Thursday, November 8, 2012

I blame The Goonies

I don't really cuss in front of my kids.  On a good day my worst offense is saying stupid and on a bad day it's crap.  Don't get me wrong, when the kids are not around I can hold my own with any sailor.  But for the most part we're G to PG rated for language at home.  Not so bad. 

As for movies, the kids all know (to an annoying extent as they inform other parents and children) that they are not allowed to watch PG-13 movies because most of the content and language is inappropriate for kids their ages.  Inappropriate, usually pronounced in-u-po-pee-et is the trigger word in our house and has slowly infiltrated many situations. 

"Mommy, look at Max!  He's licking his you-know-what!  Max, that is inappropriate!"

"Mom, your dress is way too short.  It looks inappropriate. You should wear leggings."

"Gross.  Daddy you shouldn't kiss Mommy like that.  It's way inappropriate!"

So, needless to say, Sean and I have given ourselves small pats on the back as language goes.  But all good and smug things must come to an end.  This summer we drove 1,600 miles to Florida.  A three day road trip which amounted to something like the Cannes Film Festival, except the movies previewed were not cool, the plots were thin and nobody famous attended.

Translation - the kids watched lame kids movies for three days straight.  Until Sean and I pulled out our Ace in the Hole, The Goonies.  A movie we would enjoy listening to, PG rated so age appropriate for the kiddos, cool because it's from the 80's, and would provide our family with great lines we could use on each other like Ro-cky Road, Boobie trap, dat's what I said, and Do the truffle shuffle.

It was all so perfect.  Until the part where Chunk sees the cops chasing the Fratelli's down main street.  You know the part.  As the cars speed by, Chunk peers excitedly out the window to watch the action and as he does smashes his pizza and strawberry shake on the glass yelling, "AWW, SHIT!"

Sean and I froze.  Maybe they didn't notice.  We glance at each other and wait.  Nothing happens and the movie continues.  Whew.  Lesson learned.  Apparently, movie ratings from the eighties are about as up to date as acid washed jeans and Aqua Net.

Then we hear someone's crayons hit the floor followed by the thump of a coloring book.  Quickly followed by a small 4 year-old voice saying with perfect intonation and admirable placement, "AWW SHIT!"

I had to hand it to him, he totally used that word appropriately and in context.

In a calm, non-flustered voice I say gently, "Sawyer, please don't use that word. It's a bad word and you should not say it."

"Say what, Mommy?"

"That word, Sawyer."

"Which word?"

Ella helpfully pipes up, "You're not supposed to say SHIT, Sawyer."

"Yeah, Sawyer," Keira helpfully adds, "SHIT is not appropriate."

"SHIT?  I'm not supposed to say SHIT?"  Sean has covered his eyes with his hands and groans quietly.    I am at a complete and total loss as the kids begin discussing the many inappropriate uses of the word SHIT.

"Okay!" I say a bit less zen-like.  "I think we can all agree that it is a cuss word and we shouldn't use it."  There.  That should do it.

And then, two hours later.  We hear the soft thud of a cup falling to the floor.  Followed by french fries and crayons.  That same small voice, "AWW, SHIT!"

Damn Goonies.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Slow Down

A minute ago I had babies.  I was a diaper changing machine.  I could hold three little ones in one arm, while making dinner and feeding the dog with the other arm.  I fell into bed at night only to be awakened at 11pm, 1am, 3am and 5am.  My house was a disaster, I rarely showered, and I would often go on disturbing tirades as I turned furniture upside down looking for an old (choose one, please...pull-up, bottle of milk, crusty poop).

I shared oddly personal information with complete strangers while standing in line for Santa. Simply because she had a stroller too and looked as haggard as I felt.  I craved the company of other moms...exclusively.  I was completely ignorant of world events.  I read Twilight.  I learned Spanish from Dora.  And I got strangely competitive at sorting my shapes.

But things have changed.  And I am reminded of the mom of teenagers who leaned over my three screaming children at the grocery store one day to tell me knowingly, "Enjoy this time with your babies.  They will be grown before you know it."

All the cliches that everyone loves to remind you of when you are knee deep in babies are pretty much all true.  

Now I feel as though I am straddling both sides of momhood.  I can feel our family moving forward and away from those days.  It is a welcomed move but simultaneously bittersweet.  I am often taken aback at how each of our kids is their own little person.  They still need my ever constant attention, but in different and often more subtle ways.  And sometimes, they are just fine without me holding them, kissing them or cuddling them in the middle of the night.
Last Saturday, I took Ella and Keira out for an afternoon.  While eating lunch I look over and see a mother sitting with her teenage daughter.  I look back at by eight and six-year-old who are giggling because they just spied a couple kissing.   My eyes are watering.  "Mommy, what's wrong?" Keira asks.

"Girls, one day you are going to be teenagers!  You will want to hang out with friends more than you want to be with me.  Before I know it you will be going away to college.  And just yesterday you were my little babies!"

Keira puts her hand over mine and assures me confidently, "I will not move out of the house for a long, long time."

Ella gives me her exasperated eight-year-old look.  (I see that one a lot lately.)  Then she says kindly and patiently, "Mommy, just slow down and enjoy the moment.  We're still little kids."

Okay, I get the message.




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How I Met Your Father

In Spanish class.  Because of Señora Dolores Flores.  Sean did not actually speak directly to me until much later.  But our crucial encounter began with Dolores Flores.  A pequeño, loud and muy, muy passionate teacher of the Spanish palabra. 

When did Sean and I realize we would be together forever?  Did I drop my lápiz on the floor and as we both reached to pick it up we hit cabezas?  Or maybe it was during our touching rendition of No Se Tu, the favorite amor song of Señora Dolores Flores.  The song she made our class listen to and sing, in Spanish, together, over and over, sitting in a circle, and squirming uncomfortably as we struggled to avoid eye contact. 

Surprisingly, this was not the moment our true love sparked.  Sean says he knew the day I came to class wearing a red pleated wool skirt, black combat boots laced to my knees, and an I Voted! sticker.  I did not catch his eye because I Voted! but because no sorority hermana in her right mind would have let me leave the sorority casa wearing that skirt and those boots.  And Sean thought it was muy awesomo that I wasn't in a sorority. (For the record, awesomo is not technically a Spanish word.) 

And if I'm being honest this was not one of those the-world-stops-and-you-see-your-bride-to-be moment.  He did not say to himself, "Ay bien, this is the chica I have been looking for all my vida."  He was just a college boy after all, hormones raging.  It was probably something more along the lines of, "Esta chica!  She is muy bueno.  I would like to besar la cara."
But still, Sean did not speak to me during clase - even after the red pleated wool skirt día.  It wasn't until after we had said goodbye to Señora Dolores Flores and had all gone our separate caminos españoles.

Months later, Sean calls me out of the blue and says, "Hola.  This is Sean from your clase española. ¿Pasará una fecha conmigo?"

Surprised, but pleased to be asked, I emphatically reply, "¡Sí!"

And the rest, as they say, es historia.

* For those of you gringos who were not in my Spanish class, you can go to this site to translate my awesomo Spanish.


Thursday, May 3, 2012


Am I a good mom?  I could ask my kids but they tend to give me the company line.  "You are the best mommy in the whole world.  Can we have candy?"

Or I could ask my husband.  But as he works for the same company he follows a similar corporate policy. "You are the most amazing mom in the whole world.  Can we have sex?"

I could also ask the dog since he bears witness to the majority of my mothering moments.  But he only barks and whines and I hear enough of that as a mom.

So I will evaluate my performance based upon anecdotal data.  This will give me an unbiased and surely favorable report on my undoubtedly life-changing role as a mom.

Spring Break
Fourteen years ago this phrase had a dramatically different meaning for me.  Think post-exam week, friends, maybe a beach or some other exotic location, a road trip of more than 12 hours, Coors Light, late nights and slow mornings.

Today, Spring Break means a welcomed break from all things scheduled.  No racing to the bus, finding lost socks, forcing children to bathe, homework, after-school activities, yada, yada, yada.  This past Spring Break, Sean did not have to travel so for the first time in a long time, our family was going to be home and together, and we had no plans.

I felt sure that this week would be filled with parent/child bonding moments, the likes of which our household had not seen. I envisioned crafts that needed glitter and hot glue guns, games played with laughter and healthy competition, hikes where we would discover the promising signs of spring, and peaceful bedtimes.

But then we decided to stain our deck, and after that, paint the bathroom, and after that hang new lights in our hallway...and, well, you get the picture. We kinda forgot about bonding opportunities in pursuit of home improvement.

One afternoon I walked into the house to find that Ella had made oatmeal for the other two kids. But the oatmeal looked off somehow. "What's wrong with the oatmeal?" I asked. "We used orange juice. Mom, we haven't had milk in days." Fail.

This was terrible. But I could fix it. It was just Wednesday and there were still amazing bonding moments to be had.

"Children! Let's go swimming!"
"Hooray!" they whooped.

So we gathered our things and drove down to our pool singing and laughing the entire way (at least to the end of the driveway). It was open swim time and we had all afternoon to frolic in the pool. As we walked in, swim gear in tow, we were quietly told that today was not open swim day. That was yesterday. But, if we'd like, the pool was open for 10 more minutes and we could go ahead and swim until close. We got into the frigid indoor pool, splashed around for a few minutes then headed back home, very cold. Fail.

Back at home my friend joined me with her kids and we turned the rest of the afternoon into a play date. Happy to see their friends the kids ran off to play. We strolled outside, each of us claiming an adirondack chair, poured a glass of chilled white wine and toasted to a fine afternoon. Success.

Now this was Spring Break.


"Keira called 911!"  Keira, crying hysterically, "I did not. It only rang once and then I hung up."

In the distance I hear sirens blaring. In minutes, a cop car comes screeching up our road and into our driveway. There I sit sprawled on the adirondack chair with a glass of wine in hand, kids crying, toys strewn about the yard.

Hmmm...police, alcohol, crying...sounds like Spring Break 1997. Or an episode of Cops. Fail.

So, let's rephrase the question. Am I a good Spring Break mom? No. But there's always summer.