Unexplained Mysteries of My Universe (Part 3)

∗ Why is it that I can go on errands for the entire morning, spending hours out in public, then later that day as I’m going on my walk I suddenly think,
Holy shit — did I remember to put on my pants today?

Then I look down to check.

So for a split second it’s this insane moment of panic. Like maybe I woke up, took a shower, got dressed, put on makeup, got the kids ready for school and rushed out the door with no pants on. (I always remember my shoes, of course. Because if I didn’t that would just be crazy.)

But if in fact I actually did forget to wear pants that day, wouldn’t the draft tip me off? Or the reactions of horror from all those people at Home Depot?

I fear how senile I’ll be once I’m in my 80s.  That old lady in the power tool aisle wearing only slippers? It’s probably me. You’ve been warned.

∗ Why is the veggie drawer at the bottom of my fridge? Surely I’m not expected to expend the energy required to bend down to get my vegetables. It’s bad enough I have to remember to eat the vile things.

Not worth it.
Not worth it.

And the stuff in the crisper never stays fresh. Do they call it a ‘crisper’ because it shrivels and turns black the second I shove it in there? Let’s cut to the chase and call it “The Drawer of Decay”. I basically have to eat that entire head of arugula while I’m walking from the grocery store to my car or it’s as good as rotted.

This is why I don’t eat enough veggies.  Because I’m not quick enough. And I lack the adequate abdominal strength to bend that far down.

“Oh, really? You want me to cook some of the zucchini? Oh well, you obviously have forgotten I have no ab muscles to speak of.  Yeah, it’s just a big bag of marshmallow fluff between my ribcage and my hips. It’s useless. Hell I can barely reach over to grab that cream cheese and bacon and you expect me to do calisthenics to get to some zucchini?”

I suppose if I have to eat this crap I might as well make it more accessible. I think I’m going to rig it so when I open up the fridge stalks of broccoli instantly shoot into my face from a cannon. Then I might be willing to eat them more.

Probably not.

∗ As every parent knows, when your kids are quiet something’s up and it’s usually not good. I used to panic when it was quiet, but my kids are a bit older now and I wonder why I’m so much lazier with my panicking. I do half-assed panicking: a lot of worrying, but no action.

I think,  Are they okay? Are they still alive? Maybe not, maybe something happened. And here’s the worst part: I wait. I listen. Sometimes for a long long time to see if the silence lasts.

My kids might be in trouble and I actually choose my own selfish craving for quiet over possibly rescuing them from harm. What if they’re up on the roof? What if they took my car for a joy ride? I should be finding out, right? I shouldn’t still be lying here on this couch like a slob. Because that would be wrong.

I really should put this book down.
I really should put this book down.

So after about 20 minutes or an hour or three I get up to find out if they’re okay and always find them listening to music on their headphones in their bedrooms.

Still — I probably should have gotten up off the couch at least by the 30 minute mark. This is when the mommy guilt comes and I end up sticking my face in front of my broccoli cannon for punishment.

∗ Why is it we actually have the ability to replace our body’s entire skeleton every ten years, and renew all of our skin every 28 days, yet my cellulite never goes away?

∗ What is up with my 7-year-old daughter’s hair? It’s got a mind of its own.  I shampoo, condition, comb, brush and prune it. I pull it back in a pony tail, I braid it,  I shellac it with Spackle and various plastic polymers. Yet within seconds it’s back to looking like a big pile of tumble weeds.  And brushing out the tangles? Pure hell. Combing out her hair is like pulling thorns out of a lion’s paw.

Of course, I’ve tried letting her brush it herself and she does a great job. At brushing only the parts she sees in the mirror. So her front is perfect but the back would make a cozy nest for an entire family of rats.

When I tell her this, she shrugs and says, “But I can’t see the back!” So in her mind no one else can, either.

If only I could apply this logic to my gigantic, pantsless, bacon-fed, cellulite-riddled ass.




Humor · Motherhood · Parenting

La La La, I Can’t Hear You!

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Today at breakfast my 11-year-old son informed me he had good news and bad news. Not only was he finally allowed to bring his recorder home from music class but he was going to take his first puberty class at school.

I’m still trying to figure out which was the good news.

Later that afternoon after he slid into the backseat of the minivan and played a few notes of “Hot Cross Buns”, I immediately began plotting how and when his recorder would meet a tragic fate. As soon as we came to the first stop sign it was clear I wouldn’t have to wait very long for the “when” part.

“Hey Mom!” he yelled, in between rapid huffing and puffing and what sounded like a mockingbird having an asthma attack.  “Guess how puberty went today!”

There was that word again. Instantly, my mind seized up. **DANGER! DANGER! RED ALERT!** Abandon all innocence! Kiss it goodbye! It’s all over now!

I tried a distraction tactic. “Hey, how ’bout you play some more music? You take requests? Know ‘Smoke on the Water’?”

“I SAID guess how puberty went, Mom!”

“Guess how you and Bert went?”

“No! Puberty!”

“Phew, a birdie? Yes.”


“What? I can’t hear you.”


Worst chant ever in the history of the world.

“Oh yeah? So how did that…uh…go?” I asked and held my breath.

“Terrifying,” he sighed from the backseat. “Absolutely terrifying.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

“Okay, ” I said. “That’s okay. It’s good we’re talking about this.  This is what I’m here for. We need to communicate because it’s healthy. Yeah. Very healthy. Sooooo very healthy….” Now it was my turn to sigh.

“So today we found out about uteruses! All girls have one,” he said.


“And the uterus gets really big when the baby grows.”

“Yes, it does. Big uterus. Yep, indeedy. Big big uterus.”


“So…” I peered into the rearview mirror. “Any other questions that you have for me? Because I would be…” I slowly dragged my hand down my face and took a deep breath. “Because I would be happy to answer any y’know…” I cringed as a few more gray hairs sprouted on my head “…any questions you may have. About where babies come from. They told you right?”


“The teacher told you how the baby gets inside the uterus?”

“I don’t think so.  I must have blacked that part out. Maybe she’ll tell us tomorrow.”

“Hmm…well, tell you what. You can tell your father all about what you find out in puberty class tomorrow and he’ll answer any questions you might have, and I’ll listen to you play “Hot Cross Buns” as much as you like the rest of the day. Deal?”

“Okay,” he said and the car was once again filled with the Devil’s elevator music.

Sometimes being a mom requires making the tough choices.

Actually, this was an easy one.

I think.

Ask me again tomorrow after my first puberty class is over.












Family · Humor · Parenting

Phone Calls

Talking to a young child on the phone is an exercise in patience. The endless grueling-marathon kind of exercise that gets you nowhere fast and ends with you repeatedly jamming your smart phone into your eye socket.

Yesterday I was out on errands and needed to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy for my husband. There was confusion about a refill so I had to call him on my cell phone immediately to clear things up.

Unfortunately, my 11-year-old son answered.

For some reason whenever he talks on the phone he morphs into a hyped-up sugar-crazed maniac who has forgotten he should adjust his voice on the phone to lower then 10,000 decibels.


Me: Hey, is Daddy there?

Him: [shouting] HELLO!

Me: Is Daddy right there? Can you put him on the phone?

Him: HI! [giggling]

Me: Is Daddy th-

Him: HI MOM! [hysterical laughing]

Me: [looking down at cell phone] Who IS this?


Me: Put. Daddy. On. The. Phone.


Me: What?

Him: Are you getting us candy?

Me: What? No.


Me: No! No candy! Will you hand the phone to Daddy now?

[handing phone over, more giggling in background]

[my seven-year-old daughter breathing heavy into phone]

Her: [yelling at the top of her lungs] I LIKE SKITTLES!

Hmm…perhaps I should take the kids on a fun little visit to the ear doctor tomorrow.

Me: Give the phone to Daddy.


…and apparently both my kids are hopeless junkies and all that sugar has eaten away every functioning neuron in their brains.

Me: Give the phone to Daddy.

Her: You’re at the store getting us candy now, right?

What do they think I spend all my free time buying candy? That mom just lives in the pharmacy’s candy aisle? “Okay, kids! Mommy’s heading out now to camp out on that little cot next to the Snickers bars, just waiting for you to tell me what kind of candy you want!”

Me: Give the phone to Daddy. To Daddy. The phone. To Daddy. GivethephonetodaddyGivethephonetodaddyGivethephonetodaddy.

Her: [yelling] I LIKE SKITTLES!

Phone hangs up.

Well, I guess my husband will just have to do without his blood pressure pills. I’ll just replace them with Skittles, I’m sure it won’t be a problem.




Family · Motherhood

Becoming Mom


I find it incredible how quickly life can change. One minute you’re thinking, “I will never have kids and I will never be a mom!” and the next one you’re thinking, “How in the hell do I clean baby poop off the ceiling? And off the drapes, the couch, my shirt and my face?”

When I was 21 years old I was a free spirited college student. My main concerns were, “Will I ever see Nirvana live?” and “Is it possible to cook Ramen noodles using only tinfoil and a light bulb?” I had no boyfriend, one cat and lived alone 3,000 miles from home in an apartment off campus.  I was determined to live a recluse life and spend my spinster days rereading good books and baking desserts.  Hey, what can I say? I had a deep romance with brownies and John Irving.

I was truly happy back then. Sure, I would get lonely from time to time, but even the loneliness had this sweetly sad, pining, mysterious, almost magical quality. I was bucking the trend. I was living life on my terms. I didn’t need anyone. When my friends would say, “Darla, you’d make a great mom!” it was like they were suggesting I abandon all sanity and join the circus. Being a parent was a foreign concept to someone who could barely keep her angel fish alive in a tank.

My oh my how things change.

I met my husband when I was 27 and almost instantly wanted a baby. People throw around the term about a woman’s “clock ticking” like it’s an actual concept and I’m here to tell you it most definitely was for me. I felt this sudden deep inner longing to be a mom, it overtook my entire life. It’s hard to describe the feeling I had, that becoming a parent was somehow woven into the fibers of my soul.

Unfortunately, due to severe endometriosis we struggled with infertility for two years. At the age of 31, instead of a baby, I ended up with surgery to remove a large cyst and my right ovary.  The tumor was so large there was a good chance it was cancerous. I came out of surgery and was told it was benign and I would be okay.

I got pregnant again later that year only to lose the baby early on.  It’s hard even now to write about the anguish I felt, the raw pain of miscarrying. Like I was reaching out to touch a new life only to have it melt away before my eyes. I felt helpless, empty, lonely and like I was abandoned by God.  I felt there must be something “wrong” with me. The guilt, anger and shame were suffocating.

My doctor assured me that even with one diseased ovary, there was still a chance I’d get pregnant yet again.  I never lost that tiny hope that one day I would l have a precious baby in my arms, whether he came from me or we adopted and he came from someone else, it didn’t matter. He would be my son and I would love him with all my heart to the ends of the earth and back.

Of course, the month we gave up trying to get pregnant to explore other options was when my son decided to come down to earth so I could be his mom. Good one, God. I get it, you have perfect timing and also a twisted sense of humor.

Fate really has the upper hand. Life might not go as you had planned but sometimes that turns out to be a good thing.  Maybe even better than you ever dared to dream.  I look back now at this miracle and I’m still flabbergasted. I’m a mom of two incredible kids now. Two! For someone who used to go days only talking to her cat, this is not the life I had ever imagined.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.



This post was inspired by my good bloggy buddy, Elyse from FiftyFourAndAHalf.
In her post When You Were 21 she asked us what life we were living at the age of 21 and how have things changed since then. Thanks, Elyse, I have wanted to write about my infertility struggle for awhile now and it felt good to get some of it out.

If you’d also like to write about your life at 21, feel free to comment here, there or write your own post about it.


Oh, don’t mind me — I’ll be livin’ in a box down by the river.


Our mid-winter school vacation has ended. I spent 11 days trapped inside a small apartment with my kids. We had four snowstorms last week alone.

Coincidentally, our electronic “human-ignorer” gadgets decided to collectively shit the bed. My laptop froze. The tablet became possessed. Netflix was toast.

My toaster still worked. Thank god.


So we were forced to be together. In each other’s presence. Communicating and using eye contact and stuff. I had deep convos with my 11-year-old son.

“Go Fish, grandma.”

“Hey! I’m not that old!”

“Yes you are.”

“I’m still young!”

“Well…you’re kinda young…”

“Thank you.”

“Kinda, but not really at all.” [hard stare] “Because you’re old.”

So when my son told me he didn’t want to go back to school this morning, the words, “If you don’t go, I’ll be arrested and thrown in jail” just flew out of my mouth.

But thank god our dryer broke.

When your clothes dryer shuts down and you have two little kids, it’s panic time.  In order to keep my constant mountain of laundry at a manageable amount, I have to do about 382 loads every single day. Within two hours of the dryer breaking down I had to rent storage space just for my son’s dirty socks and underwear.

Thankfully, we had enough money to buy another crappy one and made good use out of the best toy any kid could ever want.

The box.


They quickly settled in their new home — hung some curtains,  set up the Wii, installed shag carpeting.

They even posted some solid rules:


And by the end of school vacation, there was only one place the kids could find me.

In the box out on our front lawn.


Please, feel free to drop by and visit me. I’ll be serving up some delish Toaster Scrambles with semi-real bacon and eggs.

Just remember: Don’t be mad and under no circumstances are you allowed to fart.


How did you survive school vacation? “Just barely” like me?

Family · Motherhood

My Dear, Sweet, Slightly Manipulative Daughter


My daughter is only seven years old, but don’t let her age fool you. When Little Miss J wants something, she doesn’t simply tell you, that would be too easy.

Always a clever girl, she makes little homemade cards to communicate. By adding sweetly scrawled drawings, she lures the reader in so she can really go for the kill. Over the holidays, she handed me a card and I couldn’t help but laugh. And feel a little afraid. It read:

Dear Mommy,

I hope you have a Merry Christmas! [drawing of Christmas tree]

and get me lots of toys! PLEASE! [drawing of gifts]

and I love you! [drawing of big red heart]

[back of card] and I am standing here watching you read this card 

Love, J

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As I lowered the card, she was right there. Standing. And watching. I get shivers just remembering the intense look in her eyes. She is ruthless.

Her eyes sear a hole in my soul.
Her gaze has the power to burn a hole in my soul.

Today she made me yet another “greeting” card. I had been scolding her all week for not putting her trash in the trash can. Instead she was hiding it all over the house, cramming cheese stick wrappers in my slippers, sliding banana peels under the couch cushions, etc.

I said to her for the millionth time, “You need to put the trash in the trash, okay?”

Clearly fed up with me, she frowned and put her finger to her lips, deep in thought. Then she ran off to get her markers.

Five minutes later she handed me a card:

AWWWW!!!! Well isn’t this the SWEETEST?
Oh, it's a sweet picture of her and a rainbow!!! My heart might burst!!
Oh, it’s an adorable picture of her and a rainbow!!! My heart might burst!!


The best part? When she got home from school today and I asked her to turn off the TV, she said, “Where’s that card I made you this morning?”

I have no idea where she gets this behavior.

Humor · rant

Stand Up Saturday: Parenting

Welcome to another installment of no holds barred, profanity-laced, semi-comedic rants straight from my rambling mind.


Today’s Topic: Parenting

Being a parent these days is such a drag. You try to stick to rules like no glue-sniffing, no shoving kids off the slide and for god’s sake, how many damned boogers have you eaten today?

As if this wasn’t draining enough, then I’m expected to teach my kids this stuff too? And for what?

In spite of all this saintly parenting, they defy you by growing up and discovering Facebook. Suddenly being popular is more important than making me dinner.

Whatever happened to solid parenting? Whatever happened to raising our kids to be respectful? Whatever happened to having your kids take out the trash so you won’t have to?

I grew up in the 1970s, a time when parents were just shadowy blobs off in the distance that occasionally grunted or barked orders your way.

I try to remember what my dad was like when I was a kid and all that comes to mind is a fuzzy image of him smoking a cigarette in his recliner. Sometimes he’d lower his eyeglasses and shoot me a look of disapproval. That was his parenting style.

Go on. Make. My. Day.
Go on. Make. My. Day.

My mom was merely a swish of apron rushing around the kitchen.  Sometimes she’d look down at me, shake her head with disgust and yell, “Darla!” This was her parenting style.

It wasn’t their mission to entertain me. It wasn’t their mission to teach me about life. They just lived their lives and I watched them. The single best way to learn anything.

My parents didn’t read a parenting book informing them how to raise a child. Back then it was all about one thing: Keeping you alive.

Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.
Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad taught us to follow four simple rules:

  1. Don’t eat shit you find on the ground.
  2. Don’t beat up your brother.
  3. Don’t beat up your sister.
  4. Don’t run into traffic.

That was it.

Welcome to Parenting in the 1970s.

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So I’ve made it my mission to not be a helicopter parent but more a recliner parent. I strive every day to adopt a parenting style that uses much less time or energy.

I’m myself.

I just go about my day and do my thing. My kids watch how I act, then they figure out what are the right or wrong things to do in life.

Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on a parent to actually be a good person and show it to their kids through their actions. (And I admit, it’s a lot harder to sustain this illusion when they catch me wearing my bathrobe and tunneling through my third block of cookie dough while binge-watching The Big Bang Theory.)

But face it, kids are much smarter than us. We need to give them more credit.

Need help with your homework? Figure it out on your own. Fighting over a toy? Figure it out on your own. Your brother’s stuck upside down in the toilet? Don’t flush.

My main rule? Unless there’s blood, don’t bother me with it.

Is this lazy parenting? Hell yeah! But in the long run it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Less is more, people.

We all need to get our priorities straight, stop concentrating only on our kids’ academic achievement and more on simple social rules of respect and kindness. I worked at an elementary school for years and it was all about one thing: How the kids hold their scissors. Hey, I’m a big fan of improving our fine motor skills, but what about modeling good behavior?


Oh, crap! He’s not holding them right! His pinky’s all screwy! He’s not cutting straight! We must rectify this immediately! Sure, now he’s trying to stab Timmy’s leg with the scissors, but is it in a straight line?  We have to make sure he can cut paper or Timmy’s leg properly! If we don’t teach him now, how will he survive out on the streets?

Naturally, the teachers think showing our kids how to behave should be the parents’ responsibility. And the parents pass the buck onto the teachers. This world is filling up with people who don’t know how to treat other people. It’s all about statistics and standardized test scores and landing a sweet job and making enough money so you can hire someone to cut paper for you.

But why even bother going to school anymore? Ever notice that nowadays everybody’s kid is ‘brilliant’? Last week, my new neighbor dropped by and introduced me to her 6-year-old son.

“This is Liam. He’s a genius. I homeschool him to give him the attention he needs because he’s WAY too smart for public school.”  The words ‘public school’ dripped out of her mouth like she was saying ‘genital herpes’.

So I leaned down to his level and asked, “Hey, kid? What’s the square root of I don’t give a shit?”

Not really, my parents taught me manners. But I almost asked him because I really wanted to know the answer.

My guess is bullshit times infinity.

Instead I said, “Hey, buddy! What’s up? You like Hot Wheels? Or Super Mario?”

Liam responded by kicking his mom in the shin then sticking his pinky in her face and whining, “My finger hurts! Kiss it! Kiss my boo-boo! It hurts! I’m gonna dieeeeeee! Get me a Band-Aid! IT HURTS, MOMMY!! GET ME A BAND-AID! RIGHT NOW!”

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Oh, he’s a genius all right.

I wonder if he knows how to cut in a straight line.


Like this? Here’s more:

Stand Up Saturday: Pain

Stand Up Saturday: Marriage

Family · Motherhood · Parenting

Deep Thoughts by Little Miss J


My daughter is six and a half years old and tends to be a wee bit dramatic at times. She’s also much smarter than I’ll ever be.

The other morning she flew into my bedroom, eyes ablaze, and wailed, “Oh, Mommy! It’s just not fair! I mean, seriously! Seriously!” She threw herself onto my bed. “Like, seriously!” she cried again.

“What? What is it? What happened?” I rushed over and started stroking her long brown hair.

She lifted up her tear-soaked face and sobbed, “It’s this!” she blurted, dramatically handing me the board game cover she was holding.

“Oh! Of course,” I shook my head. “Scrabble. Wretched game. Just terrible.”

“No! I love it! I was winning with the word, QUIET! But it says Ages Seven and Up, Mom! Seven and up! So I can’t play it anymore!” and she continued her writhing, moaning, and gnashing of teeth.

When I was her age, I spent most of my days either eating Scrabble tiles or jamming them up my nose.

So it’s no surprise that my girl is also interested in other typically light, playful subjects such as life, death, afterlife, God and reincarnation. And she usually interrogates me with rapid-fire questions right as I’m tucking her into bed at night.

This wouldn’t be a problem if I were half as smart as she is or knew any of the answers.

“…and so Big Bird and Elmo played baseball and they all lived happily ever after…” I read aloud to her then closed the book.

“Man, I love Big Bird…” I sighed and stared off into the distance.

big bird


“Is this a question about why Elmo has no ears?…. Please?”

“Oh, Mom! Elmo’s not real,” she wrinkles her nose. “He’s imaginary. This book was fiction. That means it’s made up. Mrs. Bouthot [her kindergarten teacher] said so.”

“Well, she would know,” I frown. “Pffft.”

“She does know. She knows everything!” her eyes widened. “Mom? What happens after you die?”

“Um, you go to heaven. OK, good night!” I kiss the top of her head.


“You just go.”

“What do you take with you?”

“Um, your soul. Okay! Good night!”

“And where do you go? Is God there?”

“Yes. And it’s very nice and beautiful and wonderful,” I pull the covers up to her chin. “Sweet dreams! Think of Big Bird! I know I will!”

big bird

“What’s God like?”

“Umm….he’s a pretty cool dude. He loves us no matter what.”

“Even when I don’t brush my teeth?”

“Even then.”

“So….we’re babies again after we die?”

“Uh, I’m not sure…”

“Do we stay the same after we die?”


“How old are we?”

“Well….I don’t know exactly…”

“Where do we all live? Are there houses? Do we eat food? Is there candy there? Can we come back? I’d like to come back as a baby again. That’s what we do, right? We get to pick new families and keep coming back down here?”

“Sure, I guess….maybe, but I’m not sure…”

“I want to come back as a princess ballerina veterinarian!”

“I want to come back as Mrs. Bouthot. Or Big Bird.”


Parents: How do you handle heavy questions from your kids? Do your kids know more than you do, too?
Others: What happens after you die? What’s the meaning of life? Why does Elmo have no ears?

Family · Motherhood · Parenting

Happy Double 1s, Little Man

This week is my son’s birthday.

From the very beginning, I knew he was going to be a handful. He refused to vacate his comfy home for his due date, deciding instead to roll around in my belly like the Tasmanian Devil partying in a hot tub.


Today, my son is the sweetest, kindest, most adorable-est boy in the universe.  He’s still got a bit of the Taz in him, but that’s okay.  He’s the light of my life.

So it only seems fitting that I show the world my sweet Baby Boo in all his glory (and in the process, call him by as many nauseatingly cutesy nicknames as I possibly can.)




Of course, I would never ever think of posting some of his extra-adorable/horribly embarrassing photos.


Because that would just be plain wrong.

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But I’m a mom and if exposing my son’s unbearable cuteness is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

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And it definitely would be wrong of me to post a video of him at the age of five doing a lovely spaztastic dance number.

Dear CJ — my Chub-Bub, my BaBoo, my Lil’ Buddy — I love you more than the moon and stars (even more than trucks and cars).


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Happy 11th Birthday! I’m so happy to be your mom!


Family · Motherhood · Parenting

Signs Kids and/or Gremlins Live in My House

gizmoMy daughter, age 6

My Christmas wrapping paper. (I put it next to the Buddha to help calm me down)

My Christmas wrapping paper. (I put it next to my Buddha to help calm me down)


My favorite lipstick, which has been discontinued(Apparently, the Gremlins were hungry)


Creepy mermaids live in my sink now. I can never do dishes again.


Should I pray the Little Ponies survive the thaw, or add them to my martini?