Tag Archives: parenting

What Do You Mean, There is No Easter Bunny?

When I decided to propagate the myth of Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the rest of the pantheon of fictitious characters with my children, I knew there would come a day when the lies would have to end.

I just didn’t think it would happen so soon.

The real Easter Bunny

This guy, is totally real

It started a few weeks ago when my son asked at bed time if Santa was real. He wasn’t as concerned with how long it would take Santa to deliver the presents, or even the manufacturing of said presents. It was the cookies.

“How can Santa eat all of those cookies and drink the milk? He would be really fat and unhealthy.”

I had prepared answers for the presents. Thanks to the Doctor Who Christmas special, I could claim that Santa was really a Time Lord and that the sleigh was bigger on the inside, thus enabling him to carry all of those presents around the world.

I was not prepared for milk and cookies-related queries. Maybe a vacuum that would suck them up so he could eat them later? Elves that came with him and ate them? Or, maybe parents did help with the cookies part? I liked the last option because with that I could angle for some parent-friendly beverages and at least get a little wine out of the situation. I’m lactose intolerant and I really take one for the team when I down that mug of milk. I’m surprised my horrendous gas has not given my away yet.

No dice. Apparently his friend saw his parents wrapping presents that were from “Santa.”

I screw up a lot when it comes to my kids, but I have been on top of this whole stealthy ninja stuff. I steal teeth, move plushy elves, and stuff a mean stocking. I need other parents to keep up. Their slacking is ruining my efforts.

I did a little song and dance and managed to put off revealing any truth, but I knew my time was running out. Then, just one day before Easter, I overheard my son talking to one of his little friends who was over for a playdate.

His friend was saying, “Yeah, I saw my mom with some Easter-themed Skylanders under her rug, so I know there’s no Easter Bunny.”

My no-longer innocent child replied, “You know, there’s no Santa either. My other friend saw his parents wrapping his gifts.”

To pour salt on the wound, my daughter was in the room with them. I can’t have two kids lose their faith on the day before Easter!

Pouring myself a large glass of wine, I steeled myself for the inevitable. I was going to have to tell my son the truth, and try to save my daughter from finding out as well.

I also cursed the other parents again. Sweet son of a Triscuit, why couldn’t they be more like ninjas?!

Using my best, “We have to talk voice” I pulled him aside.

“So, I heard you talking about Santa and the Easter Bunny,” I started.

“Yeah, I don’t believe in them.” He flippantly replied.

I tried once again to go through why he doesn’t believe and refuting his “evidence” but he kept reiterating that he didn’t believe in magic, and so he didn’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny.

Even though it could have backfired on me, I threw the only curveball I had.

“What about Jesus? You can’t see him, but you know he’s real.”

Heavy eye rolling ensued. “Mooooommmm…… that’s a totally different story.”

Knowing I was defeated, I threw in the towel and leveled with him. No, there was no Santa. Or Easter Bunny. Or Tooth Fairy. He looked excited to have been right, but there was a hint of sadness too.

The next morning, my young man played his part for his sister and enthusiastically opened his basket while declaring, “I love the Easter Bunny!” He tossed a not so subtle wink my way, but all things considered, my still-believing baby girl was none the wiser.

Honestly, I’m glad it went so well, but I can’t help but feel a little sad that this piece of his innocence has faded away. What’s next? Will he say that he won’t be going to Hogwarts? Or that he’ll never be a Pokemon trainer? I might need a hug and a stiff drink when that happens.

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New Year’s Resolutions I Can Keep

New Year’s Resolutions I Can Keep | Ponies and Martinis

I resolve to be more beach-friendly this year.

With the very best of intentions, I start off the new year with an ambitious resolution or two, like working out every day or not yelling at the kids. And slowly, but surely, I fail to keep them. This is why I still carry some baby weight and my kids are deaf.

This year, I have come up with a few resolutions that I know I can stick with.

1. Wear yoga pants more often. I have kept my yoga pants isolated to the gym, but I think I have been severely limiting my comfort. Have you ever worn those things? It’s like rolling in butter and lying in velvet all at the same time. I won’t wear them out in public, like one of those people from Walmart, but, I’ll wear them for lounging, kid drop-off, and girls’ night. Maybe I’ll buy my friends a pair or two too.

2. Drink more wine. I love, love, love wine, so when the kids go to bed, I pour myself a glass. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of me enjoying it. There’s laundry to fold, dishes to do, and eventually, it’s time for bed. Sometimes, I don’t even drink the whole thing. I know! It’s the saddest story in the world! There will be no more sad stories in 2015. God as my witness, I will finish my wine.

3. Act like an idiot with my girlfriends. When I had kids, I stopped going out with my friends. Oh, there would be brunch or coffee, or a night in, but nothing like the bacchanal we’d had in our 20s. I miss those days, when we’d go out looking super skanky, dancing like the rhythmless white girls we are, and knocking back a few Manhattans. We’d sing along with Bon Jovi and do things that I am really glad were not captured on video. Of course the next day would be hell, but it was worth it. I need to do that again. But, this time with a better hangover cure.

4. Enjoy mindless entertainment. I finally read The Grapes of Wrath, a few fascinating books by Bill Bryson, and watched the Ken Burns documentary series on Prohibition. I am so much smarter now than I was 12 months ago. But, dammit, I want to take my edumacation down a notch. I won’t go to the dark side and start watching the Kardashians, but I need more Amy Poehler, Doctor Who, and Arrested Development. The Joad family is way too depressing. Sweet baby Jesus, someone find them a Habitat for Humanity house and a union to join.

5. Nap. Oh, naps. How I do love thee. With every fiber of my soul, I worship you, O, great nap. This is a no-brainer. And to accomplish this, I will…

6. Stick to the basics with housecleaning. Scrub the toilets, vacuum up the tumbleweeds of dog hair in the hall, wipe down a few jelly smears, and call it a day. Dirt can only help my kids, right? Build up their immune system and stuff? And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll burn my house down and start over. Perfect.

7. Lose my filter. For most of my life, I have worried about what other people thought of me. I always had a frank personality that I kept locked away like a crazy aunt in the attic. This year, she is breaking free and taking over. Here comes the crazy, and it’s going to be good.

I may not manage to keep any of these resolutions, but I am going to do my damnedest to try. I mean, seriously, how fun is this year going to be?

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Volunteer They Said. It Would be Fun, They Said.

I have always wanted to be the working mom who could have her cake and eat it too. Preferably two slices.

This year, I decided, during the Meet the Teacher extravaganza, to volunteer for every field trip and room party for the year.

I think I ate the whole cake.

Honestly, after the first field trip to pick apples I forgot that I had volunteered for EVERY party. Then I got the email for the Halloween party and I remembered.

Fuck me. I am going to take time off work and spend it with 30 first graders. You couldn’t pay me enough money to do that. And, after going to these school events, my kid’s teacher does not get paid enough. I’d like to start a campaign to raise the pay of first grade teachers by 50%.

Pretty much, the parties consist of kids rotating from station to station making crafts, eating snacks and making enough noise to deafen everyone in a three-mile radius.

You know, the first few parties I was on ring toss and musical chairs patrol and it wasn’t terrible. Okay, it was. There were some really sweet kids, and I made it a point to talk to my son about them afterward and not so gently nudge him in their direction. And there were obnoxious kids and I prayed that he wasn’t friends with them.

“Gee, isn’t Olivia sweet? You should talk to her.” Or, “So… are you friends with Wyatt??? No? Well, maybe that’s best. I think you should definitely keep having lunch with Tyler.”

Once again, I don’t know how teachers handle it all. I had a few kids who came up that I could pinpoint as bullies. The cocky boys who would grab at the rings to toss, or the ones who would look at me with a raised eyebrow and ask, “So, whose mom are you?” Little shits. I hope they stay far away from my kid.

Then, there were the greedy kids. They wanted two turns, three prizes, and they would hang on me, hoping I would give in. If only I could have treated them the way I did my own children. I would have said, “Oh, hell no. Get your sorry ass in time out and stop begging.” Instead, I was all sunshine and saccharine, “No, no. You just get one lollipop. Now move on to the treat table.”

And, oh my Jesus. The treat table. There was one mom who made all the treats because she had one of those kids who can’t have gluten, or nuts or anything fun. But, seriously, I would have eaten her treats. She made GIANT Rice Krispie treats, coal made out of Oreos and marshmallows, mini cupcakes with hearts, and she brought the good juice boxes. Not the Honest Kids crap, but Hi-C fruit punch. When does she have time for this? I would have brought bagged graham crackers and store bought cupcakes, and then I would have thought I did an excellent job.

Each party was so painful, but I kept going back because my son seemed to love that I was there. And, frankly, I really didn’t know how long that would last. When will I become an embarrassment to him? When will I be banned from these parties?

Finally, I was vindicated. At the last party for Valentine’s Day, I was told that I was labeled by the kids as, “the fun mom.” Because of this, I was allowed to leave the purgatory of ring toss/musical chairs and man the Bingo table. I didn’t know I had been the bastard stepmother and relegated to the ring toss corner because no one knew what to do with me. I just thought that was where I was needed. Nay, nay. I was not cool enough for Bingo. Not until I was, “fun mom.”

Each kid grabbed at the giant rolling cage that housed the Bingo balls and wanted to turn it themselves. I relented and let each kid turn it once. One kid said breathlessly, “Even Max’s mom doesn’t let us turn the crank.”

Yes, that’s right I am cooler than Max’s mom. Suck it, judgy parents.

I still wanted to put the little bastards who clung to me and grabbed at the Bingo cage in time out, but I very gently encouraged them to fuck off.

Finally, the party was done and I could take my little boy home. He walked tall and held my hand on the way out. And that is what makes me the “cool mom.”

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Defending the “Bad Mother”

I recently read an article on Salon.com attacking “Slacker Moms” and, frankly, it really toasted my buns because the author ripped all of the imperfect parents apart without really understanding what it means to be a “bad mother.”

I won’t describe the article in detail, but suffice it to say, it got me thinking about this cadre of women that I have recently joined. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been failing at motherhood for seven years, but I just started talking about it in January.

For centuries there has been a portrait of perfect motherhood. It shifts decade by decade, but it’s there and has been weighing on women the way the world rests on Atlas’ shoulders.

Mean Girls

Curse you, Regina George!

In the recent past, the perfect mother had a spotless home, happy husband, polite children and a pineapple pot roast on the table every night. When they joined the workforce en-masse, they were expected to have all of the above as well as a level of committment to the work that rivaled their male counterparts. It doesn’t help that there are Mean Girls who try to rip other women to shreds.

It’s no wonder that there was a backlash against trying to be perfect, and the subsequent rise of the self-deprecating parent. This is the woman who is helping one kid put cottonball sheep into a diorama due the next day, helping another with math they themselves forgot how to do 20 years ago, while making dinner, and tripping over the family dog, who is trying to snap up any food scraps that fall to the floor.

Cake Pop

My attempt at Hello Kitty cake pops. It was all downhill from here.

She is not exactly the “perfect” mom who breezes through homework, surfs Pinterest for convoluted pinecone crafts, and bakes cakes with an entire Minecraft landscape on top. Damn, I wish I could be that woman, but only for birthday parties. It’s too tiring on a daily basis.

But never for one minute do any of these imperfect parents ever claim to not love their children. Their kids may bring them to their knees in agonizing desperation, but those children are always loved. These moms (and, yes, dads too) are up late after their kids go to bed, making lunches, putting artwork created that day on the fridge, surfing the web to find replacements for kitty costumes that were outgrown years ago*, and, overall, worrying about how to not screw up these tiny humans who, for whatever reason, have not been completely traumatized by inept attempts at parenting.

(*Seriously, she’s 5. How can she fit into a size 24-month costume? And if anyone knows where to find the Carter’s pink kitty costume in a 6x, let me know. I’m pretty sure my daughter’s butt is eating the tail on the thing.)

Yes, these bad moms vent, but they are not intimidating monsters reveling in the fact they tossed their kids a snowball and Mountain Dew for dinner and called it a day. It’s about chronicling this surreal journey and knowing that we are not alone.

I know that I am not the only woman who will flip out in the middle of Target and leave a full cart in the middle of the aisle because my kids are pitching a fit about the DS game or Frozen doll I won’t buy.

I am not the only woman who whips up carrots and dill as a side dish, just to be asked, “Why are the carrots moldy? I am NOT eating moldy carrots.”

I am also not the only woman who wakes up most weekends to my 5-year-old crawling into bed for a snuggle, or who spends an extra 15 minutes telling stories to my 7- year-old starring his stuffed lambs.

There are great joys and great pain in parenthood. I am not superior to anyone, nor have I been made to feel like I wasn’t “bad enough” to call myself a terrible mother. And, frankly, if anyone does degrade another human being (let alone another parent), then they are just bad people, not bad mothers. So, let’s let everyone parent go their own way, and I’ll go back to  trying to make cookies with my daughter, using her Easy Bake Oven and choking down the disgusting results. Agreed?

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Did I Really Just Say That?

There was so much that I did not expect when I became a parent; the mind-numbing exhaustion, wearing my child’s blowouts, and the things I would end up saying to my offspring. There is great joy in the stereotypical, “Because I said so,” or, “You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit,” but then there are these choice nuggets:

  1. No, I will not wipe your butt. You’re 7. Which probably leads to…
  2. Please don’t wipe your poop on the wall. I mean, seriously. How messy can they get when wiping up? And how, after using a half a roll of toilet paper, do they still manage to get it all over their hands? And why do they think their poop hands should touch the wall? There is so much I just don’t understand.
  3. I don’t care how nicely you ask, you cannot have a Ring Pop for breakfast. My kids somehow think that if they put “please” in their request that I will acquiesce. Then, they are sent into hysterics when it doesn’t work. “But, you said to ask nicely! I did ask nicely! YOU LIED! I’m never going to ask nicely again. I’m going to eat this Ring Pop anyway! As soon as I can get it open!” Tears, rolling around on the floor, and leg kicks ensue.
  4. Why is there a used pull-up in the middle of your room? My daughter still uses a pull-up at night, because she has a bladder the size of, well, a small child’s bladder. I don’t care about pull-up use, as long as it doesn’t extend into the teen years, but what I do mind is going into her room after a long day and finding a sodden pull-up or two in the middle of her floor. Why doesn’t she throw it out? Does she like the smell of rotting urine in her room? Is it like fresh napalm for her? I mean, I don’t leave my feminine products lying about after I’m done with them. Because that would be DISGUSTING. I might lose my mind if, as a teen, she does the same thing with pads that she does with her pull-ups. I might even get nostalgic for the days when it was just a pull-up I found.
  5. Yeah, well, you smell like rat-patooties. I am ashamed to admit this, but I have been known to sink to my kids’ level when I am at the end of my rope. I would love to be the perfect parent who always takes the high road and is so awesomesauce that they never even get into a fight with their child because they and their child are so well behaved, fighting is not in their lexicon. Since our family is on the opposite spectrum, I end up saying things like “rat-patooties” and, “no… you are!” We’re all 5 in this house.
  6. You have lost TV in the morning, TV in the car, and when you get out of school. This is something that sticks out, not for the words themselves, but because I said them while trying unsuccessfully to get my daughter to bed. I start by offering her rewards to stay in bed, like watching Sheriff Callie in the morning or snuggling when she wakes up. Then, after about the third time, the punishments get doled out. I try not to take too much away at one time because I’ll run out of bargaining chips pretty quickly. There are nights when I do run out and have to make things up, like, “Your grandparents won’t pick you up from school now.” They weren’t planning on it, but dammit, I don’t know what else to say. It’s either that or, “Go the f to sleep!” in my best Samuel L. Jackson voice. I like to think I made the right choice in that situation.
  7. Who pooped in the hall and ate it? Oh, wait. That’s something I say to the dogs. Nevermind.

While I’m glad I haven’t had to resort to the violent, old-school chestnuts such as, “I’ll give you something to cry about” or, “If I have to come up there….” I still wonder on a daily basis, what the hell am I saying? Is this normal? Am I raising some seriously screwed up kids? I guess as long as I don’t have to ask the kids if they ate their own poop, things can’t be too bad, right?

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Accepting My Son and Every Other Brony in the World

I found myself in tears tonight, reading the story of 11-year-old Michael Morones, a young boy who was bullied into a suicide attempt, just because he loved My Little Pony. It wasn’t just his story that gnawed at my heart, but I couldn’t help but think of my own sweet son who also likes “girl things” like My Little Pony.

When I was a kid, I LOVED My Little Pony. I had the toys, watched the cartoon and wished beyond all hope that I would wake up a pony. Preferably a flutter pony. So, when I discovered My Little Pony had been brought back for a new generation of impressionable kidlets, I was excited. I could share my childhood joy with them. This desire to share my youth with my kids also extends to playing Bon Jovi in the car, explaining jelly bracelets and making them play Mouse Trap.

We started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and the kids loved it! It entered heavy rotation in our house, alongside Doc McStuffins and Octonauts. Of course, when the cartoon love consumes a child, the toys, books and DVDs are not far behind. Now, can I admit something? I bought the DVDs thinking the kids would share them, and the stuffed animals for my daughter because she is a hoarder of plush. There are pony toys that are sold as “blind bags” or, as the kids and I called them, “mystery ponies.” You never know what kind of pony you are going to get. It could me one of the main 6, or it could be someone you’ve never heard of. Hence, the mystery. Initially, my daughter wanted them, but then my son wanted to start his pony collection. I paused. I wondered if I should encourage something that was “for girls.” I am ashamed to think of this now. Eventually, I mentally slapped myself and realized that it doesn’t matter what he likes as long as it isn’t hurting him or anyone else. So, I bought him the mystery ponies. I felt up so many bags to determine if they were pegasi, unicorns or earth ponies, that I felt like a predator.

I didn’t mind, but eventually, there came a point where my son minded. You know, as much as I had “pause” over his pony love, I had great sadness when he decided to give his ponies to his sister. There was one pony in particular, Princess Celestia, that he was ECSTATIC to receive. It was my touchpoint. My affirmation that I was doing the right thing. And he gave it away. His friends in school did not watch ponies. They did not get excited over Princess Celestia. Once, his sister was in the car when he was dropped off and she was watching some asinine Barbie movie. He made my husband turn the movie off because he didn’t want anyone to think HE was watching it.

And this is at the heart of why I was devastated by Michael Morones’ story. There are kids who feel they cannot be themselves because of how other children will treat them. I know it is not a new concept; I have horrible recollections of being teased for my frizzy perm and glasses. But, this is MY baby. He is my first born. Sensitive, smart and, yes, living with ADHD. I don’t know if that makes him somehow more sensitive to the world around him, or if it is just a part of his personality, like the way he enjoys My Little Pony.

When I first learned of bronies, or guys who liked My Little Pony, I thought they were weird. I mean, who likes Twilight Sparkle when they are “old enough to know better?” Admittedly, this was the same time my kids were learning the joys of Twilight and her pals. But, somehow, my kids were “different.” Then, I researched the brony movement, watched the documentary and made a few conclusions.

They are my son, at different ages. There are probably a few fruit loops in the group. Every group has one, just like every family has the one relative who spews crazy at the holidays. But, overall, they are just guys who happen to love the message these ponies serve up; friendship, kindness and honesty. What more can a mother hope for from her kids?

So, here I am. If I can support my son, then I will declare myself a Pegasister and wave my Twilight Sparkle flag high. All hail the ponies of Equestria. I shall also offer up a prayer for the family of Michael Morones. Please, dear Lord, let this boy recover and may our world become a little more accepting of the people in it.

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