Category Archives for "Kids"

Soon I’ll have to stand on my tippy toes so that we can see eye to clavicle on everything

Twice a year, Helena and I go through her closet and I make her try everything on to see if it still fits and she complains the whole time that it takes too long and she’s hungry and she’s hot and why can’t she have a Facebook account and blah blah blah.

I always wind up telling her that if she would just keep the cinder blocks on top of her head like I tell her to, maybe she’d stop growing taller and maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t have to spend a perfectly good Saturday afternoon listening to me holler ARE YOU SERIOUS? I JUST BOUGHT YOU THOSE JEANS LAST MONTH! CAN’T WE JUST AMPUTATE YOUR ANKLES OR SOMETHING? BY THE WAY, FACEBOOK JUST CALLED AND SAID “BECAUSE YOUR MOM SAID SO.”

I’m 5′ 2″.

My baby, who is going to turn eleven this August, is almost as tall as I am.

So so so bittersweet.

Journaling reads:

It won’t be much longer before you won’t need to stand on anything to reach daddy’s height, or even mine, for that matter. You’ll probably tower over me one day, but my hope is that you’ll always look up to me. (Summer 2007)



Weekend regurgitation: Putting our money where her mouth is

I have to take Helena to the orthodontist this week. He’s been monitoring her teeth for potential braces for the past two years and at our last appointment, he informed us that this summer will be GO TIME.


I leave you with a post I wrote last year when we were still waiting for the last of Helena’s teeth to fall out. Expensive little suckers that they are.

Happy Sunday, everyone!



She’s going to give the tooth fairy a hernia

(originally published April, 2010)


At Helena’s last dental appointment, her dentist observed that as Helena was almost ten years old, she would soon begin losing another round of baby teeth in the coming months, specifically those baby teeth located immediately next to her barely used adult teeth. After a minute during which my skin crawled up one side of me and down the other, I nodded silently and mentally prepared myself for the waves of horror, gagging, hysterical sobbing, emotional turmoil and all around psychological trauma that usually accompanies the shedding of deciduous teeth in our house. Then there was Helena’s reaction to think about as well.

Turns out, my kids are totally OK with having body parts fall out of their orifices and pretty much rank the whole process of losing baby teeth right up there with Christmas and snow days. In fact, they’re not above buying Chiclets and hot gluing them onto their gums in order to prolong the entire disgusting cycle.

I don’t do teeth. I mean, I don’t mind my own and I don’t mind looking at other people’s teeth if they’re shiny and white and permanently affixed in a smile that is at least two feet outside of my personal space but loose teeth? Or teeth that are wobbly? Imminently rootless? Have we met? I don’t feel an affinity for anything that falls out or is yanked out or is spewed out of my kids’ mouths unless it sounds like I love you or YAY! It’s my turn to do the laundry! But stuff like spit, vomit, excuses, teeth, and the words “boogar,” “fart” and “Oh yeah! I forgot! I need to make a pioneer costume and bring in 12 pounds of churned butter by tomorrow morning for school,” are enough to make me gnash my own teeth right down into my liver.

By the way … did you know that puppies lose their teeth? Why did no one tell me this before we brought Oliver home? THIS IS WHEN YOU FIND OUT WHO YOUR TRUE FRIENDS ARE.

I couldn’t remember the details of this second phase of baby teeth shedding from my eldest daughter Zoe, having successfully blocked out the entire episode with loads of therapy and Xanax so with Helena, I had no choice but to assume her second set of deciduous teeth would be much like her first. I mean, we all know the drill, right? First comes an excited hollering of MY TOOTH IS LOOSE, MOMMY! LOOKIT LOOKIT LOOKIT accompanied by a tiny little movement barely noticeable to the naked eye. Then comes a slightly bigger movement that could actually constitute the beginnings of a wiggle. Then comes a full fledged wiggle, followed by a bigger one and then an even bigger one until one day, the tooth is suspended outside the child’s mouth by a thin, bloody, sinewy, stubborn membrane which is then poked and prodded 24/7 by an overeager tongue attached to a six year old who has already spent the tooth fairy money six ways to Sunday in her head.

The entire process takes about three to four weeks until one day the six year old comes running off the bus yelling I LOST MY TOOTH, MOMMY! LOOKIT, LOOKIT, LOOKIT and flinging her backpack onto the kitchen table whereupon she proceeds to yank everything out of it, including a cheese stick from three weeks ago. She continues to desperately search for the tooth which, as best you can understand from the hysterically happy shrieks now bouncing off the ceiling, is secured inside a bright yellow, plastic, mini treasure chest, courtesy of the school nurse. And no sooner do you get this piece of information when you see a flash of bright yellow whiz past your face as the mini plastic treasure chest flies through the air, plummets to the ground and breaks open at which point, you can do nothing more than stand there in frozen horror as the tooth in question rolls out, grows fangs, cackles and then scampers across the floor to plant a big, wet, juicy, french kiss on your big, bare toe.

I’m a little fuzzy on what happens next but I’m pretty sure it consists of lots of yelling and screaming and crying and scrubbing of feet with bleach before you eventually pass out from the grossness of it all and ultimately winds up with your six year old standing over you with concern written all over her face, over which she has scribbled MOM! ARE YOU FINISHED? I’M NOT ALLOWED TO GET COOKIES ALL BY MYSELF, YOU KNOW.

But I’m here to tell you that the second phase of deciduous teeth is nothing like the first phase so be forewarned. First of all, that adorable six year old who labored for an hour over a colored picture to hang in her bedroom window to help the tooth fairy find her bedroom in the dark of night? She has turned into a 9¾ year old who uses the tooth fairy’s OCD tendencies to her advantage when negotiating the fair market value of her tooth, based on three sound principles: (1) time is money; (2) every minute the tooth fairy does not have to spend in a hazmat suit while using salad tongs to retrieve a tiny piece of dead enamel from under a pillow increases the value of that dead enamel exponentially; and (3)  a tooth that can be thrown down the garbage disposal before witnesses is worth far more money than one that simply vanishes into thin air one day, only to magically reappear one week later in the most unlikely of places like, say, atop the tooth fairy’s cream cheese bagel, coincidentally on the same day that the 9¾ year old was grounded earlier for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was practicing psychological warfare without a license.

Second of all … the teeth themselves are a whole different animal. These teeth can do in thirty seconds what it takes the first set of baby teeth three weeks to accomplish. Like this past weekend when Helena walked by me and said in passing Hey mom, I think I have a loose tooth and I managed to keep my skin from crawling out the door while responding Are you sure? Which one? and she stopped dead in her tracks, slapped her hand to her mouth, turned to me with blood gushing down her chin and replied DA ON AT JUS  ‘ELL OUT O’ NY NOUTH and sure enough, there in her hand lay the bloody remains of a tooth that had indeed bit the dust at warp speed.

And then there was last night when Helena sat down next to me with 23 teeth in her mouth, got up to get ice cream and sat back down with 22 teeth and a gaping bloody crater in her mouth.

I’m not sure what’s going on but we’ve got cream carpets here so I re-purposed Helena’s Easter basket by making her walk around with it hanging from her nose at optimal level, just in case.



Weekend regurgitation: Can I buy a super power off eBay?

It’s late at night as I’m typing this because I completely forgot that it was Saturday night and I hadn’t yet written anything for my weekend regurgitation. In my defense, I was preoccupied with two things:

  1. Nate shaved off his Van Dyke and I didn’t notice for at least a minute or two. Before anyone gets concerned that Nate accidentally castrated himself, a Van Dyke is a mustache accompanied by a goatee. COME ON, PEOPLES. I don’t have nicknames for his privates, for heaven’s sake. And besides, I’m pretty sure I’d notice it right away if he lopped off Mr. Happy.
  2. On Friday, we went to visit a college that Zoe is interested in and then last night, Zoe and I went shopping for her prom dress and tomorrow, I’m making her wear a diaper and a onesie because I simply cannot tolerate all this growing up crap anymore.

I leave you with a post I wrote about my girls last year. Honestly, if I could have only one super power, I’d choose the ability to make time stand still.

Happy Sunday, everyone!



Sometimes she literally makes me see red

(originally published March, 2010)


The other day, Zoe decided that she was tired of being Greek so she decided to switch it up a little for St. Patrick’s Day and become Irish. This is Zoe with red hair, courtesy of one box of Nice ‘n Easy and thirty minutes away from my supervision. I’ve become accustomed to it and actually like it now but at the time I was all HEY, WHATTUP, PIPPI LONGSTOCKING?

By the way, don’ t you just love how I blow out all the highlights in my photos? I do that on purpose so that you don’t come to expect a filet mignon caliber of photography from me when I know my efforts are Hamburger Helper at best.

Let’s hear it for lowering those expectations!

Be careful you don’t trip over the bar there, lying on the ground.

Zoe with red hair from a box and Helena with brown hair from God. This photo was immediately after I encouraged them to act naturally.

At this point, I think my own expectations were digging themselves straight to China.

By the way, Helena now wants to color her hair because hey, her sister and her mom do it so why can’t she? And after she continued to ask me 467 times, I was all Fine! Fine! Go color your hair! I suppose you’ll be wanting your period now too, as well? Great! Be my guest! We can all color our hair together and then compare our bloated stomachs! Then we’ll eat cheese covered with chocolate sprinkles all day every day for a week! Then we’ll bitch at each other over nothing! AND THEN WE’LL BLEED ALL OVER OUR UNDERWEAR TOGETHER! IT’LL BE FUN!

She hasn’t asked me again.

Zoe’s hair seemed to get redder and redder the longer we stayed outside.

See? I had to hurry it up lest she became a beacon for incoming arrivals at the county airport.

Is “incoming arrivals” redundant and unnecessary?

Is “redundant and unnecessary” redundant and unnecessary?

It’s not often that my girls allow themselves to enjoy one another’s company. There are usually too many obstacles in the way, like their 6½ year age difference, their friends, and fights over the computer, TV and bathroom. Oh! And who can forget their raging battles over who can set and clear the table the fastest, who can keep their bedroom the cleanest and who can love Mom the bestest?

Me. That’s who. It’s hard to remember something that never happened.

I know that they love each other.

But I’m constantly surprised when, amidst all of the YOU ARE SUCH A BIG BUTT and the YOU’RE A BIG HAIRY BUTT and the YOU’RE THE BIGGEST HAIRIEST BUTT FREAK THERE IS and the MOM, SHE CALLED ME A BIG HAIRY BUTT FREAK moments, they seem to genuinely like each other as well.

I genuinely like them too.



All I need are some some red sparkly shoes

I’m feeling really old this morning because later today, we’re checking out a college that Zoe is interested in attending. Granted, she’s not graduating high school until next year but seeing as how Father Time is popping Viagra and screwing every speed limit he meets, I’m expecting next year to arrive on Tuesday.

I can’t believe my first born is checking out a college. My Zoe, who only yesterday rolled over for the first time and vomited sweet potato puree down my shirt when I burped her. The same girl who just this morning texted me from the other room, asking if we can go prom dress shopping this weekend.

I hope Father Time catches gonorrhea.

On that note, we’re off to see the wizard! Also known as the Dean of Admissions. I kind of feel like Dorothy! Except there’s no yellow brick road, Toto probably didn’t poop behind her couch and I’m betting the Tin Man didn’t try to grope her as she blogged.

We’re off to see a college

That we probably can’t even afford!

We hear it is a hell of a place

With lots of smart teachers and dorm room space

If ever, oh ever, we needed some luck

It would be now as our savings does suck

Because because because because  becaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuse

Because the economy is a BIG FAT FUCK.

We’re off to see a college

That we probably can’t even afford!



Weekend regurgitation: Let’s do lunch

Nate and I shopped for bathroom fixtures yesterday which means we spent three hours agreeing on nothing except that neither one of us can believe we’ve managed to stay married for almost twelve years.

Forget that whole pre-cana counseling thing. All couples considering marriage ought to remodel a bathroom together. If they wind up with a lovely bathroom and their genitals intact, they’re good to go.

On a happier note, I had lunch with Helena at school this past Friday. We bonded over pretzel bread, apple slices and vanilla wafers and I got a glimpse of the boy who asked her out a couple of months ago, otherwise known as “J” otherwise known as HE CALLED ME AN IDIOT TODAY, MOM. OH MY GOSH, THAT MEANS HE LIKES ME WHICH IS SO GROSS, I MIGHT PUKE UP MY GUTS.

I leave you with a post I wrote a long time ago about having lunch with Helena when she was in third grade. Boys were gross back then as well but, if memory serves, not nearly as barf worthy.

Happy Sunday, everyone!



Lunch in fifteen minutes or less …

(originally published September 19, 2008)


Yesterday, I stocked up on Tylenol and ear plugs, updated my tetanus shot and my life insurance policy and then I took my life in my hands and went to have lunch with Helena in her school cafeteria. I’ve seen the heartiest and cheeriest of moms brought to their knees within twenty minutes of sitting in the lunchroom so I planned on staying for fifteen, allowing me plenty of time to scarf down a bagel, chat with Helena about her day and process her “I don’t know’s” and “I don’t remember’s” and the always favorite “what’s for dinner?” before escaping under my own free will while I still had my wits about me.

I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating … you couldn’t pay me enough to be a lunch monitor, I don’t care how many chocolate truffles you stick in front of my face. Lunch monitors are absolute saints because you know they’re not getting paid much money, if at all, to show up day after day after day to supervise hundreds of kids who are hyped up on dessert, who don’t listen, who are fighting, crying, running and screaming. And they didn’t even give birth to any of them. They’re doing this willingly. Voluntarily. Without coercion. And despite their patience being worn down to the nub on a daily basis, they manage not to kill any of the children with their bare hands. Saints.

I wouldn’t last five minutes with swarms of kids whose purpose in life is to yell. Loudly. For no reason other than they can. I would snap in a heartbeat and it wouldn’t matter how many of them I gave birth to.

The decibel level in Helena’s cafeteria in mind numbing. The room seems to be acoustically enhanced in that the slightest noise is amplified about a billion times and bounces off the walls and ricochets around the room until it slams into my head at the speed of light.


My hearing hasn’t recovered yet so please excuse me if I shout. And if anyone happens to run across some of my wits, would you mind gathering them up and sending them to me? I’m running low.


So anyway, I had lunch with Helena and in the pandemonium and general mayhem that is an elementary school cafeteria at high noon, I spotted another mom who had decided to risk life and limb as well and one glance told me that she had missed the twenty minute window by a good five minutes. She had the pale, haunted look of a holocaust survivor. She was probably once an intelligent and articulate woman who was filled with anticipation and had the best of intentions when she wrote her name in beautiful cursive in the Visitor Log but it only took thirty minutes in the lunchroom to make her oblivious to the glob of mustard hanging from her left earring and the piece of bologna stuck to her chin. She didn’t even flinch when the kids on either side of her used her ears as walkie talkies. She glanced up in my direction, gave me a feeble smile and then lapsed into a coma.

It was nice to surprise Helena (“Mom! What are you doing here? Am I in trouble?”) and spend time with her in her own environment, her home away from home so to speak, except that she doesn’t leave her dirty underwear on the classroom floor.

Having lunch with third graders is an enlightening experience. The girls sit with girls, the boys sit with boys and never the two shall meet. Except for little Kevin. He’s a third grade boy who has somehow achieved superstar status with the girls. He’s all I ever hear about when I ask Helena and her friends what they did in recess (we played with Kevin!) or what they did in gym (we rode scooters with Kevin!) or what they did in art class (we drew Kevin!)

He is adorable and seemingly unaware of the effect he has on his female classmates and I don’t mean that he makes them swoon because he’s cute but rather, because he’s fun. Do third grade girls even know how to swoon? I think they only know how to shriek like banshees. Anyway, he doesn’t strike me as the type of boy who’s got “jerkwad: will dump you for hot cheerleader” DNA. No, little Kevin strikes me as the type of boy who will always be best friends with everyone, especially girls, and who will grow up to be the one they call in the middle of the night when they get their hearts broken. He’ll be the one to fall madly in love with one of those girls, knowing the entire time that he’s standing up at the altar as her Man of Honor that he never had a chance with her because he’s too nice of a guy, unlike the scumputz she’s marrying. He’ll be president of the student government and excel in cross country track. He’ll be the only one of his buddies who won’t have scratch marks on his headboard or down his back, he’ll graduate summa cum laude, land a great job right out of college, build his own house and volunteer with disadvantaged children in his spare time. He’s the one that mothers everywhere would sell one of their kidneys to have their daughter marry and both of their kidneys to marry him themselves.

I could tell all of this the instant he entered the lunchroom to a chorus of fifty girls screaming HI KEVIN and then broke out into a sheepish grin, waved madly, ducked his head and hid under his table.

If he grows up to be an asshat, I will be so disappointed in humanity. But at least I’ll still have my kidney.

Helena’s two best friends are not in her class so they are not allowed to sit at the same table since the tables are divided up by classroom. Furthermore, the kids are not allowed to get out of their seats unless they are getting utensils or napkins or throwing something away.

Helena got up 42 times to get napkins, plastic forks and spoons. Coincidentally, so did her two best friends.

Helena tore up her napkins so that she could make 37 trips to the garbage can to throw tiny little shreds away. Coincidentally, so did her two best friends.

This is their preferred method of communication during the day and it’s amazing how well they can plan a play date and catch each other up with all the latest news in five second intervals of stolen conversation. I made a mental note to try this out with Nate since the only time we converse is … I can’t remember.

Inevitably the chaos and confusion of the lunchroom grants the more daring kids opportunity to risk the wrath of the lunch monitors and escape to distance lands across the cafeteria.

One little girl absconded from her table and wound up at ours. She’s a friend of Helena’s who has been over to our house before. She’s a cute little thing but holy hell, this girl can talk. And talk. And talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. She is simply exhausting to be around because they haven’t yet invented an attention span that can keep up with her. I’ve learned to take a huge gulp of air when I see her because I know from experience that she will suck up every square inch of oxygen in a one mile radius, leaving me gasping and suffocating in carbon dioxide.

Other than the earsplitting, deafening sound reverberating around the room, I actually enjoyed my lunch with Helena and while I’m not going to run right out and do it every day, I think I might be able to handle it once a month, provided I shove a cubic foot of cotton down my ear canals beforehand.