Monday, December 21, 2009

Snoodie Go Boom

The Snood is currently sporting a fat lip, a 2-inch scrape across the bridge of his nose, and a golfball-sized carbuncle just short of his hairline...

...which means we're running just about par for the course this week when it comes to facial injuries.

The thing is, my kid leads with his head. Which, unfortunately for him, means encountering the world (and all the solid objects it contains) face-first. Back when he was still crawling, it seemed his only clue that it might be time to cease forward motion was the sensation of his head colliding with the wall. And it showed, as bruises, bumps, and bonks of all shapes and sizes began sprouting from Snoodie's once pristine visage at an alarming rate.

I clung to a desperate hope that, once Snoodie started walking, his consta-wounds would abate. I'm sad to report that quite the opposite proved to be true. It seems the fact that the Snood's 99th-percentile head rests atop a 34th-percentile body all but guaranteed that his face would be the first thing to make contact with the ground when his initial efforts at two-legged motion went awry. His early walking attempts went a little something like this:


And, sure, eventually the guy got surer in his stride.

The problem is that the only thing this sure-footedness seems to have changed about the situation is the velocity at which he wipes-out.

We were spending Thanksgiving in Texas just after the Snood had just started hoofing it with real confidence. David and I were all standing around outside with Snoodie's Grandma and Aunt Tess. All of us stood watching him happily toddle up and down the sidewalk, until he suddenly lost his footing on some uneven pavement and went down.

The assembled group rushed toward him in a panic, but I calmly assured them there was no cause for alarm! These sorts of things happened all the time! It wasn't until I went to scoop my crying son off the pavement that I realized that there was blood pouring from his mouth in large quantities and came face to face with the realization that we had ushered in new era of wounds - the bleeders.

Now, whenever the Snood and I are out on the town we are routinely greeted by a chorus of "Oh no, sweetie, you've got a boo-boo!" and "What happened to his face?" It's reached the point where I am seriously considering changing supermarkets for fear one of the concerned checkers will call child protective services on me.

But I've come to realize that try as I might to slow him down some, there doesn't seem to be any stopping my Snoodie. He continues to hurl his adorable countenance at the world with reckless abandon and has now decided that, like some mini-mountaineer, he will scale all surfaces he sees, adding distance to the ground as a complicating factor in his falls.

But as I look over the kids in my neighborhood, the scabby-kneed girls in princess gowns climbing trees and the scrappy boys leaping off their bikes to protect our houses from alien attacks, I try to remember that injuries are part of the growing process, and part of the bloody-good fun of it all. So, I do my best to let Snoodie explore as he wants as I keep my band-aids and bags of ice at the ready. Plus, I can always comfort myself with the knowledge that if and when I do need to change grocery stores, there's another one just a few blocks further down the road.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Plague, Plaguier, Plaguiest

Now that my house is finally filled with the suitable amount of Christmas whimsy and I have successfully purchased approximately nine thousand Christmas gifts AND I have shipped said gifts to approximately eighty-six different destinations - - - I'M BACK!

Oh, I forgot to mention that I have also baked roughly 9 million holiday cookies. If anyone out there has a craving for a sugar cookie shaped like a gingerbread lady who's had an emergency frontal lobotomy, please contact me via the comments section immediately.

Now that the Christmas insanity is beginning to wind down, I've finally found the time to sit down in front of my laptop and tell you all a little tale I like to call: "What I Did on My Thanksgiving Vacation".

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation was --- I contracted the plague.

I realize that I have previously claimed in these pages to have contracted the plague, but to use one of my husband's favorite expressions....I WAS WRONG! That was not the plague. That was a mildly terrible head cold.

What happened to us the week of Thanksgiving....THAT was the plague.

It all started on a Friday, the morning before we were due to fly to Texas for the holiday. David got up to collect the Snood from his crib and the next thing I heard was the always terrifying exclamation, "Uh-oh." I sprang from bed and headed for Snood's room, secure in my knowledge that nothing good could be afoot. I arrived just in time to see David extracting el Snoodo from his barf-covered crib, which he had thrown up all over some time in the night.

It was deeply grotesque.

BUT! As soon as we'd de-pukified Snoodie in the bathtub, I have to say, he seemed no worse for the wear. He ate a huge breakfast and didn't have any fever, so David left for work and I got busy packing for our trip.

Things were still looking good as I put Snoods to bed that night, and I thought we might be in the clear......until David arrived home from work looking decidedly green and announced he "wasn't feeling so good." I banished him to the couch in a sad attempt at quarantining the virus and settled down to get some sleep...

...only to be awakened at 10:30pm by a sudden and overwhelming need to projectile vomit out any and all food I'd ingested since 1983.

I won't go into too many details about the next several hours. Instead I'll simply quote my father, who describes the experience saying, "The thing about the stomach flu is you're afraid you're going to die until you become afraid that you are not going to die." Yeah, it was kind of like that. At some point during the night David was awakened by my sounds of distress and opened the door to the bathroom...

He took one look at me and uttered a horrified, "" before retreating to the relative safety of the couch.

By 6:30a.m. I'd given up on any hope that the sweet relief of death might take me away and I peeled myself up from the bathroom floor. I told David that we could still make our flight, if he would take full charge of the Snood. In response, he began vomiting in my general direction.


Realizing we could neither travel nor remain upright for long enough to care for our own offspring, we begged Snoodie's babysitter to take him for a few hours. She agreed, simultaneously proving the existence of a loving God and allowing us to head back to bed for the remainder of the morning.

I now interrupt this blog entry with a little segment I'll call HELPFUL HINT TO THE AIRLINES: If you make it your policy that people must fly the same day that their ticket is issued OR face a quadrupling of the price of their ticket, you practically force families with sky-high viral loads to board your planes. And that's annoying. Thank you.

Nine hours after I first woke David up, we limped like so many deranged zombies onto our flight.

Luckily, the flight was uneventful and three hours later we poured ourselves out of our seats and into the loving arms of my husband's family.

And the horror came to an end.


Have you ever read the above book about 10 people who arrive at a mysterious island, only to be picked off one-by-one by an unseen killer? Our Thanksgiving was kind of like that.

After some debate about whether or not we should cancel our trip altogether, David and I put our collective imaginary medical degrees together and surmised that since Snoodie was already showing symptoms that probably meant he was no longer contagious. Yeah, that was not so much accurate.

One by one the members of my husband's family fell. My mother-in-law was the first to go, throwing up the whole way home from a visit to Dallas. David's dad succumbed next, spending all of Thanksgiving day curled up in bed, his occasional moans our only assurance that he was still alive as the rest of us feasted. My brother-in-law then spent that night with his own gastro-pyrotechnics. My sister-in-law came home the next night, excited to announce her engagement. She barely had time to flash the ring to the assembled family before heading off at a full sprint for the nearest toilet.

Then the calls began to come in:

"You know, just after we came over to see you guys poor Melissa got terribly ill....."

"Uncle Bob was barfing for two days after you stopped by with the baby....."

By the end of our time in Texas we calculated that the Snood has claimed upwards of twelve victims. Not bad for a guy still in diapers. We apologized profusely as we packed up our belongings for the trip home...

...the only one of us who seemed immune to the shame was patient zero himself, the Snood. As he looked over his assembled victims, waving weak goodbyes from their sick beds, I could almost swear I saw a glint in his eyes.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So, this week we flew back from our Thanksgiving travels only to be faced with the startling reality that we had exactly 13 days until we leave for our Christmas travels. YIKES!

I went into a full-scale impending Holiday panic and begin spreading Christmas cheer by coating every available surface in my home with holly, ivy and whimsical Santa figures. Next up - the baking!

All this to say that there is no new blog this week. BUT - there is some good news!

I've been sitting on the tale of the Snood's terrifying reign of bio-terror that left a swath of vomit over three Texan towns before heading East for quite some time now and you'll get to hear all about it next week. Full disclosure, people, this tale will NOT be for the faint of heart (or the faint of stomach, for that matter).

See you then!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Open Letter

Dearest Department Store Santa:

I want to start off by making it perfectly clear that I understand that your job is difficult.

I know, I know - lots of people act like they get it. They pretend to sympathize with just how hard it is to be you, never having walked a mile through your "sno"-covered hell! But I am not like the others, Santa! I really do understand -- because for five years running, I worked every holiday season as a costumed elf, helping my very own Santa listen to the cares, woes, and materialistic demands of hordes of hideous little boys and girls. So Santy, I've felt your pain.
I know that children puke on you regularly. I get that it's hard to be merry when you are having to pose with some kid's pet ferret. I've felt the sting first-hand of that 15-year-old kid who outweighs you by forty pounds jumping on your lap, only to make obscene gestures as you pose with him, completely ignoring your query about whether or not he's been a good boy this year. Santa, you're not gonna find more empathy for you anywhere - but, dude, I gotta say, I took my kid to see you yesterday at the mall and I have a few helpful suggestions:
  • OK, the first tip is actually from my mom. She feels your outfit was incomplete without a Santa hat. (You might already be aware of this note, as Mom grumbled quite loudly after our interaction with you, "We don't like you, Santa...AND GET A HAT!")
  • Next - your Santa's Wonderland (tm) policy that bans me from taking pictures with my own camera, while understandable, perhaps would be easier to swallow if not delivered by your greeter with the implied threat of physical violence. It's not real Christmasy.
  • My final note is really the most important. Santa, I realize that when the blond Easter European lady in front of us demanded that she and her gigantic Ukranian husband be allowed to sit on your lap with their dog (the oddly named "Lovely Blackie") you were probably desperately in need of a well-earned break. But when you attempted, as a result, to shut down the line, thus asking the girl behind us in line, who was BLIND, to wait for an additional hour for a photo with you, I had to conclude that you are THE WORST SANTA EVER! Fortunately for all involved, as your nervous elves attempted to explain to the girl's tearful mother that "Santa really needed to go feed his reindeer..." you seemed to sense the crowd turning on you. There was a palpable feeling in the air that the assembled group of mothers might, in fact, be willing to beat Santa senseless in in front of their own children if you did not have a change of heart. And so you posed with the little girl before shuffling off in a huff, returning my call of "Bye, Santa!" with an angry glare. Come on, Santa, totally not cool.

In conclusion, I am sympathetic to your plight, Mr. Kringle. But please, don't shoot daggers at me from behind your whimsical round glasses OR be mean to blind children because it makes you suck as a Santa (and also, quite possibly, as a person) and puts a real damper of the whole "Christmas Merriment" vibe we're going for when we choose to take our children to the mall to have them photographed with you.

That is all, Santa. Hope this advice has been useful, and most importantly, have a really nice Christmas and don't forget that Hawaiian vacation I asked for!


Your friend at

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day

Here at the turkey coma set in early, which may explain the lack of wisdom on the wonders of parenting a toddler this week.

Instead of blogging tonight, I'll be lying on the sofa, rooting on the Giants, and lamenting a host of poor choices back at the buffet table.

Look for the blog next Wednesday, when we return with a tale of Snood-borne bio-terror certain to amaze and terrify! Until then, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Terror Surfaces

There is a creature who lurks on the Western edges of Los Angeles.

This beast is so terrifying! So unrelenting! So singular of purpose! That he can only be called........SNOODZILLA!

Like his Japanese lizard-beast counterpart before him, Snoodzilla has but one mission in life, and that is the complete and merciless destruction of all he surveys. Due to the fact that this particular fiend has chosen to live in our home, my husband David and I (like panicked citizens of Toyko) can do little more than point helplessly at the rampage as we cower in his wake.

From the moment he first opens his eyes in the morning, a Snoodish campaign of terror commences. We awaken with each dawn's early light to the dulcet tones of the creature furiously shaking the bars of his crib, demanding his freedom. David and I stagger from bed and make our first futile attempts to appease him.

We lift him from his crib and find the poop is abundant. To get a better sense of what follows next, I urge you to now stop reading this blog, find a large and preferably rabid alligator, and then attempt to change its diaper.


It's not easy, is it? The best we can hope for is to achieve a complete wardrobe change without Snoodzilla

  1. leaping head-first from the changing table, and/or
  2. seizing the baby powder and using it as chemical warfare, and/or
  3. flinging his poop towards us like a rage-fueled monkey.

Assuming we have survived the above (I am not exaggerating when I say that I have TWICE left the changing table actually bloodied) Snoodzilla is now dressed and down on the ground. His small, yet hungry eyes, scan the room, searching for his first target of the day, usually the bookshelf. I pull David in front of me, attempting to use him as a human shield as "Goodnight Moon", "Googlie Farm", and "Touch and Feel Baby Animals" go whizzing by our heads.

Including a short break for his morning bottle, the bookshelf takes about six minutes to completely decimate. When he's sure that he's emptied it completely he sits briefly on the pile of fifty or so books, satisfied with the destruction he has wrought.

We've been awake for about fifteen minutes.

Not long after, David beats a hasty retreat to the office, leaving me alone with the Beast.

Snoodzilla's victory over the bookshelf seems only to have whetted his appetite for destruction. I dash out of his way as he makes a bee-line for the diaper basket. He crawls inside for maximum damage potential and soon neatly stacked diapers are being hurled in all directions. En route to the living room, where there are two more bookshelves to empty, he makes a pit stop to upend the laundry bin and spread our dirty drawers throughout the house. Then it's the playroom, where there are toy bins to be attacked without mercy.

Now, you may ask, "Why don't you just stop him?"

Well, let me ask you this? Why didn't those folks over in Toyko "just stop" Godzilla? I'll tell you why - because he is REALLY, REALLY SCARY - especially when you make him mad!!

So, instead I choose to stay out of the way until the spree of devastation has run its natural course. Knowing that, after thirteen hours or so, Snoodzilla will inevitably tire and collapse, I let him do his thing. After I've gotten him back into his crib for the night, I lie amidst the debris, exhausted.

David arrives home from work and I must assure him that NEVER FEAR - our home has not been ransacked by a gang of meth-fueled burglars, NOR have I accidentally detonated an unexploded WWII-era ordinance I found in the closet, it's just that...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Boo Mania!

When it comes to listing one's favorite holiday, I've have always had a deep and abiding suspicion of those people who choose Halloween.

For me, a holiday with no large meal and/or exorbitant gift exchange directly associated with it has always seemed just kinda third rate. Sure, I understand that this, the spookiest of all holidays, comes with the serious upside of allowing one to spend an entire week consuming candy in lieu of meals, but what can I say? It's been years since October 31st has really lit my fire.

HOWEVER! Having recently spent my first Halloween as the mother of a toddler, I must admit, I've had a...change of heart.

As months of previous entries here at will surely attest, there are about a million downsides to having a baby. There are the sleepless nights, the Sisyphyean realities of diaper changing and laundry duty, the complete surrender of your existence to a small and unreasonable human...I could go on and on. But the good news is this - just when things seem darkest, there always seems to be some sudden and unexpected upside. For example, the opportunity to dress one's offspring in a hilariously adorable outfit completely against his or her will. Which is AWESOME!

When I was little, my mom was the queen of Halloween costumes. She would start taking orders in late August; then for the next two months the sewing machine would be rockin'. The resulting costumes were fantastic - a clown with giant home-made foam shoes and a red mop wig; the statue of liberty recreated down to the smallest detail using half a dozen hand-dyed sheets; and a pint-sized Wonder Woman, complete with blue starred shorts and a pair of bulletproof cuffs.

Now that I had my own child to costume, this September I vowed to carry on my mother's noble tradition. I would get out my Brother sewing machine and I would create my very own costume-y magic! I decided on a circus theme. With Snoodie's stocky physique and bald-ish head I imagined him as the perfect little strong man. I would be the bearded lady and for David I would whip together a fantastic Ringmaster's get-up from scratch!

It was approximately Mid-October when some reality began to set-in. It occurred to me that my shirtless tattooed mini-strong man might start to get rather cranky as evening temperatures were hovering near the mid-fifties. Also, let's be honest, there was the even more pressing reality that I can barely sew, which was putting a serious hurtin' on my plan to stitch together a three-part circus masterpiece.

Luckily, as I was going to bed one week before the big night, I had a vision! A vision of my friend Mindy's toddler wearing an adorable and more importantly pre-made lobster costume. Halloween - SAVED! By the weekend I had the hand-me-down costume in hand and IT...WAS...ON!

Halloween finally arrived and the three of us hit the streets! Total prep time: six minutes. Total cost: 12 bucks (spent at the local kitchen supply store). Result: Unspeakable awesomeness!

(chef, lobster and diner)

All night I just kept saying to my husband, "I forgot how great Halloween was!"

Instead of cramming myself into someone's crappy apartment with a bunch of people dressed as recently deceased celebrities, having to fight my way through a throng of slutty nurses on the way to get a beer, I was out TRICK-or-TREATING!

Our neighborhood was transformed into a Halloween wonderland with kids in costumes, friendly neighbors handing out candy, and general merriment abounding. Snoods was, frankly, overwhelmed by the whole experience and spent most of the evening in the role of "deeply perturbed crustacean". Nonetheless, Halloween success was undoubtedly achieved!

Back at home we de-lobsterified Snoodie and put him to bed, handed out some candy to a gaggle of adorable young'uns, ate sweets by the handful and then hung our "OUT OF CANDY" sign on the door and were in bed by 9:30pm.

I apologize to you, 31st of October, for all my past maligning! I am ready to dub thee the GREATEST OF ALL THE HOLIDAYS! At least until next month when my head is turned by the sweet, sweet lure of cornbread stuffing with sausage, turkey with gravy and PIE!

I suggest you enjoy your victory while it lasts Halloween....

Friday, October 23, 2009

I shall return

Hey Folks!

Yes, I have not posted in a while, but I have a semi-reasonable excuse. I have a writing deadline on November 4th, so there won't be any new posts until after Halloween.

When I do return, look forward to an appropriately spooky story chronicling the terrifying creature currently bent destroying my home. They call him....SNOODZILLA!

Happy Halloween to one and all!

P.S. I will add, briefly, that if there is anything better about having a kid than getting to dress him up in a costume against his will and then parade him around for the delight of the neighbors on Halloween, I truly haven't discovered it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Party All the Time

My husband David and I complement each other in many ways, but our mutual destruction is assured unless we can figure out some way to curb our shared love of SEVERE over-planning.

The following is the actual schedule that faced us as we headed into last weekend:


MORNING - Shop for, decorate and clean house for the surprise birthday party of a family friend I'll be hosting this evening. A sit-down dinner for 10.

NOON - Make tragic, weekend-screwing mistake of checking Craigslist and discovering there is a murphy bed, which I have been wanting for our guest room, on sale for a great price. Order said murphy bed, thus assuring own doom.

NIGHT - Throw friend's birthday party in state of high-frenzy. Remove guests from home before falling into bed at midnight leaving kitchen disaster in our wake.


PARTY NUMBER TWO! It's the BIG Snoodie First Birthday Extravaganza!

MORNING - We know we're scheduled to visit a sick friend to visit for most of the morning - so best to get a jump on the day! We're out of bed with Snoods at 6am! As David attacks the kitchen fiasco, I begin making giant mound of cupcakes (pausing only to run to the neighbors to frantically beg for cupcake liners, which I have neglected to purchase during yesterday's maniacal shopping outing). Snood yells miserably from his play yard for sweet freedom, but we eagerly explain how worth it this all will seem once he sees the great Feast of Snoodie we are preparing!

LATE MORNING - We cease work to visit the aforementioned friend. Upon return (around 11am), I realize we have approximately 8 hours of preparations to complete before the party starts at 4pm. BUT, instead of helping with this, David now has to leave to go get a UHAUL and pick up the ill-advisedly purchased murphy bed. He estimates that the entire undertaking will last about 2 hours...

AFTERNOON - ...he is wrong. By early afternoon I am texting him frantically.


ME: Where r u???
DAVID: Turns out Murp bed actually belongs to ex-boyfriend. He dsn't want 2 sell.


ME: Where r u now???
DAVID: Convinced b-friend - getting cashiers ck. then heading bck to buy bed.


ME: Where r u???
DAVID: Disassembling bed I'm gonna B a while.

By 3pm I give up on the texting and decide I better concentrate on frantically shoving detritus into every conceivable inch of closet space in our home, while simultaneously attempting to speed-ice cupcakes and hang birthday banners.

3:55pm finds David back at home! The two of us unload the final pieces of our massive new murphy bed into the guest room in the waning moments before our first guests arrive. The early arrivers help me take out the garbage and set the table before - THE PARTY BEGINS!

4pm - David emerges from a 60-second shower and joins the gathering revelers. The party is an enormous success! I've taken a friend's good advice and kept it small and super-simple. Snoodie crawls around with a handful of other babies and then shoves an entire cupcake in his face. BIRTHDAY ACHIEVED!

9pm - Our guests have departed and David and I lay semi-conscious in our backyard only to realize that we now need to start packing for a two-week trip that begins first thing tomorrow morning. I offer my husband seven million dollars if he will just let me die in the middle of the lawn instead, but he refuses. And so, I get up and follow him into the house, where we start pulling out bags and throwing in a haphazard collection of clothing before crawling into bed around midnight.


5am - Wakey! Wakey! We're out of bed in the dark before dawn to head for LAX looking like rejects from the cast of Zombieland.

So, the weekend nearly killed us.

BUT now that it is behind us we are thrilled to have our new murphy bed and glad to be on our nice vacation. And as for the birthday party? As I mentioned in my last post, one friend advised me that all you really need to come away with to deem a 1st Birthday Party a success is a picture of your baby wearing a hat and covered with cake.

And to that I say - - - CHECK!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Snood-day to You!

This Friday is Snoodie's FIRST BIRTHDAY!

(please do not panic, you are not actually invited to a first birthday party)

Preparations are officially underway for the Feast of Snoodie! And by preparations, I mean that I am on my way to Party City to purchase some streamers and perhaps a balloon or two.

As the date for the party draws near, I've been getting advice from all corners about what a child's birthday party should involve:

"One child for every year the kid is old!"

"Get a bouncy house! Everyone loves a bouncy house!"

"Start late! That way everyone has had their nap!"

"Start early! Get it done and out of the way!"

Perhaps the most poignant thought on the subject, however, came from my father.

He informed me in no uncertain terms that if he ever learned he had a only a month to live, he would spend each day of that month riding an exercise bicycle in the center of a children's birthday party. This way, the month would seem like several years and by its end death would be nothing but a sweet relief.

So, I've been warned.

The touchstone I keep returning to is that, whatever we end up putting together, Snoodie won't remember it. I mean, the first couple of birthdays are just trial runs before the child has any actual ability to retain the experience, right?

As a friend pointed out, for birthday number one all you really need to come away with is a picture of your baby wearing a hat and covered with cake! So, I'm adding cake mix to my list and heading off to shop!

Check back next week to see the disturbing cartoon baby above replaced by an actual photo of Snood enjoying his very own birthday cake! (If no such photo appears, please send help immediately.)