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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

  1. My Totally Lame (but Mostly Achievable) Parenting Resolutions for 2015

    January 9, 2015 by admin

    Ok. So there are a TON of articles floating around the Interwebs about New Year’s resolutions for parents. I’ll sum them up for you right here: Be more present. Act more patient. Don’t yell. Make more Pinterest crafts. Be a better wife/husband. Cook healthier meals. Keep a clean house. Set aside more “you” time. Stay off of: social media, your phone, your computer, your tablet and every other digital device. Say “yes” more. Be stern. Be kind. Be everything. To everybody.

    As a parent, I want to achieve some of these things too, but…I don’t see me staying the course. And failure, my friends, is not an option this year. So, I am instituting some of my own, more reasonable and achievable – albeit lame – series of New Year’s Resolutions. I may not win any Mom of the Year Award with any of these, but if I can stick to them, my life will no doubt become infinitely better than it was before. In 2015, I resolve to:

    1. Apply my age-defying eye cream.  Every. Damn. Day. 

    Husband says it’s a gimmick. I say I’ll never know if I don’t use as directed.

    2. Take a shower every morning. 

    If you have early risers like I do, either you get up at the butt crack of dawn to take a shower. Or, after you’ve had your first cup of coffee and nervous breakdown, and you send off whomever is of school age, you sit the rest of them in front of the big magic box while you pull yourself together and clean up your act. Generally I shower every day, but not always in the morning. Why? 1) because I don’t like butt cracks and 2) I like to pretend that I don’t use TV as a babysitter. Sometimes, showers happen right before husband arrives home from work to show that I do indeed have some self-respect. Other times, 5 minutes before I need to pick up the boys from the bus stop so the driver doesn’t think I’m a total loser. But a shower in the morning – now THAT is a game changer. It not only provides some motivation to not be a total slug, it also stops the UPS guy from cringing when he delivers my jumbo box of Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes from Amazon.

    3. Have fewer PJ days. 

    Having the occasional pajama day is great, but we’ve been having WAY too many around here. So many, in fact, that when I ask my children to put on daytime clothes, they look at me incredulously and ask “Why? WHY!?” Why indeed, I say. But it’s time to show that we too conform to societal norms.

    4. Not to cry over spilled milk. 

    Literally. I cry (or yell) when my children spill milk. Or anything else for that matter. My husband is famous for telling this story from when we first started dating about how he spilled a glass of water on the rug in my apartment and I went into panic mode, racing into the kitchen like I was on fire and returning with a cloth to start sopping up his mess. He claims to this day that I even yelled, “Water on the rug!” as if I was screaming “Fire in the hole” to a line of marines. And still, he married me. Lucky guy.

    5. Keep my kitchen island clear of things which do not belong on a kitchen island so we may actually use it for its intended purpose. 


    No one can sit here.

    6. Serve frozen chicken only once per week. 


    7. Stop lamenting my advanced maternal age. 

    I can no longer say I’ll turn 40 someday. It’s happening. This year. I have four children: ages 9, 5, 3 and 6 months, and there are times, usually when I am applying my age-defying eye cream, that I torture myself by calculating what my age will be at certain stages of my children’s lives. Sure, I’ll only be 48 when my oldest graduates high school. But for my youngest? I’ll be f’ing 57 years old. That’s way more than halfway to dead, people. These are usually the times when I turn to my husband and ask: What the hell have we done? Then I look at the young, innocent faces of my beautiful children and think, we better get that Last Will and Testament notarized. But I have to stop this. Have to. Forty is the new 20, right? In that case, I’ll only be 38 when my youngest graduates high school. Sweet!

    8. Stop lying to my kids

    Oh I’ll still lie about the big things: like Santa Claus and the overall quality of their artwork. But it’s the little lies that really count. Like when we all sit down in the dining room for lunch and they ask why I have potato chips and they have carrot sticks. “I ate my carrot sticks just now in the kitchen.” Lie. Or when I tell them they’ll get sick from a bite of my chocolate protein bar because it is specially formulated for adults. Lie. Or when I tell my three-year-old that no, you absolutely can’t watch Doc McStuffins – AGAIN – because she, her big freakin’ book of booboos, and cast of freak toy friends are on vacation. Bold. faced. lie. It’s got to stop.

    9. Buy myself something. Anything.

    A pair of underwear. A tube of mascara. A jar of body glide so I’ll start running again. The bar is low here. But no, a stock pot from the local discount home goods store doesn’t count. Even if it is stainless steel.

    10. Drink more. 

    I’m not talking about water. Wine. Yummmm. Alcohol. Delicious. More beer! I haven’t imbibed much since the baby was born almost 7 months ago. This needs to happen.

    11. Wash my kitchen floor once a month. 

    This would be a huge improvement. HUGE.

    12. Exercise twice a month. 

    As long as I eat…nothing, this should help me achieve my fitness goals. Bonus resolution: I will not post the details of my workouts on social media.


    13. Make tons of evening dentist appointments. 

    Sometimes it’s more pleasant to have my teeth scraped with a sharp, metal instrument than deal with bedtime.

    14. Throw away the Play Station.

    Honest. I think that’s all it would take. Just one little follow through on one of my big. empty. threats. In 2015, I am going to give away all their stuff to little kids that clean up and take care of their things. Or, I really will leave them home alone if they refuse to put on their shoes. Or throw out the Play Station if they keep bickering. Or make them take an ice cold shower if they don’t leave hot water for anyone else. Or put them in the dark basement send them to bed with no dinner eat all their candy make them sit in a naked timeout. Wow. I am really f’ing mean. (Note to self: I can resolve to be nicer in 2016.)

    15. Make fewer trips to Target. 

    I love to buy bins and baskets and then put stuff in them. Mostly kids crap that I don’t want them to use anymore but crap I don’t want to throw away either. I am like a moth to the fire in the storage section at Target. So I just can’t go.

    16. Cook the food that I buy or buy the food that I cook

    Two nights ago, I put a package of frozen, thin-sliced turkey cutlets in the refrigerator to thaw. They are still there. And every time I open the refrigerator, I look at them and think “WTF am I going to do with thin-sliced turkey cutlets?” Kids aren’t going to eat those. In two more days, I will throw them away.

    17. (Step 1) Write things down on my calendar. (Step 2) Look at calendar to see what I’ve written down. 

    Step 2 is new for 2015 and will hopefully help me improve my attendance record.

    18. Finish painting our kitchen. 

    We started in 2004.

    19. Find the cause of my husband’s snoring. 

    Then, eliminate it.

    20. Sleep through the night at least once a week. 

    I haven’t slept in 9 years. And when you have 4 kids, someone is always awake. Please let 2015 be the year of sleep. Sleep will make me a kinder, gentler more normal person.

  2. Bananagrams with an 8-Year-Old

    August 20, 2013 by admin

    It is very difficult for me to accept loss.

    That didn’t come out right. I am not talking about death or anything near as serious as that. I’m talking about board games. I HATE to lose. I was never good at sports (Remind me to tell you about the time I was running so slow during an indoor track meet that some bleary-eyed preschoolers were screaming at me to run faster so they could go home. Not. Even. Kidding.)  So I never did develop a true understanding of the whole competition thing on the field, ice or court. But open up a Scrabble board, and I’m all over that sh*t like white on rice. This is where I shine.

    But since I’ve become a parent, I’ve obviously had to tone down that part of my personality, especially when playing games with the kids. Teach them about gracious winning and losing. About respecting your opponent. And all of those other behaviors that I no longer display when I am playing against my peers and out for blood. But we teach kids to be the antithesis of competitive because it’s more politically correct and it’s all about the fun and not the winning and we don’t want to make someone else feel bad and everyone gets a trophy. I get it. Sort of.

    Still, these types of lessons are easier – for me – with my 4-year-old (though it’s getting increasingly dicey as his inner competitor is starting to show himself). He mostly still likes to play games that require little to no skill and is just happy that I am on the floor interacting with him and including Bearbo, his beloved stuffed bear, who, by the way, sort of talks like Beaker on crack. With him, I manage to swallow losses in Candyland or Chutes and Ladders or his new favorite, Checkers, because it’s fun for me to see him happy in his victory and most of these games I lose by chance, anyway. So it’s not really a pride-swallowing act, which I can handle. He draws a double purple. I get stuck on a licorice space. There’s nothing you can really do about that.

    But my 8-year-old is a whole other story.

    Braedan, a hockey and lacrosse player and karate student, is the epitome of competition. He loves to win. And when he loses, he works harder the next time to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again. And board games are no different than sports for him.

    At the beginning of the summer, we went on vacation with some good friends and played round after round of Bananagrams. I never played before then, but was instantly hooked. If you’ve never played , Bananagrams is basically a crossword game in which you receive a number of tiles to start and race against your opponents to build your own crossword using all your tiles. When you have used all your original starting tiles, you say “peel,” and everyone pulls another tile from the pile. It goes on and on until there are fewer tiles in the pile than players, and the winner is the person who uses all their tiles first.

    So for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been playing this game a lot, Braedan and I. And he’s getting good. And this makes it really hard for me to concede victories. It makes it difficult for me not to want to win against an increasingly worthy opponent. Except when he’s being a little troll. Like today.

    We started out all fine and good. My meatloaf was baking in the oven and the wee ones were playing in the family room, so we started a game. Even though he was tired from an active day at boat camp, he was generally pleasant and happy.

    “Doesn’t my meatloaf smell good?” I asked him about midway through our game. My question was a little enthusiastic, maybe. But I was making an actual dinner, not the thing I usually do, which is wait until 5pm and panic because we have nothing to eat.

    Little did I know there was piss and vinegar boiling inside him.

    “It smells dis-gust-ing,” he said, the look of pure evil in his eyes, accentuating every syllable so he could be sure I heard him correctly. That came out of nowhere! I don’t know if his day had finally caught up with him, or if he was upset because he was having difficulty using his Bananagrams tiles. It didn’t matter. I saw where his mood was headed and for whatever reason – lack of sleep, the end-of-summer bickering with his brother – I didn’t have it in me today to pull him out of the rabbit hole the way I should have.

    Oh, Aight, you wanna go out like that?  It’s on, little man. 

    Now normally, when he was having trouble, I’d stop working on my puzzle and give him a subtle hint or two to help him get back on track with his. Not today. Not now. Instead, I was a magician, my hands as quick as lighting, creating words like nobody’s business. I was no longer nice mommy playing a word game with her 8-year-old to increase his learning. I was no-holds-barred mommy, out for blood. And admittedly, it felt good. (In my defense, though, I went about my business quietly. No boasting or bragging. Just pure, silent genius.)

    Peel. Peel. Peel. Peel. Peel.


    And it was magnificent. My best puzzle yet. I wanted to take a picture.

    Braedan threw his hands up in defeat, shouted something about me creaming him on purpose. As you can probably guess, it was all downhill from there. And the whole ugly scene left a bad taste in my mouth.

    But the meatloaf, that was delicious.

  3. My Pantry is Bare, and I’m Happy

    August 16, 2013 by admin

    Right now, I’m sitting in my kitchen in the quiet of the early morning, enjoying a cup of coffee and admiring my bare pantry.

    I know. Totally weird, right?

    But you have to understand. Just two weeks ago, there was disorder and chaos. Among other unsightly things, there were half-full bags of chips, crackers and pretzels, small-house-sized boxes of Goldfish wedged between shelves, bags of awful leftover birthday party favor candy that I felt too guilty to throw away (I ate all the chocolate), 4 half-boxes of lasagna noodles (WTF?) and six cans of expired evaporated milk. (I mean 1. who has that much evaporated milk? and 2. who lets it go bad? That stuff lasts forever!)

    I mean it was bad. My pantry was the Sanford and Son of pantries.


    But where there was mayhem before, I now see organization and clean lines. Jarred things are grouped together by type like high school cliques. Boxes are aligned by size. It’s a beautiful thing.

    And just how have we reached such a food storage nirvana, you ask.

    We stopped buying snacks.

    Fig Newtons. Pirate’s Booty. Potato chips. Even the Goldfish, my children’s crack. We stopped buying them all.

    The Martha Stewartization of my little pantry is just a pleasant bi-product of a decision that was made because 1) my husband and I were getting too fat and 2) my kids spent most of their waking hours asking for snacks. Snacks to go to the grocery store. Snacks for the park. Snacks to drive to hockey practice. Snacks to eat at the dojo. Snacks because they hadn’t snacked in the last 45 minutes. Snacks, snacks, snacks, snacks and more freakin’ snacks. And I gave in. All. The. Time.

    And then I’d yell at them when they wouldn’t eat dinner. (Mealtimes could be a shit show.) Or get frustrated when they balked at my suggestions of fresh fruit or veggies. We don’t want THAT!

    So we stopped buying the admittedly delicious snack-y foods. (And I stopped making those “special” weekly trips to Dunkin’ Donuts for munchkins too.) Not because of High Fructose Corn Syrup or Gluten or GMO’s or Monsanto. Not that I don’t care about those things. It’s just that I can’t keep up or keep track. Not with three kids. I have a hard enough time just making sure my toddler is not eating sand or Legos.

    We stopped buying the snacks just because we wanted all of us to eat a little better. A little fresher. I wanted my kids not to gag when I tried to feed them zucchini and summer squash. I wanted them to know that a snack or a treat doesn’t have to come out of a box or a Dunkin’ Donuts bag. That it can come from a tree at our local farm. And we started to feel like all these foods we were giving them were getting in the way of that.

    It’s been a couple of weeks and so far so good. Actually, it’s more than good. I’ve already lost a couple of pounds (God only knows how much I was consuming with the handfuls of potato chips snatched during frequent pantry flybys or the spoonfuls of Nutella inhaled before bed.) My husband – damn him – has lost even more. And while I expected a Linda Blair-type reaction from my kids (Wow, that picture really freaks me out), it only took a couple of days before the kids stopped whining about what we didn’t have, and instead started reaching into the refrigerator for a healthier alternative. Even if they are doing it out of spite or to halt starvation, I figure we’re still winning.

    I’m not saying I’m never going to buy Goldfish crackers again. I’m not going to start sending anonymous crazy-lady posts to message boards lecturing other moms about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup or about the necessity to buy organic. I’m not going to tell my kids that they are banned from eating Doritos or potato chips on playdates. I’m just going to try and be better about what we eat as a family at home. And if that means no more Nutella, well, I’ll just have to eat it behind closed doors. Kidding! (Kind of.)

  4. A Modern Day Julie McCoy

    August 7, 2013 by admin

    Welcome aboard, you little shits. What can I do for you now?


    I’m sure Julie McCoy, cruise director of the Love Boat, never spoke to her passengers like that. (She probably would have been thrown overboard by Captain Stubing.) But she only had to entertain an entire cruise ship. I am the point person for occupying an 8, 4 and almost 2-year-old for the entire summer.

    But seriously, us SAHMs (and dads) are totally the modern day Julie McCoys, trading the navy suit with white piping and clipboard for yoga pants (or, in my case, sweatpants) and smartphones. We make sure all the passengers aboard our boat – or Minivan or SUV or whatever it is you captain – are happy and satisfied with their entertainment. I find it completely exhausting. And, to be quite honest, a little over-the-top.

    At dinner, I’m already planning what we’ll do the next day and asking the kids – I’m asking the kids, for f*ck’s sake! – if it all sounds acceptable to them. I was thinking of going to the beach tomorrow. Is that all right with you, sirs? You won’t have to do a thing. Not a thing! I’ll take care of it all. I know the basket of beach toys is sooooooo heavy. I’ll carry everything, including the 25-pound 2-year-old in the Kelty on my back. I’ll put on your sunscreen and pack a nice lunch. And after, we could stop for ice cream. Does that sound good? And then when we’re ALL good and tired and have sand stuck in places where it won’t come out for days, I’m going to carry everything back to the car while you whine and complain that you’re hot and hungry. And then when we get home, YOU can relax with a movie while I do the chores, try and fit in some work and start dinner. How does that sound? Good? Good. 

    Then, I go to bed making a mental list of all of the crap I need to pack for our outing and setting my alarm for some ungodly hour so I can be sure everything is in order before we leave. Because all hell will break loose if I forget the goddamn Goldfish crackers.

    Now I know what some of you are thinking. How could you say such things? Being a SAHM is the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s a gift. 

    And I know this. Really. I do. And I am grateful and blessed that I can stay home with my children – who I love unconditionally. Honest. I do. That’s why I had three – and spend my summer entertaining their every childhood whim.

    The truth is, I really don’t mind being the family’s Julie McCoy. (I know you think I’m lying, by the way.) I mean, I could be stuck in an office studying spreadsheets. But instead, I get to see the little people that mean everything in the world to me enjoy themselves and make memories. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get to me sometimes. That doesn’t mean it’s not completely exhausting and totally overwhelming.

    And at least Julie McCoy got paid for her troubles.

    I know. I know! My reward doesn’t come in monetary form. I know that it’s so much more than that. But when you’re in the thick of it, and you’re running yourself ragged doing everything humanly possible to make sure everyone is happy and having THE SUMMER OF THEIR LIVES, sometimes you have to remind yourself of that. And I guess I am. Right now.

    For the remainder of the summer, the days of which are dwindling faster than I’d like, I’m also going to remind myself that the kids’ happiest times are the times when I actually do the least amount of work, Squirting each other with squirt guns. Splashing together in the blowup pool. Playing a game of Bananagrams. Taking a walk through the park. These may not be the events that kids will write about in their What I Did Over Summer Vacation essays once seated at their desks back at school but they are the times when happy moments come easy and stress-free. And these are the ones I want to make sure we have more of before the start of school.

    I’m sure even Julie McCoy got pissed off at her passengers once in a while. (And, by the way, I am totally being her for Halloween now.) But for my sanity – and for my kids’ – I have to stop playing Julie McCoy once in a while. I’m not a cruise director. I don’t even want to play one on TV.

    I want to leave you with a scenario to ponder. What if Julie McCoy, cruise director extraordinaire, jumped ship and rowed ashore on a lifeboat one day, leaving her passengers to their own devices. What if she threw in her navy suit and clipboard and syrupy sweet smile and said F-U, I’m not doing it anymore. Find your own f-ing fun. What then? Would her passengers turn into a boatful of lifeless a-holes, floundering in their own boredom? Or would they rally and find their own fun?

    I hope it’s the latter, because THIS Julie McCoy plans to row ashore, at least a couple of times this summer.

  5. The 3:30PM Text

    July 23, 2013 by admin

    Everyday around 3:30pm, my husband texts me from work.

    “Everyone doing ok?”

    It’s a simple enough question, but with very complex undertones.

    What he’s really asking with those three little words are a variety of questions, the answers to which will determine how he should prepare himself on his commute home from Boston. Should he armor up for battle? Or will he be plastered with kisses and hugs? Will I give him the cold shoulder or tell him about my wonderful day with our 3 little cherubs?

    The simple fact is that the question: “Everyone doing ok?” really is code for one – but usually more – of the following:

    • Have the kids behaved like human beings? 
    • Did you drink enough coffee to sustain yourself through the afternoon?
    • Did anyone require a trip to the emergency room?
    • Will I be able to actually open the front door or will it be barricaded with shoes, crafts, legos and various other toys?
    • Will there be any dinner or will we be having cold cereal?
    • Was anyone’s head bashed into the wall?
    • Were you able to converse with any other adults today?
    • Did you leave the house?
    • Did anything in the house fall apart, fall off, or break down?
    • Should I look at, hug, kiss or otherwise acknowledge you when I walk through the door or should I proceed directly to the kids?
    • Have you googled “giving kids up for adoption?”

    The honest truth is that the majority of our days are good, or at least they start out that way. But by the time 6:30pm rolls around, I have to admit, I have pretty much had it (especially during summer break), and am looking for some relief.

    Here was today’s response to the 3:30pm text:

    Husband: Everyone doing ok?

    Me: Ok. It has rained all day. Tried to nap with the boys, a no go of course. The wood stove pipe leaked and there was a random puddle of water on the floor in the basement. Col slammed the doorknob-less door and got stuck in his room for 1/2 hour while I rescued him. The boys are still in their underwear. Just a regular day.