January 10, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for Mothers

So we asked you what your resolutions were as parents, but what about ones for yourself? I remember well those early years as a mother and how important it was to take time out for myself. I hardly ever did it although I kept saying I would. Then last year I vowed to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Become a professional volleyball player.

Okay, I’m not going pro…yet, but I did sign up for a volleyball class and finally proved my theory that I had untapped volleyball potential.

I had never played before (not in high school or college or even just for fun), but I knew instinctively this was my game. I could be great. Maybe even the greatest. So I registered for a class at the Montclair Adult School (the fact that my instructor was a fifty-year-old woman provided a measure of confidence), bought knee-pads and devoted myself to become the best never-before-played-volleyball volleyball player this world had ever known.

January 9, 2012

Financial Life Lessons at an Early Age

This weekend my daughter was dying to spend up the gift card she received for her 10th birthday, and as Sunday promised torrential downpours, I figured it was as good a day as any to hit Claire’s at the mall.

If you’ve never been to Claire’s or don’t quite remember it from 8th grade, the accessory store is pretty much a wide hallway just packed with cheap, loud, migrane-inducing accessories: Tons of glittering necklaces, rows of 80’s style Madonna gloves, miles and miles of sequins, and the gaudiest hair accoutrements known to humankind. All of which the tween girl simply must have.

My daughter certainly wanted it, as much as her little arms could carry, anyway.

December 16, 2011

Is Your Kid on Facebook?

Isn’t everyone? I think you have to be.

While I am, it is only after years of holding out and enduring much ridicule. When I finally opened my FB account, I did so with an open mind but a heavy heart. I feared what was to become of me, or rather, my privacy.

Luckily, I grew up in an era without Facebook and digital technology so there were no incriminating photos of me save the 1990’s prom photo posted by an old high school classmate I hadn’t spoken to in about 18 years. That was criminal enough. But it got worse. A friend tagged me in the photo.

December 2, 2011

New Report Shows Kids Are Bad for Your Health

The picture just says it all.

I’ve always believed my kids were draining the life out of me, but now I have proof. A report issued this month confirmed what I have long contended: Kids are hazardous to your health.

The study put out by Televox, a software company specializing in health and business communication, reported that 46% of parents across the country say “their overall personal health is not in good shape.” The report points to the over-scheduled, fast-paced lifestyle that has parents shuffling from school activities to sports to music lessons to birthday parties all while trying to squeeze in homework, housework and paid work.

Certainly no one would suggest parenting was ever easy, but the demands today seem, well, crazy. And I ask you, my fellow health-failing friends, is it not enough to birth them, feed them, clothe them, bathe them, teach them, groom them, and generally attend to their every need? Now they want years from our lives?

November 20, 2011

Spa Day as Child’s Play?

I might be the only one, but I haven’t taken my daughter to the spa. And I don’t plan to.

This notion I realize is passé. Mother/daughter duos have become a common scene in nail salons across the nation. Everyone is doing it or has done it.

This curious human behavior, though, is a relatively recent phenomenon. I became aware of the mani/pedi seeking mother/daughter duos about a decade ago when, on rare occasions, I was able to escape from my home. My escape was only possible during the two hours a day my child was in pre-school, and in that time I had to complete all my household chores, run countless errands and do the weekly food shopping. But if I could squeeze together enough spare minutes (perhaps two or three times a year) I could stop at the nail salon to get a pedicure.

I first witnessed the incident that was to become a trend, when reclined in a cushiony black, leather chair, feet soaking, eyes closed, enjoying the low hum of bubbling water and shuffling flip flops, I heard someone scream my name. I shot up from my semi-conscious state, lurched forward and searched for my child. Then I remembered I was in a nail salon. Alone. Getting a pedicure.

November 17, 2011

Tweeting Toddlers?

I just found out Liam McDermott has a Twitter account. What? That’s preposterous! But first I had to ask, “Who is Liam McDermott?”

It turns out he is a 3-year-old boy, son of Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott.

My second thought was can the kid even type?

To find out, I logged onto the site, where I was invited to “get short, timely messages from Liam McDermott” by following him @liamsworld. As enticing as that sounds, I’m not sure what timely events Liam would be covering in his tweets. By the looks of his most recent posts, followers can learn a lot about his bathroom habits and his feelings on the television shows to which his mother subjects him. He has come around in his thinking on “Bethanny Getting Married,” through repeated exposures, although he still prefers “Scooby Doo.”

No, child prodigy and/or baby genius he is not.

November 1, 2011

The Thrills & Chills of Pitching @ Pitchapalooza

That's me bombing.

Panting and sweating, I walked through the doors of the 86th Street Barnes & Noble not knowing what to expect. I only knew I was supposed to be there.

I had never gone to a Pitchapalooza before mostly because there had never been a Pitchapalooza before, but now that there was one, I would have been a fool to miss it.

I wasn’t a fool. But I was chronically late, which is why – uncertain I was in any way prepared for what I was about to do – I stopped pacing and practicing and packed up my pitch.

It’s not like I didn’t try to create the most dramatic, phenomenal, awe-inspiring pitch Pitchapalooza participants had ever heard, but it’s hard when you’re writing about yourself and you’re not Lady Gaga or Charlie Sheen. I’m not saying I’m completely boring or anything, but making your life sound riveting takes some doing, and I didn’t know if I had done it. Even after my multi-day, non-stop pitching bender, I wasn’t convinced.

October 20, 2011

Gaming the System

I swore I wouldn’t do it. And then I did.

I’ve long detested hand-held video games especially when played at the table in a restaurant. Video gaming and dining are two experiences I never would have put together. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Pac Man (or Ms. Pac Man) and the game is being played arcade-style on a giant, old school, black box with a joy stick in the back corner of some dimly lit dive. Then it’s perfectly acceptable.

But video games are no longer limited to a fist full of quarters and the 60 seconds it takes for ghosts to catch up to the frantic, little, yellow guy. In just about any restaurant at just about any table at just about any time, you can find kids barely out of diapers along with their elder peers plugged into a myriad of electronic gadgets, staring hypnotically at mini screens. The group may have gathered together for a family meal, but the time spent seemed a little lacking when half the party passed the evening in a quasi-vegetative state.

Maybe it’s because video games never appealed to me, but that kind of evening just never appeared to be a great way of spending some quality family time. Then, last week, suddenly, everything changed.

October 19, 2011

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Tooth Fairy

I don’t know what’s up with the Tooth Fairy these days. She must be sitting down on the job or something because on numerous occasions and for both my children she has forgotten to drop in, collect the tooth and leave some cold, hard cash behind. My kids are so used to it by now, they take the disappointment pretty much in stride. My husband and I cover for the Fairy, saying she was probably busy. We’re certain she’ll come though if we place the tooth under the pillow one more time. And she usually does.

But, really, what kind of Tooth Fairy does that? A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad one, I tell you.

I blame my husband. He’s in charge of special projects – the book reports, the odd solar system science project, the miscellaneous oral presentations. And to me mythical creatures fall under that category. I handle the day-to-day stuff – the nightly homework, the shuffling to extracurricular activities, the constant scheduling and rescheduling of three lives (mine plus two kids). I just can’t cram one more thing into my already over-stuffed brain. I know I’ll mess up. That’s why I put Kevin on the job.

October 11, 2011

The Care & Maintenance of a Hermit Crab

Okay, last week when I wrote in a comment on the pet post that hermit crabs make great pets I wasn’t being completely honest.

They do make good pets, but if you are a hermit crab purist, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the care required to provide a happy home for hermit crab.

I admitted last week I was the one to lobby for a pet crab, but it was only because out of all the possibilities, hermit crabs seemed like the best way to fulfill my parental obligation without actually having to exert any effort. One way or another I knew my kids would brow beat me into getting some sort of critter. I figured I had better get out in front of this situation and steer it into more parent-friendly territory. Hence my ingenious plan of allowing my children to acquire crabs.

Now when my daughter cries, “Why won’t you ever let us have a puppy?! You never let us have a pet!” I can say, “What are you talking about? I let you have hermit crabs.”