(As in: everything makes you want to, and your kids do nothing but)

Tag Archives: childhood

For Mother’s Day, we went with my in-laws to the beach.

My son is sick, so on the long drive there we enjoyed the soundtrack of incessant hacking punctuated by simultaneous shrieks of “Weeeeee” from both kids whenever we went over a “hill” on the highway.

When we arrived there, we began the Sisyphean task of unloading tents, umbrellas, beach toys, coolers and I began lathering the kids in sunscreen.

When I got to my son’s nose, maybe because he thought I was going to wipe the snot, he freaked out and started smacking me in the face.

monkey slap1

He got an epic car time-out, during which he cried out a bunch of the snot.

I finally got him to stop crying by distracting him by helping pigeons get some water at the shower by the parking lot.

Then halfway to the beach he starts screaming again because he sneezed out more snot.

At the beach, he perks up and has a great time, but my daughter is refusing to go into the water because there are waves.

Never been an issue before. She tells me she’ll go in the ocean when she’s five.

They drop cookies and cheese puffs in the sand, still trying to pick them back up to eat them. I question their common sense.

huck beach

We stay just long enough for it to make sense that we built a second G-D home on the beach before packing up and heading back to the car.

We decide to head to Chili’s with my in-laws, because every other restaurant is packed with mothers.

My son falls asleep just minutes before we arrive.

Lunch starts fine, with him sleeping on my husband’s lap. But, he wakes up moments after the food arrives and starts crying.

My mother-in-law assumes it’s because he’s sick, but NO. He ALWAYS wakes up like that.

So, I take him outside for a stroll, to watch cars whiz by and interrogate him.

“Do you want juice?” “Do you want chips?” “Do you need to go potty?” “Do you want corn on the cob?” “Do you want two-for-one margaritas?”

He goes with juice, so we head back inside where he refuses to leave my lap, so I cannot eat.

The juice (and my daughter’s chocolate milk) arrive just in time for us to leave. That earns the waiter instant dick status.

At home, you’d think my son would get back to that interrupted nap, but no way. He’s up for the long haul now. So, we take a bike ride.

During the bike ride, my daughter decides to ask me why we don’t live forever.

Last time she asked me, “Who made God?”

question mark

Nothing like a relaxing bike ride with Alma.

When we get home, my husband and I trade off struggling through naps and watching the kids.

I want to shout Amen and dance with snakes when bedtime arrives.

dancing with snakes

But, noooooo! Alma says her belly hurts because she’s still hungry.

I struggle between thinking she could possibly be going through a growth spurt and be legitimately hungry and assuming she’s just making up the typical excuses to stay up late. I also don’t want to set the precedent that eating in bed after brushing your teeth is okay.

I offer her “squeeze fruit.” (glorified applesauce) She says she only wants Goldfish.

I tell her she can eat Goldfish, but she has to sit on the floor because she’ll get crumbs in her bed.

I bring her the Goldfish and she starts crying because she says she wanted bread. (I was apparently supposed to deduce this telepathically.)

telepathy

I bring her the bread and leave. Moments later, she’s yelling at me from her room to come and throw away the crust she doesn’t want.

There’s a several minute fight.

“You have two working legs. Throw it away yourself!”

More crying. I find her crumpled on the floor of her room with a wad of crust in her hand. So, I drag her to the bathroom and make her throw it away.

Now, she’s wailing that the chunk of middle bread she wanted was in the pile in the trash. So, I pick it out and send her off.

I start to feel guilty.

I picture her someday telling her college boyfriend about her wretched mother who would send her starving to bed with a mashed up piece of bread plucked from the garbage.

couple crying

I go back to her room to talk it out and find her sound asleep, the chunk of bread uneaten inside her curled up little paw. I kiss her cheek and toss it out.

We pick our battles.

My husband I have talked about how incredibly sick we are of constantly telling the kids, “No.”

We do let some stuff slide. In the car ride back from the beach, we let Huck shove crackers from his Lunchable under his seat belt buckle, showering crumbs around my car. Alma was rubbing circles of ham on her thighs.

That’s cool.

Whatever.

I digress.

We finally have the freedom to have a couple of beers and watch some mindless crap on TV when… I hear Alma crying.

She has puked all over her bed, her pajamas, her hair.

It’s a mad dash to bathe her, brush her teeth, wash sheets. (Although my husband tends to just toss stuff in the trash. We lost two fluffy pink blankets last night.)

I threw out the bathmat. Once there are chunks in that thing, there’s no getting it clean.

I disinfect the tub twice over, because Lord knows if one kid gets a stomach bug, we’re all screwed.

She sleeps through the night and I feel like we’re in the clear.

Until I get a text message from my husband this morning that she crapped her undies overnight and several times since.

Now, I spend the entire day at work feeling pressure under my tongue like I’m going to puke.

The paranoia that could inevitably lead to me actually tossing my cookies.

So, that was Mother’s Day.

I did get some lovely earrings and a watch from the husband.

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Ahhh, the sleepover.

A quintessential part of the American childhood.

slumber party

Just the word “sleepover” probably stirs up fond memories of late-night giggling, poorly painted toe-nails and itchy sleeping bags.

For me, it dredges up the crying jags and calls to come home in the middle of the night.

The panicky realization that I was actually expected to sleep at some point.

The horror of having to pretend to LIKE pizza and ignoring the aching pains that followed due to lactose intolerance.

My top 3 worst sleepover experiences, in no particular order:

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Maybe it was the title of the movie that had the parents confused.

Sleeping, like a “sleepover.”

Maybe I had led a sheltered life, never having seen a movie that was rated R by the tender age of 8.

But, I could not hide my shock and dismay as we huddled onto our friend’s fluffy, pink twin bed and watched Julia Roberts being raped by Patrick Bergin.

sleeping with the enemy

This face will forever haunt me.

The first sex scene I had ever seen and it was a portrait of a violently abusive marriage.

At this age, the mere mention of sex made my throat swell-up with anxiety.

As I’ve mentioned, I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family and just thinking about sex was likely to earn you a ticket straight to the fiery pits of hell. (At least in my prepubescent mind.)

At first, I tried to nonchalantly cover my eyes.

That wasn’t going to work.

There was audio.

Can’t cover your eyes and ears simultaneously.

So, I did what any other slightly hypochondriacal youngster would do.

I pretended to feel sick, rushed out of the room and spent a good portion of the evening engaging in calming banter with my friend’s mother. (No mention was made of their incredibly poor choice of films for the sleepover.)

(By the way, I adore that movie now. I guess it’s kind of like, ‘I can watch it now without wanting to die or praying for forgiveness! I win!’)

THE MANSION UTI

My father was a math teacher at a prep school for rich kids.

We didn’t have much money (understatement) and frequently found ourselves with incredibly wealthy friends.

One of those kids lived in a mansion with an olympic-size swimming pool, complete with high diving board and an ice cream parlor.

They were having a birthday party for her brother and I swear to God, they had the longest, most phenomenal Slip ‘N Slide I had ever seen. It ended in a pool that was way bigger than the above ground one we had in our backyard.

slide the city

Yes, that’s Slide the City. But, it was totally like that!

Needless to say, I was already intimidated by the home, the toys, the yard, the pool.

Just looking at my friend sitting with perfect posture while playing at her grand piano was enough to make me feel inferior for JUST BEING.

It was around midnight when I started to realize I was suffering from the world’s most wicked urinary tract infection. Dear God, the pain!

I wasn’t keen on being there, but I wanted to impress my rich pal, so I tried to suck it up, tough it out, biting into the provided pillow to try to keep from screaming.

I finally broke down and called my mom and whispered through tears that my private parts were en fuego.

THE PUKE

I’m sure you’re already thinking you can guess how this sleepover went. But, wait!

It was a sleepover at MY house and I was NOT the one who puked.

It was my neighborhood friend.

She ran for the bathroom.

She only made it to the hallway.

It was projectile.

It was shocking.

It was the look on my father’s face while he was sopping it up that I will never forget for as long as I live.

He looked like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

sam jackson

Or Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained.

sam jackson2

Or Samuel L. Jackson in any movie for that matter.

sam jackson3

These and also the glaring facts that some parents are also perverts, some guns are left unlocked and some alcohol is on the bottom shelf are the reasons why I will never (don’t hold me to it) let my kids sleepover.

And your (vomiting) kids can’t stay either.


It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love.

When I reminisce about the idyllic Christmas mornings of my childhood.

The lying awake for a signal from my parents that it’s acceptable to dig under my bed for that first hidden gift, the teaser of what was to come.

me christmas1

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, swishing on socked feet into a living room packed with presents, pouring across the floor like a tidal wave.

me christmas2

My brothers and I clambered around on the Oriental rug, digging through our stockings for the tiny gifts hidden among the cheap chocolate, held afloat by a single orange.

Our bellies still full from the smorgasbord of Teriyaki steak skewers, stuffed mushrooms, sweet and sour meatballs and cheese spread of the celebrations the night before.

In Florida, there are no snow flurries to usher in a white Christmas, but it didn’t stop me from believing I heard the jingle of sleigh bells on Christmas Eve.

florida christmas

It was a huge family affair. My Uncle, Aunt and cousin would come to town from Cincinnati. We’d brave the chilly waters of the Gulf on their behalf and gather sand for luminarias to line our walkway at home.

luminarias

My grandparents would come down from Massachusetts and our entire holiday herd would go to the St. Pete pier where I would beg my parents to buy me overpriced colored rocks masquerading as gems.

pier

Every year, we would eat at Arigato Japanese steak house, a huge splurge for a family of 5 living mostly off a math teacher’s salary.

arigato

Now, nobody comes down from “up north” to take a dip in frigid waters.

The Pier is in disrepair, people kept away with a lock and chain, it’s future uncertain.

pier2

Arigato shut down in September. The owner filed for bankruptcy.

Immediately after Thanksgiving I would hold the bottom rung of the ladder (a pointless show of support) for my father as he strung the giant colored lights along our rooftop.

Now they’re considered “retro” and a fire hazard.

retro lights

Now we put off stringing the Christmas lights along our porch railing because it’s such a pain in the patoot. We’re just too dang busy.

On Christmas Eve, we sat down as a family and read scripture to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We reenacted the nativity scene. I was usually stuck being a sheep by the manger, shrouded in my beloved and battered baby blanket, “Lambie.”

Now, nobody even mentions the “real reason for the season.”

These days, we are so busy redefining “family” that there’s no room to even bother trying to resurrect the Christmas traditions of our childhood.

The massive mountain of presents are now split between 4 homes. Christmas Eve with my in-laws, Christmas morning with my children, another random day with my family and finally a visit with my dad and his wife.

How does Santa pull this off? I don’t know. I just don’t know what to tell my kids.

Holidays should be about lazy mornings in jammies, cracking walnuts, watching football (reluctantly) and afternoons spent with kids crammed onto and underneath sofa beds, watching Rudolph on repeat.

Instead, I will leave work on Christmas Eve to rush home to food that I couldn’t help prepare.

Christmas morning will bring a modest delivery from Old Saint Nick.

The Friday after Christmas, it’s back to work.

Saturday, it’s the next “Christmas” with my family.

I am learning that there is absolutely no way I can recreate the magic of holidays past for my children.

I cannot pull it off.

It makes me sad and angry.

There’s nobody to blame, yet it feels patently unfair.

These days, who’s got the chestnuts? Where’s the open fire?

chestnuts