Bad Parents R Us

He was a tall, ruddy, handsome man who emerged from the downtown QuickMart as my kid-crammed stroller and I wheeled up the ramp. Shelby had been muttering sweet nothings for the last block and I had grown weary of the noise. Just as we stopped, I failed to notice that she had raised herself up to a standing position on the front foot rest of the stroller. I had one eye on the enormous line of customers inside the store and the other eye on Ana's snot covered nose swaying dangerously near my sweater, when I yanked the stroller around to hear just what my 4 year old had to say. Like I said, neither eye was focused on her standing position when I swirled the stroller out from under her and she lurched onto the blacktop, arms full of her sandals.
As I ran over to her dramatic sprawl on the ground, the ruddy stranger gave me a sly grin as he grabbed his rusted old ten speed. "Isn't it always in front of a crowd of people that you do that?" he smiled, "Ya know, when you look like a bad parent in public."
And then, while I digested his insult, he pulled his grubby little toddler onto his back, the boy automatically latching his little arms around the man's neck signifying he was a pro at this dangerous means of transport. Then the man swung a leg over his rusty bike, adjusted the little boy on his back and road across the parking lot.
"Did he just call me a bad parent?"


Teeny Houdini and Miss Wanna Hawk A Loogey

I've invented a new term to describe just how miserable I feel today: ASSish. That's right, I feel pretty darned assish today. The kids' colds have finally caught up to me. I'm cranky, achy, short-tempered, my frontal lobe feels like it has elephantitis and I have that perpetual sneezy feeling behind my eyes.
To make matters worse, Ana woke up at 4:30 a.m. this morning in a very poor mood. She and I took turns creating yoga poses in bed until we finally found a position that worked. Then we went back to sleep. I could hear Shelby's shallow coughing getting closer when, at exactly 6:33, she appeared in my bed. Fine. There were three in the bed and the mommy said, "Go to sleep! I'm feeling assish."
All of a sudden there was a harking, then a deep guttural yak, and then Shelby, better known as "Miss Wanna-Hawk-A-Loogey" harked up a snot ball right there on my sheets. Great. Assish just got more appropriate. Everyone, evacuate. Mommy has to clean up the loogey in her bed. When we were all situated again, Ana had had enough-she was ready to start her day. So, I did what every good mother does when feeling assish. I armed her with her binky, her blankey, and set her fat little feet on the floor to wander the empty house alone. Because I didn't really care what mischief she got into at 6:38 a.m. Have a ball, kid, mommy feels assish.
Just as I had settled back into a comfortable resting position, evaluating all the aches and snotty pains from my neck up, I heard the pitter patter of tiny feet approach. "Ugh-ugh-ugh...up." I gathered her and her giant blankey up off the floor and slid her into bed. And that's when assish got a whole new meaning. Cold, wet, and sweet smelling slid across the sheets and smeared down my arm.
"What the?!?!?!?!" Upon further evaluation I realized that "Teeny Houdini" had managed to get her hands on an opened bottle of Infant Motrin (good child-proofing) and had subsequently dumped the bottle into my bed when I picked her up.
If that's not the ideal definition of Assish, I don't know what is. I'm awake. I'm out of bed. I'm snotty AND sticky. I'm feeling assish.


Mommy Mama

My youngest daughter sped into her 18th month of life with a whole new set of tricks. Just weeks ago, I dragged her into the pediatrician's office making comments like, "Okay doc, how many words is she 'supposed to have' by now? I know it's not 2." And, "Well, she doesn't really babble or anything, she mostly just shrieks or whines."
Since hitting the eighteen month mark, I can proudly say that not only has her whining developed, but so has her vocabulary, and her babbling. In fact, things have escalated so much I feel as though there's never a quiet, I mean dull, moment.
And last week she FINALLY said "Mama"! Only 18 months of dedication (and 10 months of sober pregnancy) earned me this long awaited title.
And this week, she diversified my title to include not only "Mama" but also "Mommy". These names are gurgled from her tiny mouth day and night. Day and night. Sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. At times deafening. Day and night.
Why didn't we mothers ever think to train our young children to refer to us as "Mommy Gorgeous" or "The Almighty One"? What about "The Most Beautiful Woman in The World?" Pretty sure I could hear that all day in any whiny tone.


Pondering Life Insurance

I spent the morning staring down our life insurance salesman. All I could think about was how morbid this conversation was.
And all he kept telling us was how many insurance policies he had on himself (SEVEN to be exact). He even had a policy called, "Last To Die". Sounds like a F$%@ing Video Game. OMG I can hardly keep a straight face while he's telling me this.
(Then I turn to my husband and say."Well, Honey, I'm feeling lucky. I think I'll take The Last-To-Die Policy for five hundred. I'm betting it's gonna be me!")
This is definitely the WRONG career to pursue. This poor bastard is reminding us how he's falling apart, how his days are numbered and he's pretty much going to keel over right there in his chair. From where we sit, he's a tanned, fit 50-something man with olive skin, bad hair plugs and a great smile. There's a recent photo of his athletic wife and teen aged son on the shelf behind him.
How do you spend every weekday repeating the mantra,
"Best to take care of your family before it's too late!" and not believing it? I wonder what the average life span of a life insurance salesman is? It can't be good.
Seven life insurance policies. No wonder he can't afford good hair plugs. Is this how he's going to create "Family Money"? His young son can tell everyone at school, "When my dad dies, he's going to leave me MILLIONS!"


Rainy Day Survival Guide

In this rainy weather, I'm just as guilty as the next mom of turning on another movie, handing the kids a sippy cup and ignoring them for hours on end so I can "get something done" (which usually involves the ever important shopping online, catching up with friends on the phone, flipping through a fashion mag and painting my toenails).
Over the past century long rainstorms we've had, I have a few helpful tips that do not involve a television set. Oh, except for one and that's Madagascar 2, an inflatable mattress and stovetop popcorn (fun for the whole family).
Okay, back to my point, here are my treasured secrets:
#1. San Simeon Elephant Seals-sure it's a 45 minute drive in the car in rainy weather to get out for 10 minutes in the freezing cold...but there's coffee, snacks and treats in Cambria, and all the hilarious conversations you can have with your kids about the "ephelant seals".
#2. Children's Museum: where every other poor frazzled parent takes their kids these days
#3. Library, books, movies, puzzles and plenty of people/kid watching
#4. PLAYDOUGH at home, raid the kitchen drawers for fun utensils. Here's a recipe, it's so easy even I can do it:
2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 4 Tblsp. Cream of Tartar, 2 Tblsp. oil, 2 cups water, 4 tsp. food coloring.
Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a a pot. Add the rest of ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat 3-5 minutes. Just when it looks like a globby mess and you're sure you've screwed it up, it will form into a ball in the pot. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface, knead and store in an airtight container. This makes enough for 2 kids and an adult to play with.
Anybody else have a good activity idea????



John and I have decided to send Shelby to Kindergarten in the fall. My parents, both early education instructors, are very concerned about this decision. Shelby will begin kindergarten before she turns 5. It is a difficult decision and one that must be made well in advance given the process required for public school admission and medical boosters/exams.
This is a big decision for me because it means I will now be on the other side of the fence in the public school system. Not the instructor, but the doting/annoying parent.
This weekend, my mom-having embraced our decision-arrived with a packet of kindergarten preparedness. My favorite item is a Kindergarten Prep Pack from Channing-Bete. You can check it out at www.channing-bete.com. The "Starting School Kit" includes activities and checklists, and even a summer advent calendar leading up to the first day of school. They run about $5.


Hi, My Name Is...

I've successfully created a withdrawn, anonymous profile around town. In fact, I do think I am invisible. I pass the same people in the preschool parking lot every day, and instead of opening my mouth and greeting them, I look away. I have spent the past two years avoiding familiar faces, deflecting eye contact, diverting conversations-I don't want to meet anyone for fear they'll include me in their social circles, invite me over, or for god sakes be my friend...I'd make a great CIA agent.
My loving husband recently pointed out to me that my shifty, antisocial practices could be interpreted as bitchy snootiness. OH. Never thought of it that way.
So the last 3 days, in an attempt to redeem my reputation around town from my, no doubt self inflicted, title "The Invisible Bitch", I have introduced myself to exactly 13 people. I initiated 4 conversations with parents in the parking lot. I even asked one parent for her email address (and I didn't throw it away!).
Now, everyone in town thinks I'm not only a snooty, invisible bitch, but I'm schizophrenic, too.