Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Courtship of Boy’s mother


On June 26, 1998, after fifteen years as a smoker, I quit. Dad and I were attending one of my class reunions and I made the decision once the party ended, I would quit.  I smoked almost an entire pack of Marlboro Ultra Ultra lights, save two cigarettes.  For the next week, I would light a cigarette first thing each morning, then immediately put it out.  By the end of the week I was out of cigarettes and no longer had the desire to continue that morning ritual.

Half way through that first month, I begged my sister for a stash of  emergency cigarettes; you know for those  days. when the thought of taking a drag seemed to be the only way to relieve stress.  She obliged, but thankfully, I never used them.  I had a better reason to stay smoke free; I was pregnant with my first child, the boy.

My husband and I had been married for seven years, but had been trying to get pregnant for five.  We used basal thermometers; taken tests to determine viability, checked sperm counts; changed our diets along with all the other weird folk tales and stuff people tell you to do in order to get pregnant; yet nothing worked. Completely giving up hope of ever getting pregnant and a fertility totem later (a story for another time) I found out I was with child.  Ending this nasty habit was a no brainer.

Today, thirteen years later, when I look at my boy, the first thing that comes to mind is not how much I love him, but rather how he saved my life.  Would I still be smoking today, hacking, unable to breathe?  Probably.  Would I still be married Dad?  Maybe. Would my life be better than it is today?  A million times no.  The boy owns my heart.  There is nothing he can do or say to change that.  He’s mine.  He saved my life, enriches my days and gives me hope for a brighter future.  Today as he celebrates his twelfth birthday I celebrate thirteen years of renewed life.  God gave me the best damn looking kid on the planet and saved me from myself in the process.

Happy Birthday Bay, momma loves you!




While purchasing supplies for a snow storm at Costco one day, I received a few phone calls from friends asking if they still had milk.  Apparently all the other weather crazies had made milk very scarce in our end of town.  Into my cart I placed seven gallons of milk.  On my way to the checkout, another phone call arrived and they were gracious enough to get one more gallon for me.  I dropped off three at one house and one at another.  The remaining four came home with me.  That’s right four gallons of milk.

The doll is not a milk drinker, though I make her drink at least eight ounces a day; usually masked in Ovaltine.  The boy however is a voracious milk drinker.  He drinks milk with everything.  The other night, as he poured himself another glass, he looked at me and said, “Mom, today I reached a milestone, I’ve drank this one whole gallon today.

Sigh, growing boys.  Thank goodness Costco milk is cheap.

questions questions….


The doll has been playing the twenty random questions game with me as of late. The questions  have ranged from the simple, “Mom, if you put a banana in the refrigerator, what will happen to it?” to  not so simple “Mom, what would make a person in a marriage just get up and leave one day?”  There are times I wonder why the doll is coming up with these questions.  What is she reading or seeing in the media that generates wonder in these areas?  “Doll, if you put a banana in a refrigerator, it turns black.  Doll, there are lots of different reasons why some people leave a marriage.  There is no simple answer to that question.”  Overhearing our conversation the boy decides to throw his two cents into the arena, “Maybe they just want a divorce”.  Her response, “Nu uh boy, I didn’t say get a divorce I said a person just walks away from the marriage.”  “Doll, when someone walks away from the marriage that usually means divorce will be their eventual end.” “Except in the movies” the boy interjects.   “Ohhhh”  “Have you ever thought of walking away from Daddy?”  “Well, we’ve been together a long time, he puts up with me, I put up with his quirks. We all put up with each other.  I don’t think you have to worry about that.”  “Good, because then who would make me lunch?  Who indeed.


relative calm


What does an ice storm, a few inches of snow and city wide power outages mean for school age children?  You got it, a snow day from school.  We were lucky in that our power only went out for about ninety minutes.  I had several family members who are still awaiting power to return to their homes.  As a result, the boy had the chance to hang out with his cousin Will yesterday, playing video games and enjoying one another’s company.    The doll had an opportunity to hang out with her cousins, Mary and Elle all day as well; a guaranteed day of fun, or one would think.  If not for all the fighting between siblings, I think everyone could have had a great time (me included).

“Mom, the boy is annoying me…” the doll complained.  “Well, the doll is just being mean…” he shot back.  The argument spreads to the little girl cousins who jump in to defend the doll.  The three to one ratio of girls to boy really picks up steam and the boy loses his temper.  By the time I intervene they are at each other’s throats and inches away from bodily harm.  “What is going on here?” I say in a loud-stop what you’re doing, voice.  “She started it!” the boy yells.  “Nu Uh, the doll comes back, “The boy is the one who started it by….” Before she can finish the cousins try to jump in offering their opinions on who said what to whom first.  That’s about that time, I hear my mother’s voice bellow from my lips “I don’t care who started it; I’m finishing it right now!”  I threaten them with the loss of their DS systems and apologies spring forth like magic.

Moments later I hear, “Aunt Marsha, Elle just slapped me, for no reason.”  “Did you tell her to stop?” “Yes, but she just keeps laughing and acting like she’s going to do it again…”  “Elle, did you slap your sister?”  “Yes because she said….” On and on the cycle continued all day long.   Finally I asked Elle, “You like to tell me when the boy bothers you right?  “Yes”.  “So, why then do you keep bothering your sister, when you know she doesn’t like it?”  “Well, because….”  “No, I don’t want an excuse.  I just want you to think first…if you do “that” will your sister tell me you’re bothering her?”  “Yes”.  “Then why do it?”  Thinking for a minute, she looked at me and then said, “Alright Aunt Marsha, I’ll stop bothering her for now”.

Like her cousins the thought of not fighting with her sibling just wasn’t in her cards, or mine for that matter.

Dr. doll


Saturday evening the doll suffering from a terrible headache walked into the living room and laid down on the couch.  After a few minutes she stood up, walked, into the bathroom and vomited her lunch into toilet.  After a few minutes of real and dry heaves, she wiped her face, brushed her teeth then resumed her position on the couch.  When I asked her if there was something I could do to make her feel better she looked up at me and said.  “I think, because Ms. Alexandra (ballet) only gave us a one minute water break at ballet practice, and how warm it was over at Grammy’s tonight I became dehydrated.”  “Okay, would you like some water, soup or sprite?”  “Can I have some Sprite?” the boy yelled after overhearing my suggestions.  “I wasn’t talking to you” I said back to the boy.  “Not right now Mom” the doll began, “I just want to lay here for a minute.”

Ten minutes passed when she entered the kitchen and asked if I could heat her up some soup, which I did.  “Yep, I really think I was dehydrated” she said as she spooned up her soup.  “Doll, do you know what it means to be “dehydrated?”  Giving me a “give me a break” type of look, “Mom, not having enough fluids in your system….” She said with a voice full of attitude.  “Just checking doll, that’s all and I think you were probably right”.  Feeling justified, she downed the entire can of Progresso Soup, along with a tall glass of Sprite and later a 16 oz bottle of water.  I guess she was in need of some hydration after all.

Stop it Mom!


The other night the doll, in a very goofy and playful mood, agreed to play me a game of sequence.   She had never played before, but figured out in little time how to make her mom look bad.  After she smoked me in the first game, I told her we needed to play one more game so I could have a chance to get even.  Frankly she was more interested in playing Crazy Eight’s, but relented and we began play a new game of sequence..

One of the rules of the game is if you forget to draw a card, you’ve lost that card for the remainder of the game.  During the first game she was vigilant in remembering to pick up that card.  During the second game, she became lazy, until she realized she was two cards down.  When she tried to sneak picking up those two cards, I wouldn’t let her citing, “Those are the rules of the game doll”.  The mood changed quickly.

My goofy and playful daughter changed before my eyes. All of a sudden a sullen and moody child emerged, complete with crocodile tears as she began to feel sorry for herself.  Being the mean mommy that I am, I pulled out my flip camera saying, “Hey, we can use this as an audition tape—show how you can switch from happy go lucky to sad and teary in no time flat!”  She didn’t like that one bit.  Getting up from the table she exited the kitchen crying loudly as she went into her bedroom.  Not willing to let this go, I walked into her bedroom and asked, while the camera was running, “Why are you crying?”  “Stop it mommy, Stop being mean” she said as she pushed me out of the way and tried to hide in her closet.  I opened the closet where she screamed again.  “Doll, why are you crying?”  I suppose I could have been a more caring mother had I turned off the camera, but I just couldn’t resist.  “LEAVE ME ALONE!!” she screamed again then walked out of her room.

Following close behind I said again, “Why are you crying?” This time she tried to hide in the front closet.  Laughing, I opened the door and asked one more time.  I wanted her to see realize that some rules are hard to follow, but, they still need to be followed.  She wanted me to see that she didn’t care about the rules.  Needless to say we hit a wall.  At this point I turned off the camera and scooped her up in my arms, while she thrashed and yelled, “Get away, your killing me” until she settled down.  Then I asked again, ‘Why are you so upset?”  Finally she settled down and said, “The game is not fair.”  “Doll, the game is totally fair; you just need to pay attention.  What wouldn’t be fair is if I let you have those cards then you won.  It wouldn’t be fair to me.”  After a few minutes she settled down and we eventually resumed the game (I narrowly won)

The fun part came when we watched the video playback.  “Please Mom, erase that” she asked, embarrassed by her antics.  Not on your life doll, not on your life!



“I’m giving you each $5 on the outside chance you can buy your lunch today” I told the kids this morning.  Our school offers hot lunches only twice a month, which act as fundraisers for various organizations. “But doll, I’ll pack you a lunch just in case, okay?”  The boy is a pain in the rear when it comes to lunch..  He will only eat when they have hot lunches or I bring in fast food.  Otherwise, his lunch comes home uneaten.  We used to blame this on his medication.  Now I blame it on his stubbornness.

In any case, as I handed the kids their money, I also handed the doll a check to cover their after school bowling league.  “Doll make sure you put that somewhere safe in your backpack okay?”  She picked up the check then asked, “Mom, you know that one purse of yours I’ve been playing with?  Can I take that to school today to hold my money?”  “I don’t know doll, with a purse it’s like you’re broadcasting to everyone that you’re carrying money in it”.    Taking a minute to think about what I said, she pleaded, “Please Mom, I promise I’ll leave the purse in my back pack, no one will see.” After a few seconds, I relented.

As breakfast progressed she made a point of proudly showing off her organization of the purse.  “See Mom, on this side pocket is the check for bowling, while this side pocket holds my $10 from Uncle Bill and the $5 lunch money” “Uh, no, no, no” I said. “Doll you are not taking that much money with you to school.”  “Why? Where else am I supposed to put that money?”  Reaching out my hand I said, “Right here.  You are only taking your lunch money and the bowling check.  There is no reason to take any additional monies with you.”  Giving me her best impression of a pouter, she handed me the money then zipped up her purse and prepared to leave for school slinging the purse over her shoulder…nowhere near the inside of her back pack.

So much for putting that purse in the backpack….