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Watermelon and worry


We were at a family breakfast for my son’s kindergarten class, which is a big event for the kids. Almost all the parents come and each family brings some assigned dish, selected by the kids. There is a song or two, some showing of their art work, some reading and then it’s over within the hour.

We got lucky at this breakfast and were assigned watermelon as our dish – easy to buy and bring.  One of the other fathers had mentioned to me that they were bringing lox, which struck me as funny because of the sheer New York-ness of it, and then funny because it seems kind of expensive to bring lox for your child, her 24 classmates and their parents. Maybe it was this phew-d0dged-the-bullet-and-get-to-bring-fruit mentality that made me lose my mind in the watermelon store and buy enough watermelon cubes (of course I buy it already cut) for the each of the school’s 1000 children.

The party was in full swing and Jake and I were sharing a black and white cookie (also so New York!) while we waited for our turn to get a plate of food. Jake casually strolled past the food table and came back to me, looking concerned.

Jake:  I’m a little worried.

Me:  Why?

Jake:  It seems nobody is enjoying the watermelon.

Me:  What do you mean?

Jake:  Nobody seems to be eating it. Nobody likes it. There seems to be a lot left.

My heart did that seize thing that it does when we don’t want our kids’ feelings to be hurt. Then I felt bad that I had bought so much. Then I thought,  “How did I make him as crazy as I am already? ” And then I felt a surge of pride that my son is as nutty as his mother… I also like to check to see if my salad/dessert/other culinary masterpiece is popular when I’m forced to bring one to a potluck.  Isn’t it a little bit normal to want others to like what we brought?

So while Jake settled into a big bowl of fruit loops (bless the teacher who invites her 25 5-year olds to have fruit loops as a school sanctioned start to a day), I did the only thing I could do. I skulked off to hide a few packages of the ignored watermelon in my purse. And then I made myself a big bowl of it, just to make sure it was as delicious as we wanted it to be. By the time I returned to my son,  the watermelon was virtually gone and he was in a sugar stupor. Just in time to kiss me good bye.

Filed under Uncategorized

Grown-ups don’t hide in the kitchen


Maybe I’m nuttier than normal this week, but I have to get this one off my chest. I’m not generally mean and I’m certain that with this post, I’m challenging thirty seven different rules of karma…


Dear Unnamed Person, (who does a very important task for me and whom I see EVERY day in my building),

I am happy you are in my life and I am grateful for the role you play in it. We would be hard-pressed to get by without your evening visits.

But I must tell you, that now, when I hear you getting off the elevator and heading toward my apartment, I hide in my kitchen so I don’t have to see you. It’s like when my mom would hustle my sister and me into my bedroom so the religious people walking down the street wouldn’t know we were home. (Though now, as a grown-up, it seems like it would have just have been easier to have answered the door and said, “No thank you, we’re good on religion.” But the hiding actually was fun.)

Of course, I can’t explain to you that I hide so I don’t have to see you because now that I’m visibly super-sized pregnant, you ask me every single day, “How are you feeling?” And you say it with such a big smile and happy, excited voice and I can even now hear the womanly-kinship as you revel in my pregnancy — but it makes me crazy so please stop. (I bet you are one of those fans who stand at mile 23 of the NY Marathon and yell, as the runners begin the final slog through the hills of Central Park, “You are so close! Almost there!” Rest assured that 3 miles isn’t almost there.) You see, just like those runners who don’t need to be lied to about how much more of a race there is,  I don’t need to discuss how I feel every day, because I’m big as a house and very tired, and you and I are essentially strangers.

Maybe tomorrow you can just smile at me and wave from the door, and I’ll do the same in return. Or I may just stay in the kitchen. I can’t be sure.

Anyway, thank you for all your hard work. See you tomorrow.

– lamemom

Too old, too cool


No, not me. Surprising, isn’t it?

No, yesterday my heart broke because my son was too old for a jammie walk.  The husband was taking the kids for a quick jammie walk to buy some (certainly edible but FAR from Jeni’s) ice cream (in an attempt to make up for neglecting my birthday – but that is another post). Since bedtime was looming, my caveat was that the kids had to be ready for bed before they go. Both kids hustled into pajamas and then it dawned on my son that he was expected to be heading out in his pj’s.Which he has done seven thousand times in the last five years. But now, as the end of his kindergarten year looms, he is too cool for a jammie walk.

I heard him discussing it with his father in the other room and they decided that an easy fix would be to pull sweats over the pj’s, so the problem was solved but a bigger problem loomed in my head. Or my heart, to be more apt. My baby is too old to cruise Amsterdam Avenue in his pj’s. Who knows what he’ll be too old for tomorrow. I will try to snag all the hugs I can in the meantime and hope the little sister doesn’t also turn on me before baby #3 arrives.


Which hand is it in?


Of course the list is long for most parents of things thought they would never say, but today I hit one that really surprised me. (And I’m a bit worried to see the porn spam I get because of this post.)

Jake and I were playing “what hand is the _____ in? ” You know this one — child holds a coin or apple or crayon or, in our case this morning, a golden bead, behind his back in a hand and you, naive as ever, have to figure out if it’s in the left or right hand. Yes, I know the child probably moves it from right to left hand depending on which hand you select. But it seems like good left-right practice and my son was amused by it for a little while this morning.

Jake had the small bead behind his back and, in spite of my best guesses, it was in neither the left nor the right hand. Hmmmm. It had disappeared. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and I knew his jammie bottoms weren’t tight enough to hold the bead up so obviously I was a bit concerned. Of course, we all know where the golden bead was, but still, I said it.

It had better not be in your butt.

Rest assured, we had a very serious discussion once we fished it out. And the the golden bead, fortunately a plastic version, made its way into the garbage. Tomorrow if we need to kill time I might suggest “I Spy.”

Filed under Kindergarten

The benefit of a margarita


I’m a bundle of fun, unless I’m pregnant. Then, I’m a little cranky and less enthused by many things. And I don’t have the benefit of a margarita. Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting friends for Mexican. I managed to “help” select a venue that was two blocks from my apartment (sorry, outer boroughs!), put on my prettiest maternity top – (which for me, means my top showing the least amount of cleavage and under-belly), got a babysitter and made it to the restaurant early, so I could watch my friends throw back their “starter margaritas.” Yay me! Miracle of life, virgin mojito, fun city. Wah.

In spite of my fleeting self pity, it was fun to be out. After everybody had downed their starter margaritas and moved on to wine, someone said I seemed to be looking okay (which I think means “not gruesome yet”) this pregnancy. A simpleton at receiving compliments, I’m sure I whined a little about my butt (daughter Jenn announced recently that “I think the baby is in your butt, too”), or my absurd sense of smell or my eyebrows growing faster than ever, and the only non-parent-man at the table piped up, in full rant mode:

The best pregnant look is to be pregnant. I mean, it’s not really a goal look for anyone, is it? The key is to actually BE pregnant when you look pregnant…

He continued on from there, but I kind of stopped listening, so happy was I with this little gem — thank goodness I actually am (usually) pregnant when I look pregnant. (Ok– I’m totally leaving aside how excited (really!) and lucky I am to be having #3 when a bucket of people I know would be THRILLED to be in my situation, especially at (gulp) almost 41.) But my friend is right — I am pregnant and I look it and it’s temporary.

The problem will present itself the week after the baby is born and some guileless bystander asks me when I am due. Yes, that did happen to me after #2, and I was most certainly wearing my prettiest post-pregnancy top. But, of course, I probably had the benefit of a margarita at that point, so the truth didn’t sting as much.

Filed under Preganancy

It takes a kingdom


I have an aversion to old food. Most leftovers give me the willies after one day but my biggest aversion is tasting milk – I’m not really a milk drinker anyway – if there is any chance it might be old. In fact, my usually rock-solid (solid in that I’m not a puker; not solid like I have a six pack) stomach flips if I even get near the sell-by date. Half-and-half for my coffee is easy to test because it curdles but skim milk would probably take WEEKS to curdle in a bowl of Cheerios. So what to do?

In Medieval and Elizabethan times, the royal family would have an official food taster. Usually a peasant, the taster would taste bits of all the food the king or queen was about to eat, to see if it had been poisoned. Of course, the obvious hiccup here is that many of the poisons used during the time were not instant but took a few hours for results. But the taster got a good (albeit stressful) meal and the big boss didn’t usually die.

Though I don’t fancy myself royal (but I am very interested in Kate and William’s nuptials), I have my own little staff of tasters. I only use them for milk, or maybe yogurt, and if I’m not sure if that milk is good? My staff of two saves the day. They have varying levels of proficiency:  Jenn is the little one and she almost always says, “Yummy,” but the Jake, the big one, is VERY discerning. Some brands of milk we can’t even buy any more because he insists they taste bad. I pour him a taste, so we don’t waste the whole bowl of Cheerios, and he gives me the thumbs up or down.

It’s a perfect system. We don’t waste milk if it’s given the thumbs up; I don’t have to taste it, and my young tasters get a chance to help earn their keep. Fortunately I only eat sushi at restaurants — no risk I’ll try to expand the children’s duties there.




Filed under Lamer than ever

Letter to the lady on the M7 bus yesterday


Dear Sanctimonious, Judgemental Mom,

I hope you had a nice ride uptown yesterday morning. I know that I did, and I’m quite sure that my daughter did, too.  And do you know what made the ride so nice? That for the sixteen blocks from my son’s school to my daughter’s school – maybe 10 minutes  – my daughter and I did not have to talk to one another or really even acknowledge one another. It was like we lived in the suburbs and she was buckled into her car seat while I drove, listening to NPR. Only we were on a crowded Tuesday morning bus.

I am sorry that your son (or daughter, I couldn’t tell w/ that long, stupid hair) was more interested in the shape game my daughter was playing on my iphone than the giant hard-cover book you pulled out of your bag. (Though I’ll note that my daughter initially wanted to listen in on your story until you turned it so she couldn’t see it. I have to believe that was an accident.)

I don’t owe you an explanation, but I’m generally an over-sharer, so let me justify:  though my daughter looks like she’s five, she’s actually three (we’re big people), and for some reason, we all rose at 5:34am today so everybody at our house was particularly tired; everyone – dog included – had already thrown his or her version of a tantrum before 7am, and though I didn’t know it then, by noon pick-up, my daughter had a raging fever, so she wasn’t feeling great. We were on the last leg of our kids-to-school journey and, believe me, I did the whole bus a favor by handing over my phone.

Anyhoo, she played her game, without sound, for those 10 minutes, and we both got a chance to re-set for the final slog to school. So please save the “parenting for public” – you know what I mean, when you said to your child in a tone for the entire bus, “Please pay attention to this book. We are not going to resort to that every morning on our way to school.” (Though I liked the way you gestured toward my daughter and the phone by lifting your eyebrows and angling your head in our direction. Careful with that, though – don’t want any unnecessary wrinkles!)

I remember when I was a bettter parent than everybody, too, WAY before I ever had kids. And I know that despite our best intentions, we all judge and think we make better or worse choices than everybody else. (Remember my mention of your kid’s long, stupid hair?) But like they say, we don’t know the shoes other people are walking in, so we should all shut the hell up and keep our foreheads smooth.

Let’s save our disdain for that guy who was giving his 2-year old a ginger ale on the bus. I bet we can all agree that sugary drinks on the bus before 9am are a mistake, especially ones without caffeine. Though again, maybe they overslept and had raced to the bus and that ginger ale happened to be in his bag and was the kid’s first sustenance that day. See? We just don’t know.

Looking forward to seeing you again, riding the MTA,


Filed under NYC, Preschool

Just pedal!


Yesterday in NY the temperature reached 70 degrees, the whole city is out in the park and I am forced to admit again how lame I really am.  I am tortured that my son can’t yet ride a bicycle well without training wheels.  Since there’s no reason to bother with a blog if not to be honest, here’s the ugliest part:  I’m infuriated that many of his friends can ride their training wheel-less bikes capably.  In fact, I’m totally bummed that one of my best friends gets to run while her son (same age as mine) rides his bike along with her. And it gets uglier:  my husband and I almost never practice with him but I still want him to be good at it. You betcha’, I’m the worst parent in the land.

Let me give you some background – since running with him in the BOB (best running stroller ever) up and down the hills of Central Park and bribing him with peanuts so we could go a little farther, I have dreamed of going for a run in the park with my son riding along with me.  What better way to spend an hour together and get some exercise – two birds with one stone. I’m not an idiot — I know bike riding isn’t intuitive, but Jake is a little tentative since losing his training wheels (and his mother is a nutcase), so we haven’t spent much time practicing. (And I’m giant pregnant so am not really nimble enough to run alongside his bike pretending to hold his seat.)  I also don’t want him to know how keen I am for him to get it, because we know that will never work. On the plus side, once he does get it, I bet his little sister won’t be far behind. And I expect that baby #3 will learn instantly, to keep up with the others.

When I first adopted Jackson, the best dog in the world, I wanted him to run with me, too. In my pre-dog NY years, I would run in the park, fully envious of the other runners with their dogs. And I tried running with Jackson for about two years, with no success. Running with him 0n-leash sent me to the chiropractor and running with him off-leash was a disaster because huskies run away (I’m sure your husky is much better trained, but my husky runs away) so the only off-leash running we did together was me running after him, trying to catch him.  Not super fun, though nice interval training for me. Eventually, I accepted that Jackson is not an off-leash dog and that his distance running intentions have nothing to do with whatever run I have planned for the day.

So I will also accept that my son is not a 5-year old cycling star and I will grit my teeth when I hear about my friends’ kids riding with them in the park.  But though I gave up on Jackson (and my husband, but that’s a story for another day) joining me for runs, I am confident that Jake will soon see the light.  And once I birth this baby on board, I’ll get Jake a basket for his bike so he can carry our sweatshirts and a snack, because food, especially when it’s a bribe, makes exercise more fun.





That’s what I worry about these days, spit. Because my daughter Jenn has been putting her hands in her mouth at school lately. And while I would rather she not put her fingers in her mouth, I worry that I’m missing something as I wonder if it’s worth the three emails I have received from school about it. She’s not a thumb sucker; she just went to the dentist and had no dental issues, and we don’t really know why she’s doing it but it has only been for a couple weeks so I’m just watching.

Now this story, relayed to me at dinner last night by a friend with a 5-year old son, is WAY better than Jenn’s but it got not one email home. My friend got to learn the story at the “family conference” (Not parent-teacher, because at this school the kids are invited! Yikes. How could I badmouth my kid if he were in the conference with me?) The family conference unfolds and teacher says something about the “incident yesterday.” Of course, my friend knows nothing about said incident. Eventually it comes out that yesterday at nap time, the son busied himself not with resting but with “saliva wiping.”

My friend, to her son:  What happened? Why were you wiping saliva on him?  Was he mean to you?

Son:  Yes.

My friend:  Well what did he do?

Son:  He was bothering me.

Teacher:  Actually, he was sleeping.

I’m not sure where the story went from there because there was so much laughter at our table I couldn’t hear.

Like everything, I think it all comes down to degree. Yes I want to know if my 3.5-yo has developed a habit of putting her fingers in her mouth. And if I were being honest, I would probably admit that I still want to know every single thing that happens in her day and if I could peek in the window from 9a – 12p to watch her at preschool, I would. But I know that doesn’t do me any good (I’m already crazy enough) and I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t do her any good and ultimately, I give the school a bucket of money because I trust them so I don’t have to peek through the windows. (And that’s probably why I get three emails about fingers in her mouth.)

On the other side, my friend heard nothing about the saliva wiping – (Now that’s just fun to type – who really talks like that? It’s spit!) – and she believes she should have heard about it, maybe because it involved another kid, (the wipee). Or because it’s just a little bit grosser, a little bit more germy, and WAY funnier. I would have loved to have seen that email from the teacher.

Filed under Kindergarten, Preschool

Lamer than ever


I reached another new low last week. I ignored my poor son in spite of the fact that he doesn’t really say things that aren’t true. (Why do I expect that he will?)

Wednesday morning Jake complained of a sore throat. As I am accustomed to do, I disregarded this complaint. He had no fever, he seemed fine and he was going to school. (I swear, this had nothing to do with the fact that I had reserved a bike in a 9:30am spin class. Really.) Actually, I thought he was simply hankering for attention because his little sister had gotten stitches the day before and we had poured the patient sympathy on pretty thick. I also wondered if possibly he was “ill” because his favorite friend had been absent the day before. (Foreshadowing:  I didn’t know that said favorite friend had missed school because of a nasty case of strep throat.)

So off he went to school, and the babysitter fetched him after so he could get ready for his swim lesson. Only he burst into tears when I said it was time to go to the pool. And he had fever-y eyes and had those cute red cheeks he gets when he has a fever. Though I didn’t exactly pay attention to all of this evidence that he was sick as I was too focused on making it to swim lessons on time and not paying for a lesson we didn’t actually go to. (Yes, I flush money down the toilet on fancy coffees but the thought of paying for a no-show swim lesson makes me anxious, more anxious than dragging a whiny, sick kid to the pool. My priorities certainly seem askew.)

The continued sobbing eventually clued me in that we would never make it three blocks to the pool, and the cuddling made me realize he was actually sick. So we cuddled and acetaminophen-ed and pretty soon called it a night. The next morning he still had a little fever so no school, but I wasn’t too troubled. Midday I heard from another parent that the school was full of strep and the babysitter called to tell me he seemed really not well. Damn! I got him the only doctor’s appointment left that day, at 7pm, and I left the lunch I was at to go home because somehow I would feel better if he were crying with me there. By the time he finally got to the doctor, the poor bugger’s throat looked like it had been rubbed across a cheese grater. Of course, bad case of strep and hooray for antibiotics.

In about two days he was feeling better but I still felt awful. What moron doubts her little boy? Especially about him not feeling well? He’s not old enough yet (I don’t think) to fake illness, or really, to lie about anything for more than a couple minutes. Yet, I doubted him and he was miserable for probably a day longer than necessary. Next time maybe I’ll listen harder. Though by then, he will probably have turned into the deviant I apparently expect him to be. I hear that happens around six.


Filed under Bad Parenting

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