Category Archives: Kids

Rethinking

Man, When I get too much time on my hands (i.e.: when my children are gone) here’s what happens:

1. My laundry stays caught up. This is a good thing.

2. My house stays very neat. This is not such a good thing, because the second they come home I’m astounded at how quickly it becomes a cluttered swamp.

3. My refrigerator empties out. I don’t drink milk or juice, or use bread or butter or cheese when I cook for myself. Today’s inventory: Peaches, Pesto & Pinot Grigio. HAH! Swear to dog, I didn’t plan that.

4. I get all skinny. See #3.

5. I miss having the boys around to cuddle and hug and kiss and run my fingers through their hair.

6. It reminds me of what my uncle’s fiancée said: That being lonely when the kids are gone will make them feel guilty about leaving. She’s probably right, and I should probably start, like, dating or something.

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Filed under Dating, Kids, Parenting

One

It’s twelve hours since I got the phone call from my mom. 

At first I let it go to voicemail, because I was in a noisy restaurant bar with Reece, but she called right back. And told me that my children were still waiting for their father to collect them from the airport. An hour after they’d landed and Miles called me like I’d asked.

Right, so, of course I freaked out, called my ex (no answer, no surprise), called his wife (also no answer), and phoned Miles’ cell (yes, he’s nearly eight and I got him a cell phone… thank goodness.) Reece gave me her phone since my battery was dying and I still hadn’t heard anything except that Daniel’s car broke down on the drive to the airport. Ugh.

I spoke with the airline rep waiting with them, apologized, and asked her to find them something to eat, since it was seven o’clock and they’d eaten lunch at one. 

I called later, after a few vodka crans and Miles said they were at Daniel’s house. Good. But I didn’t speak to Daniel, because nails don’t spit well over the phone. 

On the up, I stopped at a Linens-N-Things on the way home from the airport. It’s one of the ones that’s closing, and I wondered if I could be so lucky as to find the coffeemaker I want on sale. And I did, so now I have a brand-new Keurig in my kitchen, replacing the ancient Krups that always spattered and scalded me and took ten minutes to brew a cup of organic.

Try 30 seconds, motherfuckers.

And I shall be productive today, and I shall not lose my temper with my ex. And I shall clean the shit out of my house, and it shall stay like that because there is no one here to mess it up. Sad face.

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Filed under Frustration, Kids, Parenting

Not That Tambourine Man

Last night, I took the boys to Tae Kwon Do and we went for pizza afterwards. Sitting in the pizzeria downtown, we sat and talked about their day. During a lull, when Miles and Jack were chewing and the large group at the next table had cleared out, I noticed that Miles and I were both nodding our heads to the same beat coming through the speakers over our heads.

I smiled, “Oh, this is a gooood song!” My shoulders, torso and neck moved on their own, jerking around with the music. I picked up an imaginary tambourine and started playing.

Miles promptly tossed his crust onto the plate and did the Egyptian.

Look! Scary Gary Numan!

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Filed under Kids, Music, video

Fairly Odd Parents Don’t Get Sick

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I maniacally wash and sanitize my hands, and then pick up wads of tissue from the floor and tables. Seriously, Miles just walked from the living room to the dining room where I’m sitting just to toss a used tissue onto the table. I looked at him like he was tossing a kitten into a vat of boiling oil.

“Uh-uh, man, no WAY.”

He grinned sheepishly. He knows where he should put the snotty ones. And forgive my overreaction, as I am just as guilty of hoarding used tissues next to me in bed, or possibly on the nightstand when I am sick. But this one got up, walked fifteen feet and elected to place the wad just shy of the waste basket I use when I pay bills.

Miles is basically better, save for the head cold and gunk in his chest. Yay for neti pots; hopefully this won’t turn into a sinus infection.

Jack, on the other hand, is just on his second day of being feverish and developing a rattly cough.

Yesterday I bought Lego Star Wars II at Target.

In my ultimate fantasy, one or both children will either play it or sleep today so that a) I can get some writing done and b) I don’t have to listen to Cosmo & Wanda any. damn. more.

fairly-odd-parents.jpg

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Filed under Kids, Parenting, Weirdness

Ten More Things

1. I once had hives for eighteen months. On my legs, ass, belly, breasts and arms. Occasionally on my face. Oh, did I mention the bottoms of my feet? Yeah. They went away as mysteriously as they appeared.

2. Following the bout of angioedema, I developed sensitivities to wheat and a whole lot of medications, like Ibuprofen and Naproxen. Add that to my mild lactose intolerance which hit like a tsunami when I was pregnant with Miles.
(TMI Fair Warning: If the following gross you out or offend you, don’t come whining to me)

3. When I was pregnant with Jack I developed a yeast infection. Which lasted for seven months.

4. That’s when I started going all bare “down there.”

5. Last year I had a recurrence of crazy yeast infections every month, right after my period, which led to my abandonment of all things tampon and conversion to GladRags™ and my awesome DivaCup™. Not to wax poetic on feminine hygiene products, but ladies, if you’re not squeamish or squirrely about your fluids and you Love Your Mother, think about going green when your red friend visits.

6. Long fingernails (>¼”) gross me out. Seriously. I can observe a bowel resection and have a great time, but when I see nails like that all I can think about are the millions of bacteria breeding underneath them.

7. Apparently I am difficult to please when it comes to smartphones and Macs. I can’t get my versamail to work on my Treo 700p, so I have to check Gmail via Web. Also, there’s no direct online Yahoo IM, Gmail Chat or AIM. You’d think that on Sprint’s EVDO network I should be able to have the same technology that Helio Ocean users get on my (far superior in terms of smartphonedness: mobile apps, touchscreen) Treo. It’s the same network. I don’t want an iPhone until they make them undroppable and with chat apps standard. Apparently the Palm Centro has those things, but I’m worried I’ll just have the same old workarounds when it comes to syncing with my computer. Yeah, yeah, iPhone. But no IM push, plus that whole “intuitive touch screen interface” kinda freaks me out. I like keys. Grrr.

8. It’s partly cos I’m a Mac girl. Sort of tired of “workaround” being standard lingo when dealing with any new toy and my Mac. For serious. And now, just when I’m lusting after a new a) Macbook Air (yeah, right), b) 120GB Mac Mini to DVI/VGA up to my big-assed LCD TV or c) a 13″ Macbook, my 2 year old iBook battery is now holding exactly 45 minutes of charge. So not great.

9. It is almost February, the best month of the year.

10. I found the awesomest assistant/babysitter/wife on Friday. He is 23, dark and slight, with a peacoat and a fauxhawk. I knew we were made for each other when he sat on my couch for his interview and picked up February’s Blueprint magazine, saying, “This is the most hummayzing magazine! I just read this issue on the flight from Europe!” Oh, Dane, we are so perfect together. Please bring me a latte and organize my closet before you pick up the boys from school.

I think I have a houseboy. Even better, he is nubile. Even better, he probably doesn’t want to sleep with me.

Wow, I think maybe I am a little bit creepy.

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Filed under Funny, Girldom, Kids, Stories, Technology, Weirdness

Chappy Chanukah

Last night the boys and I celebrated by watching the Mary Martin/Cyril Ritchards broadcast version of Peter Pan. On a new TV which doubles as a computer monitor for me, so it’s a space saver and tax-deductible cos I’m a writerly sort who writes writeful things for money.

I hate shopping. But I needed it. But I hate shopping. But can’t someone just bring it over? Ugh, I went to the store at 3PM on a Tuesday to avoid that “going shopping” feeling. It’s pretty, and not hyooge, and it fits in my computer armoire, so I can hide it. Crucial.

I still felt a little ill sticking it into my car yesterday, even though it was way on sale and I even escaped getting sucked into the extended warranty at B*st B*y.  The dude who looked like Tracy Morgan from SNL? Totally didn’t get that commission. Because, see, I want you to help me. The worst thing you can do if I walk into your store is leave me alone because I’ll most likely just get overwhelmed and leave. I have questions, dammit! Your job is to be available enough for me to catch your eye when I need advice, and distanced enough to not make me uncomfortable. Like a good waiter. But that guy left me, like, three times and I found someone else to sell me electronics.

I’m feeling a bit better this morning, after setting it up and arranging components.

And now I’ve just figured out how to dim the backlight so my eyes are not accosted by the vast white expanse of Word. Now to work. Latkes tonight.

Eeeep!

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Filed under Blogging, Chanukah, Jewish, Kids

What’s so Funny ’bout Peace, Love & Understanding?

You know what would make my holidays happier? If people would stop wishing me a Merry Christmas wherever I go. I mean, for seriously.

Yesterday I was shopping with my mother who, as it turns out, is not Jewish. Hey, you just learned something about me. So anyway, we’re at this clothing store where we know the owner, who is a dumbass and a flake, and “sharon” says to me, “Oh, Madeline, I bet your kids are getting so excited for Santa Claus! Have they been making their Christmas Lists?!”

This is one of my favorite conversations to have because I like watching people backtrack and squirm.

“Well, no, they’re not, because we don’t celebrate Christmas at our house.”

“Oh . . . oh, right. Well, they must be excited for Chanukah, right?”

My mother, who can’t stand squirmage, jumped to Sharon’s rescue. “Miles and Jack actually say that: ‘We don’t have Christmas at our house; we have it at Grammy’s house.”

“Oh! So I’ll bet they’re giving their Christmas lists to Grandma!”

Fuck me, man.

“Actually, since Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in Judaism, we keep it pretty low-key. They don’t make lists of things they want.”

The lady looked like she was trying to comprehend this information, while at the same time thinking how deprived my poor children must be that they don’t get to experience sticky-sweet excessive consumerism. I shot my mom a look.

“It’s really very refreshing,” she said, “I’ve never gotten a list from them.”

Then I told my mom, since I didn’t feel like talking to the lady any more, but I wanted to make sure she heard me, about what Miles had said to me on Monday night.

“I remember when we had Chanukah at our old apartment: we played dreidel on the floor and got chocolate gelt and we each lit our own menorah and I got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on a Motorcycle! That was awesome. I still have that turtle.”

We left that store and popped into the grocery store across the street. On the way out the bell ringer called out, “Merry Christmas!” and I just held my head up and kept walking. Because I know that, in my town at least, the Salvation Army INSTRUCTS their ringers to say that. But I also know that, where Disapproving Maya works, the management asked the bell ringers to say “Happy Holidays” instead.

See? Nice, easy, inclusive. And I know that the Salvation Army is a Christian charity, duh. But charity, acceptance and coexistence are all Christian tenets, right?

I guarantee you that Jews would throw lots more money into those red buckets if we didn’t feel marginalized by the assumption that we believe that Christ was the only son of God/Eternally begotten of the Father/God from God/Light from Light/True God from True God/Begotten not made/ of one being with the father/through him all things were made/for us and for our salvation he was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and was made man/For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried.

How about some Latin, yeah? Just to keep things interesting? You bet.

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

Whoa. Like, don’t assume we believe that. Just because some of us know it by heart, just like we know “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” because our orchestra and choir programs apparently weren’t subject to the whole “separation of church and state” thing.  And please don’t assume that, just because your response is, “but it’s a seasonal greeting/I’m not talking about religion,” it makes any difference to Jews or Muslims or Pagans or Atheists or Wiccans or any other minority faith. We really don’t care.

As my friend Amy Guth put it (far more eloquently and less rantingly) on her blog, it’s not my birthday, it’s yours, and it feels oogy when you keep wishing me a happy one.

I came home and called the grocery store manager.

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Filed under Chanukah, dumbassery, Friends, Jewish, Kids, Parenting

Easy.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon walking to the boys’ school, making soup with Jack’s class, having a conference with Miles’ Language Arts teacher, who wants to move him into his own advanced reading group (I am wary of this, having been my own reading group in sixth grade and feeling alienated and wishing I hadn’t done so well on those stupid tests.), and walking home with Jack, who didn’t feel like staying for afterschool club.

On the way home, the mechanic called to say my car was ready to be picked up. But, you know, I didn’t have a car to get myself there. I had a brilliant idea: Jack and I could ride the bus.

We don’t live in a huge city, and public transportation is still the subject of television promotions to Save Money and Ride! The kids have been fascinated with the bus for a couple years now, but we’ve never ridden. I decided that this was the time.

Never has a child had so much fun. He also figured out how to read the map, deciphering the little arrows and different colored routes. He also is young enough to ride for free.

And of course it took longer to reach our destination, and it doesn’t go exactly where I need to go, and I live in a neighborhood which has most of the services I need within walking distance anyway, but after shelling out $650.00 on car repairs, I’m hanging onto this bus schedule.

And my kid can tell me which line to take.

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Filed under Cars, Kids, Stories

Uh-oh!

Right, so remember how I hate the drama? Here is my letter to my brother telling him I’m not going to put up with his any more. Because, hello, I’m 35 and I get to say when you do something that is hurtful and offensive. Even if we have the same parents.

Enjoy!

Andy,

I’ve been thinking about our conversation Monday morning and wanted to write and tell you what it’s made me realize. Firstly, I got the distinct impression that you hadn’t talked with your wife before offering to keep the boys on Sunday. I got the distinct impression that she felt put upon, and unable to say anything about it to me. Secondly, I phoned twice on Sunday to check in, and asked that you call me if there were any problems. Not once was any misbehavior mentioned, nor did you care to go “all the way upstairs” to give me the chance to tell the kids goodnight and ask how their day was.

I appreciated your offer to keep the kids all day and night, but I am writing this to tell you that because of these and other things, my children and I will not be going to Park City next month.

I don’t know what you intended to accomplish by locking a child out of the bathroom at night; I do know that when Jack tried to go in the middle of the night and found the door locked, he was scared and confused and upset. Of course he wet himself. Your assertion that he should have gone downstairs was absurd and unreasonable, punishing him (teaching him a lesson?) for something which happened much earlier.

There should absolutely have been consequences for plugging up the sink in the bathroom–for all children involved–consequences which were immediate and relevant. Locking a half-asleep child out of a bathroom when he has to pee is not appropriate, and in my opinion, borders on being cruel. He doesn’t, as you asserted, have the ability to reason–in a semi-sleeping state, in a totally dark, unfamiliar house–that he might try the downstairs bath. These are the kinds of things that kids remember into adulthood, and I hope this particular one doesn’t carry over. Because in his mind it wasn’t a logical consequence, it was scary and mean.

He was upset, embarrassed and humiliated, and I wanted nothing more than to get us and our things out of your and your wife’s way. And yes, I was angry that you’d locked the door. I wanted to clean the mattress, but having no idea where you keep your cleansers, and wanting to avoid waking anyone, I stripped the bed and decided to call once we were on the road and it was a bit later. When your wife told me you’d locked the door I was exceedingly mad. Rather than stay and scrub the mattress I decided it was best for us to just go, so clear was it that she’d had enough.

I realize that we have different parenting styles, but I don’t criticize your choices, and I don’t appreciate you criticizing mine. It comes down, in my mind, to this: You have the right to make whatever rules you want for your house, but you then have the responsibility to supervise a group of kids (it’s different than having just one) and to tell me the truth when i ask if my children are behaving. Following that, phoning the next day to tell me that my children not only “trashed” your house by getting out toys and games that they then had to be asked to put away, but that they have “serious discipline issues and that we need to talk about how things are going to ‘go down’ in Park City” is not cool.

Your comment about how my children might “trash” the condo in Utah sealed my decision to stay home. You are not responsible for my boys. They are not your children. And if they damaged anything, I would have paid the repair or replacement cost. But your attitude of being the one “in charge” is something I’m not willing to abide. Yes, you made the arrangements. Yes, your name is on the lease. But your controlling attitude since last December has sucked the joy out of this vacation. For me, at least. People in this family have been walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting or offending you for a long time. I’m not doing that anymore.

I am sorry if your daughter will be the only kid on this vacation, but I have given this a lot of thought and I am doing what I believe is in the best interests of my children and myself. I hope that this is not a permanent solution, but it is the only one I can live with for the time being.

Madeline

In sending this, my entire family is up in arms about vacation. Turns out they were all going because I was going and bringing the boys. Apparently nobody wants to be stuck in a condo for five days with Captain Control Freak.

Oh, it’s so awesome to be responsible for everyone else’s happiness. Please. If people could just be nice, these things wouldn’t happen.

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Filed under Kids, Stories

chill

it’s fall today. like, maybe the temperature hit 65 degrees. i had to put on a sweater inside and i had soup for dinner and hot tea, too.

makes me want to knit. unfortunately, i have a mondo deadline and i’m scarily unmotivated.

going to have a busy next two weeks with a little friend i like to call “office suite for mac.”

oh, and funny thing: miles was in the shower last night and when i handed him the towel, he pointed to the corner of the tub, saying, “make sure jack knows that his supplies are there.”

supplies=body wash, shampoo, (my) crushed almond scrub and (my) coconut milk face wash. i’m surprised the dude didn’t come out with a towel turban and cucumber slices over his eyes. seriously, he’s seven.

last week i overheard him explaining to jack the intricacies of shower pouf vs washcloth while they were standing naked in the tub during the switching-of-the-kid.

i can’t believe tomorrow’s effing thursday. shit.

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Filed under Kids, Stories, Writing