Tag Archive | parenting

A Letter to the Yearbook Editor

Dear 5th grade yearbook editor,

I hate you. I know this might sound a bit harsh coming from a person you’ve never met, but perhaps once you’ve read my letter, you’ll come to understand why I think you’re the devil incarnate.

Let me start by saying that I remembered to send in the money to pay for my son’s elementary school yearbook – ON TIME I might add. And let me tell you, as disorganized as I am, that was no easy feat. But now (weeks later) you’ve requested that we also send in wallet-size copies of our kid’s 1st and 5th grade school pictures for some sort of then-and-now yearbook retrospective.

I reiterate, I hate you.

I know the people in your world put their pictures into albums, and there’s probably a fair amount of scrapbooking going on, but in my world, pictures get stuffed into drawers, boxes, cabinets, and closets. They become like Kodak paper caulk, filling in all the little nooks and crannies of those dark, forgotten places. So, asking me to find two specific pictures means sending me on a long expedition through those parts of my house that I would much rather avoid.

I’ve got a reasonable chance of finding the picture taken this school year, but the one from FOUR years ago? You might as well blindfold me, drop me in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, and send me on a quest to find a poison dart frog. Actually, that would be easier – at least I’m sure the poison dart frog exists; I can’t say the same for my son’s 1st grade school photo.

The way I see it, you gave me two crappy options to chose from:  I could either look for the pictures and risk being crushed to death by an avalanche of disorganized photos, or I could forget the whole thing and choke on my own maternal guilt.  At least if I chose the former option, my son would know I died a hero.

So I opened the first closet door….

 

Three_hours_later

I swear I heard the Spongebob narrator mocking me in my head.

 

 

After an exhaustive search, my findings only served to reinforce my reasons for wanting to steer clear of these confusing crevices. I felt as though I fell down a rabbit hole, and into a world where nothing makes any sense.  For example, I had an easier time finding my high school field hockey picture from 25-years ago, than my son’s current school photo:

 

 

The 80’s were a very dark time in my hair’s history.

The 80’s were a very dark time in my hair’s history.

 

I also found at least twenty pictures of my dog, Lady, who died almost two decades ago, but not a single wallet-size photo of my son in first grade:

 

Makes me wonder if I subconsciously love my dog more than my kid.

Do I subconsciously love my dead dog more than my kid?

 

My crazy trip to blunderland also unearthed an 8×10 photo of this from the depths of my closet:

 

You just can’t make this shit up.

You just can’t make this shit up.

 

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being reminded of the fact that I’m married to a man who not only photographs creepy bugs, but also feels compelled to enlarge them like they’re family portraits. For obvious reasons, my brain made the executive decision long ago to forget about this adorable quirk of his, but due to your little treasure hunt, it’s once again staring at me in the face – with all five of its beady bug eyes.

I wish I could tell you that after hours of sweating and sifting through these bittersweet remnants of my past, I achieved my goal of finding the lost pictures; but that’s the kind of fairytale ending only organized people get to have. My ending includes a cold six-pack, and a debate over whether or not to venture back into the bewildering abyss tomorrow.

But before I crack open my first beer, I’d like to thank you for wasting the better part of my day on a fruitless search to find a picture I probably didn’t even get around to sending to his grandmother. And another word of thanks for making me feel like the world’s crappiest mother because I managed to hang onto Jeff Goldblum’s after-photo, but not my own son’s school portraits.

Maybe someday when my kids are all grown up and I’m looking for a new hobby, I’ll break out some pinking shears and create a collage of perfect memories. But until then, here’s my scrapbook, bitch….

 

Move the fuck over, Martha Stewart.

Move the fuck over, Martha Stewart.

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A Letter to My Father: Two Years After His Death

*** Warning***

Most of the time, this is a humor blog. Or at least, it tries to be. Which is why I feel like I need to give you fair warning about the emotional shit storm you’re about to stumble into. If you’ve come here looking for a laugh, you’d better go HERE instead or check back with me in a couple of weeks when I’m (hopefully) done venting my anger at my dead father, and have once again found my sense of humor….

 

Dear Dad –

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of your death. In the weeks leading up to this day, I’ve been bracing myself for the suffocating wave of grief that crashed down on my head at this time last year, but it never came. Much to my surprise, rage was there to take its place. It started one night, about a month ago, when I sat down to watch a film called Broken (insert bitter irony here) starring Tim Roth.

 

 

 

 

If there really is an afterlife, maybe you watched me that night from whatever dimension you’re in, sobbing alone on my couch as I watched the beautiful relationship between a father and daughter blossom behind the screen of my TV. Could you feel the unbearable longing deep in the center of my chest as I watched those two characters take part in something we never had? Did you feel guilty as I played and rewound the touching father/daughter parts of the movie dozens of times? God, I hope so. I know that sounds pretty harsh, cruel even. But right now, I really don’t care if I hurt your feelings.

 

Missing you was the only constant in my life that didn’t change when you died. For the first eighteen years of my life, you were never there for me. Ever. You were always quick to explain those years away – citing the divorce, the physical distance (between our homes in Illinois and New York), and Mom’s anger towards you as the reasons behind your absence. But now that I’m a parent, I know something I didn’t know when I was a child – there’s nothing that can stand in the way of a parent who truly wants to be with their child. NOTHING.

 

A quote I read by Jim Rohn pretty much sums up my feelings about your side of the story: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” And Dad, you were all about excuses when it came to your children. You know what I think was the real truth behind your absence? I think you felt little kids were tedious and boring. So you bided your time until your children were old enough to have those grownup conversations you loved so much. Then we could talk for hours like old friends, while bonding over cigarettes and beer.

 

Never quite worked out though, did it? Sure, we had plenty of chats over cigarettes and beer, but the bonding always felt forced and uneasy. Part of me was afraid to drop my guard around you because I never knew if the next thing out of my mouth would make you disappear back into the void. So I became the consummate daughter for you – quick to laugh at your jokes and put you up on a pedestal…. never realizing that it’s almost impossible to bond with someone when they’re towering high above you.

 

But underneath my meticulously made smokescreen, lurked a girl who was anything but perfect. You never met her. She’s the messed up result of a lifetime of paternal neglect that your once-a-year visits did little to assuage. Your absence made me who I am today every bit as much as Mom’s presence – maybe even more so.

 

Here are the parts of me I was too scared to show you….

 

– The child who desperately sought out the attention of other fathers to fill the void you left behind. Even if those fathers were total assholes, I still clung to every scrap of affection they showed me. All my earliest memories of rough housing, playing, and cuddling were done with those men – I don’t have a single one that includes you.

 

– The teenager who always dated older guys because I was looking for a father figure, rather than a whirlwind romance. And when I didn’t have a boyfriend, I used the male friends that I surrounded myself with to fill the empty space. Sadly, teenage boys make pretty crappy fathers – they’re much more interested in getting into your pants than healing your inner child.

 

– The grown woman who has to combat pangs of jealousy every time I see a father carrying a small child up on his shoulders or being affectionate towards them, because you never laid a finger on me unless it accompanied a hello or goodbye. That woman cries too easily over stupid, cheesy songs like Butterfly Kisses and melodramatic Hallmark commercials designed to sell greeting cards. She also resents the hell out of you for all of the above.

 

I wonder what would’ve happened if I had the guts to show you all of that, or worse, the anger and frustration behind it all – kind of like when America Ferrera (playing Carmen) tells off her dad in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants….

 

 

That phone call was the exact one I wanted to have with you a million times, but I could never manage to gather up enough courage for that kind of confrontation.  I imagine there must be an awesome feeling of freedom that comes along with getting really pissed off at someone, and at the same time knowing that they’re still going to be there to love you afterwards. I never trusted you enough to test that freedom. If I had, do you think we’d have enjoyed the same storybook ending as the father and daughter in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?  Yeah, I didn’t think so either.  Because unlike the sappy chick flicks I perpetually fall hook, line, and sinker for, life doesn’t have happy Hollywood endings. Apparently, when it comes to emotional pain it doesn’t have any ending at all.  Kind of sucks.

 

I have to say though, I prefer this newfound anger to the overwhelming grief I had been feeling these past two years since you died – it’s easier to manage. There’s a lot less crying involved. Probably because I’m no longer pouring over old photos, or listening to the songs on the radio that remind me of you. When I took my favorite picture of us off of my bedroom dresser the night I watched Broken and threw it in a drawer, it almost felt good…. or at least justified.  I have the feeling I won’t be taking it back out anytime soon.

 

I don’t know what the next year of grieving will bring, but for now you can keep your shiny pennies and “signs” from the other side, if there is one. There’s no comfort in knowing that you’re there for me in death when you never were in life. But feel free to sit back and watch the real me for a while, because if reincarnation exists, I might prevent you from fucking up the daughter you have in your next life.  Just promise me that before you choose to dive back into the mortal melee again, you’ll do yourself and her a big favor – learn how to hug.

 

Still yours,

Linda

What Kind of Junk is Stuck to Your Trunk?

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty tolerant person, but sometimes when a pet peeve of mine is triggered, I momentarily lose my amiable nature, and become something akin to an R-rated version of Oscar the Grouch. I’ve had the same pet peeves for years, most of which are pretty standard. But recently I’ve felt a new one beginning to crop up. At first, it started out like one of those underground pimples – an annoyance that I tried to squelch before it came to a head. But now this sucker is red, ripe, and sitting right on the end of my nose, just begging to be popped.

 

I CAN’T STAND “Proud Parent of….” BUMPER STICKERS!!  Damn that felt good….

 

I’m aware of the fact that I probably just offended half of my readers, but it has to be said because parents have gone totally over the top with these stickers.  The back of some of these cars read like college applications. Since the dean of Harvard is unlikely to be driving behind you, why do you feel the need to advertise all of your child’s academic and athletic achievements to the world?

 

I get it, you’re proud. By all means, call Grandma and tell her all about the fact that little Sally made the honor roll, won a gold medal at her gymnastics tournament, and then rescued a baby whale during her Greenpeace excursion. She’s SUPER awesome!! But nobody but Grandma (and maybe you) cares.

 

You might argue that you’re just letting your child know that your pride for them is like these bumper stickers – permanent and unable to be removed without the use of a razor blade and/or blowtorch. But here’s a secret that your child might not be willing to share with you: they find these stickers just as obnoxious as the person driving behind you. And if your child is over the age of twelve, you can add a hefty dose of teenager embarrassment to that as well.

 

25001382846325_You-know-who-really-hates-that-Proud-parent-of-an-honor-roll-student-bumper-sticker-Your-honor-roll-

 

Part of me gets why these bumper stickers are so popular. Besides people wanting to brag about their kids, they also promote a sense that the world is a perfect place to live in. A place where all children get smiley face stickers on the top of their math tests, and score the winning goal at their soccer game. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s also total crap. Parenting is a messy, complicated business, and rarely idyllic.

 

Which is why I’ve come up with a better way for proud parents to decorate their cars – I’m calling them “The Real Deal” bumper stickers.  Not only will EVERY parent find something they can relate to, but my bumper stickers also won’t make the person driving behind you want to smack the shit out of you.

 

1.  For some kids, getting on the honor roll is about as probable as Macaulay Culkin getting another big movie deal – but that’s OKAY!!  Getting straight A’s isn’t nearly as important as learning not to share your poop with the people you live with….

proud parent toilet

 

 

2.  As a parent, it’s important to not only pick your battles, but also take your victories where you can get them.  No matter how small they may seem….

math.homework.

 

 

3.  Let’s face it, sometimes sitting on the sidelines of your kid’s game is BOOORRRRRING!!  There’s just so much cheering you can do before you start to pray for death – beginning with the screaming parent next to you that just ruptured their spleen (and your eardrum) because their son missed the ball.  For those parents who want to show support but would honestly rather be somewhere else, this one’s for you….

soccer parent

 

 

4.  After the age of ten, most honor students are like those cars that drive themselves.  They really don’t need parents behind the wheel directing them where to go (or taking credit for getting them there).  I know this because my daughter is like one of those freaky self-driven Google cars.  So I made this version of the “proud parent” for her because we both know the truth….

Honor.student.

 

 

5.  Being a parent is hard.  Being a parent stuck inside a metal box with a toddler is HELL….

wheels.on.bus

 

 

6.  It’s not much easier when they get to be teenagers and discover dance music that makes you want to gouge out your eardrums with a set of car keys….

homicidal radio

 

 

7.  Sure, driving around with your kids can sometimes be annoying, but those little rugrats can be a real lifesaver to the other drivers on the road.  Especially for the ones who cut you off in traffic….

giving.the.finger.

 

 

8.  It’s been a decade since I had a baby, but I remember the trauma of sleep deprivation the way most soldiers remember the horrors of war.  For all you parents out there driving around like extras from The Walking Dead, I’m here to make sure you don’t get pulled over during your commute to work….

sleep deprived

 

 

9.  Along with sleep deprivation, babies can also make you forget that you have sexual organs, and that you once used those man/lady bits for something other than creating life.  Go ahead and post your problem on the back of your car so other new parents won’t feel like the only sexually castrated Ken/Barbie dolls on the block….

babies libidos

 

 

10.  Having a teenager brings with it a different set of hardships, most of them chock full of hormones and seething hatred.  While I may get a full night’s sleep now, I have to do it with one eye open….

road.rage

 

 

11.  Most kids will test your patience on occasion.  GOOD parents learn how to control the urge to strangle their offspring when their kid throws a temper tantrum.  GREAT parents go on to promote world peace despite being given a lot of shit at home….

ghandi

 

 

12.  Just once I’d like to see a “drive carefully” bumper sticker that wasn’t put on a car to protect someone’s baby or grandma.  Like a drug lord, for instance….

drive.carefully.

 

 

13.  Trying to keep your child engaged in activities that challenge their mind and body is hard, especially when it’s Sunday afternoon and all you want to do is take a nap.  You wish they came with an auto-pilot button so you could just get a little bit of  “me” time.  And then you realize that they do…..

xbox.parent

 

 

14.  A subset problem of  the “Proud Parent” bumper stickers are these stick figure family decals.  Here’s why:  you know that creepy guy who lives in your neighborhood?  The one you checked out online to see if he was a registered sex offender or just gave you the willies for no reason?  Well, your decals just made his life a whole lot easier….

stick.figure

 

 

15.  Whether you choose to go back to work or stay at home after having kids, it’s easy to feel like the grass is always greener on the other side.  I chose the latter and after about a decade, having a misogynistic boss who doesn’t appreciate me has become a fantasy of mine….

stay at home mom

 

A Leprechaun Killed the Elf on the Shelf

As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed last week, I saw all the frustrated Elf on the Shelf posts from my friends, and smiled to myself. It was the kind of smile a parent wears only a handful of times in their lives when they know they’ve made a brilliant parental decision. In this case, I made the choice years ago to never invite that creepy, borderline demonic, looking elf into my house.

I’m willing to do a lot of crazy stuff for my kids, but continuously fucking up my house for the 24 days leading up to Christmas isn’t one of them. This time of year is about maintaining my sanity, so I don’t accidentally strangle one of my loved ones with a strand of Christmas lights while visions of sugarplums dance in their heads. Well, that and all the merry, fa-la-la crap too, I guess. But it will never, EVER be about creating more work for myself during an already hectic time of year. There are innocent lives at stake.

 

 

Move along, nothing creepy to see here....

Move along, nothing creepy to see here….

 

 

I know what all you avid Elf-on-the-Shelfers are thinking right now – What a scrooge!! It’s FUN! The kids love it! Trust me, I’m not trying to give Ebenezer a run for his money. I can be just as holly and jolly as the rest of you at this time of year – though there’s usually some sort of booze involved. If you saw me years ago when my kids were little, you’d know that I wasn’t always against making a little mischief in order to entertain my children. That’s how I know these sorts of “fun” parental pranks can spiral out of control.

 

But it wasn’t the Elf on the Shelf wreaking havoc in my home – it was a little leprechaun named Shenanigan. It started out innocent enough. It was supposed to be a one-shot deal to amuse my (then) seven year old, fairy obsessed daughter and her friend who had come over for a play date. They had dubbed themselves the “fairy finders” and they were in active pursuit of the mysterious creatures when an idea occurred to me – I thought it would be fun for them to be able to interact with their fairies. But since it happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make it a leprechaun instead. I blame my husband’s Irish ancestry and his ugly collection of Tom Clark gnomes – all of which looked far creepier than the Elf on the Shelf. Case and point:

Makes the Elf on the Shelf look positively adorable by comparison.

Makes the Elf on the Shelf look positively adorable by comparison.

 

The game began with me writing little notes for them to find around the house. When they came upon the first note (written in tiny, curlicue handwriting) they were absolutely giddy with excitement. They quickly started a written dialog with someone they believed was a fairy, but quickly discovered was a magical leprechaun visiting from Ireland. I swear I wasn’t drunk at the time. Looking back, I find that fact hard to believe because when you start seeing leprechauns, there’s almost always alcohol involved.

 

I’ll admit it, I was caught up in the excitement too. I got an adrenaline rush each time I had to write the note (in ridiculously complicated print) before they came back into the room. I had to be quick, quiet, and creative; or Shenanigan would live up to his fraudulent name and once again resume life as a dusty knick-knack on my shelf.

 

After about an hour, I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. My nerves were frayed and I had become more jittery than excited each time I escaped discovery. I ended the game by writing that Shenanigan had to go visit the houses of other good little Irish boys and girls before St. Patrick’s Day ended. While disappointed, they seemed to understand the reason for his hasty departure, which surprised me. They latched onto the weird idea of Ireland’s version of Santa Claus as a rational concept, the way only little kids and stoned adults can.

 

I stupidly thought their one-time encounter with a leprechaun would become a fun childhood memory they would recount years from now. Until my bright-eyed little girl came up to me before bed that night and said, “I can’t wait for Shenanigan to come back next St. Patrick’s Day!!”

 

OH. SHIT.

 

I had a brief moment when I thought about coming clean, but how could I look into those eager little eyes and crap all over her magical moment? Answer – I couldn’t.  And so began Shenanigan’s annual trips to our house. I felt compelled to try and make each visit more magical and outlandish than the previous year; which ultimately resulted in making my house look like a bunch of drunken, Irish frat boys had visited us.

 

Shenanigan buying their loyalty with chocolates.

Shenanigan buying their loyalty with chocolates.

 

Every year, I bought loads of gaudy St. Patrick’s Day decorations from the party store, and used them to trash my house. There were streamers hanging in every room of the house with balloons to match, shamrock confetti on the floors, rainbows and Irish flags drawn on all the mirrors, green water in the toilets, and glitter scattered where ever Shenanigan had left a note for them to read.

 

This is just a small taste of the havoc that Shenanigan left in his wake…..

 

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I think this was the day my seething hatred of confetti began…..

 

 

SONY DSC

Tri-fold mirror or poor excuse for an Irish flag – you be the judge.

 

 

After several years of this self-defeating stupidity, it got to the point where I dreaded the approach of St. Patrick’s Day. While my friends and family members were having fun going to parades and getting drunk on green beer, I was making an inordinate amount of housework for myself. The glitter alone was enough to make weaker moms run in fear. Have you ever tried getting a piece of glitter off your hands? Almost impossible. Now times that chore by about A BILLION, and add in some confetti to make it extra obnoxious. Every time I threw the little foil shamrocks all over the floor, I wondered if this was the year they would kill one of my cats.

 

Taste the rainbow.

Barf the rainbow.

 

The clean-up craziness would go on for days afterward because every time I turned around, I would find more leprechaun residue on the floors or furniture. I finally decided that no sane person would willingly sign up for this bullshit. Shenanigan had to die – preferably a slow, painful death involving party favors. I won’t give you the details of how I basically killed all my children’s St. Patrick’s Day dreams – I already feel enough like Cruella DeVil without having my parental mistakes immortalized on the internet.  But suffice to say that it will give my kids something to chat about with their future therapist.

 

After this experience, it wasn’t hard for me to decide whether or not I wanted to participate in the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon. To me, it would be like inviting Shenanigan to spend a month with me. No offense to the little figment of my imagination, but he was kind of an asshole; and from all the stories I’ve heard about the creepy Christmas tattletale, so is the elf.

 

Looks like Shenanigan isn't the only one out to get the cats.

Looks like Shenanigan isn’t the only one out to get the cats.

 

Happy Hawaiian Cowboy Pajama Day!!

It’s 8 o’clock at night, and the moment of bliss most parents dream of is upon me – my kid’s bedtime.  I breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back for managing to keep both my kids alive for another day.  I’m precisely five minutes away from snuggly pajamas and a glass of wine when my youngest child utters six little words that shatter all my illusions of a lazy night of couch surfing….

“It’s Hawaiian day at school tomorrow.”

My body immediately goes into crisis mode, and within a matter of seconds, I’ve mentally inventoried the entire contents of my house for anything that might qualify as even remotely Hawaiian.  With a growing sense of dread, I realize that I’ve got nothing, unless the can of pineapples in the refrigerator counts.   I waste a few more moments clinging to the hope that I can somehow fashion a shirt out of pineapple chunks and dental floss because the alternative is even more gruesome – beginning a scavenger hunt for leis and grass skirts at 8:00 at night.

Suddenly I’m launched into the parental version of  The Amazing Race – can this exhausted, frazzled mom find something Hawaiian before the clock runs out?  Or will she just give up and drink herself into oblivion?  Stay tuned and find out!!

I opt out of getting drunk (for the moment), race over to the party supply store, and squeak through the doors ten minutes before they close.  I shrink beneath the glares of the workers who silently berate me for standing in the way of their own dreams of pajamas and couch surfing.  But my remorse only lasts for a second because at the moment, my life sucks even more than theirs.

When I find the luau section, I realize that my worst nightmare has come true – it’s totally picked clean.  All the parents who paid attention to the flyer that was given out last week, telling us about Hawaiian Day, have already been here like a plague of overly organized locusts.  All that remains is one pathetically mangled, plastic lei that would make Don Ho sob on his ukulele.

The pineapple chunk shirt, it is.

Before all the inhabitants of our beautiful 50th state get pissed off at me, you should know that it’s not just “Hawaiian Day” that I have a problem with – it’s all of these special theme days that schools set up thinking it’s going to promote a sense of school spirit.  Because all they really do is make 90% of the parents frantic, and inflate the (already inflated) egos of the other 10% who see these days as their opportunity to prove to the world that they’re the BEST PARENTS EVER.  You know who you are, and if you fall into the 10% category, please stop reading.  I’m sure your time would be better served finishing up that batch of homemade Play-Doh for your kids, or continuing your search for organic crayons.

For the other 90%, please know that I feel your pain:  the panic, resentment, inadequacy, and guilt over knowing that your special themed outfit will suck in comparison to the other 10%.  But fear not.  Here on my blog you are free to bitch about all the special themed days that make you want to set the PTA president’s underwear on fire.

Here are some of mine, in no particular order (because they all suck equally)….

Hawaiian Day Not only because of the aforementioned Hawaiian Day story fiasco, but also because it seems unfair that only one of the fifty states should be celebrated every year.  Where is Disgruntled People of New York Day??  Not festive enough for you?  Well, excuse the hell out of us for not pooping sunshine and rainbows, Hawaii.

Looks like these kids got to the party store first.

Clearly these kids got to the party store first.

Crazy Hair Day – If we’re being honest, this day should really be called You’ll-Be-Scrubbing-That-Crap-Out-of-Your-Hair-For-Hours Day.  It’s not “special” enough to just leave your kid’s bed head alone in the morning.  Now, you’ve got to dye, mold, and sculpt your kid’s hair until they look like they stepped off the pages of a Dr. Seuss book.

Cindy Lou Who motherfuckers.

One fish, two fish, red fish, screw this.

Pajama Day – This day is deceptively difficult.  On the surface it looks like a great opportunity to save parents time in the morning.  You get to just hop out of bed and you’re already dressed for school, kids!!  Wrong.  My kids sleep in oversized t-shirts and sweatpants that are too crappy to wear to school.  But thanks to the magic of Pajama Day, now I’ve got to go out and buy actual pajamas so my kid’s teacher doesn’t think we’re homeless.

I bet half those pajamas were hanging on a department store clothing rack 24-hours ago.

I bet half those pajamas were hanging on a department store clothing rack 24-hours ago.

Victorian/ Colonial Times Day – Stop it.  Seriously.  I’m not going to go out and spend gobs of money on time period clothing just so some school teacher can have a reason to live out her secret Little House on the Prairie or Queen Victoria fantasies.  Kids should learn about history the way nature intended – from a textbook.  Too boring?  Tough shit.

Where are parents buying these little doily hats?!  Sure as hell isn’t the party store.

Where are parents buying these little doily hats?!
Sure as hell isn’t the party store.

The Hundredth Day of School – Most of the time this day is commemorated by making the kids dress up like they’re 100-years old.  Because nothing says school spirit better than adult diapers, polyester-blends, and dentures!  Am I right?

Smile and pretend that you’re life is almost over, kids!!

Smile and pretend that your life is almost over, kids!!

Okay, now it’s your turn.  Vent, rant and rave to your heart’s content because it’s better to do it here than at Parent/Teacher conference night…..

To the Guy Who Took My Kid’s School Photo

Dear Mr. Photographer –

When I pay $60, I expect to get a picture I don’t have to hide in a closet and tell all the grandparents that we accidentally forgot to take school photos this year.  You pay that kind of money at a portrait studio, and you’ll get a photographer who’s willing to stand on their head and make duck noises just to get your kid to smile.

My son is at the awkward stage in life when he could use a little help looking his best.  I’m sure in another five years, he’ll be breaking the hearts of teenage girls everywhere, but for right now, he’s a hot mess.  His Alfalfa hair has to be tamed like a pack of pissed off porcupines every morning so he doesn’t go to school looking hung over; and he’s got a mouth full of teeth, all kind of doing their own thing, which gives him that quirky Brit-with-a-bad-dental-plan sort of look.

I know you probably make minimum wage, and you have to deal with little kids all day who pick their nose, blink, or make fart noises while you’re trying to do your job.  But I only get one of these pictures a year.  ONE.  And I have to pass it along to every relative with a wallet.  Why?  I don’t know, it’s in the parenting rulebook.  I give everyone a picture, and they pretend to give a shit.  It’s a delicate balance and you’re making it much harder than it has to be.  I know it’s not your problem, but I’ve got relatives with adorable kids who coordinate their hair bows and dresses, and kids that have no right to look beautiful when they’re supposed to be going through their gawky years.

So please, pretty please with fucking gummy bears and sprinkles on top – could you make sure my son’s shirt doesn’t look like he just rolled out of bed?  Do you know how long I obsessed over which shirt to pick out for him?  At least ten minutes…. which is nine minutes longer than I obsess over what clothes to put on my own body most days.   All I’m asking is that you take a few seconds to straighten out the shirt I ironed, so I can show my family that for one brief, shining moment, he didn’t look like a hobo.

Granted, your depiction of my son in his rumpled (yet lightly starched) clothes was a much more realistic account of what he looks like on an everyday basis.  But if I wanted realism, I’d have taken a snapshot of him in his pajamas while he shouted G-rated expletives at his video games, and saved myself the $60.  I don’t think you understand the gravity of this situation.  This picture will be immortalized on his Grandma’s wall of fame, next to the aforementioned Gerber babies and Gap kids my son has the unfortunate luck to be related to.  So I’d really appreciate it if you would work with me!! 

Sincerely yours,

Mommy Dearest

P.S. – On a more positive note, I wanted to let you know that I noticed the vast improvement you made in getting him to smile this year.  Last year, he looked like he was trying to smile while passing a kidney stone, but this time, despite a mouth full of rebellious teeth, his smile looked lovely.  I’d love to learn your secret before the holidays so I can avoid last year’s Christmas card picture fiasco.  My kids were so traumatized by that photo shoot, that it took them until Valentine’s day before anyone could say the word “Cheese!” around them without causing them to scream bloody murder.  We’ve been banned from three local pizzerias already….

aidan.school.pic

Sigh…. I Miss the Pole Dancing Days

No, not MY pole dancing days.  I’m a 40-year old woman with two herniated discs – if I attempted to pole dance, there’d have to be a chiropractor and a bottle of Vicodin on standby.  I’m talking about Miley Cyrus’ pole dancing days….

I miss this Miley -  the one who still enjoyed wearing pants.

I miss this Miley –
the one who still enjoyed wearing pants.

Honestly, when Miley decided to pole dance to her hit song “Party in the USA” at the Teen Choice Awards back in 2009 I wasn’t all that scandalized.  She took a 3-second dip on the pole, and suddenly everyone was treating her like she gave Mickey Mouse a blow job on stage.

I took it for what it was – a 16-year old trying to let the world know that she wasn’t a little girl anymore.  Personally, I think it would’ve been more disturbing if she were still trying to play Hannah Montana at the age of 25.

Given the over merchandizing and popularity of her hit Disney TV show, it was bound to be difficult for her to break free from the squeaky-clean Hannah Montana mold that she was kept in for four years.

Look - even LONGER pants!!

Look – even LONGER pants!!

Part of me was sad to see Hannah go because it meant that my daughter Meghan, who grew up right along side Miley, wasn’t a little girl anymore either.  Even though Meghan isn’t straddling any poles, it’s obvious that she’s no longer the excited 9-year old that dragged me to see the Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds concert back in 2008…. although that shrieking little girl makes an appearance every now and then when Justin Bieber is around.  (I’ve been dragged to that concert too.)

So would Meghan continue to idolize Miley during their transition into teenage/ young adulthood?  I got my answer the night of the MTV Video Music Awards a couple of nights ago when Miley put on this performance….

MTV Video Link

It was clear to me (and probably the rest of the world) that Miley was officially hammering the final nail into Hannah Montana’s coffin…. with her ass.  I had a bewildered look on my face as I stared at my TV screen while Miley shook her ass in front of everyone on stage like a feral cat in heat.  Meghan was kind enough to dispel my confusion by telling me that Miley was doing the latest dance move called “twerking”.  If you don’t have a teenager to keep you apprised of such important matters, I’ll give you the lowdown.  Imagine that you’re having sex with someone in a vertical position.  Now take away your partner so that it looks like you’re doing some kind of masturbatory rain dance.  That’s twerking.  And obviously Miley likes it…. A LOT.

I didn’t have too much of an issue with her “twerking” on TV – I lived through the 80’s and did stupid dances like the MC Hammer and the Cabbage Patch, so who was I to judge?  But the twerking along with the tiny nude bikini, her tongue perpetually hanging out of her mouth, and her semi-pornographic use of the foam fingers made me want to blindfold Meghan and protect what little innocence she had left since discovering the internet.

If Miley was strictly going for the shock factor, then I think she hit the mark….

I’ll never be able to look at foam fingers the same again…. ever.

I’ll never be able to look at foam fingers the same again…. ever.

Mickey Mouse’s skanky little sister, Twerky Mouse

Mickey Mouse’s skanky little sister, Twerky Mouse

Robin Thicke was dressed like a referee,  so why the hell didn’t he call a FOUL??

Robin Thicke was dressed like a referee,
so why the hell didn’t he call a FOUL??

She probably hit the g-spot of every dirty old man watching, but it honestly made me a little sad to see her exploiting herself like that.  I tried to look beyond the raunchy gyrations and porno-tongue to find the artistic element, but I couldn’t.  I only saw a 20-year old who was trying too hard to make the world see that she was no longer the Disney poster child.  Miley, believe me – we get it.  Now can you PLEASE put on some pants?

All the factors that people have come to expect from a good pop performance:  choreography, set design, costumes, and (of course) vocals, were all sorely lacking and nonsensical.  Miley was so busy trying to remember to stick her tongue out and hump everything on stage that she totally lost sight of actually performing.

But what do I know?  I’m a mom, and everyone knows that moms are lame by nature.  We make our kids wash their hands, brush their teeth and wear clothes out in public – what a bunch of killjoys.

I was curious to find out what Meghan’s thoughts were after Miley’s performance.  So, I tried to pick my chin up off the floor and save my opinions until I heard what she had to say.  Before I could ask, Meghan simply said “Oh Miley, no.  Just….. no.”  I could tell in that moment that my daughter’s idol had toppled (or twerked) her way off of the pedestal that Meghan had placed her on nearly seven years ago.  I don’t think the pedestal started wobbling that night – it began two years ago when Miley started to morph into a “party girl” that Meghan could no longer identify with.

You should know that Meghan doesn’t pledge or retract her allegiance sporadically.  Once she decides to bring someone into her little world, she’s fiercely loyal to them, often for years – it’s like the Meghan mafia.  You talk shit about her idols, and you might wake up to find your beloved pet’s severed head in bed beside you.  Which is why I think it was really hard for her to let Miley go.  All of her Miley memorabilia is still in her bedroom, but instead of decorating her walls, it sits in a corner of her closet – small remnants from her childhood that she can’t quite bring herself to throw away.

I wonder who her next idol will be…. I just hope it’s someone with a shorter tongue and longer pants.