Stories from November 2009

Mom Exits Stage Left


There are a lot of things I hope to be as a parent—patient, inspirational, loving, funny.  There are days when I manage to eke out these qualities and there are days when I’m lucky if I can best be described as “coherent”.  However, there is one thing I never wanted to be to my children.  

A stage mother.

Now, if you are the kind of mom who runs your child from play rehearsal to ballet class, all the while sewing costumes and rehearsing lines – bravo for you!  If you have a glue gun in your purse and you know all the lyrics to “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” then I think your kids are lucky to have a parent who is so supportive of their creative endeavors.  It’s not that I don’t support my children’s theatrical adventures – I think it’s marvelous that both the Monkey and the Ladybug enjoy performing in plays at our little community theatre.  

No, the reason I don’t want to be a stage mom is for the very same reason one should never feed the gremlins after midnight.  (Side note – if you are too young to get that reference, please don’t tell me.)  You see, if just one small comment from me happened, just happened, to be well-received by one of my children, then the dam of unsolicited advice would burst.  Something well-meaning and innocent would transform into something manic and destructive.  

This may sound extreme, but I know this for certain because of all that wells up in me when I watch one of my kids perform.  Above all else, I’m proud of them.  But there’s a voice inside me that says, “Geez – he almost tripped.  If he just turned around at this moment, it’d be better” and “She’s not really moving her mouth as much as the other kids when she sings” and “Do you have to pick that NOW?!”  And OH HOW THAT VOICE WANTS TO COME OUT. (Read more…)

Look, Mom, Big Ben


Sometimes I wonder if I’m one of those people who thrives on stress.

You know the type. She loves drama, loves the high of it. Yet she likes to complain about it and to play the martyr. If there’s no drama happening organically, she’ll throw some fertilizer down and create some. She needs it that badly.

Is this me? And is this why – on top of trying to balance work with parenting a six-year old autistic son and an 18-month old daughter who’s more monkey than human – I decided that we needed a dog? And not just any dog, but a 100-pound part-mastiff, part-hound of a dog named – aptly – Big Ben?

Or do I just like dogs?

We have had dogs for many years. Our elder dog, Della, recently died of liver cancer. That left our younger dog, Tycho, the sole pet of the household. This is a role she settled into very well. She’s always been a loner. A bit selfish, truth be told. No grieving for her lost buddy. “Della’s gone? That means I get all the food!”

Then along came Ben, who can slurp up a gallon of toilet water in two big gulps, who wants to crawl into your lap like a 12-pound chihuahua, who could take my head off if he wanted to, but shows no sign of desires in that direction. (Read more…)

Some Things I Can’t Recall


As I fold up my stroller to put it into the trunk of my car, a woman taps me on the shoulder.  “Did you hear? That was recalled.”

I position my diaper bag over my right shoulder and hoist Spicy Girl up in order to get her safely away from moving vehicles.  “Um, yes.  Yes I did.”

“Have you gotten the safety conversion kit yet?”  

“No, I haven’t gotten around to it. I just got back from being out of town and well, I haven’t had the time to get to the store.”  

“Oh, you know you could have ordered online the day of the recall.  It was easy.” 

“Thanks for the update.  I’ll get to ordering the conversion thingy.  Promise.”  Now, stop touching me.

Maybe I need to be more freaked out by this massive stroller recall, but since my early life was a series of misadventures and emergency room visits, perhaps I’m a bit less sensitive than others about the news. You see, my Dad tried very hard to be a suitable parent. But, much like his shortcomings in the area of power tools, he missed a few details when it came to proper parenting techniques. So now in an effort to give you a glimpse into my deeply rooted dementia, I present you with “3 Rules for Parenting as Learned by My Dad.” (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

Kids, pets and clumsy husbands can take a toll on your wooden furniture. Fortunately, if you’ve got kids, you probably also have a remedy for those unsightly scratches: crayons. Pick the color closest to your piece of furniture, soften it in the microwave for a few seconds, then color over the scratches. Polish it with a soft cloth—good as new!