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



Saturday, July 31, 2010

All Alone...

I'm all alone.

Yesterday I dropped the twins off at the 3 day long sleepover camp offered by their big sister's camp - and for the first time in 10 years,  I am alone.

Sure I've had a night or two off here and there.  I've had some great overnights with girlfriends, a spa weekend here and there and I even had a few days last fall when I went to NYC on business by myself.  But I never really felt alone.  I could always call, they were with our babysitter and hence under my care.  They were within reach.  Not like now.

They're at camp now and for three days I don't get to speak with them, have input in their activities, or be a primary part of their lives.

My boyfriend is back in LA, working.  My Ex is off "stretching" or doing something else athletic with his incredibly fit girlfriend.   I am here in Woodstock, by myself.

And the first thing I did was cry.

Well first I went shopping.  After all their camp is near Woodbury Commons and well, I couldn't let an opportunity for some quality outlet shopping go by.  The opportunity to walk into a store sans child was a great way to celebrate my freedom.

I could browse, I could savor, I could focus on the task at hand.  Hmm...do I like the blue or the green better on me.  I could hold the shirts up in front of the mirror and truly contemplate this dilemma without children breathing on the glass, drawing smiley faces in the condensation.  I could try on a few different things without a kid melting against the wall, sinking, saying "I'm Booooooooord!"  I could hit "just one more shop" before I left without paying for it in whining and tears.  It was so liberating.

They weren't hiding in the racks, terrorizing other shoppers, and just plain making shopping an unpleasant experience.

I didn't even buy much.  Just a little See by Chloe sun dress and a pair of short black Jimmy Choo boots for like 85% off (they're FABULOUS!).

But then I got back to the house in Woodstock.

I walked into the house I'd been sharing with my twins since we dropped their sister at camp and it was empty.  Empty in the way that something can be it's emptiest.  Abandoned, rumpled bedsheets, broken art projects, stray silly bandz, half used bottles of kids' shampoo, and open boxes of pop-tarts that will never be finished. All of these things were reminders of what was supposed to be there, what had been there, what was no longer there...and what wouldn't be there again because I would be packing up the house alone and leaving before I saw them again.

The spacious, quiet air rushed through me as I breathed, leaving my soul with the taste of emptiness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those mom's who always wants to be with her kids.  In fact, if you follow Mommy Lite, you know - I'm one of those moms that complains I'm always with my kids.   I can't get 5 minutes alone on the toilet to pee and it drives me insane. So you can imagine my shock when I stepped into my rental house, ready to embrace the peace and quiet and solitude and instead felt only a wave of nausea.

It wasn't right.  The house wasn't right.

I went for a walk.  I tried to savor being alone.  I kept telling myself how great it was to have a little time to myself.  How HAPPY I should be.  I had been WAITING for this!  WAITING for the first week of my life in TEN YEARS without children!  Waiting to live like the prechild carefree soul I had been.  Free of worry, free of responsibility, able to focus on a single task without having to wipe someone's butt, pour some milk, or break up a fight.  I should have been ecstatic to be in this gorgeous place so far from Los Angeles, so different, so beautiful, so peaceful.  But it wasn't right.  Not without them.

And that's when I cried.

At the top of the mountain at the top of my street, looking back down the darkening road I had just climbed, knowing when I got back to the house that had been FILLED with love, laughter and yes...lots of screaming and tears...it would be empty.

I've heard it said that wherever you are with your family is home.  Well right now.  At this moment...oh, soooo desperately...I want to be home.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visiting Day...

My college roommate sent me this pic she took at Sleepaway Camp Visiting Day for one of her sons.  (That's the little brother holding their homemade sign).

What more needs to be said.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Like Being Called Ms. Maizes. (Is that so wrong?)

What do your kid's friends call you?  What do your friends' kids call you?  I mean, to your face?  I want to be Ms. Maizes.  Is that so wrong?

Listen to my podcast with author and podcaster, Rob Sachs of "What Would Rob Do?"  Where we answer the question, "Why can't I get some respect?"

Then let us know...what YOU think!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Name is God Epstein...

"If I have kids, I think I'm going to name one of them, God."

Livi announced this in the car ride home from camp.  I'm not sure what prompted this comment, but you've got to respect the girl for going there.

I've heard the name Moses,  I've met a couple Jesuses and I've even heard the name Apollo.   But I've certainly never met anyone whose parents had the guts to name their kid "God."

Sure I know lots of people who treat their kids like they're God, but call them, God?  That takes boldness to a whole new level.

I imagine her sending out birth announcements.  I assume she'll be married (not that I'm pushing it...just assuming the obvious path - and while I'm at it I'll just assume she's marrying Jewish - if for no other reason than it makes the name "God" funnier...) either way, her name won't be Maizes anymore.

The announcement will read, "Livi and Rob Epstein (that's her imaginary husband's name...) are pleased to announce the arrival of God!  weighing 7 lbs, 8 oz.  21 inches long.  Born, 12/25/35.

Or introducing her child to her friends:

"This is my son.  God."

"Excuse me?" They'll say. "Guy?"

"No.  God.  With a "d."

 Or, the first day of school and the teacher will be doing roll call:

"Mary Dorsey?"

"Present!"

"Lionel Drake?"

Present!

"God Epstein?"

"Omnipresent!"

I'm sorry...you have to admit.  That's just totally awesome.

(Tags: Religion, names for kids, baby names, humor, parenting humor, God, Jewish wedding)

Handcuffs for kids? Don't put them in your mouth...

I saw these in the cutest toy shop in the world that's smack dab in the middle of Woodstock.

The sales lady said "They're for ages 5 and up.  And you should keep the key in a safe place."

The warning reads "Choking Hazard."  Odd.  Because that wouldn't be the first problem that would come to mind...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

FUN LA EVENT - "Peep Show"

If you're in the Los Angeles area, my incredibly talented, former-prom date, Joshua Braff (...we won't discuss the year...), is doing a book signing of his new (and VERY well-reviewed) book, PEEP SHOW.

Here are the details
Thursday, July 22nd - 7pm
Book Soup on Sunset (near La Cienega)

If you can't make it, check out a copy!  He's a GREAT writer!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Love in a Box - Camp Care Packages

I know my local post woman really well.

We've gotten close over the past month.

I'm in there every day mailing letters to Izzy, picking up mail from Izzy and sending the holy grail of camp mail - the "Care Package."

I remember back when I went to camp (my sister and I went to a camp called Tripp Lake - it's in Maine and my niece goes there now) we eagerly awaited boxes from home filled with goodies.  Frosted Pop-Tarts, Ritz Crackers & Squeeze Cheeze, and jars of iced tea mix we'd eat plain out of the container with our fingers.  And GUM!  LOTS of gum! (Like in the "Pokey" gum has "street" value!)  If we were lucky the box also contained Mad Libs, "Betty & Veronica" comic books, and/or clothing in our team colors.  It was SO awesome.

My parents weren't anywhere near as vigilant as I am.  I only got boxes from them once or twice a summer (and we were away for 2 months!).  But then again, they had to be sent pony express. :)

Here's the thing, getting stuff at camp is fun.   I've spent the past month checking out every book store, toy store and novelty shop I pass looking for fun stuff to send Izzy only to discover they actually MAKE care packages now.  Pre-compiled boxes of crap!  How GREAT is THIS!

My mail-woman is really going to miss me.









(Mom Humor, camp care package, Tripp Lake Camp, overnight camp, sleepaway camp, parenting humor, Mad Libs, Silly Bandz, Archie comics, writing home, letters from camp)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

BBQing Woodstock style

The kids and I had a little bbq last night - Woodstock style.

For those who are wondering if that means I cooked stoned, the answer is no.  No, I didn't. 

It means that I grilled up the only meat I could find in a 10 mile radius.  All of the meat here is either totally mass-marketed and so pumped with hormones consuming it would likely throw me back into puberty.  OR, meat that's TOTALLY natural, completely uncured, and killed by a neighbor.

Seriously - it's that or tofu.  I don't do tofu hot dogs.

So, we had all natural, uncured turkey hot dogs, natural and freshly ground turkey burgers, whole wheat buns and corn picked from a local farm.  It was delicious.

I dropped a hot dog off the grill and we tossed it out into the woods hoping it might temporarily satisfy whatever bear keeps attacking my trash.

At the very least, I hope he'll be grateful for the weiner's natural contents and small carbon footprint.

P.S.  Had to skip the S'Mores due to stale graham crackers.  Ate these pretty little all natural sorbets...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fresh-Picked Fight...

I picked a fight.

I knew it wasn't the right thing to do but, well...I was crabby and she asked for it.

It started out innocent enough - I was just reading my e-mail.   I had received a "digest" e-mail from one of those on-line parenting communities that lists all of the latest topics being discussed and everyone's responses to them.  (I won't name the community...we all belong to at least one and they're fairly similar...)

These communities are the perfect breeding ground for fights because invariably, someone asks a big fat ridiculous question, or makes some incredibly shallow comment, and everyone jumps on it.  Then it turns into a huge angry thread.  (I love it when that happens.  Very satisfying.)

Well someone posted THIS:

   "...I have looked at several public schools, and mentally I am having such a hard time with the idea of my child attending for kindergarten, all of them look like cement-and-chain-link fence prisons. What do you guys think? Will my child be emotionally scarred by the sheer ugliness of those places?"

There were just SO many ways this question irritated me. 

First of all, "yes," schools in LA aren't very attractive.  Aside from the fact that Schwarzenegger has completely bankrupt California Schools and we have NO money at all, we are a BIG, DIVERSE city! If you want freshly pressed, homogenous children popping off a school buses and playing duck-duck-goose on vast, lush, green yards, then move.   Simply move.

Secondly, MY kids attend Los Angeles public schools!  What a HUGE insult to the LARGE group of parents across our city who break their backs daily trying to make public education a viable alternative in a city where the powers that be prioritize parking above a quality education.

And FINALLY, and I may alienate some readers here if I haven't already, but COME ON, lady..."emotionally scarred" because a school isn't pretty?? (This woman could benefit from reading some  good parenting books - here are a couple I recommend...)

You can see how this was a plump little worm shaking it's butt and sticking out it's tongue at a crabby, circling catfish.  I had to bite.

I typed my reply:


..."Yes. Yes it will...and while you're at it, you should also avoid pictures of hungry children."

I knew I shouldn't have sent it.  My finger hovered above the "enter" key for a solid 10 seconds.  I knew my response would result in a barrage of e-mails chastising me for poking at her.  Dressing me down for being cold and flat out rude to this poor new mom.  But I just couldn't help myself.

I hit SEND.

The first e-mail from an angry mother arrived almost immediately   She called me snide and heartless for not being more sympathetic to this poor mother's "very real" concerns.  She was right, of course.  I had been snide.   I began to feel badly.  I had second thoughts about my behavior and rash comment.

So, I posted an apology to everyone in the discussion forum and then I sent a note directly to the mom personally apologizing for being so rude.

The mom I "offended" e-mailed me back and accepted my apology semi-graciously.  In her e-mail, she said "...LAUSD may be fine for some, but fears it doesn't address the needs of kids, like hers, who were ready for more."  The implication?  My kids were...you know...NOT "ready for more."   She had done it again.  She had dangled her big, fat, nasty ol' worm out there.  Its' a** was wriggling right in my face. 

I resisted biting.  My left eye twitched from the need to settle this unspoken score I had with this woman.  She was clearly asking for it, right?

But I'm going to be the bigger person here though and let it go.  I am not going to "engage" this woman further.  We will respectfully agree to disagree.  In fact, I've already practically forgotten about the whole thing...

However, if pictures of hungry children anonymously show up in her e-mail, she totally had it coming.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fonda My Honda...One Funny Mom's Response to Swagger Wagon...

"Fonda My Honda" was sent to me by Jenna E. - it's her response to Toyota Sienna's "Swagger Waggon."

It's hilarious and worth the watch. Enjoy it and pass it along! (By the way, I drink my coffee just like her...)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

If the bugs look like horses...you're in Woodstock

(I wrote this a week ago when we got to Woodstock and hadn't posted it, but last night ANOTHER mutant came at me and I'm wondering...Is it wrong to kill something if it goes "crunch"?)

I just flicked a jurassic sized ant off my arm and I'm freaking out.

It's our first night in Woodstock and I'm sitting in the living room of the house I rented for the summer while Izzy is at sleepaway camp about an hour away.   After a day of driving, unpacking, and stocking a house for the summer, I'm finally able to sit down in front of the tv and relax.  So I'm minding my own business, watching "Private Parts" when I feel a little tickle on the back of my neck.  I know in the depths of my soul, that something is funky, but I convince myself it was just a loose tendril.

Then I felt it on my arm, I look down and I was seriously looking at the largest ant-shaped creature I've ever seen.  I freaked...I flicked...and the thing hit the floor with a thud.  SERIOUSLY!

I killed it with a nauseating crunch and sent an e-mail to the poor man renting me the house asking if I should expect more members of the beast's family.  If there was any doubt in his mind that I was an idiot after the three calls to him on day one about bedding, grocery stores, and tupperware, there was no longer any question. 

Looks like our summer is in full swing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Phone Home

My daughter called home from camp last night.

It's been over a week since I dropped her at camp and it felt SO good to hear her voice.

I wanted to know everything about camp.  Were her counselors nice?  Was she eating the food?  How was her bunk? 

She told me there's lots of "draaaaahhhhhma" in her bunk.

She's 10.  How much drama can there be?  I got really nervous.  This was it...tweenager-hood.  I had sent a young girl off to sleepaway camp and I was going to pay for it by getting back a dramatic teenager.   I braced myself for the inevitable; someone was upset about a boy.  Someone was bitchy.  Someone got their period... 

"What's the drama about, honey?"

"_____ was making their bed, and it was a top bunk and when they stepped off they accidentally crushed _____'s plastic box with all her stuff.  She started crying." 

Phew! 

"Oh.  Can you send me a  poster of a duck?  My wall is sooooooooooooo empty."

What a relief.  Maybe I'll be getting my girl back after all.

Monday, July 5, 2010

FINALLY, MY summer has begun!

I dropped the twins off at day camp this morning!

I didn't even realize camp started today until about 1AM last night when I checked the website (I'm kind of a wait-till-the-last-minute gal obviously).

Of course the kids slept IN this morning for the first time all summer because we were out late at a friend's house celebrating the 4th of July, but by GOLLY I woke them out of their S'more induced stupors, got them dressed, slathered on the sunscreen and herded them out the door.

I think they were still partially asleep when I peeled out of the camp driveway leaving them behind in a cloud of dust. 

I am now enjoying my very first child-free minutes I've had since school got out on June 18th!  WOO HOO!!!!!!

Dang!  If only I wasn't kind of missing them...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Can't a Girl Just Get Some Shut-Eye?

I'm awake and I'm not happy about it.

It's 12:30am and l can't sleep at all.  I'm tired alright.  My eyes are drooping, my brain is mushy and I can barely see in front of me.  But sleep eludes me.

Last night I didn't sleep at all.  Not the kind of "not at all" where you really slept for a least a couple of hours and then exaggerate it to "not at all" to make a point. 

No, I didn't sleep AT ALL.  Ever.  Not till 4:30am this morning when sounds of dawn on the mountain crept in through my window.  Birds taunted me that they were so well rested they were ready to grab themselves a worm.  I hate those birds.

I don't know who suddenly I can't sleep.  I LOVE sleep!  I am the QUEEN of sleep!  Of course, it occurs to me that I've spent SO much time sleeping and napping that perhaps I've used up the sleep time that has been allotted to me in my lifetime and now I'm doomed to nights of laying in bed staring at the ceiling.

I try to coerce sleep out of my bed by shifting positions over and over in hopes of unlocking the pose that will bring it.  Like a complicated lock on an Egyptian tomb you'd see in the movies, one particular contorted shape will be the "key" to opening the doorway.  i twist, I turn, I stretch, I flip my pillow over and over trying to enjoy the coolness of a fresh side before it warms up again.  I still can't unlock the door to dreamland.

As I finally started to drift off I was awoken by rumblings.  They were coming from the other room and they were a sign that one of the kids was awake.  Crap. 

"Mommy?  I think I had an accident."

NOOoooooo!!!!!  I was just falling asleep.

I roll out of bed to check hers, which is completely dry.  We changed underwear  because she wanted to and I put her back in bed.  I tried for sleep again.

5 minutes later...

"Mommy?  I'm not sure, but I think I had an accident before because I drank water."

She's waking me up to tell me this??!  Doesn't she know it's 4:30 in the morning???  Can't she read time????

"GO TO SLEEP!" I yell!

She returned to her room.  I heard her cry.

I got up AGAIN.

"WHY are you crying???!"

"I just wanted to be honest."

"I know.  But I"M EXHAUSTED!!!"  I'm sorry I yelled.  Mommy is SOOOO tired."  I kissed her.  "PLEEEEEEEZZE go to sleep."

Luckly, sleep seemed ready for me again.  And I drifted off......

"MMMMOOOOOOOOOOMY! "  My son wass standing right next to my head but he screamed it anyway.

I was jolted upright like a scared cat.

"I HAD A BAD DREAM!!!"""'  He was yelling like it's my fault.

This was insane!  This is like some kind of Torture that's relentless and eventually breaks you down till you have no defenses at all and are willing to do whatever is asked of you.  Even if it's sharing a bed with a boy who expands to 3 times his natural size...and snores.

I opened the covers to the other side of my bed.  Mumble "Get in...and be QUIET.  PLEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeze"

I know I wasn't being very friendly, warm or nurturing.  But it was 5 in the morning and I hadn't fallen asleep yet.  I was SOOOO tired!

He fells asleep.  Finally so did I.

I spent all day today as a Zombie.  I couldn't focus, I used gutteral sounds as verbal responses and I think I was drooling.  I don't know how Zombies have the energy to chase people and eat brains.  All I want is to crawl back into my bed and be left alone. 

I guess I'd make a crappy Zombie

Friday, July 2, 2010

Someone's Crushin' on Me! "You're my Blogger Crush Award"

I want to thank Kelley over at "Kelley's Break Room" for giving me two blog awards! The "You're my Blogger Crush Award" and "The Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award."  THANK YOU KELLEY!  You made my day!

If I understand the rules of the award correctly, there are a few things I am now obliged to do now:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award. (Thanks, Kelley at Kelley's Break Room!)

2. Share 10 things about yourself (I can do that...I have nothing to hide - other than panty lines...)
* I eat cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese.
* I have a white streak in my hair I color religiously so I don't look like Lily Munster.
* I played cello as a kid and had to carry it to school every day. 
* I'm freakishly strong (probably from carrying the cello...)
* I have an older sister and even though we're grown up I still worship her.
* I listen to Taylor Swift even when my kids aren't in the car
* My favorite quiet spot is my bathroom.
* I photograph doorknobs.  I don't know why, but I love them.  Is that wrong?
* I have the cholesterol of a 90 year old man with a bad fast food habit.
* I eat dessert every day (maybe that's why my cholesterol is through the roof).

3. Share this award with 10 other bloggers that you think are fantastic. 
That's a little tougher because there are SO many great blogs out there, but here are 10 I read regularly and think deserve a little appreciation:

Thanks again, Kelley, and above ladies, enjoy the accolades.  You deserve them.  :)


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