Date Night

They say there’s nothing quite like the special bond between a son and his mama. And this just so happens to be one stereotype which I am more than happy to be a part of. Yes, my little man totally digs hangin’ out with the woman who brought him into this world and was happier than a fly on shit when we got to have our own little date night this past weekend with just the two of us.

Since my daughter went to a daddy/daughter campout with my husband on Saturday, my son and I were able to have some rare quality one-on-one time. The kid’s face truly lit up like a jack-o-lantern when he found out that he was gonna get me all to himself. You see, normally, he has to compete with his twin sister for my full and undivided attention, and we all know that my last brain cell can only stretch so far. So this little scenario was a-ok with him. He even turned down a playdate with a neighborhood friend so that he could just chill with his mama. Is that true love or what?! I told him that we could do anything he wanted — go out to dinner and movie or order a pizza and play Wii at home. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which option he went with, given that the kid has a borderline psychotic obsession with all things video games.

So we had a little family room “picnic” on the floor with our pizza and a couple of unbelievably irritating episodes of Spongebob. (Are you submitting your “Mother of the Century” recommendations yet?) And then, it was the moment he’d been waiting for — it was Mario time. I swear to you that I played so many freakin’ Mario games that I began speaking in an Italian accent and was quite certain that a mustache was forming on my upper lip as the night went on. And it clearly didn’t make a rat’s ass of difference to my son that I had no earthly clue what the hell I was doing while playing these games. The kid refused to explain the rules of any game to me, and instead, just let me fend for myself. Actually, I think it was all part of his secret master plan to beat the ever-loving crap out of me.

I may have been confused out of my flippin’ mind as well as silently wishing that my exhausted head was on my pillow upstairs, but I would not have traded that date for anything in this world. If you could’ve seen just how unbelievably happy my mini man was, you would understand why I prayed to God that I could just bottle that moment up forever. The fact that he chose to be with ME over anyone else AND that the only ass I had to give up was in Super Mario Brothers defines an absolute picture perfect evening in my mind.


Kid Fibs

     Recently my son’s been talking about some kid that he plays with on the playground at school named “Pepe”.  I’d never heard this name EVER mentioned before, so I thought I’d pull out the school directory, and see just who this little “Pepe” boy was.  Turns out, though, that there isn’t a single freaking soul in the entire first grade with the name of Pepe.  Upon further investigation, I found out that my son took it upon himself to change the name of his friend (who, by the way, has absolutely no Spanish ties WHATSOEVER) to Pepe.  Seriously?  WTF, dude?  Unfortunately, it seems that this is just something that kids do — they make shit up.  

     Take, for instance, the imaginary friend.  Many of us had one when we were growing up, right?  (Come on, don’t make me feel like I’M the freak show here, people!)  Maybe it was a product of me being an only child and wanting a sibling, but yes, I, too, had an imaginary friend as a kid.  Her name was Sally, and she lived in the coat closet in the foyer.  Everyone in my family was required to engage with Sally, and she went everywhere that we would go. If we went out to eat, Sally would dine with us. If we went to the grocery store, Sally would ride in the cart with me.  People often looked at my mom like she was a damn nutcase when she’d fuss at Sally (aka:  the air) for trying to steal things off the shelves.  And God love my mom for playing along with the whole gig, too.

     Things all came to a head though one day when my mom came to pick “Sally” and me up at the babysitter’s house.  The babysitter frantically raced to the door with a look of anguished frustration on her face.  She nervously admitted to my mom that she’d been searching high and low for my lost doll — under beds, in closets, inside drawers, all to no avail.  As she proceeded to explain how absolutely terrible she felt about the situation, I stood there in the wings with a shit-eating half-grin on my little punk-ass face.  My mom put two and two together and asked if the doll’s name happened to be Sally, to which the babysitter said yes. Trying desperately hard not to bust out laughing, my mom told this very frazzled, very unsuspecting woman that she could search all day and all night and never ever find her because SALLY WAS INVISIBLE!!!  You can probably imagine just how relieved (and probably just how pissed) the babysitter felt after learning the real deal. 

     But, you see, pretending is just a part of being a kid.  And as a parent, I’ve learned that it’s best just to question every damn thing my kids tell me.  Who knows when they’re telling the truth and when they’re telling a fib.  Unfortunately, their noses just aren’t equipped like Pinocchio’s.  Therefore, I’m actually thinking about having a lie detector station installed in my house as a precaution for the teenage years.  It never hurts to be one step ahead of the game, ya know.  


The Christmas Brick

     The day my kids stop believing in Santa will be a day that physically hurts my heart because I know that little by little from that point on, their innocence will be slowly fading away.  I can remember exactly when I stopped believing as a little girl.  Thanks to some punk-ass blabber mouths at school and a Santa with his head up his jolly old keister, my childhood faith in the magic of Christmas was crushed like a candy cane.

     Growing up, I always LOVED Christmas.  I absolutely loved the idea of Santa and all the wonder surrounding him.  So, when some of the kids at school really started talking trash about the big man, I tried like hell to block out all their comments.  I didn’t want to buy into this whole idea that it was really just our parents buying all that crap for us.  As much as I tried, though, some of these accusations were sinking in, and I, too, started to question whether this one guy could really deliver ALL those presents to ALL those kids in just one flipping night.  My suspicions were finally confirmed when a Santa hired by my parents made a pre-Christmas stop at our house that year.

     I was so excited when I answered the door that night to find a red-suited dude with a beard standing right there on our very own porch.  I breathed a sigh of relief that maybe all those yahoos at school really were just messing with me.  He ho-ho-ho’d his way into our living room with his big bag full of gifts and made himself right at home on our loveseat.  As he reached into his bag of tricks, my heart skipped a beat in anticipation of what he’d pull outta there for little ‘ol me.  But what he pulled out only caused my brain to wonder just what in the hell this North-Poled nitwit had been smoking before he flew into town.

     The merry old fool had mistakingly thought that the wrapped boxes my mom had displayed on the front porch FOR DECORATION were presents that he was supposed to bring inside for me.  The jackass had the audacity to try to pass off one of these said boxes to me! I instantly recognized the wrapping paper and the bow and knew that the only thing inside that box was a brick to weigh it down.  Was this moron actually trying to give me a concrete slab as a gift?  I looked first at my mom and then at my dad for some sort of reassurance that this was all just a great big joke.  Their horrified looks weren’t doing much to ease my anxiety, though.  Either this man had lost his damn mind, I had been a really really naughty girl, or my parents really were Santa Claus after all. 

     After he left our house, my parents scrambled for some sort of an explanation and simply told me that Santa had sent one of his helpers since he was so swamped with toy orders, and that this guy had obviously gotten confused about the gifts.  I didn’t really buy it though and never truly believed in the legend much more after that night.  And now that I’m a parent myself, I can’t stand the thought of this same scenario playing out with my own kids.  I think I’ll start bribing all their friends now to keep their little traps shut about the real deal.  So what if I’ve got the only sixteen year old twins who still listen for reindeer hooves on the roof and wait for a fat man to pop out of the chimney?  Aren’t the holidays a whole lot happier if you at least have faith in something?

Chew On This


     Trying to get my son to keep his hands or his clothing out of his mouth is like trying to keep a man from touching his johnson.  It’s a constant uphill battle that I don’t seem to be winning.  I’ve preached to him about a gazillion times about the risk of germs and getting sick, but, as the usual pattern goes around my house, my sermons always seem to fall on deaf ears.  I’m starting to feel like the Charlie Brown teacher.

     One of my biggest pet peeves with my kids is when they chew on their clothes, and my son is the absolute worst about this.  I swear, every time I look at the kid, he’s chewing on his shirt sleeves, his collar, his hat or his gloves.  I can’t even tell you how many of his shirts now have holes around the wrists from all of his nibbling, not to mention all of the ragged collars on his jackets.  It drives me flipping C-R-A-Z-Y!!!  He used to chew the flaps so much on his old hat that the damn thing had to be washed every other day to get the stank of old saliva out of it.  And now that he’s taking ice skating lessons, he’s discovered that he likes to gnaw on his gloves after he falls down to get the ice chunks off them.  He doesn’t seem to understand that the ice at the rink is not meant to be eaten.  I guess he thinks of it as his own personal slushy buffet.  

     Unfortunately, he doesn’t just stop at clothing either.  He also likes to put his fingers in his mouth too, even though he’s not really even chewing his nails or the surrounding skin.  Surprisingly, the boy’s got to-die-for nails that constantly have to be trimmed.  I cringe at the thought of what new virus he’s shoving in there with his hands.  I about died when my husband showed me the video he took of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap over this past weekend.  My son’s hand was thrust into his mouth throughout the whole two minute conversation with the man in red.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a bigger breeding ground for germs than old St. Nick’s lap.  Just think of all the boogers that have been wiped on those fuzzy pants and all the sneeze showers that have been sprayed on that jacket.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the very conception point for the whole H1N1 phenomenon.

     This oral fixation has been such a concern of mine that my husband and I even talked to my son’s teacher about it at parent/teacher conferences last month.  She said it’s a very normal, very natural phase that a lot of kids, particularly boys, tend to go through.  She suggested allowing my son to chew gum at school to avoid the urge to put his hands or his clothing into his mouth.  My husband practically fell out of his little tiny first grade chair at the mere mention of this solution, since he was actually paddled for chewing gum in school back in the day.  The teacher assured us that our son will most certainly outgrow this phase in due time.  We’re hoping that time’s much sooner rather than later.

     Meanwhile, I have to just continue to play my broken record over and over again to remind him about the dangers of germs while he continues to ignore every freaking word that comes out of my mouth. It’s yet another one of my many daily tests in patience and sanity that I’m on the verge of failing miserably.  Isn’t parenting fun?!




     Being a parent pretty much forces you to become a pack rat.  It’s your parental duty to keep sacred mementos and memorabilia, but honestly, the amount of crap that my kids expect me to save is nothing short of insane. I mean really, just what the hell am I supposed to do with all of it?  It continues to pile up right before my very eyes, and when I try to throw it away on the sly, I get busted nine times out of ten.  

     I have no problem saving really special art projects or letters that my kids write to me.  But why on earth do I need to preserve a Scholastic workbook page with a bunch of circles on it?  I’m not thinking that’s gonna bring back a million heart-felt memories later on down the road.  My daughter absolutely freaked out a couple of days ago when she discovered that I’d thrown away some worksheet that literally only had one pencil line drawn on it.  I dug all through the nasty-ass trash can looking for the friggin’ thing, only to discover it under a pile of exploded yogurt.  And yep, it went right back in the trash can.  Sorry, honey.  

     Pictures are the other thing that have completely taken over my house. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE pictures of the kids — trust me, we have them EVERYWHERE!  But, do I really need to have a cheesy professional team picture of every single sport they play? What’s wrong with scooching everyone together on the sidelines for a group shot with my little digital camera?  We all know those “professional” team photos usually suck anyway.  

     Then, there’s the whole issue of what to do with the teeth that the tooth fairy takes away.  I currently have three itty bitty pearly whites in a ziplock baggie in my jewelry box because I don’t have a clue where else to hide them.   Am I seriously gonna have to keep a bazillion tiny little teeth stashed away for the next however many years until that whole gig is up?   My mom told me that she saved every single one of my baby teeth for twenty years, and that I didn’t even want the damn things when she finally tried to pass them on to me.  Can you blame me, though?

     I know that with each stage of my twins’ development there are going to be more and more things I’m expected to preserve.  (Hell, my own craptastic-looking prom dresses are sitting in a dress-up box in the playroom, thanks to my mom for pawning them off on me after all these years.)  I most definitely want to save the things I truly treasure, so that I can remember as much as possible about my kids’ childhoods, since they obviously don’t last forever.  However, I gotta draw the line somewhere or else we’re gonna end up on the next Oprah show about hoarders.  And if I’m gonna be on Oprah, I’d better be dancing with the Black-Eyed Peas on Michigan Avenue.



     Like many people around the world today, I find myself feeling sad with each and every Michael Jackson song that comes on the radio.  I can’t believe that he’s completely gone at the young age of fifty.  I know he led a weird and questionable lifestyle later in his life, but I choose to remember the MJ that I idolized as a kid.  I completely thought he hung the moon back in the day and listened to his albums over and over in my room.  That famous Thriller poster hung proudly on my door, and I stared at his face (pre-surgery nightmares) every single day.  So many of his songs bring back very specific memories of my childhood, and I am sad that he can no longer showcase his extraordinary talent.  

     I remember in elementary school when MTV was just a luxury that only a select few were even able to get on their old-school t.v.’s.  We had to wait in anticipation for award shows like the Grammy’s on regular tv to catch a glimpse of our idol.  I remember seeing him moonwalk for the first time, and I about peed my pants.  I’d never seen anything like that before in my life!  It was crazy to think someone could move like that.  I stood in front of the mirror for hours trying to replicate his moves.  Everybody wanted to dance like Michael, but very few could.  Everything about him was magical, right down to that white sequined glove.  I even had my friend’s mom make me one of those gloves, so that I, too, could try to moonwalk in style.  

     In sixth grade, a group of girls and I even made up a whole dance to “Off The Wall” for the school talent show, but, sadly, we lost to another group of girls who danced to “Thriller”, complete with zombie costumes and dried ice.  Guess we couldn’t quite compete with all their special effects.  And when it came time for our big sixth grade graduation dance, the school hired a Michael Jackson impersonator to lip synch a medley of songs.  The guy looked and danced just like MJ, and all of us girls went completely wild.  One of my friends and I even chased the poor dude into the boys’ bathroom.  We had Michael mania, and there was just no stoppin’ us!   

     Watching all of his unbelievable videos on t.v. over the past couple of days reminds me of just how incredibly out of this world he really was.  I want my own kids to know his music and to see his performances, because he was such an inspiration for a large percentage of EVERY type of music that’s out today. On the way to drop my kids off at camp this morning, every single song that came on the radio was a Michael Jackson song.  I told my kids I’d teach them how to moonwalk later this afternoon.  RIP, MJ — your music will always be a part of me….

Me And My Shadow

me and my shadow     My kids had their first day of camp yesterday, and when they came home, they were beyond beat.  I tried to talk them into meeting some friends at the beach for a bit, but they wanted nothing to do with that plan.  So, my son opted for the cool air-conditioned house and the Wii, and my daughter opted for following me around like a lost puppy dog.  I needed to plant flowers in the backyard, so I decided to ask my daughter if she wanted to help me.  Now, it must be noted that my daughter LOVES helping others.  However, her idea of “helping” is a lot different than my idea of helping.  

     It all started out well, with her helping me pull the mangled-looking pansies out of their planters.  She’s very into collecting flower petals that she can press in one of her books in her room, so she was psyched to add some pansy petals to her collection.  She must have about a trillion dried-up petals by now.  It was then time to add some more soil to all the pots, which was right up her alley. The kid loves to dig in dirt.  The problem was that her aim is not quite the best, and rather than adding more soil to the pots, she, instead, added more soil to the ground and everything BUT the planters.  Another mess to clean up — just what I needed.  I had to just grin and bear it, though, because after all, she was just trying to spend time with me and help.

     Next came time to put in the new flowers.  This was all fine and dandy until we came to the last window box on the garage.  It’s located above a bush that seems to be the party spot for all the bees, and my daughter absolutely flipped her lid.  For some reason, she is completely TERRIFIED of bees this year.  Every single thing that buzzes by her head is assumed to be a big, bad bee, causing her to scream bloody murder and cower behind me in fear.  It could be the world’s smallest living gnat, and she will go ballistic, thinking it’s going to sting every square inch of her little body.  The crazy thing is that her brother is the one who’s been stung twice by bees and could care less about bugs whizzing past him.  It’s like my daughter’s decided to be scared for the both of them or something.  

     After calming down Miss Paranoid and cleaning up the dirt garden she created, we finally got all the flowers planted and watered.  And they look pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself!  I felt guilty for being annoyed with my daughter, because I know she just wants to do whatever she can to hang out with me.  Guess when you’re a parent, you get more than one shadow — in my case, I have three….