Friday, July 26, 2013

How Mom Can Still Be a Hero

How Mom Can Still Be a Hero

I’m seeing “Man of Steel” this weekend.  Maybe some super powers will rub off on me.  I try to be a super mom, however my kids think I’m a pain in the rear.  

Once I donned my red cape and cleverly bribed my six-year-old with a much-desired Slip ‘n Slide so she’d attend the nursery at my Bible Study.  Don’t judge me.

She eagerly anticipated the ecstasy of “Plopping ‘n Sliding,” only to “Plop ‘n Stick” in our flat yard.  Thankfully, being well-trained in the Ovarian Theory of Physics, a genius idea dawned on me like the dawn, dawning.  I slathered the plastic tarp with baby oil—after trying vegetable oil and dish soap, if you must know.

And I was a Hero.

What’s the fine line between spoiling your kids and just trying to make them happy?  It depends on your time, money, and the appropriate dosage of meds.

As the kids get older, I’m still confused about whether my efforts to fix their lives are excessive. 

One daughter desperately wanted to get her drivers license on her 16th birthday.  The Oakland driver station (45 minutes away) was least crowded, but it was fully booked on her birthday for the driving portion of the test.  So instead, she took it in Whiteville, about 15 minutes PAST Oakland.  

She passed the test, and Barney Fife prematurely snapped her picture as soon as her rear hit the chair.  Therefore, her expression looked as though she’d had some bad chalupas.

Keep in mind, a 16-year-old’s most important accessory is her newly-laminated proof of complete freedom and independence.   A picture really doesn’t matter to me.  But to her . . . well there’s not much that matters MORE.

She snatched her license from Barney with a flair, and I immediately knew something was wrong. 

She slumped to the car.  “Mom, this picture is SO embarrassing!” she wailed.  “I can’t show this to ANYBODY!!” she sobbed, wiping tears.

As we drove home, dismayed churned into unglued.

Do I try to fix this or forget it?  Would it be silly and over-indulgent to return for another picture?  Would we have to wait an hour again?  

Would she be ostracized because of her photo I.D., lose her self-confidence and good grades, get rejected by Harvard, and end up living in a trailer with a feral cat?  So much to consider.

Now we’d driven too far to return to Whiteville.  My thoughts spiraled down to the bottom line. How did I want my daughter to remember her 16th birthday?   

More importantly, when she leaves home, what will she remember about ME?  Only that I love me some “Raspberry Beret?” 
I knew what I had to do.  Entering Oakland, I pulled into the driver station and explained our plight to the TDOT driving gods.  A few minutes later she happily displayed a new license and picture for eight bucks.  

Was it worth it?  You bet it was.

Most of the time my teens think I’m an embarrassment, a harsh judge, a police officer, a stalker, and a nagging dinosaur in mom jeans.  

Sometimes it’s really nice to still be a hero. 

Friday, July 19, 2013



Great post from Scary Mommy about airline travel with kids.  You'll relate, or it'll bring back memories.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Estrogen American Technology

Estrogen American Technology

Female drivers outnumber males for the first time in the U.S.  

Car manufacturers have already addressed the trend with separate, front seat “climate” systems.  I'm not sure men like seat warmers though.  When Single Guy is driving and asks his girlfriend to slide closer she says, “No thanks, I’ll stay here with my seat warmer because it ‘gets’ me.”

Here are more female-oriented features car manufacturers should consider:

More choices in car colors.  Maybe hot pink with a bold block print or a nice Vera Bradley pattern?

For the Artsy set, car changes color when it rains.

Selected phrases screamed when horn is blown such as, “Do NOT start with me, asinine!”  

A Navigation system that will never sound like a chick younger than me on a bar stool in Mexico, exhaling a cig as she croons “Turn North on Venturaaaaa....”

Instead, utilize a David Beckham voice which only uses “right” and “left” driving instructions and calls me “love.”  He’d also talk me off the ledge when my seat belt sensor determines that my blood pressure is dangerously high.

A gas gauge that tells you not just when you should get gas, but when you really, really need gas, you dipstick. 

You can tell David Beckham exactly what the mechanic said is wrong with your car and it determines if he’s a condescending scumbag liar.

A wine cooler in the center console that works even when car is off.  I don’t want to leave my car running at gymnastics just because I want cold chardonnay.  What kind of ozone-eating jerkwad do you think I am?

Ten sets of keys and clickers.

For the Hot Flash set—a retractable hose that one can direct down one’s shirt.

Sensor that will give little feet a shock if rested on the dashboard.

Window that can be raised to block juice boxes thrown from back seat. 

Back doors won’t open unless all the crap is off the floor.

A “Vroomba,” that wanders all over one’s car vacuuming.  It realizes the difference between Cheerios and Legos, storing the latter in a special compartment.

An alert when I come within a hundred yards of that judgey, tee-totaling PTA mom or someone selling wrapping paper.

If this journalism thing doesn’t work out, I’ll be in Detroit reviving the nation’s car industry and accepting the Nobel Prize on behalf of Estrogen Americans everywhere.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Redneck Riviera With Kids: It Ain’t All Peace, Love, and Putt-putt

Redneck Riviera With Kids:  It Ain’t All Peace, Love, and Putt-putt

For ten years my husband and I endured enjoyed, the sugary sands of the Redneck Riviera with a kid aged five or younger.  

Each summer I imagined peace, love, and Putt-putt.  I wore a badge of twisted optimism like some sort of hazy, Kodak-commercial, rose-colored glasses.  I always forgot the misery and bloodshed of the previous year.

One kid loved the water.  One hated it.  And one was Zombie Baby, walking around crying with her arms straight out and chubby fingers spread because the sand was yucky. 

We hauled a baby walker and a plastic pool down to the beach in addition to the usual mountain of essentials.  We were hard-core parents, and we were determined to freakin’ have fun.

Once my husband had to fly out on business during the last few days of our vacation and suggested I stay a little longer with the kids.  I wasn’t on Prozac . . . yet, but was obviously hallucinating when I agreed.  

Being alone with the kids on the beach was stressful because of all the whining and crying, and sometimes even the kids whined and cried.  

We had just settled under the umbrella when my five-year-old son wanted to retrieve a toy from the condo.  I refused to go get it because I’d have to drag the other two kids also.  He began wailing and grabbed my phone to call Child Protective Services.  Naturally, I tossed him enough sugar to induce a coma, dodging that bullet.

My three-year-old daughter could pull a dog bed full of a 20-lb. sleeping dog across the house and out the door because Max “need some fwesh aiwr,” but couldn’t carry a beach pail.  

On the last day my arms were loaded with gear, and when I asked her to carry the pail, she plopped down in the sand sobbing.  I bent over to pick her up and my beach bag swung off my shoulder and smacked her in the head.  With the weight of the bag hanging in front of me, I fell over her, head-first in the sand.  She was trapped face-up under a mesh beach chair and calmly asked my son to make another call to CPS.

My 18-month-old observed, shaking her head, and jotted something in a notepad.

The morning we flew home, I frantically gathered toys, put back the pans my daughter slung out of the cabinets, packed snacks and drinks, put the pans back again, and retrieved the cordless phone from the trash can.  

We raced an hour to the airport and while boarding, the kids loudly asked me 500 times whether my “throat huhwt” and was I going to drink those little bottles of “cough seh-wip” on the plane like I did last time.  Don’t judge me.  It was “Pre-WWW.” (Pre-World Wide Web)  YOU try to keep an 18-month old occupied on a 1 1/2-hour flight armed only with books, stickers, and a straw.

When my husband returned home, I immediately threw him the reigns, warning him that I felt sick.

“In fact,” I said fighting some phlegm, “I might be contagious.  I should probably lock myself in the bedroom . . . and I could really use some “cough seh-wip.”