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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You can lead the boy to the playroom...

My daughter wanted to play with her brother today.  Not because she likes him...she doesn't. (okay, maybe she does, but she just doesn't know it yet).

The reason she so eagerly pursued her twin was because I had decided to put an end to all electronic activities in the afternoons after school.  No TV, no Wii and no Club Penguin.  I thought, they should "interact", "build a bond","play."  Boy, were they mad. 

"But MOOooooooommm...there's nothing to do!" and they gave me their most pathetic gazes as I stood at the kitchen counter breading chicken cutlets for dinner.

"Go play." 

They stared at me.

"...With each other!"  I added and motioned between the two of them with an eggy crumby finger in case they needed a visual to understand, which clearly they did.

"Alright.  Come on, Ben, let's go play house."

"I don't want to play house."

"I played Super Smash Mario Cart Brothers the last time you asked!"

"Fiiiiiiiiiine-a." he said with an extra "a" sound to emphasize his annoyance.

Livi smiled. "Okay.  I'm the mommy. What are you?"


Well, you can't say I didn't lead the horse to water.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

$300 Pot Roast

I make delicious pot roast. 

Seriously, it's crazy good.  And it's so easy.  Want to know my secret?  Use a ridiculously expensive bottle of red wine.

None of the cooking magazines tell you this.  I found it out quite by accident.

I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit (I'm a cooking magazine addict).  I thought "Hey, Pot Roast! That should be easy...and cheap."  I was really proud of my frugality.

So I crisped up some bacon pieces in my dutch oven, braised the spice rubbed roast till brown on all sides and went to add wine...

I reached into my wine rack and grabbed the first bottle of wine I saw.  I don't remember the name, only that it was a Cabernet Sauvignon.  I poured 2 cups over the browned meat before I realized what I had done.   My jaw dropped.

I looked at the label and realized this was the $300 bottle of wine I had been gotten as a "welcome" gift to a former-friend's 40th birthday celebration.  I had put it away after that trip and planned to save it for a special occasion.  It wasn't just a crazy expensive bottle of wine, it was a gift from someone who was a best friend.  

But alas, while the wine aged beautifully, the friendship did not.   And now, all that was left of that friendship was boiling and bubbling around a cheap cut of meat and some peeled carrots.

I could have cried.  I almost did.  But I didn't.  I laughed.  Uncontrollably.   And I couldn't stop as whatever pain and sadness I had about the lost friendship burned off and reduced leaving only a delicious and more palatable experience behind.

If there was a  grown-up version of "when life gives you lemons..." this was it.  

Friday, September 25, 2009

One Flakey Fairy

The tooth fairy flaked last night, and it's not the first time.

My daughter has been waiting patiently for weeks for her loose bottom tooth to come out.  For almost 2 weeks she has been wiggling it, testing it, pulling at it in hopes of expediting the process.  And finally, it came out while she was in school.

She was so excited.

She showed it to everyone, taking it out of the zippered silk pouch I gave her to take to school for just such a possibility.  She revealed her tooth-less grin for anyone willing to watch and showed people how she could now sip on a straw with her teeth tightly clenched.

This was exciting indeed.

But the most exciting part was getting ready for the tooth fairy.  We talked all evening about optimum location for tooth placement and the tooth fairy's going "rate" for a small front bottom tooth.  

At bedtime she positioned the whiteness of the teeny tiny chicklet right on top of a pink flower design of her sheet so it was easier for the fairy to see and then she went to bed with high hopes.

Then I went to bed...exhausted and didn't wake up till 7:30am the next morning when she was standing at the foot of my bed with a very displeased pout.

"The tooth fairy didn't come."

I panicked. "Um...really?  She didn't??"

"No...(beat...angry stare)...She didn't."

"That's so weird honey." I said searching the corners of my dusty mind for a way to fix the problem this stupid fairy had caused me.  "I wonder why?" and I vamped " know what? I heard that LOTS of kids lost their teeth yesterday.  She must have been really backed-up with work.  Wow.  That's such a shame, but I totally bet she'll come tonight if we try again."

She wasn't completely convinced of my reasoning, but she was on board with the revised plan.

The next night we tried again.  Tiny tooth placed prominently against the flower pattern.  Livi must have checked it 4 times before going to sleep.

"Do you think she'll come tonight?"

"Yes, honey...for sure.  She was just REALLY busy."

She seemed satisfied and went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up with a small hand tugging on a toe which was sticking out from under my comforter.

I was still in the throes of REM sleep, but I still had enough guilt and neuroses inside of me to instantly snap-to and know what exactly what I was about to hear...

"Moooooom!  She didn't come again!"  Livi said holding the teeny, tiny tooth in the middle of her teeny tiny outstretched hand for me to see.  She looked like she was on the verge of tears.

I couldn't BELIEVE I forgot AGAIN!  2 nights in a row!  What kind of mother was I?  How do you forget to be the tooth fairy 2 NIGHTS IN A ROW???!  How hard was it to remember to take a tooth and put a dollar in it's place before I go to bed??!  I was definitely going to be stripped of my fairy wings for this.   I felt horrible - and so sad for my little girl. 

I called upon my improvisational skills to come up with ever increasingly more satisfying answer as to how the Tooth fairy might miss two nights in a row.  "Maybe the tooth fairy was confused by the bunk beds and didn't know where to look?" or "Maybe the tooth fairy was still too overwhelmed from all of the teeth that fell out over the past day or two..." and my favorite lame excuse "You know what?  I think I read on-line that our neighborhood got a new Tooth Fairy because ours was relocated somewhere else.  Maybe she's just trying to get used to her new job and catch up."  Surprisingly, that excuse seemed acceptable to her.

So that night, we placed the tooth even nearer to the edge of the pillow, again set against the bright pink design of one of her flower patterns and we wrote a big note and put it on the wall "Dear Tooth Fairy - My tooth is right here!" and we put a big arrow pointing to Livi's head.  I kissed her and told her FOR SURE the tooth fairy wouldn't be confused tonight and would get around to taking her tooth.

I spent the whole evening working really hard to keep my mind on the fact that I had a job to do.  "Don't forget the tooth.  Don't forget the tooth..." I thought about it while I was clearing the table "Don't forget the tooth.  Don't forget the tooth..."; I thought about it when I was cleaning the kitchen "Don't forget the tooth..."; and I thought about it while I was folding laundry in front of the TV "Don't forget the tooth.  Don't forget the tooth,  Don't forget the tooth..."

When I was about to crawl into bed, I went into my wallet and couldn't find a $1 bill.

But I did have a $10.  It was a ridiculous amount for a lower, front tooth, but I decided that the Tooth Fairy had to pay a late fee.  A big one.

The next morning Livi was at the foot of my bed jumping up and down and waving a $10 bill.

"Mommy!  The Tooth Fairy came and I got $10!!!!!!"

"WOW, Livi!  That's GREAT!

I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.  I had finally gotten the job done.

"And Mom!  Feel this!" She grabbed my hand and put my finger in her mouth to test the wiggliness of another loose bottom tooth.  

This girl's gonna be rich.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September Showers Bring Ex and Flowers...

I found my husband in the shower yesterday.  This wouldn't be strange if we weren't divorced.  Well, almost divorced.  (you see, it's complicated...there's the health insurance issue, and the economy, and...never mind, I digress...)

My "Ex" came over to my house last night to see the kids and I busied myself with writing so he could be alone with them.

Nature called so I went to the bathroom.  The door was shut and the shower was on.  I opened the unlocked door and saw my "Ex" sudsing away in my shower.   Happy as a clam.

For a single brief moment, there was a complete normalcy about it.  After all, we'd been together for 15 years.  This was a familiar scene.  Kind of.  But then I realized that I was in my house, and he was in my bathroom and he was rubbing MY $40/bottle Shu Uemora shampoo all over his head while eliminating cellulite with my Bliss Seaweed Soap.

And I was pissed.

"What are you doing?!"  I practically gagged out.


"Der!  I see that!  Why are you doing it here?"  I felt so violated.   This was shower rape. 

He shrugged and mumbled something about Izzy saying he needed one.   I would have bought this had I not heard the "tap, tap, tapping" of my boyfriend's razor against the tile wall (yes, he was using Scott's razor).  My ex doesn't shave unless he's going to work...or going on a date. 

His cover was blown as I realized what was happening here.  He wasn't just randomly invading my shower, he was primping for a my house. 

Then I surprised myself.  I wasn't angry anymore.  At least not really angry.  I wasn't happy I would have to scour the entire shower again.  It was, however, very strange for me.  I had  seen him primp for dates before, but they had never been with another woman.  I thought about how lucky this woman was to be getting such a good-looking, freshly turned out man who smelled of expensive shampoo and seaweed soap.  And I smiled.  I figured she had a pretty good night ahead of her.

So, if this woman is reading this post, I hope you had a good time, got some lovely flowers, and enjoyed the scent of my ex-husband (okay, still husband...I have got to do that paperwork...).  My "Ex" put a lot of energy into impressing you. 

But maybe, for his birthday this year, you could buy him some expensive shampoo and good soap to keep at his place.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Being an Idiot is Exhausting...

So, I'm sitting here with my boyfriend Scott, trying to figure out how to add gadgets onto my blog and hook them up to my website.  You know, to make it more fascinating for all of you.

My mother is in from New York and she just joined our little mission. 

I should explain first that my mother is lovingly referred to by family, friends and acquaintances alike as "Mmmaaarrrrrge."  You need only come into contact with her once to understand.  She's very cute and highly intelligent, but to say her reasoning skills are "lacking" is an understatement.  Not to mention, she's just so darn unlucky.  Whenever she's around pipes break, trees fall and locusts swarm.  You'd think I was joking, but I'm not.  But that's a whole other post.  You can't imagine what it was like growing up with this woman.  My sister and I are lucky to be alive.

So anyway, she's in for Rosh Hashana and here I sit at my computer, with my boyfriend, and now she's trying to help me.

I hit a few buttons and accidentally delete some important stuff.  Like my domain...I think.

"ARGH! I say.  It's so much work to be an idiot."

Yes it is."  said Scott.  He's smirking at me.

"It's exhausting...really!  It takes like twice the work."

He nodded.

"What does that mean?  Why?  I don't get it?" says my mom.

Scott and I stare at each other.

I try to clarify for my mom that my technological stupidity makes it harder to do what I want to do.  

My mom replies again "You know...idiots don't even know they're idiots.  They just keep going.  You're agrandizing the position of idiots.  That's why smart people get so upset by it all..."  I'm cutting it off there, because she's still going as I type this.

Point made, and clearly the apple does not fall far from the tree.  I'm doomed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Captain Safety

Ben had to pack a virtual safety kit for his homework today. 

He was given a worksheet with a bunch things to choose from for his "kit" like a blanket, batteries, a flashlight, a balloon and canned food.  I think the wrong answer here is obvious.  But my son didn't want to pack a radio "because it might attract bears."

Yes, that's the man I want to be with when emergency strikes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Street Creds"

"As the mother of a child with Autism..."

I don't have anything else to add to that, but I got your attention didn't I? Don't feel like a sucker. You're not the only one.

It has come to my attention that whenever I say "As the mother of a child with autism..." people instantly pay attention. They presume I'm wise and sagely, and they'll take virtually anything I say as gospel. It's quite fabulous really.

The statement could be followed with something as simple as "...I like kids chewable vitamins" and people will take this into serious consideration. "Hmmm...maybe chewables ARE better for kids than gummies. I mean, she would know, her child has autism."

I didn't ask for this. I didn't plan on having a child with autism. I didn't want to have a child with autism, but "lo and behold" I do.  And it sucks. But when you have a child with special needs and you've put in the hours and years of dedication to the process of helping that child as I have, shouldn't I enjoy a few of the perks?

Well, people thinking I am really smart is one of them.

When I say "As the mother of a child with autism, I buy mostly organic fruit."

It is met with a collective "Ooooooooooooo."

When I say "As the mother of a child with autism, I have my kids ride their bikes at least twice a week."

I hear a united"Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh."

Believe me, I don't actually think I'm saying anything interesting or even noteworthy. I'm usually not. And God knows, whatever I'm yapping about is almost always unsubstantiated. I'm a busy woman.  Sure my kid has autism, but that doesn't mean I know any more than the average bear.

But people can't help but think I have something valuable to say. It's appears to be a natural gut reaction to think "Oh, she's the mother of a child with autism.  She must know a lot about child development." Or "Wow, her kid has autism. That sucks. Even if don't agree with her, I feel sorry for her and I'm going to give her whatever she wants."

I'd love to say I'm above it, but I'm not.

It's wonderful. If I'm at school and I want my daughter to have a better seat in class I just say "As the mother of an autistic child, I think my child should sit in front." If I'm out with friends at a movie I can say with great authority "As the mother of an autistic child, I think their characters were well-drawn." Or, let's say we're driving to the valley and I just don't want to be stuck on side streets. I'll say "As the mother of an autistic child, I think we should take the 405."

I suppose I shouldn't expose myself to the world and tell people I've figured this out, and I certainly shouldn't use my own family's misfortune to take advantage of others when I can get away with it.

But I did, and I do. And now, I'm headed out to dinner with some friends. I'd like to have a couple of cocktails, so I'm thinking I'll casually ask "who wants to be the designated driver?" We'll all look at each other and then I'll point to one of them and say "As the mother of an autistic child, I really think you should be the one driving."

And it will work.

At long last, I've found my silver lining.


This morning, I only hit the snooze button twice before stumbling out of bed to get 2 of my kids ready for school - Ben, the barfy one, is sick.

In between filling eco-friendly water bottles, warming up dinosaur oatmeal and finding lost converse sneakers, I read my e-mail.

I got a note from Mom Bloggers Club saying that I was going to be the "Featured Blogger of the Week!"

I was elated!  It ALMOST didn't even matter that I had forgotten to buy coffee at the market yesterday.

Thanks Mom Bloggers Club (check them out at and to all of you who are helping Mommy Lite to thrive!

I love you!  (But I'll love you more after I get some coffee...)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's Not A Party Till The Small Boy Barfs...

My son barfs.  A lot.

He always has.  At 10 months he was already at the Occupational Therapist to be evaluated for a bad gag reflex.

He chokes on everything.  He chokes on chicken, he chokes on blueberries...Hell, he's choked on milk!  And as he's gotten older, it hasn't gotten better.  I'll say to him "Chew, Ben, chew!" and he'll smile at me with a mouth packed with buttered wheel pasta.  And he'll giggle.  Then he'll choke, and out it comes.

He throws up everywhere.  He's thrown up at the market ("Clean Up on aisle 5" was heard shortly thereafter),  he's thrown up at school, he's thrown up at Sea World he's thrown up at Nate N' Als's in Beverly Hills.  But mostly, he throws up at birthday parties sending nervous mothers clasping their babies and running for the hills.

"Is he sick?" They ask trying to sound like they're not calculating how long their child was exposed to mine.

"No.  He just chokes.  A lot."

"Oh." They say and smile nonchalantly.  But it doesn't go unnoticed that the parent and child keep a "healthy" distance from us for the rest of the party.

He can't help himself.  He gets so excited.  There are treats galore; goldfish, pretzels, chicken nuggets, grapes and birthday cake.  He can't get it all in fast enough.  And then there's the running around.  Nothing says "puke" like a belly full of cake and a bouncer.  Especially for someone who'll barf going over a speed bump.

So we keep working on the chewing and the not over-stuffing his mouth, and the learning to sit still for at least a few minutes after we eat.

But right now, we're off to another birthday party.  He's excited.  He'll swim, he'll slide, he'll eat cake and he'll stuff handfuls of goldfish into his mouth. 

And that's when the party really begins...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Home Is A Four-Letter Word

I'm ready for the kids to go back to school.  I want my kids to go back to school.  I NEED my kids to go back to school.

It's not that I don't love them.  It's just that I don't entirely like them very least not right now.

Every morning for the past four weeks since we've been home from our trip to New York, my kids have come into my room, jumped on my sleeping head, shaken my snoozing body and said "Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy???  What are we doing today?!"

Usually they were happy with my answer.  Sometimes I'd say "You all have playdates."  Or, "We're going swimming."  Or, "Ben has a playdate and the girls are going to come school shopping at the mall with me."  Over the course of the summer we went to the beach, we picked fruit, we visited friends, we saw family, we hit museums and parks and ice cream shops and even the car wash.  All of these things were greeted with varying degrees of enthusiasm depending on how much each child assumed they'd get out of the activity.

But there was one reply I threw out there occasionally that consistently elicited an equally horrified response from all three children.  "We're not going anywhere.  We're staying home."


For the record, home is definitely NOT boring.  How do I know this?  I am the one who shelled out the money for all of their toys, video games and American Girl Doll crap precisely so they would not be bored.  I responded to pleas of "Can I have it?" and "I'll play with it all the time!" by purchasing these items my children swore would entertain them at home.  I set aside an entire room and filled it with these toys, and hundreds of other brain-building activities, art projects and items that were guaranteed by toymakers to be "hours of fun"!

But what do I hear?  "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM...we wanna GO somewhere!"

It's remarkable to me that they don't realize that all we do is "go somewhere".  We spend all year running around to gymnastics practices, karate lessons and art classes.  There are endless errands to run, trips to the market, and doctor's appointments.  We are never home.

And I love to be home.  Isn't that why I pay rent?  What's wrong with being home?  We have toys, art supplies, clean bathrooms?  That's more than I can say for the beach.  We have sprinklers, Direct TV and an endless supply of chips.  That sounds good to me.

But it doesn't to my kids.

So today, on our last day before returning to school, I am going to indulge their request to "go somewhere" for one last time this summer.  We'll probably hit the mall and go for frozen yogurt and do numerous other things where chips and clean bathrooms are not readily available.

I'll spend one more day listening to them whine, complain and fight with each other.  We'll avoid "home" like the plague because it's their last day of summer and that's what they want to do.

But tomorrow, after I wave goodbye to them from the other side of the school fence and they march off to their first day of classes, I'll head back to my empty home and enjoy my silent heaven.  I'll eat chips and use my clean bathroom and enjoy the home I've worked so hard to create.

At least until I have to go to the market.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Left, Center & Right-Of-Passage (T-M-I Alert! If offended easily, turn back!)

Today I brought my daughters with me to get a Bikini Wax.

Don't worry, they didn't get one. I did.

It has been a LOOOOONG summer (har-har...) and I still have to play cruise director for another week. Since we've been home from New York we've been to every kid-friendly movie out there, to the beach, to every park in the city, to tons of museums and, to the mall. We've baked brownies, cookies, pasta, chicken soup, lasagna, enchiladas, and had a lemonade stand. I've braided my daughters' hair, challenged my son to Wii and even had our own petting zoo. Well I was running out of activities, running out of patience, and running out and over the edges of my Hanky Panky thong. I couldn't take my bestial existence for one more day so despite my lack of childcare, I made an appointment with my beautician and decided to take them with me. I figured a trip to Belladonna in Beverly Hills could just be another cultural activity. After all, waxing is a Jewish rite-of-passage.

I dropped my son off with a friend (for fear the experience would totally scar him) and took the girls to see Miheala (the woman who owns my wonderful place).

I explained to them, "Mommy needs to have her eyebrows done and get a bikini wax."

This intrigued my girls. They'd never even seen me in a bikini (which isn't surprising since I haven't worn one since before my twin pregnancy). Izzy asked, "What's a bikini wax?"

I'm a believer in using proper technical terminology and simple, clear descriptions of adult “behavior” so I said, "Well, it's when you take off all of the hair on your vagina that sticks out when you wear underwear or a bathing suit."
"Oh, mommy...I can see that happening to you." Livi said. I gave her a "thanks a lot" glare.
"What do they do to your eyebrows?" said Izzy.

"They make sure I have two.”

Satisfied I had laid the groundwork for this to be a casual, easy-going outing, we embarked for Belladonna.

Izzy asked "Can we come into the room with you?"
I froze. Which is hard to do when you don't want to look like you're freezing. I tried to remain calm, but inside I was freaking out. Would seeing some woman pouring hot wax on my vagina and peeling it off in hairy, waxy strips ruin them forever? Would it make puberty scarier? Would they ever respect me again? Not to mention, how do I explain WHY I was doing this. Would they buy that I just wanted to “feel clean.” This was all kind of horrifying. But I said, "Uh, sure...if you want to. It's totally up to you." I shrugged nonchalantly.

"I'm coming in!" Typical Livi.

"Do I have to?"

"No, Honey, you don't. It's not a big deal and it won't take very long.”
When we got there Izzy was mesmerized. “Oooo, it smells like smoothies.” Livi saw make-up on the coffee table and set up shop.
After Miheala kvelled over my children whom she had never met in the years I’d been going to her, I asked her “Do people ever bring their kids in? Is it okay to do that?”
“Absolutely. I have lots of clients whose kids have come in with them. It’s no big deal.” She told me about one client's daughter who watched her mom do a full waxing then climbed up on the table and said “My turn!” I personally think that if she had waxed the girl it would have been a funnier story, but it was enough to make me feel comfortable.
She said “We’re going in…who’s coming!?”
Livi put down the sample make-up, ended the pretend phone call she was having on her fake phone, and jumped off the sofa. “Yay!”
“I’m stayin’ here!” said Izzy.
So Miheala, Livi and I went to get my bikini wax. Livi took the stool in the corner and I climbed, bottomless, onto the table. No big deal, right?
Livi was mesmerized. “Mama? They put the wax ALL OVER?!”, “Mama? Do you know Miheala can see your vagina?” “Mama? Does that hurt?”
I could see this was definitely going to provide an education.
“Yes, I know she can see my vagina. She’s like a doctor. She sees vagina’s all day.” I regretted that candid statement as soon as it came out of my mouth.”
“Miheala? Do you want to see vaginas all day?” Yup. I should have known better.
Halfway through, the door squeaked open and an eyeball peered through. “ACK!” Izzy screamed and slammed the door.
Livi decided to abandon her perch in the room and go out into the hall to give her big sister a detailed run-down of what she had seen. “Izzy, you know what she’s doing in there??...”
Two minutes later, they both peeked in, giggled and slammed the door.
“In or out girls.” I said to them.
They peeked in and giggled again. “OH NO! I don’t want to see this!” Izzy squawked again.
“In or out!”
A little pattern emerged…
Open door, giggle, slam!
“In or out!”
Open door, giggle slam.
“In or out!!!”
Open door, giggle, point…slam.
I realized it’s really hard to be taken seriously when you don’t have any pants on. 
We finished the bikini wax and I invited both the girls to watch me wax my brows.  This occurred with much less hullabaloo. They ooed and ahhed over Miheala’s precise shaping and authoritative technique. They asked questions like “Could you take off her whole eyebrow? Would that hurt?” and “Would you do that now?” Thankfully, she didn’t.
When I was all cleaned and waxed we paid our bill.
Livi and Izzy commented on how I had red areas on my face and wanted to know how long it would be there and commented how it looked like I was wearing red eye shadow.   I told them it would go away in an hour…unlike them.
I have to say, I think the trip was very successful. The girls didn’t fight once, they were amused, and they learned some very interesting and helpful things. Things they’ll need to know one day. Right? Okay, it wasn’t a trip to the Natural History Museum, but for sure it was a very educational experience.
Hmmm…I wonder what we should do tomorrow? Acupuncture?

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