Do you remember when going out to eat was a big deal? I do. When I was a kid, we hardly ever went out to eat. Birthdays, mainly. I remember my parents would let my brother and I scan the coupon book to decide which place we wanted to eat at for our birthdays. One year, I found a restaurant – I think it was Japanese – that caught my eye. I really, really wanted to go there. For what felt like months (and was probably just a few agonizing days for my parents) I obsessed about this place. How you would take your shoes off and sit at this little table in a room partitioned off from everything else – with white paper screen walls. It seemed like such an exotic experience. There was only one problem. It burned down. It had burned down long before I ever saw it in the coupon book. My heart was set and now my hopes were dashed. It was the looking forward to it, the anticipation that really had me going – all to be crushed before the day even came. My parents asked me to find another place to celebrate my birthday dinner, but it just wasn’t the same.

These days, I wonder if my own children will ever really know what that anticipation is like. Really looking forward to something. It seems our society is so eager to deliver that we don’t often have to wait. If we’re curious about something, we don’t have to wait until the next day to go to the library and look it up in a book – we just pull out our phone and ask Google. If we really want to see that new movie, we don’t have to wait months for it to come out – we can find a bootlegger somewhere online and watch it rather easily. If we hear the highway was shut down for an hour – we don’t have to wait for the evening news – we just go on to Facebook for answers.

With anticipation comes appreciation. Lack of one can often lead to lack of the other. This past weekend is a good example of that. We decided to have a family day. (Mind you, this was after strenuous hours spent on a science fair project and frustration levels were high all around.) We went to the park and played and then decided to go out to eat. As soon as we got in the car, the complaints started. Two of the older kids would rather have play dates with their friends than have family time. I explained that was not going to happen and was just shy of a, “beatings will continue until morale improves” kind of speech. On the way to town, the kids started arguing about where they wanted to eat. One wanted Taco Bell, another Subway. This wasn’t going to be a fast food meal. As we pulled into a sit-down restaurant, my 9-year-old son groaned, “Oh man, we’re going here?! Ugh.” That was it. I’d had enough. I told my husband to turn around and take us home before launching into a speech reminiscent of one I’m sure my parents gave me as a child, about how going out to eat was a privilege, not a right. How they should be appreciative, blah, blah, blah.

The experience got me thinking – do our kids want for much anymore? Do they count down the days for things like we did? (Don’t even get me started on what it was like to wait for clothes you ordered via a catalog to arrive here in Alaska…) Do they daydream about fun times or do they just pull out an iPad? Have they lost their appreciation because they don’t know how to antici….pate?

And with that, I leave you with a little Rocky Horror Picture Show.




The Sleepover Hangover

My 9-year-old son can be the sweetest, nicest, most caring boy. He can be fun, smart and creative. And he can be kind. Unless, of course, he’s just come back from a sleepover.

The sleepover itself seems not to blame for his sudden shift in attitude. It’s not the fun they have or the sweets they eat or the time away from home. It’s the staying up until all hours of the night and then coming home, sleep-deprived and full of angst for all those around him. And believe me, it’s no fun for any of the parties involved.

It occurs to me – a sleepover is kind of like a night out with your friends when you’re in your early 20s:

  • Stay up late
  • Eat or drink too much
  • Dance – with or without music
  • Being ridiculously loud and getting told to quiet down
  • Have an awesome time with your friends
  • Play some interesting games
  • Try not to get busted by the cops (aka, mom)
  • Instructed by others to go to sleep already
  • Wake up… in a mood.

For my son, the return home from a sleepover usually starts well enough. He’s amped up, energized by an evening of good times – but it soon turns ugly. He’s refusing to listen, he’s grouchy, he’s threatening to hit his siblings. For all intents and purposes, my 9-year-old son is a mean drunk. And then he sobers up and sleeps it off. (In 3rd grader world, that’s equivalent to letting the sugar rush pass and going to bed early, for everyone’s sake.) In the morning, he’s apologetic for his brutish behavior and we start fresh. Until the next sleepover…

Anyone else dealing with the effects of a Sleepover Hangover?

Hold up, Mister Tooth Fairy

My youngest son, my baby boy, the last child, the one I still call “my baby” who corrects me and tells me he’s “all grown up now,” my five-year old – lost his first tooth yesterday. He just turned five last month, so I suppose I was a bit shocked when he told me just two days ago that his tooth was loose. It seemed much too soon.

The loose-tooth process is an interesting one to observe. My oldest daughter – who is 12 – has always been the “picker.” The girl cannot have a scab – it would be physically impossible, because, by definition, a scab occurs when the area is allowed to heal. She wouldn’t let something like that happen. And the same goes for her teeth. From the very first indication that there is a tooth that feels even remotely loose – she will wiggle, twist, pull and finally yank it until nothing remains but a mouthful of blood. My middle son – the 9-year-old – has a slightly more laid back approach to the losing teeth business. He waits. It falls out. He collects his money. So, I was curious how our youngest would behave in this scenario.

Like his big sister, my 5-year-old became obsessed with the loose tooth in his mouth. In fact, I was surprised to see it still hanging in there when I picked him up from preschool yesterday. But, once we got home and his sister was within reaching distance, they went into the bathroom and shut the door. (Clue #1 that something is awry.) I can hear her saying something to him, him replying with nervousness in his voice and then her lowering her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. (Clue #2.) At this point, my husband and I both pipe up simultaneously saying they both need to come out of the bathroom.

“He wants it out! I’m just helping!” She said.

“Yeah, I want it out, but….” He replied, obviously fearful of what it would take to get the tooth out of his mouth.

They left it alone while we ate dinner and the older children warned/informed/paralyzed him with fear that he might swallow his tooth. After dinner, they were back in the bathroom. The door shut. We told them to leave it open and told her to let him be until he was ready. He went to his room, grabbed a stuffed animal and then instructed her to yank his tooth out. When she did, there was no blood. And no response. He just sat there, stunned. He finally got a look of shock on his face and then demanded to see what it looked like. Peering into the hole where his tooth once was, he said, “I don’t like it!” To which we had to inform him there was no putting it back in. He’d just have to wait for a new one to grow.

The next step was prepping for the Tooth Fairy. My little man was excited at first – then worried that the Tooth Fairy might be scary. He wavered on where he should put his tooth before finally laying it next to his pillow. He didn’t want the Tooth Fairy man digging under him while he slept. (Yes, he has decided the Tooth Fairy is a man. The industry is an equal opportunity employer.) A few minutes after bedtime, he reappeared in the living room asking me to keep his tooth for safe keeping. Then, changed his mind again and decided he wanted  to keep it, even if it meant he wouldn’t get any money. He asked me to hang it on his wall. And I did, along with a sign saying this was his first lost tooth. He seemed at ease. Until he woke up this morning. I heard him in there, outraged, wanting to know why the tooth fairy hadn’t come. I guess we’ll be trying this again tomorrow night…

Any other parents dealing with kids who are cautious of the Tooth Fairy?

I’m Wearing Mommy Panties

I’m wearing mommy panties.

Let’s define “mommy panties,” shall we?

Mommy panties: (noun) Underwear that: could easily be mistaken for men’s briefs (minus the added bulge), is often purchased in a clear-plastic sleeve containing at least 5 pairs of identical underwear, acquired at a big-box store and is by no means considered sexy. *Not to be confused with “Granny Panties.”

You know why I’m willing to bet you’re wearing mommy panties, too? Because you probably buy your children’s underoos in bulk, as well. And, you want to wait to buy those cute little Victoria Secret panties until you’ve “lost those last few pounds.” Or, you’ve been married so long now it doesn’t matter what you wear. Or, you’re just too frugal to spend $15 for a single pair of underwear that your dog is likely to drag out of the laundry basket and destroy anyway.

So, it’s come to this. A choice of white, black or grey, nondescript, formless, shapeless, asexual underwear purchased in a plastic sleeve at a store where I can also buy three gallons of milk in one convenient container.

The deal is – I bought these underwear that are horrible because I went to store after store trying to buy cute panties but I’m too damned cheap to buy them. So, in desperation and frustration, I bought the plastic sleeve. They are horrible – but not as horrible as when my husband pointed out that they were pretty darn ugly.

I want to be the girl who matches the underwear to the bra but I don’t have the time or the money or the energy to be that woman.
So, I’m wearing mommy panties.
And I feel like it’s a slippery slope into granny panties.


Pre-School Dating Protocol

My 5-year-old, by all accounts, is something of a ladies man. Often times, when I go to pick him up from pre-school, girls will run and hug him as they say goodbye. And, like a ladies man, he ignores their attention. Though, I’ll tell you what he doesn’t ignore: when his older brother and sister give him a hard time, taunting him that he “has a girlfriend.”

What cracks me up here is that if you ask him, he will tell you he does indeed have a girlfriend. Any guesses on who it is?

It’s me.

“Mommy’s my girlfriend,” he sing-songs as he walks around the house or while snuggling me. Last night, while tucking him in bed, things escalated quickly beyond just dating. He repeated the words, “Mommy is my girlfriend,” but then he took me by the hand. He held it and said, “Do you want to see what the boys do?” Now, when a child asks you this, you tend to have a certain degree of trepidation when responding. So, with a dose of hesitation I said, “sure.” He took my left hand and kissed it saying, “That’s what they do in Frozen!” Then, he looked back down at that very hand and at my wedding ring and vowed, “One day I’m gonna put a ring on you.”

Anyone else dealing with the Oedipus Complex in their house? Should I be planning a wedding? :)

Do You Suffer From 3rd Child Syndrome?

Do you suffer from the following?

  • “Racing” heart
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Sense of terror, or impending doom or death
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills
  • Chest pains
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Peeing yourself just a little.

Okay, fine, I added that last one – but I think you know what I’m saying. According to WebMD – these are the symptoms of a panic attack – or as I like to call it, “3rd Child Syndrome.” This syndrome is known (well, only by me and a few friends at this point) to set in after the birth of a third child. Patients claim to have been fearless or at least not a scaredycat (also a medical term) until child number three entered the world. Patients complain that at some point after, they began to be nervous around heights and driving in snowstorms.

Case in point –

Patient name: Mom Land

Scene: Mountain hike near a large canyon in Hawaii

Incident: Mom Land spazzed like a cat up a tree after encountering a dangerous cliff. Patient expressed experiencing the above symptoms and having to pretend to have a bag to breathe in while completing said hike.

3rd Child Syndrome can be a debilitating disease. It limits fun hikes, sky diving and drives on snow-covered highways at night. As of yet, there is no known cure. (Well, maybe wine.) Do you or someone you know suffer from 3rd Child Syndrome?


Taking Turns Being God

“When is it going to be my turn to be God?”

It’s an odd question. I’ll give you that. It’s even more odd when it is asked by your five-year old, with obvious annoyance in his voice.

Let me back this up for you. It was bedtime. Prayer time, to be exact. We were saying our nightly, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” with a few add-ons, when my son interrupted, demanding to know when it was going to be his turn to be God. He seemed pretty annoyed that God’s been God for a while now, essentially saying He should let someone else take the reins for a bit.

I explained to my preschooler that being God was not like playing with a truck on the playground. This is one thing that is not shared – and even if it was – we pretty much all learned it wouldn’t work, thanks to movies like “Bruce Almighty” and the sequel, “Evan Almighty.” There are some things in this world that are better left alone. This is surely one of them.

So, how do you explain to a child that, although we make him share his toys with his friends and dessert with his family, he certainly not get to take his turn being God? Or, maybe the more fun question is, what would life look like if your child was able to play God for a day?

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