My mom loved a good family photo. If one popped up on social media or via text, you bet your ass you were getting a coffee mug, mousepad, blanket, phone case, wall plaque, coasters, and a set of pint glasses with that picture on it for the next 7 Christmases.
Occasionally she would go old school and print it out and frame it. Like this one I came across when I was home for the holidays.
Hmm, I thought. I don’t remember us going to downtown Seattle to see Christmas lights. The only time we did that it was not such a good time. Clearly these people were having fun! They were making memories! Starting traditions! You could practically smell the peppermint infused cocoa on their breath. Wait, that’s definitely Bailey’s wafting off the mom.
But that was definitely us. And that was the downtown Macy’s Christmas star so the time of year and place could be identified. And then it hit me. It was a shitty night! And to round out the shittiness of the evening, Bart and I forced the child to take one goddamn selfie in front of that goddamn Christmas star and goddamn it if I wasn’t going to post that shit on social media for the whole goddamn world to see. Look at that happy, festive family making some goddamn Christmas memories! LOOK AT US.
The picture lied. The reality of that day went something like this:
Bart and I thought it would be fun to take the child downtown to look at lights, have dinner, eat junk food, ride the carousel, visit the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Park Hotel, see the gingerbread creations at the Sheraton, crowd into Pacific Place mall at 6PM sharp to be covered in fake sudsy, snow while the tinny sounds of carols played through a subpar sound system with stranger’s elbows jammed into your kidneys as we all raised our smart phones to take festive selfies TO CAPTURE THE GODDAMN MEMORIES. If someone’s internal organ gets bruised in the process, so be it!
The child had other plans. He didn’t want to go. He wanted to watch YouTube. It was cold outside. Why couldn’t he look at lights on YouTube? He doesn’t like teddy bears. Maybe another time? Like tomorrow? He’s tired. He’s already seen Christmas lights. And teddy bears. Can’t we just order a Zeke’s pizza and be done with it?
But Bart and I can’t read a room so we said, INTO THE CAR WITH YOU! We let him bring his stupid iPad, but only for the 7 minute drive downtown.
I was excited. They don’t call me Mama Christmas for nothing. And for the record, only 3 people have called me that. The 3 people who joined us on a trip to Leavenworth, WA four years ago. Mama Christmas couldn’t wait for her child to BE AMAZED as the whole town of Leavenworth lit up at night! Leavenworth is the inside of a snow globe. It’s a Hallmark holiday movie come to life. It was even snowing, for christ sake! But alas, the child was not impressed. In fact, he cried. He begged to go home. Mama Christmas was devastated and cranky. How could the offspring of Mama Christmas not love Christmas? Two days later the child was diagnosed with Hand-food-and-mouth disease. Oops. Mama Christmas CANNOT READ A ROOM.
So maybe this downtown excursion was a do-over? What kid doesn’t want to experience all the commercialized magic Christmas has to offer? Well, my kid. It just wasn’t his night. He thought the teddy bears were creepy, gingerbread was gross, cocoa was too hot and peppermint too minty. Seen one giant 160 foot Christmas stars and you’ve seen them all. No one was having fun that night. I think we even skipped dinner. But we did get that one photo and my mom and 87 of my Facebook friends who didn’t know the backstory freakin’ loved it.
Every photo on social media tells a story. Some are fictional stories and some are very creative nonfiction. WE KNOW THIS! And yet, I always fall prey to these perfectly curated snippets this time of year. I love the holidays! It’s really important that my kid has great memories like I did as a child. Scrolling through feeds, looking at the holiday gatherings of friends (and the 549 interior designers and architects I follow on Instagram), I find myself thinking, Damn, look at them getting a head start on that whole making memories thing. We should bake more or entertain more or AirBnB the entirety of the Faroe Islands for all our friends and family to spend the month of December.
Don’t get me wrong. We do our thing. We have our traditions. We are having fun. But social media always makes your things feel subpar. No one is posting the videos of the screaming match they got into with their partner over how many inches to cut from the Christmas tree trunk. No one feels sentimental about detangling 193 strands of non-LED Christmas lights. No one talks about how they didn’t have baking soda or vanilla but were determined to bake cookies anyway that no one ate because apparently a teaspoon of vanilla is more important to a cookie than calcium is to a bone so all 93 were slammed into the trash and everyone went to bed in tears. But that picture of all you in your matching aprons with dollops of flour on the tips of your nose? Priceless! GET AFTER THOSE MEMORIES, GIRL!
Oh, there’s definitely a story there. Just maybe not the one you are lead to believe. But that’s okay. Post that shit because you might even trick yourself with like I almost did. And one day, 40 years from now, the child might come across this picture and think, Wow, what great parents I have, taking young, grateful me downtown to see the Christmas lights and bedbug ridden teddy bears. I must have loved that!
Ten months before preschool graduation, Quinn informed us he was never going to kindergarten.
“Why the hell not,” I asked. Oh shit, I was thinking. He’s starting to believe all that, “Kid’s a goddamn genius” nonsense the grandparents spew. Sorry, kid. You don’t get to pass Go if your drawings of people still have arms coming out of their chins and you refuse to acknowledge 12 is a number.
“I don’t want to go,” he whined. “I never want to go!”
“But why? I pressed. “Kindergarten is fun! It’s just like preschool except you will learn even more stuff. And you’ll make more friends. And you get to take classes like art and music and…” Actually I don’t really know what happens in Seattle public schools. Do they still fund art?
“I don’t want to learn!”
“Great. In 14 years you can go to the liberal arts college of your dreams, but until then, you will go to kindergarten. One day.”
That did not appease him. One day could be in 6 years or 8 minutes. Kindergarten was coming for him. Kindergarten had his number. And that number was not 12.
The anxiousness wasn’t surprising. He’s an emotional and occasionally fearful kid. Sometimes I use that to my advantage.
Never go near the monkey bars! You will break your arm!
Never eat a grape unless it’s cut up into 1,592 small pieces!
Never walk across a parking lot unless you are holding Mommy’s hand!
Sometimes he wakes up from a sound sleep to ask if there are any clowns in the house.
“The hell? Of course not!”
“What about werewolves?”
Then there was the great weather obsession of 2016 and with it a fear of floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
“We live on a hill. Flood free! Don’t worry!”
“What about volcanoes?”
Hmm… too soon to tell him about the Ring of Fire?
But the world’s most active volcanoes had nothing on kindergarten. For the next 10 months, the child reminded us he was not going. He would never go. He wanted to stay with his preschool friends forever.
“But all your friends are going to kindergarten too,” I said.
“Well, no. There are lots of kindergartens. But you’ll have a whole bunch of new friends to hang out with.”
Then said friends were starting to talk about it. They were excited.
He graduated from preschool with great fanfare and promises of big boy adventures ahead.
His best friend in the whole wide world was going to his very same school!
SORT OF APPEASED.
We tried a variety of tactics to get this kid excited for school. Bribes, emotional warfare, pep talks from cool, older kids. Finally, I just accepted the nerves and let him own it. I told him it was totally normal and that every kid going to kindergarten was nervous too.
“Of course! None of them have been there before. It’s new to all of you!”
I reminded him he’s been in daycare since he was three months old. He’s done the whole new class, new friends, new teacher deal multiple times.
“Some of these kids have never been in a school!” I said with wide-eyed disbelief. “They don’t know what a cubby is. They’ve never pooped in front of eighteen other kids. They never almost had lice!”
“Nope. So you might actually have to help the teacher and be a leader for those kids. When you see someone upset or crying, maybe you could help make them feel better?”
“I could say, ‘Hi, I’m Quinn. Want to have lunch me and my friend Maddex?’”
Damn, if that wasn’t some A+ Pinterest parenting shit right there. Nailed it! Not only was my kid going to kindergarten, he was going to be the prince of elementary school.
But alas, the kinder ambivalence continued. It occured to me that perhaps he didn’t actually know what kindergarten was. Sure, he hears people talking about it, but in what context?
Maybe he thought kindergarten was where the bad kids go?
Did you hear Aiden went to kindergarten? That’s why we don’t see him around anymore.
Damn…Never should have pushed Molly off that slide, man.
Maybe he thought kindergarten was a potato farm or a Himalayan mine where he’d be forced to get up early and pluck grains of salt from the Earth and shape them into mass market whale tail lamps and earrings. But nope. He got it.
“It’s like preschool, but not fun and LAME!”
We pulled out even more tactics. Books, talking to friends who were couldn’t wait to start kindergarten, playdates with the incoming class, open house to meet the teacher and see his class, A PRIVATE TOUR of the school set up by the outgoing PTA president and her two kids (a THIRD GRADER and a FIFTH GRADER!) who created a scavenger hunt taking him all around the school and granting him Pokemon stickers for when he found such amazing treasures as the library and music room and his classroom!
We tried excitement. Yay, Kindergarten!
And apathy. Whatever, Kindergarten.
I took him back-to-school shopping and replaced his perfectly good backpack, lunchbag, and water bottle with even better ones. I even let him pick out his own clothes and shoes.
He choose these:
He was drawn to those shoes for inexplicable reasons, but if a pair of Spanx and some Air Wick scented oil intrigued him, I’d have packed his new Justice League backpack full of it.
The grandparents sent him cases (not hyperbole) of lunchbox sized Goldfish crackers, Fig Newtons, Animal Crackers, and Ritz Bitz crackers. Then days later more cases arrived filled with Nutter Butters, Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, and Chips A’hoys.
Still no dice and we all gained 7 pounds in 3 days. The night before school started, bedtime took an hour and a half. The kid did not want to go to sleep knowing when he woke up, that black-hooded academic ninja would be waiting for him. Soon his anxiety rubbed off on Bart and I. We threw Lunchables at each other and argued over Teddy Grahams or rainbow Goldfish for his lunch snack. I thought he should wear short sleeves and a sweatshirt. Bart thought long sleeves and camo shorts would be more appropriate. Bart thought his water bottle was too heavy. I thought his backpack was too big. Maybe Quinn was right and this whole kindergarten thing was just plain stupid. Could he go to summer camp all year long?
We got up at the crack of dawn the next morning– a full hour earlier than any of us were used to because we had a schedule now. Kindergarten, that bitch, was messing with us all. It was still dark outside. Bart cried on his way to the shower. I stood in the hallway confused. Where did we keep the damn waffles in this place!?
“Good morning!” I sing-songed, upon waking up that sweet, peaceful child. Even I could tell I was faking it.
“Do I have to go to kindergarten today?”
“You get to go to kindergarten today!”
He rolled over and shut his eyes. “NO!”
“Let’s get up and watch Peppa Pig! And eat waffles and cereal bars! TODAY IS JUST LIKE ANY OTHER DAY!”
But it was no use. Today was different. We both agreed if Peppa didn’t want to go to kindergarten no one would make that damn, bossy pig go. We were jealous of Peppa.
I felt bad. Guilty, like I was doing him a disservice sending him to kindergarten. I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. I’m pretty sure his preschool teachers would eventually notice the kid three times bigger than his classmates who always showed up in sunglasses and a fedora. I couldn’t homeschool this kid. He’d learn vocabulary from the Real Housewives (“Jackie told Gizelle to brang it. Teresa called Danielle a prostitution hoo-wah. Vicky and Tamra will whoope it up majorly!) and math from The Price is Right (“No, honey, stackable washer and dryers do not cost one dollar. That man was being a douchebag.”)
His best friend arrived to walk with us and was full of spunk and enthusiasm and apparently whatever Kool-Aid kindergarten was shilling.
“I’m excited to learn lots of things and meet new friends,” he told me when I asked him what he was looking forward to.
“Maybe you could share some of that with Quinn?”
He looked at his best friend hiding behind a dining room chair. “Umm, no.”
We live only 9 houses from the school and I never knew there were so many kids who either lived on our street or walked past our house to get to school because I was still asleep when the bell rang. But it was a regular old-timey parade of waving neighbors on front porches, oohing and ahhing over smartly dressed kids holding chalkboard signs commemorating first days and little Emily’s desire to be a panda when she grew up.
We joined the flow, caught between every other kid’s joyful oblivion and Quinn’s desire to lay down in traffic. As we made our approach, the school loomed before us. We’ve played on this playground for years. How have we never noticed this giant, menacing stone edifice? Quinn’s grip tightened on my arm.
“I don’t want to go,” he said. “Please, Mommy.”
“It’s going to be great,” I said.
We were told to look for his teacher who would be holding a sign with her name on it. She was lovely. Kind, warm, and thankfully blonde because my boy born of 100% brunette ancestors has a thing for the fair haired. We recognized several kids from the aforementioned playdates including the twin girls who lived 2 houses up the street and the little boy from across the street– all of whom were in his class. I pointed them out to Quinn like I was a guide on a whale watching tour.
“LOOK QUINN! IT’S TYLER! OMG HE’S BREECHING!”
And then the tears came.
Okay, I fully expected my kid to cry. Honestly I was surprised it took that long. I expected lots of kids to cry. Like maybe all of them. But god dammit all to hell if my kid wasn’t the only one crying. Like literally the only one. Not even a crying mom in the bunch!
Bart swooped in, gathered Quinn into his arms and lifted him up. I’m not talking in a spiritual or Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warner sort of way. I mean he picked his crying child up off the blacktop and nestled him into the ripped seams of that goddamn 19 year-old Kenneth Cole bomber jacket he refused to part with. But I digress. It’s not about the jacket. This time.
They say you turn into your mother one day and that day was the first day of kinder-f’ing-garten. Right there in the shadow of my child’s brick and mortar nemesis I became the mother practiced in the art of Hideo Ochi, tough love, and the ability to wipe that goddamn smile off your face with the slightest lowering of an eyelid. The ol’ pinch to the tricep worked too.
“Put him down,” I sneered through clenched teeth. Damn! I didn’t even know I could do that!
“What?” Bart said, marveling at my ventriloquism.
“PUT. HIM. DOWN,” I repeated through a fake smile.
“I know that. Which is why you need to put him down.”
“He’s upset!” Bart answered, clearly startled by my transformation.
“This is kindergarten, motherf*cker. There’s no coddling in kindergarten! Drop him!”
“LET GO OF MY CHILD!”
Okay, so maybe we should have talked strategy before Bart and I went all Kramer vs. Kramer in front of the PTA. For at least 13 seconds every adult on the playground thought Bart was a predator and was ready to pounce. But I stood by my convictions and left Bart reeling on a four square court.
Bart checked on Quinn’s best friend while Quinn’s teacher checked on us.
“I need help holding my sign,” she said, bending over so her luscious blonde locks fell inches from Quinn’s sad, wet face. “Can you hold this for me?”
The kid hated kindergarten, but damn if he didn’t love a job. My baby was like a border collie and for a few blissful seconds, he forgot how much kindergarten sucked and double-fisted that yard stick handle.
Then the bell rang and a surge of Ooooooooohs erupted from the parents like they had just witnessed a last second overtime goal. To Quinn it sounded like the kick off to the Hunger Games. He really lost it. Still clutching the sign, his little body was shaking with sobs. Big tears careened down his face. I planted my feet firmly on the blacktop to stop either Quinn from making a break for it or Bart who would surely impale himself on a yard stick in his attempt to protect our child from the evils of public school.
“WE GOT THIS!” I yelled to Bart, who knew we very much did not have anything. “Everything is GREAT!” I saw his leg twitch and immediately shot my hand up like a crossing guard to oncoming traffic. “Take one step and I will divorce you!”
“You’re so brave!” I yelled to Quinn. “Everything is so great!”
All eyes were on my child whom I now realized was standing in front of his whole goddamn class waving a 6 foot sign and crying instead of tucked discreetly in line.
The teacher took Quinn’s hand and led him away. The other 19 kids eagerly followed, their giant backpacks smashing into the faces of the person behind them like superhero branded air bags. Quinn looked like a juvenile prisoner headed off to maximum security. He was resigned, head down, tears making puddles on top of his new loafers. Goodby my brave, bear. You’re gonna crush snack time and free choice.
And just as he was about to disappear into the double doors of the abyss, he turned around, giving me one last chance to fix this dreadful, horrific mistake. Maybe he saw a crack in my foundation. Maybe he had beaten me down. Maybe he saw his father being comforted by a group of fifth graders. Whatever it was, he saw his last chance and made a break for it, still holding the sign, and headed right for me– his mother, protector, sanctuary, source of all that’s comforting– who was yelling, “Get away from me, child!” as she braced for impact.
He charged with the strength of 19 tiny gladiators in Old Navy sweatshirts backing him up.
“NO!” I shouted, taking him by the elbow and leading him and the pack back to school. “This way!”
But my child was determined. He managed to get a hold of me and still keep a grip on that sign. (I told you– border collie.)
“NO!” he yelled, grabbing my sleeve.
“YES!” I yelled, swatting his hand away after taking a yard stick to the forehead.
He’d find another hold, I’d parry left. He grabbed the strap of my purse, I abandoned it. It was all cling, slap, grab, swat, sobs, promises that things would be fine. His face was so wet. There were so many tears, so many calls for MOMMY. You got the wrong guy!
We were still tangled in that bizarre dance as I propelled him closer to the entrance. The swell of 19 eager children pushed me forward.
Distracted by a classmate’s flip sequin shirt, he loosened his grip. In a beautifully choreographed maneuver, I managed to spin him around and give him a little shove through the doors.
“GET. IN. THERE!”
“MOMMY, NO! PLEASE!”
The momentum of 19 children who were promised graham crackers and Pete the Cat was getting stronger. We were out of time. The second bell rang. Oh no, was that shadowy figure the principal? We will be making a huge donation to the PTA after this.
“Why, Mommy, why???”
“IT’S THE LAW!” I hissed, giving him one last shove.
And then he and the sign were gone, disappeared in the crush of bobbing headbands and hoodies. It was over. I was Han Solo knocking Boba Fett into the Sarlacc Pit. I was victorious.
I turned around to find a few straggler parents and a mortified Bart, horrified by his son’s trauma and his wife’s grotesque lack of empathy.
“It isthe law,” I repeated. “Isn’t it?”
Seven tense hours later the head of his after-school program texted to say the kids arrived safely via school bus and they all had a fantastic day.
“Even Quinn?” I asked.
“Even Quinn,” she said.
Sure enough when we picked him up he regaled us with stories of his triumphant day. He was line leader, had music class, got to pick out a book from the teacher’s extensive library. Even made two new friends. Kindergarten was awesome! I looked at Bart, a bit smugly. Not today, kindergarten. This too shall pass quickly.
I couldn’t wait to wake him up the next morning. His camo shorts and long-sleeve shirt were already laid out.
He rolled over and with sleepy eyes asked, “Do I have to go to kindergarten today?”
“Yes, of course!”
“NO! I’m never going back! I hate kindergarten!”
Okay what the actual Groundhog’s Day was happening here? Did I have to write “Recess Rules” and “Line Leader for Life” in sharpie on his forearms?
“No,” I said. “You like kindergarten. Remember how much fun you had yesterday?”
“NO! I did NOT have fun! I AM NEVER GOING BACK!”
I returned to our room, turned on the TV, watched an episode of Peppa Pig by myself, and waited for Bart to get out of the shower.
He used to live at Target, where I took Quinn to buy (more) Halloween decorations. Halloween, as it turns out, is the new Christmas when it comes to decorating our house which means Christmas is the new “holy-shit-its-balls-out-bananas-up-in-this-illuminated-like-Vegas-on-acid-gingerbread-abode.” I can’t wait!
Anyway, we saw Fred, who at the time was just an unknown plastic skeleton heaped in a pile of other unknowns. He was meant to be an outside decoration. Maybe sitting on chair, bony hand raised in salutation, or maybe crouched on a tree ready to lunge at the school kids who walk by. (Which will do wonders for our newly minted kindergartener’s social game. “You want to play with the kid whose mom dropped a plastic skeleton on your ass? Umm, no.”)
But, nope. That was not to be Fred’s fate. Quinn yanked him off the shelf and no sooner was a friendship borne.
“I love him,” Quinn said.
“That’s fine,” I said. “Love is love. Put him in the cart.”
“He’s almost the same size as me.”
“Eh, your body types are similar, but you’ve got a good four inches on him.”
“I’m going to carry him,” Quinn said, putting Fred’s arms around his neck. “Let’s go Fred!”
Yes, beat feet, Beetlejuice! I had purple lights and giant plushy spiders and maybe a pair of upended Frankenstein boots buy. Let’s go, kids!
Quinn carried his skeletal friend around Target. They held hands, put their arms around each other’s shoulders, pushed all of our groceries, Halloween decorations, and $582 worth of subliminally selected merchandise I didn’t know I needed, but now can’t live with out, aside so I could push them in the cart like they were two-bit councilmen up for re-election in small town Forth of July parade.
“What’s this guy’s name?” I asked.
“Fred,” Quinn said. “Definitely Fred.”
While I loaded the bags into the trunk Quinn buckled Fred into the backseat.
“Fred wants McDonald’s,” Quinn said. “He’s never had it before.”
“Oh, unfortunately Fred doesn’t have a stomach so I’m afraid it would just fall out.” Which, come to think of it, is what happens to people with stomachs who eat McDonald’s.
When we got home, Quinn brought Fred inside, straight past the porch chair I imagined him sitting on, past his acquaintance whose body parts we planted on the lawn, past the Happy Meal Bart must have picked up for his lunch while he was out running errands.
“This is my room,” I heard him say. “This is your room too. This is my box of action figures. This is where we keep the Legos. You can sleep right…here.”
They hung out together the rest of the day. They Face-timed my parents, watched three episodes of Peppa Pig, even took a bath together. Fred hit the 25% off mass market Halloween decoration lottery with this kid. That floppy mess of plastic was practically beaming when he got out of the bath more likely because Quinn washed him with my luxury, salon-grade, for color-treated hair mask. But whatever.
Oh yes, Fred may have been dead but he was living the life.
Until the incident.
Never good. Nope. Never. That’s when my fight or flight instinct takes over and I run for the front door.
“You have to help Fred!!!”
Oh, it’s Fred! Fred I can handle. No offense, Fred, but at least there won’t be blood.
Quinn ran down the hall with Fred in one hand and Fred’s right arm in his other hand.
“It just came off!” Quinn said, handing me Fred’s appendage.
“I can fix it!”
First rule of parenting 101: Never say “I can fix it” before you’ve properly assessed this damage. Fred’s arm was toast. It was a clean break ripped right out of the socket. I saw my future and it involved another trip to the seasonal section of Target. And maybe a chevron throw pillow. And an acacia wood server. And an artificial succulent in a brass pot. And a bed for Puppy. And new booties for me. And a bathing suit for Quinn in case Bart ever enrolls him in swimming lessons. Goddamnit, Fred! Couldn’t you keep your hands to yourself?
Before I could say “get your shoes on” Quinn had Fred propped up on a kitchen chair.
“Know what’s scarier than a skeleton?” he asked. “A ONE ARMED SKELETON! Fred’s the coolest!”
Wow. Good attitude, kid. Not today, acacia wood platter. (But definitely another day. You’re gorgeous.)
The next day Quinn introduced his buddy Maddex to Fred. I heard “Cool” and then “MOMMMMMMMMMMMMY!”
Both boys ran down the hall brandishing one of Fred’s arms.
“Now we each get a skeleton hand!”
Then they ran off to slap each other with their new hands.
He’s had a rough 24 hours.
Fred can’t itch his nose or eat a bowl of cereal.
Fred needs rest.
Also, someone should have told Mommy that Fred was resting on the couch before she sat down.
Phonophobia: Fear of loud sounds, including voices–including your own–especially Shelly Mazzanoble’s.
Does anyone like hearing their voice? I cannot stand it. (True confession: Even though I co-host the Dungeons & Dragons podcast, I can’t listen to a single one, which sucks because we’ve had some really great guests on there. And I tend to do a great imitation of Bert from Sesame Street that I’m pretty sure would blow my own mind.) I also don’t love seeing myself because in my mind I’m waaaaaaaaaaaay better looking than that goofy, wildly gesturing, large-eyed creature with the grating voice before me.
If you also can’t stand my voice or the sight of me perhaps you should stop reading now. If you think you can stomach it, below is the link to my performance as part of this year’s Listen to your Mother Seattle show. (And if I had any technical skills I’d be able to change the frozen image below so that it’s not one of me looking like I’m mid cat-call to some poor significant other in the front row who’s covertly watching a MMA fight on his phone throughout the show. Not covert enough, Bucko! LISTEN TO MY GRATING VOICE!)
Here’s what people are saying about my performance!
“Wow. You said pussy and nipple in like the first 7 seconds. Wow.”
“So, I’m still not sure. Do you like being a mom?”
“I love your necklace.”
So, you know. Those are pretty enticing reasons to watch this.
The show was tremendous fun and the cast– wow, oh wow. They were all truly stellar. I encourage you to listen to all of their stories. I think you’ll love their words as well as their voices. My necklace is pretty badass too.
I keep hearing “Oh, that’s the best age!” regardless of what age he is, but this time I’m inclined to believe it. He’s actually quite funny and charming. He loves slapstick humor and stories about monsters and bad guys (who rampage other people’s stuff. Never his.) We have real conversations. He has definite opinions. He tells me he likes my ponytail and hates my cardigans.
Every day I find myself questioning the things he’s learning, as in “Holy cow, who taught him that amazing thing?” (Usually the answer is daycare.)
I try to write down the adorable things that come out of his mouth, but always forget because they’re usually followed by something horrifying and cringeworthy. Those things I always write down.
Lately I’ve been paying attention to the words I find myself stringing together in response to my dear, sweet child. Things I never thought I’d have to say. Things I never thought I would have to explain. Things I never thought would be compared to a bounce house.
Here are just a few of the highlights of the past few days:
Because I don’t need a penis, that’s why.
Honey, please don’t call that nice family, “butt guys.” We don’t even know them.
Don’t say “doody butt.”
Don’t say “booty butt.”
Don’t say “booger butt.”
Don’t say “butty butt butt booger butt guy.”
Would you want your name to be,”Toilet Butt?”
Yes, GOD DAMMIT is potty talk so stop saying it.
No, you can not say GOD DAMMIT when you’re at home. It’s potty talk here too.
How did Jacob get a toilet on his head?
Honey, please stop licking Princess Leia.
I don’t think the dog wants you to rub your butt on him.
No, I don’t want to tickle your nipple.
Can you tickle your own armpit, please?
Is that shaving cream on your penis?
No, your penis is not a bounce house.
Because people don’t like it when you point at their bodies and say, “I can see your penis.”
No, I don’t know what superpower Naked Toddler has. Do tell.
Mommy did not say that. You must have imagined it.
I had a truly magical experience yesterday as I took the stage at Town Hall Seattle alongside eleven fabulous, courageous, amazing storytellers. Together we comprised the 2016 Listen to Your Mother Seattle cast and in all honestly, we kicked ass.
It was hard to believe that by showtime I had known most of these women for less than 24 hours and yet, I felt the kind of kindred connection I hadn’t experienced since meeting my dorm mates freshman year of college. (A similar amount of booze may have been involved too.) These women made me laugh (oh man, did they) and tear up (more than once.) I can honestly say I am a better mother because of it. It was inspiring to say the least. Everyone’s story was so beautifully told and while all different, we were all connected by one common thread: motherhood. Is there anything stronger than that? So yeah, when a mother talks, you should definitely listen.
If you have a chance to see a Listen to Your Mother show in your town, do it. Man, woman, mother, father, or child, you will be moved and inspired. You will also see some of the most fabulous footwear in your life.
This may be the most exciting thing to happen to me since I discovered pretzel M&Ms were only 4 Weight Watchers points.
Listen to your Mother is a national show featuring live readings from fabulous women about motherhood. This is the second year it’s in Seattle (thank you, Jennifer and Jill!) and this year I GET TO BE IN THE CAST.
You guys, if you know me at all you know this is right up my ally. I live for this stuff. Stage. Audience. Reading. Surrounded by fabulous women writers and mothers? Umm, yes, please. I’m in. All in. I could not be more excited to be part of this event and incredibly grateful to Jennifer and Jill for inviting me to participate. It is going to be a great show. You need to come and bring your favorite moms.
You’ve got to check out the final installment of Mother Rose Best, Fools of Engagement, if for no other reason than to see the awesome Chris Harrison GIF the editors unearthed. It’s pretty fabulous.
Many thanks to the ladies of In the Powder Room for allowing me to crash the stalls once a week. What pure joy they are to work with.
Cheers to another match made in Reality TV heaven, where the booze flows and annulments are doled out like shots of penicillin. I’m sure it took me longer to write this post than for Bachelor Ben to realize he should have picked Bachelorette #2. Oh well. There’s always next season.
Oh man, The Bachelor sure doesn’t lack for writing fodder. It’s like a two-year old that way. Also in other ways like the fearful, petchulant, moody behavior of the contestants. Also the gullibility and belief in fairy tales. Also… wow. Maybe that’s a whole separate column.
As if I didn’t love In the Powder Room already, I love them even more every Monday when I write the latest Mother Rose Best and every middle of the night Tuesday when I turn it in (because I’m slow. And a bad editor. And easily distracted by shiny things on the internet.) Please read the latest installment, Save the Drama for Bahamas now. Take your time. I’ll just be shopping for plant stands on the internet.
Are you back? Okay. So much more to discuss about this season and I’ve been remiss on posting my larger recaps. I KNOW you’re dying to find out what happened. So here’s some of the highlight from where we left off.
Olivia was mean to the girls
She called Amanda “Teen Mom” and greatly offended EVERYONE
Olivia still thought she had a psychic connection with Ben and that he sent her positive affirmations through his body language and secret hand signals
Ben’s virginal tongue still hasn’t kissed anyone
Twin Emily can NOT get over Olivia calling Amanda Teen Mom and claimed it was the most offensive thing she ever heard.
Twin Emily is grossly sheltered. Clearly.
As a 40-something mom with a toddler, I welcome any and all comparisons to Teen Mom. Bring on the offensive comments, Olivia!
Caila is still super annoying and acts like a ten year-old girl who still plays with Barbie. And she’s scared to death of a relationship. Ben apparently likes that in a girl-woman.
Jubliee melted down and got the inevitable boot. “Inevitable” because she is African-American, not because of her meltdown. I liked her. This made me sad.
Leah went bat shit cray cray. She lost it big time and tried to take Ben’s favorite, Lauren B. down with her.
Emily told Ben that Olivia was a meanie. Ben pretended to be surprised and saddened to hear this.
Ben pulled Olivia aside to ask her why she was such a bully
Because the girls are jealous of her
Because she has a target on her back after getting the first impression rose
Because she has ugly toes
Because she’s a victim
Because the girls are dumb and she is smart and wants to “talk smart things.” Like, right?
Ben thought Las Vegas was a great place to fall in love
Ben thought Mexico was a great place to fall in love
Ben thought the Bahamas were a great place to fall in love
After the girls on the Bahamas group date bitched out and ignored him, Ben started questioning the reality of finding his wife on reality TV
Ben pondered throwing himself off a cliff in the middle of a hurricane
Pigs swim in the Bahamas (real pigs, not a metaphor) and nearly drowned the girls over some chicken hotdogs. It was fabulous.
Olivia was dumped on the worst private island ever and apparently left there to die.
Some other girls went home crying in black SUVs. Later!
And that’s basically what you missed. Are you asking yourself why you’re not watching this gold? Put down that book and get cultured for goodness sake!