One summer, a few years ago, I had the rather lofty goal of teaching my kids to load their breakfast dishes into the dishwasher.

I don’t need to tell you how well that went.

This year, I’m not even bothering with the dishwasher. It is only week two of the summer and I just want to never see this again.


Filed under Summer

Personal Space

Summer means lots of things to me but mostly it means a complete lack of personal space. My home office, once a sanctuary of occasional productivity, has been overrun. I’d take a picture of it, but going in there makes me cry. I went to make my bed – albeit at noon – and found this.

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Summer SOS

Yesterday was the first day of summer and also the first day of summer vacation. Already, I am finding crap like this happening in my kitchen. 

In other news: anyone know how to remove spray paint from a computer screen? Asking for a friend.


Filed under Summer, Uncategorized

A Teaser.

This is how I spent my Sunday:  What’s that, you say? Where are you?

That is a cage with a stuffed cat inside. You get to play with one of these when, instead of preparing for Passover, you spend the day with the cat ladies of New York City at the midtown ASPCA offices getting certified in TNR.

What’s TNR, you say?

Trap. Neuter. Release.

Yup. Three words I had never put together until a vet friend of mine told me about them. There’s a stray cat and two kittens in my yard and I’m trying to get them fixed a humane way so I don’t have 200 kittens this time next year.

In the meantime, I believe the mother cat is pregnant again. She is determined to sneak into my house when I am not looking and lay her babies in the living room.

Have I mentioned that some of us are allergic to cats and I am married to a man who does not believe in household pets that don’t swim in a bowl of water? 

I celebrated National Pet Day earlier this week by secretly giving away the family guinea pigs when nobody was looking. I had no choice. I had to make room for the cats.



Filed under pets

Do you hear the people cringe? 

Sometimes something so awful will happen that I’ll need several days to process it. By process, I mean write about. That’s really how this blog started, and for the most part, that’s its function — to help me process all this parenting shit. 

On Sunday, on the last day of winter break, I took the boys and my oldest girl to see Les Mis. On Broadway. I could have saved all the money and bought myself one of those Canada Goose coats that just about everyone in New York seems to be wearing, but which I cannot justify. I can, however, justify dropping a wad of cash on my children in the name of musical theater. 

Never again. 

My boys were grumbly from the start, especially a certain 11 year old. I told them that there are fewer days more depressing than the last day of vacation. Why not get out of the house and spend that day on Broadway, I said. I kept my hands firmly planted in my pockets, to avoid using jazz hands. I do that whenever I say “on Broadway.” (Shoot me.)

We could also spend it watching football, he said. 

Fuck off, I said. 

Ok, not really. But I wanted to. 

I bribed them with sushi. I also told them that Les Mis has a few cool fight scenes and some singing hookers. Yes, I did. I am not proud. It was not my finest hour. Not by a long shot. But I am beginning to wonder if there are any fine hours in parenting.

He grumbled through sushi. Mumbled about his fantasy team. His older brother seemed game, though, as did my nine year old girl. (GOD BLESS HER COTTON SOCKS.)

We showed up at the theater and took our very good seats. I was jittery with excitement. I couldn’t show them though because if they saw it, if they smelled my eagerness, this whole thing was over. I played it cool, or at last as cool as someone who does jazz hands can muster.  

 Five minutes in he turns to me and yells, “WHEN IS INTERMISSION?” 

I shut him up. I promise him it will get better, because I know that it will. I know every bloody word in this show. 

Ten minutes in he yells, this time even louder, “YOU NEVER SAID THIS WOULD BE ALL SINGING. THIS STINKS. THIS IS WORSE THAN PHANTOM.” 

By now, people are looking. They’re wondering how these spoiled effing brats got to see both Phantom and Les  Mis. On Broadway. Christmas week. They’re wondering what all their friends will say, back in Iowa. We saw Les Mis and these spoiled New York brats were there too, whining the whole time. 

At some point, he started up with me again. Apparently the fight scene was lame. So lame he had to announce it to everyone around us. 

“TAKE A NAP!” I hissed. Frankly, I had given up on him seeing the show, not to mention getting anything from it. I just wanted to avoid embarassment. Or at least, further embarassment. I saw him trying to read the playbill, so he could figure out when intermission was. His brother got in on it too. I jabbed them when the hookers came on, hoping this would at least get them to sit still. Not so. Those ladies are a lot less lovely than even I remember. 

When intermission finally came they turned to me. So did all the Iowans. I just shrugged. 

“This sucks,” said his brother. 


“You never said it was all singing.” 


“We’re missing football for this.” At this point I think the Iowans almost fainted. I could hear them thinking to themselves, “ALL WE HAVE IN IOWA IS FOOTBALL! WE COULD NOT WAIT TO GET OUT! DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?”

“We’re going.” 

“You’re what?” I felt my eyes begin to burn. 

They huddled, searching their phones for the nearest Starbucks. Before I knew what was happening they were gone. The nine year old and I just looked at each other. I could not make eye contact with the Iowans.

Luckily, in Les Mis, all the truly sad crap happens in Act 2. I could hide in my tears for all the bodies that fell at the glorious barricade. I could have a good, solid weep when Jean Valjean goes to meet his maker, holding the hands of Fantine and Eponine. Nobody had to know I was weeping for those damn boys. Not to mention my Canada Goose jacket. 

They were waiting for me in the lobby. They looked very guilty. As you may expect, they spend a lot of time looking very guilty, so it had little effect one me. By little I mean NONE.

We walked to the subway in silence. I kept trying to lose them in Times Square but it was not my lucky day. Once we were on the train, I fell apart. 

If there’s one thing my boys apparently hate more than historical musical theater, it’s when their mother cries in public. I took the stage and made my biggest scene yet. Mama Rose had NOTHING on me. It was my turn now. 

I told them that I sit through endless games for them, not just the ones they play in, but the ones they want me to watch on TV. I told them a good friend once told me I could either beat them or join them, so I chose to join them. Hell, I even ordered the NY Post for them. (Do you know hard it was for me to bring that shit into my house?) I told them that as their mom it was my job to meet them where they were, and that they didn’t owe me anything. They didn’t need to come to the theater because they owed it to me. I was bringing them to show them how much I loved them. That’s what you do. When you love something, you share it with the people that you love. (By now I was REALLY crying, snot and all.) I didn’t need them to like it (lie); I just needed them to let it wash over them. It was three hours for heaven’s sake.

“Three hours on a Sunday. In football season.” 

I almost smacked him. 

“And they pulled Peyton Manning in! Last minute!” 

I almost smacked the other one. 

Hell, I don’t know if they learned anything, but I certainly did. Next year, I’ll be buying the damn coat. 



Filed under Broadway, children, parenting, theater

Oranges Ablaze

It’s the last day of Channukah, which means that I’m going to get a break from worrying about the house setting on fire because someone has decided to make oranges into candles. Apparently the wick is part of the orange: 


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Bright lights, Barbie and Bella Abzug Splashed Across My Chest (or Hannukah as Failed Feminist Mother)

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be the kind of parent who does not buy presents for Hannukah. I would absolutely, positively LOVE to be the kind of parent who has succesfully convinced her children that experiences, or possibly even charitable contributions suffice. (Hell, I would also like to be the kind of parent whose children have never heard of Family Guy but I won’t be greedy.)  

Instead, I am the kind of parent who brought this shit into my house on Night Two of the Festival of Lights:  

 I blame my sister and brother in law for this. They didn’t buy it, but my five year old saw a picture of her beloved cousin with a life-sized Elsa Doll and demanded that THIS monstrosity be hers for Hannukah. She specifically requested that the doll be large enough so that she herself would be able to climb into the box it came in. This thing is over three feet tall and graces just about every room in the house. She is wherever I look. The other children are scared of her. 

I wanted to be like a friend who gave her daugher Jewish Feminist t-shirts for Hannukah. They are fantastic and we do have quite a panoply of women from which to choose.   (True, with my luck all the Gloria Steinems would be sold out and I’d be stuck with a Bella Abzug shirt. I love you Bella, but I’m not sure I would wear you across my chest.) Instead, I welcomed a life sized-Barbie into my home. I’m not even going to discuss the lip gloss palettes I bought. I feel sick just thinking about them.  

My seven year old always asks for something odd and then regrets it immediately. (One year: A “baby clothes waching machine” that was basically a wooden box with a door which we now use to store other crap in.) This year she wanted a remote-controlled car. I went one step further and got her a kit she has to build and then can control. Whoopeee! Was I finally getting a girl who wants to build? Could I humble brag with reckless abandon?? (Aw shucks, I just wish she’d ask for the damn lip gloss.) True, I myself cannot navigate the Goldiblocks/lego world (it all looks the same to me, sorry) and I used to cut up jigsaw puzzles as a kid just to make the pieces fit… but if I have an offspring who wants to do this, then why not encourage it? 

Of course, said child took one look at her remote control lego car and another look at Godzilla Barbie and almost lost her mind with envy. I pulled her aside and whispered something about lip gloss on night six. That did the trick and I officially suck as a feminist mother. 

I like to think that it’s because Hannukah came so early this year; I didn’t have time to be the kind of gifting parent I want to be. But I know better. Even if Hannukah came on December 25th, I’d leave this all to December 22nd (if I am luckly) and buy up all this crap in a panicked frenzy, giving no thought to the substance of it all. 

Oh well,  maybe next year. 

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