Sunday, June 25, 2017

Camp crap

(Reposted from July 2006.)

I remember when I used to live for summer. Now summer only means stress, stress, and stress. Followed by a little more stress. I thought this summer would be easier to get through because my oldest son is in a summer school program, and my youngest is going to summer camp three days a week. Three full days. Well, let me tell you something. If anything, things are even crazier this summer. And that's saying a lot because last one was a doozy.

From the moment Jason gets home from camp, the chaos ensues. Who's running around naked while the other one is pulling things out of the cabinets and the phone is ringing while the naked one is pulling all the cushions off the couch and the one with the clothes is thinking about removing his clothing because it looks so freeing and uninhibited to streak around the living room just like his brother! I can't take it when they're doing the streaking thing, because then all kinds of things are bound to happen, like "Drew, I have to pee! Do you have to pee? Let's go pee together! Mommy, we're going to make X's in the toilet!"

I thought maybe sending the little guy to camp would help matters. After some searching, I discovered a wonderful, religious camp. A Jewish Community Camp. Which is perfect for Jason because he was baptized and everything. He even made a friend right away on his first day, which he told me very excitedly when I picked him up. Me: "That's great! What's your friend's name?" Jason, with a huge smile on his dirt-streaked face: "Shalom!"

Oy vey.

But in all seriousness, it is a wonderful camp that welcomes children of all faiths, and the people there are sincerely nice and caring. And they have professed their undying love for my son. To my face. And what mother doesn't instantly bond with anyone who ooh's and aah's over her child? Besides, Jason said they teach him lots of things, like swimming, sports, and art crap. I could only assume he meant "arts and crafts," but I wasn't sure, so I asked, "What's art crap?" He said, "Mommy, it's when you stick things on paper and glue sparkly things on and make designs with stuff! Look, Drew made some art crap, too! (pointing to a paper that Drew had decorated)" I decided that was just too cute to correct, so I let it be. But I guess the camp counselors tried to correct him the next day, because when he came home he said he had a good time in “ARTS AND crap,” with exaggerated facial expressions while enunciating the “arts and.” This didn't strike me as much of an improvement over art crap. But by the end of the first week, he was all about the “ARTS AND CRAFFFSSSS,” with much emphasis on the saliva projection on the “FFFSSSS.” “By Jonah, I think he’s got it!” I thought, as I wiped my face with a tissue.

So, although camp wasn't the answer to quieting the summer craziness, it has at least provided me with some laughs. And Jason is sure having a challah-va time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Special thanks

I read a blog post recently in which a mother of twin 8th-grade boys with autism gave thanks for all of the little things that people have done along the way that have made a difference in her sons’ progress, education, and happiness, and also made a difference to herself personally. It made me realize that I should be recognizing and giving thanks for all of the little things that have helped me and made a difference for my son, Drew, who is now a freshman in high school.

The first thing that I am thankful for is that I have this boy to begin with. I have learned so much from him. With his guidance, I have come to view so many things in the same different way that he does. This helps us both understand the world around us in a way that makes it easier for him learn the simplest things that “typical” people take for granted.

The second thing that I am thankful for is my strength. This mystery ride that he and I have been on since his diagnosis when he was two and a half years old has been very hard, and I need to have enough for the both of us.

I am thankful for the early intervention specialists who opened my eyes to the real problem and encouraged me to get a diagnosis for him—using tremendous compassion and tact. Their encouraging words of hope were the only things that helped me through the never-ending sleepless nights that first year.

I am thankful for the best special education preschool teacher that Drew could have ever been blessed with when he turned three. She transitioned him to the school environment with inherent kindness, grace, and skill that has yet to be beat. Our entire family will never forget her enthusiasm and support and that contagiously positive attitude. Drew knows and appreciates who “gets” him and oh, how he loved her!

I am thankful for the parent who approached me during Drew’s little brother’s school party and hesitantly asked if I was Drew’s mom. With a kind smile and understanding eyes, she quietly said, “I want you to know that he is a wonderful little boy. I will pray for him.” I was so touched that I had to excuse myself from the classroom to compose myself.

I am thankful for the fill-in-the-blank activity papers that came home from school in the early years that have Drew’s handwritten “Mom” in the blank after “When I need help, I can ask….”

I am thankful for the special education administrator who sent me an email out of the blue, saying, “Every morning, Drew asks to stop by a classroom where there is a young boy in a wheelchair who is nonverbal. He always crouches down to eye level and says hello, smiles, and tells him to have a nice day. When the boy smiles back at him, Drew beams! He walks away looking so happy. I just wanted you to know that this always makes my day.”

I am thankful for two parents who are the best grandparents that Drew could ever have. They have been my main source of support from the very beginning, and I couldn’t love them more for being there whenever I need them to help me get through the day, even if it’s just to lend an ear or offer their shoulders to cry on.

I am thankful for the night when I tucked Drew into bed, and after our hug and kiss, he held my face with his hands, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “You’re a good woman.”

I am thankful for the speech therapist who worked with Drew for three years and always had such happy and positive news for me about his progress, spoken with such earnest enthusiasm that it always had me leaving IEP meetings with tears of relief and hope to help balance the frustration and helplessness.

I am thankful for the fill-in-the-blank papers from social skills class in middle school that have Drew’s handwritten “tell Mom” after “When I’m frustrated, I know I can….” And, my favorite: “hug Mom” after “When I’m sad, I can….” Yes, you can, Drew.

I am thankful for the smiles that come after the tears—both his and mine.

I am thankful that Drew has a little brother who loves him so furiously that he told me one day, “You know, if anyone is ever mean to Drew, I would punch them right in the face.” And I said, “Good.” (Don’t tell anyone.) (I did discourage it from happening on school grounds.)

I am thankful that I had the strength to tell a little boy who was playing at my house that he would have to leave because he was not being nice to Drew. It feels good to prove to myself that no matter how much more I feel that I should be doing for Drew, I will always, unfailingly, have his back. Everyone deserves that.

I am thankful for my mother, for seeking out every religious clergyman at any event she attends (who knew there were so many clergymen at social events?) to ask them to pray for her grandson.

I am thankful for the lawyer that I somehow found in the midst of all my phone calls searching for an advocate, who ended up spending four years—96 percent pro bono—getting Drew to the placement he is in for high school today. I will never forget the support and encouragement I received from him for so long and the kind and heartfelt words that he has said to me privately about my dedication to Drew. Sometimes you just need to feel validated. Thank you, Attorney. I don’t know what motivated you to do all you have done out of the goodness of your heart alone, but you are a very special person.

I am thankful for the occupational therapist who saw me standing, completely distraught, outside Drew’s future high school during his first visit last summer and approached me to introduce herself. I think she recognized the sting of reality and despair on my face. I was trying to digest that this classroom I just saw that consisted of all kinds of different and quirky individuals was truly where my son belonged. No matter how much I felt that I had accepted his disability, this realization was like a sucker punch to my soul. With an encouraging smile, she told me that she had been observing Drew and that he was doing very well. As if I had uttered a word of doubt, she intuitively put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You should be proud of yourself that you got him into this program. You need to know that he is in the right place.” I was so overcome with the relief of hearing those words that I could only manage to whisper out a few of my own: “He really wants to have a friend.” She gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze, leaned in, and said, “He will. I promise you, he will.”

I am thankful for the medical professionals and members of the scientific community who are working tirelessly for answers about this disability and searching for ideas on how to relieve the endless struggles that come along with it. I am all for relieving my son’s stress and doing whatever it takes to make his life easier, but I do not want a “cure.” The way Drew’s brain works gives him his personality, and I can’t imagine not having such a sweet, sensitive, loving person in my life. He wouldn’t hurt a fly and just wants everyone to be happy. We need more people like him in the world, not less.

I am thankful for people who show a sincere interest in how Drew is doing, and in how I am doing as well. It means more than you will ever know. You know who you are, and I love you all.

Lastly, I am so thankful for the parent who posted her own thanks that gave me the inspiration for writing this. I think we all need to start giving thanks on more than one day a year.

Monday, June 17, 2013


“Mom, I want a banana!” he called from the living room.

“Go get one,” I said. “You know where they are.”

“I can’t,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’m doing my yoga poses.” I peeked into the room, and there he was, in perfect downward dog.

This was Six.

I often recounted these quirky, amusing exchanges I had with Six to anyone who would listen. And I still get a melancholy pang when I reminisce about the verbal gems that Five gave me, and the way I’d dash to the phone to call my mother afterwards, when we’d both laugh so hard our sides would hurt.

“Mommy, my favorite thing at camp is art crap!” announced Five.

I hesitated. “What’s…that?”

“It’s when you use glue and paper and sparkly things and fedders and beads and you stick ‘em all together!” he said. “We all do art crap! We love it!”

After leaving the room to laugh behind my hand, the sensible mom in me thought that I should probably correct this particular grammatical faux pas. But the emotional mom couldn’t bear to do it. I was completely enamored with the crap and didn’t want to be responsible for its demise. I decided to wait and see if the camp counselors would take care of the situation.

Sure enough, by the end of that week, Five was talking about his love for, this time, “arts and crap.” It was progress, I suppose, but the conversation was still full of crap, so I was still secretly happy.

By the following week, however, the counselors had ruined everything. Five got in the car and told me all about the fun he had that day in “arts and crafffffs,” with much saliva projection on the “fffffs.” I never thought I would be so sad to see crap wiped away completely.

Even cuter, linguistically speaking, was Four. Although Sesame Street and The Backyardigans still appeared to rule, Four’s newly acquired interest in cartoons became apparent to me, oddly, the day after Ronald Reagan passed away. We were driving his older brother, Drew, to school and passed an American flag at half-mast in front of a local car dealership. He asked me why the flag wasn’t all the way up. I explained that it was because a man who had been President of the United States many years ago had been very old and very sick, and he had died. I told him that when the flag is halfway down the flagpole, it is called “half-mast” — in an effort to teach the sort of factoid that Four seemed to be developing an affinity for, but mostly to steer the conversation away from death, which we’d never really talked about before. “Half-mass?” he asked. “Yes,” I said somberly, as I smiled to myself, thankful that he hadn’t said “half-ass,” a term I’m sure he hears me grumble on occasion in reference to lazy people.

When we approached Drew’s school, Four plaintively exclaimed, “Oh, no, Mommy! Look!” He pointed to the flag at the front entrance, also at half-mast. “Drew’s president died, too,” he said, sadly. I tried not to laugh, and attempted to explain that all of the American flags everywhere in our country were at half-mast that day — all because of the same President. I knew it was a hard concept for him to understand. He became quiet and pensive.

As we were driving away, Four announced, “Mommy, I think I know why that man died.”

“Why?” I said.

“I think a coconut fell on his head.”

Tom & Jerry? Nah. Probably Bugs Bunny.

My fondest memories of cute-isms, however, were from Three. Just emerging from toddlerhood, still with a smidgen of baby mixed in, he often came out with a random made-up or sounds-like word and expertly used it to get his point across quite clearly.

“Mama, I’m a little drinky.”

And I would hand Three a cup of juice, but not before I dashed to the phone to call my mother or first-available mom friend to entertain them with what he had said.

“Can I eat in the diamond room?”

And I would set up Three’s lunch on the dining room table…right after I called someone and we chuckled together for a few minutes.

I would never, ever correct him. I just couldn't bring myself to ruin the sweetness, the innocence, to eradicate every last bit of Three, Four, or Five in him. Yet despite my determination to keep a rein on this particular developmental process over the next couple of years, I noticed with an increasing mix of wonder and dismay that I was beginning to be asked more and more questions about what this or that word meant. With every passing day, my little boy seemed to be learning to pronounce things more precisely and was becoming much more grammatically correct, to the point where I was sometimes startled by the maturity of his words.

“Oh, by the way, the school store is open tomorrow,” Seven told me casually one day. “I have money in my wallet.”

“No, no,” I protested, waving my hand dismissively. “I’ll give you money for the school store.”

“No, really! I’ll use my own money,” he said emphatically, eyes wide and arms outstretched to emphasize his willingness and sincerity. “I insist!”

I burst out laughing as I was once again struck with the hilarity of how the boy I just gave birth to three weeks ago could have such an adult conversation with me. For a few moments, I couldn’t shake the vivid memory of bringing him home from the hospital in his fuzzy little one-piece outfit with the bunny on the pocket, swaddled in a soft, blue blanket that Two would soon name Boo Bankie. The familiar melancholy pang cut my laughter short. This time, I was the one who was quiet and pensive.

One day, Seven asked me, “Mom, do you know what a party pooper is?”

“Time,” I thought to myself. And I pulled him close and hugged him tightly, wishing that my embrace could stop Seven in his tracks, even if only for a minute.

Last week, as I watched my 11-year-old boy grab his bat and helmet and pack up his baseball bag in the dugout, he looked over at me, smiled, and winked. I was struck by how grown-up he appeared at that moment, and I got that confusing feeling of both longing and pride that only parents can understand.

As we walked to the car, he chattered happily about how he’d walked, stolen two bases, and then scored a run (a specialty for his tiny 62-pound frame and lighting-fast legs). And then he said, “You know what, Mom? I think when I grow up, I want to be an empire.” I giggled softly, and he asked with a smile, “Why are you laughing?” I said, “I think you mean ‘umpire.’ I don’t think you want to become a very large area that’s run by one leader.” He laughed good-naturedly, smacked himself lightly on the forehead with his fingers, and said, “Oh, boy! No, that’s not what I meant!”

Thank you for that rare moment, Eleven. And please stick around for a while, okay?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lockout

Ah, summer. When I was little, I would look forward to school vacation in giddy anticipation of those days when the sun would be shining and the air was all warm and toasty. I remember how I'd peek out my bedroom window and get a burst of excitement at the first glimpse of blue sky. It always made me leap out of bed and beg my mother to go straight outside! Forget breakfast! I'll chew on a handful of grass if I get hungry! Just LET ME OUT!!!

So let's talk about kids these days. Oh, I know I sound old. But hell. What is going on with kids these days? They couldn't care less if it's 85 degrees and sunny, 30 degrees and snowing ("Nooo...I don't like building snowmen! The snow gets in my eyyyyyyyyes...."), or 60 degrees with hurricane winds and hail the size of golfballs. It's all the same to them. "Can I play Wii?" No. "Well, then, can I play Playstation?" NO. "Okay, then I'll play my DS..." NO! You are getting dressed and going outside!

Oh, my. Commence the dramatic gasps all around. Outside? A fate worse than death, apparently.

"Nooooo!!!!! Not outside!!! There's nothing to DO outside!"

"I don't understand," I said today, shaking my head with confusion. "I used to find a million things to do outside. I used to collect dirt, add some water, and make dirt soup. I'd look for frogs, pick them up, chase squirrels, collect bugs in a plastic cup and examine them...."

They both stood there, noses crinkled, going, "Ewwww! Mom, you were GROSS!"

"Fine," I said. "Then play with your Legos."

"Whaaaaat?" they replied in horror and disgust. "LEGOS???"

"Okay," I said. "Then why don't you build a fort and play with your toys underneath it."

"A...fort? How do you make a fort? What's a fort? Can we google it? What do you use a fort FOR? Why would I build a..."

"NEVERMIND!" I said, throwing up my hands. "Here's another idea: Clothes, sandals, out!"

More frightened gasps. Oh, dear. Tough crowd.

After approximately 3 hours and 42 minutes involving 12 snack requests and much difficulty with pulling on pants and velcro'ing sandals, I finally got them out the door, heads hanging in defeat.

Two point four seconds later, I heard the door sliding open again.

Oh, dear God, I am going to kill my own spawn.

Two little heads poked in. "Uh, Mommy? We're getting hot."


The door slid closed slowly, with no enthusiasm. I saw them standing on the deck, looking at each other, communicating with their eyes only. "What is going on? Why would we be outside while the TV is inside?" They shook their heads slowly in confusion, throwing me a sideways glance, to see if I was witnessing this little pickle I'd put them in.

I finally saw them trudging toward the swing set. So I turned back towards the kitchen and the mess that I'd been trying to clean up for the past eighteen hours.

Sixty seconds later, there they were again, staring at me with wide eyes as they slowly slid the door open.

"What now??!?"

"Um, I need...something," said my youngest, as he walked in warily, keeping a close eye on my expression. Which must've been difficult to decipher through the cloud of steam coming out of my ears.

Seconds later, I saw him side-stepping hurriedly to the door, with something hidden behind his back.

"What do you have?" I inquired with irritation. I was quite sure it wasn't something conducive to outdoor activities.

He showed me: His DS and a bag of games.

I confiscated the mind-numbing electronics, ushered him to the door that leads to imagination and wonder, slid it shut, and locked it.

(They had no idea I locked it, and I could still see them, and therefore they were technically "supervised," so hang up your damn phones, you humor-challenged, DCF-calling people.)

Two minutes went by. I heard tug-tug-tug and then a "Heeeeeyyy! That's not nice, Mommy!"


They backed away in surprise, hands up in self defense from this verbal onslaught, and shuffled back to the swing set.

I turned away and started to head toward - ...


Hooooo, boy.

The little one was standing at the door, using exaggerated sign language and theatrical demonstrations to indicate that he needed a drink and would promptly wither away if I didn't unlock the door and provide him with sustenance.

I marched to the kitchen, grabbed two juice boxes, unlocked the door, tossed one to each of them, and relocked the door.

I turned back to - ....


The oldest was holding himself down below, jiggling around, face pressed against the door, creating a sweaty pig nose print on the glass, yelling, "I have to do peeee!!!"

I rolled my eyes and let him in, and the little one tried to hide next to him, matching his footsteps, so that he could sneak in, too. I ushered him back to the deck, closed the door, and with an authoritative pointed finger, I mouthed loudly, "Stay out!"

I have to admit that at this point I wished someone was videotaping because boy-oh-boy I could probably rake in some serious bucks with this material. If I weren't so frustrated, I would've been rolling on the floor holding my stomach from laughing.

I finally got the oldest to finish the longest episode of urination in his life, followed by nearly scrubbing the skin off his hands while singing Pearl Jam tunes (complete with background vocals and instrumental inflection between the verses). After much yelling nudging, I got him back outside.

With each knock came a request followed by a quick rebuttal:

"I'm thirsty again."
Drink from the hose. That's what kids do. THAT IS THE FUN OF BEING OUTDOORS.

"I'm hoooooootttttt..."
That's because you keep walking to the door to ask me things and complain. What you need is a good run around the yard with that beach ball you guys made me buy at Target last month. It'll cool you right off.

"I have to pee again!"
We have bushes.

"I'm hungry!"
There's a peach tree to your left and a basil plant to your right.

"How many more minutes do we have to stay out here?"

"How many MORE minutes?"

"We're getting tired..." (insert pathetic pouty-face)
Here are two lawn chairs. Or would your rather go to your rooms and take a nap? (That one worked like a charm...for about 6 minutes — the longest stretch of peace and quiet yet.)

Next came the little one standing outside the door, holding his behind, mouthing, "I'M GONNA POOP MY PANTS, MOMMY, FOR REALLLL!!!!" followed by me announcing that if I didn't see evidence of this in the toilet he was going to sit in the corner. And not the corner of the inside of the house, the corner of the YARD.

A few minutes later, I quietly hear, "Uh, Mommy? Do you need to see the poop before I flush?"

And with that, I accepted the Worst Mother of the Year award, unlocked the door, and put an end to everyone's misery.

I think that was the longest 17 minutes of my life.

I am now sitting in my bedroom (with the door locked), listening to my youngest shouting excitedly as he plays Mario games on the Wii, and my oldest with his iPod, happily singing Taylor Swift's "Today Was a Fairytale."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Email to My Sister

Dear L,

I just wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten about inviting B over for a play date with Jason, but this week is not looking so good. Drew is sick again...two days after I tried to waylay any potential motherly guilt by finally shelling out $15 at the doctor's office so that they could tell me, up close and in person, that he has a virus. "He's perfectly fine," they said. "This is probably the tail end of that barky cough." Awesome. Thanks for the pricey info. Wait, I almost forgot the most valuable part of this visit: "You know, a teaspoon of honey might help his throat feel better." Great. Thanks, Grandma.

Sure enough, less then 12 hours after that visit, the cough had subsided. LIKE MAGIC. Works every time.

On Monday, he started hacking again and got a runny nose. At the same time, Jason started complaining of a sore throoooaaat. (Did I mention that he had gone to a b-day party at Men E. Germ's on Saturday? Coincidence?) Then he was complaining of a headaaaaaache.

Last night, he woke up in the middle of the night (after hours of ear-splitting SNORING) and became rather hysterical because "my legs hurt really bad and I can hardly waaaalk waaaahhhhhh!" So I tried to give him Motrin and he could barely sip it because "my throat is soooo HOT! I can hardly swallow waaaahhhhh!" After threatening him with bodily harm I mean reassuring him that he was fine, he went back to sleep, thank God. Woke up and announced that his legs felt better! So bright and cheery! Got all ready for school and then walked up to me for a hug, looking a little grayish with lower lip trembling. He said he felt like he had to throw up. I quickly gently shove him away from me dislodge his little arms from around my waist and run for my life slowly back away because oh my God do I lose my shit at the mere mention of the words throw and up in the same sentence.

As you know, my kids almost NEVER throw up. I think they've each had two bouts of it their entire lives. So I thought he was pulling my leg because he doesn't even know what nausea feels like. But then I asked him if he knew what throwing up was and he proceeded to describe exactly what happens in practically scientific terms. And I noticed he was beginning to take on a greenish hue.

Meanwhile, I was also noticing that Drew's right eye was swollen and a bit pink and he kept whining and rubbing it. "I got a crumb! I got a crumb!" Pinkeye? I began rummaging through the bathroom cabinet. "Now where is that Valium?"

I made an executive decision that they'd stay home from school (even though coats, hats, gloves, boots, and backpacks were all on and ready to go). Jason went to lie on the couch and started looking kind of gaggy and nervous. I got him a Texas Ware bowl (because we puke in style in this house) (want me to make pasta salad for the next gathering, by the way?), and he sat with that on his lap for a while before the fun began.

Well. Let me tell you.

This child hasn't puked in so long that he was TERRIFIED. I even tried to prepare him beforehand by encouraging him with the fact that lots of kids have this same virus, and they feel sick, too, and sometimes when you're sick you throw up...which can feel really yucky but it's over really quickly and you'll feel sooo much better after you do! But when it actually started, he did that throwing-back-the-head thing ("I refuse to give up this bile! It is MINE!"), and I tried very hard to speak reassuringly as I kept gently yet forcibly thrusting his head back down toward the bowl. The entire time, he's flailing about like a fish out of water while trying to talk to me: "B-gut, M-gummy...grrrgle...gag...g-I do-gn't g-liiiiike...grrrrgle...g-thiiissss...!!!"

Oh. My. God. I have never heard someone talk their way through a full minute of barfing. I kept saying, "Jason, STOP's'll be over in ONE MINUTE and you're going to feel soooo much better!" Jesus! I wish someone would coach ME when I'm barfing, but do I get any thanks? Noooooo. I get mini fists swinging at my face.

So I pack Drew and Jay-'n-his-trusty-bowl in the car, and we go to the doctor to make sure it's not strep. Well, it IS strep. Again, neither of my kids has had strep, ever. We are freaks. Strep causes headaches? Leg pain? Dramatic puking episodes? Yes, yes, and yes. Huh.

News flash: Drew does not have pinkeye. It looks like he did have a crumb after all. Who knew a foreign object could cause what looks like a shiner? Another fifteen bucks...adios!

Jason announces on the way out that he's starving and thirsty. The doctor calls out to me that it's okay for him to eat if he wants, and that he most likely won't throw up again, "at least not like you would with a stomach virus."

So we go to Panera to get Drew a bagel and Jason an egg and cheese sandwich with sausage please hold the egg and cheese. Every time, I get the same baffled look from the cashier and have the usual verbal exchange.

Them: "You mean you just want sausage?"
Me: "Yes. And the bread."
Them: "No cheese?"
Me: "No cheese."
Them: "He doesn't want egg?"
Me: "He does not want egg."
Them: "..."
Me, feeling compelled to explain: "He's allergic to eggs."
Them: "So just sausage and cheese?"
Me: "NO. Just SAUSAGE. And BREAD."
Them: "Ohh. Hmm. That's funny, huh?"
Me: "Wicked."

This time, though, I hear Jason whimper beside me and watch as he leans tragically against the danish display, gripping his forehead with one hand and his belly with the other, appearing to be in gastric distress. More theatrics ensue. " stooommaaaaaach..."


The cashier had just put my empty coffee cup on the counter, so I grab it and stick it under his chin. "No, no, no!" he says and swats at the cup with his mittens. So I'm trying to hold the cup firmly against his chin, block him from the view of food-ordering patrons with my body, and keep his flailing hands away from the cup. He proceeds, with much fanfare, to puke in the cup as I do my "you're okay it'll be fine you'll feel so much better when it's over just wait one minute" routine. The cashier brusquely hands me a bunch of napkins and a cup of water (free! I mean, could this day get any better?) and gives me a curt smile that secretly says, "Okay, you're grossing out my customers. Can you please clean up your germ-infested kid and get the hell away from this counter?" I'm good at reading people, see.

I ditch the evidence and we hightail it out of there with minimal dirty looks (I think) and go to pick up his prescription, get home, I fumble my way through 12 minutes of histrionics to get the damn stuff down his throat, and he's now lying on the couch next to his aptly colored green Texas Ware bowl, which periodically matches his skin color exactly.

I'm thinking about filling up the tub with Purell and taking a good, long soak.

Will be in touch when the germs have evacuated the premises.

And how was your day?


Monday, January 05, 2009

Back to you

Finally, the much-anticipated holiday season is over. The tree is at the dump; the decorations, neatly packed in their rightful boxes in the attic. There are no more pastry-and-eggnog-laden parties that leave me with shrunken pants (how does that happen?), and no more family gatherings that conclude with our having to back up a U-Haul to the front porch in order to get all of our stuff home.

But most importantly, the kids are back at school. It was a long, long two weeks, my friends.

The school year involves an endless cycle of trade-offs between parents and teachers. From early September to late November, parents revel in the knowledge that they have nearly 10 weeks to be back to a normal routine after the long summer break. But all too soon, Thanksgiving brings many things for the teachers to be thankful for: namely, four studentless days. This is followed by four blissful weeks when parents can shop for the upcoming gift-giving season without such annoyances as dealing with little people yanking things off the shelves at Target, proclaiming that they need these toys and cannot possibly wait until December 25th, can't you see that, you horrible, horrible mother?

Before you know it, Christmas is upon us. And no one has more feelings of joy and peace than the teachers, who you can hear fa-la-la'ing from miles away as they skip to their cars at the end of the last school day before winter vacation. But parents finally get to breathe a little easier on New Year's Day — that time for us to rejoice, refresh, and resolve to make damn sure we get our kids to school on time the next morning. Maybe even a little early, so we can grab a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts afterwards...and curl up into the fetal position in a booth, sobbing with relief.

After what seems like three hours, it's time for February vacation. You see, school administrators seem to feel that our kids need periodic breaks — and lots of them. Apparently, five weeks after the 10-day winter break, it's presumed that my kindergartener is already overwhelmed with tracing the alphabet and playing bingo and gluing macaroni products on construction paper, which, as you can imagine, can be so exhausting.

It's interesting that April vacation always seems to begin directly after the springtime classroom party — you know, that fun-filled day when the teachers stuff our kids full of sugar until their little bodies are almost audibly twanging as they run amok, then pile them into buses (with treat bags...for the ride!), and send them straight home to us, ensuring that those seven days we spend alone with them get off to a fabulous start. Make no mistake about it, this is their passive-aggressive way of socking it to us parents because they're already dreading that marathon stretch between April vacation and the start of their long-awaited three-month break. But that's okay. We manage to get a certain amount of satisfaction when we come back in late April and taunt them with our smirky, knowing smiles that say, “They're all yours until mid-June, sucker. And by the way, I fed them Laffy Taffy for breakfast.”

Strangely, when that final school day in June comes, we welcome our children home for summer vacation with open arms because...well, the warmth and sunshine clearly makes us all kinds of crazy. But after a few weeks full of such fun-filled activities as visiting parks, going to the beach, and nearly manic chasing of the ice cream truck, we're done. Kaput. Finito. And this feeling of doneness occurs even sooner if you take an early family vacation to somewhere like Sesame Street Village or Storyland. Those sorts of things should only be planned for very late August so that we can mentally survive the experience by closing our eyes and conjuring up soon-to-be-real images of children with new clothes and backpacks walking into a large building with a flag.

So, in direct accordance with The Cycle, I pulled up for drop-off at my sons' school today on their first day back, giddy and euphoric (me, not them). When I spotted their teachers, I found myself shoving the boys gently toward them, impatiently muttering, “Here. Take these.” The teachers, looking refreshed and relaxed, smiled with understanding and led them away as I leaped back into my minivan Dukes-of-Hazzard-style and burned rubber out of the parking lot. I didn't want to be late for my appointment with my old friends Peace and Quiet. After all, I only have five weeks to enjoy them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Okay, this is just wrong: Sexy Vampire Gets Scissor Happy

Robert,'re killing me....

And not in a hot, bite-me-real-good kind of way. Thank God there's time to grow it back before New Moon comes out in November 2009.