Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Hate That!

Slamming my finger in anything

Migraine headaches

Vicoden and Valium require a doctor’s prescription

Stubbing my toe

Closed casket funerals (If you die and I care enough about you to actually put on panty hose and attend your funeral, I want to see you dead. This helps me know you’re really dead and to get closure and not expect to see you again. It also helps me to focus on the wonderful things the minister says about you instead of wondering what your mother-in-law has dressed you in and if your body is destined to spend eternity wearing a less than flattering shade of lipstick.)


The slapping noise my breasts make against my rib cage if I run up the stairs without a bra

Morning sickness

Babies die

Sports bras worn as “bra tops” There is NO SUCH THING AS A BRA TOP. There are bras, tops, and tops that contain built in bras. It’s a bra and you’re wearing it without a top. You wouldn’t wear just your thong around the gym, please don’t wear just your bra. I understand we all have nipples, I don’t need visual confirmation of yours.)




My mother insisting on asking what I’m bringing to Christmas dinner - in J-U-L-Y. (If you ask me in July, the answer is NOTHING.)

My mother insisting on Christmas shopping for my children - in J-U-L-Y. (Who knows what they will be into in six months or what size they will be then? If you force me to give an answer in July, its your own fault they don’t like your gift.)




People who feel sorry for my children because I work. (Don’t worry about my kids, worry about your own that don’t get much of a chance to be away from you and your judgment.)




Stupid people who drive, talk to me, shop where I shop, are elected to any position of power, or are on TV.

Cell phone stalkers (I have caller id and know how to check my missed calls and access my voicemail. I am not deaf and if I didn’t answer, it’s NOT because I didn’t hear the phone.)



Thongs located anywhere but on my feet


Men who insist on taking up a pedicure chair that would otherwise be available to me (You make more money than I do, you’ve never had a period, a baby or a pap spear and you can have an orgasm as easy as you can snap your fingers... get out of my chair.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Things Unspoken

The Christmas when my son was two and a half, there were lots of things on his Christmas list. A few of the items were actually things he himself added (anything remotely related to Thomas the Tank Engine, Scooby Do slippers, a fire truck, a construction truck Lego set). Being his mother, I was naturally clairvoyant regarding a few items he was going to love but he, at two and a half, didn’t have the life experience to know he really wanted. And two things that he really wanted were a baby doll and a kitchen.

Now I KNOW what you’re thinking, “here we go, politically correct liberal feels a need to bring out the feminine side in her son. She wants to make damned sure he doesn’t grow up not knowing its OK to cry. She really wanted a girl so she’s going to make him a substitute. She’s mad at men so she’s going to ‘fix’ the one she gave birth to.” Well, NOPE... none of the above. No big agenda here. Here’s the deal... I was trying to get pregnant with who turned out to be his sister, and wanted my son to have a baby doll so we could practice what it was like having a baby around the house... you know.... “we rock the baby, we’re GENTLE with the baby, babies wear diapers and sleep in cribs and ride in strollers.” I wanted him to have a kitchen for an equally practical purpose.... so that he would have somewhere to play in the REAL kitchen without emptying my cabinets and trying to “help” me cook each evening.

So anyway... the J-U-L-Y before the above mentioned Christmas, my mother calls and this is what follows:

Her: “What does he want for Christmas?”
Me: (obviously, forgetting who I was speaking with): “A kitchen.”

Her: “What??????????????”
(I admire the consistency with which she feigns deafness every time I say something she doesn’t want to hear, which is just about every time she calls.)
Me: “A kitchen.”

(What happens next is about twenty minutes of her trying to talk me out of buying him a kitchen. It was established immediately that SHE would not be buying him a kitchen and then the conversation quickly shifted to her trying to convince me this was an unnecessary gift for me or anyone else to buy for my son. Right away I picked up on the fact that she thought this was a gift only appropriate for girls. However, she wasn’t saying that. She became supremely frustrated and finally....)

Her: “WHAT IF HE GROWS UP TO BE a... a... a... a... CHEF?????????”

(ahhh, now we’re getting somewhere)

Me: “Do you mean gay?”

Her(Exasperated and Breathless): “What?????????”
(She really needs to see an Otolaryngologist about this intermittent deafness.)
Me: “Gay.”

Her: “I didn’t say THAT.”
Me: “Is that what you meant?”

Her: “NO!”
Me: “Good. I’m okay if he grows up to be a chef.”
(I add silently): “Or Gay.”

Okay, fast forward five months and it’s now my son’s third Christmas. I’m not pregnant yet, but I’m due to ovulate on New Year’s Eve and plan to party like its 1999... Which it is. I’ll regret this in September of 2000, when I’m in labor and I would have had a better chance of my mom buying my son a kitchen than finding an available anesthesiologist in my hospital where quite the little baby boom was going on. But, when my daughter is old enough, it will be a funny story to tell her that she was conceived on the eve of the new Millennium.

Anyway, over the fall my mother had come to understand, if not accept, that my son WOULD be receiving a kitchen from Santa. Santa is not a homophobe and has nothing against chefs, so when my son requested a kitchen from Santa at the mall a few weeks earlier (prompted by his loving mommy) it was not a problem. What my mother WAS unprepared for was the baby doll he was getting from me and my husband on Christmas Eve.

Understand, I was at the time only the mommy of a boy. I had not ever once purchased a baby doll. I was a little surprised to see that 99.9 percent of them were pink or at least dressed in pink. I didn’t have anything against the pink baby dolls per se, but when I saw this cute little one in a blue and green striped outfit it seemed right for a boy, so I purchased it. It was in a box and I wrapped it up, put it under the tree and didn’t give the little ticking time bomb another thought, until…

It’s Christmas Eve and my son unwraps the doll. He likes it... not the reaction we received to the new Thomas the Tank Engine toys, but he likes it. He holds it, plays with it a bit and then decides as any two and half year old would, to undress it. The little blue and green striped outfit is snug and my son is having a hard time getting it off. Enter stage right, my mother. She swoops in to help my son undress the doll. Suddenly, without warning, the following ensues on my living room floor back lit by the idyllic Christmas Tree, in the slow motion version only granted to those, like me, who can occasionally see what is about to happen, but not in enough time to adequately intervene.

(As the outfit pulls across the doll’s head...)

My Mother (Sputtering): “uh... uh... uh... this uh... doll... has a... a... a...”

My Son (clearly, without reservation and proud to help my mom find her words): “A PENIS!!!”

Now, to this day I’m not sure if my mother was more upset by the fact that the doll did indeed have a penis or that my son said “THE WORD.” There are many things that are NEVER spoken of in my mother’s presence and penises and anything related to them are at the top of the list. Suddenly, that damned kitchen she had given me SO much grief about was looking pretty freaking good.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What I Hope to Teach My Stepford Children

1) Pokemon Trainer is not a real profession.

2) There is no profession I will approve of that includes a pole.

3) Tithing is a gift you give yourself.

4) Sometimes the only way out of something is through it.

5) Life isn’t fair, but you’ve gotten a better start than 99 percent of the world’s population.

6) Money will not make you happy, but it can make your life a whole lot easier (so work hard).

7) If you’re not getting what you want, trying giving someone else what they want.

8) Sarcasm is encouraged.

9) Gratitude is required.

10) Your life will not turn out how you planned.

11) Number ten is a good thing.

12) Be thankful for your tragedies, they teach you more than anything else ever could (Thank you Cameron for teaching me this).

13) God has a sense of humor and expects you to have one too.

14) While honesty is the best policy, knowing when to shut up is just as critical.

15) Be kind to wait staff, they have hard jobs and they have control over the food you are going to put in your mouth.

16) Faith is a choice—choose wisely.

17) Alcohol, a piece of plywood, a flight of stairs and a fire extinguisher should never be used at the same time.

18) Tattoos are permanent, piercing are not.

19) What happens in Mexico does not always stay in Mexico.

20) Vote ... Vote ... Vote ... Vote!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bikini Wax? Stepford Style?

From August until the first week in November, and then again from February through April is soccer season at my house. Between the two kids, we have three practices and two games a week. On Thursday nights, both my kids practice at separate locations with their start and stop times offset by a mere fifteen minutes. This is affectionately known as “double soccer” night. However, on Monday’s it is just my son who practices, so for an hour my daughter and I have some girl time. This usually consists of a trip through the dry cleaner’s drive-thru and a stop at Kohl’s department store where my daughter will model every piece of jewelry they have in stock. While in Kohl’s we always make a trip to the bathroom. It’s a nice bathroom with about ten stalls and it even has soap in the dispensers and paper towels available. In short, it’s the kind of public restroom I’m “ok” with.

However, this past Monday night we varied from our usual girl routine to buy groceries. My husband and I (and therefore the kids) had spent the weekend volunteering at our church’s annual pumpkin patch. It was loads of fun, but it didn’t leave any time for the weekly trip to Kroger. By the time we arrived at Kroger, I only had forty-five minutes until my son’s practice was over, so we blew through Kroger like we were on our way to a fire. I’m just pulling my stylish and much coveted minivan out onto the road when my daughter says, “I have to go to the bathroom.” I look at the clock—7:22. I have eight minutes and a five minute drive. I know from experience not to question or try to talk her out of this. If she says it, she means it and I ignore it at my own peril. So I say, “OK, I’m going to pull into 7-11 and we have EXACTLY two minutes to get in and out so we are not late. Can you go quickly?” The fact that I’m willing to utilize the bathroom in 7-11 should communicate to you that I really was under some time pressure. She says, “yes” and I pull in. We get out and both enter the bathroom that does not have stalls OR soap OR paper towels. We’re talking a square room with a toilet in the corner, a sink on the wall and a drain in the floor. Now, I’m socially aware and understand that probably two-thirds of the world’s populations don’t even have this to work with. It’s just that everything is so relative and this bathroom creeps me out. She goes quickly as promised and the minute she flushes, I realize I’m going to have to go ahead and go too. As much as I would like to wait until we get home, I can’t. So I proceed to also go very quickly and am just zipping my pants when it happens...

Her (watching me): “Will I have hair on my privates when I’m a teenager?”

Me (because I’m in a hurry, choosing to ignore the fact that she’s not using the proper name that I’ve taught her for her “privates”): “Yes.”

Her (wrinkling up her nose as if she’s just seen something that is the equivalent of squashed bug): “I guess that’s why most bathrooms have stalls.”


Me: “I guess so.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mama Mia Hamm

My daughter LOVES soccer. I mean, it is her passion. I’m often jealous... how nice must it be to know your passion at seven instead of just beginning to uncover it at forty? Being one the year her brother began his soccer career, she waited for three and a half years on the sidelines. That equates to five seasons, fifty games and approximately seventy-five practices that she (and I) had to endure before being given her chance to play. (Not that she didn’t try the occasional toddler foray onto the field in the middle of a goal kick, mind you.) The night her coach called to introduce himself and inform us of the first practice, I hung up the phone and said, “Baby, your first soccer practice is tomorrow.” She looked up from Blue’s Clues, pumped her fist in the air and said, “Finally!”

I have to say, from the second she hit the soccer field she has not disappointed. Her very first game when most of the other girls were trying to decide if they were going to cry because they thought the coach was “yelling” at them or join the herd chasing the ball, I actually lost track of how many goals my daughter scored. At one point her coach turned around and said, “Could you have mentioned she could play?” We, of course, didn’t know she could.

I don’t know where the soccer gene came from, but somehow she got it and she knows it. Therefore, we have to walk the tightrope that is stretched between too much and not enough praise. My husband and I are usually content to let her coach and other parents discuss her natural ability. We try to work on teaching her that she does NOT have to play every quarter and it’s more important for her to learn to be a gracious winner than a gloating ball hog. I refuse to be one of those braggart parents that derive their sense of self worth from the accomplishments of their children. I mean really, I’ve never aspired to be a soccer player so how much sense would it make for me to become the equivalent of a stage mom on the sidelines? The answer: About as much sense as it makes for Stepford to actually have an ADULT cheer squad. Oh wait... A COED ADULT cheer squad. Yes, you heard me — grown men and women who cheer, in UNIFORMS, in competition, on the weekends, for FUN. I’m serious... PROFESSIONALS with bumper sticker megaphones containing their names on their SUV’s —bankers, lawyers, doctors... cheering, chanting, flipping, donkey kicks, hurkeys (who named that anyway?)! Yes, hand clapping... ready, ooooookaaay!

In Texas, football is king and, therefore, cheerleading is queen. Now, while I take issue on their not being a self-imposed age, not to mention gender, limit on cheerleading, I have no problem with children cheerleading. My daughter doesn’t cheerlead because we’ve decided our family functions best when each child is in no more than one extra-curricular activity at any one time. And since football season directly overlaps with fall soccer season, my daughter has chosen soccer. Now, I’m happy about this choice for lots of reasons: soccer is very inexpensive compared to cheerleading, the gear required is a lot less complicated and there is no requirement for me to fix her hair prior to games. Had she chosen cheerleading, I would have sucked it up... but, I’m not disappointed. Plus there is the added bonus that she is really good at soccer and would probably be just an average cheerleader. I don’t know this for sure, but I have my suspicions. (I’ve seen her donkey kick.)

Now, I try to keep my biases to myself as much as I can when dealing with my children. They are not me and are entitled to their own interests and opinions (please God, don’t make me sorry about this by allowing them to grow up to be Republicans.) There are moments, however, when you just know you’ve rubbed off on them... either through nature or nurture. Last Saturday’s game was one of these times. There is a teammate of my daughter’s who also cheerleads. It’s actually really cute when she does cheers for her own soccer team from the sidelines. However, last week my daughter’s team was in the middle of tight game and my daughter and the cheerleader were on the field at the same time. Well, the cheerleader decided to go ahead and cheer while ON the field — in the middle of the game. Apparently this was the equivalent of sacrilege to my daughter, who turns around and yells at the top of her lungs while doing her best zig-zagging finger snap, snap, snap, “HEY!!!!! HEY, HEY, HEY... IF YOU WANT TO BE CHEERED FOR YOU CAN STAY ON THE FIELD!!! IF YOU WANT TO CHEER, GET TO THE SIDE LINES ‘CAUSE THE FIELD IS FOR PLAYERS!!!”

Perhaps we also need to address the subtle art of tact in addition to not being a ball hog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mysteries of Life in Stepford

Since reentering the workforce four years ago, I’ve really struggled in the area of stress reduction. For me stress is related to my perfectionist side. Looking back, the whole reason I gave up my career at Hewlett Packard after my son was born was because of my unresolved issues with perfectionism. After spending three months on maternity leave, an offensive thought dawned on me as I dressed in my work clothes for the first time since becoming a mother. Like a brick falling on my head from the sky, I realized I might have to make some (gasp!) compromises in the way that I would like my child taken care of and how my job duties would be performed. I realize how ridiculous it was for this to occur to me so late into the process, but there it was. And it was unacceptable—I must choose one and do it as perfectly as possible and make no compromises.

Since you can’t (and wouldn’t) put the baby genie back in the bottle, my choice was made before I even left the house that morning. After two days at day care and an impassioned plea to my sister-in-law, my son spent the next ten months with his aunt each day while I figured out how to transition our finances into a one income household and myself into a stay-at-home mom. What happened in the intervening five years is an entire series of articles.

Fast forward from 1998 to 2003—my son is in kindergarten and my daughter is in two to three day church care, and I finally reenter the work force. And the stress demons are back. Making great strides with my perfectionism in the last five years (two children will do that to you), I attacked the stress demons head on. I read books on stress reduction, I tried nightly bubble baths with candles, I tried herbal supplements... you know the drill. Finally what helped the most, was getting up an hour earlier each day to read and pray. Some people would call it meditation, but my mind jumps from one thing to the next so quickly that there is no way you could call what I do meditation. I really rediscovered my faith during these early morning sessions. Today, four years later, I never miss a weekday morning doing something that helps rejuvenate my spirit. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me in parenting, in my marriage and at work.

However, one of the biggest mysteries in my life is why my faith, love, patience, and all the other fruits of the spirit for that matter (including self-control) evaporate at the same time each morning. I mean, the exact moment my minivan hits the carpool line, I loose any semblance of the usually balanced person I am. I want all you mothers to know that if you see yourself in the paragraphs below, I love and support you and pray for you and cheer for you the MINUTE you’re out of the carpool line... but if you do any of these things... please for the love of Pete and everything that is right in the world, STOP.

There is NO circumstance that justifies honking and/or passing in the carpool line... carpool is NOT a normal roadway, in case you do not know this. It is driven by 99.9 percent women in SUV’s or Minivan’s with young children in their cars. This in and of itself, is very frightening. Add to this that said women are under some time pressure, haven’t had their second cup of coffee, and someone in their car has surely left something at home and what you’ve got is a very v-o-l-a-t-i-l-e situation. Forget going postal.... I’m ready to go carpool... I swear, if the same chick who passed me this morning had also been the one who honked at me, it would have, let’s just say, “been addressed.”

The school sends out the “Carpool Flow” map for a reason. If you’re not good with maps, ask your husband or a friend who is. It’s really very simple—follow the arrows. DO NOT go against the flow. This is not the time to push the envelope and be a trailblazing maverick. If the map says enter from the south and turn right - DO NOT enter from the north and try to turn left. By doing this, you’re making me into someone my children should not be around.

And while we’re on the subject... Hummers and carpool lines are really not compatible. Seriously, is it necessary to take your kids to school in a tank??? Environmental concerns aside, I have yet to see a child exit a Hummer in carpool without careening out if it and spilling him or herself and the entire contents of their backpacks out onto the sidewalk. If there is a school project involved, we need the freaking National Guard to clean up the mess and get traffic moving again. I can tell you from experience that this does nothing to help facilitate a smooth carpool flow or that vein in my neck that pops out on occasion.

And another thing, carpool is NOT a valet service.
A valet service is where you leisurely drive your car up to the attendant and he opens the door for you and gently helps you out. Carpool is nothing like this, so stop acting like it is. I don’t see you tipping the poor teacher that has been stuck with the horrendous job of carpool duty. The goal of carpool is to unload as many children as quickly as safety will allow. This means if you stop anywhere close to the front of the line, your little prince or princess needs to get out of the car and WALK the rest of the way into the school.

I assure you Ms. Passer and Ms. Honker, these tips will help eliminate your obvious early morning stress. And mine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Day in Stepford

Yesterday was another day for ridiculous questions... one from each of my children. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the fact that my children feel like they can talk to me. Having my children feel this way is very near the top of my “Things I want to do differently from my Mother” list. However, as with most things in life, anything worthwhile is often a challenge. So, yesterday I was challenged, once in the morning while waiting in the carpool line, and once last night at bath time.

Act I – Carpool

My Daughter: “Mom, is celebrating Halloween worshiping the devil?”

Me (adjusting the rear view mirror so I can make eye contact while trying to not drive up onto the curb because I’m suddenly really irritated): “WHO told you THAT?”

(I need to know this information way more than I need to answer the question. This mother is someone I want to avoid at all costs. I never EVER want to find my two-martini self at a dinner party with her. It will not go well.)

Her: “Kevin”Me (dreading the answer to this): “Is he in your class?”

Her (to my dismay): “Yes.”

(CRAP! Now I have to see this mother at class parties and open houses. Just super. Ok, now to answer the question without disclosing the age inappropriate information, that I do not believe in a personified devil, so I don’t see how it could be possible that celebrating Halloween could be worshiping something that does not exist.)

Me: “Well, what do you think?”Her: “Well, I don’t know.”

(To my son’s credit, he is doing his best eye roll in the seat beside her—thank you God that he already gets this.)

Me: “Well, do you have fun on Halloween spending time with your family and your friends?”
Her: “Yes.”

Me: “Do we do anything bad on Halloween? Do we hurt people’s feelings or say bad things or do any of the things you know God doesn’t want us to do?”
Her: “No.”

Me: “Do you think God likes for us to have fun and enjoy ourselves?”
Her: “Yes.”

Me: “Well, then I don’t see anyway possible that celebrating Halloween could be worshiping the devil.”
Her: “Good. I like Halloween.”

Me: “Me too. Let’s REALLY decorate our yard a lot this year so ALL your friends from school can see it!”

Act II - Bath time

So last night we had TWO 6 pm soccer games at fields on the opposite ends of town. Not a doubt in my mind that Kevin’s mom somehow has control of my children’s soccer schedule. I mean, for the love of Pete, how is a working mom with a forty-five minute commute supposed to get two kids anywhere by 5:45 pm? Much less, dressed in soccer uniforms complete with the ridiculously difficult shin guards and cleats. Oh, and don’t forget they each also need their soccer balls and water bottles. The only thing that could have made it any better would have been if it had been my night for snacks.

Anyway, we all survive this drama... each of them get where they need to be on time, thank you very much to my son’s friend’s mother who got my son to his game, my boss for saying “ok” to me leaving at 4:15, and my husband who also left work early. We get home, get some food and get the kids in the bath. My daughter—downstairs in my bathroom so she can use the jetted tub and bath pillow I’ve yet to use—my son upstairs in the bathroom that connects his and his sister’s bedrooms. Then this:

Me (walking into where my son is taking his bath to make sure he is washing his hair and not just playing with the twelve action figures that are lined up for battle all around the tub): “You need to stop playing and wash your hair. If you need help getting all the shampoo out, just let me know.”

Him: “Mom, is it true that if you only have one ball in your ball sack that you can’t get married?”

(Father in Heaven, please let me get through this with a straight face.)

Me: “WHO told you THAT?” Him: “Michael”
Me: “Why????” Him: “Because he thinks it’s true.”

(Ok, at this point I’m going to let this line of questioning go. I really do not want or need to know if Michael or someone in his family has experience with a uniball. It does not help my straight face that my mind keeps picturing Michael’s dad, who looks a little like Lyle Lovett, naked with only one ball.)

Me: “No, it’s not true.” Him: “How do you know?”
Me: “I’m married and I don’t have any balls OR a ball sack.”

(Ok, I know this was a stupid thing to say, but honestly, what you have done in my shoes?)

Him: “That’s different. You’re a girl.” Me: “Ok, that’s fair. I do not BELIEVE there is any reason that a boy only having one ball couldn’t get married.”
Him: “Can you confirm that with Dad?”
Me: “Ok.”

I cruise downstairs and pose this question to my husband, who is blissfully car shopping on the internet. He won’t read my blog but can spend hours looking at the same three cars. Well, he couldn’t confirm or deny for laughing his butt off, so I took that as confirmation, climbed back up the stairs and found my son getting dressed for bed.

I say, “Dad agrees with me. Besides, you have two balls, aren’t getting married anytime soon and don’t need to worry about this anymore tonight. I love you. Good night.”

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