Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Great Tooth Fairy Debacle of 2013

We’ve been married seven years, have two kids, have lived in eight homes, two countries and four states.  We speak each other’s native languages and have lived for at least a couple months with each other’s parents during transitions.  After all that, one would think we would have a clear understanding of each other's backgrounds.  And yet, as I learned the other day, there are still times when the great Turk/American cultural divide totally bites us in the ass.  

Did you know, there is no Tooth Fairy in Turkey?  No?  Me either. 

It was totally logical for me to believe that there would be a Turkish Tooth Fairy.  There is a Turkish Red Ridinghood, she just keeps it on the down-low by using the moniker- Kırmızı Başlıklı Kız.  Bert and Ernie have been fluent in Turkish since the early 70’s and even that sniveling little Caliou has found a massive fan base with tiny Turks.  For the love of God, they even have Santa, though he is called Baba Noel and instead of a big gut and long white beard he’s thin with a bushy 'stache and instead of milk and cookies he prefers a cup of tea and a smoke and instead of coming on December 25 th he doesn’t make an appearance until December 31st, but other than that…  Oh, cut them some slack, it’s tough to have a solid Christmas understanding in a Muslim nation.  But I digress.  With this knowledge of childhood icons it was reasonable for me to assume that there was also a tutu-clad gal that snuck into the sleeping quarters of young Turks and replaced their recently liberated baby teeth with a Lira or two.  But no.  This ugly truth was revealed last week when the Midget finally lost his first tooth.

For a 5 year old, that is pretty much the pinnacle of fitting in with one’s peers and we all know kindergartners can be pretty intimidating as far as peer pressure goes. The Midget was the last of his friends to go toothless but now he was part of the in-crowd.  As that little tiny white nugget freed itself in a piece of morning toast, there was much celebration.  I should have been tipped off by the impending cultural divide by the strange look I received from the Turk as I rushed to bag the tooth like evidence on CSI.  However, I get that look often so I paid it no mind.  I then began to remind the Turk to bring home cash for the great nighttime hand off and was met with yet another blank nod, but again, I thought it totally the norm.

As the day progressed and the Midget was filled with information from his merry band of munchkins on the playground, he was ready for the big payoff.  From dinner through bath he could discuss nothing else and as he carefully tucked the tooth under his pillow, the Turk finally said, “What in the hell are you doing?  Throw that thing in garbage.  It is disgusting.”  With big blue eyes the Midget said, “But Baba, the Tooth Fairy will take it.”  And then, there it was – the bomb was lowered– “What is Tooth Fairy?  There are no fairies.  Fairies are not real.   Why you pretending this?  Only the girls like the fairies.” 

Well hell.

Once again I had to swoop in and wipe away the pain of truth those damn Turks love to lay down all too often. His are a nation of people that find sheer joy from bursting bubbles with cold, hard reality.  I know.  I lived with them and came home with years’ worth of busted bubbles.  After shooting Baba the look – ladies, you all know the look to which I refer- and a quick dismissal of Baba’s accusations with the explanation that boys can like fairies too and that fairies do not like bad kids and Baba was a bad kid so therefore the Tooth Fairy never made a visit to him - it hit me.  

            “There is no Tooth Fairy in Turkey is there?”

“No.  What the hell is Tooth Fairy?”

“You leave your tooth under the pillow and in the morning the Tooth Fairy has taken it and replaced it with money.”

“Well that just sounds stupid.”

“What did your parents do when you lost a tooth?”

“Throw it in trash like you should do.”

“That's harsh and it's not happening.  This child is in America now and we are doing this like my people.”

“Ok, well maybe Fairy can bring me something too?”
             “Not a chance Turk. “

After the Midget had tucked the tooth and nodded off, there was much debate over the price per tooth and the absurdity of the tradition but I won and the Midget awoke to a payoff.  But the next morning there was much shrapnel to clean up thanks to Baba blowing the Fairy’s cover and as we got ready for school, I was met with an interrogation:

“Is it a he or a she?”  - “He” – It just seemed more festive in my mind to make the Tooth Fairy a drag queen.

“How does he know I lost a tooth?”   -  “I call the hotline.”

“What’s the number?”  - “1-888-Toothy-go.”

“How does he get in?”  - “Backdoor”

“Does he keep the teeth?” – “Yes?”

“Did he dig Baba’s teeth out of the trash when he was little?”  - “Um, sure.”

“What does he do with the teeth?”  - “Um, gives them to babies.”

“So the tooth my brother is getting might be my old one?  Gross Mom.”  - “Yes that is gross.”  Mom doesn’t always think so fast on her feet.

“Do I get more money for bigger teeth?” –  “No.”

“Well that’s a rip off.”   -  At least he’s still well adjusted.

Now that I’ve saved Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy all in the past couple years I’m pretty certain I can take on anything…until the next great cultural divide.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Long Walk to School

Lazy Asses - Exhibit A

America, we are a nation of lazy asses.  I know this is no news flash.  If you doubt me, count how many  
drive thrus you encounter on your daily commute, and while these are super handy when you have a car full of short people or a disgruntled infant in tow at the same time you desperately need to deposit a check, I find it difficult to believe that this bounty of drive thrus was brought into being by the needs of mothers nationwide. If the needs of mothers were important in this country we wouldn’t be breastfeeding in toilets…but I digress.  No, we have drive thrus everywhere because we are just freakin’ lazy! And the worst part is we are making the future generations even lazier than we are, if that is even possible.  

This was evidenced last week when The Midget brought home a flyer for “International Walk to School Day.”  Hubba whaaaa?  Yes, it appears there is a special day, once a year when kids are encouraged to do the unthinkable and actually walk to school.  And just to make us feel better about ourselves, we pretend that this is a worldwide issue by tagging it 'International'.  Trust me, it’s not.   I’ve been a lot of places, lived a lot of places and I’ve got friends in a lot of countries and I assure you, we are pretty much alone in this issue.

So according to the flyer, The Midget’s school is organizing a special event for kids that are normally dropped off by parents – not those on the bus because that is too complicated- but for those who normally car pool, they can be dropped at an off camps location where they meet school officials and walk together to school.  Great idea right?   All kids should have the joy of doing what some of did every morning, rain or shine.  All kids should have the luxury of getting to school simply by the power of their own two feet, walking 20 miles in the snow, uphill both ways with nothing but bread sacks to protect their delicate feet.  Yes, having all kids take that long walk to education will teach them the value of the privilege they are given by the US government.  And on that long walk to school, as we sweat from the exertion and cramp from the weight of our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpacks, we will leave no child behind.  As I read the flyer and finally got past the ridiculousness of the concept, I began to think…yes, maybe this is a good idea.  Until I read further.

“Students that have submitted the attached permission slip by October 7, should be dropped off at the Presbyterian Church on 106th street at 7:30am.  We will walk from there to school” 106th street is approximately one and one half blocks from the school.  One and one half blocks?  Yes.  It seems the children of American are only capable of walking one and one half blocks to school to understand the trials of others that must commute on foot every day.  Oh, and that walk will take 35 minutes.  The permission slip also asked for emergency contact numbers, clearly in case someone gets a blister on that massive trek and needs immediate medical attention.  Or worse, in the event that someone trips on a stray acorn and needs an ambulance rather than being carried to the school nurse one and one half blocks away.  In addition to requesting the emergency contact, there is also a segment entitled “Health concerns for my child during the walk.”  This is where a parent is supposed to write:

“I am concerned that my son will collapse from exertion during this lengthy excursion
Please stop at the ¾ block mark to provide hydration and small nourishment (nut and gluten free please).  If he seems too tired to continue, please call me immediately and I will come and drive him the rest of the way to school.  Thank you, Collin’s Mother”

There has been significant hype since the initial flyer was sent home trying to rally troops to participate in this “special opportunity.”  It appears there haven’t been a lot of takers thus far.  I’d like to think that this is because these kids find the concept of walking one and one half blocks to experience the life of a kid who walks to school is a little bit lame.  Even my darling kindergartener – who walks to and from school every day- thought the concept was ridiculous.  However, judging by the physiques of many of the kids I see when I pick-up the Midget each day, I may be projecting.  

Yes, I will admit, some mornings it would be a lot easier to just pull up in front of the school and drop off the Midget rather than bundling up the baby, loading him into the carrier and trekking across the neighborhood to school with a chirping five year old lugging a ginormous backpack, but we don’t.  We need the exercise and the fresh air and we need to lessen our dependence on our car.  More important, I want the concept of traveling on foot to be a normal idea for our children, just like it is for The Turk and me.  So while we are coming up with ridiculous days to celebrate – International Walk to School Day, I’m looking at you- how about we just have – Get Up Off Our Fat Asses Day.  We certainly all need it – especially our kids.  This country can handle no more Honey Boo Boos.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Let's Talk About Tattoos

Can we take a moment to talk about tattoos?  I’ll admit that in general,  the idea of tattoos seldom enter my mind until I see a particularly tacky one peeking out from above a rotund buttcrack, shouting “Hello World!  I’m bustin’ outta here!”  But recent trips to our neighborhood pool have brought the topic to the forefront of my mind as I ponder the horrors of irresponsible body art.  Now before you jump to the conclusion that I am some type of conservative or worse, a prude with no understanding of, or respect for, semi-permanent bodily adornment, let me stop you.  I went to art school.  I spent most of my twenties and a hunk of my thirties in plaid miniskirts, motorcycle boots and a shining nose ring.  I still wear 6 earrings in each ear, have a fondness for skulls and even with 2 kids in tow, I’m still occasionally mistaken for a roller derby queen.  So I know a few things about stylistic choices and permanent adornment.  But through all those years of alternative fashion choices, I was always sensible enough to keep one thing in mind – someday I will be old and saggy and my tattoos will also become old and saggy as well.  What I’ve learned from this summer spent at the neighborhood pool is that I was probably alone in that thought process.
As the temps began to soar and my child’s time away from preschool made him even more spastic, I  sought refuge in the two-foot section of our local pool along with hundreds of others parents and grandparents of short people just learning to swim.  One gaze around the vast pool provided a sea of body art ranging from those that evoke a subtle, “hmmmm,” to those that cause one to proclaim “Lord, I hope he was drunk.” 
The pool’s inhabitants ran a wide gamut.  Beginning with those very, very few, taut young bodies with perky boobs showing off fresh tattoos as they splashed along with children they were being paid to tend , to those grandmothers whose tattooed boobs sagged to the water 3 feet beneath.  There were those in the late 20’s to mid 30’s range with tattoos on calves or backs, still fresh enough to flaunt yet losing ground every day.  And then there was my own group, the forty-something moms- with tattoos faded and sagging but thankfully, save for a few tramp-stamps on those brave enough to still rock a two-piece; ours are small and conservatively placed on our shoulders or ankles where they remain hidden during the rest of our grown up life.  But the crowd that really caught my eye were those in the over 60 crowd- those I like to call the Shock and Awe crew.    
As my son flailed about like a carp heading upstream, I was distracted by a true Shock and Awer in the form of a bikini-clad grandmother a mere foot away from me.  Bikini Granny was covered in poorly placed and ill-chosen tattoos in addition to her leather-like glow.  In the brief minutes I spent staring, I saw a desperate Yogi Bear sliding down a sagging breast towards her knee, a mermaid who had her own sagging breasts taking a one way trip down her left butt-cheek towards her ankle and what once must have been a wreath of flowers around her upper arm slowly becoming a bracelet and these were the only ones that were semi-identifiable.  Bikini Granny was a poster child for bad choices in one’s youth but in her defense, she clearly had no regrets as she was a geriatric in a string bikini.
Yes, I understand many of us get tattoos when we are young and later grow to regret something that was clearly sage-like in its symbolism 20 years prior.  But before getting a photorealistic engraving of your favorite stripper Sapphire and her pole down your spinal column, it should occur to you that one day you might have some explaining to do in the baby pool.  Before allowing the artist to tattoo a flaming skull across the expanse of your thigh, you might think, “Hmmm, how will this look when I’ve 40 and my thighs have doubled in size and are dotted with cellulite?”   Or most importantly, before getting that tattoo of Jesus on the cross tattooed mere inches from your crotch, you really should ask– “What would Jesus say about this?”  I’m not a religious gal, but I think that one might have bordered on blasphemy.  And these above mentioned moments of artistic expression are just a slight sampling of what I witnessed the summer amid the Little Mermaid swimmees and Light McQueen wetsuits.
           Humanity, I implore you to think.  Before you choose to let that individual with the giant ear gauges and neck tattoos change your life for the long term, think about what you will look like when you’re a retiree.  Will you really be a bad ass in the nursing home if your skull and crossbones is sliding down into your granny panties?  Is that flag that shows your national pride going to remain prideful when it’s flapping on its own as you wave to your grandchildren?   Is that full tattoo sleeve still going to be edgy when you’ve got it tucked under an off white cardigan as you head off to prayer group with Bertha and Mildred?  My guess is no. 
So while you make look fan-freaking-tastic in the pool when you are 20 and perky, you will not be 20 for very long but that tattoo will stay with you forever.  Do you want Yogi Bear hanging onto you nipple for dear life as menopause takes over?  I didn’t think so.  But you know, I'm just a cranky old gal and you damn young whippersnappers will do what you please.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Something Fishy Goin' On....

“Mom!  Baba said we could get a fish tank and get all kinds of cool fish to go in it and decorate it to look
just like Bikini Bottom.  He even said I could get Sponge Bob’s house so the fish had a place to live.”  squealed an elated Midget as he burst in the door back from a shopping trip with his father.

“Oh did he?”

“And he said that if I take care of the fish, we can get a bulldog.”

“I thought you wanted a baby?”

“I changed my mind.  I’d rather a dog.”

“Sorry buddy, but you’re getting a baby and trust me, there’s no changing your mind on that one.”

“That’s ok.  We can get a baby, a dog and the fish.”

“And who will take care of all these?”



“Sure.  But when I forget you  can take care of them.  It will be fine” 

“Exactly.”  The kid lived in Turkey for 2 years and somehow in that short time he managed to master the way of the Turkish man – all he’s missing is the giant mustache.

I didn’t sign on to Baba’s big plan at the onset. It took me a few weeks to come around.  Don’t misunderstand; I’m a big fan of fish, probably because I’m a Pisces.  But aside from all that hippy-dippy crystal-hugging madness, I’ve always been rather fond of communing with my tropical, finned brethren be it by snorkeling or just watching them flit about a fab tank.  Heartless as I may sound, I also have a fondness for a nice sea bass on the grill – though living in a country like Turkey where they are hell bent on serving the entire fish, head and all did prove to be a challenge. The thing is, I love the little guys and it’s that love that has long kept me from allowing a fish tank into my home.  Because in the end, they have to die and it’s that moment of fishacide that I’m just not capable of handling. 

Yes, I realize that it's odd for someone who spent her formative years with a mortician for a step-father to be so traumatized by the thought of finding Nemo belly-up, but I'm sensitive like that.  Yet somehow, being knocked up clouded my judgment and in a moment of weakness, I relented and allowed a fish tank decorated to look like SpongeBob’s ‘hood to enter my home much to the glee of the two Turks who wanted it.

On day one, the Turks took part in Habitat for Fishmanity from one end of the house to the other.  The Turk and the Midget carefully selected every plant and decoration from the tiny Patrick Star in one corner, down to the giant Incredible Hulk statue in the other.  Once the new home was decorated to their liking, the boys and I headed out to choose our new family members with the knowledgeable assistance of a troll-like fish lovin’ gal at Petco.  By the end of a long Saturday, Darth, JarJar and Luke Skywalker Fish were happily swimming through the crotch of the Hulk and over Patrick’s head as the Midget giggled in delight.  Finally, we had our first pet.

Things went well for the first week.  The neon hued trio adjusted quickly to their new home and the Midget only neglected to feed his brood a couple times.  However, by week two, problems began to arise with Luke Skywalker.  He was downtrodden and seemed to only want to spend time hiding in the dark depths of the Hulk’s crotch.  I diagnosed him as chronically depressed but though I Googled for hours, I found no
pharmaceutical currently on the market approved for use on minuscule marine life. 

By week two I had no choice but to admit I was dealing with a suicidal fish and hence began a deathwatch.  Unfortunately, I was not the party to witness the aftermath.  The Midget found the crime scene first.  Following a solemn and tear-filled burial in the porcelain receptacle in our bathroom, I made the stupid parenting mistake of promising to fill our tank with even more love in the wake of the tragedy.

The boys selected the next family members themselves and upon arriving home after an evening class, I was introduced to a school of 5 new fish with day-glo stripes down their sides.  As the Midget beamed with pride over his now bustling Bikini Bottom, I offered the Turk that look.  You know, the look every woman offers when her husband does something particularly stupid but she doesn’t want their offspring to know just how stupid.  In Turkish, the language of anger and hostility in our home, I asked- “5 freaking fish?   What the hell is wrong with you?  I had 2 hours of tears when Luke Skywalker died and now you replace him with 5 freaking fish?”

“He liked them.”

“Well I’d like a hot gardener named Rico to take care of my lawn but just because I like Rico doesn’t mean we get him.”

“But the troll lady at Petco said they must be colony.  They live only as colony so you can’t have just one.”

Here’s a good fact to know dear reader… if they live as a colony, they die as a colony.  
We had a good week before the Storm Troopers started dropping off like victims of a fishy plague. 
Within days we were down to one and while he held strong, one day he was simply missing from roll call.  We  searched the entire 16 inch rectangular crime scene and found nothing.  We even cleaned out the entire tank, removed all the scenery, cleared out the gravel and still- no body.

“I think Darth Vader ate him.”  I told the Turk.

“Honey they are same size. He cannot eat him.”

“Oh really?  Then where is he?”

“He jump out and kill himself because he is lonely.”  This was yet another of those Turk proclamations I’ve become so accustomed to over the years where I hope he is joking but he is not.

“Are you insane?”

“It can happen.  When I was kid, my fish did that all the time.”

“That’s because even the fish didn’t want to live in a hot old high-rise in Turkey.”

But being the (occasionally) supportive wife I am, we proceeded to move bookcases and search for our jumper.  No body was recovered and I still stick to my Darth Vader theory.  His sly fishy grin gives him away.

After the week of tears shed over each lost Storm Trooper and a week of toilet bowl funerals, I did what only a good matriarch would do and issued a proclamation.  “No more damn fish in this house.  We have two happy fish swimming around let’s just be happy with them and No More!”   And as those Turks is my home are wont to do, they totally ignored me and last weekend showed up once again with a bag full of fish.

“Look Mom!  Baba got me more fish!”

“6?  You got him 6 more fish?”

“No, I only pay for 4.  The guy caught too many so he gave the others free.”

“Regardless of the money spent, we now have 6 more fish to eventually mourn when they go to the big coral reef in the sky.”

“None will die this time.  I grew up on the sea.  I know how to pick good fish and this time. These are good fish.”

Fast forward to Sunday- the Midget and I again searching aimlessly for a missing fish.  Two hours later we once again strung up the crime tape and called in CSI to investigate the body of one dead Chewbacca Fish found beneath the filter. 

The next day - Tarful was located belly-up.

Day 3 - A dead Han Solo was located in Bikini Bottom

And moments ago, I completed my 4th fish funeral of the week as we waved farewell to Mace Windu as  he swirled round and round the bowl to heaven.

4 down, 2 to go.

I know how to pick good fish my ass.

But through it all there is still one fish going strong....Darth Vader.  Considence?  I think not.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Just Love Summer...Said No Chubby Girl Ever

“I just love summer.” Exclaimed the Midget’s teacher this morning on this first warm day of summer like temperatures.  Oh do you?  Well sister, I can tell you right now that I will not be joining your perky twig-like ass in that sentiment.  Much like I will not join you frolicking on the beach, prancing about in a bikini or wearing any thigh baring attire.   “I just love summer” is not a statement one would ever hear passing from the lips of a chubby girl.  And most certainly not something a pregnant chubby girl like myself would even dream of uttering.  While the rest of the world here in my city has been lamenting the horror of a winter that seemed to hold on for eternity, I was secretly sending prayers of thanks through my online portal to St. Jude.  Another week of furry clogs, jeans and flab concealing sweaters?  Sign me up.

For about 35 of the 41 years of my life, I have dreaded summer.  Part of it is due to my paper-white Irish skin that, if not glowing like a night-light, is a red beacon warning of impending skin cancer sometime later in life.  Regardless of my varying degrees of chub – and trust me, in 41 years there have been a lot of varying degrees of chub, I have always dreaded summer.   I haven’t donned a two-piece since I was 4 and I haven’t gone sleeveless since 1989.  Yes, I know, I’ve seen plenty of those women who have no shame, pour their sizable asses into tiny bikinis and leave their ham-like arms exposed to flap like flabby flags in the breeze and each time I think – “You go girl.”  I wish, hidden deeply within my soul there was one of those women who didn’t give a damn that the world could hear the rubbing together of her thighs from 12 feet away.  But alas, she does not exist and the older I get, the more fabric I seem to require to make a public appearance.  My shorts now must be at least knee length and my sleeves must graze the elbow.  I’m assuming by the age of 60, I’ll be rocking the Bea Arthur caftan.

It’s not just my own body issues that cause me to dread the summer months, it’s my issues with other’s bodies as well.  In the winter, the majority of humanity has the decency to cover their hammer toes and fungused nails with boots and closed toe shoes, yet somehow when the thermometer hits 70 degrees, all bets are off.  You can’t even walk through a decent Target without being assaulted by hairy pits and neglected toenails –and God bless those poor souls that might venture into a Walmart during summer months- I hear it’s like a freak show wrapped in cheap fabrics and body hair.  It’s simplyt indecent I say.  If  Barak would just get back to me on the position I requested within his administration as Czar of Public Decency, my first proclamation would be to make it a law that if you want to expose your metatarsals, they must be pristine - clean, well manicured and neatly filed into uniform size and shape.   This of course would be followed by no cheap flip-flops, no sandpaper heels and of course manicured body hair in all exposed regions.  And don’t even get me started on the BO.

One would think having survived 3 years of harsh summers with four months of temps in the 100’s in a country filled with BO and generally void of central air such as Turkey, I might be better acclimated to the milder summers of America, but alas, no.  In Turkey I viewed summer as a torture akin to water-boarding that I simply had to endure to come out on the other side.  I hid under umbrellas, laid before fans and held my nose on all forms of public transportation.  To be honest, the Turks aren’t big fans of summer either, they just adapt better.  They flee to the sea, life slows to a snail’s pace and they drink hot beverages to trick their bodies into believing they aren’t as hot as they could be.  The minute it gets into the 80’s here my Turk shuts down and reverts to his genetics.  And the Midget?  With his gene pool, he’s just a mess in the warm temps- surly, snarky, whiny, slow and ½ sunburned.

As it’s only the first of May and considering a significant portion of the country is getting snow, I rest assured that I may have a few more days of fashion safety within me before I too am forced to bare arms.  But with that in mind America, let me urge you to take this time to take care of yourselves.  Fix your hammer toes, shave those legs and by all means, if you feel the need to expose your cellulite to the rest of us, use a little self-tanner.  As my mother always said, “Tan fat is far more attractive than pale fat.”  Amen Mom.

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Ode to Old Moms- I'm Talking to You My New BFF Halle Berry

I thought I was an old mom having my first a few days after turning 36, but Halle Berry, just announced at
My new BFF Halle and her Baby-Daddy
46- about to be 47-that she is knocked up.  Now that, my friends, is a seriously old mom.  Age may be just a number but dang girl, that’s a big number.  Of course, that baby is swimming in a gene pool filled with a nice mixture of gorgeous and crazy from both parents so I assume that when that kid is about 16 and Halle and Oliver are in their 60’s, that mixture may come back to bite them in their tired old asses but what the hell, they’ll have same great years before that.

All one has to do is read a few message boards on the interweb to be privy to a load of trash talk about we old moms but seriously, it’s not a new phenomenon.  Many of us raised in the Catholic world had grandmothers who still popped out kids well into their 40’s and it was really no big whoop.  As Halle said, "I'm a much better mother at 46, or 41 when I had her, than if I were 21 or 25. I was just a little baby, just trying to figure it out, trying to figure out who I was, let alone have the responsibility of trying to help another little soul develop and grow.  I'm so glad I waited."  To that I say – EXACTLY Halle.  Right on girl.

Last week Gloria Steinem spoke out against people bashing pregnant celebs for their weight gain, (I’m talking about you sleazy Kardashian sister), but I think she should have done the same for those who like to bash we geriatric moms.  Some women, like myself, had to wait a little longer to find their Turk-charmings and thus we don’t get around to breeding until we’re old broads.  And being an old mom is awesome.  Here are a few reasons why.

We’re laid back and more patient- partially because we’re already tired so taking a little longer to do things is totally cool with us.

We’re not insane about the safety issues, after all, we old broads are from a childhood without bike helmets and kneepads and we lived to tell.

We’re not afraid to tell you that you suck at teaching our kids (yes, I’m talking to you cranky old  swimming lesson lady from last week!) because we’re old broads and age has given us that right to speak our minds.

We’ve seen a lot of people raise their kids in all these years (especially those of us who were teachers!) and have been able to compile a mental log of what works and what doesn’t work which we then apply to our own parenting.

We’re willing to breastfeed for the long haul because our boobs are already saggy – we got nothing to lose.

We already did our time sitting in stinky bars and waking up with cotton mouth and killer headaches and are now perfectly content to spend a Friday night watching the Muppets instead of hitting up happy hour.

We don’t get all postal about stretch marks, because as old broads, stretch marks are the least of our worries after crows feet, the waddle and an occasional chin hair.

Chasing Midgets well into one’s 40’s keeps us looking and feeling way younger than those that are grandparents in their 40’s.  Sassy Midget's like mine, born to old moms simply don’t take – “No, Mom’s tired” for an answer.  They just look at you and say, “Suck it up old lady, we’re hitting the playground.”

And ultimately, we old moms waited so damn long to have these kids that we’re going to enjoy every minute of it, even if we have to do it from our Get-Around-Chair.

So Halle, as I get ready to have my second little Turk in a couple months after having just turned 41, I offer a toast of sparkling water to us old, knocked up broads.  May our swollen feet and cankles only better provide us with an understanding of things to come as we enter our 80’s in a few scant years.  But more than that, may we be thankful that our children will still be young and frisky enough to care for our old asses and not break their own hips while helping Mommy into the Senior Center.  We may be older and we may face more risks but above all else, we're wiser.  We’re going to show up that skinny ass princess and that fat ass Kardashian because we’ve done this before and we got this.  But most importantly, we both have some sassy 5 year olds at home who have never wanted anything like they want these siblings on the way.  Clearly Halle, we are meant to be BFFs 4-Ever.

Call me gurrrlll!!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just Call Me June...

In my mind, I’m June Cleaver with a few extra pounds, sensible shoes and a bit of a potty mouth.  I keep a nice house and Ward comes home to a healthy home cooked meal every night.   Ward and the Beaver have never had to suffer through frozen pizza or dinner of unnaturally orange macaroni and cheese (though I’ve have requests) and on the weekends, the Turks get homemade desserts and quite often, handmade bread.  I know, I know, as a highly educated woman my age raised  in the age of feminism, I am not supposed to  regress in such a manner, but to hell with that nonsense, (I told you June had a potty mouth) I really enjoy cooking and I really enjoy doting on my boys.  Besides, I think they both know this can’t go on forever, so they might as well enjoy it before Mom rebels. 

My biggest June-like weakness, aside from Halloween, which isn't really about making a kick ass costume for the love of my son, but for the love of blowing the minds of the other kids, is birthdays.  If my dear little Midget makes a request, I do my best to honor that.  Now don’t think for a moment that I am going to throw out big bucks on a party complete with pony rides and dancing clowns.  Ah hells no.  I may be a fool but at the end of the day, I am cheap.  Really cheap.  If I can’t make it, it can’t happen.  Lucky for him, after almost 20 years working in theatre, there isn't much his mom can’t make one way or another without a little dramaturgy and some consultation with my team of theatre professionals- aka besties.

 This year I decreed it was time to finally give in and have the dreaded "kid party".  So next week, a team of 4 and 5 year old boys and myself will be exploring the ways of the Jedi as they swing pool noodle light sabers through my living room and devour a cake made to look like Darth Vader’s head.  We’ll be pinning the ears on Yoda and running obstacle courses in the hopes of getting promoted from padawans to full on Jedi Knights.   And in typical June Cleaver fashion, I’m already prepared a week early.  But what I wasn't prepared for were the school treats.  Why not?  Because the Midget and I had totally different ideas on what those treats would be.  

Perhaps for kids, the most important element of the birthday celebration, after the presents, are the school treats.   Think about it, who didn't love to strut the classroom catwalk handing out awesome cupcakes to a room full of drooling classmates who had been waiting for a sugar high all day long?  In years prior, the Midget was too young to have an opinion so I just made whatever I thought was adorably fab and festive and he basked in cupcake glory offered up by small people feeling the effects of sugar and Red Dye #5 filled icing.  This year however, he’s turning  5 and anyone familiar with the workings of 5 year olds knows they have more opinions than their geriatric counterparts, the 80 year old. 

Due to the calendar this year, the Midget’s birthday happens to fall on Easter Sunday.  I was excited by the prospect of sending a charming, yet uncomplicated, Easter-themed treat.  I’d created an entire Pinterest board filled with bunny-butt cookies and egg-shaped cake pops.  I’d even drooled over the pastel sprinkles I would surely use on my bunny butts.  In a world void of pastels and all things feminine, a mom longs for a moment of legitimately utilizing lavender and pink. 

As I broached my choices with the Midget I was immediately met with a –
“No way Mom.  It’s my birthday, not Easter.”  

I tried to explain that, in fact, it was both but he wasn’t having it.  “I want Chewbacca cupcakes and if I can’t have Chewbacca, I think it should be JarJar Binks.  Maybe Jango Fett but definitely not bunnies.”

 For three weeks I tried.

"Isn’t this one cute?”

“No.  It’s girly.  I really want Star Wars.”

“How about this one?  Look, it’s his butt – a bunny butt!  It’s hilarious!”
“No.  That’s for Easter.  This is my birthday.”

And then it hit me.  I’d done just what I’d hated my entire life.  For the majority of my childhood, for every birthday I had a shamrock cake.  I got shamrock cards, had shamrock napkins, shamrock plates and I took some variation of a shamrock cupcake to school every single year.  When you’re born into an Irish family the day before St. Patrick’s day, you don’t get much choice.  The one year I dreamed of a Barbie cake and finally got one even that poor skinny bitch with the big rack had to wear a green dress adorned with shamrocks.  My dad used to take me for a Shamrock Shake every year as a special treat (I freakin’ despise Shamrock Shakes but I never let on) and even as a grown up in Philadelphia, every single year someone would give me those nasty Irish Potato candies.  It was rough and I never had the nerve to say a word, but clearly my offspring was not the same.

So last night after a long day of work I set to making Chewbacca cupcakes with two different kinds of chocolate fur icing and all the details Chewbacca might demand.  They took hours and within those hours my darling Midget was most likely exposed to more profanity than recommended by the National Academy of Pediatrics.  “This is it!  Next year we’re buying the *$&@*#*$#&* cupcakes!”  Were they perfect?  No.  Hardly an exact rendering of our furry friend but the Midget was elated.   And in the end, isn’t that why June Cleaver was perennially perky and why she scoured her pans to a shine and mastered a delectable pot roast?  Because it made her boys happy and in turn, she was happy?   I’m with you on that June.

So my apologies Sheryl Sandberg, I will not be relaxing on my family duties so I can Lean In, right now, rather  I will be leaning in to what I love, my family.   Because no paycheck in the world can replace the hug and kisses that came from a plate of Chewbacca cupcakes – no matter how long they took to make.