Category Archives: Parenting

Five Questions… say YES!


I know you have probably been wondering when I am going to start dispensing valuable parenting advice again, because it’s been a while, right? (Or maybe never.) Well, the answer is NOT ANYTIME SOON because VALUABLE parenting advice is not really in my wheelhouse.

But, RUBBISH parenting advice is right up my alley, so let’s get to it! I present to you…

The Top Five Questions Our Kids Ask to Which We Should Always Answer “YES!”*
(*no matter how lazy we’re feeling)

1. “Can I help you with that?”

UGH. It’s so annoying when they want to help assemble the toy/fold the laundry/organize your stationery drawer (shut up, I do have one) because let’s face it, they’re really not that good at any of those things and it’s going to take a lot longer.

The worst is when they want to help with cooking! I know that cooking with kids is some people’s favorite thing to do. Well, those people are certifiable. (I’m going to admit that I don’t really know what that means… like they would qualify for a certificate that says they’re really crazy? And what’s crazy anyway? Enjoying cooking with your kids, definitely, but besides that, who’s to say?)

Anyway, I GUARANTEE those are the same people who LOVE to cook and say things like, “I swear, this recipe is seriously so simple to make! Once you let the garlic reduction simmer with the gumbo paste, the only thing left is to let it baste and leaven for 12 hours and then you’re done… with the first step.”

Look, I don’t cook that often and when I do, I BARELY know what I’m doing. The last thing I need to do is worry about is my kid using sugar instead of salt or worse, chopping a finger off.

But here’s the thing… if kids are showing the interest and initiative in asking to help, we should let them. Because… well, helping is good so we should encourage it. (See, rubbish!) I’m sure they’re learning valuable lessons about toy assembly/laundry/organization and also, teamwork. Yes, teamwork! Also, it’s bonding time, so if you get your QT in doing stuff you have to do anyway, you don’t have to play Chutes and Ladders, again! BONUS!

2. “Will you read to me?”

Say yes. Say yes. We should say yes. Reading is good. It’s like the single most important factor in making our kids smart and productive and pretty. (Wait, what?) I KNOW you’re trying to share your Cinco de Mayo pictures with your FB friends, which is an extremely time-sensitive project, but put it on hold and tell your kid, “SURE! I’d love to read to you!” and then pick a very, very short book.

PS. The same answer does NOT apply to the question “Will you PLAY with me?” It is perfectly acceptable – nay, encouraged – to say NO to that question. Kids need to learn to entertain themselves. Three articles on HuffPost Parents told me so.

3. “Can I show you something?”

Have you ever been in the middle of something EXTREMELY important (like ordering chick lit on Amazon or researching Mila Kunis’ pregnancy) when your child approaches and says, “Mom, can I show you something?” 90% of the time, it’s something like the “Superhero Hospital” they’ve built out of four wooden blocks. The other 10% of the time, it’s the toilet they’ve clogged or the wall that they’ve colored. Either way, we should see it. EVEN if we’ve seen 106 other Superhero Hospitals this week and even if we don’t really want to see the Sharpie Art, we should stand up and look. Because regardless of whether they feel proud, ashamed or simply want to share something with us, the answer should be yes.

(It goes without saying that “Can I tell you/talk to you about something?” should get immediate attention. How else will we find out who got sent to the Principal’s office or that our kid is bummed that Joey has the new Skylander and they really want it, too? Sure at ages three, five, and even seven, the “something” is not usually BIG news, but I have to remind myself that by saying “YES, please tell me!” now, I’m setting the message – you can talk to me anytime, you can tell me anything, I am interested – for the later years.

4. “Do you like… this picture I drew? …watching me play soccer? …coming to my school to read to my class? …playing with me?”

It’s not that hard to say yes to these questions, but we have to watch the follow-up. (OK, maybe you don’t, but I do.) For instance, I think this exchange is perfectly fine:

Happy Dude: Do you like this picture that I drew? (FYI, it’s four blue dots on a page.)
Me: Yes, I do like it! I also love orange, do you think you could add some orange?

But this is probably NOT OK:

Happy Dude: Do you like this picture I drew? (same picture)
Me: Um, well, no… because there are ONLY FOUR BLUE DOTS ON THIS PAGE and that shows a serious lack of imagination.

Another example:

The Nibbit: Do you like watching me play soccer?
Me: Yes! But I get a little curious about why there’s so much crazy motion going on with your arms… I don’t know a lot about soccer, so maybe you can tell me more about what’s happening with your elbows.

(Mom of the Year!)

The Nibbit: Do you like watching me play soccer?
Me: Actually, not so much today. Sure you tried hard, but you gotta stop elbowing kids to the ground. You’re going to get thrown out of the game and maybe also not have any friends.

(We are NOT filling anyone’s bucket with that kind of talk.)

Please note: The “Do you like…” question is very different from “Am I good at… “ That one is way trickier, so I just avoid it. They ask, “Do you think I’m a REALLY good baseball player?” and I say, “ICE CREAM TIME!”

5. “Will you always love me?”

Yes, even when you’re throwing temper tantrums. Or toilet paper. Or spaghetti. Yes, even when you’ve written on the walls. Yes, even when you spit out the dinner I’ve slaved over. Yes, even when you tell me that my face isn’t as pretty as your friend’s mom’s face (this may or may not be true, but still). Yes, even when you roll your eyes or break the rules or call me names. Even when you hate me. Yes, even if you do something really, really bad and wrong. (Whether I bail you out of jail remains to be seen, but I still love you.) I will always, always love you.

Side note: Look, I’m not judging but this last one shouldn’t be hard. If it is, it’s time for you to book a vacation. Let me know where you’re heading. I’ll come with.

OK, that’s my advice for the day week month maybe year. Feel free to call it BS, but I’d appreciate if you’d stick to my preferred term – RUBBISH. (Say it out loud, it’s fun.)

Have a great weekend!

Say YES! They won't be this needy forever.

Say YES! They won’t be this needy forever.

PS. Please read this with the understanding that I’ve failed at almost every single one of these… with the exception of #5. So there’s no lecturing or judging going on from my chair. I write this stuff mostly as a reminder to myself. Anyone else it “helps,” is gravy. Yes, like the Italian tomato sauce kind of gravy.


You Are My Stalker


IMG_4729 - Version 2

You guys, I know I just posted last night but I just learned something really important and I have to share.

So, every night I sing the same repertoire of bedtime songs to my kids… the usual Twinkle, Twinkle; I Love You Bushel and A Peck; Baa Baa Black Sheep, etc. I often throw in a Blackbird and once in a blue moon, they get a Tomorrow [as in, The Sun Will Come Out]. And of course, You Are My Sunshine is a staple.

Well, the other night I realized that the way I sing it, like this…

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make my happy when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear how much I love you,
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

The other night dear, while you were sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms,
You’ll never know dear how much I love you,
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

… is obviously WRONG. I know those last two lines shouldn’t be repeated because first of all, it doesn’t make any sense and secondLY, I vaguely remember hearing it sung a different way once.

So I just asked my BFF Google for the correct lyrics and while I had the first stanza correct, here are the correct lyrics for the second stanza:

The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head, and I cried.

OH. Well, now that’s just sad. I would never want to leave them on that note, literally. I’m afraid it would give my kids horrible dreams about hugging emptiness and crying.

But wait… it gets worse! There’s actually a THIRD stanza that goes like this:

I’ll always love you and make you happy
If you will only say the same.
But if you leave me to love another,
You’ll regret it all one day


What does it even mean?

“I will ALWAYS love you… as long as you are constantly reassuring me that you love me back AND that my happiness is your #1 priority?!?”

“… AND despite the fact that I’m a controlling freak, you may not leave me. EVER. And if you do? I assure you, YOU WILL REGRET IT.”


You don't see this at Anthropologie.

You don’t see this at Anthropologie.

I think I’ll stick with my own version. It may be incorrect, but at least it won’t send my kids into therapy tomorrow morning.



PS. You’ve already noticed the same psychosis lurking in Rock-A-Bye-Baby, right?

“Rock-A-Bye Baby, on the treetop.” Why the hell is the baby at the top of a tree? Who put him there?

“When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.” Anyone else here the Jaws theme song starting up? 

“When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.” I don’t think a five-point harness is going to help much in this situation.

“And down will come baby, cradle and all.” Honestly, what is wrong with people?

A little tip for you… if you ever start singing that one by mistake, just use the line “ and down will FLOAT baby” instead of “and down will COME baby.” Softens the whole thing right up.


Spring Not-Really-A Break


In the months and weeks leading up to Spring Not-Really-A Break, I considered traveling somewhere with the kids. I thought about Florida and decided, “Nah… we were just there in February.” (Because gorgeous sunny weather just gets old when you’re stuck in endless winter. (LIKE ANA FROM FROZEN. AAAAHHH! She’s still stalking me.)

Then my sister and I found a cool-looking resort that was close to Washington DC and offered a kids club. Perfect! We booked a suite for all of us to share, planned days by the pool and outings into the city and high-fived. (Not really.) Then we found out that it was actually three hours from DC and that the kids club didn’t open until Memorial Day. We CANCELLED that shit asap.

At that point, I embraced the Staycation. And as everyone knows, the first step to the Staycation is MAKE PLANS. LOTS AND LOTS OF PLANS.

So the kids and I came up with a list.


TOTALLY manageable, right?! I was going to rock this spring break!

Let’s break it down by day to review, shall we?

Saturday and Sunday:

Everyone knows Spring Break doesn’t start until the first day off from school so we didn’t do anything fun on these days. Doesn’t count.


The Loud One’s school had a make-up day on Monday (too many snow days… endless winter… AAAHHH!) so I put her on the bus and dropped the boys off at all-day baseball camp. AAHHHH. Peace. I can’t remember exactly what I did, but I’m sure a nap was involved. Woohoo! I LOVE Spring Break!!


OK, our first official day of Spring Not-Really-A Break – we had decided to plan our S’mores Party for this day. Guess what? RAIN. RAIN. RAIN. RAIN. RAIN. And MORE RAIN. This was the only completely outdoor activity we had planned and we picked the only completely miserable rainy day on which to plan it. S’mores party cancelled.

Staycations suck.

Rainy day contingency plan:

Dyeing Easter eggs. Never as easy as you think it will be.

Dyeing eggs. Never as easy as you think it will be.



Painting snakes (and cars and birdhouses and crocodiles)

Painting snakes (and cars and birdhouses and crocodiles)

Perler Beads. Also known as THE. BEST. INVENTION. EVER.



OK, Staycation started to redeem itself with a fun-filled cousin day. Activities included: Art… with cousins. Hide & Seek… with cousins. Backyard fun… with cousins. Wrestle Baby… with cousins. And out to dinner… with cousins. Everything is more fun with cousins!

Thursday morning/afternoon:

I was exhausted. Boys went back to baseball camp. The Loud One and I enjoyed a lovely quiet (let’s not get crazy) day together that involved Barnes & Noble, paint-your-own pottery and bagels. Books, art & carbs for the win!

I'm not kidding when I say that the Loud One approached this book and said, "OH, I've been wanting to learn more about Jesus. And his last days."

I’m not kidding when I say that the Loud One approached this book and said, “OH, I’ve been wanting to learn more about Jesus. And his last days.”



Thursday evening:

Stuffed Animal Picnic with Friends! It was cold (endless wint… OK, you get it) so we rejected the beach part and opted for my friend Tara’s living room floor which really turned out to be the perfect venue because who likes sand with their Pirates Booty anyway? NOT ME. All the kids wore PJs and brought their favorite stuffed friends and took turns sharing a little bit about them. Awards were handed out (with gumball prizes from sweet Aaron) for Biggest, Fluffiest, Smallest, Longest and Most Homemade Stuffed Animals. Spoiler alert: everyone was a winner.

I have to say, the Stuffed Animal Picnic was a real highlight of the Staycation, so special thanks to Tara, Aaron & Juliet (and Brett for allowing this high-society event to take place on his birthday) for hosting our stuffed soiree.



Let’s go to New York City! Well, first let’s have meltdowns because as it turns out, taking the minivan over the train? NOT a popular decision. But we recovered. KJ took the day off for this so he drove us down to the Intrepid’s entrance, dropped us off and drove off to park the car. We didn’t him again until two hours later. (That’s a slight exaggeration, but I’m not kidding when I say that we toured the entire upper deck before he made it back to meet us. I told him that DUH, next time we should take the train.)

Side note: I highly recommend buying an Intrepid membership if you intend to visit. The extra money it costs for only one visit was well worth it when we walked right past the looooooooong line of suckers people waiting to buy tickets. And if we actually go again, BAM! money saved. You know me, always good for money-saving tips. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.)

We had a great time at the Intrepid with only two meltdowns (Happy Dude’s) and one fever (Happy Dude’s… coincidence?), but I’ll let the pictures do the work here.

Missiles call for superhero poses.

Missiles call for superhero poses.

Eye of the Tiger

Eye of the Tiger

If you look closely at this one, you can see the start of Meltdown #1.

If you look closely at this one, you can see the start of Meltdown #1.

LEGO Intrepid! Hey, maybe we can do that next Staycation.

LEGO Intrepid! Hey, maybe we can do that next Staycation.

Afterwards, we went to lunch, did math problems in our new Intrepid notebooks (their idea, not mine… OBVIOUSLY) and headed home.

I’m pretty sure that marked the official end of our Staycation, but then the weekend brought tons of Easter fun with egg hunts and lots of cousin time. I actually wasn’t feeling well over the weekend so I was fairly absent but also cranky and maybe a little mean.

The Easter Bunny kicked ass though.

Just an estimate

Just an estimate

Is that a shadow bunny?

Is that a shadow bunny?

So just to review…

4 out of 6 ain’t bad.

It probably would have been really easy to find an indoor pool, dammit.

Oh well, 4 out of 6 ain’t bad. 

Next year we’re going away.

Hope you guys had nice Spring Actually-A-Breaks.

The More You [Don’t] Know


Dear 16 Daily Visitors,

Thank you for checking in every day. I’m sorry the time between posts has grown longer and longer in recent weeks. I could say it’s because I’ve been soooo busy, but that would be a gigantic lie. Because trust me, I am finding PLENTY of time for Cadbury Mini Eggs and Facebook.

PSA: CME are now available in Dark Chocolate, which I kind of think is bullshit because it’s like they’re trying to make the candy “healthy” and all that, but those of you that fall for that kind of nonsense may enjoy them. (PS. I know who you are… you’re the same people who bought shelf loads of Snackwell cookies back in the 80s.)

It’s more like I feel uninspired. Or… lazy if you will as it were as it be. I think that part of the reason I’m at a loss is because now that there are infinite bloggers out there all narcissistically writing about themselves and the world and their kids (myself included), there is LITERALLY nothing left to talk about. Unless maybe it’s the widespread, inappropriate usage of LITERALLY. Oh wait, that’s actually already been covered, too. Literally, you can read about that here.

Personally, I blame the deadly combination of Huffington Post and Facebook. Thanks to them, several blog posts and columns go viral everyday. Just in the past few months, I’ve read columns about the following:

The Top Five or Ten or Twenty Things We Want…
… our boys to know about life.
… our girls to know about life.
… to teach our boys about girls.
… to teach our girls about boys.
… our kids to understand about race… religion… beauty.

The definition of beauty and embracing our differences and flaws. (Acne is FINE… who knew?)
Mixed messages in media. (NOBODY on TV has acne!)
Mixed messages from moms who avoid the camera. (Moms, get in the picture!)

Enjoying every moment with our kids, because “time flies!”
The impossibility of enjoying every moment. (Because so many of the moments suck huge!)
Dealing with embarrassing meltdowns in Target.

What we should and shouldn’t eat. (SHOULD: CME DARK Chocolate. SHOULDN’T: CME MILK Chocolate.)
WHY we eat what we shouldn’t eat.
What we should and shouldn’t feed our kids.
Why we shouldn’t overthink what we feed our kids.

Healthy habits.
Body image.
Mommy wars.
Queen bees. (Apparently, it’s not just for middle school anymore!)

Practicing kindness.
Encouraging our kids to not be too nice.
Developing thick skins.

Standing up and making yourself heard.
Knowing when to keep your mouth shut. (Very, very, very difficult if you’re one of my kids.)

Reading this book or that book to learn all about this or that.
Ignoring all the books and trusting your instincts.

Helicopter parents.
Negligent parents.
How neglect can be healthy.
How children are all special.
How not ALL children are special.
How do we define special?

Too many activities.
Too much homework.
Too much screen time.

Coping strategies.
How to talk to your kids so they’ll really listen.
The importance of respecting privacy.

How much discipline? How little? HOW?

Sleep. Never. Enough. Sleep.

Communication. Talking to our kids about being gay. Talking to our kids about bullying. Talking to our kids about Justin Bieber’s arrest. (I’m sure this was necessary for some parents… I am SO HAPPY I was not one of them.)

What teachers want parents to know.
What parents want teachers to know.
What coaches want parents to know.

The Top Ten Ways to Be the Best Parent for Boys. for Girls. for Pets.

The Top Ten Ways to Win at Sports. at School. at Life.

The Top Ten Ways to Nourish. Communicate. Raise Resilient Children. Avoid Raising Entitled Brats. Teach. LOVE.


IS ANYONE ELSE EXHAUSTED BY ALL THE LEARNING?  There’s so much to read; so much to remember. Who has the time or the mental capacity? (Well, actually, I do have the time, as previously established, but definitely NOT the mental capacity.) 

AND this is also why I can’t think of anything to write about. It’s LITERALLY all been written already.

So, until I’m struck with an original, interesting idea, I will leave you with this exchange:

Me: Nib, why are hiding behind my chair?
The Nibbit: Shhhh… Happy Dude is looking for me… he wants to CRUSH ME.

Crushing in progress

Crushing in progress

On second thought, I WILL share my Top Three Rules for Life:

  1. Do your best.
  2. Be kind.
  3. Avoid being crushed.

And have a great weekend.


Not a Real Post


I keep meaning to write a new post and then I keep NOT writing a new post because I get too busy doing other things like watching Scandal or re-re-re-re-rinsing the laundry that’s been in the washer for a couple  several  many days or researching “sleep training a three-year-old.”

I could actually write about how sleep training our three-year-old is going, but I can’t because we haven’t started yet because I’m too tired. Plus, I’m still researching it. Duh. By the way, all advice welcome.

Our goals are fairly straightforward:

  • Get kid to bed in his own bed.
  • Get kid to stay asleep in his own bed all night…
  • …without peeing in it.

This does not seem that complicated to me. But the fact that there are thousands of books written about it and a BILLION websites dedicated to sleep and kids and how much they suck at it, has taught me that perhaps it is indeed complicated. KJ thinks duct tape should be involved but I’m afraid to do that. What if we use up all of our duct tape and can’t make any more wallets?

I was also thinking about writing about effing summer camp and how figuring out how, where and when my three kids are going to do summer activities has turned into a part-time job for me, where the only benefit is the promise that they’ll all be out of the house for longer than two hours at a time this summer. I swear, quantum physics is not this complicated. (I’m not sure why I would say that. I have zero idea how complicated quantum physics is except that I’m guessing it’s very complicated because people always compare it to things they think are SUPER complicated. LIKE SLEEP TRAINING.)

Side note: Want to know something about me? I never took physics. Or calculus. Stopped at pre-calculus in high school. And I almost flunked pre-calc. My college had NO MATH REQUIREMENT back then. I’ve heard that that’s since changed which just gives me another reason to be grateful I went to college in the early 90s, along with the fact that bulky sweaters were the rage and there were NO CAMERA PHONES. And guess what else? My two lab sciences were Astrology and Psychology. WINNING! (Not so much academically, but whatever.)

Anyway, this summer scheduling is balls out nutso… three kids with three different schedules and those schedules change every week or two. It’s gonna be AWESOME. Right now, for the month of July, all three of my kids have to be at different places at 9:00am. So fingers crossed someone invents that teleporting machine thingy by then because otherwise, someone’s missing a good chunk of their morning at summer camp. Eeeny meeny miney mo.

For the record, the Loud One wants to do nothing all summer. So she claims. She doesn’t like the sound of any of the camps, classes or activities that I I’ve proposed for her including, but not limited to, art camp, sports camp, swim lessons, tennis camp, golf lessons, Girl Scout camp or farm camp. Well, we all know how “I just want to play all summer!” plays out… by 9:42 on that first Monday morning, she’ll be complaining that everyone she knows is at camp and she’s boooooooooooored.

I can just hear all you free-spirited parents yelling right now, “Let her do nothing! Kids are so over-scheduled these days! It’s summer for Pete’s sake! Let her run around outside and be free!” Please. She’s not a chicken. I don’t have the energy for you people. You don’t know my kid… she’s very loud. She needs to be kept busy. So you should DEFINITELY let your kids run free. My kid’s going to damn farm camp. She’s going to grow some arugula and watch some baby chicks hatch and she’s going to love it.

If it makes you feel any better, I have kept a few weeks open for free-range play. I have decided that I’m going to channel my early 80s parent this summer and kick the kids out the door and tell them to be back for lunch. (That is, to make me lunch.) I’m going to give them some basic rules – like don’t get in the car with strangers unless they’re offering you something really good and try to stay away from the main roads… at rush hour – but other than that, I’m going to extend the leash. I’m also going to attach a GoPro to their heads so I can watch the whole adventure unfold later in the day.

Go ahead, climb a tree! It's the 80s, what do I care?!?

Go ahead, climb a tree! It’s the 80s, what do I care?!?

Other things I want to say:

  • I love Frozen but I want to stab all of those songs in the face.

PS. I’ll admit that I did not really get that beautiful underlying message that the only person who can unfreeze my icy heart is MYSELF by performing an act of love until the Internets explained it to me. So a million bucks says my kids didn’t get that either. I’m going to ask them tomorrow who/what Ana needed to unfreeze her heart and I guarantee, one of them will say Sven.

  • It needs to be summer soon so I can start complaining about how hot it is.
  • The Nibbit went away (without the rest of us) for four days and it REALLY changed the family dynamic in the house. At one point, Happy Dude asked me, “Is the Nibbit going to live with us anymore?” very matter-of-factly. I swear, he didn’t really care what the answer was. It wasn’t any quieter with the Nibbit gone, but it was a lot calmer. Not that I think he’s the craziest one, just that I think they all bring out the super-crazies in each other, so without one, the crazy gets taken down a notch. I was going to try to tell you exactly how much it gets taken down with a fraction, but I’m not sure which fraction to use. Would it be 1/3? The crazy gets taken down by 1/3? Yeah, I think that’s how to phrase it. My brother will tell me if I’m wrong. NO MATH IN COLLEGE.
  • We’re taking a million-hour drive with the kids this summer and I’m already wondering HOW THE HELL WE’LL SURVIVE IT. I’m gonna be honest… I’m not sure we all will. I just can’t decide who will be the weakest link. (PSST… IT WILL BE ME.)
  • Spring soccer starts next week and one, it’s going to cost me a fortune. These freaking kids grow so much between seasons. Two, I expect Happy Dude to spend most of the time studying growth rates of various grass types. He’s not big on “running” per se. Or “kicking.” Or any activity that requires a modicum of coordination. But we’re always hopeful he’ll surprise us. And three, I’m trying to remember all the things I’m supposed to say to the kids (“I love watching you play!” and “You were working so hard out there!”) and all the things I’m not supposed to say (“I know you can run faster than that… I’ve seen you do it when I tell you to come and get your pajamas on!” or “Was that REALLY your best?” and “There’s no dessert for LOSERS!”). Quiet week is very hard for me.
  • We miss Amanda a lot in this house. A LOT. AAAAAA LLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTT.
  • Someday I’ll write a real blog post again. One full of meaning and insight and practical advice (which, as you know, you should NEVER follow because it’s coming from me and I don’t really know anything about anything except how to write a goddamn awesome run-on sentence) but alas, today is not that day.

Have a great weekend!


I would actually rather NOT build a stupid snowman.

I would actually rather NOT build a stupid snowman.


About last night…


So last night was a real shit show in our house and I’d like to tell you all about it.

7:00 pm: The kids and I got home from activities and a dinner out consisting of the four food groups: beige protein, beige carb, ketchup and milk. They were all hyped up and acting very silly and from the time of 7:05 to the time of 8:15 pm, I may have said all of the following things:

  • Please take the underwear off of your head.
  • Please stop taking the underwear off of your body.
  • Please brush your teeth.
  • Remember, we don’t eat the toothpaste?
  • You should brush really well, because we’re going to the dentist tomooooorrrow….
  • It’s fine to wear pajamas out of the dirty laundry basket.
  • You’re going to lose our special reading time if you don’t take the underwear off of your head.
  • Did you brush your teeth?
  • There are no sheets on your bed because you peed in your bed last night.
  • There are ALSO no sheets on your bed because you ALSO peed in your bed last night.
  • I know you feel very sorry about that. I feel very sorry, too.
  • Have you watered your hermit crabs at all lately?

Scare tactics? CHECK. Passive guilt? CHECK. Inappropriate punishment? CHECK. Raised voice? CHECK.

OK, so finally, by 8:15, they’re all in bed. So I thought. 

8:18 pm: I came downstairs, picked up the 4,731 cars that were lying around my kitchen and family room as some sort of elaborate obstacle course, designed so that I would slip on one and fall flat on my back like a cartoon character and be too injured to take anyone to the dentist today.

8:30 pm: Once the automotive mine field was clear, I cleaned up the rest of the toys.*

*Usually toy clean-up is part of our pre-bed ritual, but sometimes it’s just easier to do it myself than deal with watching their painfully slow process.

8:40 pm: I made myself a cup of hot tea and was all set to watch the latest episode of Scandal. (Don’t judge… at least I don’t watch [what YOU were watching last night.]) As I sat down on the couch, I knocked over the cup of hot tea and it went flying. I managed to hit 18 different surface areas with one goddamn mug of tea and it took me longer to clean that up than it did the 4,731 cars.

8:55 pm: OK, Scandal… here we go… I hit play and…


Well, after the two wet beds the night before you can understand why I felt a tiny bit reluctant to offer up beverages, so I said, “You can have a tiny bit of water but then you have to try to pee.”


Me: Please stop yelling. Loud One and the Nibbit are sleeping and I really would prefer you didn’t wake them up.

So, he drinks the water and I make him try to pee. As the pee is coming out of his body, he is still yelling, I DO NOT HAVE TO GO PEE PEE!

Aaaaand, back to bed.

I’m going to fast forward through the rest of the night because I think a general overview will give you a good sense of how the night played out. Please know that I am NOT exaggerating about what you read next.

9:45 pm: HD is up. He NEEDS ANOTHER DRINK BECAUSE I’M SO FIRSTY. (Made him pee. Again. Call me paranoid, but I was not changing sheets all night again.)


11:30 pm: After finally getting through a very unsatisfying Scandal episode, I go to sleep.

11:50 pm: HD is up because he’s NOT SWEEPY.

12:20 am: The Nibbit is up. He had a “bad dream about the bad guys coming and they wanted to get my… but I couldn’t get my… and…and…” I sympathize, give hugs, nightmares are tough, let’s think happy thoughts, blah blah blah.

12:55 am: Happy Dude is up. He NEEDS A TISSUE AND SOME JUICE.  Now I’m really starting to get pissed off. I silently bring him back to his bed as he screams I REALLY NEED A TISSUE AND JUICE! A TISSUE!! I NEEEEED A TISSSSSUUUUE! I hand him a tissue* and I tell him that I will not be tucking him again.

*For those of you thinking, “Well if she keeps giving him what he wants, he’s going to keep waking up,” I have a few things to say. First, suck it. Second, I know this is true, but I also know that, I will always give the tissue to stop the screaming. ALWAYS.  Right or wrong, in the middle of the night, I simply don’t have the patience that the proper parenting techniques require. I may not have that patience during the day either, but that’s a different post entirely.

1:20 am: I hear whimpering and crying coming from the Nibbit. I debate ignoring it but don’t want him to wake up the Loud One (irony), so I walk in there. Another bad dream, more comforting, blah blah blah BUT this time, he’s upset. I CAN’T GO BACK TO SLEEP! I’M TRYING TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH BUT I CAN’T BREATH! It’s OK, Nibbit… calm down, everything’s fine, you’re OK, you really need some sleep and I really need some sleep… and the Loud One chimes in from the top bunk, “and I REALLY need some sleep because I’m going to the dentist tomorrow!”

2:10 am: HD wanders into my room and starts saying something about his stupid needs and… I LOST IT.

Now, please know that I’m not proud of what comes next. But I lay it all out here so that so many of you can feel better about how you DIDN’T scream at your kids at 2:10am last night.


So, of course then, HE loses it…


*Daddy’s on a business trip. Lucky, lucky Daddy is sleeping in a hotel right now.

Me <deep breath> : Daddy’s not here. TRUST ME, I wish Daddy was here, too, but he’s not. I’m sorry I yelled at you, but I’m just so tired. So why don’t we go back to sleep and we’ll call him in the morning, ok?
HD : Okaaaaaay. And maybe I can have a whole drink in the morning?
Me: Yes, that sounds like a very good plan.

4:30 am: The Nibbit: I HAVE TO GO POOP AND I NEED YOUR HELP! Great.


6:00am: HD: I’M DONE SWEEPING! Nooooooo!

How can that even be true? You’ve only been asleep for like 17 total minutes!

7:00am: I drag myself downstairs to find HD drinking a big cup of juice, lovingly poured by his big sister. HI MOMMY! ‘MEMBER WHEN I WAS SO FIRSTY LAST NIGHT?

Um, yeah, I ‘member.


This is what he looked like all night last night. Which might explain why he was FIRSTY.

Inappropriate Crying Disorder


If you haven’t noticed, I’m still muddley. I’ve just been a little blah about the blog. Hence, the long lapses between posts. As I said in my last post, what happens is, I get an idea for a post; I start writing; and then, about an hour in, I decide it’s boring/stupid/crappy so I save it as “CrapIdeaXYZ” and add it to my “In Progress” folder… where blog ideas go to DIE.

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block per se… more like blogger’s indifference. Maybe we should call it the BLAHG. (I’m so sorry.)

Blame my kids. Because really, I get most of my material from them so obviously, they’ve been boring lately. I mean, I wouldn’t say that to their faces, but it’s kind of true.

The Loud One has been exceptionally enthusiastic (read: loud) since our vacation. The Nibbit is still all about turning passive activities into full-contact sports (read: Nibbity). And the Happy Dude is still happy and keeping us up at night.

Side note: Happy Dude is also really funny right now, so I tried to write about that, but it’s the kind of funny that doesn’t really translate well… you just kind of have to know how funny three-year-olds are when they say things on your birthday like, “I’m making her a card because it’s Mommy’s Christmas.” It’s just never as funny in writing as it is in person. But if you want to come over and hang out with him just let me know. I’ll run out to Starbucks while you’re here.

So, yeah. Life goes on but the writing does not.

BUT. Then I saw this on Facebook.

hony copy

Can you see the quote? The girl is saying, “When I get really angry, I start crying. It sucks. Everyone else gets to yell and be scary. I have to be like: ‘No! I don’t want a tissue! Quit comforting me! I’m angry, I swear!'”

This post about Inappropriate Crying (I.C.) really struck a chord because if you know me, you know I suffer from I.C.D. (I added “Disorder”). And if you don’t know me, just know that I’ll probably cry when we meet.

I can’t really talk about anything of consequence without getting choked up, tearing up or completely losing my shit. And it sucks. Because when you cry inappropriately, people usually mistake your tears for sadness and offer sympathy. And while sometimes I am sad (like if I’m talking about how they canceled Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip way too soon), OTHER times, I’m just frustrated. Or trying to express my opinion about an emotional situation. Or simply pissed off.

So I see this picture and read this quote on Facebook and I’m like ME TOO! And I then I’m reading the comments and I’m all, I’VE FOUND MY PEOPLE!! There are over five thousand comments, many of which say some form of, “I’m suffer from I.A.D. too! And I hate it.”

Why? Because crying is often perceived as weak. Crying during a P&G “Thank You, Mom” Olympics commercial? Totally acceptable. During a contentious meeting at work? Not so much.

So, what’s my point?

Well…. I’ve discovered that it’s possible my kids have inherited my Inappropriate Crying Disorder. And while there are a LOT of things I hope my kids inherit from me (my doodling abilities, rhyming skills, appreciation for a color-coded calendar…), my I.C.D. is not one of them.

I know. They’re only seven, five and three years old BUT the past few months, I’ve noticed myself saying, “WHY are you crying?? This is not something to cry about!” a lot.

What the hell is wrong with me? Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you, the World’s Biggest Hypocrite!

If KJ or my sister ever said, “This is not something to cry about!” to me every time I shed inappropriate tears, we’d be divorced or disowned. (And then I would cry more.)

But I got it now. Thanks to HONY, I realize that Inappropriate Crying Disorder is a very real and common thing. But it’s not insurmountable.

Everyone in our house is working on deep breathing techniques and other strategies to keep the tears at bay when they’re not necessary. Like when “Happy Dude’s car bumped into my book!” Or when we’ve been instructed to shower because we haven’t bathed in four days. Or because we’re out of brownie mix (wait, that actually is really, really sad).

Let me be clear. I am OK with crying. Girls, boys… I’m all for tears as an expression of honest emotion in an appropriate setting. In fact, it is important for my kids – especially my boys – to know that it IS Ok to cry because I know if they suppress those emotions, they will work them out in other potentially harmful ways.

I get that.

BUT… there are also times when we have to learn to keep our shit together. (Poetic? No. Succinct? Yes.)

Because I want my kids (and myself) to be able to talk about their opinions in such a way that they’re taken seriously.

Because I want my kids (and myself) to be able to discuss our relationships with people without making those people afraid to be honest with us. (No one wants to make someone cry!)

Because emotions, other than sadness, that manifest themselves in the form of tears often send mixed signals that will almost always muddy the waters of communication. And good communication is the basis for all good relationships – professional and personal. 

(Wow, that last part sounded really profound, didn’t it? Why don’t you read it again and pretend I always sound like that? Go on…)

So, I’ll just add that now that I’ve recognized this, we’ll all be working on our Inappropriate Crying together.

I’ll also add that I cried while I wrote this, so there’s still a lot of work to do.

The End.

Sand in the eyes? Appropriate crying.

Sand in the eyes? Appropriate crying. Because we can’t “bring all the sand in the world home?” NOT.

PS. You guys are ALL following Humans of New York, right? I KNOW I’ve asked you that already. YES, I’m nagging. But I just want to be really, really sure you’ve done it because this page is the only real reason to check Facebook everyday. Not including the other real reasons:

  1. I want to know what intellectually stimulating activities parents are doing with their kids so I can feel inferior.
  2. I want to know who went to what concert, sporting event, political rally, restaurant or birthday party in the past few days so I can feel inferior.
  3. I want to see perfect family portraits, so I can feel inferior.
  4. I want to see highlights from last night’s Jimmy Fallon show, because THEY’RE AWESOME.

Village Circles


I’m leaving tonight to spend a few days with one of my closest friends because she’s dealing with some shit. It’s not my place to define “the shit” but trust me when I say, her plate is overloaded with sucky circumstances and crappy conditions. (Is that vague enough for you?)

There is a lot of logistical planning that has to take place when Mom leaves the house for four days. A LOT. Now, KJ is a great Dad who can easily handle the three kids on his own, but I’m leaving for four weekdays and he does have a job. Thank God we also have Amanda (our kids love “Amanda time” so much, they’ll hardly notice I’m gone) but she also has a lot going on.

So our Village has been called to action. 

We talk a lot about our Village in my family – grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – all local and all ready to help. Anytime. Anywhere. In ANY WAY. Yes, I KNOW how lucky I am.

But then the Village spreads out in concentric circles (wait, that’s a math term, isn’t it? Did I use it correctly?).

I have this circle of close, local friends who offer up babysitting help – and kidneys, should one of us ever need one – on a regular basis. When the shit hits the fan for anyone of us, they’ve got the carpools, the play dates and the Meal Train set up before you can even think, “I need help.”

My oldest friends in the world – from middle school, elementary school and even preschool – are out there. They’re all over the place, living their lives, succeeding at jobs, raising their kids. We don’t see each other nearly often enough, but I know they are there, should I need them.

I have a huge extended family and I could call any of those aunt or uncles or cousins for help – or for a Margarita – at any time.

The Village circles go on and on.

Last week, I was sick. I spent many, many hours on the floor of my bathroom, fighting the stomach bug that the Nibbit had brought home two days earlier. I could write about it in detail, but I don’t think that’s necessary. You’ve probably had it this past month as well. You know it sucks.  

Yet the whole time I was sick, in addition to nauseous and miserable and achy, I also felt so lucky. Because I never once had to worry about my kids. I made a few logistical calls when I first woke up and knew I was going to be down for the count and my Village pretty much picked it up from there.

Tonight I fly out West and tomorrow, my Village kicks it into high gear. Pick-ups and play dates and car pools and dinners. And for every person helping, I’ve had many others asking, What I can do? Can we have the kids over for pizza? Did you give KJ and Amanda my number? How are you feeling about your trip?

There’s no real point to this post. It’s just that as I’m packing my bag to go see my dear friend, I’m feeling blessed. I know that if I get the flu, or plan a trip, I’m surrounded by this Village to help. I also know that if I ever need more, the circles go on and on, spreading outward. A ripple effect of support.

I’m very thankful today that because my Village is so strong, I can go play Villager for someone else who I love.


Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 11.47.36 AM

State of the Family


We had a Family State of the Union meeting yesterday morning. I’d been feeling bothered by the amount of nagging occurring in our house and felt that a quick review of some household rules was in order. So, after properly caffeinating, KJ and I called the kids together and informed them that we were holding a family meeting to discuss responsibilities and expectations.

Look, we even gave it a logo.

Look, we even gave it a logo.

As you can imagine, that announcement was met with excitement and glee!

That’s not true.

In reality, we first got some blank stares… then Happy Dude piped in with “I have meetings at school!” Then the Loud One moaned, “Are we in trouble? It sounds like we’re in trouble.”

I explained that they weren’t in trouble exactly but that I noticed that Daddy and I had both been doing a lot of nagging lately and we don’t really want to be naggy, annoying parents, but when nobody really listens to us AT ALL, we don’t have a choice.

Pick up your clothes, please.
urn off the lights, please.
I already answered that question.
If someone says hello to, please look him/her in the eye and respond.
Hey, help clear the table, please!
I already answered that question.
Guys, come on, the clothes!
Goddamn it, say “hello”!

I told them that I sound like a broken record and I don’t like it. They, of course, wanted to know what a broken record was and that delayed our meeting for a few minutes.

Once we were back on track, we distributed the following agenda:

No, not really. I just held the agenda… most of these kids can’t read anyway.


Family State of the Union: Responsibilities & Expectations
January 19, 2014

1. Manners

  • Always say please and thank you, without being reminded
  • Basic table manners
    • Napkin in lap
    • Don’t talk with food in your mouth
  • Respectful responses when spoken to (by adult or child)
    • Look people in the eye
    • Respond to greeting or answer question

2. Chores

  • STOP leaving your clothes on the floor… everywhere
    • No socks in the  mud room
    • No dirty clothes on the bathroom floor
    • No pajamas on the bedroom floor
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • Clear the table after meals without being reminded

3. General Behavior

  • Ask a question ONCE and listen to the answer. Do not ask that question again.
  • Don’t be assholes.

4. Expectations of Mommy and Daddy… input welcome


If I had taken minutes of the meeting, they would have looked like:

Family State of the Union meeting called to order at approximately 7:20 am, (so the kids had already had a few hours of screen time).

General introduction: Mom & Dad (M&D) explain that it’s time to review their expectations of the children because they have been nagging too much. Kids look nervous and vaguely guilty.

1. Manners:

  • Mom reviewed parental expectations about the importance of basic manners.
  • Nibbit argued that sometimes his napkin falls OFF of his lap and that is NOT his fault.
  • Happy Dude wants all attendees to know that he has napkins at his new home.***
  • Everyone agrees that looking at chewed-up food is gross.
  • Loud One points out that sometimes making eye contact with grown-ups is hard because she’s so shy. M&D laugh hysterically and accuse her of being a liar.

2. Chores

  • Pick up your clothes! M&D explain that they’re not asking for a lot here – children don’t actually have to DO any laundry, they just can’t leave your underwear wherever they want.
  • Mention of “underwear” sends kids into fits of giggles. Dad joins in.
  • Turn off the lights. Dad tried to explain why this is good for the environment but it sounded really confusing and also kind of like he was making it up, even to Mom. Loud One’s eyeballs rolled. The Nibbit started standing on this head and Happy Dude pointed out that they have light bulbs at his new home. And candy, too.
  • Clear the table. This is pretty straight-forward unless soup was involved. A three-year old should never carry half-full bowls of soup from the dinner table to the sink. Nobody needs that mess.

3. General Behavior

  • Do not repeat the same question over and over again. Mom shared a great article written by a fellow mother who was tired of the “child-nagging and negotiating” happening in her house and decided to put a stop to it with three simple words: ASKED AND ANSWERED. Mom informs attendees that she’ll be implementing the same policy. Attendees don’t really understand what this means, but agree anyway.
  • Don’t be an asshole.** M&D reiterate the importance of being kind, in general and refraining from any douchey behavior as often as possible.

Note: At this point, M&D had to repeatedly ask the Nibbit to stop flipping around on the couch and several times, had to reaffirm that all attendees were indeed paying attention. M&D explained that not paying attention when Mom is talking counts as douchey behavior.

4. Expectations of Mommy & Daddy

  • In an effort to show respect for their offspring, M&D asked the children if they had any expectations of their parental units. Responses included, “Maybe drink less coffee?” and “Take me to the toy store to buy me more toys everyday!”
  • M&D swiftly rejected these requests but promised to address children’s questions immediately and clearly. And to always use kind voices.
  • M&D added, “In other words, we’ll try not to yell so effing much.”

Conclusion: M&D confirm that everyone understands everything we discussed at the meeting and asked if anybody had any questions.

  • The Nibbit DID in fact have a question and it was, “Will you play chess with me now?”

Meeting was adjourned approximately 7:45 am.

All things considered, the meeting went pretty well. Since we adjourned, we’ve only had to ask them to pick up dirty clothes and turn off the lights 16 times instead of 29. And yesterday, when Happy Dude asked the Nibbit if he wanted to do puzzles with him for the fifth time, the Nibbit responded, “ASKED AND ANSWERED.”

I’ve never been so proud.


*It’s possible that I’m taking my role as Board Secretary at the preschool a little too far.

**Obviously we didn’t really use the word asshole… or douchey… but I did want to make the point that even though there was only one discussion point under “General Behavior,” that doesn’t mean that that’s our ONLY expectation. Ask a question only once AND don’t be assholes. Equally important.

***Some kids have imaginary friends, Happy Dude has an imaginary alter-life. For the past month, he’s been referencing his “new home,” where he apparently lives with several family members and pets. This all began on December 20th, when I posted the following on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 12.22.13 PM

#mostannoyingpostever #seriously


Happy New Year! 

Yeah, yeah I know we’re already eight days in but one of my resolutions is to just be a little more relaxed about always being EARLY for everything. (Actually, that’s a lie. I would NEVER be able to change that about myself. Sorry KJ, how excited were you for a second there?)

Tomorrow is the SECOND anniversary of Who Needs a Nap? so thank you for continuing to read and comment (…even though most of you don’t. Maybe that could be your New Year’s resolution? Just saying.)

I’m gathering my thoughts for blog posts right now. I’d like to write about some “bigger” parenting issues that interest us (or is it just me?) like…

  • Simplifying our lives and why that’s a challenge
  • How much should we push our kids? (Academically, athletically, etc… this just seems like a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately.)
  • and THIS (very thought-provoking article about philanthropy)

… and of course, I’ll continue to make light of our parenting struggles (by which I mean, I’ll make fun of my kids). As always, I welcome your input. As long as it’s positive and complimentary, I’d love to hear your feedback. And ideas. And insights. And knock-knock jokes.

BUT given that I don’t have any coherent thoughts on any of those big things right now, I’m going to share some of my random thoughts about the holidays and about winter in general. And in honor of Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show and in general, being my favorite person right now, I’m also going to hashtag the hell out of them.

(You have seen THIS, right? If not, go ahead… I’ll wait.)

So, we’re one week into 2014 and I feel like all I’ve done is put Christmas presents and decorations away. #lookspretty  #itsovergetitout  #holidayrecoveryisbrutal

I had a SERIOUS fight with our tree this year. I was determined to take it down and it was determined to KILL ME. As I told my friends, I ultimately won the war, but I still have some battle scars to show for it.  #shouldhavewornshoes  #brokenornamentswillcutyourshitup  #boycottingarborday

We had a really, really great holiday season but I swear it does take a long time and a lot of effort to get the house back to normal. Last year, we had presents on our dining room table in MARCH, so I vowed to be better about that this year.  #presentfreebyfebruary!   #diningroomsfordining  #notreally  #onlyonceayear  #butstill


This photo was taken last March. #notthisyear

So, the weather has been WEIRD… am I right? We had a white Christmas. Then we went to Florida and it was chilly. Then we came home just in time for the snowstorm. Then the next day it was 50° and rainy. Then it DROPPED 50° and now it’s hovering around 12°. #wtf  #thatglobalwarmingshitsreal  #butitsnotalwayswarm?  #shouldbecalledcrazyassweatherinstead

My kids went back to school yesterday after two weeks off and the angels sang. #hallelujah  #hallelujah  #hallelujahhallelujahhallelujah

The Loud One will tell you that her favorite Christmas presents are the giant stuffed panda from Santa and her two new hermit crabs. Yes, we got more pets. #atleasttheyrenotrodents

But the evidence shows that the only present she REALLY likes is the stuffed puppy from Uncle Tom and Aunt Susan. She’s played with it non-stop since Christmas Day. She even hid it in her backpack to bring to school yesterday. #plushcontraband  #stuffedisbetterthanalive

The Nibbit opted to donate most of his Christmas presents this year. Lest you think it’s because he’s so selfless in nature, you should know he said, “I’m giving these all away because I only like to play cards and games and chess.” #areyoulisteningsanta? #powerrangerswereawasteofmoney #imeanelveshardwork

Happy Dude continues to play ONLY with cars and trucks. Santa has learned an important lesson this year. #kidhasonlyoneinterest #carsandtrucksforever!

It’s just a year-long vicious cycle… every morning I’m either fighting with my kids about sunblock or mittens. #parentingequalsgroundhogday

I had to order Happy Dude a new winter hat immediately because his doesn’t fit anymore. #hugenoggin #hasownweathersystem #soimarriedanaxemurderer #suchafunnymovie #dudehowoldareyou?

Before I bought the hat, I decided to actually measure his head. I used this measuring tape; it was my Mom’s and it really makes me smile. But the strangest thing is that it’s always where I need it to be. #ghostmommovesstuff?  Oh and also, #kidhasagianthead

#deskdrawerbasementkitchen #younameititsthere

#deskdrawerbasementkitchen #younameititsthere

I hope everyone’s 2014 is off to a good start. Personally, I don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions. I’m perfect just the way I am. #mymomtoldmeso  #32yearsagobutstickingtoit









PS. I wish my desk chair had a seat warmer like my car does. #hasthisbeeninvented? #willsomeonebuymeone? #myassiscold #ispendtoomuchtimeinmydeskchair