Saturday, March 31, 2012

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

Lets go on vacation. Seemed like a good idea. Let's escape the cold and head to Florida. Except that Indiana is having a freak heat wave. And my husband had the brilliant idea to DRIVE to Florida. Where are the Wright brothers when I need them? We are not Amish. We do not have to travel by horse and buggy. Maybe my husband has forgotten about my bad back, tiny bladder and inability to sit still in the 17 years I've known him. Are our trips to Ireland, Europe and Asia ringing a bell? Midway through all these adventures, he was asking the stewardess for a parachute. And this was before we had children. Nope, he decides that a 2.5 day drive through all 67 states is a better idea than a 2.5 hour plane ride. Then he leaves town for work and leaves the packing to me. The amount of packing done for 1 female and 2 children is the same amount if you are gone for 3 days or 3 months. The list includes but is not limited to: shirts, pants, socks, pajamas, underwear, swimsuits, shoes, books, DS & games, Leapsters & games, DVDs, snacks, bottled water, hand sanitizer in bulk, sunglasses, activity books, camera, sunglasses, sunscreen, stuffed animals, blankets, night lights, white noise machines, and bed rails. Why leave home? We are bringing everything with us. This is why I am not worried about being robbed while we are gone. Nothing is there. We brought it all with us.My husband's packing took 12 minutes. He packed some t shirts, socks, shorts, sandals, a small bottle of shampoo and deodorant. His stuff fits in a plastic bag from Walgreen's. Our stuff practically needs a pack mule and a U-Haul.

Packing complete, we hit the open road. We drive for 37 hours before we even left the state of Indiana. I was jet lagged before we hit another state. Kids were content to have snacks thrown in their laps and watch movies. I stared at the cornfields and wondered if my husband would noticed if I slowly opened my car door and rolled out. After driving for about 7 hours, Christian announced he needs to poop. We assure him we will pull over and find a restroom. He assures US that he can wait until we get home. What we have here is a failure to communicate, folks. We won't be seeing our home for another 9 days, buddy. He looked out the window and asked where we were. We told him we were in Tennessee. Now he is confused and mad. He told him we were going on vacation to Florida? What is with this misinformation? Did someone not read the map? We are only on day 2 of our safari across America. So far we have explored a cave, an underground waterfall, watched Sara do a zip line, seen a KFC building shaped like a giant chicken (complete with moving eyes and beak) and taken our son (with sticky hand phobia) to a BBQ place called Sticky Fingers. What else can we expect over the next few days? Watch out, America. We are invading the South. And we will take prisoners. I need the company for the long drive home. We have snacks and DVDs for your entertainment. But you better travel lightly because our car is full.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Club Of One

Groucho Marx had it right when he said "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." Sara came home from school today in tears because a classmate thought it would be OK to start a "We Hate Sara" club. Wow, what a proud moment for her parents. This girl has taken being mean to a new level. On a sicker note, 3 girls were "kicked out" of the club for being friends with Sara. Sara was confused and upset. She has never been mean to this girl. She couldn't understand why this girl did something so mean to her. It's OK not to like everyone. But this goes beyond normal social dynamics on the playground. This is spiteful and hurtful just to make a little girl feel left out and excluded. Guess what? Mission accomplished. My kid feels hurt and excluded. As I put her to bed tonight, she said she was glad she had some friends who stuck up for her. Leave it to Sara to find the silver lining in an awful situation. I hope this girl outgrows the need to put others down to feel good about herself. I hope she never does this to another girl. I hope she learns what being a friend really means. I am glad my daughter knows the meaning of friendship. I am glad my daughter appreciates her true friends.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vogue Backlash

I tried very hard not to judge the way other people parent. I'm too tired and overwhelmed with my own kids to worry about other people's kids. But sometimes, a parent comes along and puts herself and her questionable parenting in the spotlight. Unless you have been living in a cave, you have heard about the Vogue writer who wrote an essay about putting her 7 year old on a diet. I don't know the girl's medical history. Maybe she was obese. Maybe her pediatrician was concerned about her health and weight. But, what bothers me most was they way she wrote about how she handled her daughter's weight problem. She was downright nasty - smacking food out of her hand, yelling at her, humiliating her in public. And she expressed more concerned about her daughter's appearance than focusing on the health aspect of the issue. I'm sure that little girl will be thrilled to google herself in a few years to read about this. I hope being a writer for Vogue pays well because I see a lot of therapy in that little girl's future. Weight issues and a controlling mom with boundary issues? I hope her mother realizes there are better, more considerate ways to handle a child's problem. And I hope she sticks to writing about springs trends and not her daughter's penchant for Snickers.

As parents, we want to raise happy and healthy kids. We are bombarded through the media, friends and family with all sorts of conflicting advice about what is best and healthiest for our kids. There's no one right answer. Every kid is built differently. For example, my daughter eats like a horse and is very slim. People are always telling us and her that she is "too skinny". They have no medical basis for this decision. They just see a thin girl. They don't know that she can inhale a Grand Slam breakfast without coming up for air. Our son is on the higher end of the chart for height and weight. He also eats us out of house and home. But, as long as they eat healthy, continue to grow and our pediatrician is not concerned, then we don't lose any sleep about their eating habits. We have not made food or eating an issue in our house. I don't discuss my never-ending struggle with my weight in front of our kids. If we discuss exercise, we emphasize being healthy, not losing weight or being skinny. I've seen what food battles can lead to. We don't give our kids free reign with snacks or treats. I'm not a short order cook. We give some choices but remain firm about eating what is served.

I'm sure I mess up a hundred times a day with my kids. I do and say the wrong thing. I worry if I am being too strict or not strict enough. I worry that they are fighting too much. I worry that my son will never be fully potty trained. I worry that Sara will always struggle with shoe tying.
But I know I will never have to worry that I wrote a publicly humiliating article about my young daughter's weight struggle. I will never have to worry that scores of people will read what I write and be horrified at my parenting. I hope.


Forget being supermom. That was never my goal. I just want to be a good mother. A mother who keeps her cool and doesn't lose her temper. I want to be a mom that doesn't get overwhelmed and flustered. I want to be a mom whose child isn't struggling socially at school. I want to be a mom whose 3.5 year old will actually pee in the potty. I want to be a mom who can get her kids out the door in a calm and orderly fashion. I want to be a mom whose kids can play together for longer than 15 minutes without fighting. I want to be a mom who can get the kids to their after school activities, dinner on the table and baths completed and bedtime accomplished without drama. I want to be able to take care of the kids and house without feeling overwhelmed. I want to not feel like a failure as I see people with more kids and more challenges handle their lives with more grace.

I don't know if this week is busier than usual or my defenses are weakened but everything seems to be a struggle for me. The kids are cooperating (mostly). I just keep looking at each day and wondering if and how everything will get done. In addition to regular school work and activities, my car needs new tires and softball practice started. Add that to swim lessons for a boy who thinks we are water boarding him, a Girl Scout meeting, a prospective new school meeting, a neighborhood board meeting, a MOPS meeting (note to self- kiss up to hubs so he will make breakfast strata for 40 women and let me take credit) and prepare for spring break trip. Oh, and a daughter who is coming down with a cold and a husband who is out of town for work. I am not a woman who can juggle it all with a smile. I can't even juggle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Borrowing Trouble?

Sara is having trouble at school. I wasn't naive enough to think she was entirely blameless. I live with the kid. I know her strengths and weaknesses. I know her faults and attributes. I was naive enough to 'hope' it was mostly social and due to her age. Being in the youngest kid in class is tough. She seems to enjoy school, loves her teacher and has a few friends. Some days are better than others. Some days are filled with grade school drama over who sat next to who and who got excluded at recess. But, now she is having trouble in the classroom and we can't blame it on age because these behaviors wouldn't fly in 2nd grade either. She doesn't focus. She gets distracted. She blurts out amd doesnt raise her hand. She blurts out random and unrelated comments. She doesn't give the other kids her full attention. Kids are not subtle. Kids are not patient. They don't hide their annoyance and impatience with her. Do we pull her from the local public school and find a school with a different approach? Her teachers have spoken to her about the rules of the classroom. She knows what the expectations are. An 8 year old in 3rd grade should reasonably be expected to participate in class and follow the rules. Is it a failing on our part? Have we completely failed to instill any sense of expected behavior or respect for authority? For the most part, she follows the rules at home. When she is distracted, we have to repeat ourselves. But, that is normal, right? Why does our kid think it is ok to consistently ignore the rules that everyone has to follow? Is it defiance? Is it lack of effective parenting? Can it be fixed? How do we fix it? Are we completely to blame? If we switch schools, it isn't because we are nave enough to think it is a magic pill. We know she will have to work on her behaviors and attitude. Will a different environment be better for her? Will a clean slate give her the opportunity to show what she is truly capable of?

Last year when she was bullied, we debated pulling her out of the school. What stood out to me was that she kept saying "I wasn't even doing anything to those girls. I was just playing and they came up and did this. Why would they do that?" We had no answer. How do you explain to a little girl that there was no reason. There never is a reason for bullying. Then came her questions about punishment and apologizing. "Why haven't they apologized? Why weren't they punished? Why haven't their moms and dads made them say sorry?". Ironically, one of the moms still emphatically denies her daughter's involvement despite multiple witnesses and a confession. Sara know when she is caught misbehaving, lying, hurting her brother in any way, breaks a rule or is disrespectful at home that there will be consequences- punishment and an apology. She couldn't understand why these girls got away with something so mean. Despite the incident, she seemed to enjoy school and her friends so we kept her there. Bullies are everywhere. Do some of her problems stem from her being in the wrong environment? I'm worried that moving her will send the wrong message to her. You don't run away from a problem. You face it and solve it. Maybe switching schools will make life easier for her. Maybe she will fit in better in a different environment. I know parents don't have all the answers but it sure would be nice to have some answers about the really big decisions.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sara's Stewardship

Sara attends CCD weekly. It is always entertaining to meet her teachers and hear their comments about her. She has been limited to the number of questions (relevant and non-relevant) she can ask during class. They love reading her work. However, she was the only one who knew the story of Bartimaeus. The deacon was so impressed with her telling that he asked her to get up in front of all the CCD classes to tell the story and lead everyone in closing prayer. She very well may be the first female Pope. She likes the hat, cool ceiling artwork and pope mobile. This week they learned about stewardship. They brought in baked goods for a local mission then filled out a questionnaire. Here are some of Sara's answers (for better or worse):

Who we helped? The Hope Mission
How did we help? We brought yummy desserts
This is what I thought about the project - I really wanted to taste those pies!!!!
This is what I learned- You should give things you don't need to people who do - but not my lambi because I need her more.
This is why I thought it helped - The homeless people like desserts, too.

Not sure if she is a pagan or just brutally honest and funny. God bless her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Van Gogh

Sara got her ears pierced over Christmas break. She debated doing it for a year or so. Suddenly she was brave enough, ready and willing. So, we were at the mall when she said she was ready. So, I plopped her in the chair and 10 seconds later my daughter had 2 new holes. Note to self - check to make sure husband is on board with piercing 7 year old's ears before the deed is done. We (I) dutifully cleaned her ears twice daily for 6 weeks. After that, we cleaned them somewhat regularly. On Friday she came home complaining of ear pain. I checked and sure enough, one of her holes was infected and bleeding. Off the doctor we go. When the doctor was examining her, she informed him that I REFUSED to clean her ears regularly. Seriously?! It was not a plot to turn her into the next Van Gogh. Maybe it was lazy parenting but it was not malicious. Then she asked him, in all seriousness, if she could keep it. The doctor and I looked at each other, confused. Did she really think we were going to chop off her ear? Turns out, she was talking about the piercing. Yes, if we clean it and use antibiotics, she would be able to put the earring back in on Sunday. Then she panicked because she was afraid it would hurt to put an earring back in. So she had a dilemma. She could brave the possibility of a little pain on Sunday with an earring reinsertion or contemplate the mere thought of re-piercing her ear. Sara is not the most decisive person under the best circumstances. Facing possible pain or discomfort and she turns everything into Sophie's Choice. Luckily, her doctor is a smart man. He suggested she not worry about it and see how it feels on Sunday. If I had the audacity to suggest such a ludicrous idea, I would have been the recipient of the full eye roll and disgusted "moooooommmmm!". Luckily we had the distraction of a Girl Scout sleepover to distract her (a completely different kind of pain and torture - for me). Sunday comes and she timidly asks me if we can TRY to put her earring in. Using Lamaze breathing I didn't know she knew, we put the earring back in. She survived. Her ear is still attach. It's a miracle.

Age Is Just A Number

Sara is, by far, the youngest kid in her class. There are boys in that class who drive themselves to school and have five o'clock shadow by recess. She tries to compensate for her age by going all Napoleon on the other kids sometimes. She has the best intentions but she gets in her own way. She is bright and funny. She is also stubborn as a mule. She is like Napoleon trying to make up for his stature by being the baddest, toughest guy in the room. Sara sometimes operates this way. She hasn't quite figured out that this is not always the best way to win friends and influence people. Throw in her overly sensitive nature and it's a perfect storm. She tries to play in their reindeer games. Then she offends or annoys someone. Then she thinks they have kicked Rudolph out of their reindeer games and she comes home with her shiny red nose out of joint. One-on-one she is great. She lives for playdates. She is all about rolling out the red carpet for her guests. If she could put on a "Be Our Guest" orchestra show, she would be Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Chip, Cogsworth and the dancing brooms all rolled into one skinny little bundle of energy. So, our precocious little bundle of energy has been labeled as "the annoying kid" on the playground. And we all know that those labels stick. Girls as just as mean today as they were when I was the annoying kid on the playground. She has matured a great deal this school year. She is able to handle criticism better. She is learning to walk away when she is being bullied or picked on. So, we have a tough choice to make. Do we switch schools next year and hope she starts with a fresh slate and no labels to haunt her? Or do we hope that her current classmates are willing to give her another chance and see her for who she is as she matures and grows? Even at a new school, she will still be the youngest in the class. Will the new kids be willing to give her a chance? Will all the cliques have formed? Will she be kept out of their reindeer games, too? If we lived in a perfect world, Sara would be ale to control her impulses better. The other kids would be more patient and accepting. We wouldn't be debating switching schools because our incredibly smart yet young daughter rubs the other kids the wrong way sometimes. I wish these kids could see the incredibly funny, sweet, imaginative and creative kid that she is. I wish they could look past or even just accept that she is young, impulsive and sensitive. No one who knows me would call me a mama bear with blinders. I am fully aware of my kid's flaws. I've seen her in action. I know what she is capable of (positive and negative). I've also seen her classmates in action. They are far from perfect. I've seen them whine, fuss, pout and sulk, too. Being a kid is hard. For everyone. Do they have to be so hard on each other? Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I was born and raised in Michigan. I was literary born on the bathroom floor of my childhood home. l lived there for 20 years. Then we moved 250 yards down the road. I went away for college and paralegal school. I lived in Virginia for a year as a newlywed. Then we moved back home. Well, 7 miles from home. Too far, in my dad's mind. Almost 3 years ago we moved to South Bend, Indiana. In November. Not the best time to move. I was trapped at home for 5 months with a 18 month old boy. We both had severe cabin fever because we didn't know anyone yet and couldn't leave the house because it snowed crazy amounts everyday. It felt like living at the North Pole. Spring came and we ventured outside and slowly started to meet people and make friends. We have a wonderful group of new friends here now. We still miss home, friends, family and neighbors, though. This weekend, at a party, I was talking about "back home". A friend pointed out that THIS is home now. Is it? I have only spent 9 of my 41 years outside of Michigan. Where is home? Where you were born? Where you lived the longest? Where you live now? What makes some place home? Is it the people? Is it having family close by? How do you define home? Can you have more than one home?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wife Swap

I gotta wonder how these women convince their husbands to do this show. "Hey, honey, know how I am always right, know what's best for everyone and my parenting style is above reproach? I have this sweet idea. How about we go on national TV, expose our lives and children to the world for public ridicule and humiliation? Oh, and the best part? While I am off terrorizing another family, they will pair you up with my polar opposite. And you will spend 2 weeks learning all about why we are failures as parents. Sound good? So, let's check the calendar and let the public humiliation and warping of our childrens' fragile psyches begin for the amusement of the general population". I can't decide who they would pair me with? Some survivalist family? I'm not exactly known for my ability to rough it. I think camping as a vacation is a bizarre way to pretend you are homeless as a form of relaxation. I don't even own a sleeping bag. Unless Sara's Tinkerbell one counts and that has never been outdoors. Or some Little House On The Prairie farming, roughing it, living off the land family? Amusing, yet my allergies would kill me the first time I tried to milk a goat (or whatever animal farm people milk). Another amusing choice would be some Martha Stewart über mom who works full time, takes care of the home, hearth, husband and offspring while wearing a power suit and heels. I live in jeans. I can barely get my 8 year old on the bus and I'm still wearing pajamas when it picks her up. I forget to plan dinner some nights. While I can see the prospect of me on Wife Swap or Trading Spouses would be amusing for my friends and family, I cannot see surviving in some other family's dysfunction.
Where do they find these families? How do you decide to subject yourself and your family to this? You know they are going to pair you with your extreme opposite just for grins and giggles? Don't set your TiVo yet. I'll stay home and keep my dysfunction relatively private. However, I do have some rather amusing suggestions for my replacement here. I'd love to see my husband go toe-to-toe with some people. We could place bets on who survives.

My Birthday

Its not my fault. I've been saying that for 41 years and I'm still getting blamed. I was born in the middle of the night during a blizzard in March. Having done this 5 times already, my mom knew what she was doing. She kicked my dad out of bed, called a neighbor to babysit and headed to the hospital. When they arrived, she told them, "I'm in labor. I'm having a baby". They checked her out and sent her home. Seriously? The lady gave birth every year and you second guess her? So, they drive home, get stuck attempting to climb the driveway and head upstairs to bed. Now, I decide I'm ready to make my appearance. My mom got up to use the restroom and realized that I was about to arrive. My dad called a neighbor who had not delivered a baby since medical school back in the 18th century. One of my brothers wakes up and announces he needs to use the bathroom. The dog starts barking. The only one who remained calm was my mom (and me). To get him out of the way, the doctor told my dad to find some thing to cut the cord with. What does my father find? Fishing line!!!! Picture a lawyer rummaging around the garage in a tackle box for fishing line. After delivery, the doctor calls my mom's OB, who is convinced that the whole thing is a prank call. Bobbie Roche gave birth to a GIRL on the bathroom floor??? When the ambulance arrived to take us to the hospital, she got into an argument about who was carrying me out to the ambulance. Guess who won? At the hospital, having just delivered a beautiful baby girl with no drugs, my mom could use a little nap. Nope, the doctors decide I was not born in a sterile environment and cannot be kept with the other babies. If they had ever seen my moms scrub a bathroom, they would know it was more sterile than any OR. So, my mom gets me as a roommate. I guess I'm not the ideal roommate. I kept her up all night. What can I say? I like to make an entrance. And I like to party all night.

Girl Scouts- No Place For Wimps

I am not very bright. I will be the first to admit that. So, that would explain why I agreed to chaperone a Girl Scout sleepover to an indoor water park to celebrate the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts. I have to pretend to be homeless and sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor in a room full over over tired and over wired 3rd graders. I don't even own a sleeping bag. Why would I? I own a home and a bed. I like to sleep there. Sara, of course, is thrilled and has already packed her bags several times. I am an old lady. I need my sleep. I need my sleep in a comfortable setting, not surrounded by 100+ screaming, giggly 8-9 year olds. I have prepared my husband for the fact that on Saturday, he will be dealing with 2 very tired and cranky females. I plan on coming home, locking the bedroom door and taking a very long siesta.

Sara came home Friday from school with an ear piercing infection. She didn't believe me when I assured her we would not be amputating her ear. The doctor prescribed antibiotics. I raced home, ripped out Christian's car seat to make room for extra girl scouts, threw our luggage in the car and headed to the water park. Our troop was 14 girls and 4 moms. I was terrified they would stage a coup and take over. Home base was a large conference room. Some women came prepared. They had food, water, snacks and blow up mattresses. This was not their first rodeo. I forgot to feed my kid so her dinner was cake and popcorn. We arrived at 6. We had 3 hours to kill before we took over the water park. Calling it organized chaos would be too kind. Picture 100 kids running around hyped up on sugar and mothers looking terrified and exhausted. And we haven't even started swimming. They swam from 9 to midnight. From midnight to 1a.m. was "quiet time". You can guess how quiet the girls were. They were racing around in their pajamas like balls in a pinball machine. Lights off was 1 a.m. My kid's regular bedtime is 7:30 p.m. She held up remarkable well. Apparently sugar, chlorine and adrenalin works for. The kids fell asleep pretty quickly. The moms weren't so lucky. Sleeping on a dirty floor in a sleeping bag surrounded by snoring moms, coughing kids, kids repeatedly 'shushing' each other is not a restful experience. Lights on was 7 a.m. Everyone looked like they have been in dark solitary confinement for weeks. I grabbed 2 sleeping bags, 4 sleepy girls still wearing pajamas and hit the road. I'm not sure I even dropped the right child at the right home. All I know is I had a nap in my future. Sara had a blast and can't wait to do it again. I told her we would do it again for the Girl Scouts 200th birthday. Until then, we will be sleeping at home in beds.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Never ending Bullying

Does bullying ever stop? Nope, it changes. It gets more sophisticated and nastier as we enter the jungle that is motherhood. Not only do parents have to endure sleep deprivation, bedtime battles, eating battles, sibling battles, now we get mommy battles, complete with judgement and backstabbing. I follow quite a few mommy blogs and I'm shocked at the comments I read. Here is a wacky thought. If you don't like someone's blog then don't read it. Don't ridicule and complain about it. Go read someone else's blog. Most of the mommy blogs are funny, amusing and an outlet for tired, overwhelmed and frustrated moms to vent. The other (über) moms have to get offended, critical and judgmental and voice their nasty opinions instead of letting people have their voice. The only thing worse than a third grade bully is a grownup bully. We all know who they are. They are always right. They know best. They are better than the rest of us. They are permanently stuck in the third grade where they thrived by picking on others. Everything is a competition and they have to win at any cost, even someone else's feelings.

Right now, we are trying to teach our third grade daughter to stand up for herself but also let some things slide. She needs to learn to let things roll off her back, not get riled and ignore the girls who bait her, pick on her and put her down. It's hard as an adult to do that. How do you do that as an 8 year old? We have told her to ignore, walk away, say "you are entitled to your opinion" and "you are not the boss of me". It's starting to work. When a girl tells her "you are so annoying to me that I'm going to punish you. You cannot play with xxxx", instead of getting riled up, crying and getting into a fight, she calmly said "you are not the boss of me or xxx". No, we don't call the girl's parents. We don't want these issues to become major issues. We want her to learn conflict resolution and independence. I don't want my 7th grader running to me to solve every little problem. During her life, she will encounter some real pieces of work and need to know how to handle them. The problem is, Sara is very much her mother's daughter. She wants everyone to like her and will keep trying way too long. Sometimes perseverance isn't a good trait. She thinks that if she changes this or that, then this girl will miraculously start being her friend. We have assured her repeatedly that she doesn't have to change anything about herself. It's ok that this little girl doesn't want to be her friend. She has lots of friends, good friends who treat her the way she should be treated. Every day, when she comes off the bus, I can tell by the look on her face how her day went. She has a terrible poker face. If this girl gave her a hard time, it shows on her face. We have told her over and over not to let anyone have that much power over her. Not there is an upside to this kind of conflict, but I hope she learns a few things from this experience. I hope she learns to stand up for herself. I hope she learns to maintain her sense of self no matter what others say or do. I hope she learns to treat everyone with respect and dignity and ignore those who don't give it back to her. And above all, I hope she never, ever becomes a bully who needs to put others down to feel better than others.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Of Mice & Men

Our son, Christian, is 3.8 years old. He has never set foot in a Chuck E. Cheese. A record I hope to maintain until he is collecting social security. It is a loud, crowded, overpriced and brightly lit Petri dish. There is one of these god-forsaken establishments on the other side of town. Today, we happened to be in the area and I wanted to run into a sporting goods store next to it. (Don't laugh. I have been inside these 'sporting' stores occasionally. I never know what they sell and ask really dumb questions). When we were walking out, Christian pointed and yelled "Mom, look! A Chuck E. Cheese. Can we go?". I was floored. The kid can't read. He has never been to one before. How did he know what it was? He quickly educated me. "Cole from my school told me that's where you go when you have a birthday and it makes your birthday better". What? Are you kidding me? The kid's birthday is not for another 4 months and he is already plotting his MTV Super Sweet 16 mega bash?! I tried to deflect and postpone this conversation. "Buddy, your birthday isn't until June. Let's talk about it then". Undeterred, he shoots back with "It's June now so that means it IS my birthday!" Not to be out-manauevered by a 3.8 year old, I come back with "No, it's it June yet. It's too cold to be June". Being a brilliant problem-solver, he announced "If we went inside Chuck E. Cheese, it wouldn't be cold because it would be warm inside". Yes, your logic is flawless, buddy. But, I am the grownup and mama says your birthday stays in June and we won't be celebrating at a place that will pretty much guarantee that we will all need penicillin in mega doses after the party.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My contributions to my husband's career

I like to think of myself as a loving and supportive wife. Ok, so I am a stay-at-home mom a.k.a sponge. He makes the money and I spend it. Through the years of our marital bliss and his career growth, I feel I have contributed in significant ways. My first boost to his career occurred while he was on a marketing trip to Cleveland. As he was introduced to a young female executive, he commented that Cleveland is my favorite city. She expressed surprise until he explained that I went to John Carroll University. Turns out she was a classmate of mine. She asked about my maiden name. Upon learning my identity, she exclaimed "Barb settled down?! I mean, congratulations!". See? My love of the Mistake on the Lake created a bonding moment with a potential client. My second major contribution was more about what I didn't say. Shortly after our move to South Bend, my husband sprung a faculty dinner on me at the last minute. I guess the last minute notice cut down on my griping about having to get dressed up and make chit chat with business professors. Upon my arrival, I was handed a glass of chardonnay and introduced to Fr. Hessberg. For people who have no idea who he is, don't feel bad. Turns out, everything on campus is named after him. I almost blurted out "I thought you were dead!". I stopped myself and swiftly change the subject to something other than his premature demise. See? I can be a great trophy wife. My third contribution to my husband's career advancement came this week. Paul was trying to sell a program to a company and the subject of sales came up. My husband thought it would be a great idea to reference the sales tactics used in "Tommy Boy", the best movie ever. Rather than admit I have forced him to sit through it numerous times, he started singing "Fat Guy In A Little Coat" and blamed me. He also mentioned that our son's nickname is "tons of fun". I guess it sealed the deal. I may not win clients over with my wit, charm and grace. I win them over with my college antics, ability to shut up sightly before offending a cherished member of the clergy and my knowledge of random movie trivia. Like me, you are probably wondering why he invites me to work functions.