Category Archives: Family & Parenting

And You’re Not Invited

Do you remember the first time you found out YOU weren’t invited to a party but all your friends were? (And I’m not talking about that revival thing that was being sent around on Facebook by an old (and very saved) friend. I wouldn’t go to that anyway—you see, God and I have an understanding… He doesn’t nag or guilt trip me about church stuff and I don’t attend such things and snicker the whole time. It works for us.)

Anyway, speaking of religious stuff—the party invite thing… I remember. It was in elementary school and I wasn’t invited because I wasn’t Jewish and it was the first of many Jews-only shindigs to which I was not invited. Yeah, sure…I wasn’t Jewish but I almost could have been—I ate matzo at my Jewish friends’  houses and I knew all words to Hava Nagila and my last name? It’s a PREDOMINANTLY JEWISH name, folks.

Why people felt it was okay to exclude someone who was an otherwise close friend I still don’t understand because I was never like “Oh, you can’t come to my party because you’re Jewish. Sorry. I’ll see you at school on Monday. Oh, and can I borrow your disco bag for my skating party to which you’re not invited even though we’re totally good friends?”

For what it’s worth, I got used to not being invited to all these parties and whatever Mitzvahs—mainly because I moved away. My new friends were all pretty much heathens anyway. Well, except for that girl across the street that asked me to see Flashdance with her and then tried to witness to me through the whole movie. It was a little awkward telling her I would NEVER go to her church because she was freaking me the hell out.

So fast forward like twenty something years, right? I have kids now and my daughter comes home and tells me a girl in her Girl Scout troop is having a birthday slumber party and her BFF and fellow Girls Scout got an invitation and she didn’t. This girl just attended my own daughter’s party last month so of course I wanted to be all “That little @#$%&! WHATEVER! Her mom is probably mean anyway. You don’t want to sleep over there. She’ll yell at you a lot and serve gross stuff like pickled eggs and raw onions and make you go to bed at 9:00.” But I had to play it cool, not let on that I was as upset for her (possibly more so) as she was.

Instead I calmly said mom-ish things like “There will always be things in life that you’re not invited to and it’s no big deal. And? Think of the people you haven’t invited to your parties. It wasn’t because you didn’t like them. It was because you were limited and so you had to pick only your closest friends. Maybe that’s how it is with so-and-so. I know she likes you and I know she’s a nice girl so please try not to take it personally” My pep talk appeared to be effective and she seemed to be over the whole thing, even confessing to me that she hates sleepovers because there’s always someone who snores really loud. So true, so true.

When I checked the mailbox, I hoped an invite to said party would waiting there for her but nothing. And it started to piss me off. Why would you dis-include ONE girl from your Girl Scout troop and invite everyone else? That’s just rude. Truthfully, I was merely assuming everyone else was invited; I had no evidence of this. I actually considered calling some of the other moms but what if their girls weren’t invited? Then it would just cause more trouble and thus, I forced myself to just lay low. I tried to dispel the little revenge fantasies I was enjoying where we’re throwing an envy-worthy party and handing out invitations to everyone but this one girl and sneering at her as we skip over her.  Because I am ten and SO MATURE.

I knew if left to my own devices I would probably do or say something stupid and possibly embarrassing so I put the whole thing out of my mind and filed it away as a “character building experience” because nothing builds character better than being being treated like a miniature 48 lb. leper, right?

Then my daughter casually mentions to me yesterday that she IS invited to this party, that they printed their own invites and ran out of ink. I find this slightly questionable but she says this girl told her she’s totally invited to the slumber party. Except we don’t know when and where.

Me: When is it?

Her: Um..I don’t know.

Me: We kinda need to know that. Ask her to have her mom call or email me since they ran out of ink. Ahem.

I secretly breathe a sigh of relief that we dodged this particular bullet for now. Sadly, I know this will come up again someday and it probably won’t end as happily. Lucky for her, my  daughter has me to do all her hand-wringing and revenge-fantasizing FOR HER.

Edited to Add: The day after I wrote this, my daughter did receive a computer-printed invitation along with an apology for the short notice. Apparently, they had to buy more ink.

Lost: Suddenly, Free-Range Parenting Seems Really Stupid

This 4th of July, we decided to go to the beach to watch fireworks. This particular beach has a lot of activity going on every evening and on Independence Day, even more so.

After letting the kids play on the playground for a while, we made our way down to the water. Though the sun was beginning to set, there were tons of people everywhere.

My kids were playing in the water and digging in the sand with my husband while I stood at the waters edge and took photos. It was when I heard a frantic young girl’s voice that I turned my attention behind me.

“Have you seen a little girl in a green bathing suit? We can’t find my sister.”

The girl was speaking to some other people nearby. I walked up and asked her how old her sister was (six), where they last saw her (about 20 yards up from the water) and how long since they’d seen her (15 minutes).

Her mother came up to me and gave me some more details. I promised to keep my eyes open and that’s pretty much all I did. I couldn’t relax and just carry on as if a little girl wasn’t missing. From time to time, I’d find myself walking back over to the mother to see if there was any news.

I couldn’t believe the beach police patrol was just driving down the beach visually scanning the area. I thought they should let everyone know they were looking for a child and use a megaphone or something to get the word out. At another point there were police officers just sort of wandering around on the beach, like stray ants that had lost their way. If it was my kid that was missing, I don’t think I would have been satisfied with such a half-assed attempt to find them. I mean really, it would have been laughable were it not such a dire situation. Get the whole story »

Mean Girls Suck

Mean girls suck, too...

Mean girls suck, too...

Every summer my daughter goes to day camp. She absolutely loves it and looks forward to it all year long.

This year, the camp has started having theme days which are kind of like spirit days at school. Recently, the theme was superheroes and princesses and N was pretty psyched about it.

As princess and superhero day approached, however, I began to have doubts about the merits of this particular theme. For one thing, my daughter is going in to third grade—most of her old princess dress-up clothes don’t even fit anymore.

I pointed out to her that most princess dress-up clothes are made for younger kids and a lot of girls probably won’t participate because they’ve outgrown their princess dresses. I even went so far as to suggest she dress as a superhero instead,

“We could make a really cool costume out of stuff we already have!”

I was met with a look that fell somewhere between abject horror and unwavering determination to tune out her obviously insane mother.

It became clear that my daughter fully intended to ignore me and my sensible advice so I backed off.

The next day, she came skipping out of her room with a frilly light green Tinkerbell princess dress (yes, I know Tinkerbell isn’t a princess but Disney apparently does not). While she looked adorable in her almost too small dress, a bad feeling settled in the pit of my stomach as I hugged and kissed her goodbye.

N is a sweet, sociable, happy-go-lucky girl who gets along with pretty much everyone but when she came home from camp that day, she didn’t seem like herself. She was lying on the couch watching TV, looking pretty sad and dejected.

I sat down and asked her if everything was alright.

After some gentle prodding, she told me that she was the ONLY girl in her group (besides her counselor) to dress up and that when she arrived, the other girls pointed and laughed at her.

One perpetually mean girl looked at her and sneered  loudly “Isn’t Tinkerbell for babies?”

“And what did you say?”

She replied softly “I said no”

I wanted to annihilate those girls for hurting my baby, for crushing her spirit like that without a second thought.

I proceeded to do try and undo some of the damage.

“Tinkerbell is NOT for babies. You know that, right? They make clothes for grown women with Tinkerbell on them. Not Cinderella, not Sleeping Beauty. TINKERBELL.”

“And you are NOT a baby. You’re actually older than a lot of those girls.”

The thing is, my daughter may be several months older but she is very innocent and unjaded and perhaps a bit sheltered.

Unlike a lot of girls her age, she still likes fairies and princesses and mermaids…exactly the way an eight year old girl should be, IMHO.

Don’t get me wrong—she’s NOT the victim of a plot to keep her artificially immature or anything. She’s just been exposed to different things and really,  in some ways, she’s more sophisticated than her peers—she’s able to talk to adults about a wide range of topics and she has an understanding of the world that a lot of kids her age don’t possess. While they’re obsessing over Hannah Montana and High School Musical, she’s watching British science fiction (The Sarah Jane Adventures) and NOVA and Dinosapiens, reading chapter books at a 5th grade level and pursuing her numerous artistic interests.

But at heart, she’s still very much a little girl and I love that about her.

That night, I told my husband what she told me, how much it hurt me to see her like that. We both voiced the same sad thoughts…

She’ll probably never fully put herself out there like that again. Sad.

Something that she loved to do will always be tarnished by the memory of this day.

A little piece of childhood innocence was lost today…

The next day she told me that the mean girl who said “Isn’t Tinkerbell for babies?” plays Elmo games on Sesamestreet.com in the computer lab.

Pot? Meet Kettle.

I told her to call the girl out publicly for playing Elmo games.

I know on some level that was bad. I know two wrongs don’t make a right. I know turn the other cheek blah, blah, blah…

But this girl is always so mean and until she gets put in her place, she’s not going to stop. I know this from experience—and really, it’s BASIC human nature.

For the record, I’ve never been mean to anyone unprovoked. It’s not who I am. But if you mess with me past a certain point, you’ll get it back in kind.

That said, if I have to choose between some 8 year old mean girl and my daughter,  I’m choosing my daughter—I won’t fight her battles but I WILL teach her to stand up for herself.

And I make NO apologies…

I’m sure at least a few of you are DYING to tell me how wrong I am. Just keep it civil, please.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

My daughter put this little mirror in front of my face so I jokingly say

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

And my son, completely serious, says

“What mall?

Who’s the fairest OF THE MALL?

Get it?

Come on…you know that shit is  funny.

SMILE!

Grandma Came. And Left.

Well…my baby is now officially four years old. He keeps saying he’s five (but I hope that never happens. I want him to stay just like he is forever *sniff*)

And wonder of wonders…I managed, somehow, to get my house clean and almost all the laundry washed and folded (but not all put away because apparently, when ALL our clothes are clean, we have too damn much to fit it our drawers. The solution? Don’t do laundry as often! Wait…no…I mean CLEAN OUT our drawers and put the stuff we no longer wear in the yard sale pile(s).

Anyway, my stepmother came, as promised, but didn’t even spend the night. Part of me was relieved because, honestly, I don’t enjoy house guests all that much, but the other part of me was kind of mad. We don’t see you for over two years and you can’t spend one damn night?

I was also irritated because I put a LOT of time and energy into cleaning the bedrooms since she would, presumably, be sleeping in one of them. Of course I’m happy that the rooms are now clean but if you only knew how much pressure I put on myself to get all this stuff done…only to find it was actually unnecessary. I even bought vodka (not the cheap stuff either) and organic orange juice for her. Hmmph.

The party was small and thankfully so because when you have two four year olds, two eight year olds and one very loud and curious (read: into effing EVERYTHING) two year old running around in a small house, all sugared up from cake, bickering over toys and balloons, hootin and hollerin’ and generally causing serious mayhem… Well, suffice it to say, any more kids might have made my head explode, as well as the heads of every adult in attendance (my husband, two other parents and two grandmothers).

The cake was awesome, if I do say so (homemade with some help from Bettty Crocker, with truly homemade chocolate icing), the food was okay (pasta, breadsticks and pizza from Pizza Hut because we are KLASSY) and the whole thing lasted about two and a half hours (just long enough).

When it was over and the kids went to bed, I promptly plopped my ass on the couch, with full intentions of watching True Blood but instead fell asleep for nine solid hours. Staying up til 4:30am the night before, cleaning (and writing for The Green Mom Review) just about killed me yesterday so I was totally okay with sleeping contentedly on the couch all night. I was, however, very grouchy this morning and pretty much snarled at everyone until I had coffee.

Shortly thereafter I had a little jungle adventure when I had to look for my cat. He’s a formerly feral kitten who kind of adopted my male cat, and thus our family, too. We got him fixed and now he’s this small, chubby, sweet little thing with a big old overbite.

Anyway, I noticed the night before last that I hadn’t seen him in over 24 hours. I had a feeling he was next door in this insane rainforest of a backyard. The girl is a renter and is never  EVER home so I put on jeans, sneakers and a long sleeved shirt (it’s like 90 degrees and 100% humidity, mind you) and climbed the wooden fence. As suspected, he was back there but he didn’t look right.

I climbed and scooted and crawled around and under all kinds of crazy stuff to get to him and he kept scuttling away. Spider webs of mammoth proportions were everywhere and about a thousand mosquitoes were swarming around my face (apparently they’re attracted to carbon dioxide) and the little bastard wouldn’t let me get closer than about 2 feet. I even tried to bribe him with food but he scuttled away and over the back fence. I KNOW he’s sick or something but I can’t help him if I can’t catch his wily ass.

The bright side? The house is wicked clean for the first time in ages and we won’t be here tomorrow to mess it up. WIN.

Creepy Kiddie Accessories 2.0

A long time ago, I recall seeing wigs for babies and being all What? The Hell. But in all fairness, at least BabyToupee.com recognizes that their wigs fall into the patently ridiculous/OMFG category.

But lo, there’s a new kid on the wig block and they’ve made it their mission to insure no bald-ish baby girls are ever mistaken for boys, thanks to their Baby Bangs. Scariest part? It’s not a joke.

Sure, your daughter will never be mistaken for a boy again when sporting her Baby Bangs but DAMN THEY’RE UGLY!

Something tells me these will be a BIG hit with the beauty pageant moms who seem to function under the premise that  natural, un-bedazzled little girls cannot be considered beautiful.

But wait! It gets better because in addition to beribboned baby wigs, there are also… Get ready for it…

Creepy...

Creepy...

HIGH HEELED BABY BOOTIES.

No, I’m not shitting you. Yes, I’m completely serious. And while I think the baby wigs are dumb and rather unattractive, they cannot even begin to touch the Heelarious shoes. Freaky factoid? They’re apparently a pretty hot seller.  But WHO buys this shit? Even as a gag, who would actually put those stupid things on their baby???

Cute!

Not creepy!

Is it possible I’ve gone through a wormhole and ended up in some bizarre parallel universe where people DON’T think babies in wigs and high heels is creepy as hell?

My oracle tells me you can soon look forward to baby spray tans and tiny little Lee Press-On nails for the diaper set. Add a wig and some heels and see how SEXAY your baby can be!

Dontcha wish your baby was HOTT like mine…dontcha wish your baby was a freak like mine?

I suspect I’ll get at least one or two comments from people saying “Baby Bangs and Heelarious heels r soooo cute! Ur just jelus u dint think of it first and u jus hate pageant moms cuz ur baby isnt pretty”

To My Mall Ratty White Trash Mom

Last Sunday on Mother’s Day, I awoke around noon and was greeted with a fantastic breakfast (that means BACON), fresh coffee, gorgeous pink Gerber daisies (my favorite) and the sweetest little treasures from my children.

Accompanying the gifts from my daughter was a card/drawing she made at school that touched my heart—but also made me scratch my head a bit (see highlighted parts).

It read:

I love my mommy sooooo much! Her name is Janet. She is fun and pretty. We like to go to the mall and buy clothing together. It’s fun! Sometimes she plays board games with me. My mommy is a great cook, too. My favorite meal she makes is tater tot casserole. My mom makes dinner, does laundry and cleans the house. I’m glad she takes good care of me.

Is that not the sweetest thing you’ve ever read? I know. It is.

The only thing I don’t understand why she makes me sound like a housewifey mall rat who favors food from the Michelle Duggar cookbook of white trashy recipes?

Allow me to elaborate…

We never go clothes shopping at the mall. Well, actually, I did recently take the kids with me when I went hunting for a purple shirt to wear for the March for Babies but seriously, before that, I can’t remember the last time I dared to take the kids clothes shopping with me. I’M NO MASOCHIST!

Also? I DID a made tater tot casserole — ONCE — but only because I happened to have all the ingredients and I really REALLY didn’t want to make burgers or meatloaf again. It was okay but nobody seemed all that jazzed about it. Yes, I noted the recipe while watching “18 Kids and Counting”  but hello? Tater Tot casserole? That’s just embarrassing and frankly not the sort of thing I’d want the whole world to know about — not including YOU , of course — because I trust that we will never speak of this again. RIGHT???

It was really very generous of my daughter to say I’m a great cook but just like that business about cleaning and doing laundry? It’s kind of not accurate. I’m a bad cook and I really try NOT to clean or do laundry. Must be wishful thinking on her part… Poor kid.

Don’t get me wrong. I thought T’s card was beyond awesome. She said all those nice things (factual errors aside), which I loved—but you have to admit…it’s comedy gold.

Now that part about being fun and pretty? That part is totally true :)