Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A heartbreaking question

I was working on my computer when Seconda walked over to David in the kitchen and asked him:

"Daddy, do guns still exist?"

He reflected for a second and replied: "Yeah, they do."

Her face wore an expression of shock and terror and disbelief.

"What?" she gasped, "They really do? In real life?"

It had never occurred to me that she wouldn't know this. We don't let her watch the news, but she hears things and catches bits of things, so I just figured she knew that guns don't just exist in movies and video games and historical accounts but in this flawed world we live in. My six year-old found the idea of that kind of weapon so beyond the realm of reason and sense, she relegated it to make believe. And we had to tell her the heartbreaking truth, that it wasn't make believe. That it was altogether much too real. 

I couldn't, in good conscience, even tell her it would be OK, that the people in charge make sure that dangerous people can't get the guns. Because that would be a bald-faced lie.  

But I could tell her it was an issue a lot of people, in particular, a lot of mothers, were working on addressing. And that will have to be good enough. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yeah, I'm so fancy now.

So, I have this memoir  coming out in June (hey,  why don't you pre-order it? You know you want to. How alluring are those sunglasses?). And apparently, when you have a book coming out, your author website should not be a DIY hot mess you cobbled together one night, where none of the links work and where all the different pages are in different fonts and sizes and where information never gets added or removed or adjusted in even the most minimal way. My old website's only value was as a time capsule, since it was essentially froze in amber the state of my life in 2005. So, I got a cyber facelift and here is my . . .

My super swank very red new website

Much as I'd like you to think I suddenly developed genius technology abilities and impeccable taste, I did not whip up that beaut. Credit goes to the amazing Emily Bouman, web designer extraordinaire.

All sorts of goodies on there, including a link to this blog. Confirming the belief that all roads lead to A Mom Amok.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stroller Plow

After the relentless snow fall, I'm considering pimping my stroller with Winter Survival devices. Maybe I'll outfit the front wheel with a machine that propels salt out ten feet ahead. Or I may attach a plow to the front so I can clear a path. Or just get this stroller on skis since wheels are more or less of no use anymore.

Or maybe I'll just move to Florida.

Monday, February 10, 2014

This Polar Vortex isn't making parenting any easier

Terza, like most toddlers, can not abide winter gear. I can speculate as to the reasons why mittens and hats are so anathema to her  - maybe she thinks the mittens delete her hands permanently from existence   -- but I can't know for sure. What I do know is she will not keep them on, not if I sing like Elmo, not if I ply her with cookies. Not for any reason.

For a while I thought if I could only find the right winter gear, the problem would be solved. I tried hats that velcro under the chin and hats with long yarn braids on the sides that you can tie in Houdini-proof knots and I tried hats with bear ears and bunny ears and cat ears and rainbow-colored, fleece jester hats that virtually scream, "THIS IS FUN! THE OPPOSITE OF TORTURE!" You can guess what my success rate was, based on the number of capital letters I just used.

Fail. Total fail.

I think her record time for keeping a hat on was about 30 seconds. Ditto with the mittens. She can't manage to insert a spoonful of yogurt directly into her mouth half the time but man, can she get around knots. I tried collaborative problem-solving, not the easiest feat with a toddler, and offered the option of keeping her hood on instead. That was a non-starter. My daughter has a zero tolerance policy for garments that cover her head and hands.

Now that's all very well and good when it's 40 degrees or 30 degrees, or hell, even 20 degrees. But when a Polar vortex comes my way, and it's 4 degrees, with a wind chill that makes it feel subzero, I can't abide her not abiding winter gear. Not when we have a forty minute walk from her day care to my big kids' school and back again. We do more trekking that the Greely expedition, and if I learned anything  from watching that harrowing documentary, it's: if you don't come prepared to the Arctic, you'll all end up eating each other.

Last week, with the temperature at a record low, I suited up for pick-up with a wool toboggan and leather gloves, and still, my hands and ears went numb, with pain shooting through my digits.

"Surely, she'll keep the hat and gloves on today," I thought. "At least that's what everyone keeps telling me: 'When she gets cold enough, she will wear the hat and gloves.'"

Turns out everyone underestimated my progeny's stubbornness. Not only would the child not wear her mittens, she caused me to shed mine every two blocks so that I could attempt to yank hers back on again.  So we were BOTH freezing.  As soon as I'd put my gloves back on and secure the wind cover onto the stroller, I'd see she'd already pulled off her mittens -- the allegedly "toddler-proof" mittens which zip up the sides and velcro closed at the wrist. After a few rounds of this delightful game, I decided to just give up on the mittens, and attempted to persuade her -- all while standing on the street corner, fighting the gale-force winds -- to please, PLEASE, tuck her hands into the cozy, criminally-fluffy stroller sleeping bag I'd zipped her lower half into. What I got was
her default response: "I no LIKEIT!"

"Let her get frostbite!" you ssy. "Then she'll put on her damn gloves."

But think for a second about what an imposition a case of frostbite would be on my already hectic schedule.

I mean, I get it. There are some things -- many things -- beyond our control as parents. Some behaviors that can not be modified despite bribes, punishments, distraction techniques, and the force of reason. One of the hardest things I've learned to do as a parent is accept this and just let it go, let the natural consequences unfold. And then other times, you override your kid's aversion to winter gear with the use of duct tape.

In a moment of inspiration, I strolled Terza - screaming from the cold as much as from indignation -- right into the nearest hardware store, bought a roll of duct tape and duct-taped those mittens right on to the sleeve of her jacket. Then, when she was helpless to stop me, I yanked the pink sparkly fleece-lined hat with bear ears on her head. Cruel, awful, overbearing me. She was warm, did not require medical attention, and retained the use of all her digits. And yes, I was happy.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Umm, whose panties are these?

So, David's sitting on the couch folding laundry last night, just the way he does every single night ever since we had three children who produce just as many daily loads of laundry. He picks up a pair of  cotton, rust-colored panties and asks, "Whose are these?"

The reason he is asking is they are large. Very large. One might say, gargantuan. My first thought is, "Thank God he realizes that those do not belong to me." Because had he handed those elephantine underwear over to me, and said, "Here, These are yours." I would have been forced to have an emotional unraveling, complete with, "Is that how LARGE you think I've gotten? I have had three kids, for God's sake, but please, I'm not size 16 yet." But, these panties are so large, even my husband, who doesn't pay attention to these things, would understand they do not belong to me.

So, he goes, "Who do these belong to?"

I shoot back, "I should ask YOU the same questions/" Because that is what they say in the movies when someone finds a mysterious pair of underwear in the apartment.

"You think I'm having an affair with a woman that wears THESE?"

He holds the panties up to showcase their full width and breadth They are almost as large as my toddler.

"If you are, you should really reconsider," I tell him.

So, he folded the panties up neatly and placed them on the coffee table, with the rest of the folded laundry. The rest, I put away, but the gargantuan panties remain on the coffee table. Because what do you do with such a find? Throw them out, I guess. But is that really my place? What if these are someone's FAVORITE pair of panties and they're looking high and low for them? I know I'm very attached to my favorite pairs.

So, if you've lost your panties at my apartment, please let me know. I will get them to you ASAP.

Monday, February 3, 2014

This polar vortex is turning me into a ninja

I just realized something. Every week, I am dressing a little more like a ninja. It's the winter's fault.

At first, it was just the skin-tight black thermal base layer bottom. Then it got so damn cold, I added the black base layer top. Neck to toe, I was already full-on ninja. But today, I finally relented and bought a balaclava. And on the balaclava package, which I purchased from the ninety nine cent store, it clearly read: "Ninja Mask." That is, by the way, what I like about buying my stuff from the ninety nine cent store: they tell it like it is. Had I bought it from Land's End, they would have called it "heat-tech micro-fleece balaclava." But a ninja mask by any other name . . .

So, yeah, now, thanks to the Polar Vortex, I'm a head-to-toe ninja girl.

I guess there are worse things.