I Have an Invisible Tattoo on My Forehead

Hi friends! Did you miss me? I’ve missed you. I really need to detox from the insanity of the past few months. First Christmas and New Years, then the long slog through January, three weeks of my husband being out of town, snow days, other stupid random days off of school, apocalyptic polar vortexes of doom…If hear the sounds of 16 horse hooves galloping down the street, I’m ducking for cover.

I think all of this end-of-the world weather has completely broken the filters on some people. The other day the Warrior Princess and I stopped in at Subway for a quick bite. While we were watching the sandwich artist assemble our gourmet meal, WP got super excited and did her happy dance when we came to the big tub of tomatoes (her favorite food…yeah…if she didn’t look just like me, I’d question her DNA.)

The guy at the register thought she was a hoot and asked me, “Is she your granddaughter?” Oh yes he did, friends. Yes. He. Did.

The lady assembling the sandwich went wide-eyed, sucked in air and looked at me in horror. I blinked a few times and said, “No. She’s my daughter. I’m just old.”

The mortified lady hurriedly clobbered my sandwich together, hurled it at the guy who was still fumbling around and muttering embarrassed gibberish. (I think she may have kicked him in the shin while she gave him a really good death glare.) Just to torment him some more, I scrounged around for awhile in my purse for a crumpled up coupon and took extra long to find the Subway MyWay Rewards app on my phone. Then I paid in cash with exact change just so he had to count it all. Then I cheerfully thanked him, and WP and I made our way to find a table.

As we were sitting there, I heard a heated conversation going on in the back room. Since I don’t speak Hindi, I wasn’t sure what was being said, but I imagine it was something like this:

“What the hell?!? Why would you ask her that?!?!”

“What?? I mean did you look at her? She looked like the lettuce when it’s time to throw it away!”

“Really, dude? You’re an asshole. She looks like she needs a good night’s sleep and a new eye cream. Why don’t you just ask the next customer if she’s pregnant while you’re at it!”

When I got home and told my dear husband, he thought it was the funniest thing in the world and proceeded to pepper me with old lady jokes for the rest of the evening. Later I was rubbing his back and said, “Hey. You marry a cougar, you better expect to get scratched.”

He replied, “Hah! Try saber toothed tiger!” And then he couldn’t breathe. I don’t know if it was from laughing so hard, or me knocking the wind out of him.

A few days later, I was filling out some paperwork at a doctor’s office and the lady behind the desk asked if I had kids. I replied, “Yes. Two boys who are 10 and 7 and a 3 year old daughter.”

“Wow! You’ve got your hands full! That’s quite an age spread. Were they planned that way?”

Yes. She. Did.

I did my blinking thing for a moment and answered, “Well, my husband travels to China a lot. When his trips were three weeks or longer, he tended to miss me and we ended up having another kid 9 months after he got back. He keeps his trips to two weeks or less now.”

She blinked back at me as she processed, “Ohhhh….”

Seriously folks. What is it about me that people just completely toss away their filter whenever they talk to me lately?? I think I must have an invisible tattoo on my forehead that only clueless people can see. It must say, “Come hither and talk to me. I love a good insult. Please tell me what’s on your mind.”

I mean I get it when my kids say things that are innocently unkind. Recently WP was in the bathroom with me (because why not? I mean I need my personal toilet paper dispensing assistant and morale coach every time I’m in there you know…) “Hey Mom. Your legs look funny,” as she pointed out the hail damage on my pasty white thighs. *sigh*

And then she gave the final blow to my already brittle ego. This weekend, Dear Husband said, “Hey Warrior. How about today you try and do a really good poop and pee on the potty for Dad?” Now mind you, I’ve been begging, bribing and badgering her forever trying to get her to use the big girl potty. But nope. Not on her agenda. Not now. Not ever. She will walk across the stage and accept her diploma while wearing a Pull-Up, thank you very much. So you know what that punk did? She did four pees and a poop on the potty that day and proceeded to run around showing off her cute squishy tushy in her Paw Patrol undies the rest of the day.

Yep. I quit. Finished. If you need me, you can find me in the corner of my closet curled up in the fetal position quietly whimpering. Until someone has something nice to say to me, I’m done here…or until my phone dies and I can’t play Boggle and scroll through Facebook anymore…but then after I’m charged up again, leave me alone!

 

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The Pukenami

It’s been a rough week, friends. We managed to survive Thanksgiving break I think. To be honest, most of it is but a distant memory which has been wiped out by the horrors of this week.

It all started on Sunday night. I was looking forward to finally having a few hours to myself on Monday after nine days of the kids being home. Then a text message from the school district popped up. Monday was declared a snow day due to the severe winter storm that was predicted. NOOOO!!! Come on, people! Eight to thirteen inches of snow is not that big a deal. Throw some chains on the bus tires and round up these misfits! Teachers and staff can’t make it in? Oh puh-leez. I could send out one group text message to fellow moms and we’d be on the streets en masse in our all-wheel drive mini vans and 4-wheel drive SUVs faster than you can say “Starbucks Run” to personally chauffeur each precious teacher right to the front door of the school to save us from our spawn.

Fine. Fine. Safety first I guess. At least with a snow day I could shove the kids outside to play or to a friend’s house to eat all their groceries and make messes there. (My apologies their friend’s moms. I owe you.) Thus another day was survived. Then at 1:30 AM Karma remembered. I woke up cursing First Born thinking he’d cranked the heat up to 84 degrees again. I stomped downstairs and checked the thermostat. Nope. Just where I left it. And then it hit me. For the next five hours I was violently ill every twenty minutes. Dear Husband came downstairs in the morning to get on an early morning conference call and found me in a heap on the couch. “Is something going on? Why are you down here?” I was too delusional and exhausted to give him one of my signature, “I loathe you” sneers.

I went upstairs to continue my slow, painful death. I stopped in the kids rooms to wake them up, “Guys. Mom’s super sick and I need your help. Can you please do a good job getting ready for school for me?” And you know what? They did! First Born got ready, got his little sister dressed and they all went downstairs. I rapid-fire texted some reminders to my husband whilst I curled up in the fetal position in my bed. Everyone managed to make it to school with just a marginal amount of yelling. The rest of the day was a blur of hallucination-riddled dreams and trying to keep down sips of water.

Just as I thought I was starting to peek around the corner of health later that night, Satan’s Wrath came for Dear Husband and beat him into submission. Hard. He was down for the count. Luckily we both prefer to suffer alone and in silence. Later that day I left him to suffer in peace and went on a Target run to get the bare necessities, but collapsed in sheer exhaustion next to him as soon as I got home. Eventually we both survived the day and were beginning to feel human again, so after the kids went to bed we started to binge watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix (highly recommend, btw…)

img_20181201_174907125.jpgEvidently, Karma was not done with our family and sent Satan knocking again, this time for Warrior Princess. I heard her coughing and went up to check on her, only to step in … Well…let’s just say I’m going to need to have her carpeting deep cleaned, or maybe just burn it and start over. DH heard me cursing and came up to find me stripping down her bed. He took one look and said, “I’ll go wash her fancy teddy bear that got hit with her toxic waste!” And quickly exited while I scrubbed carpeting, changed sheets and settled her back into bed.

I gaggingly shoved the carnage into the washer, set it to the hottest setting to nuke away the germs, and collapsed into the chair to watch some more Schitt’s Creek — Lord knows I needed some ironic comedy at this point. Alas, it was not in the cards. We heard crying coming from upstairs, thinking it was round two for dear princess. Nope. It was Young Son this time and it wasn’t pretty. He managed to hit every bit of bedding, and let’s just say I could tell he’d done a good job eating his vegetables at dinner. As we were stripping his bed, round two was starting up in darling daughter’s room. Somehow we got everyone cleaned up and back into bed. I wrapped up laundry loads two, three and four and tossed them in the laundry room and shut the door on the horror show. Comedy was no longer going to save us. We quit and went upstairs to bed, but I stayed awake since I knew the next rounds were coming soon. Luckily YS was one and done. WP fought four more rounds that night, but woke up triumphant in the morning.

It was now Thursday morning and we were four for five. I called in absences, cancelled the day’s appointments and YS, WP and I couch surfed for the day. Finally! Friday would be some time for me, right? I got the kids on the bus and savored a few moments of quiet, took a long shower and relaxed. Alas my reprieve was short-lived. You guess it. My phone rang and it was FB’s school. I fearfully answered and it was Nurse Nightingale. “First Born threw up. I’m so sorry.” It’s not like it was a surprise. Literally half of his class was out with the Plague already. At least now the circle of barf is complete and we can hopefully move on.

In my now over ten years of experience of dealing with young kids and stomach flu, I have learned a few things. For those moms who have yet to experience the joys of the stomach flu ravaging the entire house, I share these thoughts and tips with you:

  1. The size of the child and the volume of their stomach is inversely proportional. Brace yourself.
  2. When it hits, it’s gonna suck. But you’ll live through it: I know, I know. You hear that first gagging cough in the middle of the night and your blood runs cold. “NO!!!!” But now is not the time to hide. Mom up. GO! RUN! Get in there and keep that vomit vesuvius in one spot before they come running to you and puke all the way down the hall and all over your bed! Because if they do that, you will not want to live through this.
  3. Breathe through your mouth. The first clean up is the worst. To survive it without adding to the disaster at hand, breathe through your mouth. Think happy thoughts. Puppies and kittens. Rainbows and unicorns. Do NOT let panic set in! Strip down the puker, the bed (it’s just a rule of nature that they managed to hit every single sheet, blanket, pillow, stuffed animal and anything in a five foot perimeter,) hose them off as necessary and shove them back into bed. This is not a PotteryBarn Kids photoshoot you’re prepping for. This is field triage in the middle of war. Staunch the bleeding and take cover, because it’s not over, sister.
  4. Bath Towels are your best friend. Hopefully you have an extra set of clean sheets and mattress protector in the linen closet. This time, save yourself 20 loads of laundry and grab a stack of bath towels for your little vomit villain to sleep on. When the next round of hell hits, you only need to peel away a layer instead of changing the whole bed again. It’s all about conservation of energy. You’ll need it.
  5. Rely on Friends: I’m one of the worst at asking for help. When a friend says, “Ugh! I’m so sorry honey! Can I bring you anything?” The answer is always YES!  Inevitably the inmates ate the last of the saltines and left and empty box in the pantry and you meant to get more laundry detergent at the store that day. (Note: this is also a good time to test said friendship. If she brings you toxic waste colored Gatorade instead of the clear, she is not your friend and you need to find a new one. Seriously. Who gives a pukey kid the equivalent of a Sharpie in liquid form??)
  6. Never trust a fart. It’s a pretty sure bet that at least one person will have the lower GI version of hell when it hits. I forgot to remind my kids of this rule and suffered for my mistake. Poor WP had a rough go of it. What’s another load of laundry though…

On that note, I’m off to go spray Lysol on more things and throw in another load of laundry. Just a word of warning: the next person who asks me how my Christmas shopping is going is getting throat punched.

 

My Expert Advice for Newlyweds

wedding cakeA dear friend of mine recently got married. About a month after the wedding, she called me completely stressed out. “What have I done? I feel like I should have waited to get married!” Along with a new husband, she also inherited his teenage daughter and an ex wife who … well, let’s just say they were poster children for their roles. Her new husband was starting a new job, she was moving out of her house into his, and the stepdaughter was perfecting her dramatic teenage moves. Everyone was stabby, overwhelmed and panic was starting to set in.

It reminded me of another friend who called me a couple months after his wedding. “Do you know any good lawyers? I think I need to write a post-nup.” He too had been going through stress in his job and he had recently been in and out of the hospital fighting a chronic illness. He was mentally and physically drained and had nothing left to give his beautiful new wife.

What encouraging words did I offer them? “The first year of marriage completely sucks.” Good friend, eh? I told them both about my first year of marriage: I left a job I loved in Milwaukee to move to the Chicago suburbs to live with my new husband, my dad was seriously ill and had his second open-heart surgery, my new husband’s job was demanding and stressful and I was left floundering. “What do I do now?” I too questioned my choice to get married. “Wedded bliss” was a total crock!

As you look at these three situations, what do they have in common? Stress and change. I bet if I asked other married couples, most of them would tell me that their first year of marriage was filled with all sorts of stress that had been thrown at them, life changes and the overwhelming feeling of, “this is not what I signed up for.” And then we beat ourselves up for having such feelings. “But I married the love of my life! We planned for months, had this beautiful wedding surrounded by loving family and friends and now it’s supposed to be ‘happily ever after.’ What is wrong with me that I’m feeing so rotten?!”

Well, let’s unpack that a bit. So you’d been planning, anticipating and stressing about a huge life event for months. All that time, you had been showered with attention and parties and gifts. You’d been waiting for your big day for as long as you can remember. Now that it’s over, now what? You’ve now launched yourself into the great expanse that is to be the new rest of your life. Those fluffy towels you gleefully scanned when you were creating your registry aren’t quite as luxurious as you thought they were. The shiny new pots and pans have not magically turned you into the next Ina Garten, even when you serve your pathetic attempt at a gourmet meal upon the twelve place settings you fell in love with. (Hint: this is the time when you really need to get out those sparkly new wine glasses and try every single one out.)

The next thing I told my stressed-out, panic stricken friends was this: It’s okay to feel less than perfect. Cut yourself some slack, coast for a bit and detox as you try to navigate through this new life. Most of all, talk with your new spouse. Be honest about how you’re feeling, because I’m guessing he or she’s feeling a lot of the same things. Sharing these worries and doubts doesn’t mean you’re headed for divorce court. In fact, it will probably be a relief for both of you — you’re not in this alone and aren’t the only one feeling weak, scared and far from perfect. Now’s when the “for better or worse” part of your vows kicks in and you can get through this together. It gets better. Because now you can move onto the next big things to plan and dream about: buying a new house and having a baby. Those things will totally make your life fun and care free! Good luck with that.

 

The Things I Found When Cleaning

There are many days I find myself wishing I could have a glimpse into the future. No, not to know the winning Lotto numbers, who will win elections or if feathered bangs will ever be popular again. No. I want to know if my children will be productive members of society when they grow up, or will they be serial killers or [shudder] a politician one day. I feel like if I knew that it was all going to turn out okay, I could get through the bat shittery of their youth.

First Born Male Child is the one I worry about the most. Ever since he was a baby, I’ve always thought, “I am not parenting this child right.” I took him to Mommy & Me groups to play with other babies. But no. He wanted to hang out with the other moms. He’d crawl over, climb on a lap and turn on the charm while I sat and sang “Wheels on the Bus” by myself like an idiot. Later on, everything became a costume or a prop for the epic adventure he was acting out that day. Games and toys have rarely been used for their intended purpose at our house. They are either dismantled, combined with another toy, used as some sort of odd weapon or promptly lost.

On Monday I broke down and braved FBMC’s room. It had reached nightmare levels of chaos and mess and I couldn’t take it any longer. I am by no means a neat freak and have come to terms with the fact that my house will never be “company ready” no matter how hard I try.

I don’t expect my kids’ rooms to look like a PotteryBarn Kids catalog spread (as much as I would love that.) But I do expect to be able to step foot in them and actually touch carpeting with my foot rather than ten layers of dirty clothes (and probably clean ones that never got put away,) or have to wonder if I just felt something wet or was it alive?! God please let it have just been yet another towel that didn’t get hung up.

After Halloween, I knew it was probably going to be pretty bad, so I took a last swig of coffee, braced myself and went in. Garbage bag: check. Empty hamper: check. Lysol wipes: check. I was ready to do battle. “Okay. Let’s start with the big things. Make the bed first — rooms always look nicer with the bed made.” I pulled back the rat’s next of covers and immediately regretted it. I found wadded up clothes at the end of the bed, various candy wrappers, a half-eaten sucker stuck to the sheet (Lysol wipe that … fresh sheets are the least of my worries today,) and three different light sources to read by: mini finger “laser” pointer, dagger-style light saber and R2D2 flashlight. I confiscated the latter, threw out the former and moved on.

Next I filled up the hamper with all of the clothes that were everywhere but in their proper drawers (which of course were left open) or in said hamper where they belonged. I didn’t torture myself further with the sniff test for cleanliness — in the hamper it all went. Then I de-garbaged the floor, since he couldn’t fit any more in his garbage can, which was full of toilet paper which he had TPed his brother and sister’s rooms with for the umpteenth time. (His next allowance is going toward my next Costco run.) I still hadn’t found the remainder of the ten pounds of candy he had collected on Halloween. There was certainly plenty of dead wrappers and spilled Nerds and random (hopefully) chocolate ground into the carpet, but where was the rest?

*Sigh* I chugged some more coffee and decided it was time. [Insert horror movie music] Under the bed. Sweet baby Jesus, hold my hand. After clearing away a few inches of candy wrappers, I found it. All neatly sorted by type into baggies. (Sorting candy motivates this kid…laundry, not so much.) Then I found the bowl within another bigger bowl, filled with water and candy — wrapped and unwrapped. No that wasn’t completely vile or anything. (I was later informed by the perpetrator that you can spin the bowl within the bowl when there’s water in it and it’s super cool. And he also wanted to see which colored the water better: M&Ms or Skittles. I blame his second grade teacher for that one.)

After confiscating the good candy and carefully getting rid of the candy sludge, I went back in. I found a half-full ketchup bottle. Since there wasn’t any evidence of fries or hotdog buns, I figured he was hoarding it for a stupid fake blood prank of some sort which I had hopefully avoided. Then there were some petrified chocolate chip cookies (which reminds me I should bake some since I haven’t baked that type in months) and random bobby pins of mine (is he planning on becoming a burglar and has been practicing his lock-picking skills??)

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But my favorite find was Bat Barbie. HA! I knew the whole Bruce Wayne schtick was BS! Barbie has been Batman all along! Or was FBMC really turning into Sid, the mean neighbor kid in Toy Story who tortured all the toys? Hmm. It’s probably a toss-up. My friend encouraged me to mess with him, so I left this scene for him when he came home:

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But really the best part of Bat Barbie was when I got a call from the assistant principal at his school today while I was at the school dropping something off. He had brought Bat Barbie to school and was tormenting kids on the playground with it. Lucky for him, she was cool about it. Since I was there in person, I bequeathed Bat Barbie to her and she/he now has a place of honor upon her bookshelf. (I’m not sure which pronoun to use for Bat Barbie. My apologies.) I think my next batch of chocolate chip cookies will be dedicated to the assistant principal.

But Bat Barbie has not been my favorite FBMC find of all time. No, it wasn’t even when I found a half dozen pairs of Young Son’s super hero undies in the hydrangea bush beneath FBMC’s window.

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My favorite find was a few years ago when he was in about first grade. I found a bunch of purple tampon applicators scattered around his room. Just the applicators and a few random wrappers. When I got over my initial horror and questioned him on why he had them, he matter of factly replied, “I’m using them for magic potion dispensers.” I never did find out where the actual tampons went, and frankly I don’t think I want to know. So ladies, I’ll leave you with this little gem to think about when that time of the month rolls around again. May it be magical. You’re welcome.

Oddly Soothing Things: Part 1

We have this beast of a rug that sits under our kitchen table. It takes a ridiculous amount of abuse from three kids, being in the middle of the highest trafficked area of our house, the west sun that beats in on it from our patio windows, and all the crud that gets tracked in from the backyard, sandbox and garage. Really, it’s pretty amazing how this poor thing has not just rolled itself up and fled from the the horrible exploitation it has suffered.

Frankly, I can relate to how it must feel. Being a mom sometimes feels like being the poor, neglected, trod-upon kitchen rug. How many times haven’t I been peed/pooped/puked/spilled/ jumped upon, used as a human kleenex, and just generally abused? Sometimes when my kids threaten to call 911 on me because I’ve done something so horrid to them (like taken away their electronics or failed to provide dessert,) I tell them, “You know what? Go ahead. Getting hauled off to jail would be a joy compared to living here right now.”

Think about it. I wouldn’t have to cook for a bunch of ungrateful whiners (in fact meals would be prepared for me,) I wouldn’t have to share a toilet with boys who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with the wind at their backs, and there would be plenty of opportunities for naps and reading. I’ve lived with my own inmates long enough that I’ve become my own special brand of crazy, and I could take on any kind of violence and horrid behavior any fellow prisoner could throw at me. I could give the corrections officers lessons I bet…

Now wait. Where was I? (Sorry I drifted off into fantasy land there for a bit.) Oh yes. My poor neglected kitchen rug. So my friend Kevin and his brother Tim own Next Generation Oriental Rug Cleaning, and I follow their Facebook page. On it they post these addicting videos of them cleaning the rugs that are brought into their shop. I know. It sounds totally weird, but it is so oddly soothing and satisfying to watch. The swirling shampoo is mesmerizing. And then the rinsing! Oh, the rinsing! Seeing all the dirt and grime come pouring out of these rugs is about enough to make your toes curl in pure delight. Holy Hannah, it’s heaven! Then after the water runs clear, they put them into a fancy dancy rug centrifuge that spins out the rest of the water. Next comes the grooming and final drying. I swear the whole process is like watching a poor abused dog, covered in filth, fleas and matted gunk that has been rescued by the ASPCA get a bath, haircut and groomed. (Cue soulful Sarah McLachlan music.) Just like that… voila! A beautiful pup emerges, his tail wagging in joyful gratitude. I tell you. Watch these rug cleaning videos. This is how magic carpets are born, my dear reader. Swear to God.

I decided it was high time that our kitchen rug had the New Generation rug spa treatment. It was beyond hope that even the best Dyson money could buy or any attempts by me and my Bissell carpet shampooer could help. Kevin and Tim came out, rolled up the beast, took it to their shop and performed their magic. And they filmed it for me! So now I get to share the gloriousness with you!

Here’s Kevin shampooing the rug. Ahhhh….so soothing! Swirl, swirl, swirl…

Now here comes my favorite part: the rinsing! This is where it really gets cleaned. See all the brown sludge pouring out? That my friends, is years of kids not taking their shoes off at the door, a few gallons worth of spilled milk, ground-in petrified PlayDoh, forty pounds of sand from the sandbox, and a quart of dried tears that have been shed by my kids from being forced to eat their vegetables and other foods they’ve deemed inedible. (I wonder if I’m going to have to give Kevin and Tim hazard pay from seeing that horror show or all the filth clogging up their drain. I really hope they didn’t have to call Roto-Rooter.)

Check out the centrifuge. It spins at 1,000 RPM and wrings out nearly all of the water.

And there she is, in all her happy clean glory getting her final grooming to set the pile.

Check out these before and after pics too. They honestly don’t do it justice.

After watching all this mesmerizing cleaning, I think I’m going to bring my pillow and a blanket downstairs tonight and sleep on my clean, non-crunchy, mystery odor-free rug. It will probably be the cleanest thing in my house. Now I won’t be able to let my kids step foot on it, much less eat at the kitchen table. Guess they’ll be dining out on the deck or in the garage from now on.

Guess what, dear reader! If you live in northeastern Illinois, call New Generation Oriental Rug Cleaning and mention My Pediatric Psych Ward to receive 10% off your rug cleaning! Thanks, Kevin and Tim!!!

Next Generation Oriental Rug Cleaning
847-313-0433
http://www.nextgenrugcleaning.com

I have some more oddly soothing things I’ll share with you in the next post. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments! Stay tuned!

My Boys Will NOT “Be Boys.” They Will Be Respectful, Decent Human Beings.

Normally I like to keep my blog posts on the lighter side and about the insanity of parenthood and other oddball things I come up with. Today’s post is not one of those. It’s taking me way beyond my comfort zone to write this, because I loathe discussing politics and polarizing issues. Debate and confrontation generally make me want to hide under the covers and hope it goes away. I hate that I cannot have discussions with some of my friends for fear of offending and losing a friendship. As I type that I realize how ridiculous it all sounds.

But I’m not here to go into my opinion on the Kavanaugh hearing or the political motivations of either side of the aisle. That has been hashed out ad nauseum on line and in the press. It exhausts me. What still is sticking with me and keeping me up at night however, is how we treat assault — both the victim and the assailant. In the case of sexual assault, how come it seems that the assailant is inherently believed over the victim — that a victim’s perception and memory of events is far less reasonable and accurate than that of the assailant?

This past weekend, my husband and I were talking about the hearing and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s upcoming testimony. He asked me, “If that had happened to you as a teenager, you would have told your parents, right?” I answered him honestly. “Most likely not.” He was surprised, so I explained that I wouldn’t have for multiple reasons. First, I would have been afraid that I would have gotten in trouble for being at a party with underage drinking. Second, I would have worried that they wouldn’t have believed me. But far scarier to me than getting in trouble or not being believed, was the thought of what they most likely would have done: help me report it. The thought of all the drama, humiliation and pain it would have caused personally and publicly would have been unbearable. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to go to the police and relive the event, to be asked a million embarrassing questions, to have it turned on me as to what I was doing to have somehow “deserved” it. I’m sure the rumor mill at school would have burst into flames from working overtime. Mostly, I couldn’t bear the thought of what something like that would have done to my parents — the pain, hurt, embarrassment, sleepless nights or even the financial burden it would have caused. Wouldn’t it have just been far easier for me to hold it inside and deal with it myself instead of causing even more pain and suffering? And what if I didn’t get justice in the end? What would have been the point?

A friend of mine recently posted a powerful story on Facebook. I will paraphrase it here and hope I will have done it justice. She described how she was attacked as a teenager. She tried to remember details of the night, who exactly was with her or how long it lasted. But she does remember that her parents knew where she was, she was not dressed scantily, had not been drinking or doing drugs (although others around her may have been.) She has no idea what became of the others who were there that night. Unfortunately, she was in the right place at the wrong time. Then she asked, “Do you believe me? You know me and the kind of person I am.”

She went on to say, “Now, what if I say I was robbed, not raped? Because that’s what happened. I worked at a Wendy’s, and while we were closing the store, two men came in and robbed us [at gunpoint].” She went on to describe the tiny, little details she remembers about what happened during the robbery and how she thought she was going to die that night when one of the men held a gun to her head.

Then she asked, “Does that change your mind about whether I am telling the truth? If it does, maybe ask yourself why.”

Luckily no one was injured or killed that night, she and her coworkers were able to report it to the authorities, and the perpetrators were found and brought to justice. She was not ashamed or embarrassed to go to the police to tell her story, she didn’t have to ask herself what she may have done to “invite” this to happen to her, and she was believed. Think about that for a moment.

Back when I was single, younger and cuter, I was a director of special events for a health charity. I ran a variety of fund raising events, including high-end golf outings which consisted of mostly privileged white men. By the end of the evening when the alcohol had been flowing and the auction was coming up, I often was felt up, had suggestive comments made to me and even remember a guy grabbing me, pulling me onto his lap and sticking his tongue in my ear. Other men saw this and did nothing. I politely removed his hand, got up and walked away. I felt I couldn’t risk making a scene, bringing down the night and potentially losing thousands of dollars in donations for the charity from these men showing their machismo and bulging money clips. It all felt like “part of the job” and in fact, a co-worker called it “losing lipstick.”

I told my husband this story and he could not fathom how men could do such things to me. “I can’t imagine ever treating a woman or other human being that way.” Well, I know this and that’s just one of the reasons I married him. His honestly, loyalty and doing what is right even when it’s hard are some of his very best qualities.

The most important job as parents of our two sons and daughter is to teach them how to be respectful, kind and caring to everyone no matter their gender, race or views. I refuse to believe or accept that, “Boys will be boys” and their gender somehow gives them a pass on poor behavior. Do my boys do crazy “boy” things and misbehave? Absolutely. And I’m sure my daughter will do things to make me want to pull my hair out as she gets older too. What I do believe is that “Boys …and girls…will be respectful and decent human beings.” I want my sons and daughter to know this and live it. I already see it in so many of the things they do. There is hope.

It is our job as parents to help our children navigate through their lives, learn to make good choices, and that when we make mistakes to apologize when we’ve hurt someone. No one is perfect and sometimes we all need to be better about forgiving or giving someone the benefit of the doubt. What is never okay is to disrespect another person’s body and his or her power over it. It’s never okay for someone to disrespect our own body and power over it either. This goes for everyone, male or female: respect others and themselves. Furthermore, by allowing assault to happen or doubting the victim, we too are taking away even more of that person’s power over themselves.

I hope and pray that my husband and I can instill this in our children and that they will know they can always come to us for help and unconditional love no matter how old they are or what the circumstances. May we all be…and raise…good human beings.

 

 

Why Kids’ TV in the ’70s was the Best

For those of you who born in the 80s or after, listen up and take notes. I am here to educate you on why TV in the 70s was freakin’ awesome.

“Wow. That’s pretty random,” you say. Well, I’ve had a pretty crappy day today, so I IMed a friend:

“Having a really shitty day. Tell me something funny.”

She immediately shoots back:

Shazam. Totally what I needed.

This used to be one of my FAVORITE vignettes from Sesame Street. I can still feel the soothing sense of calm that would wash over me whenever it would come on. “Milk….Miiii-lllkkk” – heaven. The kitties getting their special little tray of milk from the farmer, then the satisfying milk pour into the bucket…Sigh…Oh! And then that dear sweet little baby who just wanted her bottle! “Oh, hold on baby girl! The milk man is going as fast as he can! Look! He’s running! He’s gonna bring you your milk!” And then she finally gets her bottle. Oh, pure bliss. [Fans self]

So this got us going on all the great skits and songs from Sesame Street and other shows from our childhood.

Then she sent me:

Oh. My. God! I LOVED this song! And I thought it was SOOO cool that this girl had a pet llama. In the CITY! And she really loved this llama because she took it to the DENTIST! As I think back on this, I have so many questions though. Like, 1) Where did she KEEP her  llama? On the fire escape? The roof? WHERE?! 2) Where were her PARENTS?!? I mean I’ve heard of “Free Range Parenting” but this is a bit ridiculous. 3) Who knew there were llama dentists in the city? Seems a little boutiquey for back then. 4) How did said llama dentist not get spit on and the shit kicked out of him by Nicki the llama, who surely was nicht pleased to be having her gnarly teeth scraped by this dude. It made MY teeth hurt just watching! 5) How did the writers at Sesame Street come up with the idea for this? Were they majorly tripping on acid one day, “Hey! Did you just see that girl walking down the street with her pet llama? FAR OUT!!! Maybe she’s taking it to the dentist! Quick! Get me a pen! I need to write this bitchin’ song down RIGHT NOW!”

So, not to be outdone by the Me and My Llama song, I shot back:

Bam! I used to go nuts singing and dancing to this song. I mean I looked like I was a poor white girl having convulsions or a mouse was running up and down my pants or something, but I really thought I had the moves! “Onetwothreefourfive sixseveneightnineten eleven TWELVE!” Did you know the Pointer Sisters sang that song? I know, right?! And the mesmerizing pinball zooming through the machine. Totally trippy. I still sing this song when I’m counting with my kids. They think I’m totally weird, especially when I throw in the mouse-down-my-pants dance.

You know how those “How It’s Made” shows got their start? Yep. Sesame Street. Who remembers the ever-so-satisfying crayon making video?

I still find myself looking pensively at my orange crayon and think, “Hmmm…I wonder how they made my orange crayon.” Oh how I’d like to dig my hands into those huge trays of crayons and run my fingers through them!

But wait. There’s more. Remember this show??!

To this day, I still bellow at my kids like Rita Moreno, “HEY YOU GUUUYYYYSSSS!!!!!!!!” Again, my children are not amused by me. That show was awesome! When you look back at who got their start on that show, like Morgan Freeman!

Even Bill Cosby was on The Electric Company.

(I’m guessing Rita Moreno regrets not punching and kicking him way harder back then.)

I learned all about punctuation from Victor Borge.

And yes, when writing long hand, I still find myself doing the “Ffftt pttt” sound whenever I do an emphatic exclamation point! FFFTT PTTT! See?!?

Last but not least, who doesn’t remember the silhouettes?

Husband and I randomly say words like this to each other. “Bitch…ing…BITCHING!” da da DA da da…(Try it! It’s fun!)

I could go on and on forever about the cameos and the societal elements of these shows. Please. I won’t even mention Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. That man was a saint and he deserves a blog post all of his own (although I don’t think some of my posts would give him “such a good…feeling…”) And I’m sure you, dear reader, have some oldies but goodies that bring you back to your 70s childhood. What were the good ones that bring you back to the days of orange, avocado and goldenrod? Please share some in comments!

Now I think I’m going to go pour myself a nice, tall glass of Milk…Miii-lllk! So good, so warm and white!