Friday, August 29, 2014

Musical Chairs

little kid just came out of his room looking completely amazed.

"Do you know what I just realized?" he asked, with a look of total wonder on his face and his hands spread in front of him as if he held the world's secrets within them.

"What?" I asked, genuinely curious to know.

"Everything in the world makes music. Everything! If you just touch it right and listen hard all makes music!"


"Yeah! Marbles and chairs and...just everything! It all makes music! You just have to listen for it."

To live in his world!

May we all be so lucky to hear music in the rolling of marbles and the scraping of chairs.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Word Worms

"Today in school we played a game with a gummy worm named Fred and two paperclips and we had to stretch Fred through..." a long story followed. I can't recall it because I wasn't fully listening anymore but I eventually tuned back in, "We did the best and we saved Fred so we got a prize. The prize was a gummy worm!"

"So, you celebrated rescuing the gummy worm by eating his brethren?" asked Big Kid.

"Did you just use the word brethren?" I thought I had misheard.

"Yes, is that weird? I think using a unique word can just make something sound so much better."

"Yeah, no, I don't disagree, that's why I like writing. I'm just impressed."

"It is a good word."

"Yes, it really is, I agree."

"So anyway! I saved Fred and got to eat a gummy worm..." little kid rightfully continued.

"That's awesome. That sounds like a really fun activity for school." I said.

"But it is weird that you celebrated saving a gummy worm by eating a gummy worm."

And it is weird that my 11-year-old can work the word "brethren" into a casual conversation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Germ Warfare

Now Big Kid is home sick from school so I think it's safe to say that I will never spend another minute in my house alone ever again for the rest of my life. I will never know the sound of complete silence or the joy of wandering around in various states of undress able to watch anything from Lifetime movies to nearly pornographic HBO series while eating ice cream unashamedly for lunch.

My life as an individual is over forever because none of these people can or will go to their places.


It's like I'm going to have to rent a room somewhere or God forbid, get a job that requires shoes, in order to have a place that I belong again.

Get well soon, Big Kid, I need my office back.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dear little kid,

Eight years! Eight whole years of looking into your sweet face and marveling that you are mine.

I have learned so much through the honor of being your mother. Your carefree love of life, your open mind, your loving heart, your playful nature, your quick sense of humor -- you are a true joy to behold, and the good fortune of having front row seats for the rest of your life is not lost on me.

You are openly affectionate and incredibly clever. You love people and animals, places and things with genuine warmth. You have an uncanny knack for understanding others and recognizing what they need, and a willingness to try to provide it for them.

At your birthday celebration, you were enchanted with a friend's baby. "Isn't she cute?" I asked, as you again reached down for her tiny hand. "She is God," you replied with a small smile on your face. You find the beauty in every small thing, everywhere.

And you bring beauty to so many of our life moments. You are the silly and the sweet that helps cement our family together. We would not be us without you.

Thank you for eight years of every day adventure, my little prince. You may be small, but you are a mighty and magnificent being and I can't wait to see where you take life.

I like you, I love you and I'll always protect you,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Family Baker

little kid's birthday is this weekend and he's decided he ONLY wants a cake baked by his brother.

His brother has no specific specialty, experience or skills in baking but no other option will do.

Big Kid is quite pleased and I think it's very cute and very sweet but going to be a lot of work for me with a questionable outcome. I've been craving ice cream cake, not a red velvet cake vaguely in shape of some Minecraft thing (this is the plan, from what I understand).

But it's not my birthday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dear Husband,

It has recently come to my attention that I need to add an addendum to our wedding vows.

13 years ago, I promised all kinds of stuff (everything but the obey part, because, come on, who are we kidding?) including to love you in sickness and in health.

And I meant it.

However, I need to exclude the first week of back to school from the sickness portion of that agreement. I'm not trying to be unsympathetic here and I'm pretty sure that you haven't chosen to be sick. I feel for you, I really do, but I need my house back like a thirsty man in the desert needs rain. Like a budding flower needs sun. Like an angry toddler needs the red cup and not the blue cup. Like an after bedtime mom needs wine.

I will wither away and die without it. Maybe I won't even wither away, maybe I will explode into a fiery ball of destruction which would be extremely damaging and traumatic for everyone involved. No one wants that to happen.

When I lightly suggested that we priceline you a hotel room for quarantine, you gave a feeble laugh and I wasn't sure how to tell you that this was not a joke. Don't you want a hotel room? I want a hotel room.

And now, two days in...? I'm getting sick. Oh no worries, you think, hop your sick little self into your quiet little bed -- but wait, someone is in there. He's been in there, sweaty and groaning, stealing the coldness from the sheets for days.

I tried to escape to yoga because it's quiet there, but when you have the sniffles, you become the jerk ruining everyone else's quiet and no one wants to do that. No one should want to do that. People should care about other people's quiet time. Sick people should go somewhere else and that's what I did.

So, get well soon, my love. I really, really mean it. And let's have a vow renewal where we add in the part about not being sick the first week of school and maybe let's make some edits to that whole "for richer or poorer part" but mostly the poorer part. I also think the traditional vows are remiss in not pledging prompt home and car repair work so let's write our own this time and get it right.

But really, get well. Soon. Like yesterday.

Love in sickness 51 weeks out of the year and in health 52,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


So, I guess middle school is going well.

I can only guess because every question, no matter how carefully worded, is somehow answered with fewer than 3 words. "It was good." "No, not really." "Yes, I think so." "I'm not sure." "Everyone is nice." "It seems long." That is the Cliff Notes to our entire middle school experience. I might have to resort to waterboarding in order to figure out what is actually going on.

On the first day he came home and announced that his day was great but that he wasn't particularly interested in doing it again tomorrow.

He seems content though and determined to get it right. He takes special care with packing his backpack and coming up with a plan for locker visits for the day. He does well with collared shirts and combination locks and homework. He reports that he still gets lost occasionally, but he doesn't seem bothered by this. He seems to sit wherever at lunch, eating mostly alone which causes a little concern but only for me -- I've stopped asking about it because I don't want to make it weird if it's not.

"You should set some social goals now that you're getting settled in!" I offer.

"You know, I will. That's a good idea," he agrees, probably to shut me up.

I know he's an introvert and I know I should shut up about it but as a mother, it's like I just can't shut up about anything. I hear things I'm saying at the same time I'm thinking that it's annoying that I'm saying those things. He saw all kinds of kids at orientation that were clearly happy to see him, and he was fine with that. Not overly excited to reunite, not anxious or awkward, just cool about it. He does have friends and people he hangs out with socially. Also, it's the third day. So I guess it's fine.

I've just realized this is probably why he doesn't tell me anything. It's the third day! And I'm being this annoying already.

I'm going to have to completely re-work my interrogation tactics.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My First Day Back

So, for me, the first day has gone well.

I didn't cry.

Some salty water kind of spilled out onto my cheeks as I left Big Kid's school, but I'm not even counting that.

I watched South Park and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I caught up on a ton of work. I ate stuff without sharing. I cleaned the house as I chatted with a friend on the phone for an hour. I did some more work. I've sat in complete silence.

It has been quite nice!

But now I'm done and I'm ready for everyone to come home and tell me about their day. I want that far more than I want the additional hour to myself. I miss them already.

Another First

Today was it.

The big day.

The first day.

little kid was fine. He always is. He was a little nervous and sad to see summer end, but he got on the bus without a hitch and headed for 3rd grade:

Then it was Big Kid's turn. His first day of middle school. It had been a frantic weekend of finding the rest of the school supplies, picking first day outfits and practicing on a substitute combination lock, and now the big day was here.

We have always started school days by snuggling in my bed and he was sad to wake up and realize that with little kid already gone for the day, that routine may have to change. I offered to get back into bed and we did. It was nice and I found myself relieved that the tradition continues with both boys.

"Mom?" he said softly as I rubbed his back.


"Thanks for getting this for me."

"Getting what?"

"Middle school. You know, highlighting my map and practicing my lock with me and making sure I know what I'm doing."

HOW IS THIS KID SO AMAZING? No, really, how? I don't think I can take credit. I assured him that stuff was included in my job description and that I loved doing it for him.

As we drove into the car rider line loop, he said, "I'm scared. I'm really scared."

Me too.

But instead I said, "You know something I heard in yoga that stuck with me? Fear and excitement have the exact same physical symptoms! They make you feel the same way, but your brain is just more accepting of excitement. So now when I feel scared, I try to decide if I'm in danger or not, and if I'm not, I try to look at it as excitement."

He considered that quietly while we waited.

As we pulled up to the last curve, he said, "I'm excited, mom."

"I'm excited for you."

And I am. In every sense of the word.

Good luck in 6th grade, my love, and you're welcome...for everything forever.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuck in the Middle School Fears

My two fears for Big Kid starting middle school, in order of importance:

1.) Lockers: the combination, the logistics, the's not promising. We tried the combination lock at least a dozen times and I think he got it once. It's not the numbers that are the problem, it's the spinning. The spinning. Not even what direction to spin how many times...the physical act of spinning seems to be the major complication. We're going to practice on a spare lock.

2.) Polo shirts: collared shirts are truly a confusing situation for this child. He often gets them inside out and occasionally argues with me about whether or not they are inside out. And I know. I know they are inside out. I'm really good at collared shirts. I have no idea what's going on when he starts talking about Einstein's theories of relativity but I do know collared shirts. His uniform consists of collared shirts. Last year's did too but they had the school logo on them, which immediately ended inside out arguments. Can we do it with a blank shirt? I don't know. (And I know you're thinking "But what about the tag?" I know you're thinking that because I think it too. Every single time. The tag is not a clear indicator for Big Kid.)

Surprising fears, right?

He's brilliant, attractive, kind and funny. He will find his people. I don't know what kind of people that will be, but I don't care, they're not my people. As long as they're nice, we're good. I'm saying all of this because I have a feeling they might be nerds because we visited an arcade in Miami and he mentioned that he felt like he found his people. I felt like I found central casting's nerd waiting room but that's okay. Great, actually. I hope he finds his people everywhere he goes, I love his people.

But looks and charm aren't going to open a locker. Friends might but if he does find his people, they might not be good at locks either.

Are rolling backpacks allowed?

What's inside? We will never know.
Despite orientation being a total shit show in my opinion (chaotic, bizarre building layout, classes spread all over, locker failure), he left saying he feels "accomplished and confident."

Accomplished and confident makes my heart sing!

We've got this! Maybe not the lockers or the collared shirts but the rest of it, we've got it.



I hope.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Nice Cream Man

"I wonder where the ice cream man is? I don't know that I've seen him all summer!" I said, missing ice cream delivery, even though I used to resent his dependability because it would signal the beginning of frantic negotiating from the kids.

"Good point. Where is that guy? No ice cream man would take the summer off, we must have lost him." Big Kid replied.

"I bet it was a code enforcement thing. Bummer."

In my city, it's always a code enforcement thing.

"He's reading to kids this summer." little kid answered from across the room, barely looking up from what he was doing.

"He's reading to kids?"

"In another country. As, like, a nice thing. He's a nice guy."

"How do you know these things? From buying ice cream?"

"Yeah. We talk."

I didn't really even think to move beyond the transactional portion of the relationship. Now I'm super curious to get to know our ice cream man who sounds far more interesting than I previously imagined.

I also really would like someone to bring me some ice cream again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons...

"Look at that lemon, just sitting over there alone in all of that grass," little kid said as we approached the community pool and did, oddly enough, spot one lone lemon in an empty field.

That boy is a finder; the universe brings him lots of things because he is always searching.

"That's pretty weird," I said, not giving it a moment's thought.

"I wonder how it got there?" He continued. "All by itself, it's kind of sad."

"I don't know."

My guess is that someone threw it there but I didn't want to go into the how or who or why of it all so I continued not thinking about it.

"Maybe one day it will grow up to be a lemon tree!" He said. "I bet it's been waiting all this time to prove that it can be more than just a lemon."'s been waiting all this time to prove that it can be more than just a lemon.Wow. Maybe we're all just waiting to prove that we can be more than just lemons.

He is a constant lesson that it's worth keeping your eyes and heart and mind open out in the world.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Big Kid: The worst model in gaming right now is apps like Candy Crush. Pay to go to the next level! It's a rip off -- it creates an addictive cycle that requires no talent or actual ability. Also, did you know they tried to trademark the words "candy", "crush", and "saga" -- it just selfish! To try to take real words and keep them for yourself, and sue people who want to use them.

little kid: Well, at least it is pretty popular.

Big Kid: Maybe among soccer moms and people who are taking a dump.

He has a point.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Casting Call

There is nothing quite like being asked to consider auditioning for a reality show to make one re-evaluate their path in life.

I know because it's happened to me five times. FIVE TIMES.

I must be on a list somewhere, right? An "oversharing weirdo" list circulated amongst casting agencies for reality shows and docu-series, which I think is just a sneaky word for reality show.

They are almost always looking for some zany character and I always spend a day or three hoping I'm zany in the same way as the mom from Good Luck Charlie and not the mom from Honey Boo Boo.

Alarmingly, one of the offers was looking for people who were the black sheep of their family. I don't believe I've ever represented myself as the black sheep of my family. So, was someone reading along and decided that my family must hate me? Did my family secretly nominate me? I'll never know, because I didn't respond.

Mr. Ashley almost talked me into considering one once, when a network wanted to fly us out to meet them and promised we'd be portrayed in a positive light. But I don't see why anyone would want to watch a normal family portrayed in a positive light, and I don't believe the kids can consent to something like that so I came to my senses quickly. I can't sell my soul for a free vacation, tempting though it might be. Also, we are incredibly boring. Sometimes I'm bored being me, I cannot imagine watching me be me.

One was a show about unconventional parenting, which was confusing because I don't consider my parenting to be unconventional. Maybe a little on the lazy and whiny side, but not notably so. Not television drama-worthy. Barely even blog-worthy.

Then there was the proposal where I'd go on a reality-style game show to win money for someone who needed it. Um, no. Call me selfish, but if I'm going on a game show, it will be Price is Right and it will be for me. I have wanted to spin that wheel since I was a little kid playing sick to stay home from school.

The most recent offer was intriguing. I won't do it because people can be jerks and I don't want them being the boss of my life but I want one of you to do it because I want to watch:

We are currently on the lookout for a charismatic, fun and expressive person to star in an innovative and socially interactive new series that will result in an adventurous, life-changing and completely unpredictable journey. Whether you’re approaching a significant life moment and unsure of what your world will be like afterwards, or you’re about to experience a new milestone in your life and still have unchartered territory to explore, or you’ve ever wondered what your life would be like if you’d made a different decision, we have the opportunity for you! 

Are you at a major crossroads in life?  
Have you ever wondered “What if…” about your life?
Do you ever daydream about ‘sliding door’ versions of your life?

Would you ever want to try a new and different kind of life?
Maybe you recently turned 30/40 (or are about to), or you recently got a divorce/separation, or you’ve been trying to have kids (or will be in the near future). Maybe once upon a time you moved somewhere for someone, or you gave something up for a relationship, or yousacrificed something of yours for someone else. 
Whether you’re approaching a significant life moment and unsure of what your world will be like afterwards, or you’re about to experience a new milestone in your life and still have unchartered territory to explore, we have the opportunity for you! 
A major cable entertainment network is currently seeking a charismatic, fun and expressive person to star in an innovative and socially interactive new series that will result in an adventurous, life-changing and completely unpredictable journey. This show puts one person’s fate into the hands of opinionated viewers. Having to rely on social media interactions alone, our star’s day-to-day life will be completely dictated by viewers. Every real-life decision – from what they eat to what they wear to who they talk to – will be decided entirely by the network’s highly engaged audience.
Our ideal candidate for this ultimate social experiment is:
: At least 21 years old.
: Someone who is at a major crossroads in life OR someone who thinks their life is missing something despite the appearance of “having it all.”
: Likeable, confident, endearing and relatable.
: Curious and eager to experience all that life has to offer.
: Someone whose life is an open book, who lives life in a big way and who is expressive enough to share every thought and feeling.
: A charming and confident personality along with a fun/funny sense of humor. 
Interested? Submit your name and contact info to

So there it is. This is not an ad. Just an amusing example of what comes across my inbox and the resulting identity crisis afterwards.

For the fifth time.

One of you should totally do it, though. It could be fun!

Endless Summer

One week until school starts.

I know I've said (1900 million times) that this summer lasted 42 years, but all of a sudden, it feels like it lasted 42 minutes.

Is it because I am so unprepared for the upcoming school year?
Is it because having a middle schooler and 3rd grader officially makes me old?
Is it because I really kind of like having these kids around and don't want to give them back to their various institutions? But not quite enough to home school them?

I just want 3 more weeks.

So I could complain about how impossibly long and loud those 3 weeks are. 

I'm going to miss them so much, even though they'll still be here and I'll have more quiet time and less laundry.

Actually, this is one of those things I'll get over pretty much immediately, isn't it? Everything is going to be alright, right? And sometimes I will be here alone and that's a good thing. I might already be over it.

Nevermind, I'm okay.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dear Big Kid,

Today you are 11.


We've done this whole life thing together for 11 years and we've done it well.

I can't even begin to list the things I love about you--your quick wit and dry humor, your abundance of creativity, your ability to respectfully speak up for what is right, your kind and gentle nature, your honesty, good taste and sharp intelligence.

You summed up a recent trip to the other coast by saying, "Miami is not a humble city." I thought it was such an insightful observation and remarkable that you could boil such a busy place down to six words. I loved watching you enjoy the brazenness of a big city the way you did. I love your way with words.

If I need a true opinion on anything from an outfit to a piece of writing, I can count on you to offer yours and I always consider it carefully. You are polite but frank when giving advice and I value that more than you'll ever know. You're such a good friend to me and many others.

You are just such a joy to know--I can't even begin to explain what an honor it is to be your mother.

11 years! I have enjoyed every one of them. (Age 3 less than the others, but still.) You are magnificent in every way. I am so excited to see what your future holds and so delighted to be a part of it!

I like you, I love you and I'll always protect you,
(My heart still wants to squeal with delight at being able to write that!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Food as Fuel

Yoga Teacher: Are you eating a muffin before my class? Before a hot power vinyasa class??

Me: This is my dinner! I've been working. I can't do the class without having some food first.

Yoga Teacher: Your dinner is a muffin?

Me: Actually, it's cake.

In related news, I've done yoga three times a week* all summer long and still managed to gain 7 pounds.

 *give or take, and only because they make me. And by make me, I mean they have yoga challenges where you get a free shirt and I can't not get the shirt. It's a tremendous amount of pressure. The shirts say "I did it!" and I've been threatening to sell "I almost did it!" and "I thought about doing it!" shirts for really cheap in the parking lot. Because lazy people like shirts, too!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stuck in the Middle

During school shopping for new clothes, Big Kid casually announced that he'd decided to go to the public middle school.

He switched to a charter school last year and had assured me all along that he intended to finish middle school there, since he prefers the smaller environment and the kids at the public school smoke "The Marijuana." (I laughed so hard my ribs hurt as soon as it was safe to do so.)

I pressed him about what made him change his mind and he is pretty vague about answering but says he wants the typical middle school experience. Although Big Kid in middle school is a terrifying thought, I'm also relieved; the charter school was disorganized, had no bus service and middle school is a great place to practice awkwardness before moving on to high school. I think the later starting time and the middle school kids who hang out at our local Starbucks may have influenced him, but I'm going to let it ride.

We're going to do this.

I feel good about it.

I wonder if those public school kids can hook me up with "The Marijuana."

Just kidding. But maybe a little for the first day since we all know I will be in the fetal position crying, despite all of this feeling good about it. And then the second day so I can relax a bit. And then the third day because why not go for a week at that point?

Is having big kids a medical condition? It should be.

What I'm really having a heart attack about is little kid going into third grade. What the hell? I know it's not a typical milestone like middle school but that's my tiny, bald, fuzzy-headed, fat baby parasite and third graders are very big. There is simply not a chance he could be an 8-year-old in a few short weeks. This completely snuck up on me -- I guess in worrying about Big Kid's rapid growth, I took solace in still having a baby and forgot to notice that I don't. The thought of having a third grader and a middle schooler makes my stomach drop.

It's scary because it had to be some sort of time travel trick. I'm officially the mom of kids who are so big that moms of little kids hate us upon sight at play areas. When it was just yesterday that I was hating the moms of those impossibly big kids for letting those gigantic jerks around my precious little snowflakes at play areas.

So I'm gathering paperwork for registration and assisting in elective selection (chorus, really?) and torn between obsessing over this new turn of events and refusing to think about any of it whatsoever, which explains why I'll be waiting for the last minute to buy school supplies.