Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On the Trail of the Teenage Boy

In just a few short months, my son will become a teenage boy. Already, this has brought me into frequent contact with an increasing number of the creatures. Oh, I've seen them around: Exhibiting poor judgement, riding ridiculously tiny bikes against traffic, slugging each other, wearing jeans so low they have to effect a laughably awkward gait. Supremely unaware of how they appear to others, their every action seems calculated nevertheless to attract the attention of others.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fast Food

The other day, I made food that both children ate. Such is my life that this is noteworthy and cause for some degree of celebrating. The kids liked it, I loved it, and my spouse loved me just a little bit more for making it. Upon hearing about it, a number of friends have asked that I post my recipe in this blog. It seems like a reasonable use of the space, so here goes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gamma Girl Wash Day (After Day...)

I got my arm stuck in a pair of skinny jeans the other day. There I was, steadily working my way through a quantity of laundry that might have you thinking we’re a family of seventeen. This is because - well, yeah, I hate doing laundry so it does tend to accumulate - but also because my daughter likes to surprise me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bread Crumb Soup

Happy new year! Tonight begins a new year for those of us who are Jewish. We'll eat sweet things (because life is sweet and another year of it sweeter still), we'll light candles and say a special blessing reserved for "firsts" — and we'll try to rack up as many firsts as possible, just so we can say it a lot — we'll go to the evening service in a really great mood and enjoy seeing all our friends as well as all the people who don't make a regular habit of attending services.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Diva began ballet at four. By five, she knew it was not for her. It's wasn't that she couldn't do it - she was no better or worse really than any other short legged, round-tummied ballerina. Nor did she (at four, anyway) object to pink. Ballet just isn’t her vocabulary. She's a kid who, very young, took to anything Bob Fosse - a detail we somehow missed when we signed her up for dance.

It was her brother who, upon watching a full ballet for the first time, sat rapt on the edge of his seat through the entire performance and came home with the bug.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gamma Girl Justice

The definitive gamma girl, Diva has hit on a new way to respond to immature fifth grade boys who aggravate her. Not sure what, exactly, a gamma girl is? Here goes: First (because they are always first) are the queen bees. They rule the school with some combination of money, looks, unshakable confidence and an arsenal of offensive weapons - rumor, gossip, poisonous looks and the ego-shattering snicker. Meet the alpha girls.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Down in the Dumpster

I don't know how many times I've said to the kids, "we're living in a garbage dump". Between Diva's generalized pigginess and Wild Child's tendency to drop toy weapons and snack wrappers on anything that can't run away, our home's general appearance is that of a family in crisis.

Moving through our house isn't actually all that difficult despite it's resemblance to an overgrown forest because like a forest, we've carved trails. Well worn traffic areas flow through the clutter of the entryway, into the staging area known as the living room and from there, branch off into the thicket to end up in the kitchen, with it’s own zone of functionality, the bathroom or the playroom. (I won't delve into the playroom except to say that in a rage one day last week, I removed the doorknob.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School at the Mall

Wild Child and the Diva are headed back to school. When they arrive for their first day in a higher grade,they will be kitted out in new outfits that say to one and all, "this is who I am this year". I imagine it's the same for kids across the country; they've grown over the summer and not just in shoe size, so they're gearing up to start again as a new and improved version of themselves.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When the Earth Moves

There was an earthquake in Virginia and we felt it all the way up here in New England. Well, some of us did. Now, unless you're at the epicenter, east coast earthquakes are unlikely to do more than knock over the lawn chairs. Living through one is no more traumatic than sitting on a porch swing with someone who fidgets, and it feels precisely like that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Becoming Ima

​We'd been together ten years before we got talking seriously of having kids. We'd always planned on children, but we needed to work out the when and the how and - unique to lesbian parents - the who.
Over those years, we’d frequently played something akin to Mr Potato Head, taking our favorite parts of ourselves and sticking them onto our future children: “She’ll have your legs.” “Okay, but your sense of humor.” “He’ll be really smart.” “But I hope he gets your hair.” Etcetera. We had talked often and at great length about our values and our views on discipline, education, creativity and chores, enough to know that we were well in sync. We had not discussed what our children would call us.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The End of the Summer and The Funnest Camp Ever

The kids went into full hysteria last week at the mall when they spotted a display of backpacks. Printed above the display, in something like 500 point type was “Back to School”. My son immediately began shrieking and keening, wordless sounds of melodramatic anguish. My daughter, for once, did not tell him to shut up and stop acting like an idiot in the store. “But we’ve only had two months,” they both protested. “TWO MONTHS, and it’s all gone and we didn’t get to do ANYTHING!” And so began a new round of their summer-long complaint about “having” to go to camp.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Ten-Year-Old Entrepeneur

As I have mentioned before, my daughter will be a fashion designer. She has a phenomenal eye for style, a winning aesthetic and - this may be her most important asset - one wicked entrepreneurial streak. Oh, in recent months she's done the lemonade stand thing because it's something her friends enjoy. They never sell enough to recoup the cost of the lemonade but it's fairly cheap as an entertainment, so what the hell.

But a couple of years back, while the girls down the block were watering-down Kool-aid, my daughter set up a face painting stand.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Google Cycle

Psst, come here. We’re still a small group here, so come close. I’m 50, I’m a mom, I’m moderately talented and for once in my life, I’m working on making a living at something I’m good at and enjoy. And I do enjoy it. I run the dingoes in the morning, taking notes on my thoughts and ideas, come home and craft that into something worth reading, maybe cartoon a bit to make it more fun and entertaining, then post it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

ADHD Playdate

My dogs both have tracking transmitters. While our family doctor may raise all sorts of weird, fussy "ethical" objections, I'm hoping the vet may be an easier sell on my proposal to have one placed on my daughter.

Diva is ten - ten - and I haven't seen her for three days and perhaps only a dozen times since the start of summer. Oh, she's not missing, or anything. She just sort of has a life of her own which, at present, has taken her to a marathon sleepover/playdate. What the hell... it's summer, right?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mashed Potatoes and Twigs

There is a phrase that I find so hysterically funny that merely uttering it in my presence will cause me to go into convulsions of helpless laughter; the breath leaves my lungs, my face spasms, something seismic rolls through me and I can't stop. It can go on and on — waves of laughter — for upward of fifteen minutes. Look at me funny at any point during an episode and it can start all over.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perchance to Dream...

I'm having some difficulty sleeping. Oh, blame it on the heat, or my propensity for drinking coffee until very late at night, but I have another theory. I'm a night owl by nature; I get bursts of inspiration and tend to do my best thinking sometime after midnight, so on a typical night, the rest of my family is already in dreamland when I finally stumble up to bed (this time of quiet solitude may account for the timing of my inspiration, but there you go). Only the dogs snooze by my side or underfoot waiting for me to call it a day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wild Child and the Diva

My daughter is a rock star. That is to say, take away the wealth, the fame and the trips into and out of rehab, and whatever it is that makes someone a rock star, she has it.
The "new girl" in school doesn't typically have an easy time making a friend and fitting in, but when Diva started a new school mid-year, the girls (and boys) began competing for her friendship. She's not popular; rather - and we make much if this distinction at home - she is well-liked. She's funny and fashionable, she likes everyone by default, and she's kind.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Person Shooter

One of the things we agreed on even before we had children was no “war toys”. Now, understand - I spent my childhood days with the neighborhood boys, all of us armed to the teeth, playing war. My evenings were typically spent in front of the TV watching coverage of the real war. My spouse was ROTC and a crack marksman. One would think that it might have occurred to us that our own childhoods, steeped as they were in violent play, nevertheless produced the kind of adults that, well...ban war toys.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Slob Couture

My daughter has known since she was four that she is going to be a fashion designer. Believe it; I know her and I do. She will also be a top model, albeit under a different name -- a single, first name kind of thing, ala “Madonna” or “Cher”. And get this: she will model her own designs and no one will suspect that the top model and the world-class designer are one in the same.

At a very young age, she had already mastered dozens of ways to tie a bow, knot a scarf, bling out her Ts, paint her sneakers, put up, put down and put wave in her hair - anything that served to make a thing more beautiful, more stylish, more uniquely her.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Conversing With ADHD Parents

Parents want to talk about their kids. ( I offer this blog as exhibit A.) It’s probably the single biggest reason we so often drift away from our childless friends who, after all, have interests that encompass world events, social networks, work, travel and relationships. We gravitate to other parents with whom we can feign interest in one another’s boring kid stories until it’s our turn to talk. Stop it; you know it’s true. Our social networks are determined by our child’s grade and extracurricular activities;

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Experienced Couple

I'm going to be attending a wedding soon, between a couple of very good friends (actually, I'll be performing the ceremony *blush* but that's another story). It's naturally gotten me to thinking about my own marriage.

My spouse and I will shortly be celebrating our 26th anniversary. The 25th was supposed to have been a really big celebration and there was even talk of a cruise but, when the time came, we were trying to come up with the mortgage, one child had just started in a new school . . . It goes like that. I'm pretty sure we managed to exchange flowers from Trader Joe's but I can't swear to it. Okay, it was not memorable. But it was okay, you know?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alphabet Boys

I have a kid with ADHD. Big deal. The truth is, I don't know anyone with a son that doesn't have ADHD. Or Aspergers. Or learning disabilities. Or SI disorders. They're all alphabet boys and a gathering of my son's friends is a tragi-comic buffet of twitching, fidgeting and shoe staring. All of it very loud.

What's going on? I've heard the argument that we're pathologizing normal boy behavior. (Actually, I've heard a host of sanctimonous arguments usually undertaken more for the pleasure of knowing better than someone who is already on the edge than to offer helpful insights. You know who you are; shut up.) Before having a child with ADHD, I am ashamed to say, I was one of those.