Monday, September 30, 2013

Am I a sicks-ist?

I find it necessary to preface this post by emphasizing that I am a great caregiver when my kids are sick. Not only do I perform the duties expected of me, I perform them lovingly, babying my children more than necessary, caressing their head when they vomit, assuring them its ok if they shit their pants. I make a big deal out of how sorry I feel for them. These are all the things I want someone to do for me when I am sick and I think they enjoy my little flourishes.

However, after 8 years of tending to cold weather ailments, I know how contagious these bugs are. I know what a special level of hell it is to have one child barfing all over the carpet at the exact moment the other one cries out, "Oh no! I don't think that was a fart!" while your own stomach begins to have a not-so-great feeling. I have been there on more than one occasion and I have not enjoyed it.  I am not a germophobe in general, in fact, I'm the opposite, the kind of mother than 9 times of of 10 lets her kids eat stuff off the floor, who only half the time remembers to make them wash their hands before dinner, the kind of mom that says OK to the sandbox and doesn't sweat B grade ratings in restaurants I patronize. You could call me a hygiene-hypothesizing laissez-faire slacker or you could call me a filthy slob. Either way, I'm not that worried about germs in general. But as soon as one of my kids gets sick, I get worked up in a hurry. I go into high-alert, mobilize-the-forces, quarantine mode. Like last week, when Primo threw up suddenly.

"We're in lock down," I barked to David, "Prepare the Purell. Get out the medical-grade disinfectant wipes."

These were gifted to me by my mother and they come in very handy when there's a stomach virus afoot.

Once I scoured all the surfaces Primo was likely to have touched or vomited on, I turned my attention to making sure he stayed away from the other children, in particular, the baby.

"What are you doing?" I cried as he walked into the living room and flopped on the sofa. I tried not to sound rebuking, "Why are you on the couch?"

"I want to watch TV," Primo explained.

"Yes, of course, but I have to get your sisters out of here first," I explained, squirting Purell wily-nily on the hands of whoever ambled by.

"You know what would be better, honey?" I told him as I gently led him out the the room by his sleeve while averting my face, "You just curl up in your bed, nice and cozy, and watch the Ipad, With the door closed. And I'll bring you some soup and water, and Gatorade. And you just, just don't move from that area. And try not to touch too much."

Of course, the baby wanted to be wherever her big brother was, so she ended up following Typhoid Marty into Virus Ground Zero, which gave me no choice but to shriek at poor Primo, 'No! Honey, please! Don't let her touch that book you touched." and "Ugh, sweetie! No, no, no! Don't hug your sister! You're a petri dish!"

Then I doused the baby with Purell and I tossed Primo some wet wipes to disinfect his area.

"Mom," he chastised me, "You know what you are?"

I didn't, of course, but I was dying to find out.

 a sicks-ist."

Had he not been in maximum-security isolation, I would have kissed him. Instead, we just laughed together, from our separate sides of the door frame.

Monday, September 23, 2013

No means No! Unless you haven't learned to say Yes yet.

A few months ago, Terza learned a very important word, some might argue THE most important word in the English language.

"No!" she replied when we asked if she wanted more soup.

After that initial foray into negativity, there has been no stopping her.

It's "No!" when you tell her to sit down on the couch and
"No!" when you ask if she wants some milk and
"No!" when you tell her she can't bite her sister's leg and
"No! No! No! No!" when you try to change her diaper.

This is not surprising. What is surprising is when she says "No!" when you ask if she wants a bit of your ice cream.

"Really?" I'll ask, "You don't want any?"

I put the spoonful on offer into my own mouth and she scowls and emits a high pitched howl.

"What?" I ask.

She reaches for the ice cream.

"The ice cream?" I ask, extending the spoon out o her again, You want some/"

"No!" she insists, grabbing the spoon out of my hand and shoving it in her mouth before any more semantic misunderstandings occur.

"You mean 'yes'" I tell her, "The word you are looking for is 'yes.'"

"No!" she insists.

"Yes!" I correct.

"No no no no no!" she argues.

"I want to respect her words, but she contradicts herself," I tell David, "Plus, I feel like she's giving women a bad name, saying no but meaning yes."

"'No' is the toddler's 'Aloha,'" observes David, "It's one word that means everything."

"No!" Terza disputed.

"OK," he said, "I stand corrected."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Foot in mouth moment

The other day, my youngest sister and I took my kids to the pool. We were a large and boisterous group, me holding my toddler on my hip, my 6 and 8 year-old fighting for their aunt's attention.  The lifeguard was an early twenty-something woman and she smiled as we walked by.

"They're cute," she observed to me, "Are they all four yours?"

I figured with all the commotion, she'd miscounted.

"The kids are mine, all three of them," I said,

"Oh," she nodded. She was looking at my sister, who, admittedly, sporting a pair of short shorts and a T back tank looked like a teenager.

I made a little gasp of horror.

"Not that one," I all but shouted, "She's my sister! Not my daughter!"

"Cool," the girl said. She'd clearly lost interest, like, three sentences ago. She was really, really, not that interested in getting to the bottom of this misunderstanding.

"I mean, she's just 10 years younger than me," I went on, undeterred by her lack of interest, and frankly acting a lot crazy. I stated laughing manically, "So, I'd have to have been 10 years old when I had her! Because I'm only 36!"

Obviously, I'd cured the girl of her temptation to make small talk with the pool goers. She smiled politely and I forced myself to shut up.

Still, I'd like to have a few more minutes with her to ask some follow-up questions, Namely, what exactly it was about my appearance that lead her to believe I could be the mother of a 26 year old. Do I need a cooler haircut? More youthful footwear? Is my bikini no longer age appropriate? Or is my face simply just haggard, weather-worn and wizened? Why hadn't she just gone whole hog and congratulated me on being pregnant??? Oh, that's right, I couldn't POSSIBLY be pregnant because I'm apparently already deep in the throes of MENOPAUSE.

Not that I'm taking it PERSONALLY or anything.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Missing files from the hall of gross

 A few weeks ago, Primo had a  . . . let's go with "memorable" experience on the subway, coming home from summer camp. It was one of those "only in New York" stories, and a pretty sensational one at that, and because it was so, um, unpleasant, I thought the kid earned, at the very least, the right to tell his own story.

Missing files from the hall of gross
A true story, by Primo

It was about 4:30 when the train doors opened,I was happy to be out of the train,I had just experienced a close encounter of a very yucky kind,you see I had just had a ride on the THROWUP TRAIN!I was just walking through the train doors and some random man threw up on me!It was worse than he time I was in the park and a constipated duck pooped on my head.It could have been worse once a dead cat fell off someones house and landed on my friends head,Two of my friends have fallen in a toilet,and of course I should never forget that time a dead man threw up in my moms friends mouth so though being
thrown up by a random man has its place in the hall of gross it could have been worse.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First day of school! Pop the champagne! We made it!

I love summer, really I do, but I have been hanging on to my sanity by the skin of my TEETH, waiting with what I'd call a saint-like patience for the first day of school. You know how you feel when you're 40 weeks pregnant and you are convinced that you will never, ever go into labor? You know, realistically, that there has never, not even once, been a case of a baby staying forever in the womb, just chillin' in there, taking his first steps in your uterus and leaning how to talk while attached to his umbilical cord, yet despite knowing this, you are certain that precisely this sceanrio will ensue. Your pregnancy will be permanent.

This is how I've felt the past two or so weeks. Right about the time camp ended. I understood on a logical level that public school would start at some point. I even knew the date. Still I harbored an irrational fear that the department of Ed would be disbanded or fall would refuse to come like in some ancient Greek myth and I would be stuck in summer break purgatory.

The extra week off really put me over the edge. It might not seem like much - five measly days - but those days have stretched, each one comprising roughly 50 hours rather than 24. With camp a distant memory and child care an impossible dream, I settled on working for a measly hour or two a day, during which time my poor, martyr grandmother watched the kids. By "watched" what I mean is,  housed them on her couch while they watched TV on demand and the baby napped. Consequently, thanks to near-toxic levels of screen time, the kids' brains are at 10% capacity. Good luck getting back into the rigors of school work, guys.

But, now, finally, the first day of school is upon us. Backpacks have been labeled, forms have been signed, supplies have been purchased, new outfits have been laid out. There's hope that the damage to my personality and mental hygiene can be reversed, that I may become a sane and friendly human being again, within a few days. One can only hope.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The First Sex Talk: not for the faint of heart

I'm a big fan of and am delighted to contribute to their pages: a cautionary sex ed tale . . .

The sex talk that turned me into a prude

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Scary Mommy

I am delighted to contribuite to Scary Mommy, on the subject of how having three kids has made me into a washer woman.  The blog is hilarious and smart and you should totally go binge-read it RIGHT now. You'll laugh your way into a better tomorrow.