Am I Really Hiding Under the Bed…from My Daughter’s Toys?

We live in the age of electronics. Kids are glued to their smart phones, IPads, IPods, Kindles, and laptops. Games, books, movies, and music are all on these devices. Any type of entertainment for both child and adult can be found on these devices.

Except toys. Effing toys.

I believe that all children should have toys. It builds creativity, problem solving, and develops motor skills.

But some toys literally scare the crap out of me. Like my daughter’s toys.

It is best to illustrate my point thought the art of photography:

  • Dolls. These b*tches freak me out. Their clothes are more expensive than mine, they get their hair professionally done, and they are always sporting that smug smirk. It’s like high school all over again. At least with Barbie, you know what you are getting – a slightly slutty doll. Barbie’s got nothing to hide. There are about 500 variations of her and one Ken. You do the math.

The other night, I walked into the living room after my daughter was in bed, flipped on the light and found this:

American Girls

I think she was re-creating a scene from Mean Girls.

  • Avatars. While not really a toy, it’s as if my child went to a virtual Build A Bear and dressed up a stuffed animal.

Look as this Slick Rick.

Pimp Cat

It’s like Puss in Boots’ other brother – Huggy Cat. And what’s the deal with the butterfly hiding the eight ball?

  • Human-Size Toys. It looks cute, but really? I think this is the child’s equivalent to a body pillow. I found it sitting up and tucked in bed one morning. My daughter asked if she could take it on vacation. I told her we would have to buy a seat for it on the plane. She didn’t see the problem with this. Pray for us.

Stretchkin

  • Stuffed Animal Hoarding. These things are like Gremlins – they keep multiplying every time I turn my back. They are at the fair, arcade, mall, other people’s homes, and every damn gift shot across America.

Here she is surrounded by them a la St. Francis of Asisi style. Let’s hope these all don’t translate to cats later in life.

Hoarder

I don’t have an answer about the scary toys. I’m sure my parents shook their heads at my belongings. At least our toys were somewhat functional: you could travel around on your Big Wheel; work out your brain muscles with the Rubik’s Cube, and when your parents yelled, “Go find something to do!” You could literally Sit –n- Spin.

Remember this little guy?

Remember this little guy?

For now I will have to cohabitate with my daughter’s entertainment choices. They make her happy, feel safe, and bottom line, she likes them.

But if that American Girl doll asks for her own cell phone, she might end up in the shed.

Advertisements

Am I Really A So-So Parent?

imagesCAN9IPF4

We live in a world of super moms and overachievers. Those individuals who work full time, volunteer out the waazoo, have multiple children, and good hair. People who really excel at this parenting game.

I am not one of those people.

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, and a certain gift got me thinking about what it means to be a mom.

My seven year old gave me a homemade Mother’s Day card. I cannot tell you how much I adore this card.

Here’s what I learned: My daughter thinks I am the best cook ever.

Because I make hot dogs.

No, not cookies, not even spaghetti, but hot dogs. I’m pretty sure franks are one step away from Fritos.

If that’s not mailing it in then I don’t know what is.

Last week, NBA MVP recipient, Kevin Durant tearfully thanked his mom. She was a young, single parent, raising two boys. She kept her kids off the street and made sure they always ate, even if she went to bed hungry.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a MOM.

I have one child. I often worry about all the screwing up I do because there are no take backs. That’s it. There is no number two, or three child for me to perfect my parenting skills. It’s like trying to qualify for the Olympics: I have one chance, if I don’t get it right the first time – Game Over people.

I often think if my daughter ever writes a tell-all book, the title will most likely be: “The Scurvy Diaries. Never Tried A Tangelo – Mom Said It Wasn’t Worth the Argument to Eat My Fruit.”

Proof. Never mind the age up top.

Proof. Never mind the age up top.

Allow me to illustrate my parental mediocrity:

Diet/Cooking: I will never be known for my homemade meatballs or tasty knish. (Please see frankfurter reference above.)

Discipline: I’m all over the place with this one. Sometimes, I’m fair and she receives a consequence for the wrong behavior. No yelling. Other times I take it personally if she doesn’t make her bed/talks back to me/acts like she is seven. I usually end up re-enacting a scene from Days of Our Lives, “How could you do this?! Why, oh God, Why?” Followed by some melodramatic hands over the face. No consequence. Usually because I over-exerted myself from my dramatic performance.

Appearance: I cannot tell you how thankful I am she has to wear a uniform. When she does have the opportunity to wear layman’s clothes, people stare at me as if they are about to call CPS. Plaids, combined with stripes, with some polka dots mixed in. At one point I almost brought her to the Ophthalmologist to get her eyesight looked at. I have actually uttered the words, “I can’t let you leave the house like this.” More often, I just go with it. If she’s happy wearing something off the Bozo the Clown line, so be it.

Hair: So many moms are good at hair. I see French Braids and up-dos and cute pony tails. I gave up a long time ago. My daughter looks like Janice Joplin at a hair brush burning event…after she ran through a forest. For special events, the best I can do is use hot rollers on her mop. Also, the rollers are mine from the 80s.

TV/Computer Time: Most families have set television and computer times. Our television is on Sam and Cat 24/7. Oh we have rules, we just forget them a couple days later.

Homework/Academics: Right now her homework is like my homework too. I usually need to explain and go over things with her. This is not a complaint, I like working with her, but I have never uttered the words, “Let’s find some extra math work online. Maybe logarithms!” That Tiger Mom lady would have a stroke if she ever came over to our house.

Even though I won’t be nominated for any parenting awards, I love motherhood. If it weren’t for that one small, feisty child, I wouldn’t be fortunate enough to write about how average I am. Luckily, my little person seems pretty content with me too.

So maybe I will try a little harder, go that extra parenting mile with crafts, chore charts, and books on “gentle” rule setting.

Right after I get these hot dogs in the microwave. Since I forgot to defrost the chicken. Again.

Am I Really Spending My Summer at Bushwood Country Club?

CAddyshack-phone[1]

What is better than a beer, hot dog, and baby urine in the pool?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

This is how Summer 2013 is rolling out for my family.

We belong to a local pool. It is simply awesome. It is also very Caddyshack-esque, except none of the patrons are the snooty country club types. Instead, we are all the crazy caddy’s who act like we have never seen a body of water before.

You know the scene from the movie when all of the “help” descends upon the Bushwood Country Club pool? There is a lot of excited screaming, running, and inflatable devices.

It is like this every day at our pool. Only with a water slide and mixed drinks.

The pool has about forty-eight lifeguards, which means I don’t have to worry about watching my child. In fact I have not seen her in three days. Just kidding. Not really.

And yes, once a week, they need to evacuate the pool due to an “incident.”

We have yet to find a Baby Ruth in the pool.

We have yet to find a Baby Ruth in the pool.

Every time I walk through the iron gates with two inner tubes, my daughter’s swim fins, and a pool bag that will surely dislocated my shoulder one day due to the weight, the Get the hell out of my way because I am going to Cannonball into the pool feeling washes over me.  It is nice to know that the simple things in life are still kicking like karate. If you dig a cement hole in the ground and fill it with water, you can entertain the masses.

And much like roller rinks, the pool atmosphere has not changed since we were kids.  Other kids (and grownups too) still high-five you when you are going down the waterslide; the tweens still walk around and check each other out, then go eat their Cheetos on the grassy hill and talk about it; and you can still get an ice cream Drumstick. Aside from the frozen Jack and Coke machine, I might as well be back in the fourth grade.

If you don’t have your summer plan worked out, or if you are tired of sweating in your jean shorts, give me a buzz, you can be my guest at the pool.

Then put your name on the list, because it is a five year wait to become a member. Apparently everyone wants to be a kid again…with a Bud Light.

What the parents do at the pool.

What the parents do at the pool.

Am I Really Back in the Saddle, But My Chaps are Chaffing Me?

          And just like that – I have a job.

            This is what I want everyone to do right now:  stand up and start clapping.

            No, not for me, for all the working moms out there making it happen every day. I seriously don’t know how they do it five days a week, year-round.

            This sh*t is tiring.

            Oh sure, I went back to work right after my daughter was born, but she wasn’t sleeping through the night at that point and my boobs were like cow utters, so I had no idea what was going on.  Then I quit four months later.

            Now – I am wide awake and have realized a few things:

1)      I have no pants. Who doesn’t have any pants? Me apparently. Well, I have one pair of pants which are slightly large and have a late nineties vibe to them. That goes for most of my dress clothing I try to pull off as “business casual.” I miss my uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

2)      Those who go to a workplace must shower and be presentable every morning. I cried a little when I couldn’t just show up to school in my pajamas and shoo my daughter out of the car. I also have to brush my hair more.

3)      Nightly baths for my daughter are a crap shoot. After preparing dinner, making threats to complete homework (“All you have to do is color every other triangle for Chrissake!”), throwing in a load of laundry, and trying to clean up said dinner; child cleanliness goes out the window. Don’t call CPS.

4)      Dog? What dog? Sorry chump, your daily walks take a back seat to dinner. Which leads me to…

5)      …Dinner – you evil b*tch. It shows up every night, pans naked and waiting. I’ve been making a lot of pasta and pre-made skillet meals.  The inmates are planning a coup. I’m not fooling anyone.

6)      Remember when I could flex? Work outs have gone from a pleasant hour of body pump to, “If I skip lunch, maybe I can run around the parking lot for twenty minutes.”

I know all you mommies who have been at this game since the beginning are laughing at me. But I am getting the hang of things.  I show up to work on time (I know, I can’t believe it either!), I am earning a paycheck, and it feels good to be using parts of my brain that were once solely reserved for: “Did she eat? Did she poop? Are we out of Goldfish? Wait, did you say that she ate?”

While it is a change to my routine, my family’s routine, and can be a bit daunting at times, it feels good to be back in the saddle.

That and I bought two new pairs of pants.

Am I Really Jell-O Wrestling the Sixth Grade-Fart-Joke-Telling Version of Myself…And Losing?

Sometimes I forget I am a grown-ass lady. I still feel like that goofy chick at St. Mary’s Catholic School with braces, a tragic bob-haircut, and a mad crush on all things Esprit. I still think time is abundant, that I have my whole life ahead of me, all the while daydreaming about walking the red carpet with one of the Ghostbusters.

Then my daughter asks me for a Danimals and I realize, “Oh crap! I am actually responsible for someone else.”

How can this be when I clearly don’t have all my sh*t together? How can I raise a human being to be a contributing member of society when I have yet to “get there?” How can I take care of such a precious little person when sometimes, I just want someone to take care of me?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a worker in this life. I don’t sit back and let life happen; I get out there and get it done. But sometimes, well…I’m still a kid.

This vice-grip on my kid-brain has recently reared up and smacked me in the face –  specifically in the area of holding on so tightly (a little too tightly) to childhood ideals.

Case and point:  When I was five I used to dream of becoming a famous movie star. I envisioned myself wearing glittering gowns and performing some ass-kicking combat scenes on the silver screen, all the while AC/DC plays in the background. I moved back out to L.A. and then had my eyes opened. I love performing, I love acting, and I love lip gloss. What I realized I don’t love is the time away from my family/glass of wine at night/favorite TV shows/clawing for gigs/having other broads stare me down b/c I might take “their” part. It truly takes some balls to wade through the swamp of Los Angeles entertainment. I decided my balls would be better utilized elsewhere. So I moved to Boston. I performed there, had a great time, met even greater people, and even made a couple of films (clothes on thank you!).

For a loooooong time I struggled with the notion that I had “given up” on my dream. But I hadn’t. I was still acting, still performing, and having a blast. I just wasn’t doing it the way my five year old self imagined.

The same ideal can be applied to relationships. I am sure we all had some notion of what falling in love/meeting our soul mate would look like. I don’t know about you, but I did not even put one iota of thought into envisioning a relationship or the day-to-day of a marriage.  My daydreaming about “the one” was solely comprised of handholding and driving in a convertible on the PCH.

I know, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit too. The idea and the reality are two different things altogether.

So how do we reach a handshake agreement between the now adult and the then child? How do we keep the important dreams of our youth and adjust them to fit our current needs/life?

I say we give that damn kid inside us some respect, with a healthy side of reality.

Did you want to train elephants for the circus when you were a kid? Can’t let it go? Well, can you get involved at a program at your local zoo? It might work into your life a bit more than ditching your kids to ride around in a poop-smelling boxcar with Barnum and Bailey.

Was it your vision to head up a Hair Band and party like a Rock Star? You can still do it! Slap on a wig and fishnets and get some dudes together and jam it out. Might be more fun than trying to hunt down all the members of Aerosmith. Plus, they are all sober now and I’m pretty sure Steven Tyler goes to bed at 9:30 pm.

While not always easy, that is precisely what I am trying to do now – reformulate. I am a big-time believer in always having a dream, a goal, to sing so loudly and emphatically in the car other drivers are embarrassed for you, and to laugh until you nearly pee your pants (I may achieve this last one sooner versus later the older I get).

Remember, it is good to check in and be real with your inner dude or dudette. Say, “Hey man, I hear ya. I know it looks a little different, but how about we try this? What do you say?”  You might get farther than you imagined and please the both of you.

Then go grab a cookie and a beer and make some farting noises with your armpit. Bam!

**If you have a childhood dream, I would love to hear it! Share below and let’s see if we can get you to it!

Am I Really Feeding My Child Marshmallows for Breakfast?

Marshmallows are the most imaginative type of food. This is just my opinion, but stick with me and I’ll show you where I am going with this.

Every parent should feel their child is the funniest/smartest/cutest/will surely cure cancer, or at least people’s muffin-top situation. If you don’t feel this way, I worry about you.

The other day, I had that moment with my daughter.

Last year, when my daughter was in Kindergarten, each student had to keep an art/drawing journal.  They created self-portraits, pictures of the various seasons, and glued photos into the book.  It was pretty awesome to see the growth in her drawing abilities from the beginning of the year to the end.

One drawing caught my eye.

“What is this?” I asked my little person.

“That’s you having me in the hospital.” She replied.

“Oh.”

Below is the drawing.

I’d like to draw your attention to some outstanding details:

1)      Apparently my daughter felt she was a breech baby. She wasn’t, but notice the feet shooting out first.

2)      Did I sneeze and birth her? She is airborne.

3)      We couldn’t be happier. Every birth is a magical and happy moment, but we are both so relaxed. Maybe I’m on Quaaludes.

4)      Clearly my daughter finds me to be a snappy dresser. Notice my Jacklyn Smith pant-suit in the delivery room.

5)      My daughter was born in Texas, but does she feel she was born in a border town?  Notice the stark surroundings. Also, no one seems to be helping us out at El Medico.

6)      At least she got my stringy, birthing hair right. I could have used a brush that day.

Even though this drawing made me giggle a bit, it warmed my heart to the core. As parents, it’s a surreal experience to see your child’s interpretation of various events.

Many times, we adults might find a restaurant so-so, but your child thinks it’s the best because they put multicolored sprinkles on the ice cream. Or as we bustled to and from stores, never fully taking in our surroundings, our children are eyeballing the colony of rolly-pollys in-between the pavement cracks and giving them names and duties.

Kids have the amazing, un-censored gift of imagination.  I hope mine never loses her sense of wonder, or I may be forced to have her watch “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on repeat while feeding her marshmallows (ah, it’s a marshmallow full-circle).

I am going to frame this rendering.

I’ll wedge it between her ballet recital photo and the blank space that will one day hold her Oscar, Nobel Peace Prize, and Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.