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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Forgive me Father for I have sinned, and Strawberry Shortcake saw the whole thing

There has been a lot written about those people at BlogHer who got so greedy about swag, they lost all common decency in an effort to acquire More Stuff They Don't Need.

I have a confession:

I walked that dark, lonely path for a few minutes this past weekend.

No, I didn't elbow a baby, try to blackmail the Crocs guy or crash an invite-only luncheon for the yummy bathrobe. But, I was a Swag Whore just the same.

Follow me, dear reader, down my path of shame. Wear shoes; it gets sticky.

It was the first day of the conference, and I had already gotten off schedule by the second session. Arriving super late to the session on Brands and Bloggers (which featured my super-ethical friend on the panel), I hesitated at the door when I saw the standing-room only crowd.

Something caught my eye as I stood, and I looked to the left where a life-sized cardboard cutout of Strawberry Shortcake was propped against a table. A couple of smiling women at the table beckoned. I took their bait thinking to myself, "maybe they will have a little sticker that I can bring home to my berry sweet girls" (hey, I know the lingo; we have her books).

"Hi", I said, planning to grab a couple of stickers and run.

"Hi", Smiling Woman #1 said. "Go inside and hear this panel. We have dolls in all the gift bags."

Dolls in the gift bags.

I immediately thought of those dolls, nothing but those dolls. My girls love dolls! They'd think I was the greatest mommy ever if I brought one home!

I forgot all about my friend on the panel in the room next door and scooted into the Strawberry Shortcake "MommyBlogging" panel. Did I mention that there were only 15 minutes left?

Sliding into a chair, I moved a pink tissue-filled gift bag to my feet. Score! The girls will think I'm SO cool when I bring them one doll.

One doll.

I have two girls.

I looked to the empty seat to my right and spied a second gift bag. Could I swipe a second bag? Was this unethical? Or just smart parenting?

Fifteen minutes later, I strode out of the conference room with one bag.

One bag stuffed with TWO dolls. Oh yeah, I knew to hide my swag-a-holism.

I went to the next session and sat with the gift bag between my feet. And when I got up to go to the next session, I forgot the bag until I was far away.

"I forgot something!" I chirped and speed-walked back to the room I had just left.

The bag was gone.

As I retraced my steps, I first felt sad that my girls would not be getting two hot Strawberry Shortcake dolls from their swag-whoring mama. But, then I realized that it was karma, baby, that caused me to leave that bag behind.

Those dolls were never mine.

Unconsciously, I had set them free, and thus relieved myself of the scarlet letter of shame.

Which someone else now wears for taking my bag of dolls.

May they wear it well.


I Left My Kids. . .

I left my kids, and they are so glad I did.

If I hadn't left, they wouldn't have gone on an hour-long hike to the top of the world.


If I hadn't left, he would still be on four wheels versus two.


If I hadn't left, she wouldn't have been able to save the free world. . . .


. .with their help.


With me out of the picture, they got to spend much-needed time with their dad alone. Which is a good thing.

But, that doesn't mean I stayed away forever. Just four days.

Enough time to do stuff like this, which was good for me too.


(many thanks to Dove Clinical Protection for the hilarious photo booth at Sparklecorn! Bonus points if you can ID my hot, sexy date)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When My Virtual World Becomes Real

My online life started in the mid 90's with Firefly's music site. I gave myself the user name "Bar Name: Kitty" and started to post my music preferences. I made friends with a guy named Jaime who lived on the west coast. He made me a mix tape; it was totally platonic (he was married) and cool. When Firefly went under, that casual friendship went with it.

A few years later, while planning my honeymoon to Costa Rica via AOL's Travel site, I started to exchange emails with a woman who was getting married there a few months before our trip. We compared our trip notes, and she later shared her beautiful photos with me. The month after Fairly Odd Father and I moved into our home, she came to our open house with her husband. She is a lovely person, and we are now Facebook friends.

And, then, when pregnant with Belly, I met up with a bunch of moms-to-be on Baby Center. We eventually migrated to our own private Yahoo Group. For the past nine years, we have cheered each other's good news and cried over the sad. One of those little babies is with the angels and some of the moms have disappeared from the group, but many of us remain, using Facebook now to keep in touch. I've met some of these women in person and know I'd try to see others if I was in their part of the country.

And now, tomorrow, I will hop onto a plane, leaving behind my three kids and my husband on my birthday to meet even more people I only know through the internet. The occasion is the two-day conference known as BlogHer where a whole lotta women (and some brave men) will descend upon Chicago. There are speakers, break-out sessions and a chance for me to meet people I've befriended through my computer screen.

There will also be enough parties to wipe out the 20-year-old me---we'll see how the newly 42-year-old me does.


(and if you were wondering when I'd tell you how mean a mama I am, check out the original post which I've updated to include my comments)


Monday, July 20, 2009

Am I a Mean Mama? Your Thoughts, Please?

Jilly, my 6 year old, did not like dinner tonight. I admit that a sandwich was not exactly the most inventive thing I've ever made, but there were hot sides (roasted carrots! breaded zucchini! tater tots!) and cold salads (potato salad, marinated chick peas and cole slaw).

So, not a totally crappy dinner.

But, she didn't like her sandwich, the sandwich she ordered specifically in Chez Mama's kitchen, and so she took the pickle juice left in the jar and poured it all over her sandwich roll (I should point out that 2/3rd's of the sandwich was remaining; also, I was already in the kitchen washing dishes when she did this, so I had a moment to collect myself before I spoke to her).

How would you have reacted?

1. You would have sat her butt at that table and told her she was to eat every last bite of the pickle-flavored sandwich because food is not to be wasted like that.

2. Lectured her about wasting food needlessly and made her eat a bite of the sandwich so she would know how nasty it tasted. Also, no fruit for dessert.

3. Shook your head in a "kids are kids" moment, blamed yourself for making a half-assed dinner and proceeded with the night as usual (dessert and bed).

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I'll tell you what I did later.


Update: I did #2.

Now some explanation:

The only reason I didn't yell was because my oldest had tattled, I mean alerted me to what had happened to the sandwich while I washed dishes in the kitchen. This gave me a moment to calm myself (I agree that I shouldn't yell at all, but, um, yeah, ain't going to happen without loads of therapy).

The reason I posted this as a question/discussion is because, normally, I would never have made her take a bite of the sandwich, and I wondered if I was being abnormally cruel. I did it because 1) I had specifically told her we could wrap the sandwich up and save it for later; 2) she poured bread-n-butter pickle juice on the top of the roll which I thought would be less nasty to taste then dill juice.

It was a small bite. But, I told her there were plenty of families that would've made her eat the entire thing. She then proceeded to pitch a fit when I told her "no dessert; go to bed!"

Also, I think I blocked this out after going through this once before, but aren't 6-7 year old girls crazy hormonal? I will never survive 13 with her if this is how she's serving up 6 1/2.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Co-Sleeping Did To Our Son

For almost four years, he slept in our big king-size bed, nestled by my side.

For a few months after that, he shared a room with his sisters

And, this weekend, he finally got his own bed in his own room.

So, how does a kid who has never slept by himself do after so much co-sleeping?


Just fine, thank you.


Friday, July 17, 2009

A Perfect 10

One hot summer day, ten years ago, we said "I Do" before a small group of close friends and family.

It was 101 or 110 degrees (depending on who is telling the story), but we still danced with abandon.

I asked everyone to keep me away from red wine so I didn't stain my dress, but then went on to drink vodka and cranberry juice all night.

There was no tossing of the bouquet, no garter belt, no chicken dance, but we cut the cake together, danced to our song, and kissed anytime a glass was clinked.

We said no to a limo, but rode off into the night on the back of a chauffeured paddle boat.

The year was 1999, and even though the world (or, at least, Prince) was worried it could all end soon, for us, our lives were just beginning.

Happy Anniversary, my love.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Zumba: It's Not You, It's Me

I have never felt more white and nerdy than the time I attended a family member's wedding with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. This family member was marrying a man of Cuban descent, who had a big family full of beautiful women in it. As I stood there in my pale, shapeless sundress, I looked at their tan skin, shapely bodies in low-cut dresses and their moves on the dance floor and sighed. I was angular and awkward to their sultry and confident.

I haven't felt that way too often in the years since then. Maybe having three little kids around me hasn't given me the time to obsess over how goofy I may be, at least in my mind's eye.

Until today.

I recently joined a gym, and with the kids in day camp, I have been able to try out some classes. This morning, I decided to try out a Zumba class, having heard all about this new workout craze from friends.

I knew I was in trouble approximately .00002 seconds into it, when the instructor stuck her hip out in a way that my hip does not move. And, for the next hour, I tried in vain to imitate the gyrations, shimmies and booty shakes I saw in front of me.

(I'm feeling a bit guilty about borrowing a video clip that isn't mine, so if you want to see Zumba in action, check out one of these vids on You Tube)

At first, it was all I could do not to laugh. The class went left--I went right. They shook their booty and my booty said, "no". I felt like a newborn fawn---all new, stumbling legs. I rolled my eyes and soldiered on, giggling at the absurdity of it all.

But, after 15 minutes of this, I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my lack of coordination. It stopped being funny when not one person caught my eye during the quick water break. Not one person said, "oh, don't worry, it took my months to get the hang of it". By the time the music started up again, I had to bite my lip to hold back tears.

Somehow I made it through the hour by basically making up my own steps. If I saw her do "cha, cha, ball change, cha", I did "step, step, step, step". And forget about the arms.

Sure, if I went another 20 or 30 times, I might get good enough to keep up with the class. But, when I have one hour to do a workout, I don't want to have to learn an entire choreographed dance routine in order to work up a sweat.

This is probably why I still love Jillian's 30-Day Shred: no coordination necessary. Perfect.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's Your Bar Name?

I'm a wimp when it comes to liquor. The only alcohol I've had "straight up" was the vodka I gulped down one night in high school when I thought I was reaching for my water glass and accidentally picked my father's glass.

And, the so-called "brown" liquors? Oh no, no, no, no.

Except for one night in the 90's, when I went to a media event sponsored by Dewars Scotch Whiskey at the House of Blues in Boston. They were trying to get younger kids to drink their product by mixing Dewars with things like sour mix and Coke.

I showed up at the House of Blues with my Best Friend at the time, and we hung out with a sales reps from one of the magazines I worked with regularly. After a few sweet drinks, the bartender leaned across the bar and asked us if we'd fill out a postcard with information about ourselves, presumably for the Dewars marketing folks.

Feeling warm, fuzzy and giggly, I read the words on the postcard for my two friends to hear: "Name", "Address", "Phone Number", "Bar Name" and "Date of Event".

"Hmmmmmm. . .", I wondered out loud. "What is my Bar Name?"

"Mine is Polly," said my Best Friend at the time.

"Oh, mine would be Kitty!", I said triumphantly.

"What are you guys talking about?" asked the confused magazine rep.

"Oh, you know----your Bar Name! It's the name you give someone when you don't really want to give them your real name!"

"OH! I'd be Dr. W", she said without hesitation.

We laughed over our bar names for a moment when I felt a hand tap my shoulder. I turned to face the same bartender who was now looking at us with a look of complete and utter disbelief.

"Bar Name. . ." he said slowly. ". . .House of Blues".

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Bladder Has Fallen And I Can't Get Up! Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About Cystocele?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read everything I could. But, one thing no one told me was that one possible side effect of childbirth could be that my bladder may someday fall out of its normal resting spot inside my body.

Now before I send any of my pregnant readers into a tizzy, please note that this condition, known as cystocele, is fairly uncommon, especially among younger women. But, if you have ever needed a reason to kegel, keep reading.

By the way, if you are male, heed my warning and stop now. Go watch something on Tivo or make a snack.

OK. . .all clear?

Here's the scoop:

It was another ordinary night in the Fairly Odd household in spring '04. Fairly Odd Father was enjoying a night out with the boys to see the Boston Bruins. I was four months pregnant with my third child. Belly was three and Jilly had just turned a year old.

I decided to give the girls a bath, so I got the water in the tub ready. But, as I lifted them into the tub, I felt an odd sensation. It was if something was sliding out of me. Not painful, just not right. I had visions of me birthing my baby right then and there, on the bathroom floor. I thought about an ex-coworker who told the story of how her mother knew she was about to birth her twins when she looked down and saw a leg coming out. "I hope I don't see a leg" was all my brain could muster.

(deep breath)

I then reached down and pushed something back up into my body. Something squishy and fleshy and not a baby leg. I suppose I should be so very thankful of that fact.

Miraculously, I had brought the phone into the bathroom with me, and dialed my OB/GYN's number with shaking fingers. I got the answering service and will never forget the poor guy who had to answer my call. "Excuse me, what is happening?" I'm not sure what he said to my OB/GYN, but 60 seconds hadn't passed before my OB was calling me back.

I answered his questions:

* no, no blood (thank goodness)
* yes, it seems to be up there again, although I am lying down with my head propped up so I can see my two babies who are still in the tub
not having any contractions or anything to indicate I'm going into labor

I thought I'd soon hear an ambulance driving up to take me to the ER, but instead he told me to take it easy, go to bed and come in first thing the next morning.

Really? Well, OK!

Except, not OK, because I still had my two girls stranded in the tub (there was no way I was going to try to lift them), and a husband at least an hour away. So, I called my next-door neighbor who (thankfully) knows us well and had a key to the house. I then called my husband on the phone and turned him a little more gray by blubbering the following into the phone:

"(sob) I need you to come home right now because something is falling out of me but I don't think it's the baby but it might be my uterus and (neighbor) is coming to help but I need you home, and I'm freaking out and I need you home (sob)."

My beloved neighbor got the girls out of the tub, ready for bed and tucked in, probably even with a bedtime story, while I lied in my bed and let my mind race. What the heck was going on with my body? Is this my fault for getting pregnant again so close to baby #2? Maybe a VBAC hadn't been such a great idea. Why hadn't I done those stupid kegels?

The next morning, I felt better but was scared to do anything that might aggravate things. I got myself to the doctor's office and went through an exam where he determined that it was probably not my uterus that had fallen, but my bladder. I guess that pushing out my 8 lb, 12 oz Jilly had weakened everything enough that, when a new baby started to sit on top of everything, it made the bladder droop down where it shouldn't go.

This was unbelievable to me.

"Wait. My bladder can fall out of me like that? Will other organs start falling out too? But, how do some women have 10 kids? Are you saying that all of them have had their bladders fall out of them? Why doesn't anyone talk about this???"

I will never forget what my OB said to my panicked questions:

"Listen---I've seen women who have had 10 kids and no problems, and some have one and---poof!---it all falls apart. But, listen, this isn't too uncommon. I have little old ladies who shuffle in here all the time with their uterus hanging down to their knees."

I'm pretty sure I whimpered at this point, thinking briefly of all those little old ladies I had passed shuffling down the halls in the medical center. I sure as hell hope he was joking to take my mind off my own issues.

I was fortunate, though, because my cystocele kind of straightened itself up on its own. Oh, sure, I made sure to sit down more often during the day, especially if that feeling started to come back. But, as my body changed during pregnancy, it seemed to hold everything in place.

I was petrified of what would happen after I pushed out my third, but things were not too bad. D was my biggest baby at just over 9 pounds, but my cystocele came back only mildly after his delivery. I found a wonderful specialist in Urogynocology and paid a few visits to her but we decided to take a "wait and see" approach. My goal was that if I needed surgery to correct things, I wanted to wait until my youngest was at least five years old.

Well, D is 4 1/2, and things seem pretty good. I'm active (hey Shredheads!) and am still crappy at remembering to kegel. I even have a whole set of, um, weights, that I never use, but will probably need to reconsider as my age keeps going up. Although I don't think I'll ever top her achievement.

But, I'll probably never run a 5K again (or a 1K) or do my first triathalon, which is kind of a bummer, but if I can get through the rest of my days with all of my internal organs staying internal, I'm willing to make some sacrifices.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

So, Do You Feel Lucky Punk?

Check out my review site where you could win this Italtrike tricycle from All Modern Baby, the very cool place to find kid furniture, strollers, toys and decor like Stokke Sleepi, Bugaboo strollers, notNeutral wood blocks and Wall Candy Arts Wall Decals.

The contest is only open until Monday, July 13 at midnight EST!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Her Expanding Vocabulary

My 8-year-old came up to me the other day and said, somewhat shyly, "Friend X told me that it is a swear if you put your middle finger up on your hand".

Ahhhhh. . .yes, gotta love those moments in life when the unsavory creeps into a regular day.

After explaining that the middle finger is indeed an unkind gesture that she is never, ever to repeat (especially to other homeschoolers because then we will be "THAT" family), I sent her on her way.

The next day, we went food shopping. Our town's giganto supermarket has a drop-off child care room with wrist bands, beepers and video cameras, and even though it isn't my favorite food store, that feature alone is a pretty big draw.

After leaving the kids to play under the watchful eye of Some Woman, I picked up the kids. In the parking lot, Belly pulled me to her and whispered, "the woman in there said a bad word."

The word was "shit" which, yes, is a bad word. I found out that the woman had said it to her adult son who had stopped by to discuss a bill he had received. And, although I think she could've used better judgment, I didn't freak out after I found out she wasn't yelling at the kids when she said it.

"What's it mean Mommy?"

"It means poop. It's an icky word. Please don't repeat it."

And, then the last word was "ass", courtesy of Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred.

"It means bum or butt. Please don't repeat it", I said wearily.

As she turned to go, she realized something and announced excitedly, "Hey! I learned 3 new swear words this week!"

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Monday, July 06, 2009

It Could Have Been Worse: he could've said this to me.

My sister's Father-in-Law came up to me at our annual fourth of July BBQ at the pond and told me he had been talking to D.

Now, this is notable because just a few months ago, D wouldn't talk to anyone without some coaxing, plus his speech was often too difficult to understand.

Oh, for those days. . .

Because, FIL said (while laughing, thank goodness), "D came over and told me, "Wow, you have a fat belly!""


I blushed, apologized (which was waved off with a "well, I DO have a fat belly!") and found D.

"Honey, please, only nice words. Don't tell Poppy that he has a fat belly. That might hurt his feelings."

A few minutes later, I found out how my little pep talk had affected D.

"I now going to call you Mr. Fat Belly!"

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Red, White, Blue and SUN!

There is sun this morning in Massachusetts (and Woody is no where to be heard)!

Happy Fourth of July to all who celebrate.

Here's what the kids will be watching this morning before we head out to the parade:


Thursday, July 02, 2009

I Love My Type B Kids

To my children,

There's been a lot of talk lately about us moms being "bad" or "Type B" which I take to mean that we aren't fitting into what society has tried to feed us as the New Rules of Mothering. Instead, we may let you watch too much TV, eat sugary cereal, jump on the couches, go outside without the right coat, pick your nose, or draw all over your body with magic marker, all in an attempt to eke out a little "me" time to work, meditate, watch Oprah, sneak cookies or whatever.

And, while I can't speak for everyone, I think I'm getting good results for my less-than-perfect effort. You guys are good kids, even with my lack of patience, short attention span, intermittent distractedness, and penchant for using electronics to buy myself some time alone.

I know I could do some things to be a better mom, but this isn't a one-way street kiddos: you could step up your game too. In other words, if you want your mom to become that Perfect Specimen of Motherhood, you're going to have to make some changes too.

For example,

1. If I cheerfully ask if you've done your morning chores, you will not look at me blankly, as if you've never heard the term "morning chores" even though we both know that they are written on a piece of paper hanging outside your bathroom door.

2. If I carefully create a full-course dinner with representation from all the major food groups using organic foodstuffs, you will eat it all cheerfully and proclaim me the best cook ever. You will not tell me that "dinner is yucky", refuse to touch anything on your plate and then whine that you are h-u-n-g-r-y after I've cleaned up the dishes.

3. If we sit down to play a rousing game of Candy Land for the 10th time of the morning, you will not flip the board over in protest when you end up with Plumpy. No, a Type A Mother would not shuffle the cards to send you back to the beginning.

4. If I were to shut off your Lego Star Wars video game or your Webkinz session because I just want to spend more quality time with my children, you will not proclaim that I am "stupid" and that you want to "kick" me.

At bedtime, if I were to make it through our multi-step bedtime routine of PJ's- brush teeth - story without yelling or complaints, you will not then jump all around your room until 9pm. No, a Type A child goes straight to sleep and does not wake her Type A mother until 8am.

See what I mean?

So, when you are ready to become a Type A child, just let me know and I'll see what I can do. And, if you'd rather keep things the way they are, I'm ok with that too.

In fact, I'm better than ok with that.

Now, shhhh, I have this Tweet to answer.

Love, Mom


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