learned that she already knows.

Can You See Love?

I love you.

And, I know you love me too.

I can see your love. And it talks to me.

I see your love in the morning. When you come into my room and wake me. Your love tells me you can’t wait to see me.

I see your love at school. When I bring you to class and you kiss me goodbye. Your love says “I’ll miss you.”

I see your love when you show me the picture you drew for me. Your love wants me to know you thought of me.

I even see your love in the middle of the night when you are afraid and you come find me. Your love whispers to me, “I know you will take care of me, and make me feel better.”

I see your love when you dance for me, play a game with me, or cry in my arms. It tells me that I am important to you.

Can you see my love? Can you hear it?

You can see my love when I smile and kiss you Good Morning. My love says I am so glad to see you today.

You can see my love when I make you chocolate chip waffles. It says “I know these are your favorite and I like to see you smile.”

You can see my love when I hold you on the monkey bars so you don’t fall. My love tells you I am proud of the new things you can do, and I don’t want you to get hurt.

You can see my love when I put your peas on the side of your plate – so they don’t touch your potatoes. It says that what you want is important to me.

You can see my love when I help you get dressed, sing you a song, or just hold you close.

Sometimes it can be very hard to see love.

If you push your sister, or refuse to share a book, I might frown. It’s hard to see love in a frown.

If you pretend not to hear me or break a picture frame, I might yell. It’s hard to hear love in a yell.

Maybe I’m not fair and I send you to your room because I am angry.

And maybe you don’t want to talk to me because you are angry.

But my love is still there. And it is still talking to you. It says “I want you to be the best person you can be and it is my job to teach you and help you.”

You cry and your love answers. “I am trying my hardest.”

And now, we understand each other.

You will see my love clearly again in my smile and my arms holding you tight.

Can you see my love right now?

I can see your love.

They are talking.

And they are saying to each other “I am here with you – always.”

Copyright 2009 by Sarah Maizes, All Rights Reserved

* * *

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back to School Shopping...

I'm running out of activities to do with the kids , so yesterday, we went to Staples and picked out backpacks, lunchboxes and other articles of crap my kids are sure to break, lose, and fight over.

Izzy found a green and blue argyle pattern backpack; Livi found a pink and black argyle pattern backpack with little crowns on it.

Izzy found a polka-dot lunchbox; Livi went out to find a lunchbox that matched her backpack.

Izzy found blue and green folders; Livi picked folders with kittens.

Together they graciouslessly darted about the store and heaped paperclips, pencil sharpeners, folders with pockets, folders without pockets, gel pens, journals, ice packs ( Livi "needed" it) and spiral notebooks into my cart like there was a fire sale. Livi can't even write.

I turned to Ben, "Do you want to pick out a backpack?"


"Would you like a lunchbox?" I asked.


"Is there anything you need?"

"Nope. But thank you Mommy for asking."

God Bless boys.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pancake Puffs

I made pancakes this morning. Not just any kind of pancake...pancake "puffs." My kids were yet again targets of bombarding advertising, but I was the one who eventually exploded. Every day:

"Mom! You have to get Pancake Puffs!"
"Mom! You can make all kinds of deserts!"
"Mom! You can fill them with meat!"

I finally relented (not because you could fill them with meat...that was actually a little off-putting). I bought the "magic" pan.

The pan came. It was a small black cast iron pan with 1 inch wells for batter. I was not impressed. I read the recipe for the batter: Buttermilk. I don't know about you, but I'm not a farmer and I don't regularly keep buttermilk around. So I told the kids "I don't have buttermilk. I'll get it at the store this week."

They pouted. Livi shed a tear. "But I wanted Pancake Puffs."

"I'll make them. I just don't have everything I need to make them JUST right so they're really delicious."

She bought it. And I bought myself another week.

But every morning "Did you go to the market? Did you buy the stuff? Are we going to have pancake puffs? You know, they're supposed to be REALLY good!"

So I bought the buttermilk yesterday and this morning, in my robe, and nursing a small hormonally induced headache, I went to make the friggin' puffs. My children gathered anxiously around me, pulling up chairs so they could belly up to the counter and help.

I looked at the recipe again. Separate 2 eggs and whisk the egg whites till stiff.

What the hell was I making, a souffle? What mother in her right mind has this kind of time and energy in the morning.

Izzy, Ben and Livi were all bouncing around me, fighting over who gets to whisk first, so I just bit the bullet.

I separated eggs, I whipped whites till stiff, I measured out buttermilk (which tastes disgusting by the way), and we whisked, folded and poured batter for pancakes puffs into this glorious pan they all thought would produce magic.

We dotted the center of the batter wells with all kinds of things. Chocolate chips, blueberries, Peach jam (we forewent the meat...). I flipped, I turned, and I turned out 4 batches of 8 golden brown Pancake Puffs, one after the other.

They sucked them down. The Jam ones didn't fly so well, but the chocolate chip seemed to be a big hit so I tried one.

It tasted like a bisquick pancake.

All this time and energy for a round bisquick pancake. With a chip in the middle.

Why do these companies make you go through all the trouble of having buttermilk, whipping and whisking separated egg whites, and creating little ball shapes out of an unneccesarily complicated pancake recipe?

Next time, I'm buying the "shake and pour" stuff. I bet I'll get the same response.

Keep you posted...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mommy Slumber Party Stories #1

Some girlfriends and I had our annual Mommy Slumber Party at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills a couple of nights ago. We were having breakfast on the rooftop when we were “buzzed” by the HUGEST, 6-legged, green flying machine I’d ever seen. One friend screamed. Another bolted for cover under the hostess stand. A nearby wanna-be-C-list actor gave us the evil eye - just a bunch of “stupid mothers.”

The waiters and I chased the bug around trying to corner it. It landed on our table. Too big to squish, I suggested covering it with a glass so we could take it somewhere else. The waiter caught it under the glass and the host took a menu to slide under it. Mr. Wanna-Be must have wanted to impress his business companions because he came over and took the glass from us and dumped it’s live contents over the balcony all the while looking at us like we were just as irritating. After he shook off the menu and slammed it down, I looked at him and said, “Do you really think that was the best way to get rid of it?”

As the bug made it’s way back up over the balcony and toward one of his breakfast companion’s brioche French toast, he realized what I was saying. What an idiot. We paid our check and made a “bee-line’ for the pool.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Effective Advertising

I came home from a back-to-school shopping expedition the other day with a couple little t-shirt/pant outfits for my 6 yr old girl. They were so cute, AND, they were 1/2 off!

I presented these items to Livi who put them on and modeled them for me. Then she asked me "Mommy? Where did you buy these?"

"Nordstrom's" I said. "Why?" Like I don't know any better...

"Well you should go to Walmart. They have everything I need for back-to-school."

"Is that so?"

"Yes. They have t-shirts, pencils, art supplies and more. Even glasses."

She doesn't even wear glasses.

All I could think of was that Walmart clearly understands the potency of advertising during "Sponge Bob".

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Opening Night

Last night was opening night for our show "Expressing Motherhood" at the Electric Lodge.

Yesterday morning I leapt uncharacteristically (as opposed to my more usual "ooze") out of bed. I immediately took off my pajamas (which often stay on for hours as I make lunches, unload the dishwasher, and take advantage of the carpool "drop off" lane at school) and put on what felt like something an infinitely cooler person might wear. I handed off my children to my babysitter so I could spend the day practicing, priming and primping for the big show. After all, it was "Opening Night". I was going to be free of my motherly duties, free of my responsiblities, and free to drink...well...freely. I was a fabulous child-freespirit!

Finally, at 6pm I left for the theatre...where I put on my pajamas back on. They were my costume for my sketch. I couldn't help but note the irony. Just another mom in pajamas...again.

SHARE WITH FRIENDS...OR Random Strangers...


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Intense Debate Comments

Great Movies That Make Me Laugh