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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Home Alone...Kegger at Our Place!

I left my (almost) 8 year old son alone in the house this weekend, for the very first time.

He wanted to do it.  In case the court ever asks...he BEGGED me to do it.

I had to drive his twin sister to gymnastics and he had been snug on the sofa recuperating from a cold.  It was the middle of a new Pokemon episode and he just had no interest in getting up and going out. 

"Mmmmmmmooooommmmm, I don't want to go!" he whined.  And added a little cough for drama.  

"Can't I just stay here?"


"I'll watch TV."

"All by yourself?  Would you want to do that?"

"Yes!  I really don't want to go." 

I thought about it.  Why was I making him come with me to take his sister to gymnastics?  Could he really, finally be old enough to leave alone in the house?  I hadn't even left his big sister alone yet.  But maybe it was time to rethink this.  He was cozy in front of the TV; it wasn't illegal (I didn't think...but I Googled it to be safe...); and I was pretty sure he wasn't going to throw a kegger while I was gone.  Besides, I would only be gone for 15 minutes and I have an alarm system.

I was nervous, and scared, and felt a little naughty.

I decided to made him take a test - provide me with proof of his manhood and ability to fend for himself in the case of danger. 

"What’s my cell phone number?"

He repeated it.

"What’s daddy’s number?"

He repeated it. 

"What do you dial if anything bad happens.  If anything REALLY scares you." 

"Call 911" He held the phone receiver on his lap aloft.

He was good.  I decided to throw him something a little tougher...

"What’s our address?" (You know, so the ambulance can find his broken, bleeding, burning, unchaperoned body…)

He regurgitated it perfectly.

"What do you do in an earthquake." (It's LA never know...).

"Stand in a doorway, or go under a table."

I paused.  I couldn't think of anything else.  Not one reason why I shouldn't give him the opportunity to feel independent.  Even if it was just for 15 minutes.  He was growing up.  He wasn't a baby anymore.  None of my kids were babies anymore and maybe this was something they needed.  My trust.  More responsibility.  A little independence. 

"Okay, mommy?"

I paused, contemplating, thinking, imagining the possible headline news the next day...then I took the leap of faith. "Okay...But I’m locking the doors behind me, and turning on the alarm, and don't open the door for anyone!  ANYONE!  Not even if it's Grammy!

"Grammy lives in New York."

"I don't care.  You get my point.  Nobody!  No matter how well you know them!" 

"OK!" he gave me the thumbs up, smiling from the sofa.   "Bye Marps!" He yelled as I went out the door. (he calls me Marps).

And I yelled "Bye, Moops!"  (I call him Moops when he calls me Marps...).

And with that, I closed the door and blew a kiss good-bye to my baby boy. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Our 10th Trip to the ER will be Free!

I spent the evening in the ER.  Again.

Ben begged me to let him play after school in the yard with his friends.  He'd been begging me for months to do this, but I finally relented.  Only because I knew the two coaches who oversaw the yard after school and trusted him to stay put.

So I, with my "Free Range" mothering cap on, I let him stay at school.  To play.  By himself.

At around 3:30 I got a call from one of the coaches.  Ben's eye was hurting.  A lot.  It was really swollen, he was itching it and we thought he had some kind of allergic reaction.  Of course.  Only one of my kids would acquire a new allergy the first time you're allowed to play on the yard alone.
 When I picked up Ben, his eye was huge, red and he looked miserable.  We went straight to the Doctor.

She confirmed he didn't have anything in his eye but thought that he must have rubbed his eyes with dirty schoolyard hands and had an allergic reaction of some kind.  She gave him some benedryl and a prescription for some eyedrops.  She said if his eye still hurt later, to bring him to an Urgent Care center (which is supposed to be so much better than an ER and less crowded.)

Ben seemed to be improving a little as left the Doctor's, drove to the pharmacy, and got his eyedrops.

Until I put his new drops in his eyes.  Then he HOWLED!


I ran to the "consultation" desk at the pharmacy and asked the guy behind it.  "Can I see a pharmacist, please?"

"Sure."  He disappeared.  And never came back.

I called "KID IN PAIN OVER HERE!" behind the counter and got a stare from some girl sorting anti-depressants.

The guy came back and said "Sorry.  The Pharmacist is just really busy."

"I just want to know if he should be in pain from the drops."  Ben was holding his eye and crying "Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Owwwww!"

"Hold on."  And he disappeared again.

Then he came back.  "Yes."

"Yes?  Yes he should be in pain?"

"Yes.  They hurt."

"Great.  Thanks for telling me."

When we got home I rinsed his eye out with eye wash and called the doctor.  He was still in pain so I took him to the ER.

At the Urgent Care center, we were ushered into a room with a bloodied appliance and left over stitches on a tray.  This did not look promising.

An hour and a half later, the "physician's assistants," who seemed perfectly innocuous when they walked in, checked Ben's eye and confirmed WHILE they were working on him - and he was lying there vulnerable - "Oh, Yeah.....I was afraid of that.  LOOK at that!  Wait there's another one over there!"  Ben was freaking out and shaking.  I couldn't BELIEVE these people had EVER taken care of a kid before!  There was NO regard for this poor kid's nerves at all.  I tried to massage his feet and tell him it would be okay.

At least they gave him some eye drops for the pain.

They finally said "He has a scratched cornea.  He'll need to see a doctor right away."

"So," I said "The doctor will come over?  We go to him??"

"No.  We'll page him.  Then we'll try to get you an appointment with him tomorrow."

"TRY?  But you said it was urgent."

"It is.  He should see somebody right away."

"But you said I couldn't take him till tomorrow."


 "But he'll be okay till tomorrow?"

"He should be."

What the f*ck was this?  A Free Clinic?  I was livid.

An hour later they came back.  "SOooooooo...the doctor just called back."

"Where has he been?  Didn't you page him an hour ago?"

"Yeah.  He must have been at a party or something."  And she giggled.  Seriously.  The Physician's Assistant giggled.

I was not amused.

She gave me ANOTHER prescription for a different eyedrop.

"So, I should NOT give him these other drops?!"

"OH NO!" she said horrified.  "Don't give him those!  Those HURT!"  She shook her head.

Ben looked at me shaking his head along with her.

Great.  Way to make me feel like a crappy mom.  Damn pharmacist.

As we put my poor son's sneakers back on I said.  "Can I get a prescription for those drops you gave him so his eye won't hurt?"

"Oh no.  Those are only for here."

Ben and I both said "What?!"

"Yeah."  We can't give those out.  But you're going to want to give him some Ibuprofen or tylenol or something because when he wakes up tomorrow morning he's going to be in SOOOOOOO much PAIN."

Ben's eyes were HUGE saucers filled to the brim with fear.  He looked at me.  I couldn't BELIEVE this woman had JUST said that in front of Ben. 

I patted him and said "Don't worry, honey, I'll make sure we have everything you need so it won't hurt."  HOPING the PA wouldn't say anything to make it worse.

And now we're home and Ben is sleeping.  Finally.

What a crappy night.  What a crappy ER.  My poor boy.

Rikki Tikki Tavi, Rikki picky packy? Rikki Packy Takki?

Scott was playing the movie "Riki Tikki Tavi" on his computer for the kids.  I LOVED this movie as a kid.

We put it on pause so the kids could take a bath.  They emerged clean and dry and came back ready for more:

Ben said, "Hey Scott!  Can we watch Tippy, Tippy Tappy?"

"Hey, Scott!"  I'm ready for Tippy time" said Livi.

Izzy?  "The Rikki Takki Pocky show?"

This is why the game of telephone works so well with kids.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quality Time for Stuffed Animals?

There's a dog bed next to my bed.  This would be totally acceptable...if I owned a dog.

Livi has decided that every night I need to sleep with a different stuffed animal so that I can "fill it with love."  I have become the equivalent of a "love gas station."

She's actually been doing this for a while.  But it wasn't until recently that she installed the dog bed next to mine.  Before she would just hand me the stuffed animal and make sure it was somewhere in the bed that would take up the most  space a stuffed animal could possibly occupy.  Then one morning she found the stuffed animal she had ordered us to "fill with love' on the floor.

She was not happy.

When Livi isn't's not good.

Then I felt badly.  I wasn't trying to "diss" her stuffed animal.  I was happy to fill it with love - I just don't see why I have to share my bed with a dusty stuffed animal EVERY NIGHT - ALL NIGHT - when I don't even like sharing my bed with the man I love.  I am a very selfish sleeper.  And I take up a lot of space.  Livi doesn't seem to understand this.  But when she saw Love Frog on the floor she decided that she should make a bed a bed for stuffed animals that would be in close proximity to mine.  Notice how the pillow is right up against my bed so that it enjoys maximum closeness - the optimum closeness for extracting my love.  Unfortunately, the pillow is huge, and I trip over it every time I get up to pee. Turns out, this is just as irritating as having it in the bed.

I'm wondering if I could quell Livi's  want for her animals to be filled with love by scheduling a little "Quality Time" with each one;  Love Frog gets 10 minutes after dinner.  Bumble the Snow Nonster gets 10 minutes before the bath...

Yeah.  That's what I need.  To find time in my day to have a little QT with some poly-filled land mines.

Four Hours of Homework again...


I don't know what else to say.  I just spent 4 hours doing math homework with my 11 year old for about the 20th night in a row.  I am going out of my mind.

She's only in 5th grade and I can't grasp this math.  It's not even so much that I don't grasp it, what I do grasp, I can't teach.

What's a mom supposed to do?  I hired a tutor who comes weekly.  I send her teacher notes saying she's not getting it.

I don't know what else to do!

I am completely fed up with LAUSD!  Are there so many kids in the class that they can't help the kids who need it?  HELP!  What are other mothers doing out there to deal with getting their kids through homework?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Together Forever": A Comedy?

This is a very different post than my usual stuff.  It's a comedy sketch I wrote a couple of years ago about a married couple discussing whether or not to renew their vows.

Just thought I'd share something fun since I can't write anything today because I am busy serving a steady stream of belgian waffles to my son who's home sick today with a 102 fever.  (Apparently, Belgian waffles make him feel better.)

Hope you enjoy. :)


A couple is sitting at a table in a restaurant. At the table next to theirs, a man is on presenting a ring to his girlfriend. She accepts. David is looking at his menu.

ALISON: Ohhh!! David, look!!! They’re getting engaged! Remember our wedding?

DAVID: (Not paying attention) Uh huh.

ALISON: I remember it like it was yesterday. You know, the Marcus’ are renewing their vows?

DAVID: Didn’t they do that last year?

ALISON: No, that was the Feinmans.

DAVID: Oh. (He continues reading his menu)

ALISON: Wouldn’t it be nice to renew our vows?

DAVID: What?

ALISON: You know, renew our commitment to each other.

DAVID: Oh. (He nods and goes back to his menu)

ALISON: All of our friends are renewing their vows. Isn’t that nice?

DAVID: (Dismissively) Uh huh. The scampi looks good, don’t you think?

ALISON: Let’s do it!

DAVID: Do what? Get the Scampi?

ALISON: Get married again!

DAVID: Um…we’re already married.

ALISON: I know. But you know what marriage is like these days. There’s this unspoken rule - it’s not REALLY forever until it’s forever.

DAVID: You know, the whole “Till Death do us Part” thing? That kind of wrapped it up for me. Are you ready to order?

ALISON: OK, okay.... (She looks at her menu) I hated my hair.

DAVID: Excuse me?

ALISON: My hair, at our wedding. It was awful. I looked like a freaky pageant queen.

DAVID: You were a beautiful bride.

ALISON: Every time I look at our wedding album, I cringe.

DAVID: We’re not renewing our vows so you can redo your hair.

ALISON: This isn’t just about that. It would be nice to know that we’ll be together in our old age. That you won’t throw me away like old underwear.

DAVID: I don’t throw away old underwear.

ALISON: Seriously, vow renewals are very common. Everyone’s doing it.

DAVID: It’s a scam to get people like the Marcus’ to cough up the funds TWICE for the most expensive event of their lives. Let’s just drop it, ok?

ALISON: Alright. [Beat – back to her menu] Did you hear? The Mason’s are getting divorced.

DAVID: NO! Really? Why?

ALISON: He’s having an affair. (Beat) It was so obvious.

DAVID: It was? How?

ALISON: He wouldn’t renew his vows.

DAVID: OK, enough! Just because I don’t want to get married “again” doesn’t mean I’m having an affair.

ALISON: All I’m saying is that it’s a sign.

DAVID: No, it's not!

ALISON:  It could be.

DAVID: I am…[aware of people staring] I am NOT having an affair.

ALISON: Well, if you’re willing to be exclusive, why not make it official?

DAVID: Are you kidding me? [He holds up her ring finger] This officially cost me several house payments!

ALISON: [Ignoring him] I always dreamed I’d wear a Pink Chanel Boucle suit to my vow renewal ceremony. There’d be a harp and heavy hors d’ouevres.

DAVID: You’ve been planning this?

ALISON: Since the day we got married.


ALISON: I just want to hear that you would choose me all over again. (On the verge of tears) That you still love me.

DAVID: I do love you!

ALISON: (Crying) You won’t marry me – I mean again!

DAVID: This is ridiculous. We have 3 kids, 2 dogs and we share hemorrhoid medicine. How much more “married” can we be?!

Alison sobs loudly as everyone in the restaurant turns to look.

DAVID: OK, ok! Fine! If it’s so important to you, I’ll do it. Let’s renew our vows. (He gets down on one knee) Look! “Alison Mary Finklestein: Will you marry me – again…”

ALISON: You mean it???? Oh, David, I love you!!!! …

DAVID: I love you too.

The newly engaged couple at the next table sees this.

Woman: Oh, look! That’s so cute! They’re getting married, again. I can’t wait till we renew our vows!

Man: Uh...can we set a date for our wedding first?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Are there Hallmark Cards for Exes?

Today is Izzy's 11th birthday!

Last night (like every night before one of my kids' bithdays) I put a big balloon outside her door along with birthday presents.  That way, the second she wakes up and opens her door she gets a BIG "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" even though I'm still snoozing down the hall.  It's a good system.

She loves our tradition so much that she won't ever consider a sleepover on her birthday - even if it falls on the weekend.

But there's one more thing about her birthday that makes it very special for her.

It's her Daddy's birthday too.  Okay...he's my Ex, but he's still her daddy and we all think it's really cute (and very convenient) that she was his 39th birthday present.

Well, if you've done the math you already know.  Today, my ex is 50.

I didn't know this.  I mean, I did, but I just totally forgot.  Out of sight...out of mind, you know?  But this morning when the kids piled around the table for breakfast they shouted "DADDY'S 50 TODAY!"

"WHAT???!!!!"  I swear I got woozy.

"Daddy's 50.  Didn't you know that?!"  Izzy couldn't believe I didn't keep track of my ex-husband's birthday's as vigilantly as I tracked hers.

"NO!  That's not possible.  Seriously?"  I did a quick calculation in my head.  (as quick as one can calculate pre-coffee...)

"...he was born in '61...and it''sssss....ummmm...uh, 2011.  So, he'sssss...uuhhhhhh.."

"He's 50 mom."

"Yeah, I got that.  I just needed a minute."

"What's wrong mommy? Is 50 old?"

"YES!"  I shouted too fast.  "It's OOOLLLDDD!" (as if I wasn't still raw from the Sela Ward incident...)

I took a sip of my coffee and processed this information. "Holy crap..."

"MOMMY!  You said a bad word!  You owe us a dollar!"  Livi likes to make money.

"She owes us a whole lot of a hundred."  Ben likes to keep track of the money they make.

But Holy Crap, indeed.  My ex-husband is 50 years old.  And I was married to him, so I'm the ex-spouse of a 50 year old.

I'm going to need a day to process this.  And maybe a pair of shoes...and some highlights.

But in the meantime, I feel like I should give him a card or something.  I mean, we're still friendly.  In fact, he's like a brother.  A super irritating brother I can't be around for too long without wanting to run over with my car.

But he's the father of my children and even though we're not together anymore (and he drives me UP-THE-WALLLLL!!!!) he still deserves a certain amount of respect.  Well, Hallmark doesn't make cards for ex-spouses, but if they did, I imagine it would go something like this:

For a Very Special Ex-Husband

I wish you Happy Birthday
on this very special day...
and thank you for the child support
you monthly have to pay.

You really are a good guy
and you're holding up your end,
you take the time to see the kids
- you're nice to my boyfriend.

So I send you birthday wishes,
you're the best Ex all-around!
If I have to be divorced from someone, it's no contest,
You win, hands down!

Happy 50th Birthday!



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm old.

I'm old.

I had no idea.

I was just sitting, minding my own business, watching "the day after tomorrow" and I thought to myself "That Sela Ward is a beautiful older woman."  And suddenly it dawned on me.  She's my age!!

I know my kids think I'm old.  I know that the teenagers I see at the mall think I'm old, but till this moment, I always kind of thought they just see me as a kinda cool hip mom.  Someone to look up to - to aspire to be.  "Gee, like, we want to look as good as she does when I'm that when I'm 30."

But I'm watching Sela Ward and Dennis Quaid and they're playing Jake Gyllanhaal's parents and I can't help but think - Wait a minute!  I'm old enough to be Jake Gyllanhaal's mom?


I mean, if he saw me on the street, he would be like "Wow!  She's hot!"  Right?

Turns out, if he saw me on the street, he would probably help me try to cross it.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Fine Art of Doing Nothing

I know how to do nothing.   And I'm really good at it.  It's a skill, ney...a gift really.

Are you jealous?

Want to be as unproductive as I am? 

I am happy to tell you my secret - the key to doing nothing. 

Maybe you think “I don’t need anyone to tell me how to do nothing.   I know all about how to do nothing!”   But do you?   Do you really?  We’re all so busy doing “something” all of the time that we seem to have lost the fine art of doing nothing.
 If you're intrigued, curious, or just can't look away, check out my latest article "8 Ways to do Nothing" on  And if you don't mind, leave a comment (I know, I know...that's counter-productive to fact it's anti-doing-nothing...but it just makes me feel tingly all over).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Christmas Vacation that keeps going...and going...

I'd like to say I'm getting back into my groove after the holidays, but my holiday isn't over…not by a long shot.   My kids still have ONE MORE WEEK of Christmas vacation and we’re all beginning to go insane.

Yes.   Good ol' LAUSD gets three weeks off from school for the holidays and my kids are still home, vacationing.   And by vacationing, I mean playing video games and watching TV.

Of course, all their friends are jealous.  They skype each other every afternoon and I hear them saying "You're SOOOO lucky you don't have school!!!!" “I am SSSOOOOOOO jealous!”

Meanwhile I contemplate the suicide options available to me with a vegetable peeler.

Why would any school system need to give three weeks off for any vacation?   I swear, by the time they go back to school, they’ll have forgotten how to count to 10.

At one point I tried to make the most out of their vacation time.  We had trips to the zoo, lots of playdates, a day at “color me Mine.”   I’ve made them play with their Legos, their old wooden blocks, every present they got for the holidays – at least once - and an old game of “Kerplunk” I found at the bottom of my daughter’s closet when I cleaned it (one of the few perks of vacation time).  But I’ve got nothing left.   I’m out of ideas, closets to clean, and patience.

So the TV's on, I've encouraged excessive Club Penguin usage and I locked myself in my room. I can hear them fighting over the remote from here.   It's going to be a long week.

Don’t worry.   I left the vegetable peeler in the kitchen.

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