Things the kids learn when 19-year-old Aunt Gabi moves in with us...

Stoner face.

Sweet-ass car.

Mackin' on the ladies.

Big-ass car.


How to make and eat S'mores - long overdue lesson, as far as I'm concerned.
How to be the Pack Leader. Exercise, discipline, affection. In that order.
First one downstairs in the morning controls a.m. television - SpongeBob or VH1? Who will win today?
Twilight Saga, Taylor Lautner, and Robert Pattinson.
How to search YouTube for funny animal videos - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3sX30NubTs
How to get your little brother to cover his face in toothpaste while he's sleeping. By putting paste on his innocent, little sleeping fingers and then tickling his face with the corner of a blanket.
That if they ask enough times, Mamae will cave on basically anything.
That they aren't the only ones who have to clean their room.
That there's nothing better than having family around.


Cabbage Patch gone bad...

I thought Noggin was safe. And it was.

But now they’ve changed the name to Nick, Jr., so I’m thinking they’re just going to skip all the fake altruistic stuff and market wherever and whenever they can.

It’s a recession, I guess. Everyone’s struggling.

So I found myself dozing on the couch, my three-year-old tuned into Dora the Explorer, staring at the screen just like I had taught him to do.

Say what you will about letting toddlers watch television. All I know is that as a single, working mother of two boys and the guardian of a freshman in college, I’ll take my dozing where I can get it. Hence Noggin. Rather, Nick, Jr.

So Dora was saving the little star, or the baby bird, or looking for Boots’s boots; can’t remember what exactly that morning’s story line was.

All of a sudden, out of a vaguely-awake corner of my ear, I hear music that sounds suspiciously like a jingle. A toy commercial jingle.

I cracked an eye open to take a look at the flatscreen sitting on the floor of the living room and there found a scene that looked like it had come from the mind of baby Hannibal Lechter.

Cabbage Patch Kids.

With tufts of removable hair.

That’s right. Tufts. Of removable hair.

I’ll pause here for the full effect of this image to sink in.

The tufts had barrettes, so I suppose there was some measure of comfort there. Until I realized that the barrettes were the mechanism by which the tufts were attached to the skulls of the Cabbage Patch Kids.

I stared, mesmerized. Until Dash, in a moment of clarity I had not yet found, declared, “Mamae…that’s creepy.”

I must be doing something right.


Size does matter...

Dash runs to the bathroom, his butt cheeks clenched in a hopefully-successful effort to keep his bowels from exploding in his pants.

Because he has just recently potty-trained. And going number two on the potty is something that he is having a hard time accepting as the normal thing to do. So he holds it for as long as he can, sometimes three days, and then finds the call of the bowl like that of a siren and finally hoists himself up, desperate to relieve himself.

After such an epic wait, the process of evacuation is, of course, one that is almost painful to watch. The effort faces alone are enough to induce a measure of compassion, even though, let's face, he's brought this on himself, the sphincter-holding beast.

Apparently, because of all the effort, and, umm, blood traveling to his nether region, his peepee has, umm, responded, shall we say.

Dash: "Mamae, my peepee is so big!"

I'm trying not to make a big deal of the fact that my son has a giant boner while taking a dump; and at the same time making a very concerted effort to refrain from laughing because that would likely induce its own trauma, one I'd be likely to have to pay some shrink to make go away.

So what is the proper response?

I smile and nod, at a complete loss for anything more helpful or interesting.

Dash: "Mamae, it's so big! Well, actually, now it isn't. It's just little again."

Smile and nod, smile and nod, wipe his tush, smile and nod while my son engages in a near soliloquoy about the size of his penis.

Visiting Whine Country

We tried desperately to take the exit ramp to Napper Valley. Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of all those strapped into the car and unable to escape the madness, we had Passed Go and were rapidly approaching Whine Country.

He took my toy! He's touching me! I'm hungry! He kicked me! I don't want to stay in my seatbelt! You said we would be there soon!

Once there, it's hard to leave calmly.

I'm going to pull over and give both of you a what-for!

Or rationally.

If I hear one more complaint from you, I'm leaving both of you on the side of the road.

Or gracefully.

Or at all.

There ought to be a law, or a Pavlovian command, or a restraint system...

But there isn't.

So I push the needle just a bit, and crank the music, and throw Cheddar Bunnies in their general direction, and threaten to throw whatever toys are being bickered over out the window. And then, when that doesn't work, because it doesn't ever really work, I grab the actual toy and open the window, from which I dangle the poor, unsuspecting Bakugan, whose short life is about to be pitiably and ignominiously snuffed on I-87.

AND THEN, when an imminent and hideous death is in the offing for whatever molded plastic piece of crap is the latest obsession, THEN the spawn decide that they will set aside their differences. For the sake of the Bakugan/Pokemon/Transformer, they will accept my terms for a peace treaty and stop fighting for as long as it takes to get to the next impasse, at which point there will hopefully be a McDonald's.


Protect the MotherBoard

I think I'm doing something wrong.

Well, let me clarify: there are many, many things I do wrong; but I think I might be doing something really, really, mind-blowingly W-R-O-N-G where men are concerned.

I find myself flummoxed, once again, by behavior both strange and mildly disturbing.

Like, say, someone sleeping over and having a perfectly lovely time, if my interpretation of, umm, the universal language of pleasure, is on point. And then the next morning, when I'm graciously walking him out, this someone says, as I put on my kick-ass metallic silver, wedge clogs, "Those are the ugliest fucking shoes I've ever seen."


When I called him on it two days later, he was outraged because he thought we were in an "open and honest relationship."

Again, seriously?

Or take, as another example, the one who asked for my number, sent cute texts for two days, quoting Shel Silverstein, no less, and then vanished into thin air. After, of course, making one date and flaking a few hours before we were to meet; then making a second date and never showing.

In related news, there's the one I dated for two years, who flitted in and out of my life at will for the last six months. I, of course, was an accomplice in the flit-fuck game; I guess at some point, though, it became irritating. Only because of the agonizing and hand-wringing and anxiety-ridden phone calls I would get six weeks after poking me. Which went something like this:

Me: Hey, great to hear from you. Wanna grab a drink?
Agita-head: Yeah, I don't know; I don't think that's a good idea. It doesn't end well.
Me: Funny, you seem pretty happy at the end of the night.
Agita-head: No, it's great...I just don't know if it's the best thing for us to be doing at this point.

And on and on, round and round, in circles; pacing back and forth past the quivering mass of developmentally arrested, quivering, pussy-ass pile of bullshit he vomits up on me following every single one of our encounters.

I finally tell him, I have to go, got lots of work to do.

Next thing I know, I'm blindsided by a request to friend me on Facebook.


So I text to ask why he's trying to friend me on Facebook. Why not? he says. Because we're not friends in the real world, I say. Sorry you feel that way, I rescind my request, he says. I hit delete and bathe in the deliciousness of my newfound Putting My Foot Down posture.

Because the bottom line is that although I'm probably doing something vastly and quite devastatingly WRONG on this front, my mandate seems pretty clear: Protect the motherboard at all times.


Time Warp

A month since my last update, and I'm still trying to figure out how so much can happen in such a short time.

  • Got into graduate school.
  • Saw undergraduate transcripts from ummm, well, all those years ago - can't remember taking 73% of the classes.
  • Taught Dash to call minivans "Big Ass Cars."  Video proof coming soon.
  • Ex-husband's girlfriend moved out.
  • Ex-husband's new girlfriend showed up for brunch.
  • Got winks from RETURNofTHELion, losthair, pro_fit_able, OfficerKrumke, and gentleman_jay.
  • losthair augmented his wink with a profound follow-up note - "You are very pretty.  Call me."  Ooh, ooh, yes, please, I can't wait.
  • Not.
  • Luca learned to swim!!!
  • Dash went pee-pee on the potty!!!  And pooped in the woods!!!
  • Teenage sister, Gabi, moved in with us to start undergrad at NYU.
  • I discovered the joys of having family close.
  • And the frustrations of living with a teenager.
  • Middle-aged (if my dog year calculations are correct) Westie dog, named Wallace, came to live with us after a stint with my ex-husband.
  • Wallace got mad when we left him alone at home for a couple of hours and ripped up the crappiest McCrapped-Crap diaper he could find in the garbage.
  • Discovered new community at off-leash hours in Fort Greene Park.
  • Lost in court to Dash's father and his shark attorney.
  • Figured out how to put my tax dollars to work with free legal help.
  • Served papers on aforementioned sperm donor.
  • Became a yoga studio manager.  Found inner peace.
  • Even in the face of idiocy and collapsing economy.
  • Re-ignited my passion for blogging.


The Pinata Incident

Scene: 3-year-old birthday party at Fort Greene Park, lush hillside, under the shade of a beautiful tree.

Players: 3-year-old, her friends, parents, and friends' parents

It was a pleasant Saturday, late morning, up near the giant phallus, I mean, monument, in Fort Greene Park.  We were all enjoying being done with school drop-off for the summer; sharing stories of where the kids would be in school next year. 

Following bubbles, face painting, and pizza, it was time to beat the papier mache bull to shit and watch as the kids dove over one another for toys and candy.  So we armed the petite party-goers with a plastic bat and let them at it, encouraging a beat down on the defenseless paper bull.  One kid and another gave it their best shots, putting a few dents in the pinata.

It was clear after about four rounds, however, that the minis just weren't strong enough to crack the bull.  So the adults took over, fathers and mothers, in an increasingly awkward attempt to just get the fucking thing split already.

Finally, Mother of the Birthday Girl, in her, like, 17th month of pregnancy, took matters into her very strong hands and had at the bull, focusing on its already-tenderized ass.  I held the papered mess in place by holding onto one of the horns so the massacre would end quickly.

Only Mom stepped in a bit, and brought the stick down with such a whizzing force that it whistled as its tip caught not only the bull's back, but my knuckles as well.

Reader, I have not felt such pain since I was 10 centimeters dilated and pushing an 8-pound boy out my hoo-haw.  And at least then I knew I'd get a son out of the deal.

I fell to my knees, dropped my hand in the stainless steel tub of ice from whence I had recently plucked myself a beer, and willed myself to stay silent, lest I traumatize my older son, who had caught wind that Something Was Wrong with Mommy, a state of affairs that generally arises after a long day spent intervening in Hot Wheels spats.

The tears spilled noiselessly, and I hoped there was nothing broken, because, seriously? I AM GOING ON VACATION IN A WEEK...and I will drag my gimpy-ass right hand along and drive with my non-gimpy left hand ALL THE WAY TO THE CATSKILLS if that's what I have to do.

As it happened, there is nothing broken or fractured.  Swollen, yes; scabbed up, yes; MAJORLY bruised,  yes.  But nothing cracked.

I'm thinking of just telling people I got in a fight.  They'd be more apt to believe that anyway.


13,879 days old, give or take a couple of days to account for Leap Years.

That's 333,096 hours.

19,985,760 seconds.

In case you were wondering.

Because I was.

At 4 o'clock this morning.

Right about the time Dash woke up with an urgent need to complain about the general state of the world.  Or maybe just his bed.  But it was a profound enough wail to seem like one of those larger issues, you know?


I'm 38 today.  And it seems like a rather appropriate and serendipitous time to take stock.

So I have.

And here's the lowdown:

1. Two beautiful children.
2. One ex-husband.
3. One baby daddy.
4. Six siblings.
5. Many, many amazing friends.
6. One B.A. in Communications.
7. One Master's in the offing.
8. Two freelance jobs.
9. A mother in heaven (or wherever passionate Socialists go).
10. A father, two stepmothers, and a stepfather in California.
11. One attempt at life in Westchester.

There's more, I'm sure.  I just can't summon all the items at the moment, what with the two glasses of wine and the piece of chocolate cheesecake I've downed.

I'm headed out soon to celebrate with Jen and whomever else decides to join us tonight.

I'm not looking bad for my years, if I do say so myself.  I'm going to hold onto that little sliver of confident thought and go enjoy the evening.

Happy Birthday to Me.


No, really...seriously?

I think my April Fool's Day jokes are just starting to come in...


47 - Fishkill Plains, NY, US 
Seeking: Women 30 - 51

Active within 24 hours


Match (Breaking) Point

With my Match subscription, as with most things in my life (including, let's face it, my children), I tend to go in cycles dictated by my level of boredom with watching recorded television shows while solitarily downing a bottle of wine.

That, and my tolerance for things like, oh, grown men who don't know how to spell and who still send borderline-perverted messages that end in LOL.  And I'm not just talking about those cute little 30-year-olds who spam-wink me after looking at pictures and failing to see the TWO KIDS part of my profile - I'm also including those 53-year-olds who are looking for women 25-40, who think they are appealing enough to ignore those their own age, and who end every sentence with some retarded emoticon or text shorthand, most of which I can't be bothered to decipher. Speak English, people.  Even Pig Latin would be a more innovative and original language.

But I digress slightly.

One of my points is that it's pretty grim out there, with a couple of bright spots every once in a long while. It's why I go in three-month intervals, updating my profile with germane information when it's appropriate - like after a particularly bad date.  Because clearly, I was not adamant enough about NOT LYING ABOUT YOUR HEIGHT.


I'm on one of my hiatuses at the moment, enjoying the soft and lulling silence of no winks, no Match emails suggesting someone is my soulmate because we both like dogs and Chinese food. Seriously, isn't there some poor hack writer at Match HQ who has a better sense of humor and a few more brain cells to devote to more creative Matching Points?  Because what I'd really like to know is if one of the many winners picked from the vat of (questionably) male samples enjoys, as I do, the sweet scent of Sharpie Markers.  Or making fun of fashion victims while drinking coffee on the stoop.  

Now, I didn't delete my profile completely - it would take too long to rebuild what has become a three-and-a-half-year masterpiece built with love, patience, and wine.  Not to mention a really good digital camera.  And you never know - in a fit of loneliness and having spent too many nights, ummm, you know...paying ATTENTION to myself...in THAT way...I might be tempted to throw my proverbial hat in the ring, to be judged again via computer monitor, alongside all those other women lustily endowed with more cleavage who have ejected fewer offspring.  Bee-atches.  

The only thing is, I first entered the hallowed digital halls of Match.com when I was newly separated, had just turned 34, and had only spawned one child.  I don't know if it was beginner's luck or what, but the very first Match date I ever had was with someone who flew me to Buenos Aires for New Year's and subsequently knocked me up (unbeknownst to both of us until my monthly visitor failed to show - I swear I was using protection).  So I got an international, first-class trip AND a second son, all with the point and click of my mouse!

In the interim, I've added quite a few one-drink, four-week, and five-month dates to my curriculum vitae, almost all of them coming through Match.  Only now, my very vital vitals have changed - five pounds, four additional (but memorable) years added to my age, three freelance jobs, two kids from two fathers, one divorce, and a haggard-looking partridge in a pear tree.  Frankly, I'm tired.  And as I sometimes tell my kids - I need a break.

So I've deactivated for a bit.

See you in September.


Open letter...feel free to copy and paste

Dear [insert name of latest freak date here]:

You wooed me, you wrote pretty notes, you took me to some scenic places.  I will cherish our [days/weeks/months/years] together.  We laughed, I cried, you rolled your eyes, we laughed a bit more.  Truly, our multi-faceted relationship was the envy of our circles of friends.

But here's the thing.

When you talk about your (sort of) ex [girlfriend; spouse; partner; complacent participant], and don't filter out the parts about you still having feelings for her, it's a real mood-killer.  And if your (sort of) ex is still calling you and you're thinking, well, maybe if she changed just a bit and came back to me with a different perspective, I'd probably get back together with her - DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SAY THAT OUT LOUD.  Again, a rather efficient mood-killer.  Not to mention the fact that it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth.

i just threw up  a little in my mouth

And when you cancel a [lunch; dinner; movie] date as soon as I get to your place so you can go [bike-riding; coffee-klatsching; cow-tipping] with another girl, it doesn't make me want to come back and sleep with you the next day.  Or the day after that.  Really, ever again.

And when you suggest, in the nicest possible way, really, no offense meant, that you thought you would end up with a [more powerful; more ambitious; thinner; smaller; richer; less-burdened] woman, it would be super helpful if you wouldn't then try to kiss me and get into my pants.  Because that doesn't make me want to sleep with you either.  Especially after I've been watching your [kid; dog; aging parent] for a half-day while you get your sweaty groove on at the gym.  And when I tie your penis into a nautical knot to demonstrate just HOW powerful I am,

please know it hurts me more than it hurts you.

And when you say things like, "I love you.  I love you very much," and then retreat into a corner ten days later like some deranged snapping turtle,

The Alligator Snapping turtle looks  quite prehistoric

hissing about needing space from this, and acting all irritated and elusive because, you snap, you need to ask questions about this - well, that's just a tad confusing is all.  And it makes me want to graffiti your windows with, "Wormlike douchebag in residence."  

Furthermore, when you call at [midnight; one a.m.; four a.m.] from a business trip, with nothing more to report than a slurred version of the hilarious story of how the friends with whom you are dining are pulling down their pants so you can see their thong underwear, it makes me want to smash the phone into little pieces and shove them up your ass.  And when you suggest that I'm feeling this way because I'm a jealous person, and insecure, it makes me want to retrieve the telephonic debris with a metal rake, light it on fire, and weld it to your balls.

Woman Welding

So maybe you should keep those stories to yourself in your next relationship.  

Because I have it on pretty good authority, being of the female persuasion, that women don't particularly find it hot to hear about other [athletic; toned; free-spirited; drunk] women who are removing their undergarments in your presence.  Thong or not.

I'm just saying.

Anyhoo, I wish you so much luck and success in finding the woman you think exists who will be totally okay with all of this.  Maybe consulting the Book of Imaginary Girlfriends can point you in the right direction.

Cheers!  and XOXO and all that cheesy shit...


How to Instill Proper Values, Morals & Confidence

  1. Playdate host informs you your son has responded to calls to clean up playroom with, "What the fuck?" Make sure your son is properly rewarded for cursing in context.

  2. Take argued-over toys and hurl them out the window. When child says that's littering, threaten to recycle his toes.

  3. At random and unannounced intervals, swat child with a fly-swatter and then apologize for mistaking him for a bug.

  4. Loudly, and in public, explain the details of how he was conceived.

  5. At school drop-off, inform child he must eat all of his lunch or risk being left at school overnight.

  6. Send child into pharmacy with Monopoly money with instructions to ask for Super Large Extra Absorbent Tampons because Mommy's bleeding to death.

  7. At the supermarket, answer every request for junk food with, "In your fucking dreams."

  8. Answer every Why? with Why the Hell Not?

  9. Tell child his whining is why you drink.

  10. Begin every morning with, "You're still here?"


Flying by the seat of my pants

I was that Mother.

The one you stare at and hope will keep on walking up the aisle, past the seat you so carefully chose when you booked your ticket online, thinking you could insulate yourself from me.  I was the Mother who is whispering to herself about Calgon, wine, and corporal punishment.

The one with the VERY LOUD, VERY ANNOYING, extremely WHINY and BEASTLY children.

I should have seen it coming that morning, when my two-year-old savage got up not just on the wrong side of the bed, but clear in the OTHER room, on the wrong side of THAT bed.  The wild thing proceeded to stomp, protest, and scream his way through the morning, electing to cleave to my side at the playground rather than run and frolic on the slides and jungle gym.

Yes, that should have been the BIG RED FLAG.

Of course, what could I have done with that flag?  It's not like we were going to the movies and staying home instead was an option.  We had to get on a plane.  We had to get to Kansas City, where my little sister was going to graduate from high school the following day.

So off I went to the airport, cranky toddler and wayward first-grader in tow.  In the taxi, I actually started to wonder if maybe the worst was behind me, as the spawn were lulled by New York City traffic into a bit of a lumpy haze.  Seeing as how I hadn't just adopted these children from the local orphanage the day before, but rather had been a parent for SIX years, I'm still unclear from whence that cute little Pollyanna moment emerged.  It's not like I'm optimistic by nature.  Maybe my fight or flight instinct kicked in, and the universe intervened to head off another incident of child abandonment.  

Whatever the genesis, we rode in mostly peaceful silence to LaGuardia, got out at the Delta terminal, and got through security with nary a peep.

What happened next should have been documented through video, as it would be a really good form of birth control for teenagers thinking about having unprotected sex.  Alas, I had forgotten to pack the camera in the craziness of the morning.  Maybe this anecdote can be dramatically re-enacted instead.

Following a coffee & magazine stop for me (ahh, the wishful thinking continued), and a muffin and activity book break for the boys, we sat down near the gate, otherwise known as The People-Filled Space Where All Children Feel the Need to Spill Juice, Fight with their Siblings, and Generally Act Like They Are Being Raised By A Lush Mother and the Feral Cat Next Door. Are you with me?

The flight, horrifyingly, was delayed.


By the time we got on the plane, I needed Xanax or wine.  Preferably both.  Again, wishful thinking for my woefully unprepared ass.

Since my younger is over two, I had to purchase a seat for him.  Which meant he had to sit in it. Because the minute that second birthday hits, it turns out, it's illegal for the child to ride in your lap for takeoff and landing.  Of course, how does one explain the vagaries of NTSB rules to a screaming toddler?  So taxi and takeoff were an exercise in lung capacity for Dash.

Note to self: on return flight, lie about little one's age.

Muttering obscenities and sounding like a crazy lady, I went to my happy place in my head until the plane leveled out in the air and I could move seats to cradle my half-insane-with-misery child without incurring the wrath of the flight attendants, whose moods with me were already in the toilet.

The rest of the flight went like this:

No, we're not there yet.
Stop kicking the seat.
We aren't allowed to use that bathroom; because it's for First Class.
Stop kicking the seat.
First Class is for people who pay more to sit in bigger seats.
No, I can't give them my debit card so we can sit up there.
Stop kicking the seat.
Sorry, sir.
We'll be there when we land.
No, you can't have more ginger ale.
Put the window shade up.
Stop hitting your brother.
Put the window shade up.
Stop hitting me.
Stop kicking the seat.
No, really, stop hitting me.
Sorry, miss.
We still have two hours to go.
No, Kansas City is not in Canada.  No, it's not in Brazil either.
It's in Missouri.  No, Missouri is not in Canada.  Brazil either.
No, I don't have any M&Ms.
Put the window shade up.
I don't know how fast we're going.
Stop kicking the seat.
No, we can't call your father.
I don't know why I didn't bring the portable DVD player.
No, I don't have my iPod.
There's an hour and 55 minutes left.
Leave your seatbelt on.
Stop kicking the seat.
We'll be there in an hour and 45 minutes.
I'm so sorry, sir.  Can I rock your baby back to sleep?
Leave your seatbelt on.
We land in an hour and a half.
Do you have to go number one or number two?
Can it wait?
We'll be there when we get there.
Stop kicking the seat.
I don't care if you're thirsty, it's not my fault you knocked your cup over.
I'm so completely and totally sorry ma'am - can I pay to have that drycleaned?
Put your seatbelt back on.
Sorry, miss.
We have an hour and 20 minutes to go.
Stop kicking the seat.
Put the window shade up.
Stop hitting your brother.
Do you hate me?  Because you're acting like you hate me.  Otherwise, you would listen.
I know he smells, I can't get up to change his diaper right now.
Stop kicking the seat.
Stop kicking your brother.

Multiply that times eleventeen; and imagine for a second that the spawn are, intermittently, playing the I'm-Not-Touching-You-Game.  And exchanging bad Knock-Knock jokes with me.

Upon arrival, I think I saw a couple of people weep with relief.  Or maybe it just seemed like it through my own tears.

And then be advised that I had a two-hour drive to the middle of the state of Missouri ahead of me.

Donations to my therapy (drinking) fund may be sent to my home address.  We take credit cards, money orders, checks, cash, and American Express gift cards.

Thank you.


Child-free and (almost) guilt-free

So I managed to guilt my ex-husband into taking both my kids for a long weekend. For those of you who haven't been following along, this represents a rather extraordinary occurrence, since my younger son isn't even his. Which he knows, of course, making his gesture all the more amazing and generous.

I'm trying so hard not to feel guilty, and to remember how the little turds I spawned have taken me right to the edge of insanity, only to smile with such joy and innocence that falling off that ledge seems ill-advised, not to mention badly timed.

So every time one of them calls me, just to say hi, just to say goodnight, just to say, Mamae, I miss you, I say that I miss them back, that I love them so much, and when the anxiety starts to rise and threatens to choke off my good mood, I take myself back to last week, when Dash was up all night throwing his little body all over the bed, and Luca was taking the fucking Hot Wheels cars from Dash's clenched fists just to see how loudly he could get his little brother to scream.

And the anxiety recedes, and the guilt settles down to a low simmer, sometimes even disappearing completely. And I wonder why I didn't book a longer stay while my ex was in such a giving (perhaps dissociative) mood.

It is a funny-feeling thing to want time away from your children. It is something I want when I want it, a reprieve from the daily and nightly groundhog-day grind that, if timed well, can help me be a nicer mommy. Because being a mother is the single most rewarding and epic thing I've done yet in this life. It's also, quite frankly, the most bone-headed, idiotic and mind-numbing wagon I've managed to hitch myself to. And remember that I've been married.

I mean, who in their right and rational and sober mind would knowingly give up sleep, sex, time for oneself, light-colored upholstery, long showers, and disposable income, to mention just a few things, in order to be enslaved to a demanding, insatiable, selfish, boob-sucking, assplosion machine?

And yet.

Who in their right and rational and sober mind would forgo the life-changing love one feels for one's child? The naked tushies; the tooth-less and toothy smiles; the sweet, unconditionally given hugs and cuddling; the joy in their faces when you show up at the end of the day; the chance to love someone in a way you don't even (admit it) love yourself.

It's maddening.

And lovely.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


The Silver Surfer teaches a Mother's Day Lesson

I suppose I was setting myself up for disappointment when I told my six-year-old to go get dressed and didn't include specific instructions about the sartorial guidelines I expected him to follow on Mother's Day.

On any other day, particularly the school mornings when it's all I can do to get myself and my flailing toddler into street clothes, the fact that Luca managed to get dressed in under five minutes would have been cause for a minor celebration. HOWEVER, I am very Brasilian in some ways, one of them being that I am slightly neurotic about how my kids are presented to the world, especially on a day that is supposed to be all about ME, and for a party at which all the little girls will have on pretty toile dresses. I would like my boys to measure up in the threads department, you know what I'm saying?

So when Luca came downstairs in a Silver Surfer orange tee, and frayed jeans, and proudly showed off his having dressed himself so competently and efficiently, what could I do but smile wanly and offer up praise for the speedy change from pajamas?

Except then I remembered the impending onslaught of toile, and tentatively suggested to Luca that he either put on a nicer shirt or fancier pants. Sensing the weakness in my voice, my six-year-old, who was perfectly happy, as he should be on any day OTHER than Mother's Day, with his choice of clothing, very strongly and in short order declared he was fine with what he was wearing and we should get going to Stellie's house. Having the excuse of not being quite done getting myself or the resident floundering two-year-old ready, I said in a slightly more insistent tone that he should seriously reconsider his tee or his jeans and that I would prefer him to don something nicer for Mother's Day.

It was a no-go.

I even tried to explain the vagaries of a quid pro quo, going so far as to suggest that should he ask something of me in the future, near or far, that he should not be shocked if I declined to fulfill his request.

Still a no-go.

I tried one last-ditch effort, as now we were getting dangerously close to being late, and if there's anything that irritates me more than being improperly attired, it is arriving late to someone's house for a celebration. I asked that, for me, for his Mother, on this Mother's Day, that my son switch to something more appropriate for a Mother's Day dinner.

Again, I must have tipped my hate-to-be-late-hand a bit too far, because my underdressed son turned to me and asked, in a not-quite-whiny voice, "But Mamae, what does Mother's Day have to do with fancy?"

And for that, dear reader, I had no good answer at the ready.

So my now-finally-dressed thrashing toddler and I headed downstairs and out of the house, with the Silver Surfer happily bounding along at my side. Beat-up sneakers and all.

Happy Mother's Day, he said. And he meant it with all his heart.

So I did - have a happy Mother's Day, I mean. And decided that the clothing does not a good mother make. Choosing my battles does.


Lessons from the modern economy

I had been thinking about getting my master's degree.

Am having second thoughts this morning.

Parenting tip for the day

Instead of having to deal with the discomfort of the Birds and the Bees talk, I might just wallpaper the boys' room with this:

Maybe if there are enough takers, we can do a bulk order?



So I'm doing laundry and mostly minding my own business in the boys' room. I was raised by a pathologically suspicious mother, so my genetic and nurtured tendencies bend to the paranoid. (Mom once went through my purse in my senior year of high school and came up with the little plastic tube one finds in tampon applicators, the part used to push the tampon in, and stalked into the living room, where I was, with a triumphant look on her face: "I knew you were doing drugs," she said. As soon as I could pull myself off the floor, where I had crumpled in hysterics, I pointed out the real and true use of the tube she was holding in her prying hands, and watched as that realization dawned.) However, since I started taking a pill for that, I've managed to get through the day without having a dozen delusions about what my innocent little kidlets are up to when left to their own devices.

I mean, they are six and two point five, so there's not a whole lot to worry about yet, right?

I figure I've got a while to go before I have to start checking for crumpled up socks stuffed into corners of the closets, although an episode of "Weeds" has me a bit paranoid about how soon I should start my searches.

Back to the laundry-doing, though - I decided it was time to wash the snot-ridden pillow case Dash had been sleeping on after a week-long cold sent his nose into overdrive. Upon lifting up the stinker's pillow, I found the following still-life arrangement on the mattress underneath:

Three wooden knives, the very ones I had been searching for a couple of days before because the boys and I had been playing kitchen together.

And a Hot Wheels car with a fist graphic on it.

What demons has my toddler been slaying in his dreams that he felt the need to arm himself with wooden carving implements? Every one he could get his devious little hands on, no less. And what connection and/or correlation should I make to the miniature graphic reminiscent of the Black Power sign?

I'm wondering if this is how PeeWee Herman got his start?


Time to grow up

I ran into a former date at a local cafe this morning.

This one, unlike most of the other former dates, was someone I had met the old-fashioned and organic way - at another neighborhood cafe.  So it was kind of appropriate that I ran into him this way.  He is a writer, after all, and so spends much of his time cruising the free wi-fi establishments.

This former date - let's call him Schmitty - must have taken a page from Kelly Clarkson's ex when he met me, because he was totally dedicated, and took the time; so much so that I even fell for the stupid love songs (in the form of frequent and sweet-as-honey texts) Schmitty sent for the first four or five weeks we dated.  

It was a heroic effort on his part to woo me; dinners out, phone calls, sharing of emotions...blah, blah, blah.  All the shit a normal girl looks for when contemplating giving it up. So I did - give it up, I mean - and for all of a week or so after that, Schmitty poured on the sugar, using it to drug me into a false sense of security.  

Now, I'm a pretty perceptive girl; I'm no Ivy-leaguer, but at this point in my life, it's pretty hard to pull the wool over my eyes where men are concerned.  Because unlike some women, when a man shows me the first time who he is, I tend to believe him.  And when I say showing me who he is, I'm not talking about the lusty stuff that comes at the beginning.  Even the most emotionally challenged and developmentally arrested person can spend three weeks imitating molasses on a stick.  No, I mean that first hiccup, when he does something irritating or hurtful, or both, in this case.  

It started with a drastic reduction in whisper-texted sweet nothings, followed by an utter dearth of phone calls.  I got one more dinner out of him, at which his internal filter failed him completely.  Because he told me, "When I'm with you, I'm really happy, and I have a really good time, and I love talking to you.  But when I'm not with you, I wonder, what am I thinking?"  

Shortly after that little revelation about his inner dialogue, it occurred to me that Schmitty must be showering someone else with, well, everything in his arsenal.  So when he called one last time, I asked him if he was fucking someone else.  He sputtered and tripped over himself, told me that yes, he had kind of slept with someone else.  Which is sort of like saying you're a little knocked up.  You've either been poked, or in this case, have been doing the poking, or you haven't. 

Unless he couldn't find the hole, I guess.

That was our last phone call until about six months later, when he called randomly and caught me in a particularly confrontational mood.  Even more than usual, I mean.

He said he was calling to...

and I said, "Apologize for being an asshole?"

And he said yes.  So I cut him some slack and told him I appreciated the phone call.  

And that was that until this morning.

So he, his friend, and I were all chatting, joking about dating, Match, meeting girls, etc., and right there, while on his man-date, Schmitty said, "I was an asshole; I acted like an idiot."

In other words, he manned up.  

No longer will he occupy that overstuffed, bursting-at-the-seams corner of my brain filled with emotionally retarded boys.  

He's moved to the grown-ups' table.  Welcome, Schmitty...have a drink on me.


What's in your tool box?

Proper Tools are the key to life.

Brilliant insight?  Maybe not.

But it was the weekend's epiphany, so I'm sharing it here.

When I say tools, I don't just mean the anemic drawer of household necessities that help me put up pictures on the walls, or unscrew battery compartments on annoying toys, although having a good hammer and screwdriver are part of the arsenal I deem Proper Tools.

What I realized is that there are eleventeen other things, otherwise known as Proper Tools, that I employ in order to get through my day.

Merriam Webster's online dictionary gives the following definitions of "tool:" 1. a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task; 2. something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession; 3. a means to an end.  

So here I am, a practicing mother of two boys, devoted to my professions of, in no particular order: sanitation engineer, chef, butler, chauffeur, mother hen, psychologist, writer, vice headmistress of the RAD school, freelance bookkeeper, housekeeper, medic, tailor, costume seamstress, teacher, and disciplinarian.  My means to the end of staying sane and rational while raising Luca and Dash on my own?

Proper Tools.

Let's take a more in-depth look at some of these.

Not Ray's Pizza, corner of South Portland and Fulton - good in a pinch when another evening of peanut butter sandwiches, hummus, and crackers just seems cruel.  Also works in conjunction with Stern Words and Bribes (see below) to calm the masses.

Stern Words - "Watch your tone with me;" "I'm sorry, I don't understand Whining;" "Please don't make me ask again, because I will freak out;" "I'm sorry, did you want to watch television later?" "Make a better choice."

Bribes - Hot Wheels, money, cookies, an extra book at bedtime, five more minutes on the computer, ten more minutes in the bath, playdates.  Any of these can be used, sometimes together, and often several in a day, in order to maintain an acceptable level of reason and patience on my part.

iPhone - used on a daily basis, in a variety of capacities - distraction (games); moral support (phone calls to friends); alarm clock (on the one day a week I have to get up earlier than Dash normally does); timer for time-outs; lifeline to those who would otherwise not hear from me until both boys are in college, jail, or married.

Zoloft - two a day, per shrink's orders; non-negotiable; goes well with Wine (more to follow).

Tweezers, q-tips, nail clippers, washcloth & soap - keeps 'em clean, dirt- and splinter-free; must sometimes be used with Brute Force (definition below).

Brute Force - often employed when doing the necessary, but irritating (to them) and disgusting (for me) work of making sure Luca and Dash are presentable to the world at large. Can manifest as holding down flailing hands while large, breath-impairing boogers are being extracted; tilting heads back to ensure teeth are brushed properly, medicine gets ingested, and any visible and offending wax is removed from ears; wrapping arms around waists in order to encourage forward movement on any given surface - sidewalks, floors, etc.

Wine - particularly useful when the children are running amok, and/or being screaming hellions.  Good tool for prevention of child abuse.

Television - if I need to explain this tool to you, I'm afraid I can't be friends with you.  Because having to explain likely means you don't use this tool, and frankly, I don't have it in me to like someone who eschews television.

Playdates - withheld as punishment; employed as a means to freeing up an afternoon, or alternatively, freeing up a friend's afternoon, who will then owe a reciprocal playdate.  

These are the most important, and most crucial implements in my Proper Tools box.  Feel free to mention some of your own.

Just don't rag on mine.  Cuz I'll have to use some Stern Words on you.


Match gets interesting...

Every once in a great, long, eternal, and freak-filled while, some really cute and interesting boy will somehow find his way to my profile on Match.com and find it appealing enough get up the gumption to write.  This is no small feat, as my Intro says things like, "I need a man like a giraffe needs a step-stool," and, "You enjoy a good snog and a good debate, maybe at the same time," and of course, "Please note that Winks won't get you very far."  This last little tidbit I threw in at the end of my epic tome, just to make sure people are really paying attention, and not just spam-winking me as if I'm some starving duck in heat they can throw bread crumbs at when they need something to do and someone to pay attention to their antics.

So I know that whoever is writing likely has at least something resembling a spine, perhaps even something that more closely hews to an actual personality.  This is not always the case, as evidenced by Swoon1060's imploring me to give up my book club discussions so he can implant another bun and kiss my Latina lips.  Yes, that is a direct quote, and no, I didn't answer him. But just so you understand, dear reader, that there are few messages whose words make sense, much less inspire anything more than a resigned sigh and a short, but carefully worded, reply that does NOT include my real name.

But then...

just when I'm getting ready to cancel my subscription and contemplating a sandwich-board approach to dating - AGAIN...

Mark5787 sends a sweet little missive from his computer up in western Massachusetts.

"ahhhh...the best ones always live so far away.  tell me you love the berkshires and that you come up every week during the summer :-)            Mark"

Short?  Yes.  To the point?  Yes.  But he did suggest I was one of the "best;" which might not be that hard to achieve in the sea of Matchelorettes swimming around this vast digital ocean, but which definitely got us started off on the right foot. Because I am a sucker for a compliment.

There was the added bonus of the note coming with a picture of his impish, grinning face and his contending in his stats that he is 6'2".

What 5'11" girl wouldn't answer an email from him?

His intro, as I was to learn over the course of several days' worth of emails and phone calls, does not in any way do him justice.  Keeping up with my witty repartee and parrying back with enough in the way of 10-dollar-words and smarty-pants comments to keep me interested and on my toes is not for the faint of heart.  It's not often that I find a man secure enough in his own shoes and place in this world that he can deal with a girl like me.  And if you've read any other part of this blog, you know what I'm talking about.  I freely employ words most polite company would find offensive; I have little tolerance for ignorance or meanies; and there's the, ahem, small matter of my height.  

Mark seemed okay, if not totally pleased with, finding someone to chat with who could dish about the dysfunction of men AND women; someone whose very identity did not hinge on finding a man to save her; someone who can answer his ironic sarcasm with just enough of a bit of honey to keep it civilized and interesting.

He must have come to trust me rather shortly after our first emails, because he shared more pictures with me.  Pictures I'm glad had not been on his profile on Match, as they should be taken in context.  Of course, it's hard to provide that context here, but trust me, this shit is funny when accompanied by commentary from the peanut gallery up in Massachusetts.

In various stages of shaving his facial hair, Mark decided a Facebook flip-book-style photo montage would be an appropriate homage to a friend of his.  I'm not even sure what that homage was about; frankly, I'm almost afraid to ask, what with the psycho-FedEx-delivery-guy look and Limelight-reminiscent sunglasses.  But it makes sense if you know Mark even a little, which I'm almost sure I do now.  Plus, I'd already seen his work as a photographer and graphic designer, so I was pretty sure his aesthetic and sartorial senses did not bend to cable-guy-chic or fly-by-night-truck-driver.  

So we exchange emails, he sometimes calls; he's been to Brooklyn once, with a little help from his GPS, since I was relatively useless when it came to getting here efficiently from his hometown. 
I don't know where this will go; I've become an expert at not having any expectations of anyone, since it leads, almost inevitably, to disappointment.  But if Mark is half as good at developing a relationship as he is at making me laugh, there might be something there.  And if not, at least there's some glimmer of hope that smart doesn't have to equal dorky, that younger men do indeed find me attractive, and that Match does very occasionally, stupidly not-often for what they charge, in an effort to pull me back in, spit up a winner.  


Alcohol & Ice Cream

On his way home from school with the nanny last week, Luca passed someone on the street who was having trouble staying upright.  Monica, the nanny, proceeded to explain that the man was probably sick and not feeling well and would likely get medical attention, and not to worry.

He still seemed concerned when he got home, though, so I proceeded to assuage Luca's mind by offering up my theory: the man was drunk, honey, and just needed to get home to sleep it off.

Now, this is one of those times when I feel pretty sure I shouldn't have been allowed to leave the hospital with the well-being of this child in my hands.  


Luca asked what did it mean to be drunk?  I resisted the temptation to remind him of those copious weekend afternoons when we are with friends and I tell him that no, he can't drink from my glass because it's Mommy Juice and he wouldn't like it anyways.  And instead tell him that it's when someone has had too much alcohol.  Which of course results in asking what alcohol is.  Because I am a dumb-ass and exhausted mother and did not see that one coming, even though it was right there, a foot away and flailing its arms for me to shut my mo-fo mouth.

Like I said, the maternity ward nurses probably should have asked something more than, "Do you have enough diapers?"

So I did what any reasonable, thinking mother would do in that moment - I told Luca we were going to get ice cream.


Madame Alexander's Take on Diversity

We got off the subway at 125th Street and Broadway, and headed for Madame Alexander's doll factory on 131st, just east of the river.  RAD school had booked a tour there for our kindergarteners - a chance for the kids to see the dolls being designed and built.

Little did I know that I was about to get an education in the genesis of cultural stereotypes.

We started in a room filled with Madame Alexander dolls from many of the lines the company has been producing for almost a hundred years.  There, our guide educated us on the different faces of the dolls, how they were made originally, how Madame had been the first to make plastic dolls.  We then got to see the various iterations of the company's attempts at Cultural Diversity in Dollmaking.

Uhmmm...yeah...not a huge success story in racial sensitivity.

There was the black Madame Alexander doll - in full tribal/clan regalia.

There was the Latina one - in a dress Eva Longoria wouldn't be caught dead in, and boobs that looked like mine when I was nine months pregnant.  That's her in the upper right picture.

Then there was 70s Strut Cissy (pictured left) - in boots that were made for walking.  And propped on a block with her legs open.  Did I mention she was black?

Oh - can't forget the other "medium toned" one, Mexican, in a Mayan outfit.  Because we all know that's how most Mexicans dress nowadays.

I had to laugh...

and take pictures...

and promise to myself that the day's observations would go on the blog.

Because you CANNOT make this shit up, people.


Mean Mommy

So tonight didn't go exactly the way I was hoping it would.

Like my mother before me, I have these fantasies about coming home from work to find my children so overwhelmed with love and longing for me after being away from my arms all day that they behave like perfect little non-turds.

In a rather unfortunate confluence of timing, lack of wine, mofos honking their motherfreakin' horns outside the boys' room, and increasingly vocal crabbiness, bedtime turned into the latest edition of Mommy's Losing It.  In my defense, my spawn happened to be particularly keyed up today - I don't think the MamaeHeTookMyBallMamaeHeHitMeMamaeI'mHungryMamaeMamaeMamaeMamaeMamae stopped from the moment I walked in the door until said spawn had fallen asleep, thus rendering voluntary speech impossible.  

Trying to stay rational, balanced, patient, productive and constructive while the kidlets overuse and abuse their oxygen and my goodwill, and fight over one of, like, 379 Hot Wheels cars, is like trying to finish the IronMan Triathlon naked and barefoot while being chased by screaming ferrets.


So out went the sweet and soothing voice, and kerplooey went the loving arms.  Up came the near-curse-words, the pursed lips, the grinding teeth, and yes, MeanMeanMommy.  The monster who threatens unlikely things such as banning television; who promises to hurl fought-over-toys out the fourth-floor-of-the-brownstone-window; who puts the spawn to bed in such a huff they are left sniffing and snorking the runny noses that result from whimpering while Mamae freaks out.

It's like an outtake from "Leave it to Beaver," only the version where June Cleaver is played by Joan Crawford.

And so I head back to the drawing board of motherhood and hope to find a way to assuage the guilt and stop beating myself up.  To find a way to make it up to them.  Like being even more patient, and more sensitive, and having more compassion and understanding.

I'll probably just buy more Hot Wheels and let them watch more SpongeBob.


Phat summer digs...

So for the third summer in a row, I'm spending any extra cash I have on a summer vacation house rental in the Catskills.  My friend Anna, a gifted artist who works in the IT field, rents me her house in Swan Lake, near Jeffersonville, New York.  It's the best use of my money I've yet found, besides Trader Joe's.

You can see pics of the house here.  

Trust me, though, the Web site does not come close to doing the house justice.

The enclosed pool alone is enough to get me back every year.  But throw in the fabu deck with grill, the not-to-be-ignored views, and the quick hops to Jeffersonville and Callicoon, and I'm pretty much addicted.  And did I mention the FREE morning summer camp at the Callicoon Community Center during the summer months?  Yeah, raptor workshops, arts and crafts, and a huge playground.  Ridiculous fun.

My boys love being up there (the photo at left is of us in the hammock just outside the front door of the house); if ever they can be described as frolicking, it is up there, where they run around the copious acres on which the house sits, looking for animals, rocks, sticks, and bugs.

The whole thing is so good for my soul.  Not to mention giving me a minute to miss Brooklyn.

I'm thinking about expensing the trip to the government as an executive retreat.


Evening Haikus

Hot wheels everywhere
Didn't I just pick these up?
Groundhog day again

Diaper needs changing
How long can I wait before
it becomes child abuse?

Almost wine o'clock
Funny how it coincides
With bedtime


Dash tries to escape Diaper Changing Patrol

Check-ups are for parents, too

So L went for his six-year check up this afternoon.  All is well with my firstborn, as I expected. He is tall for his age, slightly lean - gets that from his father.  His hearing is perfect, as is his vision. He eats well, has been reading for over a year; basically, everything is hunky-dory.

Then our pediatrician asked how the sleeping is going.

Now, I'm not normally one prone to crying jags in front of medical personnel.  But this time, I did almost burst into tears.  I think the only thing that prevented it was the fact that I had done just that in front of my own doctor not four days earlier, and so felt that embarrassing myself in front of yet another physician might be overkill.

So I swallowed the lump and told the doctor about how my six-year-old makes it through about half the night in his own bed, then comes skulking into my bedroom and asks to sleep in my bed.  Let's ignore the implications of the fact that there is plenty of room in my king-size bed, because focusing on that sends me to my not-happy place at the moment.

Miraculously, and astoundingly, my pediatrician looked at me and said, "My second slept with me until he was eight."  

Fucking hell.

I think she said it to help me feel like less of a dysfunctional mommy, and to sympathize with my plight.  

But fucking hell.

I might not make it another two years.  Because I'm so tired from being woken up by both kids, that I'm likely to forget to look both ways when I'm crossing the street.  Or something equally as hideous.

We are going to try the sticker reward system again.  And I'm going to stick to my guns this time.

I think.


My place in the world

You would think, what with the whole underemployed thing, that I would find time to do something other than make fun of those Matchelors and post stories about my turdy, I mean lovely, children.

You'd think wrong.

Mine is not to educate people about saving money.  I'm not very good at it; I can barely say those two words without breaking out into hives or snickering, so I figure I should stay away from the subject.

Neither is my expertise in how best to get my kids to eat properly.  We're lucky to get through the week on just two peanut-butter-sandwich dinners.  Not Ray's Pizza knows us by name.  And my kids don't just make faces at vegetables, there is open mocking when I try to introduce such blasphemy at the supper table.

I'm occasionally good at figuring out fun things for the kids to do besides hurl my fresh laundry over the banister and help me Swiffer Wet the floors.  But I'd rather leave it to the real experts and just follow instructions.

So what is left to me is to chronicle the daily indignities and moments of inspiration in this life I have as a single mother of two delicious, and yes, sometimes turdy boys.

Cause that's what I'm good at.

Well, that, and drinking wine.

And I'm the one having trouble finding a date?

Skinny Bitch writes that her boyfriend is "markedly less physically attractive" than she is, and asks Dear Prudence at Slate.com to suggest ways to broach the subject of adopting, as opposed to having biological children.

Because she thinks they would have ugly babies.

And this is not something Skinny Bitch feels she should, as the markedly more physically attractive one, have to contemplate.

Never mind the fact that she insists she and her boyfriend are in a "healthy and loving" relationship.  

Well, except for the fact that Skinny Bitch CAN'T STAND THE SIGHT OF HER BOYFRIEND'S FACE.

Someone should tell him he's dating Queen Heather from Heathers.  



Cybermacho says he wants to put a bun in my oven.  I told him he would have to take a number and signed my note, "Jessica Simpson."  Then deleted his email.

CorporateThug says he's an easy-going guy who likes romantic dinners with that special girl. Told him I was saving myself for the one who wanted to pitch feces at my face while we ate dinner al fresco on the Upper West Side, and signed my message, "Crazy_in_NYC." He replied that he was that guy. Hit delete and then blocked his emails.

RealCatch4U says he is loyal, intelligent, honest and loves to have fun.  I told him I was already on a waiting list for a Labradoodle, but if that fell through, I would call.

As for ThePurposeAt50?  He wink-stalked me.  For four days.  Then, taking my silence for encouragement, he said he was convinced of our being destined for each other, but that I would have to change the wording on my profile to reflect a more confident outlook or he didn't think things would work.  I reported him to the site as a "concern." Then deleted AND blocked him.

I'm going to go open my second bottle of wine now.

Because sobriety and Match for the second time are not compatible.  At all.


The Tooth Fairy is feeling the recession's pinch

Well, it only took four days of wiggling, and chewing with his side teeth, but Luca finally has a hole in his face!  

I don't remember being this excited about losing my first tooth - probably another sign I've moved very, depressingly, far away from my childhood years.  Luca at first wanted me to pull the tooth out myself - that went out the door when I told him it would hurt.  So he patiently worried the tooth, masticating awkwardly with his molars, waiting for the tooth to pop out of its little place in his bottom gum.  Mostly because of the whole Tooth-Fairy-exchange-for-money thing.  

Which I fulfilled my duty on.  Barely.  Cause I had to wait until L was sleeping in order to be able to slip a little something under his pillow without being detected.  And so almost fell asleep myself.  Until thoughts of having horribly failed my son on this one freakin' important night jolted me back to consciousness and helped me hold on until I heard snoring.  

I've already fucked him up enough with the everyday, mundane, MeanMommy moments.  I don't need him to bring up the Tooth Fairy forgetting to reward his first lost tooth in therapy twenty years from now.  Plenty of other things to take up his 50 minutes.

Anyways - Luca got his five dollars, which was actually half of what my ex-husband's colleague at work gave her son for his first tooth.  Yeah, but did he also get a Hot Wheels car?  Suck that, highly-paid art director!

I've already made it clear that the Fairy is cutting down on expenses, though, and will not be giving that much for subsequent teeth.  It's a recession, you know.


Cuticle clippers, Vaseline, and other household dangers

Had dinner without incident.  Got the kids ready for bed without too much of a struggle.  There was the usual I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A BATH!!!  I DON'T WANT TO GET OUT OF THE BATH!!! bipolarity.  

Brushing teeth happened without anyone getting hurt; well, no one bled, anyways.  

Managed to find a book they both agreed on.  

You can see how I might have been lulled into a sense of security in leaving them for five minutes watching Tom & Jerry in my bedroom.  I just really wanted a sip of wine, you understand, and figured, what was the harm in starting on a little glass BEFORE they were asleep?

I'll tell you what the harm is.

A re-programmed cable box.  Wet sheets from the fight over who got to have the water bottle first.  Once-folded clothes now on the floor.  And in the hallway.

And the whipped cream on top:

Cuticle clippers used to dig out Vaseline from its little pot.  And then smeared all over my pillow.  And my bedtime-reading book.  And Luca's pajamas.  Not to mention the little turd's face.  

Please don't ask me what those things were doing on my night table.  I do not share personal details like that.

I told Dash his sado-masochistic moisturizing was done for the evening and pried the offending implements from his criminal little fists.  

And had an extra glass of wine.


The revolution will be broadcast...

I can actually see Luca's eyes popping out of his head.  Like little glass marbles.  They go nicely with the mad vein in his neck that threatens to pop with every new affront on his little brother's part.

Dash thinks this is a dictatorship.  HIS dictatorship.  His unquestioned and perpetual dictatorship.  Of course, Luca and I have been mostly benevolent serfs under his supreme power, so we really have no one to blame but ourselves for the state of affairs.  It's just that he screams like a freakin' banshee if he doesn't get his way.  And, well, sometimes (all the time) Luca and I have taken the path of least resistance and just waffled to the little tyrant.

No more.

Two years is Enough.

And while I don't plan on getting all krav maga on Dash's ass, Luca and I have been meeting in secret during naptime to plan the coup.  And we've decided stealth is our best hope.  Because Dash is not sophisticated enough to notice reverse psychology.  We think.  And if he is, well, we're in a lot more trouble than having simply to depose the dictator.

We're working on some strategies...including the aforementioned reverse psych, some tough love, and bribing.  Of course, there might be one or seventeen time-outs thrown in.

I'll keep you posted on successful tactics.


So I think I've exhausted the possibilities on Match.  And now I feel like an emotional moron.

Because not only do I have a Match baby, whose father continues to fight me in court on child support, and has never met his son; I also have the on-again, on-again, off-again, sort-of-off-again, no-really-please-don't-call-me-again, well-okay-maybe-just-one-more-time, no-never-mind "friend;" and then there's the one who saw me on Match, then found me on Nerve.  We're still friends.  With occasional benefits.  Of course, there are the various failed dates, not-quite-dates, and two-daters who never call again.  Some were painfully boring, some were sponge-worthy, some were just really, and irritatingly, liars about their height.  Which normally wouldn't bother me.  Except when you tell me you're 6'2" and I'm 5'11" in my bare, naked, shoeless feet, and I show up in my awesome Sigerson kitten heels, not even my cool-as-shit Kors wedges that are three inches, but my freakin' Sigerson mules that hike my ass up less than an inch and a half, and you are, like, SHORTER than me by a head when I stand up to say, "Nice to meet you," well, then, there is just something flat wrong with you.  Because did you think I wouldn't NOTICE?

There are, of course, the filter-less ones.  Who know I have kids because it's there IN MY PROFILE - in its own paragraph, in fact.  And still show up all freaked out about the notion of a single mom, and who then feel free to expound on how NOT ready to deal with kids they are.  As if they are hoping that given the chance, and the right incentive (a walk-in closet or Caribbean cruise), I will, perhaps, find some suitable adoptive parents for my kids because I am so SMITTEN with this man, and well, children, you understand.  Mommy needs to get her mojo on.  

Then there's the one who snoozed me.  As in, set the alarm, decided it wasn't important to be on time for our date, hit the fucking SNOOZE button, and went back to sleep for 20 minutes. Because that 20 minutes snoring alone in bed was so much better than having to kill time with me before the movie.  He recently friended me on Facebook.  

And, lastly, there's the real boyfriend, the one who loves me and wanted to take care of me, and be there for me and get up early with my kids so I could sleep in.  Unfortunately, as mentioned above, I happen to be afflicted by emotional moronity, so of course I couldn't handle someone actually wanting to be my partner.  Not if it meant having demands made on my time or my person or my life.

So yeah, I think I've finally managed to exhaust the very-remote-to-begin-with possibility of finding my Match.

Which is fine.  The thought of logging on AGAIN, and updating my profile AGAIN, and acting all nonchalant when my search results produce the same cadre of faces it vomited up the last time I was an active and willing participant in this digital spin-the-bottle game...well, that thought is enough to make me want to have my period every day for the next five years.

What is a single (straight) mother to do?  Frequent the single dads' chat rooms?  Sandwich board myself and pound the pavement at the Brooklyn Flea?  Rethink heterosexuality?

I think, actually, I'll take a break.  No, really.  

Right after I do some window-shopping on Nerve.


Groundhog day...part two...again...twice

Int.  A living room in Brooklyn.  A mother and her two young kids.

Eat your breakfast, please.  Try not to spill your milk.  Pay attention to what you're doing.

Six-year-old son, Luca:
I am eating.  You already said that.

I know I did.  But you're not eating.  So eat.  You, too, Dash.

Two-year-old son, Dash:
May (means yes).

Ten minutes later...

Did you finish?  It's time to get dressed and brush teeth.  We're going to be late for school.

I'm not done yet!

Finish up, then!

Can I play on the computer?

After you get dressed and brush your teeth.

But Mamae, you always say that!  And I really, really want to just play one game, please?!?!

Get dressed and brush your teeth.

Just one, Mamae?!  Please?!

Get dressed and brush your teeth.  If there is time after you do that, you can play a game.

Luca (stomping away):

Dash, let's get your diaper changed and put on clothes.

Dash (as his saggy-diapered-ass disappears down the hall):
No!  I no wanna!

Time to get dressed, Dashie!  Come on...

Mother proceeds to chase down increasingly agile and quick-limbed two-year-old; wrangles him to the floor like some rodeo show scene gone horribly wrong; fights for every flailing limb; it is, after all, winter, and the child cannot leave the house naked.  Much as the mother would prefer just that.  Maybe in the summer...

Can I play on the computer now?

Did you brush your teeth?


Okay, five minutes.

Ten minutes later...

Get your jacket and shoes on.

Just one more?!  Please?!

Get your jacket and shoes on.

But mamae!!  

I know this is shocking, and a new routine, and that we've never had to do this before, but please, get your jacket and shoes on.

Rinse.  Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.