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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Formal Apology to Harlan Margolis...

It appears my bad attitude, inappropriate behavior and general lack of apathy might be getting out of hand.

I flipped my friend, Harlan, the bird. 

In my defense, I didn't know it was him.

I was trying to get into the left turn lane on Overland Avenue.  There was this LOOOOOOONG line of cars ahead of me that were filtering into the one lane that went straight and the lane to turn left was way ahead of me.  Then a car turned in front of me from the right hand lane.

The car was driving slowly.  There seemed to be a lot of boxes in the front seat and the driver seemed distracted.  By "distracted" I mean he was being careful about where he was going, and not thinking about my needs as a driver.   I could have been ONE car closer to that left turn lane if it weren't for this @#$&*!  10 seconds closer to my destination!  ARGH!

So when I FINALLY zipped past the car - indignantly gassing it as I maneuvered into the left turn lane, emphasizing via my gas pedal to all of the other cars in line that they had wasted my personal time - I held up my right hand and flipped him the bird as I passed.

Then I recogized him.  It was Harlan.  My daughter's friend's dad.  My friend.


"OH MY GOD@!  I just flipped Sierra's daddy the bird!"

My kids gasped collectively.

Izzy said "You just gave the middle finger to Sierra's DADDY!?"  They were HORRIFIED.  Amused, but mostly horrified.

"Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Oh my God!  I hope he didn't know it was me!  Do you guys think he saw it was me!  Do you think he recognized the car?  Oh boy (sure, now I watch my language)!  I feel SOOOOO BAD!"

"MOMMY!  He totally knew it was you from the dent in our car.  Sierra's daddy is going to hate you!"

"No he won't." I wasn't sure about this. "I'll apologize to him when I see him.  He was driving slow.  Did you see him?  I think he might have been on his phone."  I tried to pin this whole thing on Harlan.

They weren't biting.

"Oooooooooo...Mommy.  You are so bad!"

"I'll see him at pick-up and I'll apologize.  I'm sure he'll laugh about it."  I HATED that I was setting the example that flipping someone the bird was easy to shake off.  But I hated the idea my kids thought I started a fight with a friend's dad even more. 

I was definitely NOT being a good role model.

Maybe it's time to get my road rage under control...or I could just start walking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When The Party's Over...

This weekend we had our 10th Annual Potluck Halloween Spooktacular at our house. 

Every year the kids and I host a big potluck halloween shindig and every year we end up with about 80 - 100 people running through the house, playing basketball in our driveway, and crowding around the buffet on our tiny kitchen table eating bagels, frozen pizza, guacamole dip, cheese en croute, cupcakes and candy while we take pictures of our kids and congratulate ourselves for amortizing the cost of those Iron Man and Princess costumes.

There is no denying that a party of this size and scope takes a lot of coordination, a certain amount of creativity (and a fresh prescription of Xanax).  But every year the kids and I manage to pull it off.

I think I have acquired some wisdom over the years that might be useful should you decide to throw your own halloween party.

#1 - NEVER throw a kids party longer than 2 hours. Seriously.  Not a minute longer.   Not unless you're a sucker for punishment.

#2 - DON'T take "drop-offs."  If a parent even smells a drop-off opportunity they'll take it.  Don't let that happen to you.

#2 - Serve alcohol.  5 bottles of wine to every 30 grown-ups works (...or is that 30 bottles to every 5 grown-ups...)

#3 - NEVER let the kids play in the house.  Unless you have a basement or you don't care about broken closet doors, traumatized house pets, and empty juice boxes in your bed.  

#4 - GET HELP!  Get REAL help!  Even if it's just ONE person!  Pay for it!  Besides, if you pay someone to help out, they don't hold a grudge.

#5 - Warn the neighbors.

#6 - Don't invite the mean kids.  Your kids hate them.  You hate them.  Talk about the party in front of them the next day. 

#7 - DRESS Up!  (This year I am Scarlett O'Hara in case you were curious...).  It's fun and the costumes can be used year round.  This year Scott is a Gladiator...."RRRrrooooowwwrrrr."

#8 - GO POT LUCK!  Then you basically only have as much food as you do people and it's SO much easier.  Just coordinate what everyone brings so you don't have 20 dozen bagels and no cream cheese.

#9 -Toilet paper is fun.

#10 - Take pictures.  This way you can prove to your kids later on that they had a fun childhood.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ode to Bedtime

Bath time is now over
and it's time to go to bed
it's really very simple
all you do is lay your head...

Just put it on the pillow
snuggle down and snuggle tight
I'm turning on the music now...
and turning out the light.

What's that, you say? You need to pee?
But didn't you just go?
Oy! make it quick and wash your hands
And please don't be so slow.

No, you can't get some water
Yes, I can see you DIE of thirst.
But next time you go off to bed
you'll think of drinking first...

You've been running 'round all day long
I should know because I drive
you can't stay up till midnight
you need sleep so you can thrive.

We haven't sat, not once, all day
you must be so very tired.
next time no cookies for dessert
I see that you are wired.

Just close your eyes and go to sleep
I mean it, now, Good Night!
Don't bug your sister, stay in bed,
you're gonna start a fight.

It's really very easy,
just relax and lay your head
no you cannot do it on the floor
now get back into bed.

Here come the kisses
ready now?  I'll kiss your cheek my pup.
Don't tell me that you're nauseous
and you feel like throwing up.

I've put good dreams inside your head
I've scared away the bad
no monsters in your closet
or hiding underneath your bed

If you go to sleep right now
your lunch will have a tasty snack.
Just close your eyes and think good thoughts
and I'll tickle your back.

I need to climb in with you?
Fine!  I'll show you how to sleep
just put your head down just like this
and you...will.....catch..........some..............Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz's.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

21 Habits of Happy Moms and FREE BOOK!

21 Habits of Happy Moms! by the Hybrid Mom Contributors (that's me) is the TOP story on Shine today!

To celebrate the awesomeness of this group of funny women, if you can guess which ones (that's a hint) I wrote you'll be entered to WIN a copy of "mom*over" by Dana Wood (Foreward by Veronica Webb)!  Just leave your guess as comments.  Enter now!  (Because almost no one ever does so chances are you'll have a good shot - plus you'll love this book.)

What is mom*overmom*over is the New Mom's Guide to Getting It Back Together (even if you never had it in the first place!)

"mom*over reads like a juicy expose that spills a delicious secret: a happy mom equals a happy baby.  Dana Wood redefines the tenets of modern motherhood with wit and a stockpile of indispensable, expert advice."
- Cynthia Rowley

Good luck and BE HAPPY!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hey New York Times - Children's Picture Books ARE Still Staples!

Recently, The New York Times published an article by Julie Bosman titled, “Picture Books: No Longer a Staple for Children” which kicked up a lot of dust – and not from the picture books on the shelves.

For the sake of all those panicking parents out there who now believe that everyone else out there is reading Moby Dick aloud nightly to their progeny, someone needs to set the record straight.  You can relax. It’s not happening.

I spent fifteen years in publishing and worked as a literary agent for some amazing children’s book writers and illustrators including Dav Pilkey, Cynthia Rylant, Paul Zindel and Judy Blume.  In addition to Mommy Lite, I contribute regularly to many parenting websites including, and Shine.  But most relevantly, I am the mother to three children - a ten year old girl, and seven and a half year old boy/girl twins - AND a volunteer in my children’s public school library.

From my 360 degree perspective, as well as the perspective of almost every parent out there I know, picture books are still very much staples for children.

Articles about the children’s book industry are often so frustrating and inaccurate.   Reporters who aren’t in the trenches every day believe that sales numbers from book stores and publishing houses are indicators of the health of the industry on the whole.  Sales go down and the assumption is that people aren’t reading.   That’s like saying that gourmet food sales are down so people aren’t eating.

Here is the simple fact. Picture books are expensive.   REALLY expensive.  A beautiful hardcover, the kind we all love buying, giving and sharing with our children, costs a small fortune.  $18 is not an impulse purchase. Not the way a $5 paperback is or even a $9 board book.

Many parents see plunking down $18.00 for a picture book as a luxury.   Sure they’ll pay $24.99 for a hardcover for themselves, but for a thirty-two page picture book their child will outgrow in a few years?   Not so fast.  When the money is tight, these sorts of luxuries are the first thing we parents cut. But that doesn’t mean we’re not reading them to our kids.

When times are tight, parents turn to libraries, garage sales, regional on-line parenting groups where members are practically GIVING boxes of these away, and of course, Ebay.  Do you know what the results were for sales of children’s books on Ebay this morning?  878,908.  And some of these were for collections of books.

What surprised me most about this article was the complete brushing off of the fact that this drop in sales coincided directly with the recession.   Sure parents are anxious about their child’s education. More than ever we are fighting to prepare our children to compete in this world. But this “trend” didn’t suddenly pop up a year ago.  This has been going on for over a decade.

And let’s not forget the most obvious point debating this reported “trend.”  Spending significant time in the evening (let’s say even just a half hour per child) reading large chunks of illustration-free, heavy prose is simply something we as parents know is not the norm.   I don’t know about you, but I have laundry to fold.   Plus?  The kids would never stand for it!  Okay.  Some kids stand for it.  But I want to know if Ms. Bosman has ever pinned down a five year old and made them listen to a chapter of “Ol Yeller.”  Has she even met a parent who’s been able to achieve this feat?  I haven’t.   But if she has, I won’t lie…I’d like to know their secret.

I am happy (and proud) to concede that my 2nd grade twins are reading “Henry and Mudge,” “Captain Underpants” and “Magic Tree House” books.  My son even attempted “The Lightning Thief.” (He bailed forty pages in, but still – it was impressive).  Their classmates are all reading chapter books at school during reading time.  But that doesn’t stop any of them from coming home from “library day” with a picture book about crazy guinea pigs, girls who love purple, and monsters in need of haircuts.

Laughter, amusement and imagination never go out of style.  Picture books provide that for children.  A small escape, a fun story, a beautiful world that draws them in and transports them.  And parents want to be there with them.  Holding their hands as they experience these things.

Reading a picture book together is one of the most beautiful experiences of the parent/child relationship.   Whether it’s a story about a child with salt in his shoes, or a dog with bad breath named Hally Tosis.   Picture books are the cornerstone of the childhood experience.   For parents and children. No recession can squelch it, no need to compete can trump it, and nothing - not tv, not movies, not video games - can replace it.

In my opinion, picture books are here to stay.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christopher "The Situation" Columbus

Today is Columbus Day.

Does your child even know who Christopher Columbus is?  Mine didn't.  Well, the twins didn't.  The older one was a bit sketchy on the details as was her cousin who said "he found America and did something to the Indians."

We don't even get the day off here.  I guess the thinking in Hollywood is that it's more of an "East Coast" holiday.  After all it's not like he landed in Santa Monica.

Granted, "finding the Americas" might not seem like such a big deal to some kids considering the fact he was on a boat headed in this direction and was bound to run up on land anyway.  Plus, the Indians were already here - so didn't THEY  discover America?  I mean, they were already here.  When Christoper Columbus stood on a rock that probably had been used as a washboard for over 1,000 years and proclaimed "I've discovered America!" Don't you wonder if the Indians all looked at each other like "who is this bozo and what's with those pants?"

I know, he was a great man.  He was an explorer.  To our generation, that was exciting.  But has he lost some of his "Sparkle" to our kids' generation?

Maybe he needs to be cooler?  Maybe we could do something for his image to make kids remember him and his exploits better.

What do you say we rewrite the history books to say he landed on the Jersey Shore.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Um...I'll Pass on the Happy Ending...

I got a massage last night and it was not consensual.

Well, at first it was.  I wanted one.  I went looking for one.  So a girlfriend and I went to this cheap reflexology place on Pico boulevard.  We took off our shoes and ordered up a one hour chair massage each.  But my willing participation stopped there.

It all started well enough.  A wooden bucket of warm water was put on the ground in front of me and I was instructed to put my feet in it.  Ahhhh....warmth, and peace.

Then the beating began.

She bent me over my own thighs and savagely attacked every knot in my neck - and a few bones I think I needed.

I yelped "ACK!  OOCH!  OW!"

She said "Too hard?"

"Yes!  Too hard!  A bit lighter please?  Thank you for asking."

She relented a bit as she moved down my lower back and shoved my face into the pillow on my lap, liberally rubbing my carotid arteries to the point of me almost blacking out.  I was grateful for the pillow.


"Too hard?"

"Um.  Yes.  Could you maybe just do my shoulders?"

She moved to my shoulders.  But I assume she felt "thwarted" by my sports bra because she started fighting with it.  Pulling and stretching it out, forcing the straps down over my shoulders, binding my upper arms against my body.   And while she showed my delts who was boss.  I could only swing my little forearms around in protest. 

"Help!  Ack!  It hurts!"

"Too hard?"

"Yes!  A bit too hard.  Thank you."

She moved on, wrestling my shirt off of me.  I was kind of confused.  We weren't in a private massage room.  We were in a large open room with at LEAST 9 other chairs.  And there were men in at least 4 of them.  I didn't think I was supposed to show skin in a place like this and her ripping off my shirt to expose my naked mid-section felt a little wrong. 

But I looked to my left and my friend was serenly laying next to me in her own chair.  Her shirt was lightly pulled down around her shoulders.  She looked fine about it.  I figured, my therapist thought it was okay because I was wearing a sports bra.  So I wasn't really going to be naked.  Just exposed.

Very, very exposed.

So I laid back down so she could continue.  The next thing I know, she's wrestling with my sports bra and widdling it down my midsection - in the middle of this public massage place!  All my stomachy nakedness hanging out - granted, I was lying on the stomachy-nakedness - but STILL - I was HALF-NAKED from the back in a public place!  Now I'm not a shy person.  I'm not even easily embarrassed, I've gone skinny dipping.  I'll walk around my own yard naked, I'll even go sans swimsuit in my gym's ladies jacuzzi.

But I couldn't help feeling like this had somehow taken a wrong turn.

And then it was clear it had.

She started massaging my legs.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Up, Up, UP...ACK!  SHE TOUCHED MY VAGINA!!  Just a bit on the side as she "got in there" WAY up on my inner thigh, but she was up there - like my bikini waxing lady!  That had to be a mistake.  I've had massages hundreds of times and no one ever came close to massaging my vagina, near my vagina, or anything "en route" to my vagina!

She must have thought there was more thigh up there.  Yes.  That's it.  She thought there was more thigh.  I let it slide.  But THEN she did it on the other side!  Sure I had on yoga pants, but it still felt so wrong.

Just as I was about to tell her to "keep her hands above the belt", she smacked my butt to tell me I was done.  I wanted to grab my shirt and throw it over my exposed body, but my arms were still bound by my sports bra.  I floundered half naked in my massage chair.

I mumbled..."um...could you help me please?"

She man-handled my bra back up into position over my bare boobs and as I sat up in my chair while she went to bring me water.

My friend's massage finished up and she sat up in her chair and looked over at me.   Half-naked.  Hair in crazy bun on my head, my bare mid-section exposed, my sports bra askew, and a confused look on my face.

"What happened to you?"

"I don't know.  I think I was just molested."

My therapist came back.  "Water?"

"Yes.  Please.  Water."  I drank it.  Half-suspecting there to be a ruffie in it.

It was the weirdest massage I'd ever gotten.  I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I went home and showered.  My boyfriend looked at me as I climbed into bed next to him.

"How was your massage?" He asked me.

"Too hard."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy October! (PLUS a discount from my fav place!)

October is my family's favorite month.    Why?  HALLOWEEN!!!!!
My family starts planning for Halloween in August.   As soon as the kids are done with camp, they start thinking about their costumes - planning their outfits, weighing their options - even before they've picked out back-to-school outfits.

This weekend we'll  pull out all the decorations from the garage and start to decorate the whole house - inside and out.

We have a few "staple" decorations; a Barbie tied up in spider webs with a HUGE spider creeping toward her; barfing pumpkins;  and a pen of fake rats and real guinea pigs so that when people walk by they see movement and freak out.  It's awesome.

We don't do the scary, bloody stuff.    I had a traumatic experience in a neighbor's "haunted house" when I was 7 and despite my love of Halloween, to this day I'm a big scaredy cat when it comes to zombies, dead people and blood - real or fake.  (Makes you wonder what happened, doesn't it...)

But despite my fears, I do love the funny, kitchey stuff.  It's our favorite time of year.

AND, for all the other moms out there who love this holiday as much as we do, I got my favorite on-line gift store, Spoon Sisters (, to offer Mommy Lite readers a 10% discount on ANY orders you make before October 14th.  The code is SPOONLITE.  This is JUST for you guys!  So you can share the halloween spirit with us! 

I've already placed my halloween order and here are a few of the things I got:

1) Finger-Mustache Tattoos - so I'll always have a costume ready:

Fingerstache – Mustache-shaped temporary tattoos for your fingers

2) Some Gnarly Teeth - Party favors for our annual Halloween Party.

3) and Nose Masks - to hand out at the party - for people who don't have costumes...

Return of the Nose Masks - Silly Nasal Disguises

You will seriously have a great time checking out their site even if you don't buy anything.  They're stuff is hilarious!  OH - and just so you know, the coupon code is good on ANYTHING on their site - not just Halloween stuff. 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN shopping and let me know what you bought!

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


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