Monthly Archives: October 2013

Weekday mornings….


Almost every morning I’m greeted by a tweener and a teenager screaming at the top of their lungs at one another for some perceived offense. In the doll’s case, she usually has good reason. Every day while she lies in bed trying shake the cobwebs from her mind and awaken for the day, her alarm clock bellows out a loud series of continuous and very annoying beeps until she turns the darn thing off (usually after twenty minutes give it take a few). At some point during this daily morning routine (as if the alarm clock noise alone isn’t enough) the boy will reach his hand into her bedroom and flip the switch to her bedroom light on, illuminating a once pitched black room with unwelcome incandescent light. Then with a maniacal laugh he hurriedly disappears down the hall, leaving her screaming at him “TURNITOFFTURNITOFFTURNITOFF!!!” Over and over again, to no response.

“Bay, just once, couldn’t we have a peaceful morning?” I ask as I pass him to switch off her bedroom light and say “Time to get up darlin'”…. Then I take a step back, out of the way of a hurdling stuffed animal thrown in my general direction. “With the doll in this family? Impossible!” The boy replies as he walks away smirking. “I HATE YOU!!” The doll then screams from her bedroom…but at this point, it’s a toss up as to whom she’s referring to.

Later the doll approached me and asked “Mom why does the boy have to be such an A.H.” clearly frustrated by his lack of boundaries. “An A.H.? I asked, my sleepy brain not connecting with her acronym. “Okay, a jerk!” She re-enforced. Putting two and two together, I realized where she was going and replied “Older brothers by nature can be “jerks”…but be careful what you call my baby…” Frowning she turned and said “Remind your “baby” he needs to be nicer to me too-your baby girl”.

Point taken…but highly doubtful anything will change.




The other day, tired of all the same old music I have on my IPod, I tuned into the Pandora Broadway Music station and began listening (bluetooth speakers) to different broadway show tunes, while I cleaned my kitchen. With the exception of every cast recording of Les Misérables playing the same songs over and over, the music provided a nice change of pace, while I cleaned. What I especially enjoyed was the doll coming into the kitchen and asking if a particular song came from a certain musical. “Mom is this from Fiddler on the Roof?” She asked while “Tradition” blared from the speakers. “Yes!” I said surprised she remembered. “That’s what I thought…” She said with a wistful smile of a memory crossing her face. “We should rent that again.” She said and then added “Watching more musicals should become a “Tradition!!” in our family”.

Hmmm music for thought…

Our neighborhood hosted the 25th annual Halloween parade this past Sunday. The doll walked with her GirlScout troop and then participated in a fall festival sponsored by and for all the Girl scouts and their families. The boy hooked up with a few old friends; wandered the parade route picking up candy and then disappeared to play Halo at one of their homes. />
20131030-105002.jpg Meanwhile this left hubby and I to our own devices… So we attended the 25th annual Soup Competition party, the next block up and tasted several different soups (BLT soup had my vote for best tasting-though soggy lettuce was distracting), drank a little beer, engaged in good conversations with neighbors all the while remembering why we love our neighborhood so much.

Ah yes, tradition…..



The boy has been driving me nuts for years with his pickiness when it comes to food, more importantly lunchtime food. Last year I would pack him a sandwich for lunch, only to find him bring it back home, uneaten everyday saying “I just wasn’t hungry”. The trend however, as I noticed was, if there was a hot lunch, he would happily eat second and thirds; yet a packed sandwich was more trash worthy than the boy worthy. As the result, 9 times out of 10 he wouldn’t eat lunch, unless he found something in the “share” (unwanted food) basket to snack on.

At the start of the new school year, I purchase him a lunch card saying, “This will buy you one lunch per week for ten weeks. The rest of the time you need to eat a packed lunch”. Ignoring my conditions, he burned through the lunch card in two weeks and has since refused to eat lunch saying, “I’m not hungry mama”. “Dude, you gotta eat lunch during the day!” I argued with him. “No I don’t mama, I’m not hungry!” Ugh! And so on and so forth we argued, day in, day out until my husband stepped in and made us stop.

“Mama, I need $4.25.” He said to me last Tuesday. “Why?” I asked, knowing full well that’s the price of hot lunch. “I need to pay the lady back” he replied. “What lady?” I asked. “She works in the deans office. She bought me lunch yesterday provided I could pay her back today.” “Oh” I replied then began scouring my change jars to find the money. “I’ve also been told I NEED to and am EXPECTED to bring a lunch from now on.” A big and broad smile crossed my face in response.

This morning I received a phone call from a woman in the deans office at his school, who called to notify me that she was behind making the boy bring a lunch. “I probably should have called you last week..” She began, “but I just wanted to touch base with you about his not eating lunch.” ” Thank you!” I replied. “What?” She sounded surprised. “I’ve been trying to get that stubborn son of mine to bring a lunch to school all year long. Unless it’s warm, he refuses to eat…” “Oh good, so you pack him a lunch then?” “Yes, he conveniently “forgets” or will complain he has nowhere to keep it in his locker, or any number of other excuses.” I explained. “Well he’s a nice intelligent young man and we talked about his need to eat lunch.” She explained. “Well he should have one today. We made a deal about getting one hot lunch a week, provided he eats a packed lunch the rest of the time. So thank you very much.” “Oh good, so he’ll have a lunch?” “Yes, unless he tosses it before he gets to the lunchroom.” I replied.

When I hung up the phone, I thought how nice it was that this woman not only took an interest in my son’s welfare, but also that she followed up with me. Another reason I’m happy we are sending him there…plus he’s finally eating lunch!



I wonder sometimes where I stand next to other parents on the mean mommy scale. Last week a friend of mine posted a conversation (on Facebook) between her two son’s on the virtue of staying out of  (their) Mean Mommy’s way.  I laughed and sent a quip that said, “Hey stop stealing my material…” but honestly, right now, my kids don’t see me as a mean mommy much these days. I’m rather someone who drones on and on about the same subject… in effect, an obstacle to overcome.

“Just once, when I say NO I would like it if you didn’t argue with me…you never argue with me when I say yes, why is that?” This happens to be one of my favorite stock answers I say to the kids. The boy will make guttural noises and  then usually replies, “Mom, that makes absolutely no sense. I wouldn’t argue with you if I got my way. Why would I incite violence unnecessarily?” The doll equally unimpressed snarks “Jeeze mom, can’t your come up with something original?” “I could ask you the same thing….” I say, leaving the room muttering under my breath.

“Mom I looked like an idiot” the doll informed. “What are you talking about?” I replied. “I didn’t look like an Indian at all in this ugly dress!” She explained as we drove home from the dance. Her twin’s parents found her an actual Indian costume. “Sorry ’bout your luck doll, but that doesn’t change the fact that’s your costume and you need to figure it out.” I replied. “Can’t we just find a diff…” “No.” “You know you’re making my sixth grade year harder…don’t you?” “How do you figure that?” I asked trying not to laugh. “Because I look like and idiot and that’s what everyone will remember…and probably make fun of me for”.

“Well, everyone has something…” I muttered, sighed and then ignored her woes the rest of the drive home.


its always the quiet ones….



A typical doll voice when not at home: I’m sorry did you say something, I can’t hear you?


“Mom I have your personality and daddy’s shyness” the doll offered as her excuse why the librarian couldn’t hear her.  Mary Alice and I accompanied her to the library so she could retrieve the next book in the Percy Jackson series. “Did you bring your library card with you?” I asked her. “No”.  the doll replied. “Go and ask the clerk to look up your card number” I said pushing her toward the check out counter. “You come with me..” the doll instructed. Shaking my head no I said, “You’re old enough to start asking for help on your own.” Giving me a mean look, she approached the counter while Mary Alice and I stood a few feet away.

“Do you have your library card?” the librarian asked the doll. She turned around, looked back at me and Mary Alice and motioned for us to approach the counter.  I stood my ground and shook my head “No”.  Unhappy, the doll turned back around and quietly said “no”. “Okay, so what’s your last name….” The librarian asked. The doll, who was fortunate to be wearing her Volleyball team sweatshirt, turned around and pointed at the spelling for the woman. “Okay and your first name?” She answered so quietly, the librarian asked her again. “Okay and when is your birth date?” In the meekest voice ever I heard her say “3-13…” The librarian gave her an odd look and then asked, “Are you sure?” The doll then turned toward me and gave me an odd look, before turning back around and said the correct month. After a few minutes, the librarian handed the doll her book and we were on our way.

“Mom its not my fault I’m shy.” The doll explained.  “Being shy is one thing…being difficult to hear is another. These people are helping you…but unless you raise your voice, no one will and you’ll always be lost. Don’t be afraid to speak out loud–especially since you have no trouble being loud at home. “Well that’s because the boy is loud. If I want to be heard, I have to talk over him…” she reasoned. “Well then it’s time to pretend the boy is always with you from now on…” I suggested.

Scrunching her nose she looked at me like I was insane and then said, “As if…”

“Hello, Hello…are you speaking?  I can’t hear you…”

“Not funny mom!”

the beast or burden…


“Mom remember that we need to go and buy my Halloween costume” the doll reiterated several times during the past week. I always grumbled back “Can’t you just go as a ghost with a sheet over your head?” “Mom twin and I are going as Indians….I need an Indian outfit”. “Again that could be accomplished with a sheet…” I tried. Each time I was met with a stern look of disdain and disappointment. “Fine, we’ll hit Savers, and see what they got.” I finally relented.

We entered the thrift store and were immediately greeted by a man in a hula skirt promising the best prices on Halloween costumes in town. Alas if you wanted to be a princess, a superhero or a whore; they had the perfect costumes for you. Finding Indian (as in cowboys and Indians) garb was proving harder to come by… That is until I spotted the most awful ugly tan colored women’s (floor length) dress in the world! It also came with a rock bottom price of $5.99! “Doll, look at this!” I proclaimed pulling the dress off the rack and holding it up against the doll for measurement sake. “Yeah what about it?” She scrunched her nose in disgust. “This is perfect for you!!” She must have thought I was joking at first, simply by the disgusting look she shot me. But then after taking a more scrutinizing look at the garment she asked “How?” “Hello..? Indian squaw..” I replied. “I don’t think so mom” she replied then went back to looking at the other racks. “Well whatever doll, but I’m not seeing a lot of other choices here…” I said before moving on.

“Mom! Where are you going?” The doll asked me. ” I’m gonna look over here… I said, moving away from the Halloween displays. “But mom!” The doll growled. “Doll find what you want..,and then we’ll discuss.” After a few minutes spent milling around the doll finally came to me and said “Okay that ugly dress will do, but I cannot be anywhere near you when you buy it”. “Afraid the ugly will wear off on you?” I asked amused when she harmlessly slapped my arm. Grabbing the dress off the rack I made my way to the checkout.

As promised, the doll hung back 10-15 feet away, pretending not to know me. “Did you find everything okay?” The young clerk asked me. “Yep, even an embarrassed eleven year old” I chuckled. Smiling the clerk asked, is that your daughter over there?” She asked pointing at the doll, whose back was still turned away from us. “Uh huh..” I said quite amused by the clerk’s actions. “Hey little girl, is this your mama?” The clerk asked loud enough for the doll to turn around and look. “C’mere…” She said and motioned for the doll to come over. Having been acknowledged, the doll walked over to me, slapped my arm and through gritted teeth asked “What did you say to her?” Before I could answer the clerk said to us “You really shouldn’t be embarrassed by anything you buy here right now; you have Halloween as an excuse right? You should be in here sometimes when men come in and buy large sparkled and glittery women’s underwear. Then it gets kinda freaky!” I couldn’t help myself and began laughing. The doll became more embarrassed and tried to hide behind me as the clerk continued on… “Yeah there are better times of the year to get embarrassed buying clothes here…but Halloween is not one of them.”

After paying for our costume and bidding good day to the clerk, we walked back to the car quietly. Once inside the car the doll said “I’d never be able to work here…” Smiling I said, “Oh I don’t know, sounds to me like those girls laugh a whole lot. Sounds like a fun job to me.” “Seriously?” The doll asked, eyebrows raised questioning my response. “Seriously!”

Boy and doll original thinkers…


The doll walked in the kitchen yesterday following school and said, “Mom I had a mishap with my lunch box again. Evidently I didn’t close my thermos tight enough and left over chicken broth spilled all over the inside of my lunch box. So Mrs. X helped me clean it up.” “Oh well that’s nice.” I returned. “Well she had me go down to Mrs. Y’s room to get a large plastic bag to put it in, but when I returned, Mrs. X was no longer there. Then Mrs. Z spotted me and told me to go to my next class. But I told her I was waiting for Mrs. X to return and she scolded me and told me she didn’t care what I was doing, I should be going to my next class”. I became dizzy by her extended explanation and wondered where this conversation was headed, when the doll quickly finished. “She was so mean to me I almost started crying. Mom I do not like Mrs. Z. Smirking back at her I replied, “Cheer up, you only have her for two and a half more years with her. unless she retires or something radical happens. You’re going to have to find a way to deal with her.” I said. Not allowing for my reply to sink in, the doll quickly retorted “You know what I think? If she was a character in the Percy Jackson Greek mythology series, she’d be the wicked monster that everyone is after!!”

Trying not to laugh, I made a mental note to remind myself later to thank Mrs Z for that exchange. In the grand scheme of things, some of the best teachers have been viewed as monsters from time to time.

“Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion”

While pulling up to the boy’s school this morning, Katy Perry’s song “Roar” came on the radio. Only hearing a small portion before exiting the car, the boy asked… “What is this? Did she like take the titles of popular songs, slap them together to create this song? How unoriginal”. Smiling back at him I said, “Be nice…” Before saying our customary morning goodbyes. As I drove off, I continued to listen to the catchy song and honestly came to the same conclusion as the boy…good beat but lyrically uninspiring.