Ah…Family Dinner.  The idyllic time spent around the dinner table sharing tidbits about our day, sampling nutritious fare and warding off all the evils of childhood.  Did you know if you do Family Dinner your kids won’t do drugs/lie/cheat/be slutty/ or otherwise tarnish the family name?  If Parenting magazine writes enough articles about it, it must be true, right?

But I’m beginning to suspect that we might not be getting a net benefit from our Family Dinners, and here’s why:

  1. In order to make a decent meal, I’m forced to banish the midgets from the kitchen.  Nothing warm and fuzzy about that.
  2. The only dependable way to keep them away is tv.  Tell me how watching Handy Manny out-macho Mr. Lopart again and again is good for anyone?
  3. The emotional highs and lows of plate selection will certainly be paving our road to the nearest therapist’s office.
  4. Rather than a lively discussion about our respective days, the conversation quickly devolves into a negotiation of how many bites are needed to earn more milk/applesauce etc.
  5. The phrase “now feel my muscles!” lost its cuteness about 37 FD’s ago.  Especially when the muscle mass is purported to have come from merely touching a piece of broccoli to one’s lips.
  6.  Busting ass to put the damn meal together only to hear a 3 year old say, “I’m not a big fan of this meat, mom,” is less than awesome.

Don’t worry, though, FD will still happen around here fairly often for one very good reason:

Not having to cook again after bedtime kicks ass.


Parks and Wreck


Look, I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I’ve seen a strange and dangerous creature at the local playgrounds lately and I think my readers (all one of you) deserve fair warning. This beast is quick, agile, usually clad in all black, and a real threat to our safe havens.  Just yesterday I was enjoying some sunshine and chatting with a friend while my kids were…doing something, I don’t know what – what am I the park police?…when out of nowhere one flew past.

God, it was a terrifying sight. I don’t even know what to call it.  It was seemingly female, larger than a normal playground child, but still bouncing around, giggling and in hot pursuit of a small child.  Of course the kid didn’t know to be afraid.  The poor bastard was laughing, too!  It was almost like it was a scene from one of those fantasy feel-good movies where the mom is PLAYING with the children!



I think that’s what it was!  Because there was another one at a different playground last week.  And there was a striking family resemblance.  What the hell?  Is this a New Year’s Resolution thing?  Because it’s almost February.  Time to be ditching that crap.  The playground is for children.

Where’s the solidarity, bitchez?

A way-too-typical “conversation” from a car ride today:

Matty -Mommy, whassat ovah deyah?

Me -A shopping center.

Matty -A shoppin’ center?

Me -Yes!  That’s right!

Matty-A shoppin’ center?

Me -Yup!

Matty-A shoppin’ center?

Me -Yeah.

Matty-A shoppin’ center?

-Uh huh.

Matty -A shoppin’ center?

Me – grinding teeth

Matty -A shoppin’ center?


Matty -A shoppin center?  A shoppin’ center?  A shoppin’ center?????

5 – 10 blessed seconds of silence…

Sarah -Thassnotta shoppin’ center, thassa store!


This Ass


Who goes to an author’s reading of her very first book and calls said author an ass?

This ass, that’s who.

Of course it was a joke and of course it was in context, but that didn’t stop the three ice queens sitting in front of me from whipping around staring down their noses at me.  Nor did it stop me from feeling like a total dipshit.  I mean, who does that?  Alexa was up there sharing her words and her life, keeping a brave face on despite her certainty that the earth beneath us was about to disconnect from the rest of the continent and despite the fact that audience members were hurling obscenities at her (Ok, that was just me.)

Sam and I had already made sure we stood out.  Being child-free CityGirls for the night and having a reunion two years after our first meeting, we just couldn’t wait for the reading to be over before having a drink, so we cajoled a bookstore employee into letting us bring a bottle of wine in.  Apparently she’d been jonesing for a patron to suggest it because her only condition was that we share a glass with her. We’d barely returned from the wine shop and snagged some seats before she leapt out at us from behind a bookshelf, and hissed, “Where’s MINE?”

So there we were, swilling screwtop SavBlanc and generally bringing the level of sophistication down, down, DOWN, and then.  Just when it was almost over and we’d nearly made it out without making complete fools of ourselves, I call the author an ass.

I just wish I could let a joke go unsaid one of these days.  I feel like it would show a lot of personal growth.  Also, it would keep me from insulting people all over the place.  Especially such accomplished people!  Alexa was there doing so many things I’ll never do.  Speaking coherently in front of a group, reading her book aloud, and rocking the shit out of some fuchsia peep-toe pumps.  And most impressive was her smooth reaction to this diminutive dude from the bookstore surreally introducing her by reading aloud the section of her book detailing her own surreal experience with another diminutive dude who just happened to be her RE.  I think when he got to the part describing Alexa’s “pubic area bathed in light” he realized maybe this was a strange passage to choose.  She was beyond gracious, but it was a very strange beginning to a great event.

Speaking of the book I’m only partway through, but so far it is exactly the long-term visit to Flotsamland that you all want it to be.  Hilarious, poignant, vocabulary-improving.  It’s the whole package.  Go buy it!

So, yesterday I sent this email to a few of my “mom” friends:

Subject:  Special Opportunity!

The (Our Last Name Here) 3, usually just a weekday grouping will be available for playdates and so much more this weekend!  You’ll want to get in on this amazing opportunity while it lasts!

The Hubs wants to go watch motorcycles drive around in circles.  Myself, I’m going to go crazy using a different method – Toddler Torture!  I’ll be alone with my children from Friday morning until Sunday evening.  I need your help.  Invite us to a park, invite us to your house (dare ya!), come to us…just do SOMETHING to give me the adult interaction I’ll be craving as well as the distraction that the runts and I will certainly be needing from each other.  Also, if anyone is interested in coming over on Saturday night to watch a chick flick and drink heavily, stop on by.

If you’re thinking that this email is pathetic, well, you’re right!  Happy now?


So yeah, I put it out there.  I can’t be alone with my kids for 3 days!  No way, no how, uh UH!  At first I was a bit hesitant to send it.  Like,  can’t I just let plans fall into my lap?  Or, arent’ I embarrassed to let on that I didn’t have any plans for this weekend?  No, no and NO!  I needed to fill my playdate card to the gills this weekend and I was gonna do it anyway I had to.  Just the thought of doing a whole week at home with the monsters um… midgets, um… future rational people, then a whole weekend and then starting it all over again next Monday definitely sent me into an internal (and occasionally external) tizzy.

But now, having shared my plight with my pals, they have responded like gangbusters, and I’m facing a weekend chock-full of fun stuff.  In fact I made the mistake of listing off our plans to Will and instead of feeling sorry for me like he was supposed to, I think he might be a little jealous!  We’re going to a margarita happy hour playdate this afternoon,  tomorrow I will try putting my kids in my friend’s gym day care so she and I can do a training ride and run for our upcoming triathlon, then we may hit some wineries.  I’ve got another friend coming over for a movie and wine (She’s a sucker for chick flicks, so my hopes that she’d respond to that came true!) and then a trip with her family to the Farmers Market on Sunday morning.  Man, I’m kinda tired just typing that.     Also, I feel a bit pre-hungover.

Here’s the thing that’s pretty embarrassing, though.  Single parents are doing this solo thing EVERY WEEK and EVERY WEEKEND.  HOW for chrissakes?   Probably not by sending out emails whining about their situation.  What, do they have pride or something?

Ok, so bottom line?  I needed help and I asked for it and I GOT IT!  Important lessons abound.

Let me break it down for ya: I’m currently pinned on the couch by 28 pounds of sleeping sick toddler. That? Could be worse.

My real problem? The 30 pounds of non-sick toddler running loose in the house. My only options for discipline are as follows:

1. Squirting him with a water bottle (already proven to be ineffective);

2. Throwing household items at him (only available choices are remote control and coffee mug and obviously I need those); or

3. Letting him continue to run amok until he either passes out or knocks himself unconcious.

Also he’s not watching the tv but goes apeshit if I turn off Curious George. Maybe I should just follow ole Yellow Hat’s lead and let Matty out into the world on his own. Surely nothing could go wrong, right???

She’s a cute lil sickie, isn’t she?

My sanity, that is.

You often hear descriptions that toddlers are like Neanderthals. Mine, Sarah especially, are more like mental patients.  To be more specific, girlfriend is batshit crazy.  Sad thing is, I’m no different.

Take this recent, and quite typical, episode stemming from her pre-nap diaper change:

I’ll preface by saying that lately she’s been eschewing pants by screeching, “No knees!  No knees!”  Yeah, there’s the beginning of the crazytalk.  So as long as it’s warm enough I just go with it and make sure she’s got at least a onesie on so the dipe stays intact.  Today I had no onesies readily available and couldn’t have predicted what was going to happen, so I thought I could give her a choice of pants to wear.  She was excited by the prospect.

Me:  Flirty pink skort or pink poodle pj pants?

Sarah: Yes, Mommy!

Me:  Oh, ah, you have to choose.  Puppy pants or skort?

Sarah:  (In a desperately hysterical screech that came out of nowhere.) PUPPY PANTS!!  PUPPY PANTS!!!!!!  PUUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYYY PAAAAAANNNNTS!!!!!!

So, silly me, I go to put the puppy pants on.

Sarah:  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! (Much crying, wailing, flailing, etc.)

Me:  (Trying to keep the tone light.)  Oh, you want the skort?  (And I remove the pants and attempt to put on the skort.


I’m really starting to lose it now – I’m hungry, tired, and so fucking ready for naptime.  So, teeth clenched I suggest that maybe she wants both on?  And I try to make that happen.

Here’s where I should type what she said, but I don’t know how to recreate it.   Loud hysteria with wild flailing.  Manic thrashing.   So fun.

I have no clue how to remain calm during shitstorms like this.  I get so mad.  It’s not logical to get mad at a crazy not-quite 2-yr old.  Her brain is not fully developed and it’s going haywire.  But it doesn’t change how I feel in the moment.  I yelled, possibly even shrieked a bit myself, hucked the skort into the closet and told her it was poodle pants or the highway.  She was devastated.  Shocker.  Then it somehow occurred to me to offer her the skort to cuddle with for her nap and it fucking worked.  HUH?  A random skort from a drawer we haven’t opened since summer.  Who’d a thunk it?

She seems to be fine now, knock wood, but I’m still reeling.

I think it’s important to point out that I don’t think Sarah is much crazier than any other toddler – this is more about how I respond to it than her behavior. Why do I get so nutty?  What do I care what pants she wears or how long it takes to figure it out?  Why does her shrieking = me yelling?  Why don’t I realize that this is really not helping to show her how to react calmly to adversity?  Why don’t I just wake up and realize I’m a victim of my very own genetics?  Why don’t I have more booze in the house?