When Baby Makes Three

holding baby

There are certain events in life that are tailor made for a contract. Buying a home? Get it in writing. Landed a new job with a big fat salary and a comprehensive dental plan? It’s only a reality after you sign your John Hancock. Have a bunch of moola before you get married? Better get a pre-nup.

So shouldn’t it follow that BEFORE your baby is even conceived, parents-to-be should sign on the dotted line to map out every little detail of the upcoming child- rearing gig? That’s exactly the arrangement, dubbed a “pre-pup,” that Rebecca Onion recently proposed in an article on Slate.com.

Ms. Onion, 36, mused about the many changes becoming a mother might bring. She wrote, “I’m willing to allow that being a mom might strip me of some of my independence.” (emphasis mine).

Some?

As a mother of two, I can’t stop laughing.

Ms. Onion, should you ever be standing in the bathroom watching those little blue lines appear on that pregnancy test stick signaling Baby’s on Board, there’s only one thing to do. Look into the bathroom mirror, gaze at your reflection, and give yourself a little smooch.

This is you kissing your independence goodbye. [Read more…]

Axe the Axe

 

 

 

Santa, dear Santa

santa2It’s that time of year

But you showing up

Is now my biggest fear

 

I’m not being critical

Of the stuff that you bring

In fact, I’ll tell you

It’s only one thing

 

Santa, you know

I don’t mean to be mocking

But last time you left

This stuff in the stocking

 

So Santa, my friend

I’ve just one thing to say

Please don’t leave Axe

At my house Christmas Day [Read more…]

Is A Baby Sister Really Too Much To Ask For?

2013-04-20 11.16.56My youth was idyllic.  My days were drama-free. It was so darned peaceful that Mr. Bluebird occasionally landed on my shoulder to whistle a cheerful tune.  I never heard those words so frequently uttered by Country Squire station wagon driving dads on family roads trips: “DON’T make me pull this car over!” But my childhood was agreeable, not because I was the spawn of Ward and June Cleaver.  It was not because I was the Perfect Child.  It was calm for a singular reason – I was an Only Child.

But I needed a sibling.  I wanted a Big Brother just like my two best friends.  I begged my parents for a brother.  Without spilling the beans on the birds and bees, they gently explained that this was never, ever going to happen.  My six-year-old brain understood the word “no,” but not the underlying mechanics that prevented my plan from becoming a reality.

As a more worldly seven-year-old, I decided a baby sister would do.

As a second grader, I launched a full-scale Jack Abramoff-style lobbying effort to secure a sister.  I created a grassroots campaign utilizing the alliances of friends with younger siblings to influence my parents.  In a stroke of perfect timing the teacher asked the class to write a story about our family: the perfect opportunity for a journalistic expose of My Life With The World’s Most Unreasonable Parents.  As I read my story out loud, I watched with joy as my teacher’s eyes widened in what I assumed was horror at the situation known as my family life.  When she told me to stay behind at recess, I thought she would say, “You poor dear!  I can’t fathom that you’re forced to live with such selfish parents who don’t understand your need for a baby sister.  I’m calling them right now.” [Read more…]

The New Rules of the Working Mom Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Younger Boy and Older Boy,

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been at your beck and call for the last fourteen years.  I, your faithful indentured servant, have been available 24/7.  No lunch money?  I delivered.  Needed a ride?  I was there.  Forgot to clean your room?  It was done.

No doubt, I have been working.  And I’ve been well paid in the currency of stay-at-home momhood – glitter glue cards and spontaneous hugs.

But we’ve entered a new phase.  You’re both in high school and I’m bored.  So I’ve got BIG news. No, it’s NOT a baby brother.  [Read more…]

The Verdict on Junk Food

Trouble was brewing in the cereal aisle. And the one about to incur the wrath was me.  As my ‘tween and teenaged sons stood there, it was clear they were about to make their case with the tenacity of Perry Mason and Atticus Finch.  “See Mom, you were wrong!” Older Boy said shoving the box within an inch of my middle-aged eyes.  “Go ahead, read it.” Younger Boy then chimed in. “They’re GOOD for you,” he argued.  “It says so right on the box.”

My bad.

It was hard to argue with the good health claims emblazoned on the front of the Cocoa Krispies and Froot Loops boxes that my boys paraded in front of me like I was a Price is Right Showcase Contestant.  There they were – boxes of an immunity-boosting, fiber enhanced morning indulgence that I’d denied them based on my misguided beliefs.  And boy did I feel pretty stupid. All these years I’ve been making them eat real froot. [Read more…]

Exaggeration – It’s All in the Family

You never forget the first story you write that gets attention.  At that moment, you fully understand the power of the written word.  You know that your words can move people.  And apparently, your words can also get you in trouble.

Because my first memorable writing experience was in second grade.  [Read more…]

The Truth About Dating

I thought I’d stumbled upon the Watergate story of the Parenting World, complete with an anonymous source.  But there are no break-ins, wiretaps or tapes.  There are no cloak and dagger-style espionage or late night meetings in semi-dark parking garages where my informant is wearing dark glasses and a trench coat.  It was simply through solid investigative journalism that I cracked this story wide open.

In the spirit of Woodward and Bernstein, I will protect my confidential source.  You can subpoena me, make me pay fines or throw me in jail like Judith Miller.

Because I’m not talking.

I will tell you that I call my secret informant Smart Girl.  And that won’t narrow it down one bit.  Because as far as I can tell, there are a whole lot of them in this valley.

While I will not reveal her identity, I will share the intel I obtained on that fateful cloudy day.  It was so shocking, as a member of the Parenting Tribe, I knew this information could not be dispensed on a need to know basis.  Because parents You. Need. To. Know.

Smart Girl told me Middle Schoolers are Going Out.  That’s right, they’re dating.

Sensing this story was Big News, I remained objective as a good reporter should and asked a well-reasoned line of probing questions.  “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY ARE GOING OUT?” I shrieked hysterically. “YOU ALL ARE TWELVE AND THIRTEEN YEARS OLD.  NONE OF YOU CAN EVEN DRIVE YET!  WHERE ARE YOU GOING AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW ARE YOU GETTING THERE?”

I’m glad I was driving so I couldn’t see her roll her eyes.

Without giving Smart Girl time to answer, I continued my careful inquiry. “HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?” I screeched at a windshield rattling volume.  “AND BE STRAIGHT WITH ME, IS MY KID GOING OUT?”

That was about the time that Mango Melon SoBe hit the windshield.  Smart Girl was laughing so hard it shot out her nose.

When she regained her composure, Smart Girl asked me, “What do you think Going Out means?”

“It means that you Go Somewhere, like to dinner and a movie,” I replied.  “You know, like a date.”

Smart Girl remained remarkably poised although it was clear she was trying hard not to spray the windshield with SoBe again.

But she continued.  “It’s not like that at all,” she explained.

“YOU HAVE TO TELL ME,” I loudly blathered on, “WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”

Thanks to my line of razor-sharp questioning, I had her exactly where I wanted her.  “It means they sit together at lunch and don’t talk to each other,” she said matter-of-factly.  I can’t confirm or deny this but I’m pretty sure there was another eye roll at this juncture.

So nothing has changed since I was in 7th grade.

Except when I was in junior high, there was one boy who really could have gone out.  Elvis Ray James flunked 7th grade so many times by the time I landed there he had already voted in a presidential election. He routinely inquired when they were adding a student parking lot.

Elvis Ray was every mother’s worst nightmare.

So on that day with Smart Girl, I’m glad I didn’t overreact.  It was a relief to learn that the Middle School version of Going Out story wasn’t even worthy of the National Enquirer.  But I remain on Red Alert for the Next Big Story.  You never know where Elvis is going to turn up.

 

 

Joy in Mudville

 

Spring is in the air, the days are longer and the grass is green.  And that means it’s time for the annual rite of passage for parents known as t-ball.

This is the time for the 4 to 8 year-old set to learn how to throw, hit and catch.  So I felt duty-bound to sign up Older Boy when he was five.

I think participation is actually required by federal law.

After sitting on the sidelines that season, I decided it would be even more fun if we made it a family endeavor since Younger Boy was now old enough to play.  I thought being a t-ball coach would be a cinch, so I signed The Husband up.

Signing your spouse up for a volunteer commitment with a group of individuals who do not yet have all their permanent teeth is never a good idea.  But I persisted.

“Wouldn’t it be more fun than just sitting there?” I argued.  “And don’t worry about doing it all by yourself, I’ll help you. Besides, it’s just t-ball, how hard can it be?” [Read more…]

Crashing

his has been an extremely crappy week regarding all things technology.

Logging into my computer, I noticed my background was different.  Then a pop-up announces – “Welcome to your new Dell!”

Beg pardon?

My computer thinks it is new.  I’m confused.  Apparently, so was my computer.

I ignore all this and head straight into my documents to get started on a draft column I’ve been writing.  Except my computer says This Folder Is Empty.

Excuse me?  This is not possible, I was working on it yesterday.  I have hundreds of documents.

Now curious, and ever-so slightly panicked, I click on Pictures. The computer says this folder is equally empty.

This is not good.

Music? Gone.  Videos? Gone.  iTunes? Kaput. QuickBooks? Vanished.

Time to reboot, the computer’s gone crazy.

After rebooting, which usually makes everything alright, I get a “Welcome To Your New Dell!” screen again.

It may not have been the Blue Screen of Death that I experienced when my laptop died a slow and painful death, but it was pretty close.

Restore point! I’ll go back in time and create my restore point to yesterday when I knew it worked.

Fail.  It won’t let me.

My computer is possessed.

I am not a happy camper.

Fortunately, I have everything backed up on my external hard drive.  Or at least I think I do.  But now that’s a little wiggy too.

Damn.

I am not a computer savvy person.  Everything computer related is by the seat of my pants and if I hit enough buttons I can make it work.  So I click on the C drive and notice it has the same amount of memory space used as usual, even though so much appears to be missing.  After clicking on lots of folders within that, I locate documents, pictures, music – miraculously – in a strange User folder.  I have no idea how I found it.  But it’s there.  So I painstakingly save each and every individual document and picture folder as well as music.  It takes me the better part of the day but have to at least try before the Blue Screen of Death really does show up.

My poor computer is at the doctor now, hopefully getting debugged from all manner of Ebola-like infections.

This isn’t going to be cheap, I fear.

Then there’s the other techno issue that I’m really cheesed about:  Older Boy’s iPod touch went missing in the school locker room after track practice where he left it sitting on the bench.  In the twelve minutes it took for him to realize he’d left it and for me to drive back to school, it had vanished. I assumed it was picked up by a coach or a friend to give back to him.

Didn’t happen.

To whomever took it: I hope you get a very itchy, oozing, leprosy-like, dermatological condition that causes severe disfigurement.  I also hope is not covered by insurance and it will take you years, if ever, to get over.  Don’t forget about the laws of karma while you are listening to my kid’s iPod.  You have just set in motion some very, very bad juju for yourself.  I hope you get everything that’s coming to you which I personally hope includes jail time.  I used to be a prosecutor, my friend, so I’m big on jail time for those who steal other people’s stuff.  And like Tom Petty, I Won’t Back Down.  Oh yeah, good luck with that leprosy.

Let’s Hear It For The Moms

Today is that special day to honor women who are livin’ in the ‘hood.  Motherhood, that is.  And for those of you who plan to pay tribute to a special mother you should know this: if you haven’t been shopping yet all the good Mother’s Day cards are gone.  But if the founder of this holiday, Anna Jarvis, had her way, we’d all be sitting down with a quill, ink and parchment to pen our ode to mother because a pre-printed ditty means you’re just too lazy to show the love.

Lighten up Annie, it’s the thought that counts.

I found it odd that the first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1914.  This is true despite the fact that women have been having babies since, well, the beginning of time.  It took that long for someone to say “I really should do something to acknowledge the woman who carried me around for nine months, endured twenty-seven hours of labor, changed my stinky diapers, chauffeured me to soccer practice and raffled off a kidney to pay for my dream wedding. What can I possibly do to express my profound love to the woman who has given everything to me? I know, I’ll give her a three dollar card from Hallmark.”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

If you look at what a mom is really worth, you might reconsider that meager token of love.  According to salary.com, a stay-at-home mom would receive $122,732 a year for all the duties she performs which includes being the Domestic CEO, housekeeper, chef, van driver, and psychologist.  I don’t know about you, but in fourteen years I’ve never seen a dime.  Clearly we’re not in it for the money.  Because I’ve got a collection of hand prints with glitter, macaroni glued in the shape of hearts and crayon declarations of love that are worth more to me than any paycheck.  And that’s just fine because glued and glittered love tokens are priceless.

Until I became a mom, I had no idea what my mother went through.  The waiting started when she was pregnant and I was three weeks late. The waiting, as I’ve learned, never stops except you add worrying to the equation. She waited and worried when I got the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.  She waited (and waited) while I took piano lessons and went to softball practice. Once I started driving, she waited up (and worried) when I was out too late at a Fleetwood Mac concert.  She waited (and waited,  but did not worry) when I had to try on every Gunne Sax dress in the store.  Twice.  She did not sell her spleen to finance my nuptials.  But I pretty sure if I’d wanted a Cinderella-style gown, a horse drawn carriage and a pair of size nine glass slippers, she would have.  Because that’s just what mothers do.

Mom, I get it now.

So to all women in the sorority of motherhood, whether you had natural child birth, an epidural, a c-section or boarded a long-haul flight to bring your baby home, you totally rock.  You give it up unselfishly for those young ‘uns every day (don’t worry daddies, you do too, but your day’s in June).  Today is your day, moms.  Enjoy it.

And I’m not worried if all the good cards are gone when I go shopping for my mom. Because I’m pretty sure a Thank You card really says it all.

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