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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dear Waiter, I am Sorry


Dear Waiter, I am Sorry.

You see us coming when we walk into the restaurant, the enormous stroller with a howling toddler and a larger toddler who is wearing a batman cape.  And you pray, you pray that we are seated in someone else’s section.  You see my husband who looks as if he has been stricken with Ebola or some other horrific flesh-eating fatal disease, the pain on his face of what is to come.  And then you and I make eye contact and I try to offer my sympathies and tell you, I am right there with you.  I don’t want to be here anymore than you want me to here.  But sometimes, on those rare and terrible occasions you need to bring your whole family to a restaurant for a family meal. The concept of family meals sounds so cute and wholesome, but let’s be honest: this is really how it goes.

You, poor waiter, try to figure out where to park my enormous stroller with the giant footboard where my older one stands.  You size it up, realizing this thing doesn’t collapse and it’s like parking a minivan in a spot for a Mini Cooper.  When we finally are seated, you are cursing us already.  I get it. I would curse me too. I suck.  But this ain’t no picnic for me either. 

When we try to shove TIT in the highchair, he screams. Why wouldn’t he scream when it looks so much more fun for a 15 month old to run around a restaurant and inspect everything from the gum under the table to the swinging kitchen doors?  And of course the strap on the highchair is broken because when have you ever gone to a restaurant where the strap works.  “Screw it,” Matt says. “Just put him in there. He won’t jump out. YOU can just entertain him.” Fun for me!!!

But waiter, I have got some helpful hints for you that may make this process go a little smoother for everyone:

11.     My 15 month old, The TIT, doesn’t need a full utensil set up.  Please don’t give him a knife and a fork.  He will only use these objects as projectiles or as weapons to stab at his parents or his brother.  While he does have some decent fine motor skillz, cutting steak with a steak knife isn’t one of them.
22.     If you have crayons! Awesome!  But again, don’t give them to TIT because he will eat them and poop out rainbow colored waxy poop which will make me freak out and call the pediatrician because I would have completely forgotten that he ate the crayons because I would have buried this whole experience in my subconscious moments after we leave.  If you give Crayons to the Commander and a sheet with princesses to color assume that shit won’t fly with him and he will most likely color your walls drawing an Angry Bird scene which will look nothing like an Angry Bird scene but more like huge swipes and black and red marks.  I apologize for not watching him more closely but your highchair has no buckle and I need to keep my eye peeled for TIT trying to make his escape head first out of the highchair.
33.     Let me also suggest that you need not provide glassware to either of my children. We BYOSC (bring our own sippy cups).  That just seems obvious and I don’t think I need to elaborate here on why that’s not going to work out in your favor.  But let’s just say broken glass makes a lot of noise and will be even MORE disrupting to your other customers than what is coming anyway.
44.     Let me give you a heads up.  If you see a group of moms with multiple kids coming. First of all, don’t shake your head in despair.  And if you go and set up the table, you cannot put all the highchairs in a row on one side of the table.  It needs to go: mom, baby, mom, baby.  Babies can’t feed themselves and far worse, they can’t feed each other.  So lets save some headache for the table rearrange and set it up correctly the first time.
55.     When we order alcohol, bring it fast. VERY fast. We obviously need it.  We will be more patient and better parents for the rest  of the meal.
66.     You may not want to seat us next to men in suits.  Food flies. Enough said.


I do my best to respect other diners when we attempt this family meal.  We don’t take our kids out to a fancy French restaurant at 8pm on a Saturday night. We eat when ancient people eat, at 5pm when most of the wait staff is setting up for the real people coming later.  So really, I feel no need to apologize to other diners who decided to eat at 5:30 on a Tuesday night.  I am sorry my kids are loud and the Commander is jumping on the banquet in his cape swinging his imaginary web slinger towards your table. And I feel a little bad that the TIT is making loud stabbed seal noises and throwing pasta and broccoli. But if you feel the need to condemn my mothering, don’t expect me to be silent.  Yea, I mean you – you nasty old hag at El Vez who screamed at the Commander.  It’s not your job to parent my kids, focus on your taco and Shut the Fuck up!

Also, waiter – we aren’t looking for a “dining experience”.  Don’t feel the need to bring the courses slowly.  Just slap that shit down as fast as it can get out of the kitchen.  If we order appetizers it’s only because we are super hungry and because we haven’t eaten since our 5 am breakfast.  We don’t want our kids meals to come out with our entrees.  Just bring it all out at the same time and get it out fast! Raw chicken is fine! But while you are at it, if you can just take all the piping hot items and toss them in the freezer for a minute. I give you this advice because it really is a horrible sight when you see a tiny toddler take a big bite of scorching hot chicken fingers only to scream in excruciating pain because it’s burning. 

Please don’t judge us when my toddler is playing with hand sanitizer foam and finger painting on the table because I forgot to reload the toy portion of my diaper bag.  If there are no matchbox cars for TIT then I need to improvise.  Necessity is the mother of all inventions and I am one fucking innovative mom. “Give him something to play with,” Matt says as the TIT is trying to reach for the salt and peppershakers.  I start digging through my bag, only realize what was once in there has been lost or just gone.  So I get real creative and I put some hand sanitizing foam on the table in front of him and let him finger-paint.  I think, whoa I am brilliant! Not only is kid entertained for the next 37 seconds, but also he will have germ free hands. I fucking rock!!

The Commander, if he doesn’t have an Ipad, because Mommy forgot to pack for this meal like a trans-Atlantic migration, makes his own fun under the table.  I am not sure exactly what is going on under there, but he hasn’t bitten my ankle and nothing has broken so I don’t see the harm in letting him hang out in the “ice cave” under the table and eating whatever TIT discarded on the ground or the kid before him, or the kid before him.  So consider we may be actually helping clean in hard to reach places. Please don’t shoot me nasty looks because I am going to come over and slap you on the back so your face freezes like that.  And if TIT does escape from his highchair, which is bound to happen, just smile at him when we walk back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, looking at what’s on our neighbors plates and at all the exciting things on the servers’ stand.  We are trying to be fast about this. I swear! You can tell by the forkful of salad in my one hand as I am wandering around the restaurant eating and chasing TIT. 

Dear Waiter, your goal should be to get us out of the restaurant with as little carnage as possible and as fast as possible.  Thank us for providing you with free birth control.  Most likely after your shift, you are not going to want to have any unprotected sex.  We have put off parenting in your mind for another 10 years.  I am sorry for the debris minefield of food, but you knew that was coming. And yes, we always tip well! If I have made it through the meal unscathed without any major malfunction, I am grateful to you and my fellow diners.  And you deserve your 25%, you earned it. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The "F" Bomb



I am going to take a lot of blame here, because I know, I know I color my sentences too much of the time with profanity. But words are Mommy’s crayons and I like colorful ones.  I have made a concerted effort to say f’ing and fudgebuckets where appropriate. Obviously, I have had transgressions and the Commander has added a new word to his language arsenal.  Actually, two new words, but I am not really sure where the word “Assassinated” has come from, but truthfully, I am a little afraid that he knows and uses that word. I can only take partial responsibility because my husband also likes to throw the word around a lot, but I digress.  The Commander can work the blame game out with his shrink when he’s older.

So we are driving in the car a few months ago and the Commander is buckled into his booster seat in the back and arguing with us.  “I want to go to the drive thru and get a Minion.”  For a few weeks McDonalds had been giving Despicable Me Minions with the kid’s meals because the geniuses who work in their marketing department know that it’s kiddy crack and want to hook ‘em young.  My son became utterly obsessed with these toys; to the point I would go alone to random McDonald’s and asks for a kid’s meal with no food, only water, to collect the collectibles and not the calories. It had gotten so bad that I was bidding on the hard to find ones on EBay.  Screw that bitch who tried to outbid me for $6, that minion is all mine, motherfucker! So I was the shmuck to pay $15 for Stuart, the elusive and hard to get one-eyed minion from McDonalds.  I was not alone though, there were at least 8 others bidding. He was shipped from somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and arrived a week later at my door. To my son, I was a hero who had saved a basketful of puppies when I handed him the BNIB Stuart. “Mommy, I love you so much. You are the best. Oh, Stuart I love you,” he says as he proceeds to unwrap and make out with the Cyclops minion. And just as fast as they came to the Golden Arches, the minions left, replaced unceremoniously with a book since McDonald’s got PC and sold out to national literacy month.

“They don’t have the minions any more. It was a promotion and that one is over. They now have books.”  Trying to explain to a 4 year old how corporate marketing works is about as futile as explaining quantum physics to me. “But I want it. Go get it.  Go! Go! Go!”  We go back and forth with this demand/explanation/demand/explanation for the next 10 blocks.

 “You are fucking. You are fucking. You are fucking,” the Commander bellows from the backseat.  Matt and I give each other eyes as if to say, “What the fuck do we do about this?”  The good parents would try, calmly and maturely, to reason with the child and explain bad words aren’t what good little boys say. But we aren’t those parents. 

Instead, I grab my iPhone and start videoing trying to bait the Commander to say it again. The Commander, though, has wised up to our tricks and hates to perform on command. And as soon as he sees that my iPhone is pointed his way he clamps his loud mouth closed. “What were you saying?” I ask him sweetly as I try to disguise the iPhone under my jacket.  “Mommy didn’t hear you.” I outsmart my 4 year old and he’s at it again: “You’re fucking. You’re fucking!” He continues shouting from the backseat as he scans the horizon for the yellow arches.  His use of the word makes it sound like Matt and I driving around screwing in the front seat and I am bit taken aback by this.  “He needs to use it correctly as an adverb not a verb,” I say to Matt, thinking correcting his grammatical use of the word may not be the best parenting idea here.  “That’s a bad word. We don’t say things like that,” I say trying not to laugh.

He doesn’t utter the word for another month or so and I think I have escaped unscathed and won’t have to address this foul mouth issue until I can blame it on some troublemaker kid in his first grade class and deflect the real cause.  But a few weeks ago, the Commander had honed his language skills and started using the F word with regularity and perfection.  “Fucking toy.  This thing is fucking broken,” he says as he hands me one of the million battery powered superheroes who needs a battery change.  “What did you just say?” I ask him, honestly wondering if I heard correctly.  And with pitch-perfect swagger he answers, “It’s fucking junk.” 

Now let’s be honest, we all use the word. Some of us more than others and certainly I fall into that camp. Legitimately, once the Commander started grasping the English language I started spelling things and trying other faux profanity like “Shut the front door” without the same satisfaction.  It was like switching from real coffee to decaf, I got no pleasure from it and it just felt wrong. I do not want to be the mother of the five - year old at the Quaker school whose kid is dropping the F bomb when he falls off the swing at recess or asking for help getting the fucking straw in the fucking juice box at lunch.  No, I am not going to be THAT mom with THAT kid. So I need to address this now. 

I consult parenting blogs online and ask the leader of my Mommy and Me playgroup.  And it seems that ignoring it rather than addressing it is the best defense. The thought behind that being that if the kid realizes it’s a bad word naturally they will want to continue using it to test the boundaries. So I give that a whirl for about a week. And the Commander takes that week to really get a handle on the word and its variety uses and tenses. Fucker, fucking, fucked. Each time he busts out with it, I pretend nothing of it and just power on as I internally chuckle because let’s be real, it’s hysterical to hear a four year-old curse. 

It culminates one afternoon after I picked him up from school and come home to discover we were out of the Trader Joe’s Onion chips.  “Fuck! Fuck. I want the circle chips. Go get them. Go get the fucking circle chips.” Whoa there buddy. First off, let’s cool it and secondly, WTF? “Max do not talk to your mommy like that,” I say raising my voice.

As I say the sentence I cannot actually believe these words are coming out of my mouth. This is soooo not me, so unnatural, but we needed to nip this in the bud before he’s telling his friends to fuck off.  “Little boys who say dirty words need to have their dirty mouths washed out with soap,” I say, sounding a little too Mary Poppins and giving myself the creeps.  I proceed to pump the hand soap onto a paper towel and swipe it across my son’s mouth. Granted the soap was Lemon Meringue flavored foaming soap from Bath and Body and probably tastes better than many of the things I have cooked.  The Commander looks shocked: shocked that I followed through with the threat, and slightly perplexed at the zesty taste of the soap. And I am hoping that my well-thought out, old school punishment doesn’t backfire on me and my kid starts pumping fistfuls of hand soap in his mouth as an alternative to dessert.  He licks his lips and scrunches his nose while he formulates his response.  “Hey! I didn’t like that.  Did you do that because I said FUCK?” I steel myself so that I can be the adult here and use this moment to teach a vital life lesson about respect and proper language.  “That is a very bad word and it’s not ok to say,” I offer a succinct and poignant answer.  To my shock, the Commander concurs. “I won’t say it again.”

And that was that.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  For the next few days the word is vacated from his vocabulary and I am thinking I may just win the prize for mother of the year until we are standing at a crosswalk in New York. It’s frigid and it’s like 8 below zero and Matt thought it would be a super fun idea to walk 30 blocks to take our kids to the Manhattan Children’s Museum.  TIT and the Commander are in the doublewide stroller punching each other and fighting over who was going to throw the blanket out of the stroller next.  It was so cold that the snot had frozen to their faces and formed a crusty green and orange river.  TIT was provoking the Commander but how can you really reprimand a 15 month old? So we kept trudging on up Columbus Avenue.  “We should have taken a cab,” I needle Matt.  “I told you it was going to be horrible. What part of walking with two toddlers in this polar plunge sounded like a good idea? This was possibly the worst idea you have ever had. EVER!!”  I am annoyed, my hands are turning blue because I couldn’t find gloves and I am in a foul mood knowing the best outcome of the day is that we make it to this museum which is like just making your flight to Cleveland, the destination is no prize. Now TIT was trying to steal the cookie from the Commander and both of them are crying hysterically and the fucking cookie is on the ground being mauled by a pigeon.   “Why do you feel the need to always be right? Matt asked. “Seriously, you have to say I told you so? That’s so fucking annoying that you just NEED to be right.”

Now my kid is 100% deaf when I ask him to put his shoes on or hurry up and get in the car, but this, this shit my kid heard perfectly.  The Commander peeks up over the top of the stroller.  “Did Daddy just say Fuck?” he asks. I turn towards Matt and shrug. “Yes, yes Daddy did. Daddy said a very very bad word.  And Daddy knows better.”  I eye Matt and nudge him so that he acts really remorseful.  “He needs his mouth washed out with soap,” the Commander sternly says.  Now I had to follow through. I had to continue to make my point that dirty mouths get washed out.  So I take a baby wipe from my bag and shove it in my husband’s mouth, which at the moment, felt good on so many levels.  The Commander giggles gleefully like this was the coolest thing he had ever seen.  “It’s still dirty. Do it again.”  Who was I to argue, so I pull out another Huggies wipe from my case and shove it in his mouth again.  Tempted, I kinda want to tell the Commander that it was soooo dirty mommy needed to add a dash of Purell to it, but I restrain myself. 

In the ensuing weeks since the mouth baths, my son has yet to use the word FUCK in any other context than to occasionally ask me, “Mommy, is Fuck a bad word? Is Fuck a word I shouldn’t say?  Fuck isn’t nice. Remember when Daddy said Fuck in New York. That was really, really bad. It’s mean and it hurts people’s feelings.” And I shoot him that look and he responds with, “I am not saying it for real.”  My husband on the other hand learned nothing from a mouth full of Huggie’s ultra sensitive wipes.

 “Are you fucking kidding me?” he says when he walks into the apartment the other night and the entire living room is littered from floor to ceiling with toys, Pirate’s Booty detritus and the like. “Are you fucking serious? What the fuck happened in here?”  And with that, I handed him a paper towel with Lemon Meringue soap and told him, “Enjoy your dinner. I have been with them all day!”




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Open Letter to Mothers Who Like Snow Days


Open letter to the psychotic mom on Facebook who was all excited for a snow day with her kids.

Let me start of by saying: Fuck you.  Fuck you, you crazy ass psychotic lunatic.  I don’t know if you had a big glass of cray cray with your oatmeal or if you are a masochist, but what the fuck are you thinking?  Maybe you have 2 girls….maybe there are about 12 and 14 and maybe your idea of a snow day is drinking warm hot coco with your tween girls while doodling and painting each others nails.  Is that it?  Please tell me it is, because then maybe I wouldn’t think you inhaled a giant bong full of batshit crazy smoke?!

Cause here’s out is going over at my place:  My day started bright and early before the fucking sun with my 4 year old waking up, stripping naked and peeing in the shower instead of the toilet because “Daddy does it”.  As soon as I utter those words all kids love to hear and all parents (Except Mrs. Supersappy Mom) “no school today” my son decides it’s the perfect time to dump the giant box of blocks only to wake up my other son, the 15 month old TIT (terrorist in training).  Howling from his crib, I go to retrieve him. He smiles that devilish telling grin and lifts his arms to be removed from his cell.  And then the day begins.

By 7 am I had already diffused two big fights but I had yet to shower or brush my teeth.  I had found 3 missing Star Wars telepods under sofa cushions, behind the plunger in the bathroom and under a pillow.  I had changed two enormous poop diapers which leads me to wonder what the hell my son eats that possibly can come out of him like explosions in a quarry.

I served three full meals at home.  Mealtime goes something like this:  Food is placed neatly on the high chair serving tray.  One starch, one protein, one fruit or vegetable. I commend my own parenting in my head and applaud myself on a well-balanced meal.  I think ahead to the Olympics in 2030 and my son mentioning me as he accepts his gold medal and attributes it to his proper and healthy upbringing. And just as I daydream that precious thought, the TIT tosses every fucking item on his tray on to the ground except for the squeezy pouch.  Osama Bin Pestronk saves that shit.  That’s his shock and awe as he prepares to launch it up missile-style.  Of course he has great aim and it hits the upholstered dining chairs with Jackson Pollack splatter.

While I want to bang my head into the refrigerator hoping it knocks me unconscious and that 911 can get here in the snow, I instead grab for the broom and dustpan to do the laborious and chronic task of sweeping up every meal.  I assemble a beautiful pile of gunk, which includes 3, or 4-day-old macaroni remnants, a twist tie from the loaf of bread, chunks of lunch and those quartered grapes so TIT won’t choke.  In the two seconds it takes me to turn for the dustpan, TIT decided the buffet of swept up lunch looks a lot better than it did beautiful placed on his tray and goes to town eating.  As a second time mother---I don’t care.  I let him eat.  At least he’s getting his fruits and vegetables…and dust.

The next 7-14 hours trickle by so painfully slowly that it seems like every drop of blood is slowly bleeding out my eyeballs.  This may be a good time to mention that yes, I do love my kids.  If they needed a lung or a kidney or semi-functioning liver, I am there for them.  But do I need to love them, be with them, ALL FUCKING DAY?  No!??  My answer is most definitely NO!!!!!  My older son then screams my name, “MOMMMMMY, come here! Come here!! Come here!!” I rush over to the bathroom where I find him with his superman underpants around his ankles. “Look at my poop!!!” He points to the toilet bowl with the kind of excitement I save for a Louboutin find at Last Call. “Is it big? Is it huge? What’s it look like?  It looks like an alligator tail, right?”  I am at a loss for words.  He is a budding abstract artist. 

While I was distracted investigating fecal matter like cloud patterns, the TIT has escaped and his running loose from room to room wailing and carrying my older son’s prized Angry Bird telepods.  The older one, still naked from the waist down gives chase. “Give me back my birds. Mommmmmmyyyyyyy, get him. Put him away!!!” His favorite line. As if I could pick him up and put him on the top shelf of a cabinet.  “Get him. He took my things.” TIT doesn’t have that many words yet, but he is bellowing “MINE MINE” as he plows head first into the corner of the sofa.  We all pause for a minute as TIT recovers and when I realize there is no blood and TIT only stumbled the chase continues with my older one now wielding a light saber and swinging it at him.  It seems futile to try and resolve this fight. Besides, I think they’ll be better for it later if they can work it out between themselves….and my wine glass is empty. 

I rebound around 2 and make a conscious decision to be the best fucking mom EVER!!! And I do what any great Martha Stewart loving mom does: I consult Pintrest (and pour another cocktail).  I locate some crafty ideas and and prep my area to make some amazing DIY Valentine’s Day ideas.  “Max, we are going to make some cool gifts for Daddy for Valentine’s Day.” I inform my son that he needs to stop his naked acrobatics and do some arts and crafts with mommy.  And what I basically got from him was Fuck that Noise.  “I hate arts and crafts. I am a superhero. I don’t do arts and crafts.”  I basically hold him down with brut force and cover his hands in red paint to make my L-O-V-E poster with handprints.  He’s slapping the canvas, slapping me and takes off running with hand full of paint. I see the future, I see my new sofa covered in red paint and my own mother giving me holistic cleaning tips to revive the fabric and I take off after him with a wet wipe.  TIT comes forward with his toddler curiosity and fingers at the paint left unattended and I am in overdrive. “STOP,” I shriek to deaf ears. And the blood red paint of creativity is covering my living room. 

Amazingly I finish the project of handprints and footprints and marvel at it briefly before the next calamity.  I hear a crash. I wait for a minute to see if there are tears or screams. Tears means someone is hurt, screams mean nothing and I’d continue to ignore it and continue trying to remove red paint from my couch that now looks as if someone has been dismembered on it. Instead, I hear nothing.  Nothing is worse. Nothing means that someone could be pinned unconscious under a bookshelf or that they are both choking on small pieces of glass from a smashed table.  So I sprint into the playroom to find TIT and the commander have dumped the entire shelf of board games.  2000 cards from Candyland, and Scrabble and Sequence are scattered across the room, which makes it look like a Yankee tickertape parade.  “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it,” the Commander bats his long eyelashes at me praying on my one sympathetic cell.  “It was an accident.”  I know that it was no accident but I take a deep breath and summon my strength – to reach for the wine bottle.

And before I know it, it’s dinnertime. I am grateful knowing that I am only 130 minutes away from TIT’s bedtime.  I consider for a moment just tossing dinner on the floor and serving it in the dustpan to cut down on the steps of the meal, but then I think happy thoughts and try to picture his graduation from Harvard and all those healthy meals he ate/threw.  I prepare exactly 4 dinners for two children.  First, the grilled cheese sandwich, which was requested, by the Commander and then homemade Cheerio-coated chicken for TIT.  “I hate grilled cheese,” the Commander informs me.  “I want dinosaur chicken.”  So I throw the grilled cheese into Tupperware and toss 10 pieces of dino nuggets into the microwave while TIT picks the Cheerio pieces off the chicken and heaves everything else on to the floor.  The Commander is happy with the dino chicken and engulfs enough to satiate a sumo wrestler.  But TIT is hungry and unhappy.  “How bout macaroni?” I ask TIT who answers only with a shake of the head NO.  “You want to win the lottery and get a $100 million dollars?” No headshake.  “Do you want to go to Disneyland and eat cotton candy all day?” Headshake No.  So I make him some frozen pancakes ---- which he throws at his brother.  I give up and figure he can dustpan dine on remnants. 

I am now minutes away from bedtime and only down one bottle of wine and few cuts and bruises for the day. I survived. Barely.  But guess what?? I get to do it all again tomorrow because it is another fucking snow day!!!

So happy lady on Facebook, is that kinda how your snow day went?