Monthly Archives: September 2009

Like mother like daughter

Have you ever had someone in your life who you think wants to be JUST like you. Who buys the same clothes as you, decorates her house like yours, starts talking like you, listening to the same music as you, even their mannerisms start imitating yours? Yes? Wow you think you’re pretty cool don’t you? ;0 I’ve never had a friend like this but I DO have a daughter like this. And it’s weird. Creeps me out at times actually because she literally does or wants to do and say everything like me. And I KNOW I’m not the only mom out there with this predicament (may it be good or bad). Everything I say or do gets thrown right back at me by this little thumb sucking clone of mine.

I hear her scolding her baby dolls with the exact same words I use. “I. Have. Had E-NOUGH.” she sternly says. “I am THROUGH with this conversation” she states, shaking her head. “That’s fine, you don’t have to eat anymore. I don’t want to FORCE you to eat but if you don’t, then NOOOOO dessert!” she threatens. “Wow, you’ve made a HERMENDOUS mess in here!” she says.
In Mystic, the water was about 20 degrees colder than she’s used to in our pool. She wanted so badly to go swimming in it, but each limb that touched the frigid water turned her off more than the last. Tim, being the fantastic father that he is (no one was getting my ass in the water that first day), was waiting patiently in the water freezing his boys off so that he could be there when in fact she was ready. It was literally 20 minutes when she finally got herself lowered off the dock into the water and she said shaking her head (as I am assuming I have said to her in the past), “I cannot believe I’m doing all of this for you daddy.”
She also takes on my pain as if it’s her own. She was holding her lower back with one hand yesterday and when I asked what was wrong she said, “it’s nothing… just my back is sore. I’ll be ok, it’s just from carrying my baby around all day.” I am prone to headaches and she now after a tantrum will grab her head and say, “I now have a SPINNING headache!”. Her lips were a little red over vacation and she explained that all the sun gave her “chopped lips”. She plops herself down on the couch at the end of the day and with a winded voice states, “Woooph, what a LONG day.”
She takes some good things from me too. She is a fantastic gift receiver (what can I say? I love getting gifts and I figure the more excited I am, the more I’ll get!). No matter what it is that someone has gotten her she says, “Oh. My. God. I just LOVE it. It’s PERFECT.” It isn’t until the gift giver is gone that she’ll say to me, “mommy what is it?”.
There are certain things that I don’t notice are similar to me but Tim shakes his head in amazement when he watches her. When she tells a story she repeatedly pushes her hair behind her ear which supposedly mimics me. When she looks in the mirror she looks at her butt (what little of it there is) first (come on, who doesn’t?).
There are some things she does that worry me because I haven’t nailed down where she gets them from. Like the possessed, Carrie face she makes when she’s really mad where all I see are the whites of her eyes because her head is down and she doesn’t want me to know she’s looking at me. Can you picture that one? It’s frightening… and I hope it’s not one I do. The piercing, “WHAAAAAT?” that she screams when I say something she doesn’t believe. It’s painful and I’m on the hunt for her preschool friend who started it. I’ve prided myself in teaching her to have some kick-ass manners. And when she says things like, “Someone want to get me something to drink, maybe?”. I look around and wonder who took my 4 yo daughter and replaced her with the 14 year old sassy-one.
She has her first tennis lesson tomorrow. I was telling Tim that I couldn’t believe she chose to not take gymnastics again to instead “try something new”. Tim was like, “what do you mean you can’t believe it? You’re playing tennis… of course she’s playing tennis!”. I just hope she is able to come close to hitting the ball and doesn’t get all pissy when she can’t. Like. Mommy.


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I remember

My husband is the one who remembers everything. He actually can freak people out with his memory, being able to recollect the smallest detail of the first time he met them or where he had seen them in the past. I usually stand by as he’s introduced to someone and I see the glimmer in his eye as he realizes that 15 years ago he had met them at a beer fest in Nowheresville. And I’ll roll my eyes thinking “oh here we go…” as I hear him asking them things like, weren’t they wearing a navy shirt and white shorts when they met? And didn’t they have a younger sister who had gone to Peduka U? And wasn’t their favorite food sardines but they had had an allergic reaction to sardines and spent most of the evening throwing up at the beer fest? And hadn’t their hair been a lighter shade of auburn? Yes, he has a fantastic memory (for totally unimportant things). I usually don’t remember all the details. I don’t recall faces quite as easily or know what movie theater we saw our first movie together in. I don’t remember what football team won two Columbus Days ago.

But today… I remember. I remember EVERY detail of this day 8 years ago. I remember what I was wearing. I remember the phone call I had with my mom that morning as I walked down Madison Avenue in Manhattan on my way to work and actually said to her, “mom, is it going to rain today? It looks really cloudy downtown”. Little did I know that those “clouds” were actually billows of smoke from the first plane that had JUST hit the Trade Center. I remember the confusion and disbelief I felt when I walked into my office that I had only worked at for 7 days having just started this job. I didn’t have friends yet at work. I didn’t have anyone to hug or anyone to hug me as I worried about all of our friends and family that also worked and lived in NYC. I didn’t know what to say to my co-worker whose fiance to whom she was supposed to marry 4 weeks later worked on the 92nd floor of the Trade Center. I can still taste those tears that I cried that day as she realized that that wedding was not going to happen.

I remember not being able to reach Tim for a couple hours after everything happened because all of the lines were down. I also remember the relief I felt when I did actually hear his voice, my husband of only 4 weeks at the time. I remember the look on his face when he finally made it to my office having walked from his, and the feeling of his arms wrapped around me and the comfort I felt knowing we were ok. I remember finally getting in touch with my brother who worked downtown and actually had to run from the debris as the tower fell. I remember the candlelight vigils we attended for weeks afterward. The vigils we were a part of on street corners with complete strangers but who we all of a sudden felt a bond with having gone through this trauma together.
I remember the anger I felt at the Upper East side ladies who were upset that day that their favorite shoe store had closed early. I remember sitting on the couch hours upon hours in a row not being able to unglue my eyes from the TV. Hating watching it all but not wanting to miss a second of it. I remember the pit in my stomach each time I heard someone ELSE knew someone who had been there. I remember wanting to give every fire fighter and every police officer a hug and applauding them as they drove down to ground zero for the recovery missions. I remember waiting in line for hours to give blood only being turned away because there was no one who would need it. I remember reading every single day for months and months after in the NY Times the stories of those who lost their lives so quickly, so tragically.
I remember all of this as if it happened only months ago, not years ago. I watched the memorial this morning and for the first time since 2001 didn’t cry tears. I was able to watch it without crying. And that was hard for me because I don’t want to forget one thing about that painful day that changed the way we all live. It has made me have a new appreciation for life, but has made me a little afraid of the world we live in.
I wonder how I will share my story of that day with my kids. I want to be able to portray the bravery of those who fought to save lives both in the air and on the ground. It will be hard to explain it because there just isn’t any explanation for how hideous the day was, but even though my kids were not even alive, I don’t want them to forget either.


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Mouse in the House

“Keep the mouse in the house”. It’s a saying that can make anyone laugh if referring to the embarrassing situation when you just can’t help but notice that a guy’s weiner is in full view when he’s sitting inappropriately with his legs spread. Or when it’s peeking out of his boxer shorts. You try to cover your eyes but you just HAVE to look. Well, I can say for sure that this little saying ONLY applies to penises. And I can say that because I have a mouse in my house and I would prefer to not keep him here.

Yes, last night after both kids were securely in their beds Tim handed me the dog and said, “Hold her. Tight.”. I heard him rummaging around, and then I saw him with his tennis racquet enter the kitchen and start banging around, smacking things around and when I returned I could tell from his face that whatever he was hunting for and hoping to pummel with his racquet was still on the loose.
“What is it.” I stated
“We have a friend” he said.
“What sort of friend?”
“An “M” friend.”
“What, a Moose? A Mongoose? A Muskrat? Could you be a little more specific?”
“A mouse.” he said.
“Did you get it?”
“No, but it ran behind the radiator so it’s gone.”
Yeah right. A mouse running behind anything is not gone.
“Call the exterminator tomorrow” he said and took the dog, put her leash on her and walked out of the house.
He left me. He left me sitting alone on the couch in the room adjacent to the room with the M word. I couldn’t breathe. And I really wanted a Reeses Peanut Butter cup from the freezer. I wanted it badly enough in fact that I got up and STOMPED into the kitchen all confident to get one, and as soon as I reached into the freezer… I saw it. It was absolutely, by no stretch of the imagination behind the radiator. Or behind ANYTHING for that matter. It was scurrying by my feet. I screamed and I’m pretty sure my superpowers took over because I think it only took one leap to get back onto my safe spot on the couch.
10 minutes later Tim returned and he knew from my grimace that Mr. M was back.
“Get it”. I said. “Do something. It ran into the laundry room”.
So again, I heard some banging and moving of furniture and a door close and that was it.
“Did you get it?” I again asked knowing that it was not the case since I didn’t see him holding a dead little thing by its tail.
“No, but I closed the door to the laundry room so when the exterminator comes tomorrow he’ll find it.”
He closed the door. Had he not learned in middle school that mice can flatten themselves completely to get under any door and through any hole a fraction of its size? He closed the door. Hurumph.
“Can you at least put some towels on the bottom of the door so it can’t crawl under?” I asked.
“Fine.” he said knowing in the back of his head that he’d be skipping off to work in the morning leaving me with two unknowing kids and a mouse that might as well be a python considering how scared I was.
And then he went up to bed. And I tweeted my situation so all my “friends” could commiserate and lend me some advice and give me internet hugs and share some tears. And I got an “Ewwww” from one friend and some helpful advice from my sister in law. And that’s it. I guess everyone else was in my husband’s camp… not their problem.
And then I saw it again! Back in the kitchen! How did it DO that?? Pssssssst!! I shouted up to the bedroom so as to not wake the kids. Back downstairs trotted my husband to where I was crouched down pointing under the kitchen curtains. “See it? It’s right there. Get. It.” No luck. Back behind the radiator he went. And back up the stairs my husband went stating that our show was starting in 10 minutes and I should hurry up to join him.
“You don’t care.” I tearfully told him as I crawled shakily into bed after having taken a Zanax to calm my nerves.
“I do care. But what do you want me to do?” he asked?
“I don’t know but your the HUSBAND. You’re supposed to take care of things like this for your WIFE.”.
“And you’re supposed to give back rubs to your husband when he asks and you don’t.” he retorted.
Really? He was comparing mice scampering around my house, possibly crawling on my sleeping kids to BACK RUBS? End of conversation.
So here I am. It’s morning. No sign of Mr. Mouse yet today. No, take that back. There were mouse droppings on my counter and a little hole in my bag of bagels with some bagel actually missing (hungry bastard), so I know he was around. But I haven’t seen him yet. But I open every cabinet like I’m entering a drug den and go around each corner peaking first (which Luke thinks is the best game). And I’m still awaiting a call from the almighty Exterminator who will do nothing but put down poison all over my house and give me another thing for Luke to want to pick up and either eat or throw in the toilet.
So please lend your thoughts to me today. I’ll be chanting to “get the mouse out of the house, get the mouse out of the house”. And if I see a few penises in the process… fine.

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Question of Faith

OK add being a “bad Jew” to my already confirmed “bad mommy” self description. Apparently, it really is possible to be a bad Jew. At least that’s the way the receptionist at the temple that I just got off the phone with made me feel. The High Holidays are approaching. These are the holidays that are the most religious and most “important” on the Jewish calendar. Many of you “non-Jews” might think that Chanukah is the biggest Jewish holiday since it coincides (close) to Christmas but honestly, I believe Chanukah only became a big deal to make us poor Jewish kids feel better during all of the hoopla of Christmas and allow us to get gifts too. The High Holidays include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur which are the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement. Unfortunately the New Year is not quite the champagne drinking, streamer-strewn occasion as 12/31 (at least in my family)… it’s more of a nice family dinner and day off from work. But, lucky me, Yom Kippur allows me to scream I’M SORRY for all the naughty things I’ve done all year and let me start with a clean slate. Oh, and I can’t eat for 24 hours or the I’M SORRY won’t be heard. It’s an excellent way to lose a quick pound or two if you can deal with the dizzies and pounding headache. Thankfully, Yom Kippur falls AFTER Rosh Hashanah so that I can booze it up for the New Year and make it a whooping good time without any repercussions because I can say I’M SORRY 10 days later.

So, back to why I’m a bad Jew. As faithful Christian people go to church on Sundays, faithful Jewish people are supposed to go to temple on Friday nights/Saturday mornings. Not sure which lame Jewish person made that decision to make the time to attend religious services the time that I like to be out to a nice dinner, having a glass of wine or at least curled under a blanket on the couch looking forward to the weekend ahead. It just doesn’t happen in my world and never has. In high school I was one of two Jewish kids in my class, many of the kids had never even met a Jewish person before me and I heard all of the anti-Semitic comments you can imagine pretty regularly. And sadly, I learned to laugh along with them. I’d even make the comments myself to fit in at times (“No, I won’t lend you a dollar. I mean I’m a Jew after all!” I recall saying). So not joining my friends on a Friday night as they skipped off to a house party or to the movies so that I could go to Temple… just wasn’t happening. And my parents weren’t religious enough to make it a priority either. Not that they weren’t proud to be Jewish but again, there weren’t many Jews in my town so it just wasn’t the thing to do for them either. But, the High Holidays… we always went to temple for the High Holidays. It was tradition. I would get a couple new cute outfits to wear, I’d see my one other Jewish friend, we’d sing the songs, listen to the sermons and be done until the next year.
I now live in a town with a larger Jewish contingent. I didn’t want my kids to feel “different”. I didn’t want them to have to explain why Santa doesn’t visit their house, why they don’t go to church, and why they are eating matzo at lunch. Even still, there are many more Christian kids in Hannah’s class so she still questions why we don’t have a Christmas tree and why she doesn’t get an Easter basket, but at least she KNOWS other Jewish kids and I’d like to continue to educate her and make sure she loves who she is and feels a part of the Jewish community. So, I called a local temple this morning to find out about attending for the High Holidays like I did when I was younger. Hannah’s at the age where I think she’ll enjoy the music and stories told so I thought it would be worth the money. Here was how the conversation went:
Me: Hi, I wanted to find out about attending the High Holiday services?
Her: Do you belong to the temple?
Me: No, not yet, but we’ll see how it goes for the holidays and then think of joining.
Her: Do you know how many people say that? Being Jewish is more than just attending temple twice a year, you know.
Me: speechless
Her: Hello?
Me: Well, my kids are young and I’m not ready to join yet. It’s very expensive and I’d like to make sure we make the most of it.
Her: It shouldn’t be about the money. The money goes to the upkeep of the temple, the rabbi’s salary and the classes that we offer.
Me: Uh Huh. Am I able to come just for the holidays, or no?
Her: No, you need to join the temple. And it seems you aren’t ready to encourage your faith with your kids yet.
Me: speechless
Her: Hello?
Me: Goodbye.
There you have it. Bad Jew. I’ve had people say some pretty off base things to me in my days regarding being Jewish but never have I felt so, I don’t know, angry/shameful/put off. I remember one of Hannah’s doctors asking Hannah last year what she was going to ask Santa Clause for for Christmas and her telling him that Santa doesn’t come to our house because we’re Jewish and him saying to me, “Oh right, you’ll cave on that soon enough”. Wha? “I’ll cave”? What does that even mean? Again, speechless. But to have a fellow Jew, make me feel this way was crazy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you have to join a church by paying thousands of dollars a year? I think it’s unbelievable that I have to shell out twice as much for joining a temple to celebrate my faith a couple times a year than I pay for my gym membership that I (could) use every day.
To say the least, this left a very bad taste in my mouth. I certainly will never join this temple that I dealt with this morning. Instead, I will celebrate with a delicious meal, tell some of our own stories, sing some of our own songs and say I’M SORRY in our own way. And I will then be a “good Jew” and a “good mom” at the same time.


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And the winner is…

I’m back. For better or for worse. I’m back. In some ways it felt like forever that we were gone – in a different house with different stairs, different beds, different showers, different coffee pot (you can see what was important to me)… just DIFFERENT. In some ways, the 10 days flew. I can’t believe I’m back in my “spot” on the couch already. Back to reality. It’s not like I really left reality on this trip since the same issues arose 2 hours north on the shore as they do here in the woods. Same whining. Same bickering. Same tantrums. Same sleepiness. But somehow, 2 hours north on the shore, I was able to go with it (kind of). Let it roll off of me (for the most part). Walk out of the house (since Tim was around). And that made it better. It made it vacation.

I have been trying to come up with the best way to rehash my time away in a way that would be interesting. Compelling maybe. So I decided to compile a list (surprise!). A superlative list if you will of the “bests” and “worsts” of the trip.
Best things I thought to bring on the trip (tie)
1. My own pillow. I am one of those who spent in the $100’s on her Tempurpedic Pillow and I CANNOT live (or sleep) without it. For the hours that I actually am sleeping (which aren’t that many) I need my head perfectly positioned on a perfectly cool pillow. Or watch out.
2. My slippers. No matter the temperature, I NEED my Ugg slippers. I like toasty feet, what can I say?
Worst thing I forgot to bring
– Luke’s booster seat. I purposely bought a portable strap on booster seat to fit on any chair. And I left it home. Meal times were seriously a disaster with him. We had no way to confine him so I’d either leave a plate on the coffee table in hopes that he’d enjoy the meal enough to stand there and feed himself, or I’d chase him around with a fork hoping he’d stop long enough to get it into his mouth, or I’d sit at the table and call for him every few minutes for him to return for another bite or (and this one didn’t score me points as mom of the year) I’d give HIM the fork to run around with to feed himself and return for a fork refill. None of these worked too well and I’m surprised he didn’t whither away from lack of food.
Today I removed the booster from its box and strapped it onto my kitchen chair at home because, dammit, I was getting my money’s worth from it! 5 minutes after being placed on the new seat , Luke pushed his feet against the table and toppled himself over backward. Booster seat was a big FAIL no matter how you slice it.
Best use of money on the trip
– Tickets to the aquarium. Luke literally was SCREAMING with excitement. It was so cute. Each new fish he saw, he screamed and jumped up and down. There was no doubt the boy was happy. I wish I could scream and jump up and down when I see something for the first time. Come to think of it, next time I go shopping and see a cool new pair of jeans, I WILL scream and jump up and down. Just you watch.
Worst use of money on the trip ( tie)
1. Tickets to the aquarium. We bought the tickets to also include a day at Mystic seaport which we never went to. To be honest, I never wanted to go to the seaport. Places where people pretend they are living in another era, dressed as if it’s the 1700’s with their wigs, aprons, white socks pulled up to their knees and bonnets, cooking bread over a fireplace, and washing their clothes with a grated board just Creep. Me. Out. I mean, turn the page! Can’t they just show a slide show or something to portray the day? Do they have to talk with a fake colonial accent (is there such thing?) and make us feel all overdressed and high maintenance with their simplistic ways? Sheesh.
2. River Boat Tour. This was a perfect example of expectations exceeding reality. What could be bad about a 40 minute boat ride on the river? I pictured a nice breeze, friendly chit chat amongst new friends, nice views. I pictured Hannah curious about all we saw, asking lots of questions and wanting more. I imagined Luke SCREAMING with excitement as I knew he could. It was None of That. It was a guy named Curly (yes Curly) talking non-stop about every boat we passed, every building along the riverbank and every fish in the water. Hannah asked me “why that man talks so much”. Luke did NOT want to sit on anyone’s lap and he can barely walk straight on land, let alone on a moving motor boat. We were “That” family and the “awww, aren’t they cute” looks we got at the beginning of the ride quickly turned to “can’t you control your children” glares at the end. Not that I cared.
Biggest Disappointment
– Mystic Pizza. You’ve all seen the movie right? Well, it’s just like in the movie. And they’re actually PLAYING the movie on a loop over and over and over in the restaurant. But the pizza – SUCKS! It’s just disgusting. Maybe I’m spoiled with my NYC taste in pizza but this was probably the worst pizza I’ve ever had. Total Let Down.
Best Placed Store/Restaurant
– Dunkin Donuts. Maybe 2 miles away. Saved me each morning. I actually graduated to ordering an Extra Large each morning. I never finished it, but knowing it was there, in case I needed it… good stuff.
Worst Placed Store/Restaurant (again a tie)
– Mystical Toy Store. It was right in the middle of everything. We couldn’t go ANYWHERE without walking by it. Going to the playground, “mommy, can I buy a new toy?”. Going to see the draw bridge, “mommy, I think Luke could use a new ball”. Going on the boat ride, “Mommy, can I just look at what baby dolls they might have in there?”. Going out to any meal, “Mommy, do you think they have a bathroom in the toystore?”.
– Cold Stone Creamery. Closer than the Dunkin and oh so delicious. This is relatively new to me. Customize your own ice cream flavor. Any time. Any day. The options are ENDLESS! Chocolate with chocolate brownie pieces and cookie dough pieces and marshmallows and graham crackers. Uh, YUM! I was happy bathing suit season is coming to an end.
Thing that made me roll my eyes most
– Tim wiping up spilled milk with a newspaper. I guess the paper towels were just too far away. Not-s0-surprisingly the milk got smeared around, not cleaned up.
Thing that made me realize what a GREAT husband Tim is
– He searched high and low for wine coolers for me. Yes, I’ll admit it, I wanted the old fashioned wine coolers. Not the hard lemonade, not the tequilla drinks or the mojito in a bottle. Good old Bartells and James. And he found them. And I drank them. And I enjoyed them. And he was embarrassed buying them for his lame-o wife but still did.
Most Unwelcomed Guests
– The rhinoceros sized mosquitos. They bit Luke so many times that he looked like he had a second and third nose, one less eye and a third and fourth nipple. And he’s at the age where he doesn’t know quite how to scratch so he instead was swatting himself which got some strange looks from fellow boat riders and restaurant goers and added bruises and scratch marks to his already bit up little body.
Most Welcomed Guest
– The babysitter we decided to hire at the last minute. At one point in the middle of the trip we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to get OUT for a quiet meal? So we called the owner of the house and got hooked up with a 15 year old sitter. It was the first time Tim had to actually pick a sitter up and drive her home which left him wondering what to talk to a 15 year old about without seeming creepy. Luckily the drive was about 90 seconds so she was out of the car before he crossed any line. I felt bad when I found out Hannah pulled one of her, “I think I’m going to throw up, do you know anything about stomachs? I need to put my head in the toilet, am I going to? Am I? Am I?” episodes. No vomiting occured though and we’ll never see the girl again so the night out was well worth it.
And now we’re home. Thousands of memories. The kiss you see above is one… A few bumps, bruises and burns (which I will not discuss, ever) and ready to count down to next summer’s trip. Reality has set in. We are ready for school. Ready for some sort of “normal”. If there is such a thing…
Note: I do want to add that the trip was AMAZING (since i know my post doesn’t portray it). I was totally able to relax (Hannah actually enabled me to nap!), I experienced the most serene, magical kayaking excursion I could have imagined, I gazed at the stars, sipped drinks on the dock, played Mad Libs for the first time with Hannah, took long, hot showers ALONE, read an entire book and was able to just BE. But none of this would have been fun to read… which is why you got what you got above.


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