Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My version of Wordless Wednesday: Mommy Don't Play That.

Because there really are no words that sufficiently convey how shit full I am of my son's attitude lately.

Dear Son,
When I tell you to do your homework, this does not mean that my request is open for negotiation. When we go to Whole Foods to grab a quick bite before taekwondo, I do not think that it is unreasonable that I too be permitted to select dinner for myself without having to listen to you whine the entire time that you're starving and that I'm taking too long and this is sooooo boooring. I won't even get into last night's temper tantrum during dinner, because while you obviously could care less how this looks to other people, I'm embarrassed for you. I understand that you consider temper tantrums to be a viable approach to getting your own way, but in the immortal words of Homey D. Clown, "Mommy don't play that." I hope you like your bedroom, because I have the feeling you're going to be spending a lot of time there in the coming weeks, maybe even months. Your father and I understand that we have a legal obligation to provide you with food, water, and shelter. We are not however required to provide you with video games, lightsabers, or television. We suggest that you kindly bid these things adieu. That said, you have the opportunity to redeem yourself, and to one day be allowed to rejoin society if you are able to adhere to the rules set forth by the Responsibility Chart. Rule #1? Stop acting like a jack-ass. Love, Your Exasperated Mother.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In Philly even the geese have attitude and why my son has an irrational fear of gerbil-sized dogs and animals in general.

In the past I have for the most part refrained from posting about some of the more embarrassing behaviors of my kids, not so much because I'm fearful of embarrassment - I mean I think we've established at this point that I have absolutely no problem humiliating myself here for the sake of entertainment. No, I've refrained because I would never want to post something on my blog about my kids that might serve as fodder for their humiliation later in life. I mean adolescence is difficult enough without your mother spilling to the Internet all your childhood secrets about thumb sucking and toilet issues. That said, every now and then there comes a moment when I want to talk about my kids' freakish behaviors, if only to be able to commiserate, even briefly. Today's topic: my son's bizarre fear of dogs the size of a hamster. Even when they're on a leash.

A bit of back story: I've always been a dog-lover. I had dogs throughout my childhood. I even had one when C and I were dating. That's a story in and of itself. Let me just say that a decision to adopt a lab/pit bull mix should not be made after a night of drinking Tequila. Actually, that particular night I ended up with a dog and knocked up. Yes, that was a memorable night indeed. That damn dog ate everything from a bottle of prenatal vitamins which, on Christmas Eve had me desperately trying to contact animal poison control in a panic - and the only thing the dog suffered was an extra shiny coat. This dog also ate OUR HOUSE (I kid you not. He chewed all the stucco off the side of the condo we were renting at the time) and our YARD. Eventually, we had to give the dog away due to all the damage he inflicted on our condo, and the fact that as it turns out my kids are allergic to dogs. Don't worry, I assure you we found him a good home (which is far better than the one he came close to getting in Heaven). So anyway, we gave up the dog before my son was old to remember that we ever even had one.

Anyhoo, a couple of summers ago we went back East to visit C's family and decided to take a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, as the kids had never been to a zoo before. All was fine and good aside from the 100 degree heat with humidity (I'm from the desert people. It's hot here, but it's not generally humid, and we have freakin' air conditioning everywhere). Anyway, when we sat down to eat our lunch, we were accosted by a giant herd or flock or whatever you call it of geese (I guess geese just randomly wander the Philly Zoo - maybe this is normal for zoos, I don't know), and let me tell you they were aggressive. In Philly, geese don't politely request that you toss a few crumbs their way Good Sir. No they get downright ghetto about it and demand that you give up the goods, motherfucker! And these geese were nasty. They had some sort of mucus emanating from their geese nostrils (germ phobe alert!). Anyway, the geese were practically charging us and, well a flock of geese forcibly snatching my son's hot dog from his tiny hand with their evil pestilence-covered beaks was understandably terrifying to my then three year old. My husband and his friend successfully chased the geese away (but then some idiots decided to start feeding them part of their lunch, which brought them right back).

But anyway, that marked the conclusion of "The Geese Incident." It was, however, just the beginning of "The Zoo Incident," as we still refer to it to this very day. You see, the zoo does not allow straws on the premises because the animals can ingest them and die or something (I'm no zoo expert. I don't know.) But if you recall, it was about 100 degrees out and apparently I failed parenting 101 and never taught my kids how to drink out of a cup like normal people do, because Maggie wouldn't drink out of a cup without a straw that would enable her to suck "sippie cup style." Well this prompted the temper tantrum of the century. A temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums. This child wailed the entire way to the car (she had to be carried of course, as her back was arched, her face red from all the screaming. I worried that someone would think that we were abducting her, but then with the way she was carrying on, who would even want this kid I wondered?). She continued to scream non-stop for about 45 long minutes as we drove through downtown Philadelphia, screeching and frothing at the mouth. Recently when recalling "The Zoo Incident," the friend that accompanied us to the zoo told me that he had never in his life heard a kid scream like Maggie did that day. I'm fairly certain that "The Zoo Incident" single-handedly affirmed his decision to remain single and child-free for life.

But to return to the issue of the dog phobia, it became obvious to the hubs and me shortly after our return home from Pennsylvania that our son seemed to have developed an irrational fear of all animals, including even the very smallest of dogs, ON LEASHES, as well as cats which he believes to be dogs I think. We know this because when people innocently bring their pooch to the little park by our house my son has been known to loudly shout things like, "This is MY park! Tell that dog to GO HOME!" or better yet, "I HATE dogs!" Yes, we're so very proud of our anti-social animal-hater. My husband and I have tried on numerous occasions to explain to the boy that a) that's rude, b) it's not his park, and c) an animal the size of a gerbil on a leash is incapable of spontaneously mauling him. It just is. But this has been to no avail. There have been times when my six year old has literally jumped into my arms while shrieking uncontrollably to escape the immanent danger that he believes a Chihuahua poses him. Yes, my son is "that kid."

I think when it's all said and done, this pretty much says it all: This is a page from my son's school journal. It reads "A good pet would be a red fish." This makes sense to me seeing as how he hasn't had any unfortunate incidents with fish. Yet. I think his teacher's response of "That is a good idea!" is kind of funny. Perhaps she too has had a dog that ate her house. Either that, or she's witnessed my son's behavior around dogs and is saying "A fish IS the ideal pet for a freak like you. Your parents must be crack-dealing pedophiles."

A fish is the pet my son prefers.

*Update: Just yesterday some poor lady brought a dog to school when she came to pick up her kid - the dog was in in her purse by the way, so it was not a large threatening animal by any stretch of the imagination. When my son saw the dog he pointed to the sign posted on the side of the school that says "No Dogs Permitted On School Property" and said (loudly mind you), "That sign says no dogs here! Why does that lady have a dog? I HATE dogs!" Okay, now I'm embarrassed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maggs goes vintage.

Maggs is rocking a vintage Nintendo t-shirt (circa 1987) , courtesy of a keepsake box rediscovered in my garage last weekend. She's accessorized her latest find with a wooden bead necklace and matching bracelet (not shown), which she made herself. Eat your hearts out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wherein I entreat you to point at me and laugh.

Inspired by Aunt Becky over at Mommy Wants Vodka, who proposed an Internet DUEL of embarrassing photographs, I am going to accept this challenge and treat you to some truly embarrassing photographs of me as a kid. Why? Because I enjoy humiliation. And just in case you were wondering, I also like to be spanked (just kidding, this isn't that kind of post). Truthfully, I am certain that my mother possesses pictures far worse than the ones that I've posted here - you know, the typical 1982 flashbacks of perms gone bad, sparkle headbands and Olivia Newton John inspired "Let's Get Physical" leg warmers. I promise to attempt to procure these photographs and share them in the not to distant future. But anyway, here's what I've got for today:

The year is 1983. I had just received some sort of award in swimming and my mom wanted to get a couple of snapshots of me in all my swimsuit glory to send to out-of-state relatives. It was winter in Wyoming (which means it was really cold) and my mom made me put on my swimsuit and pose for pictures before school, which I'm sure you can tell did not make me happy. Even at the tender age of 9, I was most definitely not a morning person. Truthfully I think my mom has another picture where I'm crying, and this one was taken after she threatened to beat me if I didn't stop. (Just kidding, mom! Love you! But there is one where I look even more unhappy, I'm certain of that).

Circa 1985. Here I am with my little brother, and I don't think I need to tell you that I thought I was the hotness with this haircut and my rockin' dangle earrings. Also, check out the pastel blouse/sweater vest combo. Oh yes, I believed this outfit to be the shit. Scroll down for a close-up.

"Come and get me, boys."

And now for the creme de la creme of today's embarrassing photos, me circa 1988. Oh yes, we have the quintessential ratted bangs, which no doubt required an entire bottle of Aqua Net to sculpt to perfection, and a badass attitude to boot. When this photograph was taken, a childhood friend from Wyoming was visiting for the summer and I remember rocking out to "Talk Dirty To Me" by Poison and watching The Lost Boys and Like Father Like Son marathons. Embarrassing confession: I used to have a crush on Kirk Cameron. I can't even believe that I'm admitting to that right now because that is just so nauseatingly GROSS! It kind of makes my stomach queasy. And oh how I wish now that I had never succumbed to the ratted bang trend. Remind me not to complain from now on when Maggs does that weird thing with her headband.

Well that does it for today. I hope that you've enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. I promise to look for more embarrassing childhood photographs for the express purpose of your amusement, because I'm more than willing to subject myself to humiliation for your pleasure. Aren't I nice like that?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Say hello to my little friend...

Everyone knows that I'm a bad-ass. And a mom. That said, I would like you to say hello to my little friend, Nintendo DS. Yes, Nintendo DS is what I like to refer to as "Mommy's Little Helper." Perhaps at this point you are thinking, " Pshaw! Video games rot the brain! Good parenting? I think not!" To which I would respond that you are a fool - a fool I say!, and attempt to persuade you to listen to what Nintendo DS might have to offer your family.

1) Video games may or may not rot the brain - that remains to be seen in the EW household. But I will tell you this: Nintendo DS makes my son do his homework. Mostly because I say this, "If you don't do your homework now, I will take away your Nintendo DS." Works like a charm every time. *Note: Feel free to apply this formula to bedtime, teeth brushing, you name it. Get creative! Nintendo DS will not fail you.
2) Nintendo DS also functions as a magic wand of sorts. When I wave Nintendo DS suggestively at my son before school, he understands this to mean that if he gets in the car ASAP without whining, crying, or refusing to go to school that day, he will be allowed to play a quick round of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games en route to school. Voila! Peaceful mornings abound!
3) Nintendo DS allows one to at least entertain the thought of embarking on a family vacation (not for the weak of heart, mind you). Five hour plane ride back East? No problemo. Nintendo DS is the solution to your problems. *Note: Okay, I'm not gonna lie. A situation such as this may require the assistance of yet another of Mommy's Little Helpers, and no I don't mean alcohol (this time). I'm referring to the ever-trusty portable DVD player.

Until recently, Nintendo DS had been used exclusively as a parenting tactic for my son. But to both our surprise and delight, Carl and I realized just weeks before Christmas that Maggs had recently developed an interest in the Nintendo DS as well. Lo and behold, Santa surprised Maggie with her very own pink "in-tendo DS" (as she calls it) on Christmas morning!

Like mother, like daughter.

Which brings me to my favorite reason of all for being a proponent of the Nintendo DS.

4. While these handheld devices may serve as "little friends" that help my day run smoother by functioning as a means of occasional bribery (let's just call it what it is), they make my kids act like friends to each other, which is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

One of the main reasons Carl and I thought that Maggs would enjoy a Nintendo DS of her own is that the kids can sync their machines so that they can play games together, which they think is the bee's knees. And I'll admit, nothing gives me greater pleasure (other than jarred cheese sauce, Tivo, and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep) than hearing my kids laughing and having fun together. It's just the best sound in the world. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend that you do yourself a favor and hightail it to your nearest Best Buy or Toys R US or wherever, and purchase a Nintendo DS of your own today. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just another day here at the Cleaver house...

I present you with two scenarios, typical of daily life here in the very Cleaver-esque EW household (would you expect anything less?):

First scenario: The kids have been non-stop bickering all day. This bickering escalates considerably when I demand gently suggest with kisses and hugs and promises of cookies and pony rides that the children clean up their playroom. I mistakenly tell them to do this together. When they initially refuse, I threaten to sell them to a band of gypsies remind them that Ward will give them a talking to if he sees that their playroom is a shit hole in disarray. Eventually they comply because they don't want to lose their videogames hate to disappoint us. (*Note: I suppose June would happily tidy the toy room herself, all while keeping her coif neatly in place and her dress maintaining the appearance of being freshly pressed. Fuck you, June. I am sick to death of bending over 10,000 times a day to clean up legos that, when they're not painfully embedded in the heel of my foot, are so small they're nearly impossible to detect with the naked eye).

But if only it were that easy. Eventually, exasperated and sick of hearing exchanges such as "You're just a poo poo diaper baby." "No YOU'RE the poo poo diaper baby." "Mom! Maggie called me a poo poo diaper baby!" I repress the urge to scream "You're BOTH poo poo diaper babies!" and instead inform them both that they're no longer allowed to speak to each other ANYMORE. For the rest of their lives. To which Wally and the Beav respond with enthusiastic cheers of, "YAY!" while doing a sort of jig around the playroom. I should have seen that one coming.

Second scenario: The weekend. It's bedtime and the kids are having a camp-out style sleep-over in my room. As usual, they have refused to eat dinner, therefore their bedtime snack is restricted to fruit and dry cereal such as Cheerios. Maggie approaches me to ask for popcorn and cookies, a request which needless to say I deny. She informs me that her brother told her to demand that I provide them with popcorn and cookies and that if I refuse, to hit me. She relays this information to me with a look that clearly says that she understands that this is not advisable. At that point it becomes clear to me that Bear is pulling an "Eddie Haskell" by setting his sister up for his own amusement, and I imagine him in my bedroom suppressing snorts and giggles with his ear to my door in an attempt to eavesdrop on our exchange. I mean, who would want to miss out on that shit storm? "Dance, puppet, dance!" I imagine him thinking as Maggie set out on her mission. For him I guess it's a win-win situation. Either she comes back with cookies and popcorn, or he gets to see what happens when his baby sister tries to put the screws to their mother. Good times all around. Of course, Ward and I did give him a talking to.

I'll actually take these Stepford Children because they seem to be eating whatever it is that's on their plates without whining, crying, gagging, or lying prostrate on the floor.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yeah, "Happy Birthday To Me" ya jerk off.

What he's really saying: "Hey, thanks a lot asshole! Happy fucking birthday to me."

Monday was Bear's first day back at school after winter break. When I was taking his homework out of his backpack last night I found this message from Mickey. At this point I should be honest and tell you that we were completely unaware that it was Mickey's birthday in November so we did not write, call, or send a gift. My apologies Mickey. I will be sure to put your birthday on the calendar for next year.

Is it just me or does this seem passive-aggressive? I had to do a double take to make sure that Mickey wasn't flipping the bird. Carl thinks that I'm crazy as usual and that this message from Mickey is innocent enough. To which I responded that perhaps my perception has been clouded by too much time around our families over the holidays. Just sayin'.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Stop the Insanity!

Remember Susan Powter? The creepy motivational speaker, dietitian and personal trainer who rose to fame in the 90s with her catch phrase “Stop the Insanity!” Maybe you're wondering why the hell I would mention that annoying bitch when you have tried so hard to block her from your collective memories. No I have not decided to single-handedly resurrected Susan Powter from the annals of 90's pop culture. Lately I just haven't been able to get the catch-phrase "Stop the Insanity" out of my head in reference to my current diet and exercise routines (alright, who are we kidding. There is absolutely NO exercise happening here lately. The size of my ass can certainly testify to that).

All good things must come to an end - well that is if you think that ingesting mass quantities of potato chips smothered in that jarred Tostitos Nacho Cheese Dip substance is a good thing. I do. Or did that is, because just the thought of it makes me want to vomit now. Now that probably is a good thing. Man did I get off track in the month of December. I replaced a diet that consisted of mostly vegetables with one that currently consists of virtually NO vegetables (unless we're including potato chips as a vegetable. No? I didn't think so).

Here are some signs that I must Stop the Insanity right this instant:

1. Carl seemed shocked and maybe a wee bit horrified when I told him that I had eaten three jars of that Tostitos processed cheese dip substance over the course of one week. And this is the same person who eats scrapple. Wow. This may be the ultimate wake up call. Oh my God, I just read the jar and it says that 1 serving of this substance is 2 tbsp, and there are 13 servings per jar. A jar lasts me on average two days. So I'm eating around 6 or so servings of cheese substance a day. This is indeed alarming.

2. Just now Carl called me from the store to let me know that the large carton of Haagen-Dazs is unavailable. He seemed to think that this would be an issue for me because he kept repeating that the LARGE carton is unavailable and that they only have the 16 ounce carton in stock are you SURE that this will be okay?! I repeat THE LARGE CARTON IS UNAVAILABLE!!! I'm like, okay dude, I get it. It's fine. I mean, is this the last opportunity that I will have in my lifetime to purchase Haagen-Dazs? Does he actually think that I would want to eat more than 16 oz of vanilla ice cream in one sitting? (Okay you got me there. I actually have done that, but not since I was pregnant). Anyway, my point being that when he called me from the store he seemed kind of panicked and like I might bitch slap him if he didn't come home with the 32 ouncer.* Maybe this is a sign that I need to re-evaluate my relationship with Haagen-Dazs.

3. I noticed a perceptible jiggle to my arse when shopping at the supermarket in sweats yesterday for more cheese substance and potato chips. And Pepsi. One mustn't ever forget the Pepsi. (I was wearing a pair of really nasty Old Navy sweats with Uggs by the way, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the automated doors when entering the grocery store and this is so NOT a good look for me).

4. Carl's muscles feel stiff and sore from starting his new work-out routine. Mine feel stiff and sore from not moving from either the computer or our Lazy Boy recliner where I gorge myself with ice cream, potato chips and cheese substance while watching marathons of Snapped, and the television equivalent to jarred cheese substance, Jersey Shore.

5. My hair and skin feel all greasy because my body is no longer 65% water, it's now 65% jarred cheese substance.

Upon reading this, you will no doubt agree that the time has indeed come to Stop the Insanity. I'll keep you posted about my progress.

*Carl's fears may have been justified: Haagen-Dazs changed their 16 ounce container to 14 ounces? WTF?!

Update: A little while ago when it came up in conversation, Carl asked me if I was still watching Jersey Shore. When I reluctantly confessed that I did watch this week's episode, he said "Oh, honey!" in a way that suggested that he's disappointed in me as a human being. And I can't really say that I blame him.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I'm feelin' a little bloggy.

I am so excited to have received the Lemonade Stand Award from Naomi at one of my favorite blogs Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip! Thank you so much, Naomi - I'm beyond flattered (blushing).

Receiving any sort of blog award kind of blows my mind because until recently I think I had maybe two or three readers. Maybe. And one of them is my mother. I think she's pretty much required by some sort of maternal law to gush shamelessly about how much she just loves my writing. She also thinks that I look good without make-up and that I have a beautiful singing voice (trust me when I say that neither of these things is even remotely true).

When I originally decided to start a blog, my main objective was simply to discipline myself into writing on some sort of semi-regular basis. I've always really enjoyed writing, and after leaving academia to become a mother, I truly missed the creative outlet that writing affords. Moreover, I realized that instead of bombarding friends and family with lengthy emails concerning the mundane details of my day to day life as a wife and mom, I could pour it all into a blog instead, and then they could either choose to read it or not. The funny thing is, I really never expected to become so addicted to this blogging business, or to enjoy the social interaction and friendship that exists within the blogging world as much as I now do. I only wish that I had more time to partake of my favorite hobby. I would like to give a big thank you to everyone that has taken the time to post comments on my blog. I still can't believe anyone that isn't a blood relative or a life-long friend has actually taken the time out of their day to read the (more often than not) random crap that I post. You're all awesome.

Here are the rules for the Lemonade Stand Award as I understand them. After receiving the award, I must:

- Put the Lemonade logo on my blog or within my post.
- Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
- Link to the nominees within my post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

There are so many great blogs out there, it's difficult to choose. Here are a few that I really dig:
Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip (right back at ya) ;)
Girl in the Room
Speaking from the Crib
Mommy Words
Stir Fry Awesomeness
If Evolution Really Works...
Martinis or Diaper-Genies?
A Life More Exciting
Zen and the Art of Motherhood
Theta Mom
Flux Capacitor
Bon Bon Rose
Diary of a Mad Bathroom
Kerry Character's Blog
Mommy Wants Vodka
Let's Have a Cocktail...

One of the nicest surprises that I had in 2009 is how much I have come to enjoy the community of the blogging world (I know I already said that, but I really mean it). You guys rock! Every morning I look forward to sitting down to read your fabulous blogs over a cup of coffee. Happy blogging to everyone in the new year!