Monday, December 31, 2012

Loving The New Year

I love New Years Eve. I love the excuse to stay up until midnight on a Monday night and have one glass too many of champagne.  I have only gone to bed one time before the clock stroke the midnight hour on New Years Eve in my adult life and my excuse was a good one; I was very pregnant and couldn’t cheers in the New Year with a glass of champagne so I gave in to sleep. My husband does not share my enthusiasm of the joy of the end of the year but tries his best to appease me by staying up watching marathons of Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad, but his heart is just not in like mine is.
The reason behind this infatuation with ringing in the New Year is my optimistic belief that the New Year can only bring good changes.  The opening of a new calendar with three hundred and sixty-five fresh days to make better choices, love my loved ones even more, and be a better mom, wife, and friend feels invigorating.  I want to take on the challenges that have weighed me down in the last year and knock them down one by one in the New Year. The truth is that the New Year reminds me of what I already know, I have the power and positivity to change my future for the better.
I am sure for those of you in my husband’s camp, those who would rather sleep through the hullabaloo of the New Year, think that my positive attitude is annoying and to those people I say: hit the bricks! I like, wait correction, love New Years Eve and you better believe that December 31st at midnight I will be standing with a champagne glass in my hand, counting down from ten, and tearing up at all the thoughts of great things I will do in 2013.  I cannot be the only one who feels this optimistic on the eve of the New Year….can I?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Stupidest Thing He Has Ever Heard

            When my son woke up this Saturday morning I went to his room to help him out of bed, walked with him to the bathroom, and then helped him get comfortable in mine and my husband's bed. I turned on cartoons for him and got up to get him chocolate milk when he got thirsty.  All of this happened while my husband did not make a peep, he did not open his eyes, and did not attempt to move to accommodate my son’s arrival in our queen size bed.  Within the hour my son began asking when and what would be for breakfast, to which I replied by getting up and starting breakfast for him.  When my husband finally grumbled something incoherent at us I said that I thought he was still pretending to be asleep, this of course was not something he was pleased to hear.  My husband let me know, not in the sweetest of tones, my saying he was pretending to sleep was the “stupidest” thing he had ever heard. This charming comment, coming from the man who for at least the last hour had not moved or spoken to neither my son nor I, was not the way I would have chose to start the weekend.
            My son had a very itchy Friday night, he called for help at 3:30 a.m. and let me know that he “couldn’t stand the itching anymore”, so I got him up and took him to the bathroom to get the itchy area slathered with Cortisone 10.  Having solved the itch emergency I got my son all tucked back into bed with a kiss, and of course the stern reminder that it was still the middle of the night and that going back to sleep was not an option it was a must.  I, of course, returned to bed and was not able to return to the beautiful land of slumber, instead I tossed and turned until I decided to pick up Dexter is Delicious to read a bloody murder mystery in the wee hours of the morning.  Reading was not working it’s siesta magic either, leaving me with my last solution of trying to close my eyes and count down from one billion until I finally dosed off to sleep.  And now we are back to where my little tale began, my son awake at 7:20 a.m. and the stupidest thing my husband ever heard.
            Obviously, the comment was not the stupidest thing he ever heard, I have watched Harold and Kumar Go To While Castle with him before, and we have a four year old with a serious case of potty mouth.  For the sake of not ruining the weekend for all three of us I will vent my annoyance with this rude awakening, after an rough night of no sleep while taking care of OUR son, with you wonderfully understanding people.  Good morning to the rest of you exhausted and stupidest comment making mothers out there, I hope your weekend begins with less flaws than mine.  I guess the good news is my weekend can only get better from here….right?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Mother Does Not Mean Maid

Saturday morning, as I was gathering up left over and forgotten items in the bathroom, a sock stuffed in the corner next to the trash can and a dripping toothbrush from the counter to place it back into the toothbrush holder a mere inch away, I started to wonder if the definition of the word mother includes a reference to domestic servitude.  I grabbed my laptop and typed m-o-t-h-e-r into the New Oxford Dictionary in my computers mission control and was shocked to read the following definition: a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.  There was no prose alluding to a maid or even a whisper of the word “mother” meaning housekeeper, then why, I questioned, is it that I am the only one picking up the slack and the socks?
Days turn into months before I witness my husband in the act of cleaning anything, of course with exception of himself and I sometimes think that if he didn’t have to go to work he would skip the cleaning of himself as well, and I think what a glorious life that must be.  I have had daydreams of coming home to a vacuumed rug and laundry not spilling over out of the hampers onto the floor. I have wistful thoughts about what it must feel like to get into a freshly scrubbed shower not being exhausted from being on my knees doing the scrubbing, and what if (this is a big one) I opened the refrigerator and there was my favorite items from the market tidy and organized on the shelves, what if?  Obviously all of that would be unbelievably amazing and a side perk would be that I wouldn’t have to pretend to be sick as an excuse to shirk off my household chores in order to spend an afternoon reading a novel.
I choose to live within the reality of the parameters of my home life, I am the sole caregiver in my family, I cannot spend the precious seconds of “me time” that I get in the day in a silent reverie about someone else providing my family with a clean home.  I know my husband will not miraculously transform into a domesticated animal that I can train to pick up his work shirts from the floor of the bathroom and my son is not going to stop eating Pop Tarts on the couch leaving a fine dust of pastry for someone else to sit on.  I live with these truths about my home life, but it would be nice, even if only for one day, to have someone else help out with the mundane tasks of toilet scrubbing and dish washing...a girl can dream can't she?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Gift Recap: The Good, The Bad, and The What?

I cannot be the only one…who is thirty-plus years old and still shivers from the nightmare Christmas gifts of the past. One year, as an impressionable pre-teenage girl, I foolishly asked my parents for a stereo system for my bedroom. While visiting my friends houses I admired their compact disc systems with brightly lit radio tuners and the brand emblazoned on the front, “Sony”. Christmas morning I could barely contain myself in my bedroom waiting for my parent’s sleepy butts to get out of bed, when they finally set us loose like caged animals I ran to the fireplace hearth and found a nondescript black cube with what looked like speakers set off to either side. I looked from mom to dad wondering if this was the shiny stereo I had been dreaming of and my mom looked down at me and said, “Isn’t that just what you’ve been wanting?” As the good child I was, I nodded and replied with my thanks, but my dream of getting just what I really wanted for Christmas was ruined. (As a side note the closing of our local JC Penny Outlet most likely saved many children from disappointing “no-brand” gifts, thank you tanking economy.)

Now I have a husband who comes to the rescue of my broken Christmas wishes, providing me this year with something every mom needs, new UGG boots.  I have had many many many pairs of buttery suede furry lined UGG boots and the pair I received from my hubby this year do not disappoint.

The gift of a good meat thermometer means so much to me as I bbq quite often, and after all the word “mom” is in the name, which I guess is a subliminal message saying "get to cooking".  I hope this Taylor Digital Cooking Thermometer with Probe I was given Christmas morning will eliminate the many frantic moments in the dark cold night I have spent hoping my tri-tip is on the good side of rare rather than the “moo” side of under cooked.

Lastly, my son received piles after piles of festive wrapped gifts, thoughtfully sent from out of state grandparents and cousins who live close by, and after everything was unwrapped I have to say that the gift of Doggie Doo was the winner that brought the family back to the dinning room table laughing and partaking in my son’s love of potty talk.

I have to say that this year did not disappoint any of us, with top shelf booze for the adults and plenty of Lego Star Wars for the kids everyone is full of consumerism contentment.  Merry Christmas gift givers and receivers, I hope all of your unwrapping moments was as fulfilling for your family as they were for my little family.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Time Pretty Baby

It’s Christmas Eve and all through the house I can hear my mother’s neurosis loud and clear through the “click, click, clicking” of her heels back and forth from room to room in preparation of tonight’s big fiesta. Christmas for my little family, while living at my parent’s house, means having to relinquish our own traditions for this year while my mom puts on her normal production. My husband and I are trying our hardest to give our son the little touches from our home that are important to us on Christmas but the truth is our Christmas customs will be dwarfed by my mother’s decorations, cookies, and stockings by the fireplace.

Christmas for me is usually all about hanging out with the family, but this year we are on family time overload, and I can feel the strain on us all.  So, as I type this I am carving out a quiet moment for myself by hiding out in the room my soon is using as a bedroom while we live here, attempting to enjoy my Christmas tradition of a quiet day before the full house evening at my mom’s.  But there goes that “click, click, clicking” of her heels again, a single verse of a Christmas song sung too loudly, and the directing of my father to put something somewhere other than where he placed it.  So much for quiet time, I might as well go and offer a hand, and get into the spirit.

Merry Christmas everyone…keep in mind during all the hustle and bustle of this evening’s dinners, gift exchanges, and toast to family that these hectic holidays have a shelf life of two days, and then it will go right back to normal (whatever that is).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 Things This Mom Wants for Christmas

5.  Fresh sheets on the bed that I didn’t wash and replace.  I love laundry day, obviously I am not crazy, it is not the loading, washing, and folding I enjoy, but rather that fresh washed smell of my pillow when lay my head down after a long day of life.

4.  No potty talk for a whole day, well I would settle for a couple of hours because I understand the parameters in which I am living in.  I enjoy a good dirty joke, I can use seriously bad language, and I choose rated R over PG any day, but my son’s potty talk can be exhausting and a small reprieve would be a nice change of pace.

3.  An uninterrupted shower.  Yes, this is something many of us would enjoy, I hear you fellow moms.  The water temperature will be still heating up and not even half of my hair will be wet when the frantic knocking on the door starts.  I sigh the heavy sigh of a mom that has been in this position many times before, soapy and dissatisfied with the ability to simply get clean.

2. An evening with my husband, but there is a stipulation though; I want him to make all the plans.  My husband loves to complain about the time we don’t spend together but overlooks the aspect of making the plans to spend that time he is missing with me.  I think that this may be too tall an order for the second place spot on this list but…fingers crossed he will read this and get the not so nonchalant hint. 

1.  Time with my little family that we have built and work so hard to keep safe, happy, and healthy.  So much of my time is spent split between the daily grind, my new job, and the mundane tasks necessary to keep our small ship afloat that the quality time we spend together is not always superior in quality.  I will enjoy the look in my son’s eyes when he sees the stocking full of treats from Santa, my husbands relaxed face after he over indulges in Christmas dinner, and the opportunity to spend time with all my family under one roof.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Decision Maker: For Better or For Worse

I cannot be the only one....that is the prime decision maker in their family, from small choices such as the weekly meal menu to big ones like where we are going to purchase our next home. Whether I like it or not this mighty heavy burden falls solely upon my shoulders.  I am decisive by nature, as I mentioned in a previous post about Christmas gifting, and I do not like to linger on small details but prefer looking at the big picture.  The reason for this stern determination is a little bit of personality mixed with a whole lot of my husbands indecisiveness.

Voltaire said, "With great power comes great responsibility", and don't I know it.  I made the decision to purchase our previous home and for the handful of years that we lived there not a day passed by without a complaint about some aspect of our home.  Our two car garage did not have enough room for our two cars, the neighbors smoked on the patio and the smoke gently wafted into our living room, and the street was just too busy.  Although, I did agree with these sentiments I couldn't help feeling that they were all my fault, so for years I felt bad that I chose an unsuitable home for our family.  This morning I mentioned a home I would like us to look at and my husband responded by deciding we should forgo the viewing and simply offer thirty thousand more than the asking price.  That is just a small taste of the kind of decisions my husband brings to the table, sigh.

For now I will have to keep on keeping on as the level headed commander of our family, maybe one day a bit of this load will be lifted off my back, until then I will have to keep doing the best I can to not destroy our little world with bad choices.  I cannot be the only one who suffers from the responsibility of all the family decisions...can I?

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Local Nativity's Demise

An extravagant, life size, nativity scene has been put on display in a beautiful park on the bluffs in Santa Monica overlooking the Pacific Ocean for many, many years.  This year a judge has ruled that the groups behind the nativity display will not be allowed to continue with the tradition because of straining religious differences within the community.  The Santa Monica nativity is one of my earliest memories from when my family moved to Southern California and is a truly Californian experience for those who have taken the time to walk along the bluffs to view the dioramas.  When I read the news that the nativity will no longer take place I started to wonder what other places and traditions from my childhood would soon disappear and was inspired to write a short article about it.  Please click on the link and read about my feelings in regards to the demise of the Santa Monica Nativity scenes featured on the Moms LA website:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

He’s Not a Hobbit- He’s a Gnome

My husband has had a special affinity for garden gnomes for awhile, long before gnomes began to show up on everything from salt and pepper shakers to Halloween costumes, one could say he is a trendsetter, yup I guess one could say that. My garden has been haunted, oops I mean enchanted, by these little darlings of plaster with their mischievous glances through my various ferns and sweep peas for at least the past five years.  So, when Christmas showed up on the bottom of my calendar page I knew it was time to start looking for a new member to join the ranks of my husband’s gnome army.  Off to Amazon I clicked to start my perusing and I was not disappointed.

As I was browsing the many, many pages of garden gnomes Amazon had available I came to the decision that this year the gnome is going airborne, and chose this interesting take on a garden gnome:

The birds in our garden will never be the same after snacking and sitting a spell on this red hat wearing gnome's post.  I hope every time my husband looks out the window in the new year he cracks a smile when he sees the Cherry Valley Feeder Gnome Bird Seed Feeder.  Maybe you know someone who could use a little charm in their garden that only a gnome can bring, well I highly suggest the this handsome little devil.

Monday, December 10, 2012

That’s Why It’s Called a Gift

I cannot be the only one…who remembers that gifts are just that, gifts.  I have no qualms with purchasing a Christmas present for a friend or family member that I think is something they would like or an item they didn’t know they needed until they received it.  In a recent gonzo shopping mission I walked the aisles of Target with family members in mind, and when I saw something I thought they would like into the cart it went.  To my mother’s amazement, who was with me this particular trip, I did not hither and dither over whether the person had mentioned the item in the past or had it on their list, I made decisions, and was committed to those decisions.

Now, I am by no means suggesting that you buy mittens and a scarf for your cousin who is a masseuse at the Four Seasons in the Cayman Islands just because they are cute like her, but if you know she host a girls movie night why not an air popped popcorn maker to enhance her hostess skills.  Taking a moment to think about the person you are gifting for and buying something for them that you think they will love because you know them so well means more than checking items off their wish list.

After this past shopping trip, as I was loading up the back of my Prius with my gems of Christmas gifts, I gave myself an emotional pat on the back for knocking four family members names off my gift list. While my mom, who only managed two gifts, was already planning her next trip out, let’s hope she takes my advice to heart and follows her instincts when selecting the next perfect gift.  I cannot be the only one who Christmas shops like this....right?

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Puzzler of a Christmas Gift

Fighting with my son to sit down and make a Christmas list for his Grandparents is like trying to get him to sit still in a playground, the calm last approximately four minutes, then he is reminded by the toys in the catalog or on the internet of a toy that he already has, and has an immediate need to play with that toy.  As much as I would like to say to him, “Well, if you like the toys you have already so much than maybe we should just put socks and underwear on your Christmas list”, but we all know that is not going to happen.

I grab my son as he is running by and sit him on my lap, we begin to move the mouse across the screen clicking on action figures, legos, then finally games and puzzles.  That’s when we found the Perplexus Rookie puzzle, a clear sphere filled with brightly colored steps, slides, and zig-zags that are in place as a maze to work a steel ball through.  I looked over the description of the Perplexus Rookie and was happy to read that it enhances hand-eye coordination and dexterity, all things that his preschool teachers are always reminding me to practice with him at home.

The Perplexus Rookie is at great price for a puzzling game that will keep my son’s hands busy, at least for a minute or two, because after the two minute mark it will remind him of ball he has in his toy box from a gum ball machine that he HAS to play with now.

Check it out, the Perplexus Rookie, it has been added to my son’s wish list, and I am sure once he sits it down one of the adults in the room will be giving it shot as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When His Needs Overtook Mine

I cannot be the only who… remembers that before their child was born I always needed something, a new cell phone or the latest pair of designer jeans, but it dawned on me the other morning that I no longer feel those “needs”.  I started to wonder how all the things I used to want, or disguise as needs, were no longer important, and how come I no longer daydreamed about my next trip to Nordstroms. I don’t own everything I could ever want or need but somehow I rarely feel that desire to upgrade, replace, or expand on what I already have. After some thought the only real conclusion I came to, after I gave up on the notion that I have matured into one of those people who don’t “ooh and ah” over shiny things, was that my needs are now those of my son’s.  He truly needs something on a daily basis, his pants have become too short overnight or he spilled ketchup on his last white t-shirt, there seems to be no end to his needs.

I enjoy a nice gift as much as the next girl, but now when my husband buys me something expensive in my head I am calculating how many pairs of PJ’s or new tennis shoes for our son the money spent on the gift could have purchased.  I am not sure if this new frame of mind is a form of selflessness or if I am just overwhelmed with the responsibility of fulfilling all the needs of our son that I don’t have time to think about my own, either way I cannot be the only one who has noticed this change in themselves…can I?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lively Up Your Nails

I have spent countless dollars on nail polish, ten to twelve dollars per tiny bottle of paint, to only have the polish chip in less than a day or two.  With the Christmas season in full effect I have been doing my best impression of a frugal wife and looked into a less expensive way to give my finger tips a little bit of style and came across a real winner of a polish.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear nail polish comes in a full line of colors from trendy to edgy.  My new personal favorite, “Grey Area”, is gunmetal gray with a hint of purple that looks as great on Mom’s as it does on your favorite rock star. The price is unbeatable, between $2.50 and $5.00 a bottle, and unlike so many other products out there it is worth every penny.

If you are looking to dress up the never overlooked tips of your fingers I highly recommend a bottle, for the price why not two, of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Polish.

Let’s lively ‘em up Moms!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to the Grind and Loving It

I cannot be the only one…who, while I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom, I also find satisfaction in having a job outside the home.  I have been very lucky to spend the first four years of my son’s life with him in our home, at times it has been trying and tedious, but I do know that most mom’s do not get this luxury.  Now I am ready to return to the workforce and talk with other adults about topics other than why Sponge Bob’s pants are square or why chocolate milk is not necessarily healthy even though it’s made from milk.

Before my son was born I would have defined myself as a professional; I worked nine to five, received a weekly paycheck, and participated in an unfavorable commute. I had a wardrobe that complimented my position and enjoyed lunching with the ladies in my office.  With the birth of my son I gave all that up, once I arrived home from the hospital with a baby in a carrier car seat, my career became home based.  I realized quickly that in addition to my personal and social lives becoming null and void; my career became one of Victoria Secret “Pink” sweats and hushed phone calls from the home office.  With my attention spread too thin, between husband, baby, and work, I did my best to keep my head above water, but my job eventually got downsized and I was unemployed for the first time in ten years.

After vigorous debates with my husband I have finally decided to return to the world of working women.  Although I will only be working a mere seven hours a week, I am excited for the old feeling of accomplishment, beyond a clean toilet or a neatly folded stack of laundry.  I have asked other mother’s who do the commendable job of staying at home with their children if they miss working, the general consensus is no, but I am cut from a different cloth, a cloth that enjoys the camaraderie of co-workers and a paycheck at the end of a job well done.

I can’t be the only one who looks forward to working again….right?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

There are not many Thanksgiving media traditions; the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the only one I knew growing up, so I thought I would start one with my son this afternoon.  I browsed Amazon looking for something easily enjoyable with a light message, and found a no-brainer winner: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  This is not a Charlie Brown that my parents kept in their holiday arsenal when I was a child and because I hadn’t seen it before either it made it more fun to be sharing in something new to both myself and my son.

As I started the twenty-two minute classic sitting next to my son, I wondered if the hand drawn cartoon would hold his attention like the slick computer animated cartoons made today.  My answer fell upon me quickly, with the first silly sound effect, when Lucy lifts the football at just the last second before Charlie Brown kicks it and he falls flat on his back, I could tell by the boisterous laughter from my son that the show had captured his attention.  We watched the Peanuts gather around a tablecloth covered ping-pong table to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal of buttered toast and popcorn, and my son laughed at the muted trombone voices of the adults and the frustrated arguing between Snoopy and Woodstock.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an effortlessly entertaining watch and does not disappoint with the compulsory lesson, this time offered by Marcy: Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for being together.  While not quite as poignant a lesson as that of Linus’ speech in the Christmas edition, it is a valuable lesson just the same.

If you are looking for a new tradition to add to the evening before or on the day of Thanksgiving give A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving a chance, my son’s laughter was all the endorsement I needed, and I think your children will enjoy it just the same.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Top 5 Things I am Thankful for this Thanksgiving

5.  My son has stopped wetting the bed and I am thankful for not changing sheets in the middle of the night in a sleepy stupor.

4.  We sold our condo!  I am thankful for the money we are going to save while we freeload off grandma and grandpa until we find a new place to live.

3.  I am very thankful that my son has lost interest in shows like The Wonder Pets and Go Diego Go…sorry Nick Jr., the shows are great but I have definitely seen them enough to last two lifetimes.

2. I am thankful for a good glass of wine, as opposed to my normal beloved Charles Shaw, and conversation about something other than mortgages, laundry, and all other mundane household conversations at Thanksgiving dinner.

1.  In all seriousness I am truly thankful for the health and love of my family.  Even though, on Thanksgiving my brother will say something completely inappropriate that my son will think is the funniest thing he ever heard and then repeat if on a constant loop.  I am thankful for spending time with my family on Thanksgiving, even if my mom puts one whole stick of butter in both the corn and the potatoes “for flavor”.  I am thankful even when my husband eats so much he is a lump of misery for the remainder of the evening.  Believe it or not I am thankful for all those things…a little agitated, but still thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Farewell to the Twinkie

I cannot be the only one...who has never fed my child a Twinkie, but I am saddened that the future option of making the bad decision to buy him one will be null and void in the future.  To say that the Twinkie is not a healthy snack alternative is an understatement, a murderer once used the "Twinkie defense" in an American court of law as an excuse for committing his crimes, that alone should frighten away any parent. I do have to note though, as a daughter of a mother who was a member of the baby boomer generation, a Twinkie was a perfectly acceptable treat in my childhood (along with chocodiles, snowballs, and Wonder bread).

When my family moved to the beautiful San Fernando Valley I was three years old, the prime time of life when yummy is the best flavor of food there is, add that to my families limited funds and that made the Hostess Day-Old Bakery a regular "grocery" stop.  My mom would fill her basket with Wonder Bread and foil covered "ding-dong's" to be included in our lunch boxes right next to our sandwiches made on preservative filled white bread with plastic wrapped American Kraft cheese slices.  I always remembered on those visits to the Day-Old Bakery that I needed to be on my best behavior, because at the check out my mom would allow my brother and I a choice of any of the array of treats Hostess offered, what a day.  When my brother and I got home, we would lay on our bellies in front of the TV, watching Land of the Lost, not making a sound, savoring our Hostess cakes.

My son will never have those experiences with a Hostess sweet, but let's be honest there are plenty of other treats out there that could rival the nutritional value of the Twinkie that are still readily available, so he will create his own memories of yummy with another product.  I am positive that I am not the only one that had these moments of reminiscing when they heard the news of the closure of the Hostess company...right?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pronoun Gender Benders

I cannot be the only one…who noticed that my son gravitated towards “boy” toys as soon as he was able to move around on his own.  I spend my time leaping over fire trucks, dodging light sabers, and keeping my son from using his plastic saw on our furniture.  We have a lack of Barbies and My Little Pony’s in our house and it is not because I refuse “girl” toys entry into my home, it is simply because my son is not interested in those toys. Although I accept my son’s gender specific toy choices with ease there are those who believe the types of toys a child is given to play with determines their gender role for life. I don’t agree with that assumption, my son’s choice of playthings happened without prompting from my husband or myself; my son’s choices are inherent and organic.

I recently read a New York Times article in which a preschool in Sweden has nixed the use of the pronouns of “he” and “she” from the school and is replacing them with “friend” or “friends” to promote equality between the sexes. Although I think this is an interesting idea, I couldn’t help feeling how unnecessary it seemed, and as though the preschool is promoting a genderless environment, which is not the way of the world. Personally I love to watch my son do classic “boy” things, the way he thinks burps are the funniest things ever, the excitement in his eyes when a police car drives by with its siren blaring, and his patience at perfecting his swing of a baseball bat.  On the other side of the gender-coin, I also love watching the girls at my son’s preschool round up all the Barbies while wearing their pink dresses and sparkly shoes.  The contrast between little boys and girls make them what they are now, who they may become in the future, and part of what makes growing up interesting.

I cannot be the only one that has seen a little boy, who has no toy guns at home, eat his grilled cheese sandwich into the shape of a gun and shoot at the TV.  As well as I am sure your little precious daughter never watched you dress up in a ball gown while wearing a tiara, but she still loves to dress up like a princess.  Children are born knowing what they like and what they don’t, I cannot be the only one who thinks that the types of toys we give to our children is definitely not responsible for determining their sense of gender…right?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Food for Kids: Definite Diet Downers

I cannot be the only one…who feels like being on a diet as a mother is like a visit to the zoo during which you turn your back to all the animal exhibits, in other words pointless.  I have managed, after four years, to squeeze my way back into all my pre-prego pants through major changes to my diet, but it has been a long hard road.  Most evenings my son eats the same meals as my husband and myself, but there are a few exceptions such as pizza night.  Friday’s I make my son a mini-pizza that he can never seem to finish and I am sure many of you can relate to the amount of super human strength of my will that it takes to not give in and finish the rest of that itsy-bitsy pizza for him.

The idea of being wasteful is placed on the scales of justice opposite of the pain of not being able to comfortably button the top button of my designer jeans left over from the life before motherhood.  Just the other day it was a single dinosaur chicken nugget, it hadn’t even been manhandled by the boy, just forgotten and I left it sitting on a plate on the kitchen counter for three hours before I felt I could throw it in the trash.  It would have been so much easier if someone would have came along and just eaten it for me…in one chew my anxiety over throwing away perfectly good chicken dinos or eating it myself and ruining my diet would have disappeared.

I hope as my son grows I will be able to find the balance between looking the way I did sans child and the way I do with child in tow, until then I am sure there will be plenty more worries over whether the extra minutes on the treadmill are worth enjoying the cookies at my son’s mommy and me tea being held at his school.  I cannot be the only one who has a hard time with the ability to enjoy the food at child centered activities and being true to their diet….right?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pop-O-Matic Bubble: Notes from an Old School Gamer

I purchased the first Christmas present of the year; although it seems early, when I saw the familiar “pop-o-matic bubble” I could not resist purchasing the board game Trouble.  Last year my son was delighted by the ease of competition that comes with the insatiable appetite of the Hungry Hungry Hippos, this year I am kicking it up a notch with the roll or pop of the die (feels strange to put it that way, but there is only one).  I have fond memories of my brother pumping a fist in the air as his nondescript blue peg stomped on my yellow peg and sent me back to the beginning of the game board.  Trouble is the type of game that can be played with ease while discussing your favorite scenes from the movie Goonies, or with fierce seriousness in a winner take all type of way.  I am already having visions of wrapping paper and bows strewn across the floor while my son and I pop away taking our pegs on their pilgrimage from their temporary home to their “safe” zone, and the victor of the game celebrating with a bit too much enthusiasm.
Trouble is the type of game I played as a child. Believe it or not we had video games as well, but a good board game stood the test of time in my childhood home, and I am hoping in our home by giving the gift of Trouble to my son this year.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lost in Regression

I cannot be the only one…that has a child that regresses from time to time. Which I wouldn’t mind too much with the exception of when the regression happens at one or two in the morning, and if the regression didn’t include physical activity in which I am the one breaking a sweat.  Besides the sweat and the early wake up call, after a glass or two of wine before bed, I have to will myself to not get frustrated. Mistakes happen, I know, but at two in the morning it feels like a brush stroke could irritate me, especially on day two of the same mistake.

All right, I am going to just get right into it; my son is wetting the bed again.  We had so many good nights, so many nights that I took sleeping without changing a bed pad and sheets for granted.  Now two nights in a row my son has awakened me with a longing cry for “mama” in the wee hours (no pun intended) of the morning because he has had an accident.  My first reaction is in sweet mama mode, after all when your baby needs you in the middle of the night, even though he is no longer a baby; you want to make everything okay.  That is until I started changing the bedding. The mattress is heavy, the bed frame is chipping away at my shinbones, and every stuffed animal owned by my son is in the bed.  My patience starts to tic-tic-tic like a bomb about to annihilate every plush snake, owl, and bunny rabbit that inhabits my son’s inner sanctum. I take a deep breathe, help him get on fresh jammies, and let him know that there is no other option than going back to sleep.  As I lay in my bed willing my blood pressure to return to it’s normal 120/80 I am searching for a reason why this happened and already planning how to make sure it doesn’t happen again tomorrow night, but I am definitely not getting back to sleep.

I know you guessed it already, and you were right, on night three at two a.m. the pitiful cry for “mama” starts, again.  I cannot be the only one that this happens to…right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New Favorite...Skippyjon Jones

I wish I had more to offer in opinions, about products that is, but my son’s newfound hero is Skippyjon Jones and this book is the newest thing we got going on around here.  I had seen this Siamese cat wearing a mask and a cape in my least favorite section of the bookstore, the area where they display the over priced toys that I have to argue with my son about how he will NOT be getting a toy in the bookstore, but I was unaware of this small feline’s love of literature and adventure.  Junior got a sample of a Skippyjon Jones book in his cubby at preschool, a very clever idea by scholastic books by the way, and after the request to read the four page book on a nightly basis I though purchasing our own full length version would be a good addition to our library.  We choose Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble, because as I have mentioned before my son is a lover of anything slightly scary, and the book did not disappoint.  The author, Judy Schachner, uses clever word play, has a writing style with good rhythm, and voices Skippyjon Jones in a form of “spanglish” that is very fun to read (and recite later at the dinner table).  Skippyjon Jones’ takes a trip to the “under mundo” where he visits a mummy and gets “wrapped” up in his attempt to retrieve “peas” for his dog pack pals, you really have to read it for yourself, is a very exciting and amusing read.

Photo credit: You can find this book at

Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble would be a great addition to any kids library and moms you will not be bored to tears reading this one over and over and over…you get the point.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Household Referee

I cannot be the only one…who is the household referee.  My four-year old son and thirty five year old husband can argue like nobody’s business.  My head volleys back and forth between the two of them, like the lowest paid tennis referee in the circuit, as they argue just about everything.  Example one, my son wants to play “smack-ball” my husband suggest something else, of course the suggestion is not up to par of the original “smack-ball” plan and thus begins the verbal sparring. Example two, my husbands starts off on a rant telling my son to pick up his dirty dishes, my son will deny any part of leaving the dishes out, and it continues back and forth with no resolution in sight.  I wait out the extent of the bickering until I’ve heard all I can and I can’t hear no more and step in the middle.  Oh the middle, the most uncomfortable place to be, Jan Brady had it right. I attempt to pacify both the men in my life but the truth is my husband is arguing with a four year old that is holding his own in the disagreement. Instead of cutting it off at the starting line my husband engages and I wonder what will he get out winning this battle, a bottle of our son’s tears? Not exactly the reward I would want.

This is my life, I try to remain in Swiss territory within our condo, stepping around land mines, and waving a white flag.  The victor of these petty arguments will gain no more territory than they had prior to the instigation of the battle but they each will continue to push against the other until one believes they have gained an ounce of terra firma.  I love my boys but sometimes they drive me crazy…I cannot be the only one who feels this way, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kid Friendly Halloween Books and a Movie

My son is a Halloween fanatic. Really, he may just be Halloween’s biggest fan.  In our house the begging to put up spooky decorations starts mid August and the favorite Halloween related movies and books make their way into rotation.  So here are a few of our suggestions from our little house of horrors…

Phineas and Ferb and the Haunted Hayride
By: Scott Peterson
If you have a child in the age range of about three all the way to about thirty five years old (my husband loves P & F too) you must spend plenty of time watching Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel.  Personally I like the show because the creators have successfully snuck in good vocabulary, awesome examples of irony, and kooky family relationships.  The Haunted Hayride is a medium length tale of a not too scary ride built by Phineas and Ferb through a corn maze.  The shows other favorite characters are dressed up for Halloween as well, with Candace, Perry, and Dr. Doofenshmirtz.  We have only read it fifty times since the beginning of October so I feel confident in saying it is great Halloween themed books pick.

The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
By: Charles M. Schulz
Now, I have to say right off the bat that I am not sure who filled Linus’ head with the story of the Great Pumpkin rising out the pumpkin patch that is the most sincere and showering the children with toys, but I am a firm believer that you cannot go wrong with a good Snoopy book (or movie).  This book has trick-or-treating, the World War I flying ace, and Lucy grossed out by dog lips.  Of course the downtrodden Charlie Brown does his best to fit in with the rest of the Peanuts gang, although he never seems to succeed.  Overall, a medium length read with lots of Halloween Spirit.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (DVD)
By: Tim Burton
Okay, admittedly the first time I watched this movie with my son I thought to myself, “Oops, this is why good parents preview movies first.”  But if you are a parent of a child who can handle something with a bit more edge, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a winner.  It is just scary enough, full of monsters that are not looking to harm anyone, and has great songs. We are not only watchers of this film we are year round listeners of the soundtrack.  So, if you are not sure if your child is going to wonder if Oogie Boogie is hiding in the closet, maybe wait on this one, but if your kid is like mine and gets a thrill from a little scare, The Nightmare Before Christmas will be a winner.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy a few of these with your little goblins and ghouls!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I cannot be the only one…who fears evening dinners as though I have a deep-rooted phobia of the sounds of forks clinking on plates.  As I am working away in the kitchen, doing my best to make sure every bite of chicken is small enough that my son won’t make the face as though he just bit into a dirty sock, I am outlining my game plan incase the shortest member of my family decides he is now a vegetarian.  I think to myself, if he makes it half way through dinner he may get enough to eat, this way I will not have to return to the kitchen and make an entirely different meal for one half sized child.  I daringly put the plates on the table and call Junior to dinner all the while I am crossing my fingers that tonight will be the night it all changes and he decides to be one of those children that I hear about that eat their parents “out of house and home”.

I reminisce about the days when a plastic bowl with a suction cup on the bottom full of strange pureed baby food and a bright plastic spoon was all it took to be sure my boy was full of nutrients.  Yes, the smell was not always the most pleasant from those little baby food jars and cleaning up the smeared baby face and high chair tabletop was no easy task, but I knew he ate an actual meal. Those days are behind us and now I sit down at our small round dinner table, facing my most formidable opponent, a four-year-old with a quick gag-reflex. I cheer him on when he takes good bites and I bite my tongue when he spits out my carefully crafted fine meal of chicken burritos.

I know that one day I’ll look back at all my plotting and planning over something as natural as eating and think that I wasted a lot of time on such nonsense, but for now the mayhem over dinner is real and I am only trying to cushion the blows.  I will continue on my mission to make my child an eater, at least of something other than pizza and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.  I know I cannot be the only one that feels this way…right?