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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Forecast for 2014 – unresolved

The New Year is fast approaching and even though there are many areas in need of improvement, on principal, I refuse to make any resolutions. I mean, why does it make any sense that I could tell myself to eat less sugar, be more forgiving or whatever life altering change I need to do on January 1st that I couldn’t motivate myself to do on December 1st?

I guess it’s the old, I’ll-start-being-a-better-person on Monday, deal. As if Monday signifies a fresh start that you could never pull off on a Tuesday. Crap, if you screw up Monday, you’ve blown it, might as well go about your business of screwing up, generally with renewed vigor since you now know your time as a screw-up is limited, and try again next week.

That’s the power of Monday; knowing that you have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean but the freedom of knowing that if you don’t, you can have a donut party by lunch and it’s all good. New Year’s resolutions are Mondays on steroids; the biggest, baddest Monday on the block.

If I were to make any resolutions, they’d be the same boring things I’ve needed to work on my whole life – lose some weight, be more patient, do more for other people, appreciate, appreciate, appreciate… I’m not a total failure on all accounts, but it’s the areas that can always be improved. It’s kind of like when I get to wish on a first star or a birthday cake, I’ll always choose the safe, expected wish. You know it, the ‘good health for your family’ wish. Heaven forbid I’d ever wish for something like getting my manuscript published, skin that doesn’t look like a chicken waiting to boil or for my father to sucker, I mean find someone to take care of him, I mean love. That kind of self-serving wishing is just asking for trouble.

So for 2014 I resolve to leave myself unresolved. I accept that I’m a bit impatient because I also get things done. And yeah, I’m addicted to ice cream, but damn it, I deserve that pleasure. Of course, I could always do more for others, but I’m also allowed to take time for myself. And my body could be better, a lot better, but it’s my body and as long as it’s working for me, I need to shut up about my own insecurities and just keep moving.

There are many improvements to make, but right now, I accept me as I am, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Besides, there’s always Monday.

Happiest, sweetest new year, everyone.

Happiest, sweetest New Year, everyone.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

I opened my eyes slowly. For some reason, the room seemed darker and cozier than normal, and getting out of bed was even more of an effort. Slowly, I shuffled toward the bathroom and on my way caught a glimpse of the outside world through my window. Oh my God, it’s snowing. No wonder it was hard getting out of bed. Somehow the body knows when it rains or snows and instinctually wants to burrow in.

It’s beautiful. The sky is bright and grey, a silver lining, speckled with small fluffs of white; soft winter butterflies fluttering gently to the ground.  I peer at it, watching it fall; the houses almost surreal in their untouched new snow beauty. A snow globe all shook up.

If I close my eyes, I imagine a horse drawn carriage, a rosy cheeked family, puffs of cold laughter coming from their mouths that dissipate as they bring a cup of steaming cocoa to their lips. The cold is warm under the blankets and magical as it falls all around. Lovely. So lovely.

My block under cover of downy white looks like a postcard and later my kids will make it even more picturesque, sliding around outside, making forts, hurling snowballs. Their faces will turn red from the cold and exertion, their noses all a bit runny, their eyes glittering with excitement, and snow sparkling in their lashes and the locks of hair that have escaped from their hats.


They will slosh through my house afterwards, peeling off heavy boots and coats, leaving glistening chunks of snow all over my floor. They will strip off layer after laying of clothing for me to find like a scavenger hunt later on; a wet sock under the couch, underwear in a boot. They will cry that their fingers hurt and I will hold them tightly in mine until I can warm them up with my breath and a cup of hot chocolate.

We will all huddle together inside, warm and cozy, maybe light the fireplace that we almost never use. It’ll turn dark and colder, but the allure of shimmering snow in moonlight will be too much for the three little faces at the window, eyes widening at the sight.  They will wait expectantly for their daddy to come home, wanting to go out  in the winter wonderland again.

I will watch them by the screen door, tossing each other around like snowballs. I have no interest in being out there with them. I am mama bear. I hate the cold. I only love their delight. So I’m content to watch from my cave, knowing that soon, one by one they will come to me, either freezing or crying or both, and I will comfort them with my warm hug.

After hot showers, their faces and bodies now pink with warmth, we will tuck all their exhausted, excitement into bed; their happy voices drifting off into the quiet of falling snow.

Then I will sigh contentedly, go downstairs, do a hundred pounds of laundry and pray that it all melts by morning.

Oh yeah, loads of fun.

Oh yeah, loads of fun.

My five year-old is no longer five

“You’re the best mommy,” my still officially five year-old son for ten more hours and two minutes, says as I sit with him in his bed at night. Because of the L word that cannot be mentioned, he is hugging around my waist while I am bent up against his head board, my hair wrapped in a tight mint-sprayed bun.

We are clear, I think. I mean, I’m pretty sure. Once you get L, you might never feel confident or clean again. I have been officially cleared twice by professionals, have treated myself none-the-less and combed out my hair every night, pulling so much that soon, I will have no hair left to worry about. Still, I feel them crawling on me and scratch at my head like a crazy person, which obviously, I am.

I have spent the week torturing my entire family. Checking and combing, freaking out when one sib’s head interferes with another sib’s personal head space, yelling for head checks, denying play dates. A few days ago when my 8 year-old went to bed early, I pulled my fine tooth comb through his hair in the dark at least five times before he woke and yelled at me.The casual hug is a thing of the past. Now my head tilts awkwardly so as not to touch anyone else’s hair. Snuggling in bed is also off limits. Until tonight, I wouldn’t even have sat in his bed. But tonight is the last night he will be five, and after days of begging me to snuggle, I can deny him no longer.

It’s been a difficult week for many reasons and now thinking that I am holding on to the last moments of my baby being five, I am heavy with the thickness of my emotion. I could fall over right now and cry myself to sleep. But of course, I can’t, because then our heads might touch.

My five – for nine more hours and fifty seven minutes – year-old is my youngest, but he really is no longer a baby. He’s now strong and agile, joining his brothers in school and on the field; a mischievous charmer, filled with sass and silliness.

Yet, he still randomly misuses bigger words, saying things like, ‘Happy university’ instead of anniversary, or telling me to use the ‘constructions’ to put something together. He still tells me secrets from his ear to mine, basically making it impossible to hear his little whispers. And he insists on cuddling with me in bed. My 8 year-old and 11 year-old do as well, but not with the same need as my 5 year-old, who will not stop calling until he has his due.

At this moment, his little upturned nose and the full curve of his cheek make him look almost cherubic in profile, so close to a baby. His hair is still damp from his shower, the unstoppable waves pressed against me. If I move just a little, he will hug me tighter, afraid that it is time for me to go. But I’m in no hurry tonight, because there are only nine hours and fifty-two minutes left of my baby being five, and we’re going to hug till he snores.

“Tomorrow’s my birthday.” He announces, as if we haven’t been counting off the days for months.

“I know.” In nine hours and fifty minutes.

“I can’t wait.” He says and snuggles closer.

I can.

“You’re the best mommy,” He repeats softly, drifting off.

“You’re the best baby.” I whisper.

And then I can’t take it anymore. Imaginary lice be damned, I lean down and kiss him on the head, pulling him to me.

I love this boy. And that’s the only L word that matters.

Who's cooler than him?

Back when he was  just five.

Ice Scream Mama’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Today was too good not to write about. I mean, seriously, it was that bad. So hold on to your hats. And I mean that literally…

6:58am – Callback from lice professionals. I had left a message at 11pm last night, freaked out that my sis-in-law’s family had lice and we had basically spent the weekend braided together.  I checked my kids and found nothing, but smothered them with lice repellant regardless and barely slept, sweating rosemary and mint all night. Our appointment is at 9:30am.

7:30am – Frying up latkes for middle child’s class for Hanukka party we would no longer be attending. Still, the latkes must go on, with or without us.


8am – Call to wake my father for doctor appointment that he already missed once and had issues you don’t want to know about, the second time. Bless the stars, he is awake.

8:30am – Frying, making breakfast, calling schools, freaking out over lice which I cannot see but know is there.

8:40am – Middle son runs in with finger gushing blood. I think it’s a joke from the magic kit we got them for Hanukka. “That’s not real blood.” I laugh. Yeah, it was.

8:45am – Call from dad alerting me that he would be missing appointment again because boils have broken out all over his body. Seriously. Boils.  Blood. Lice. It’s officially the plagues.

9:30am – Without a trace of hail in the sky, we make it to lice professions. Whew.

lice professionals

Boy 1 checked, pronounced clean.

Boy 2 checked, clean.

Boy 3 checked…. Noooooooooo!!!

Mommy checked, clean. So they say. Mommy lays with boy 3 every night at bed time.

The brush out

The brush out

Noon – Scratching the invisible bugs in my brain, we leave lice professionals cleaned of nits and cash.

Drop latkes at co-class mom’s house for afore mentioned party, pick up library book for oldest son, pizza place and home.

1 -2:40 – Laundry to sterilize every fabric in house.

3pm – Orthopedist for oldest son who hurt his hand a few days ago and is still somewhat swollen. We figure we should check it out.

4pm – Hello irresponsible parents. It’s a fracture. Cast applied, child and mother miserable, Coach Dad inconsolable.

jack cast

4:30pm – Father at primary care doctor for boils who offers up this bit of brilliance, “Wow. No idea what that is!” Appointment with specialist secured.

5pm–8pm – Missed homework, dinner, never-ending laundry marathon continues.

Suffocate all stuffed toys in garbage bags.

Find children rolling on top of one another playing. Freak out and spray them like crazy with lice repellent. Near blinding occurs.

8pm – Oldest, “Uh, mom, I forgot I need this stuff for school tomorrow.”


8:15pm – At market.

8:40pm – “Time to shampoo and lice comb!”

“You forgot Hanukka presents!” Cry boys 1,2 & 3.

Crappity crap crap.

Run up to get gifts, run back down. Hurry through prayer and candle lighting. Throw gifts at them. It’s all extremely meaningful.

Boy 1 – “Why’d you get me this?”

Boy 2 – “This isn’t what I asked for.”

Boy 3 – A small nod of happy.

Yay. We can still make the 5 year-old happy. That’s almost thanks. Kind of.

8:30-9:30 – Lice shampoo all little heads. Pull UV light off lizard tank for better view while combing. Identify questionable dots of brown. Could be 8 year-old cradle cap or nits.

Husband who can’t find OJ in fridge glances over and says, “I don’t know why you’re driving yourself crazy. They’re good.”

Beat husband with lice comb.

9:45 – Children asleep on newly made up beds. 6th load of laundry goes in.

The End

10:45 – Sitting here writing this list, getting ready to shower and lice shampoo my head.

Feeling about 100% confident that tomorrow will be filled with combs and shampoo and stress.

I am totally bugged out.

fat head

This would never happen in Australia

Latke them up and don’t let them go

My kitchen reeked of potatoes and onions. The smell infiltrated my hair and clothes, and even after a shower and thorough shampooing, the scent would linger hours later, causing dogs to trail after me as well as one ever hungry husband.

I was frying up latkes for my 11 year-old son’s multi-cultural holiday fest at Middle school the next day, and had been at it all afternoon.

I tried to get out of it. I did not want to make latkes. I suggested bringing in jelly donuts from Dunkin Donuts. I suggested chocolate gelt. Nope, he shook his in-need-of-a-haircut head. He wanted latkas.

I huffed and puffed and blew a lot of hot air, but of course, there I was, splattered with oil, spatula in hand flipping one potato pancake after another when my son walked in from school with his friend.

“Oh, you’re making Latkes.” his friend casually commented.

I nodded, proud of myself. Look at me, I’m making latkas. “Would you like one?” I asked, ever the altruistic domestic fry goddess.

His friend and my son each took a pancake and munched happily. “Good.” His friend said, “My mom is making them too for the multi-cultural fest next week. “

My eye started to twitch.

Next week?

I turned to my son, “Honey? When did you say your thing was?

Sheepish, sweet, aw shucks oops. “Oh. I think I made a mistake.”

Gripping the spatula tightly, I flipped a potato pancake instead of flipping out. “Oh, ya think?”

“Sorry mama.” He said.

Hard to stay mad with that goofy smile combined with a sorry mama, so I turned my fire on the pan, finished up and froze the batch of them.

Freaking latkes.


The next week. 7am… Actual Multi-cultural fest day.

“Baby, I’m going to reheat the latkas and bring them to school around 1pm.”

Baby bear paws around my waist, his face buried in my stomach. “Thank you, mama.”

It’s all worth for these hugs. For these hugs, I will do anything he asks.



He is crouched over, still hugging, his eyes big and hopeful. “Will you not come to my multi-cultural fest?”


But I made latkas… But you always want me to go…. But…

“Please.” He says and hugs my waist tighter, squeezing any defiance from me.


“Sure,” I say, deflated.

He squeezes me one more time, and I run my fingers through his moppy shag before a car beeps outside and he runs out the door for his ride to school. My baby is growing up. I hate this day.

I stand there for a second, watching and waving from the screen door when I feel a presence sidle up next to me. It is my youngest. His small, strong body is naked but for his Skylander underwear. He rubs the dreams from his eyes, but some still linger and he raises his sleepy arms to me. He is five for another two weeks and I will suck every drop of five left in him. I lift him up and cuddle him as I watch the car with my oldest disappear.

Sighing, I stare at the empty street. It was only a blink ago that my 11 year-old was in my arms, never wanting me to leave him, asking where his wife would live when he married, and worrying we’d send him away to college.

“I’m hungry.” My five year old says, dragging me from my wistful melancholy into the kitchen.

I wish I could keep them more innocent than knowing, more mamma boys than young men, more needing me than their friends. But time marches on, and the only thing that seems to linger is the smell of latkes.


Talk to the Spoon

At this moment, I am spooning giant scoops of ice cream from a tub of Edy’s slow churned Rocky Road from my freezer, drowning it in sprinkles and eating it compulsively, my head cradling the phone as I eat.

I am listening to him, but it’s all just words; the same old tortured words of a tortured existence.

Today’s problem of the day has gotten itself pregnant and is now two problems. He has no protection from himself, so there is always the risk of multiplication.

During conversations like these, I am unable to keep the spoon out of my mouth. Luckily his diatribes need no response. He can talk on and on about his suffering with almost no interruption, leaving me free to torture myself.

I see his form, even though he is over the bridge and I am through a tunnel, sitting awkwardly on his bed; his face drooped as low as his body. The cigarette held carelessly in his hands. Smoke floating up past his glazed over eyes; the ashes falling on jeans riddled with the cigarette holes of frustrated days gone by. He might fall asleep like this if he stopped talking. He might fall asleep even if he doesn’t.

My spoon scrapes bottom. My stomach is extended, my heart divided. I reach for the tub again. It calms something out of control inside of me which threatens to explode in these conversations, but with every bite I grow angrier with him and with myself, so instead of being soothed, I boil.

“I want to stop talking,” I hear him say, his voice a cloud over my head.  I want you to as well, I don’t reply. “I know I’m talking too much.” He repeats.

The recognition is brief. It is hard for him to focus on about anything but himself and his pain for anything more than an acknowledgement. Yet, he pauses to ask how I am; which should be considered some kind of progress, even though it’s fleeting and not quite genuine, because I know it is difficult for him.

I could interrupt and fill the space with my noise, but my tongue is numb and I can’t muster the effort to even pretend to be normal tonight. So, on he goes, moving without transition from one problem to another, one pain to the next.

I have heard enough to last ten lifetimes.

Still, he can’t stop talking. I can’t stop spooning. And we both can’t stop hating who we are at this moment.

ice cream spoon

Hurt so good