Monday, December 15, 2014

First World Problems on the Family Ski Trip

I know, I know. I shouldn't complain about first-world problems on a family ski trip. I'm lucky to even GO on a ski trip. It's elitist and bourgeois to complain about it.

Furthermore, you might think it's terribly self-centered--even rude--to write this post when there are things like riots, poverty, melting polar ice caps, and whatever the rest of the world is worried about. But I can assure you, that's not entirely true. All problems are relative, and the issues we faced on our skip trip may have lasting and damaging effects, both psychological and emotional. The consequences are far-reaching!

Don't believe me? Read on.

Top 11 First-World Problems on the Family Ski Trip*

1. Your airline will offer a complementary glass of wine on the flight over. You graciously accept, because there's no sense in being rude. Apparently the other passengers thought that 9am was too early to drink Chardonnay, and the flight attendant keeps coming by to refill your glass otherwise she will have to throw the bottle away, and it makes her "feel really sad to waste." (I couldn't agree more, sister. ) Now, you're drunk.
2. Your kids are so engrossed in mindless electronics that you are able to read an Elle magazine from start to finish. That damn magazine has been sitting on your bedside table for 3 months and it gives you indescribable satisfaction to read it. But now you've finished it, your kids are playing happily on their iPads, and you have nothing left to do but talk to your husband. But he doesn't want to talk because he's wearing his new noise cancellation headphones.
3. When you get to the hotel, you make a grisly discovery: All humidifers are not created equal. The humidifier in you and your husband's side of the suite is much louder and less effective than the newer model in your children's room. Do you selfishly swipe humidifiers or suffer in silence?
4. Your kids look so damn cute in their ski outfits you are tempted to dangerously over-post to Facebook. You realize you're morphing into one of those people that you hate. You promise to take some really lame and unflattering pictures of yourself and the kids to balance things out. Your husband looks like a male model in every pic, so you avoid posting photos of him unless absolutely necessary.
5. Ski school. The resort makes it too easy to dump your kids and snowboard virtually all day. Throw enough money at them, and they will take your 3-year-old and 6-year-old from 9am to 3pm and teach them out to ski. What? Are you fucking kidding me? Granted, your 3-year-old was a train wreck, but you couldn't REALLY hear her crying when you were zooming overhead on the chairlift. No harm, no foul. But now your 6-year-old thinks its normal to attend ski school every day of the vacation and freaks out when you tell her she can't go the last day.   What, Daddy doesn't sell enough boats to go to ski school three days in a row?
6. You couldn't pack your nice juicer so you are forced to drink non-organic, processed, store-bought juice. The horror! You miss your zesty blend of spinach, kale, carrot, cucumber and jalapeƱo. But you find yourself rather enjoying the fun spike in blood sugar!
7. A family member can--and will--contract a stomach virus and puke all over the bed in the middle of the night. (Ahem. Your 3-year-old.) You will conveniently come down with this virus at your husband's Christmas Party several days later.
8. A second family member can--and will--contract a nasty cough, and will proceed to cough REPEATEDLY IN YOUR EAR ALL NIGHT for 2 days running. (Ahem, your 6-year-old.)
9. The ski conditions are so beautiful that you feel guilty for NOT snowboarding all day. The truth is, you haven't boarded all day since you were 25. And now, at 37, you're old and tired and only want to board half-days, because you're old and tired. But you feel like such a pussy for going in early. You secretly pray for some weather so you can sit on your ass by the fire, drink wine, and watch TV.
10. Are there any elevators in the resort? Great! Your 3-year-old will inevitably dart ahead of you and disappear into an elevator for about 12 minutes while everyone searches for her on multiple floors.
11. On the plane ride home, your family is ordained to sit behind Perfect Organic Mom and her Perfect 2-Year-Old. The Perfect Organic 2-Year-Old is content to sit quietly on Mom's lap, flipping through her HANDMADE BOOK made up of pictures from magazines, cut-out, glued to each page and labeled. We're talking stuff like "Dog" and "Jumprope" and "Rainbow" and "House." Obviously the mom made this stupid book, and you want to slap her. Who has time for this shit? The Perfect Organic 2-Year-Old has better speech and articulation than your 3-year-old who throws her iPad at you when Peter Pan doesn't load. Your eyes bore holes into Perfect Organic Mom and you're pretty sure you have a visible snarl on your face.

*Disclaimer: We are not the type of family to spend thousands of dollars on a beautiful, pristine ski-in, ski-out resort in Park City. Not because we don't want to, but because we are too damn cheap. This trip was courtesy of a generous grant by the Donna Van Tuyl Foundation. Because mother-in-laws can, and do, plan amazing vacations for their children and grandkids. But we did pay for our airfare, so go ahead and judge us.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

You Know Your 3-Year-Old is a Thug When...

You've always suspected it. Part of you knows it. You've seen the warning signs. You know all the red flags. Is it time to seek help? Is your 3-year-old a THUG?

If you can't pick your child up at school without getting an "incident report," I'm talking to you. If you're currently researching anti-anxiety meds because you can't handle taking your kid to the park, I'm talking to you. If your child's behavior chart offers stars for "Not biting," "not throwing produce in the grocery store" and "not riding the dog," I'm talking to you.

If your child does ANY of the following things, chances are...Your 3-year old is a thug. Know the signs--act early!


Warning Signs 
1. Your child mugs babies at the park. Like a dirty criminal trolling the streets for an old lady with a purse, your child knows her chances of success are higher when her victims can't fight back. Babies are the low-hanging fruit of the park scene. They can't walk, they can't talk, and they're usually surrounded by interesting toys and snacks like yogurt pouches and goldfish. My daughter knows this, so when you're not looking and I'm picking a wood chip out of my flip flop, she's darting over to your baby's picnic to load up on everything she can get her hands on. I've seen her grab a board book, a pack of Teddy Grahams, stuff a bottle of breastmilk down her shirt and run off to a nearby tree to inspect her loot before you can say "Early Intervention."
2.  Your kid steals binkies from babies. This takes park muggings to a whole new level. Yup...That's me, over there. I'm the mom dying in embarrassment when my 3-year-old calmly walks up to your darling toddler on the play structure, plucks the binkie out of his mouth and puts it in her own. She then pats your baby on the head, saunters off and heads down the slide. I mean, other Mom, what are you THINKING when this occurs? I shudder in horror.
3. Your kid physically removes other children from playground equipment when she's tired of waiting. Instead of selecting a different activity or simply waiting her turn, she will nocholantly pick up the other child from the swing, place her on the ground, and climb on.
4. The child develops a strategic and calculated approach in dealing with confrontations with older children. For example, a cute little girl in pigtails in a My Little Pony Shirt approaches the play structure upon which--until now--Holland has had to herself.  Holland scans the child, and I imagine a screen appearing before her eyes, Terminator-style to assess her opponent.
Sex: Female
Age: Appx 4 years
Developmental Age: 3.5 years
Apparel: My Little Pony (this is a big plus and I see Holland hesitate, distracted by the shirt)
Reflexes: Adequate.
Weight: 28 pounds.
A trigger in Holland's head. "I've got ten pounds on this chick!" Holland climbs to the tallest point of the structure, raises her arms high above her head, and yells, "Hey-ya! This is HOLLAND'S PARK. GO AWAY!" Then she bangs on the structure like a gorilla. My Little Pony runs off crying for mommy.
5. You consider getting a prescription to anti-anxiety medication for park outings with your child. See above.
6. Your child shoplifts yogurt and fruit from the grocery store on a regular basis. You find the items later when she digs into your purse and pulls out organic Almond Dream Strawberry-top.
7. She prefers to ink her face up Braveheart-style with markers instead of actually coloring on paper. You see her get out the markers and you cringe. You ask her, "Would you like some paper?" She answers, "NO," like, what, are you crazy? I'm getting ready to graffiti up some furniture, bitch!
8. The first thing she does when she gets to school in the morning is look for some sort of tower, block structure or puzzle to dismantle, and yells, "Wreck-it Ralph!" When the other kids look on in dismay, she shrugs and says, "I'm bad...and that's good."
9. Your child is drawn to mean-looking dogs. On her morning scooter ride along the Ferry Landing, she seeks out the largest, most dangerous looking dog she can find. She barrels towards it full speed, brakes, then give the dog a big hug. (Good thing that pit pull with all the bite wounds was so friendly.)
10. She gets road rage. Using the bike trailer is now problematic, because she likes to start fights with motorists. She'll often launch her sippy cup at cars she thinks are moving too slowly, and yells "Go, idiot!"
11. She magically has to poop every time you put her in time out. So you let her go to the bathroom. And she produces poop. Every time. It's like she wills it to come, and it does.
12. She likes to wreck her ride-on motorized pink car. Just yesterday she rammed it into the fridge as fast as she could, launched it vertically up the kitchen wall, flipped off it backwards and was stunned. She lies on her back, and the car is partially on top of her, upright against the fridge. Instead of crying, she yells, "Awesome. Mommy, look!"
13. She likes to drink beer. If you leave a Tecate lying around, she'll roll up and take a big swig, spill half of it down her shirt and say, "Beer! Yummy."

So there it is, folks. These are the warning signs. If your child exhibits ANY of these behaviors, I advise you to grab a bottle of wine, and start drinking...now.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Top 10 Benefits of Having a Speech Delayed Child

You're probably asking yourself, "Why would ANYONE want to have a speech-delayed child?"

You wouldn't! It sucks. I know; I have one.

Now you're thinking, "What could possibly be a BENEFIT of having a speech-delayed child?"

Relax, I'm getting to that. There ARE in fact some pretty badass benefits of having a kid who is...uh...verbally challenged. So if Princess Junior didn't come out spouting Shakespeare, if little Billy isn't waxing poetic in preschool, take heart, and read on.

Top Ten Benefits of Having a Speech Delayed Child
1. You can feign ignorance. Let's face it...sometimes its helpful not to understand a damn word your kid is saying.  Case in point: Your kid is in the backseat asking for something, and you're pretty sure it's the Frozen CD. Again. You're sick and tired of Frozen, and conclude your kid wants Flo Rida instead. Excellent! (This might upset your child, but its her own fault. She needs to work on her articulation.)
2. Other parents don't give you dirty looks when your kid is being an asshole at the park. When they hear her speak, they assume she is retarded. Then they feel sorry for you.
3. You get to celebrate swearing. When your kid drops a dozen farmer's market eggs on the garage floor and says, "Oh FUCK,"  you squeal with delight, high-five your kid and immediately email her speech therapist about the exciting new development. Not only did she use the phrase in the appropriate context, but the articulation was PERFECT!
4. When your kid is watching Wreck-it-Ralph for the 50th time this week, you can justify it: She's picking up LANGUAGE from this show. Just the other day you heard her say "I'm bad, and that's good," and "I live in a dump."
5. If your kid's speech is REALLY jacked up, she might qualify for FREE PRESCHOOL. That's right. FREE PRESCHOOL every day of the week. Yes, please.
6. You can blame her temper tantrums on "frustration" instead of bad parenting or lack of discipline. This technique is helpful in many situations and can overcome a multitude of sins. For example, your kid is freaking out because you won't let her open up a quart of milk and drink it from the carton in the middle of the grocery store. She screams, throws an orange, and bites you in the arm.  A horrified onlooker is cowering in citrus. You simply turn to the person and say, "She's speech-delayed." The person will inevitably sigh, "Ah..." then nod in sympathy and understanding.
7. Your kid's speech is so bad, you are forced to find new and exciting ways to brag about your child. When you dig deep, you discover that your kid is actually pretty cool. She can ride her scooter like a champion. She can even launch off curbs (on purpose, you think.) She can swim better than most 5-year-olds and climb up the jungle gym like a rabid monkey, when she isn't busy shoving other kids out of the way or stealing bottles of breast milk from strollers.
8. You can justify sending her to after-care, even though you're a stay-at-home mom...hey, she's learning SPEECH there! Aftercare is populated mainly by kids who are developmentally on-track. After all, what parent would send their speech-delayed child to AFTERCARE if they didn't have to? Me, that's who. Since after-care is made up of mainly "normal" kids, it's the perfect environment to force your kid to communicate with other children with minimal adult supervision. Sink or swim, bitches! Besides, she's learning a heck of a lot more language there, among her peers, than she is at home while you're screwing around on Facebook.
9. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you just upped your street cred by 50%. When people ask you what you do all day, you can add a bevy of other responsibilities to your list. In addition to laundry, dishes, cooking, paying bills, running errands, driving your kids to school/cheerleading/gymnastics, /art/swim/tennis...you can say you drive your kid to speech therapy and OT. You're also busy setting IEP meetings, canceling IEP meetings, rescheduling IEP meetings, reviewing goals, emailing the school psychologist, reading The Sensory Child Gets Organized, making sure she gets her "heavy work" in and practicing biting on her chewy tubes, in addition to reading her like 20 books a day to foster language development.
10. You get to celebrate every little thing. When things come easily to your kid, you take it for granted. They are on schedule, moving ahead, progressing as expected. When things happen more slowly, your forced to sit back and take stock of all the improvements. And these small steps? These little improvements? They are magical. 

Oh, what's that? So your kid ISN'T speech delayed?  Eat your heart out. (Just kidding. Sort of.)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

To Parents with Well-Behaved Children: Sucks to Be You

It's easy to judge people without kids who judge people who do.  We've all heard non-parents complain about our crazy-ass kids and our crappy parenting skills. It's easy to write them off as douchebags, because what do they know about raising kids? There is no way the 24-year-old pharm rep in the 25-inch-waist jeans has pushed a nine pound baby out of her vagina, so why is she giving me the evil eye? What if there HAD been a fire in the elevator? She would have been thanking my kid for pressing the button.  Easy target!

Today, I'd like to judge a different group of people. People WITH kids who always seem to be well-behaved, who enjoy judging parents with kids who behave badly, who are usually doing one of the following:
a) Screaming
b) Throwing shit
c) Breaking shit
d) Throwing and breaking shit
e) Eating other people's food while throwing and breaking shit.

Basically, I'd like to judge the moms who always seem to be judging me and my kids. You know what I'm talking about.

The moms who watch us in horror at dance class. While my five-year-old is gyrating inappropriately to Kidz Bop on the dance floor, my two-year-old is thrashing about and screaming Exorcist-style. (She's pissed I didn't let her drink breastmilk from another baby's bottle and do somersaults in the middle of Marley's dance class. Now she's punching me in the head with a juicebox.) I'm talking about you. 

The moms who stare at us in shock when Holland chomps into my arm at school pick up because I didn't let her run into the school office and rummage through the trash. I'm talking about you.

The mom with the perfect ponytail with her perfectly-styled daughter who watched Holland grab a head of lettuce at Boneys, take a bite out of it, then launch it into the citrus section yelling, "weeee!" I'm talking about you. 

What, this is not normal behavior? Princess Fucking Junior never gave you this trouble? That's right, run away mommy. Don't expose your daughter to our trainwreck. But guess what? You'll miss seeing Holland grab a handful of chocolate-covered pretzels out of the bins, jam them in her mouth, then knock over a basket of butternut squash. Come on, you can't pay for entertainment like this!

Your perfect little angel never did this kind of shit? He doesn't need to be coaxed into the carseat with a Thomas the Train sticker every fucking time you get into the car or he has a meltdown? Your kid doesn't run out of storytime at the library at lightening speed, hijack another kids stroller and crash it into the coffee cart? 

Your kid doesn't enjoy launching her $12 Munchie Mug at cars while riding in the bike trailer? She doesn't unbuckle herself, stand up, and ride chariot-style down the streets of Coronado while other drivers honk in horror, warning you of the iminent risk of trauma-induced coma?

Well that's great your kid is perfect. Please, indulge me with your cold stares. Shower me with your judgement. But you know what? It's not my fault my kid is more challenging than yours. It doesn't make me a worse parent or you a better one. Some kids are just harder.

And don't feel sorry for me either. At least my kid isn't boring. While your kid is sitting in a corner, silently reading a book and brushing up on his literacy skills, my kid is eating a puzzle or locking herself in a car. While your kid is building a stupid tower, my kid is dismantling the DVD player or trying to vacuum the dog. 

Your kid likes to play princess? My kid will take a bite out of your perfect dessert display and shove Ariel cupcake toppers down her diaper before you can say "Happy Birthday." Your kid rides a balance bike? My kid repels into storm drains. While your kid is potty training, my kid is washing her hands in the toilet after her sister pees in it. 

The days when Holland doesn't make me cry, she makes me laugh. Sure, sometimes the laughing part doesn't happen until I am very drunk, but it still counts.

So don't feel sorry for me, or give me one of those "Holy shit your kid is CRAZY" looks. Because the days when my kid IS perfect--when she doesn't put my iPhone in the clothes dryer or smear toothpaste all over the doorknob, when she actually colors with the markers instead of drawing on her face Braveheart-style, when she's not knocking out one of her teeth--well, those days are far more rewarding to me than they are to you. They are beautiful and awe-inspiring and are worthy of colossal celebration. Since your kid is so perfect you miss out on these moments. Sucks to be you.

Hobbies. What Hobbies?

Hobbies. I've been thinking about hobbies lately.

Hobbies are like, totally important. In my twenties, I used to say that girls who couldn't get enough dates didn't have enough hobbies. And for the most part, I was right.

Hobbies make you prettier. They make you cooler. They give you a purpose, a passion, a driving desire outside of yourself. Whether you're sweating, escaping or creating, everyone needs a hobby.

I used to have a ton of hobbies. I danced. I painted. I wrote restaurant reviews. I volunteered at a nonprofit. (Hello, La Jolla Friends of the Seals!) I was even a "big sister" to an underprivileged little girl (because I was so qualified to be--ahem--a role model.) I snowboarded. I (attempted) to surf. I penned ominously depressing yet awesomely dark poems.

(And in case you were wondering, yes, I usually had plenty of dates. True, they were all assholes until I met my husband. But at least I wasn't sitting at home drinking alone. That came later.)

But now...now...things are different. Now that I'm on my ninth year of marriage with two kids, not only do I contribute exactly ZERO dollars to our family's income, but I have NO hobbies. This is bad.

Unless you count these.

1. Drinking wine. Sure, I love to drink wine, but I'm not sure this counts as a hobby. I'm not exactly a connoisseur. I really don't give a shit where the grapes come from. White, red, cab, pinot, chardonnay... If its wet and it runs downhill, it goes in my glass. And drinking wine doesn't require much skill, unless you include strategizing sneaky ways to incorporate it into your day before 5pm. (The girls are trying to drown each other in the bathtub? Pour a glass of wine. The dog puked and Holland smeared it around the living room with the new bath rug? Grab a bottle. )
2. Making lists. I fucking love making lists. Who doesn't love a list? I make several lists everyday. Grocery lists. To-do lists. I even have an ongoing "To Buy" list that includes everything from a warm puffer jacket, the new Tory Burch gladiator sandals (when they go on sale, of course), some eucalyptus oil, and the play-doh toy that squirts out the play-doh like snakes. You see something...it looks good! You want it! Put it on the list.
3. Pretending to write a blog. I can't really write depressing poems anymore, but I do enjoy writing this blog. Too bad my last post was in OCTOBER, what the hell?
4. Sneaking takeout sushi. I cannot figure out enough ways to incorporate sushi into my diet. Unfortunately it gets a little pricey so I limit myself to lunch specials and takeout happy hour. I will look for any and every opportunity to eat sushi. I will even purposely avoid going to the store so we run out of food. Nothing in the fridge? I guess I'll grab some sushi...
5. Sneaking burrito bowls from Chipolte. Whoever thought of the burrito bowl is a damn genius. All of the goodness of rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and hot sauce without all the pesky carbs of the tortilla. Freaking fabulous.
6. Online shopping. Duh. Read more about my online shopping addiction here. 
7. Snowboarding. I don't get to snowboard much anymore. We used to have season passes at Mammoth but driving 8 hours with two children makes me want to throw myself in front of a bus. We did go to Big Bear last winter, and everyone got the flu. I forced myself to go to the top of the mountain in 10 degrees with a 103 degree temperature. And you know what? I fucking rode down that mountain. So snowboarding isn't a complete fail.
8. Reading self-help books on parenting. This just sucks on so many levels. I went from reading 50 Shades of Grey and the Twilight Series to Setting Limits with Your Strong-willed Child and It Takes Two to Talk. Eff'ing lame!
9. Yoga. Yoga is still in my life, THANK GOD! I need it now more than ever, and honestly don't know how I could survive motherhood without it.
10. Watching Parenthood. God I love this show. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll stay up all night watching it on Apple TV when your husband leaves town.
11. Running. Yes I still wake up early to run a few times a week, but I hesitate to call this a hobby. You're supposed to enjoy hobbies. Let's face it: running sucks and if you actually like it you're crazy.
12. Brushing up on dance moves from the 80s and early 90s. I used to dance Flamenco. Now I teach my girls the Macarena. To be truthful, it's actually quite fun. Right now we're working on the "running man" and the pimp's limp. Stop: Hammertime!
13. Looking at pictures online of celebrities and models with long, side-swept bangs. Because a decision is looming...bangs or Botox? Bangs are cheaper but my husband doesn't like them. And I pay the bills!

So yeah. These are my hobbies now. Kinda depressing. But like Scarlett O'Hara said, tomorrow is another day!

So I make this pledge: I will write in this blog. I will dig out my old oil paints. I will read a real book that has nothing to do with parenting. I will go to Cardio-hip hop.

Motherhood can take my energy, my heart and my soul..but it can't take my hobbies!

Namaste, bitches.