Tag Archives: parenting

There is No ‘I’ in Team

I have never been athletic; even tae bo had too many movements at once for me. Somehow, I had hoped that it would be different for my kids; that they would be able to jab, jab, kick without looking like they were fighting off an unseen spiderweb.

My family tree is chock full of writers, educators, nurses; in other words – creative, helpful types. I cannot bring to mind a single one that ever played a sport. My mother likes to tell the story of how my father played left field in her company’s softball game. He’d stand out there, chain smoking and drinking beer. When a ball would head his way, he’d put down the beer can, and, cigarette dangling from his lip, would casually stroll out to catch the ball. Not exactly All Star material.

My husband played football and ran track, so I had high hopes the kids would take after him. Unfortunately, they are like him; tall, skinny and wired for engineering.

Nonetheless, I pushed them, I mean pushed ahead, and signed them up for anything that seemed remotely interesting to them. It did not go well.


Soccer: The boy picked at the grass, and when I shouted at him to get the lead out and chase the damn ball (I mean, I encouraged him vociferously), he would run the length of the field and then declare he was too tired to take another step. His highness would then flop down in one of the lawn chairs we had hauled out to the middle of a muddy soccer field to watch his farce of a game, and he would refuse to get up. I begged, pleaded and bribed him to get out on the field. Sighing, he would drag himself out onto the field and the cycle of grass pulling and flopping would begin again.

The only upside is that there were no weeds on the field when that kid was done with the season. They organizers could have paid us. At least our time would have been worthwhile.

Baseball: See soccer and replace, “picked at the grass” with “made dirt mounds as the shortstop.” Throw in a little bit of chasing my daughter and missing everything but the dirt mounds, and you’ll get an idea of what baseball season was like.


Ballet: My wee little princess wanted to dance, and her bestest friend in the whole wide world was taking a creative movement class. Creative movement is for younger kids and pretty much consists of prancing around a room in expensive leotards while wearing expensive pink ballet slippers, followed by even more expensive tap shoes.

The first couple of lessons were ideal; she threw on her leotard and skipped out of the house. I thought, “O! I have finally found her ‘thing.'” Then, I was invited, along with the other parents, into the studio for observation day. What I observed is my daughter, running around in circles, stopping to hug me, hug her best friend, hug anyone that looked like a grandmother and generally screwing around. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and thought she was just acting out because I was there. No. As the lessons progressed, I could hear the teacher instructing her to pay attention, stop touching other people and to please pipe down!

When the session ended, my daughter’s friend was asked to continue on to formal ballet classes because she had, “Natural dance ability.” My prima ballerina was told that she, “should probably take some time off,” and, “some children aren’t ready as quickly as other children are.” In other words, my kid was being put in the corner with the dunce cap. I knew ballet wasn’t for her, but still. I was really offended. That’s my baby! I decided not to say anything rude, mostly because my kids already say things they shouldn’t after hearing them come out of my mouth, but I thought very rude thoughts. Repeatedly.


My son asked to play basketball. I worried it would be a repeat of soccer and baseball, but at least on the hardwood floor he wouldn’t be able to pluck or create anything. He has very little hand-eye coordination, and I catch him twirling his hair instead of playing sometimes, but he likes it. He at least goes after the ball and will run without turning into a limp noodle. That’s a victory in my book.

My daughter decided to try ballet again with another dance studio and she seems to enjoy it. She still doesn’t display, “Natural dance ability,” but I’m ok with that. Have you seen Black Swan? That girl was crazy. So, suck it stupid other ballet teacher. My little swan is awesome.

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Unicorns and Rainbows, Or, What Parenting Isn’t

I think if there is one thing that having kids has taught me, it is that you should never take yourself too seriously, because the minute you do, you’re going to find that you’re taking a very snarky tone with someone while sporting baby vomit in your hair.

I really wish other women would realize this.

Yesterday, I jokingly posted to Facebook that schools should just make kids tough out the cold in a hat instead of canceling. I would think that anyone who has ever met me would know that I do not want any children turning into kidsicles (at least not my own kids). But, alas, I received a very sternly worded reply about how many kids can’t even afford hats. I do believe the unwritten second part of that reply was, “You selfish woman, why do you want children to catch frostbite and lose all of their appendages? Would that make your day better?”

I have no way of knowing whether or not she had baby vomit in her hair while typing her comment, but I’m pretty sure she was wearing a wimple. It was that holy.

I started the week with a big box of patience. The box is empty now.

Photo found on Pinterest

I was flabbergasted. Where the hell did that come from? Then I saw another post from one of her friends about how people should appreciate the time with their kids instead of bitching about snow days.

Do these people not really have kids? Or, do they have kids who ride unicorns and fart rainbows? If they do, then I was clearly in the wrong line when they were handing out offspring.

After three days of being trapped inside, my children are whining puddles of goo, and no amount of popsicle stick crafts will soothe them. I’m lucky if I can get them to zone out to Sheriff Callie for a half hour. And they love that lasso-toting cat!

No, after three snow days, I will drag them to school and barely slow down to 5 m.p.h. before tossing them out on the sidewalk. I will then do a victory lap, complete with doughnuts, once I clear the school zone. Once I get home, I may even put on Geto Boys and destroy the popsicle sticks Office Space-style.

I wonder if these parents who seem to love every second of being a parent really do. I know that kids grow up way too fast, and that there are horrific things that could happen to my child, therefore, I should cherish every second. And I do hold onto their good moments. I squeeze my daughter tight when she says she wants a cuddle. I play Pokemon with my son and let him tell me about every power and evolution the monsters make. I know it won’t last forever, so I take those times and brand them into my heart. It might make the teen years more bearable to remember them when they were soft and sweet-smelling.

What I do not want to hold on to is all the crap that goes along with motherhood, like telling my daughter to stop picking her nose or asking my son to cover up his private areas. And, honestly, aren’t we all doing each other a disservice if we won’t share those parts of our lives that are less than picture perfect?

Before I discovered the amazing cadre of moms on the internet who fail in a spectacularly funny fashion, I thought I was all alone, screwing my kids up as other women created smart, well-rounded progeny. As I started reading their books and blogs, I saw myself. I laughed, cried and cheered with them. I was encouraged and I realized that maybe I wasn’t raising tiny serial killers. I let go and, in my mind, became a better parent because if it.

I don’t know, but if there are parents who think every moment of every day is a sparkly fun-fest, then more power too them. I just hope they let my kids borrow their unicorn on the weekends.


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A Voyage Into the Second Circle of Hell

Every time I take my kids with me on a quick trip to the grocery store, I have this delusion that they will be well behaved and that I will somehow get through it with a shred of my sanity still intact. Alas, that has yet to happen.

Albert Einstein

Seemed fitting.

I am reminded of the quote, which may or may not have come from Albert Einstein, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It probably comes to no one’s surprise, that by this standard, I am quite insane.

Take today, for instance. I wanted to dash ever-so-quickly into the store, grab some milk, grapes, and whatever will help make the polar vortex (part deux) bearable. My son suggested at first that I should leave him and his sister in the car.

Hubba what?

There is no way on God’s snowy Earth that I would do this. Now, I know my parents left me in the car to run quick errands, and while they were gone, I’d read, pretend to drive their brown whale of a Cadillac, eat all of the Certs I could find, and play with the cigarette lighter. No kids were harmed in this act of temporary abandonment and I am clearly not too scarred by this. Now, I, on the other hand, have two bundles of joy that would get bored in about two seconds, find some way to put the car into gear and proceed to run into other cars, shopping carts and delicate old ladies.

So, I try to nip that in the bud as I find a parking space. Since the world figures it’s OK to park like an a-hole because it’s snowing, it takes me awhile. The whole time I hear, “But mom, we’ll be good. I mean, Papa lets us do it all the time.” Papa is my father-in-law. I make a mental note to have words with him later. Or, have my husband talk to him, because I am a wuss.

I bundle the kids up and get them out of the car. The stomp on, squish, and shuffle their way through every pile of black, scummy snow in the parking lot. Of course they do. Because that looks like oodles of fun.

The first fight we have is about what cart to get. They want to get the cart with a car attached to the front. I hate these things with a passion. They are unwieldy, the cart part itself is smaller than a standard cart, and my kids only stay in them for approximately three aisles, or until they see something they just have to touch. Repeatedly. That I means I am left pushing this monstrosity into cereal displays, canned goods, and generally looking like I am a character in a comedy sketch, rather than the super competent mother I am. I would rather shave my eyebrows than get one of these damn carts. 

Somehow, I win the cart battle but then lose my daughter to a pouting fit because I won’t let her ride one of those germ-infested kiddie rides the grocery store has that, frankly, she is too big for. I need milk, not pinkeye.

I could regale you with my adventures once I was in the store, but I don’t want you to suffer the way I have. You might start to twitch and feel compelled to soothe yourself by singing “Soft Kitty” or with a magnum of wine. It was pretty much an endless stream of, “Please don’t touch every apple… No, we do not need doughnuts… I am not buying a $20 piece of As Seen on TV crap, I don’t care how silky it makes your hair… Where the hell did you wander off to now?”

I finally get to the checkout and think I am just a credit card swipe away from freedom, when the kids see it. Sweet mother of all things holy. It’s a GIANT flipping plush animal display. Surrounded by candy. The grocery store wizards decide to put their Valentine’s Day goods right next to the checkout lanes. Oh, I know why. It’s so children, just like mine, see the teddy bears the size of a calf and want them with every fiber of their little being. They LOVE these smiling pink unicorns SO MUCH that they become limp, crying noodles at the sight of them. Now, Jeremy Renner with a pink unicorn? Then we can talk. Until, then kids, get it together.

Let’s just forget for a moment that if I did buy the damn thing, wrestle it home in my car and lug it up to my daughter’s room, she would play with it for all of a day and then move on to another plushy friend.

Typically in these situations, I create a little song and dance about how we can’t get it right now, and what ever holiday may be next on the calendar is coming, so we can get it then. Every time. I don’t care if the next holiday is Arbor Day. I will say anything to get them away from the shiny, pretty thing they have fixated on. I know that some people are thinking, “Just say no. Discipline your children and they will learn they cannot have everything they ask for.” Uh huh. Because I’ve never tried that before. My children have worn me down to the point where I am a desperate woman. I am almost at the point where I will offer them Doritos and a Mountain Dew if that’s what it will take to move them along. I am not proud. I am practical. I value my sanity.

I make it out of there by the skin of my teeth. But, like any good horror story, it’s not over. Not by a long shot. Because I’m pretty sure we’re going to need dog food, toilet paper, or wine. And I am willing to risk a expedition to the grocery store for wine.

To be continued…


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I Am An Overly Involved Bookworm

I have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. I am pretty sure  that in the womb, I was pressed against the placenta straining to see through the stomach wall and read along with my mother. Books have been my constant companions. Literally. I carried them with me from morning until night. Picture Amy Carter, but with big 80s hair and neon leggings.

Now, this led to some interesting, or perhaps odd, habits. Whenever I read a book, I become very involved with the characters, surroundings and plot. For instance, before I went to Paris (ooh, la la!) I read an abundance of books about France in WWII. And after each and every one, I thought, “Damn, Germans! I really hate those guys.” Now, let me say that I am just two generations removed from relatives in Germany. My grandfather fought in WWII on the side of the Americans, against cousins that still lived in the old country. I also love sauerkraut, hefeweizen beer, and have an odd fascination with lederhosen. So, there is no great hate in my “real life” for Germany, but because I was fictionally in France during WWII, I have an antipathy for Nazis. And, seriously, who can really say they like Nazis? Oh, yes. Those misunderstood rascals. Yeah, no one believes that.

I also try to imagine what I would do if I were in those fictional situations. For instance, if I were to be invited to Hogwarts, I would be sorted into Ravenclaw and would most likely have dated a Weasley. I have a thing for men who are both rebellious and funny. Or, if I were cast into the dystopian Divergent world, I would be an Erudite because I am not even remotely tough, I lack agrarian skills and the thought of thinking of others (other than my kids) is not inherent in my nature. Also, the bookworm thing seems to be a defining trait.

See? That is way too much thought put into something. Do normal people wonder how they would fit into Tudor culture? Or, do they imagine how they would look in Regency attire? No! And worst of all, I have passed this along to my children.

After watching Captain America, my son decided that he wanted to play war games where he took on the evil Germans. I tried to use it as a teaching tool and explain how his great-great-grandfather emigrated from Germany, that his great-grandfather fought in WWII, and that war is something that can scar a human being. I don’t think anything sunk in. I was like Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Wa, wah, wah. Germans. Wah, wa wa. War.” He kept this up for a week and then was sucked into the world of Percy Jackson. I imagine that soon enough he’ll want to go on a quest for the Golden Fleece or want to know who his real parents are.  Since he looks like me, I’ll tell him that I am his mother and his father is Hermes (I love me some Nathan Fillion), just to mess with his head. I might as well make this fun.

Currently, I am reading Mindy Kaling’s novel, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).” I can only assume this means I will imagine what it’s like growing up as an Indian girl trying to break into comedy. It’s a good thing I like naan and gulab jamun. I’ll fit right in.

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Ghosts of the Past

Every night, I check on my children before I go to bed. It’s not simply to make sure they are covered up and sleeping comfortably, but to assure myself that a) they have not been kidnapped and b) they have not died in their sleep.

Feel free to laugh. I know it’s ridiculous. Honestly, what are the odds that in the two hours between them going to bed and me going to sleep, that something horrific would happen? But, for some reason I cannot sleep until I know that my kids are safe and sound.

Yes, I am a control freak (there is a place for everything, and everything must go in its place!). But, I think it’s more than that. For many years, I worked in a newsroom. The stories that flowed through the hallways ran the gamut from waterskiing squirrels to co-eds who were kidnapped and murdered. Somehow, for most of those years, I managed to compartmentalize and treat them like they were a story. Fiction. Something that had to be told and forgotten.

Then, I found out I was pregnant. Blindsided by the awesomesauce news, I found myself an emotional and hormonal wreck. And wouldn’t you know it? That’s when so many stories about babies dying from SIDS or drowning in a pool surfaced. Honestly, for every baby-in-peril story reported on air, there are three that are tossed aside. Finally, I left the great news business and found work in a beige cubicle.

The phantoms of my old life linger. I still tense up whenever I hear the chirp of a Nextel (that was how I was alerted to breaking news), and when I hear about a tornado or other weather event, I think about the video that needs to be shot and uploaded to the internet.

But, overall, what remains is how precious life is. So, now, instead of running to the newsroom when the world goes to hell in a handbasket, I run to my kids. I hold them close, inhale their sweet baby scent and relish the fact that I have one more day to enjoy their laughter and more time to be completely drained by their boundless energy.

Parenting, the hardest job you’ll ever love.

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January 17, 2014 · 3:22 am

My Journey Begins

So, have you ever come to a crossroads and wondered, what am I doing with my life? Where exactly is this road taking me? It could be the road less traveled by, or a highway to hell; who knows? Anyway, I guess I’m hoping you all take this journey with me and see what happens. But, who am I? I feel like Anthony Michael Hall with my pen dangling from my lip saying, “Who am I? Who am I?”

The early years

I was your typical 80s kid with jelly bracelets and shoes, a crazy perm and oh-so-stylin’ glasses. Try not to be too jealous. The greatest joys were Chinese jump rope and MASH (by the way, I am marrying Michael Chester, living in a mansion and will drive a Lamborghini Countach).

High school

Oh, sweet mama. These four years were tough; drama geek, school newspaper editor, and every other non-athletic thing I could take part in. They weren’t as beastly as middle school (the perm still haunts my dreams), but I am not one of those people who would LOVE to go back. The thought gives me hives.


Okay, so I am not convinced I am an adult, although the fact that I own an home and have two children would say otherwise. Now, I toil daily in a cube and try to raise two kids that fuck with my mind on a daily basis, but also remind me what it is to be a loving human being. There are three dogs and one cat who exist in this chaos, and they readily take the place of a third child. And that’s great because I do not have the patience or skill to actually care for another human being. I mean, seriously, I am already saving up for my other kids’ therapy.

Anyway, I hope you join me on this journey. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I know I need the help!

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