Thursday, May 30, 2013


First off, I must apologize for leaving "The Saddest Photo Ever"TM up on the blog for two weeks straight. 

It's just that I've been...BUSY.

I've been this kind of busy:

"OK, if I get up at 6 I can work on Demi Moore's Boyfriend's Penis Pearl Jokes until the kids get up, then while I make breakfast I can clean up from last night until I need to get the kids ready for music class, then I can make a shopping list in my head while the kids bang on the tambourine and maybe catch up on phone calls on the way to the store, then while I unload groceries I can Google information on summer camps..."

The odd thing about being super-busy is that it tends, for me, to be wildly non-productive. At a certain point of maximum busyness I reach one of two states:

  1. BUSYNESS PARALYSIS: In which I become so overwhelmed by everything I have to do that all I can manage is to sit absolutely still, occasionally refreshing Facebook and engaging in excessive snacking.

  2. BUSYNESS PANIC: "OK, wait, was that pre-school thing I was supposed to bake for tomorrow? Crap. OK - I need to make 100 chocolate chip cookies while I send out that work email and  attempt to stop the baby from crawling into the crisper drawer now that her brother has opened the refrigerator to get himself a snack because I forgot to feed him lunch." CUT TO: Me taking a shower while eating a sandwich and shouting homework answers to my son through the door.

I have to admit that neither approach is particularly awesome.

Humans of New York recently featured a photo of a young man featuring the following exchange:

"What was your first impression of America?"

"I wondered why everyone was rushing."

And it really made me wonder about my own needless rushing.

I accept on some level that most of what my children will learn form me they will learn from direct example. So, I've made an attempt to shed as many negative behaviors as possible. For example, I have stopped having Zone Bars and Diet Cokes for breakfast. I've worked to stop obsessing about my weight and tried to model self-acceptance. I've even stopped wearing my pajamas in public.

Because those are all behaviors I don't want my kids to adopt. Just like I don't want them to think that running through life like a frantic squirrel with its hair on fire is normal.

My kids have several toys that play songs.

It is amazing how many of these playthings marketed to the under-5 set emphasize being busy:

"Busy, busy, busy, busy there's so much to do! Take some time to laugh and play -- there's so much to do today!"

"Bzzzzzz! I am as busy as a bee! Counting my one, two, threes!"

"Good morning! Good morning! Good morning to you! Good morning! Good morning! There's so much to do!" 

It's kind of a bizarre message to be constantly imparting to toddlers, right?

And so I'm trying to make a change and FIGHT THE BUSY.

I'm making a few more lists, I'm letting a couple more things slide, and I'm working to spend more time playing with my little ones and less time obsessing about the impeccable nature of my bake sale offerings.

We're not exactly living in total ZEN-relaxationville yet, but I'm making small changes. With that being said I do need to go -- I've got some things to catch up on...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My No Good Horrible Very Bad Week

Dearest Blog Followers, Subscribers and People Who are Here Because they Attempted to Google Pictures of Short, Dictatorial World Leaders and/or "How to Knit a Snood",

I make a sincere effort to update this blog on each Thursday of the week with tales of familial misadventure, the occasional parenting tip and some witty insights into the state of married life.

But this week I can't do it. 

Because I'm in hiding.

I'm under the covers, hoping no one will notice my absence for while, like maybe until the children leave for college.

Yeah, it's been one of those weeks. I won't go into every gory detail but allow me to provide the following lowlights:

  • Son #2's front-step fall resulting in forehead laceration (involving a copious amount of bleeding, a trip to the ER, some light facial reconstructive gluing and then a crime-scene cleanup of the back of the minivan), which resulted in...
  • the cancellation of our weekend outing to a friend's pool (no wet stitches!), which left us marooned in the playroom engaging in...
  • 38,000 games of "Don't Break the Ice". Was there appropriate turn taking? There was not. Was there instead much shouting and grabbing and generalized ill-will along with some light inter-brotherly skull hammering? There was. All of which occurred over...
  • two days with 90+ degree temperatures, which happened to coincide with the air conditioning going out in the minivan...
  • and culminated with the baby's sudden-onset double ear infection coupled with projectile vomiting PLUS...
  • a lost shipment of fire hats for son's rapidly approaching fireman-themed birthday party WHICH RESULTED IN...
  • approximately 96 phone calls in search of the above, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE RELATED TO...
  • the bizarre neck-related ailment which has rendered me unable to turn my head and forced me to go about my day with the mobility of a rusted-out robot.

So, I'm taking the week off.

In keeping with the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words I present the following...

I am a two-year-old with a busted head lying in a hospital bed while wearing a "Daddy's Little Caddy" T-shirt. Are you sad yet?

Hopefully things will be a little better around these parts next week. 

Until then, I'll be here under the covers waiting for someone to bring snacks.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Games We Play

About twice a year my husband and I do an "analyze and purge" drill in our home.

We get rid of the stuff that our kids have outgrown and replace it with new stuff we imagine they're ready for. Out with the high chairs, in with the booster seats! Out with the walkers, in with the train sets! 

You get the general idea.

Earlier this week I assessed the playroom and decided that the boys were really ready for some real big boy games. I'd had enough of Play-Doh and race tracks. I was ready to start on the super fun journey of board game action! I could only imagine that hours of happy family fun time awaited me as I walked the aisles of Target and selected the following item:

I rushed home with my purchase in hand and called out for the children to gather round! We were about to embark on a new era of merriment and it was beginning RIGHT NOW!!!

My two boys hustled to the table full of wonder and inquiry.

"What's that???"

they inquired as they glimpsed the bright red whimsical face on the box.

"It's an awesome new game we're all going to play together!"

My mother-in-law joined us at the table and I asked her to read the instructions aloud. She let me know that I should give each player an equal number of beans. Then players would take turns, each placing one bean on the lid of the jar. When someone's bean tipped the jar, that person would take possession of the fallen beans and the game would continue until one player -- the triumphant winner -- was completely out of beans.

It all seemed simple enough.

And so I began:

STEP ONE: Distribute an equal number of beans to each player.

I put one bean in front of each of my boys. They immediately responded by attempting to steal each other's beans.

"NO! NO! Wait! You'll both get plenty of beans!!! Hold on."

Each bean I doled out started a new round of trouble. There was unapproved placing of beans on the lid. There was a lot of bean throwing. This resulted in a dangerous case of attempted bean ingestion by their little sister, playing on the floor below the table.

I gathered all the beans, slapped a similar-looking pile in front of each boy, and hastily moved on:

STEP TWO: Each player takes a turn placing one bean on top of the lid.

I thought perhaps that some good modeling might help with this step, so I asked my mother-in-law to start by gently placing one bean atop the lid.

Which she did.

At which point I calmly added another bean.

Then my two-year-old dumped six beans on top. Then my four-year-old added sixteen beans all at once and beans went flying everywhere.

My boys fell out in fits of laughter and high-fived each other between shouts of:


The game did not improve from there. The boys continued to fling beans wildly at the lid, howling with laughter each time the jar tipped over. My mother-in-law and I tried valiantly to steer the game back to, you know, anything that actually involved any version of the rules, but it was not to be.

Realizing we'd been overrun, we gave up and left them to their super-fun game of "SPILL AS MANY BEANS AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE AND IN EVERY DIRECTION, PLEASE."

At some point they tired themselves out. I packed up the few beans that had survived their onslaught, put the game up on a high shelf, and realized that my dream of merry family fun times may still be a ways off in the distance.

Or who knows? Maybe my plan to introduce the kids to "DON'T BREAK THE ICE" will prove the solution to all my problems!!!!!

Children, multiple pieces, hammers -- WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What is He Thinking?

I was thinking of starting an weekly column for single women called, "Advice from the Other Side: Insights from a Married Lady for the Single Gal." 

But then I realized that the revelations from my five years of married life can actually be summed up with accuracy in one single phrase:

Don't waste a lot of time wondering what he's thinking.

Having spent a good twenty-four years of my life (from ages 12-36) single and interested in boys, it would be difficult to quantify exactly how many hours of my life I devoted to obsessing over this question. 

It is only now that realize how epically misguided that was.

There were the nights spent in middle school wondering if Sean Harding was calling because he wanted the answers to my algebra test or whether he REALLY wanted to ask me to go see Ghostbusters!

And there were the days in college hashing out with roommates the inner workings of the mind of the guy who said that thing about the Spin Doctors show coming up over the weekend! 

Then came technology and there were IMs to be analyzed, emails to be deconstructed and the all-consuming horror of the question, "What did he mean by that text?"

Having lived with my husband now for half a decade I am coming to the realization that the inner life of the male species is perhaps not quite as rich a tapestry as I had come in my earlier years to imagine.

When we were first together I would fall into despair whenever my husband was distant or sullen. I would fill in multi-part explanations as to what could be amiss.

Perhaps he was still worried and disturbed that I'd told him I'd gone a bit over our agreed budget when I made those travel arrangements?

Goodness, I hope he's not mad that I left him to handle the baby all morning when I went out for breakfast with my friend.

Oh no, should I have not said that thing about his needing a haircut? I really didn't mean anything by it...

At some point in the day, as I considered the dozenth possible scenario that might lie at the root of the problem, I would look up to catch my husband gazing longingly towards the kitchen. I'd finally screw up the nerve to ask him what was wrong and he'd somberly intone,

"I really wish there were some more of those brownies left from yesterday...."

And I mean, this happened like EVERY TIME.

We'd snuggle on the couch and I'd sit wondering where our lives might take us, whether or not we were on the right career paths, and what the years ahead would bring for the small children playing at our feet.

I'd turn to my beloved, smile up at him and inquire,

"What are you thinking about?"

A thoughtful look would play across his face, he'd gaze out towards our kiddos, and respond,

"Isn't it weird that Aquaman's superpower is the ability to summon fish? Like, how many times does that really come in handy?"

And, I don't know, maybe it doesn't apply to all the dudes in the world, but as I spend more and more time with David I have just come to believe that a lot of the motives I ascribed to the men in my life and much of the "secret meanings" I thought lay in our interactions were, in fact, total projections.

The simple reality is that my husband, like a lot of his fellow males, is not a ponderer. 

David doesn't spend a whole lot of time analyzing situations, and he is truly mystified by my desire to talk over and over about things that can't be resolved through conversation. What he says is almost always fairly closely aligned with what he means and he doesn't really spend a lot of time turning stuff over in his mind.

Which means there's a lot of comfort to knowing that I don't have to worry about what he's thinking.

As long as I keep him in a steady supply of baked goods...