Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hear no evil

Isn't there a statue with some monkeys - one is covering his eyes, the other his ears and the third his mouth? See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, right? Lately, I've been hearing some things and seeing some things that I really really really hope my children aren't noticing. I know they pick up on the slightest things, so I hope some of the whoppers lately will quickly leave their memory. It started the other day when Sabrina and I were on line at the store waiting to pay for our gas. The lady in front of us was taking a very long time getting herself together and couldn't seem to locate the lottery tickets she just purchased and refused to believe that they were actually in her hand. Thankfully, Sabrina was too engrossed in talking about the pink snowballs on the shelf to notice the woman who probably hasn't seen a razor in a good 30 years. She was wearing a tank top and it's not like she even had her arms up but the hair was long enough to reach out and touch someone! Had my little one seen this, I am positive she would have said something. She thinks armpit hair is hysterical (just ask her dad). So, she didn't notice that, but she did notice the woman with the lip ring at the grocery store and managed to loudly mention it to me several times before we left and then again in the parking lot. Gotta love kids. At least my 8-year-old doesn't blurt stuff like that out anymore. She just stares at people and waits till later to talk about them.

Did you ever have one of those experiences where someone says something and you flinch and cringe and quietly pray that your child didn't hear it? The past few days have also brought some conversations I wish the kids hadn't heard. The oldest hears everything. My mom keeps telling her she's going to be a lawyer because she asks so many questions and has to know (down to the most minor detail) what everyone is talking about at all times.

We were at the craft store doing a project and someone used the word "abortion". Really? I mean, it was very innocent. We were talking about a composer being deaf and how she once saw a pro-life ad saying abortion could have killed Beethoven. Anyway, it was just the word. It's not something I want to explain to my 8-year-old. Then, at the library, a performer said "say no to drugs." Great message, yes, but do I want to tell my kids what drugs are? The other day, I told them we were going to the drug store and Caty said "Mom, drugs are bad." Part of me thinks this is the reason to explain to her what drugs are. She's the kind of kid that wants to know what everything is about, right? And just because something is considered bad, it won't stop her. It might actually make it more interesting!

I know I have to have these conversations with my kids some day. But, today is not that day. They are too young. They shouldn't have to know about stuff like that yet. Bad enough I had to explain the dead turtle in the tank or why mommy has to wear "diapers" (their word, not mine) once a month (okay, too much information, I know).

I want my babies to be like those little monkeys for a bit longer. I don't want evil in their lives - ever - but when it comes, I'd rather be the one to explain it to them instead of their friends. But, before I do, I might need an instruction manual! Better yet, I'll just get my dad to do it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My mom

Today is my mom's birthday and I just thought that in all the talking I do about my own parenting skills (or lack thereof) I rarely mention my own parents. My mom doesn't like me to talk about her - especially not publicly. I never understood why. She has a very interesting history. Her parents were taken from their native Poland to a Nazi labor camp during World War II. My mom was actually born in the camp before they escaped to Italy. They then moved to England where she grew up with her younger sister and two younger brothers. She had a really tough life and came to the States by herself when she was about 19. She worked as a nanny (how cliche!) and then met my dad. She had my sister when she was 25 and was told she had cervical cancer and couldn't have more kids. Ten months later, I was born and they immediately operated to make sure she didn't have any more children. My parents divorced when I was about 7 and my mom worked full-time, raised us, sent my sister and me to Catholic school and then onto college. Don't ask me how. My sister was a very good daughter. She was very smart and responsible. She got up on time, always did her homework, didn't disobey rules and helped around the house. Then there was me. Did you ever see that movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Well, they attempted to make the perfect child (Arnold) and accidentally created some funky DNA and got an extra kid (DeVito). The perfect child was smart and kind and worldly and handsome and good-hearted and healthy and strong. The extra kid was not any of those things. He was a swindler, not good-looking, weak, mean.... you get the picture. So, that's kind of how I feel sometimes when I come my sister and me. I was the screw-up for sure. I did okay in school but never worked up to my potential. I dropped out of college when I was younger. I tried drugs. I smoked. I drank. I stayed out until all hours of the night. I used to cut up in school and get in trouble. I was always late. I was absent all the time and just forged my mom's signature on school notes. I got into fights. I shaved my head. I got a tattoo. I didn't really think about consequences. My mom used to always tell me she hoped some day I had a daughter who was just like me so I knew what it was like to be treated that way. She got her wish (and then some!) But, one thing I remember realizing when I was a kid was that I used to try soooo hard to impress my father but never really did anything special to impress my mom. I used to worry that my dad wouldn't make it to my special events or that he would miss me in the dance recital, but I didn't give a second thought to my mom. You know why? Because my mom was always there. No matter what I did or how bad I screwed up, she was always there. She was always proud of me and she always told me she loved me. That's her present to me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Have you ever told your children to pay attention? I know I have. But I'm not really sure they even know what it means. Sometimes, I'll tell them to look at me when I am talking to them because if I don't, they'll be looking at the television or the dog or the window or the wall or whatever else is nearby. I bet when they do look at me, they're not really looking at me. You know, they do that thing where they stare at your nose and still don't pay attention to a word you say. And then I talk and all they hear is "blah blah blah" like I'm an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. These days, it seems every child in the world has some form of ADD or ADHD. Listen, I'm not belittling anyone or taking away from those kids who have legitimate issues. But, it's just too easy these days for people to blame that disorder and give their kids pills and do nothing else. I may be wrong, but my thought is that these diagnoses are made because a child will focus intently on one thing like television or video games, but then not be able to focus at all on other things like their parents, homework or chores. Seriously? This is a disorder? No. This is childhood. Who can blame these kids? If you let your child play their handheld video game in the car, at the dinner table and in bed, are you just expecting them to say "Oh, thank you mother, but I would much rather sit quietly at my desk and review multiplication tables." Come on! Wake up! Everywhere you go these days, kids are thumbing something - texting their friends on their $400 phones or playing games on their PSPs. How can you, as a parent, allow that to happen while you and your husband chat over fried cheese at TGIFridays? Why are not talking to your kids? Oh, wait, because you don't want to? And then you say they have ADHD? Engage them in conversation for crying out loud! Listen, I know my kids lack focus. I say they get it from their father. He could focus on ESPN even if there was a tornado, alien attack and Victoria's Secret runway show in the same room. But, dollars to donuts, he will walk past the same dirty sock on the floor 500 times and not see it. It's not a disorder. It's almost like tunnel vision or having blinders on. People see what they want to see. My kids would rather jump on the steps and sing Demi Lovato songs instead of paying attention and putting on their shoes. They would rather stare at their beauty marks in the mirror than brush their teeth. I'm sure as they get older, they will doodle instead of pay attention in class. I'm not going to label that behavior and give them medication, that's for sure. I just think that focus is.... oh, wait, something good just came on television.....

It's not always about you

You know that Carly Simon song "You're so Vain"? You probably think this song is about you..... I think it's kind of funny that some people read this blog to see if I am writing about them. Some people think I am writing about them when I'm not. If you want me to write about you, let me know, I'd be happy to oblige. Especially if you do something funny - that always makes for good writing. Watch my kids and I'll write the most beautiful bio about you that the world will ever see!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


She's got more than me! I hear that, I think, a million times a day. She has two blue markers and I only have one. She got more ice cream. Why does she get to stay up later than me? How come she gets to go first? What is it with kids? Where do they get the idea that life is fair? When do they get the wake-up call and realize life isn't fair? Life will never be fair. You will probably never get the same exact amount of ice cream as your sister because by the time I measure and weigh it to create two exact scoops, it will all be melted! How can I get them to understand? Is it fair that the person at the gas station is driving a nicer car than mine? Is it fair that women age and get arm flab? Is it fair that there are people in the world without clean drinking water? I mean, the arguments could go on forever. Where is the book that explains fair? Why isn't there some professor around who can tell us, in kid language, how it is that a person who plays a game for a living makes five million a year while a person who molds our children and teaches them to read makes less than 50 grand a year? I guess fairness is subjective. And why is it I never hear "she has more vegetables than me?"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Courses for Women

I just got this from a friend and had to share. It's a new listing of courses for women. Now, I've seen these for men in the past - you know Toilet Paper 101: The roll doesn't change itself - those kinds of things. But, this is great! Fall Classes for Women at THE ADULT LEARNING CENTER REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED By Wednesday OCTOBER 30, 2010 NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM.
  • Class 1-Up in Winter, Down in Summer How to Adjust a Thermostat Step by Step with Slide Presentation.Meets 4 wks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hrs beginning at 7:00 PM.
  • Class 2 -Which Takes More Energy Putting the Toilet Seat Down or Complaining About It for 3 Hours?Round Table Discussion.Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.
  • Class 3- Is It Possible To Drive Past a Wal-Mart Without Stopping? Group Debate.Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.
  • Class 4-Fundamental Differences Between a Purse and a Suitcase Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.
  • Class 5-Curling Irons Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Bathroom Cabinet?Examples on Video.Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM
  • Class 6- How to Ask Questions During Commercials and Be Quiet During the Program -Help Line Support and Support Groups. Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM
  • Class 7 - Can a Bath Be Taken Without 14 Different Kinds of Soaps and Shampoos?Open Forum. Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.
  • Class 8 - Health Watch They Make Medicine for PMS - USE IT! Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
  • Class 9 - I Was Wrong and He Was Right! Real Life Testimonials.Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.
  • Class 10 - How to Parallel Park In Less Than 20 Minutes Without an Insurance Claim. Driving Simulations.4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.
  • Class 11 - Learning to Live: How to Apply Brakes Without Throwing Passengers Through the Windshield.Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined.
  • Class 12 - How to Shop by Yourself. Meets 4 wks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.


I don't know when it happened, but all of a sudden, my sweet little baby isn't so little and sweet anymore. She used to be so bouncy and cute. Now all of a sudden, she's a tough guy and I can't do anything but laugh at it. The other day, we were in the hospital and the doctor looked at my girls and said "Which one of you is the troublemaker?" Of course they immediately pointed at each other but he looked at the youngest and said "I bet it's you." He told her she had better be careful because they had a security guard there and she said "I'll just beat him up." What? Then, yesterday, she was arguing with her sister and started to get really riled up. She told her big sister, "I will break off your leg and eat it like a chicken wing." Come on. How do you not laugh at that? Right, yes, I am mature mom and I know that it is not funny to threaten your sister in such a way, but really? That's funny - I don't care who you are.

Friday, July 16, 2010


When did this word... whatever... become such a horrible one? I can't stand hearing it anymore! Maybe it's not the word so much as the way my eight-year-old uses it. I've been trying to ban it in my house. While we were on vacation recently, I took a quarter from each girl if she used that word. I, in turn, gave them each a quarter if I used it. I think we ended up even. So, I can't blame them for knowing the word, since it's one I use, but man I wish they would just get it out of their vocabulary. I bet every mom has a word they hate hearing. Duh is probably high on that list. Yeah right must be up there too. I wish my kids (and everyone else for that matter) would just listen to everything I say and not question my authority. Just get it already. I'm right. I'm the boss. If you're going to say 'whatever' to me, it better be followed by 'you say, Mom.' Get it? Whatever you say, mom. That sounds sooooo much better.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The good, the bad and the other

It is nearly impossible not to compare. I know you're not supposed to, but sometimes I just can't help myself. I compare my children to other people's children and to themselves. It's bad. It's unrealistic. I know, I know. I'm sorry. I'm a bad person sometimes. I just can't help but wonder why one of my kids is pretty easy-going and the other one isn't. Why can one share and give things up while the other one always needs to win and be right and be the best? I don't just compare them. I compare myself as a parent. I wonder why I can't be calm like the other mom at the park. Why doesn't she blow her stack when her son throws sand in her daughter's face for the seventh time? And, it goes the other way too. I sometimes look at other kids - like a five-year-old rolling on the floor screaming and stamping his feet because he has to eat at Burger King instead of McDonalds. If my kids ever did that, I would freak out. I look at the mom who is so busy with her iPhone that she doesn't notice her child dangling from the top of the monkey bars and think I would never ever be that mom. But aren't we all that mom? Or that child? Maybe I just happen to catch that crying kid in the middle of the worst day of his life. Or maybe that mom is texting her best friend who just got a divorce. Who knows? Maybe - no definitely - I need to stop judging because I certainly wouldn't want them thinking the same things about me. It's a good lesson (and of course it's one that God gives us). Take the plank out of your own eye before you realize the splinter in someone else's.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Taking a trip

I just got home from a trip to Pennsylvania that was way more work than vacation. Let's face it - parents don't get vacation. There is no relaxation so why even expect it? We went to three different theme parks in as many days. I was drenched, tossed, bumped, jerked, pushed and pulled. My house is a mess. I have tons of laundry to do. My back is killing me and I think I still have water in my ear. I had fun, don't get me wrong, but I'm just tired! When you're a parent, you can't just do things for yourself. You have to pack for the kids, get them dressed, put on sunblock, make sure they use the toilet before you leave....then you have to deal with them in the car....then you get to your destination and you have to make sure you packed drinks and snacks. They want to play games and go on rides and get their faces painted and on and on. It's a lot of work. The kids went to sleep late (really, really late) and woke up at their normal times. So, it's not like you can even bask in a few quiet moments when they sleep late. We had four adults and four kids in my car. My GPS apparently stands for Get to Points that are Seedy because it took us through some pretty questionable places. The kids wanted to all sit near each other. They wanted their handheld devices. They wanted more AC then less AC. One wanted the radio and the other didn't. One wanted to play a game and the other wouldn't. I can't imagine how people go on those cross-country trips without killing each other. I don't think I would make it. Okay, I need a nap.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Early birds

I haven't done a lot of reading about a child's internal alarm clock but maybe I should. Maybe then I would find out why kids feel the need to wake up before the rooster crows? Parents, you know what I mean - no matter what time a child goes to bed, they still wake up at the same time the next morning. I know for a fact that my kids need more than 8 hours of sleep. I've read that much, at least. I know if they go to bed at 11 p.m., they should not wake up at 7. I don't even want to wake up at 7. I've got one early riser and one that will sleep as long as I let her. Oh, and believe me, I let her. When the older one was in school, I loved that the younger one would stay in bed while I got her sister on the school bus. If I could have, I would've hung out with that little snuggle bug until 9 or 10! Why not? She's got nothing to do. No meetings on tap. No solid plans. Nothing slated for the morning hours. So, what to do with one early riser who gets cranky when she's tired and one late riser who will stay up all night partying? How about if I just go to sleep and let them sort it out? I love sleeping. I wish I could sleep more. I could never understand people like Martha Stewart, who need only about 3 or 4 hours of shut eye before feeling energized and tackling a crazy day. Yeah, and that whole "sleep begets sleep" thing? That's fine with me. I'll be sleepy all day. Doesn't bother me a bit. I'm sleepy right now as a matter of fact.


My dad is sometimes the ultimate source of wisdom for me. Yesterday, he was here while his lovely granddaughters were splashing in the pool. They were doing something "against the rules". I think it was jumping off the ladder or something and they were told not to and my dad just kind of laughed. After the laugh, we got one of the "back in my day" stories. I loooove when my dad tells those stories. You know - the soda, three movies, popcorn, candy bar all for a dime? Those stories. He's not even old (only 64 this year) but it sounds like forever ago. Anyway, he tells about his days back in the pool. When you grow up in a big city, you go to a public pool. No one has a pool in their backyard - usually because you live in an apartment building that doesn't have a yard. So, he and his friends used to go to Tibbetts - that's a county park that has a large swimming pool. They did that when they were about 7 or 8. The older boys would push them under or throw the kids who couldn't swim in the deep end. They would walk to the park or hitchhike (yes, hitchhike at 7) and pay 25 cents. That would get you a towel and a locker and you could swim all day. They would save some money and walk to Yonkers Avenue for a hot dog and then take the bus home because they were too tired to walk. If they didn't have money, they would go swim in the river. The Hudson River. And not the nice, narrow clean part upstate. They would swim with the rats. I can feel you shuddering right now. His point? He said "We never lost a single kid." He doesn't understand some of the rules imposed on kids these days. And, frankly, neither do I. I think we get a little neurotic and we fear all the bad things that could happen to our kids. But, sometimes, all that fear means we're really not letting them live. You have to give kids a little bit of freedom. Otherwise, they'll be stifled and they'll wait their whole lives to break free. It means they'll either do bad stuff behind your back or grow to resent you and distance themselves. It makes me think of a Jeff Foxworthy bit where he said his parents had a 900-pound television sitting atop a metal tv tray when he was a child and that his dad said "let him pull it down on top of his head a few times...that'll teach him." Of course, I don't want my children to learn lessons in that way, but I do hope they fall a few times. If you don't make mistakes, you don't learn how to fix them.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Is it sad that kids know way more about technology than adults? And I'm not talking about teens, I'm talking little kids. My four-year-old can work the iPod better than me. She has to show me how to play Wii. "Not that button mom. Press the B". What? The kid beats me at every game. I'm so lame. One day, she was playing some game - who knows what - and I tried to look over her shoulder and something went wrong. "Thanks a lot mom. You made me get no stars." No stars? I'm sorry. Is that like getting Ms. Pac Man killed? I remember when I worked as a reporter covering the Rye City School District and thought it was the amazing advancement of a wealthy school district to have kindergarteners using computers. How far we've come so fast. These days, it's non-stop advancement. There is a new device every day. I can't keep up.