Not in New York

I sit down for lunch today at my daughter’s placemat. It looks like this:


I declare aloud with unnecessary dramatics,”I am the Royal Princess!”
Buddy: You are not. You’re momma.
Me: Yeah, but I can be a princess, too. It says so on the placemat.
Buddy: I know, but you can only be a princess in fairy tales.
Me: Can’t we pretend this is a fairy tale?
Buddy: Noooo, momma. *exasperated* This is New York!

I knew New York was fundamentally flawed. And now it’s been confirmed.

What does the rooster say?

Gem from this evening….
Sitting with the kids watching tv when Buddy says, “mom, what does cock mean?”

holy crap, did he just say what I think he just said, and now I’m doomed to get porn spam on my blog

Me: I’m sorry, what was that? What does what word mean?

Trying to stay calm and neutral, so I can figure out where on earth he might have heard that word.

Buddy: Never mind.

Apparently, my expression or tone of voice gave away my panic.

Me: I can’t tell you what it means because I didn’t hear the word. Did you say, “cock”?

Buddy: Yes! Yes! What does “cock” mean?

I clear my throat, stalling for time.

Me: Ummm, like in “cock-a-doodle-doo? What a rooster says?

Buddy: No. Ears. Ears cock. Like in The Poky Little Puppy.

Me: Ooooohhhhhhhhhh. The puppy cocks his ears to listen. Indeed. Indeed, he does.

An explanation of the term follows using poor Frances the dog for demonstrative purposes.

And now I know why it’s important not to jump to conclusions, and to never, ever dig under the fence.

Oh yes, it’s ladies night. Oh, what a night. (The Bon Voyage)

Alternate title: Moms Gone Wild

Alternate alternate title: Leaving on a Jet Plane

When you’re socially inept, like myself, it is often challenging to find friends, especially good ones.  I am ridiculously fortunate to have some amazing friends.  The kind of friends that make you feel as if you’ve known them forever from the moment you first meet.

Two of them are leaving for Holland very soon (the country, they are moving to Europe, not kidding).  The divine Ms. SheNayNay is  permanently returning to her mother ship land and the sensational Ms. Libby is staying  for 18 months. *sigh* I’m going to miss them terribly.  And my kids will miss their kids.  And I will miss Mr. SheNayNay’s Oscar the Grouch pajamas.  And I will miss Coffee Talk with Mr. Libby…. well, maybe not the last bit.

So what’s a gal to do when two of her friends are going on an amazing adventure in the Nether-regions?


Begin at the beginning, shall we?

The limo arrives at my house around 5:45PM.  Libby, SheNayNay, and….. (Here’s the part where I wish everyone involved had chosen their own pseudonyms, but since they didn’t, I’m forced to either create my own or leave them nameless.  Apologies in advance.  I remember every one of your beautiful faces and I am glad that you were there, but I won’t name anyone without permission.) 101 Ways to Wear a Scarf were already on board, wine glasses in hand.  2 other friends and I jump in and open the second bottle.  We pick up 2 more friends, so now we are 8.  It took almost no time at all to drain the 2 bottles of wine that we started with, so we ask the driver to stop for more.  A total of 4 bottles of

Blurry Limo interior

wine were consumed in just over an hour between home and the restaurant, so many (all?) of us were a bit buzzy by the time we sat down for dinner.  We were having such fun in the limo that I was a little disappointed that we were at the restaurant so soon.  A word of advice: if you ever have occasion to text the word “limo”, please be aware that auto-correct may change it to “limp”.  Awkward.  (I’ve included a blurry picture of the limo interior for your enjoyment.  I didn’t occur to me to wait for the vehicle to stop moving before trying to photograph it.)

Another friend met us at the restaurant for dinner, and so now we are nine at a table for ten with a single sad solitary chair at the end of the table.  I reserved a table for 10 knowing there would only be nine, but my brain can’t process an odd number reservation.  How lucky.

As it turns out, yet another friend was surprising us for dinner.  It was, I believe, a surprise for our guests of honor, but one among us spilled the secret to me in advance.  Hooray for the Hail Mary babysitter that made it possible! It wouldn’t have been the same without her.

Full table, full bellies and empty bottles.  Dinner was wonderful.  I do not remember what I ate, but I think it was good.  Someone, during dinner, may have drunk dialed Mr. Libby.  I can’t remember clearly who that might have been (Why are you looking at me? I would never…) or even why the call was placed.  I… ummm, I mean, whoever it was, may have tried to procure a ride in a police cruiser, just for fun, from a friend’s hubby who was with Mr. Libby for the evening.  Truthfully, the details of dinner are sketchy at best for me.  Someone else might be better able to recount them.  Feel free to fill in the blanks in comments, ladies.

Mary Anne

I do recall being chastised for excessive phone handling, but as my phone is my camera, if any pictures were to be taken, phone handling was required.  At some point in the evening Libby declared that my phone needed a name since I spend so much time with it.  Allow me to introduce you to Libby’s phone: Mary Anne is a trusty steam-powered cell-phone, who will have to finally be retired upon leaving the country because her cell phone company will not support that phone any longer upon her return to the states.  Mary Anne’s final fate is unknown at this time.  I vote for a shadow box to permanently display her in Libby’s home.  Or she could become the furnace of the new town hall in Popperville. (What you cannot see about Mary Anne, is that she is actually taped together at the back.  Can you believe that phone can make a phone call and actually text?)  I thought that naming my phone seemed like a good idea and suggested Tangerine or Clementine to reflect her fabulous orange case.  Libby seemed in agreement, but a few hours later referred to it as “Mandarin”, and that’s what stuck.

After dinner, the ten of us walked to a nearby club.  We chose this club specifically because it promised fun 90’s music for our inebriated enjoyment.  It was dark.  It was a little seedy.  It was nearly uninhabited except for the DJ, the bartender, and a handful of random characters.  The music was decidedly mediocre in spite of our efforts to guide the DJ by way of repeated requests. (Hey, did he ever play Regulators like I asked at least twice as a tribute to the late Nate Dogg?) Libby was especially vocal about demanding that he play the whole song.  I do not understand why he kept lopping off the last 30 seconds or more of every tune.

Back to the point.

When we first arrived a young man offered (or was coaxed? I wasn’t party to this, so I have no idea) to buy shots… except that there were 10 of us and he only had $12.  The bar tender was handing out some delightful (ick) shots in plastic tubes with foil seals (faux test tubes, I suppose) that came in a variety of colors, none of which are found in nature. Yet another friend joined us, and now we were 11.

Mostly there was a great deal of dancing and merry making.   I am certain of this because my right knee was suffering mightily the next day.  Somewhere around midnight, with my buzz waning and sleepiness descending, and the failure again of the DJ to play Regulators,  I heard that the Secret was heading home and opted to hitch a lift with a sober human instead of calling a cab.  3 of us jumped ship with the Secret, leaving 7 behind to continue the dancing and DJ abuse.  I’m told that they rolled in around 4am…. I think I would have been asleep by then.

It was a memorable night for all, at least I hope so, because a wonderful memory is what we hope Lib and SNN will take with them across the world to start a new chapter with their families.  Damn it.  I’m getting all weepy, again.  Your absence will be felt, ladies.

And, yes, I’ll consider getting a passport if Scarves, and Lashes (and anyone else who wants to go) think they can tolerate the excessive hand-holding that will be required to get me there.

Dear fellow moms,

Someone said something to a friend today that really got under my skin.  Because this discussion took place on aforementioned friend’s Facebook page, I responded as politely as I could while still getting my point across.

But this here is my blog, and there are a few things that I need to get off my chest.

I know that you mean well.  I know this because I too have fallen into the “advice trap” and passed judgment on my fellow mothers under the guise of concern or advice. It’s tempting.  Sometimes it’s not even conscious.  The words just come out of your mouth or into the keyboard without a thought.

That’s why I’m writing this.  We need to think before we speak or type.  We are all in this together.  We are all mothers.  And we are all doing the best we can to raise our children to be wonderful people.

(Okay, nitpickers.  I hear you saying, “What about <insert headline dead child story here>?  She wasn’t doing her best!”  If that’s what just ran through your head, please navigate away from my blog now.)

Are we all still here?  Super.

As I was saying, we are all doing our best.  Sometimes “best” doesn’t mean “perfect”.  “Perfect” doesn’t exist.  So please refrain from trying to tell other people that it does.  This means that when mom friends express their feelings to you, whatever they are, it is not your given right to counsel them on why it’s not as bad as they think, or why they are actually lucky, or why every other mom on the planet wishes she had it as good as they do.  It is not your job to tell them what they are doing wrong, or how you had it worse.  Nor is it acceptable to me to sit idly by while you marginalize their feelings.

How does that help exactly?  Unless your goal is to poke holes in the already fragile self-esteem of a mom who is trying to figure this whole parenting thing out, it doesn’t help at all.  It is un-help.

We would be wise to start examining the societal and cultural norms that reinforce that there is only one right way to parent, because it is a disservice to ourselves and our children. There are many many ways to raise a child.  My methods are not the same as yours.  You are not me.  My children are not the same as your children.

Sometimes I’m a great mom.  Sometimes I suck.  It’s all part of the deal.  I’m as insecure as you are.

So here is my promise to you, moms: I will do my level best to hear you, really hear you, when you speak.  I will respect your feelings, because even if I don’t necessarily understand them, they are still valid feelings and you are entitled to them.  I will respect your method of parenting and ask you for the same consideration.  I will try to gently remind you when you are engaging in the self-defeating behavior that I discussed here, and ask that you do the same for me.

Parenting is hard.  Let’s work together.  We’d be better off focusing our energy on getting national paid family leave legislation passed, like the rest of the globe (Read about Sweden’s here), than undermining other moms with our sugar-coated criticisms.

And for what it’s worth: I think you’re a good mom, and you have great kids.