SWD (Single White Daughter)

  • Alice: Mommy where are you going?
  • Me: Need coffee.
  • Alice: I want to make the coffee for you.
  • Me: Ok, let's go to the kitchen
  • Alice: Can I hold your hand when we go down the stairs?
  • Me: Of course (we walk downstairs hand in hand and into the kitchen)
  • Alice: Mommy, where are you going?
  • Me: To get the milk out of the refrigerator.
  • Alice: Can I help?
  • Me: No. I've got it.
  • Alice: But remember, I am making you coffee?
  • Me: Yep. You have to move Alice. Your face can't be in my butt when we are making coffee.
  • Alice: But I'm helping.
  • Me: If you want to help you need to move. I need my arms free to be able to make coffee.
  • Alice: (She is clutching my arm.) But I just love you so much and you are mean when you tell me to let go.
  • Me: But mommy just really needs coffee and she just really needs her arm to drink it and make it.
  • Alice: (hugging my hips. Face in butt) Ok. Now you have your arms.
  • Me: (Audible sigh) How am I going to sit if your face is in my butt?
  • Alice: I'll sit on your lap
  • Me: (slow breathing) Alice, sweetie, mommy loves you and mommy needs some space. I just want to drink my coffee and check my email. I need to have my body free.
  • Alice: (pouting) But I just love you and want to sit on your lap.
  • Me: Mommy really just needs to be free with her coffee and phone for a few minutes.
  • Alice: Fine. When you are done with your email can we take a shower together and get dressed together?
  • Some would call this phase of mother daughter-hood adorable. I call it scary. Alice is hours away from turning me into a skin suit.

Saturdays Are Filled With Decisions

  • Peter: Do you want bagels?
  • Me: Yes
  • Peter: Should I go get them?
  • Me: Yes
  • Peter: Alice do you want to come with me to the bagel store?
  • Alice: Yes
  • Peter: Do we need to go to the grocery store?
  • Me: Yes
  • Peter: What do we need? Do we need milk?
  • Me: Yes
  • Peter: when do you want to go? Do you want to go after we eat bagels?
  • Me: Yes
  • Peter: Do we need anything else?
  • Me: Yes
  • Peter: Write a list
  • Me: Ok
  • Peter: Should I go now?
  • Me: Yes
  • End Scene. Rewind. Hit play next Saturday

Kindergarten

  • Me 1: Holy shit
  • Me 2: What?
  • Me 1: Today is the first day of Kindergarten. (sobbing uncontrollably) The safety net of private pre k is gone. I have to slog through red tape and testing and weird smelling cafeterias. And she is just so big....
  • Me 2: You will be fine. Alice will be great.
  • Me 1: She will, won't she?
  • Me 2: Yes, now get your shit together so you don't make an ass of yourself in front of the other parents.
  • Me 1: OK, good advice.
  • Me 2: Oh my god.
  • Me 1: What?
  • Me 2: Alice is going to Kindergarten

Spoiled Brat

Tickets to Aladdin for four: $500

Concessions at the theater to stop the whining: $40

Look on her face when the Genie comes out if the lamp: worth $500

T-shirt and “magic lamp” toy: $50

Epic meltdown complete with tears, whimpering and body falling to the floor in the parking garage because I won’t buy her a cell phone: Priceless

What Do They Tell You About Israel?

Alice goes to a Jewish camp. It was a fluke that she wound up there. The Jewish camp is affiliated with her Jewish school - it’s also kind of a fluke that she went there - so all of her best friends go to this camp, and the price is great, and they have taught her how to swim and to do cartwheels, and she is insanely happy and confident as a result, so what else could I possibly hope for? The fact that it is a Jewish camp was never a selling point for us.

Last camp visiting day parents were serenaded with Jewish folk singing - I’ve Got Ruach (spirit)! and Shalom Alechem were sung on the top of little four year old lungs while parents ate watermelon and fanned themselves with programs of the day’s activities. It was casual, and frankly she could have been singing Old Mac Donald and I would have been equally moved by the content of each song.

Tonight I asked Alice if they are talking about what’s going on in Israel at camp. She paused and said “Eitan died”.

I said “What? Oh my goodness! Your friend Eitan did not die. What do you mean?”.

She happens to have a friend named Eitan, who is Israeli, so I was really thrown for a second.

"No, not my Eitan. The Eitan soldier in Israel. My friend Eitan is too little to die, right mommy?"

I whispered “Thank goodness he is safe”

I couldn’t answer her squarely because if he was a Palestinian boy living in Gaza, he would not be too little to die.

How do you talk about these complicated and devastating matters with a five year old who will dress in blue and white for Israel Day, wave an Israeli flag and then eat Popsicles before getting on the bus home? She loves Israel for no reason other than people told her to.

Someone is talking about the mess in Israel at camp, and I can only hope that they are talking about it in a way that includes the ugly, the heroic, the brave, the tragic and everything else I know I have missed. I am struggling to find the right words to talk to her, and I can only hope that other adults around her feel equally shaky in what to say.

I read my Facebook feed, and see my friends posts that say “Read This - All You Need to Know About What Is Happening In Israel” linked to an article from the Jerusalem Times. Others link to articles criticizing the Israeli Military for using advanced combat strategy on civilian populations. Each side comes at this conflict with so much conviction as if their Facebook opinions had any sort of real impact on the outcome.

I am lying in the Dead Sea covered in mud. None of us know anything, and none of us know what to say to our children. I hope that by the time Israel Day happens at camp, there is peace.

So I Drank A Few Beers With Ti Ti

My husband’s sister is my sister. We call her Ti Ti, and I feel totally confident in saying that if I die everyone will be OK because Ti Ti will tell everyone to get their shit together. Then she will tell everyone to get in their bathing suits, get a big cup, fill it with ice, fill it with water, get a straw and lay outside while the sun is still out so that they can all get a tan.

Ti Ti took me out for my birthday because she knows that I need a god damned manicure. She knows that I need a minute to gossip and shoot the shit and frankly, I think she likes spending time with me too because I say ridiculous things.

We went downtown and had a few beers. They were delicious and we also ate some bread and mushrooms with our beer and had the kind of fun you can only have with the friends that you trust and you know they know when you are full of shit. She calls you on it, and loves you more for it.

I love my Ti Ti, and my kids love her more. Days like today make me feel lucky. I am crying on a train back to the suburbs. Perhaps beer # 2 is making me emotional. Perhaps I am feeling gratitude. I like to believe it is the later.

Fireflies

Sick days mean that I watch Thomas the Train.

Sick days mean that I spend $30 at the doctor so that they can tell me me Owen has a fever.

Sick days mean I eat chocolate and soup.

Sick days mean I answer emails, watch The Real Housewives and play “Animal Sounds” on the iPad at the same time.

Sick days mean Alice needs extra love

Sick days mean she and I get to go to a free concert.

Sick days mean we chew gum at the concert.

Sick days mean that on our walk home from the concert Alice discovers fireflies.

Sick days mean that she begs Peter to have a sip of beer while we sit on the front steps, and we give it to her. She likes it.

Sick days mean Peter gets a jar and they run around the front yard and catch fireflies.

Sick days mean Alice gets extra cuddles before bed and we both say that we are lucky.

Sick days mean that Alice says we are lucky because there are “homesick” people who have to sleep on leaves.

Sick days mean I tell her she means “homeless”and that’s she’s right, we are very very lucky.

Sick days mean that I kiss her good night and tell her I love her more than life.

Sick days mean that the day was unusual and I liked it more than I have liked a day in a long while.

Getting ready to fly.

I Could Share My First Chapter With You But That Would Be Cheating

I have such an amazing first chapter for the Magical Realism Memoir I am writing in my brain on the car ride to work. I mean it’s so good that every time I think about actually writing it I cry. Then I stop at a red light, check Facebook and look at my Blackberry to figure out what my first meeting of the day is. Then a car honks at me and I make a left.

This blog post was going to be me actually writing that first chapter. Taking the required hour to document the bones, let my thoughts finally breathe on the page, let everyone who follows me religiously (Hi Mom) comment, tell me how awesome I am, say things like “Seriously, you have to write this book”, “You are so dark”, “I’m peeing. You have to stop being so funny”, “I will never read again. This chapter ruined me for words for forever”. But then I thought better of it because I know that all writing this chapter will do is frustrate the boogers out of me.

Nothing in my life resembles the life of someone who is seriously writing a book. I wake up at six with Owen The Terrible - he has become a Godzilla-esq toddler destroying everything in his path. I get the kids to school and then take 15 minutes to daydream my book on the way to work. I work at the office until 7:30-8 most nights and if not there, the work comes home with me. The kids are all consuming. The hubby needs some love too. Bills gotta get paid, food cooked, bath time, bed time and I am cooked. I fold up into a bundle of mush and the last thing I would even consider doing is be creative.

I think the only feasible solutions to my significant lack if time to blow America’s mind with my profundity are the following:
- Bank Robbery - I will either get away with it or go to jail. Either way I will be afforded lots of time to write.

-Organ Donation - Again, I will either have the funds or will be afforded recovery time to write.

-Indescent Proposal - Perhaps a billionaire will wager one night with Peter for the sum of one million dollars?I know Woody Harrelson freaked out on Demi and all, so I’m not saying this would end well, but I would have time and another chapter for my memoir.

Meanwhile, one day I will have time and I will give birth to beautiful prose and you will all cry and laugh and say “She was such a bitch in high school”. And I was, so I get it. One day guys. One day. Not today.

The Way He Talks To Me

  • Me: Owie, what's my name?
  • Owen: Cracker
  • Me: What's my name?
  • Owen: Dada
  • Me: No, Owie. I'm not Dada! What's my name?
  • Owen: Donut.
  • Me: Donut!? I'm not donut! I'm Mama.
  • Owen: Mama,
  • Me: Want to watch TV?
  • Owen: TVeeeeeeeee!
  • Me: Sesame Street?
  • Owen: Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!
  • Me: What's my name?
  • Owen: Cracker
  • He is so mean. I think I prefer Donut to Cracker though.