Category Archives: lets try again

James and the Giant What?

My son has been showing more interest in longer story books. At three months shy of four, I wasn’t sure if he had the attention span for a chapter book, but I felt it worth a trip to the library.

I have fond bedtime memories of “James and the Giant Peach”, although my Mother must have omitted some of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker’s dialogue.  I certainly have no recollection of threatened brutal beatings, wishes for a broken neck or a possible night alone in a dark well.  Nor do I recall James being referred to as an “ass” by Mr. Old-Green-Grasshopper.

So, following her lead, the other evening we dove into our “G” version of the juicy tale, while his little sister sat on the floor, dismantling a box of Superhero band-aids.

Speeding through it, my son soaked up the story like a sponge, his imagination making up for sparse illustrations.  He became so hooked that at a live theatre showing of “Super Why” (last Tuesday’s special Mommy-Son date),  he requested I read a few chapters during intermission. When the flashing lights and thunderous music returned with the vigor of a rock concert , it’s quite possible my son threw a small tantrum over stowing the book before finding out just what happened to the green crystals in the white paper bag after James’ unfortunate stumble over a tree root.

Later that evening, I marveled at his retention, making a mental note to begin his Harvard college savings fund.  Every couple of chapters, I checked for comprehension by asking questions.

“Where are James’ parents?”

“They got eaten by a giant rhinoceros!”

“Who are Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker?”

“His aunts”

“Are they nice?”

“No!”

“What did Miss Spider make everyone?”

“She spun them beds to sleep in”

He even foreshadowed the ghastly squashing of the Aunts by the giant rolling fruit, which most certainly shows early signs of sociopathy an advanced cognitive ability  for problem solving.

Hmmm. Perhaps a double major at both MIT and Harvard, I thought proudly before proceeding on to chapter 17.

Using all of my top-notch conservatory drama training, I had both kids on the edge of the bed, staring wide-eyed as James and his buggy friends were violently jostled around their dwelling as it crashed through town, off a cliff and into the sea.

“Mommy, stop! Wait. Who is jostled?”

“James and the insects”

“Why?  Why are they jostled?”

“Because they are inside the peach.”

“Who is inside the peach?”

“James and the insects”

“Why are they inside a peach?”

…..oh, dear.

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The Beach -Take 2

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog in September of 2011 was called “The Beach”

Have a quick read and you’ll understand why I have omitted our sandy coasts from the list of possible family outing locations. But these past 17 months have done wonders to heal the emotional trauma created on that fateful day, and I agreed to return this afternoon.

I now must announce that due to the two extra set of hands profound growth and maturation of my now three and two year old, from steadfast and strict parenting techniques that began from that day forward, resulting in consistent, dutiful adherence to my rules, astute listening skills, desire and need to please their guardians and therefore quickly follow our every direction, I can officially claim that my love and appreciation for the rolling tides and tranquil magic of the ocean, Pacific or Atlantic, has been restored

See for yourself.

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Please feel free to contact me for expert parenting advice.

(Or…just bring a couple of extra adults along with you when you decide to take small children to the beach.)

Fact Check – all statements are true and correct, except for those insinuating I have any idea what the hell I am doing.

Bop Bust Buzz

Here’s the long-awaited bop verdict, folks. For those of you who don’t know what a “bop” is or why we are awaiting a verdict, read this.

Much to our surprise, taking the bops away from the three-year-old could not have been less of an issue. Aside from engaging us in an admirably well-played, yet futile negotiation, his bedtime was painless and bopless. Although, he did calmly tell us the next morning that he “wished for his bops during the night”, he hasn’t mentioned them again. He actually sleeps more soundly now without the plastic-to-wood clacking sound as they fall from his bed, waking and reminding him of what he now knows, he doesn’t actually need.

Done and done.

His sister, the 22 month old, on the other hand is a different story. After four nights and five days of screaming and crying until we’ve spent an hour and a half rocking her to sleep for both naps and bedtime, we have seen no progress. In fact, the days of late bedtimes and restless naps have taken their toll, and in her exhausted state, it seems to be getting worse rather than better.

We’ve aborted mission.

After an hour of screaming, 17 visits to her room to rock her, rub her back, change her diaper and tell her firmly that it’s time to go to bed, I caved. I ran to the drawer, grabbed her addiction and put it in her hand. She was out before I made it to the door and wasn’t heard from until 6:30 a.m.

In a year, should she not as gracefully accept the bop banishment as her older brother, I will surely admonish myself repeatedly and with great disdain. I invite you to do so as well.

But, here are my questions…

How much damage can be done to her jaw and teeth in the ten minutes a day she uses a pacifier to fall asleep? It falls out within five minutes of her slumber and is lost in the blanket or in between the crib rungs and mattress for the remainder of the night. Is it worth the loss of a much-needed nap and a consistent and peaceful bedtime?  Is it not just a better idea to wait until the child is old enough to understand (and has already dropped the sacred nap so there is less at stake), as clearly displayed with my son? Or is there some other horrific side effect of which I am not aware?

Honest questions, people. Thoughts are welcome.

Fact Check:

All statements are true, correct and un-fluffed.

Pardon The Interruption

The Motherfog Family is undergoing maintenance. We will be back online as soon as a Plan B is drawn up and securely in place.

Please stay tuned….

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For the Love of God, Don’t tear the Waffles!

Currently, there are three major safety precautions we take in the Motherfog household.

1.) Keep all small, chokable objects out of reach.

2.) Never leave children unattended in the bathtub. (Although we have been allowed 50 percent less vigilance these past five weeks given that only one-half of our children is currently allowed to bathe in a tub.

3.) Be sure NOT to break, rip, or cut Zachary’s food before acquiring clear and specific permission for such a drastic action.

Today

8:00 am

Both Mommy and Daddy committed a sin of all sins.   What were they thinking?  No one knows. No one will EVER know.

The story goes…

The breakfast choice of late has been whole grain mini waffles. For those unfamiliar, they come in sets of perforated fours…four-leaf clovers, if your will. (Although my daughter calls them butterflies. Their perfect symmetry does not resonate truthfully with the shape of a butterfly, but I’ll let this one slide given her young age of 19 months.)

It is a known fact that Zachary must, and I stress MUST do his own tearing of these waffles (this rule goes for ALL FOOD…bananas, pizza, chicken, toast, etc. ) Should we absent-mindedly toss four separate waffle disks on his tray, the hills better be nearby, and we better get runnin’.

What did I do this morning?

I tore his waffles.

Holding my breath, and hoping the little prince might be distracted with yelling at his baby sister (who has adopted the pesky habit of saying “Mine, Mine, Mine” with a naughty grin, for no other reason than to get a rise out of him, as she isn’t actually claiming any object whatsoever), I placed the waffles on his tray, praying for a pass.

Nope. Not today. Tears immediately poured down his cheeks as he erupted into the most deadly of cries.

The silent cry.

The one where you wait…

and wait…

and wait…

…for what seems like minutes, for that initial ear-drum popping blast, wondering how on earth tiny lungs can hold on for so long.

I turned to my husband and asked if the box was empty. Thank heavens. There was one left.

ONE

A three-minute interlude commenced at the table, “The wheels on the Bus” keeping both children happy while the toaster thawed and crisped the last butterfly.

“You have got to be kidding me!”

Bellowed from the kitchen.

Thinking my husband had accidentally fresh-squeezed a mosquito into the vegetable juice he prepares me every morning, I turned and said,

“What?” (Secretly relieved as I was looking for an excuse to pass on my morning kale, broccoli and parsley – I’m good with just coffee today, thanks.)

“I broke the waffles”

Gasping, I shot up from the table.  He and I fumbled frantically around the kitchen in a panic, searching for a quick fix for this unfortunate transgression. Time was running out!  From the table, Zachary piped in,

“Where’s my waffle?”

Like teenagers trying to cover up their debauchery by filling their parents’ vodka with water, we grabbed the maple syrup and tried to use it as glue.

“A hair dryer? Should I go get the hair dryer to make it more sticky?”

Finally, I served the gluey breakfast and upped the motivation for my rendition of “Wheels on the Bus” hoping to sweep his attention away from broken waffles and toward my brilliance as a song and dance gal.

Our cover up was sort of successful. He did ask why the waffles came apart so easily, but miraculously bought our ludicrous answer.

“You have just become that good at ripping waffles, Zachary!”

Disaster averted.

I know what you’re thinking.

Ridiculous.

Why cater to a child to that extent?

A spoiled brat in the making.

I say this,

Hold your judgments, if you please.

The kid is on day 30 of his time in a half-body cast. The least we can do is let him tear apart his own flippin’ waffles.

But, my dear ones,

Tomorrow

9:00 am

Saw to plaster, plaster to trash.

Sayonara Sir Spica

Starting on Saturday, he eats what we serve.

Intact or not.

Rocket Has Arrived!!!!

For those of you who are new to this blog, Rocket is our Toyota Sienna whom we abandoned in Albuquerque, NM on our way from Los Angeles to New York. He got his name from our son who stayed glued to episode after repeating episode of Disney’s Little Einsteins in an effort to save a small portion of our sanity during the epic road trip with 2 small children and 2 small dogs

If you missed the Ford/Toyota Saga, click here.

The rental car in which we continued our journey from New Mexico, is now being returned after 35 days in our possession. We’ll be sure to notify Enterprise of the punctured tire, which we have been placating for 2 weeks with a daily stop for air at the local gas station. Thankfully, the slab of metal protruding from it, only caused a slow leak and not one that left us on the side of the highway awaiting a tow truck.  I boycotted getting it fixed in a silent protest of sorts. The thought of being stuck in sub zero temperatures near downtown Newark, NJ with two children, was one that sounded rather appealing, compared to that of dealing with yet another vehicle repair.  Judge if you must.

But, it is over…

….albeit the passenger seat headrest  ____Ford promised to order and send within 10 days from the time of our original purchase. That detail was overshadowed by the slightly larger issue of a disintegrating and on-the-verge of exploding engine. But, on the way to Target this evening, my neck grew weary and longed for a cushiony reprieve.  ____Ford got a call from me today requesting it.

I have yet to hear back, but I’m sure I’m on the top of their list.
The name of that list, I shall not say.

But, our car has arrived, making our move across the country officially complete.

Now….let’s get to work!  The cost of the next catastrophe will surely be on US!!!

See?  There I go…being negative again.

Give it time…We’ll figure it out

I scrambled to get out the door this morning for an audition. Isabelle was crying to nurse, Zachary was playing 52 card pick up with my sheet music, and both were slathering yellow and green mucous all over my freshly pressed dress, in their adorable need to be snuggled through their new winter colds.

Just breath, Em. You’ll figure out a rhythm. It’s been less than 2 weeks. I calmed myself with this statement as I drove to the train station.

It all went downhill from there. The place I was originally planning to park, I couldn’t get to because of construction.

Crap. 10 minutes until the train arrives. Ok. I’ll  just pay for the lot next to the station and leave myself more time to figure this out another day.

I pulled into the lot with 7 minutes to spare, noted my spot number and ran to the pay station.

We have these in LA. Easy.

I put my card in, and punched in the numbers for my space. Nothing. I tried again. INVALID ID. Huh?  Again, I insert my credit card.

Ok. I have cash. Crap. My five dollar bill slid in and was rejected.  How about a One dollar bill?  Nope.  Spit back at me.  Now, down to 3 and a half minutes.

I cannot be late!  Very unprofessional.

A man comes over to help me. Thank God!  Surely, he must know what I’m missing. He fumbles with buttons and has no success. By now, there are 3 people behind me, waiting to use this machine, which I would like to rip out of the ground.  The lovely gentleman behind me, let’s call him “Parking Lot Villain” says, “It’s really not that complicated.”.

“Really?  Why don’t you help me, then, Jackass?!”.

Ok. I didn’t actually say it in those words, but before giving up, and abandoning my vehicle in the lot with no payment, I looked him in the eye and informed him that he could have been nicer. I’m quite certain that he went through his day, burdened with a heavy, guilt ridden heart, and searched his soul for how to draw back the giant ripple of negativity he imparted on society and his fellow-man. Doesn’t everyone do that?

I made it to the platform as the train was entering the station, and boarded with no time to spare. At this point, I was shaking with anger.  Angry with myself for not leaving sooner, with the Parking Lot Villain for being condescending, for the construction that kept me from my original plan, with the pay station for being so freaking complicated, with EVERYTHING UNFAMILIAR!

And that’s what it is. I want to blame these people and things, but it’s just my own unfamiliarity with our new surroundings that is so unsettling.  That, on top of the fact that I’m about to get a 100 dollar parking ticket, making this audition cost me more than its worth.

I sat in my seat and called my husband to vent before going underground en route to Penn Station, and losing service. During the 20 minutes of radio silence, I calmed down and tried to get into a good audition headspace….whatever that means.

The escalator lifted me out of the tunnel at Penn Station, into the biting, frigid wind on 34th street, and my phone chimed with receipt of a voice mail. Steve had bundled up both children during nap time, wrapped Isabelle to his chest, fastened Zachary into the umbrella stroller, and toted them in 25 degree temperatures a mile to the train station.  He arrived just as the meter maid was about to write his ticket.  One dollar and fifty cents saved the day. God bless my husband!

I did not get called back for the show for which I auditioned today.  I don’t know why, but it might have something to do with the fact that I sort of sucked.  I blame Parking Lot Villain.  It never feels good to not get a call-back, but my recovery time would have been much longer had it cost me 100 dollars to attend it in the first place.

As for Parking Lot Villain, I think I’m going to reverse his transgression by going to that lot, and paying for every single vehicle’s space. I’ll get on that just as soon as I learn how to use the darn machine.