Moms Say the Darnest Things!

As moms we try to set the best example and say the right thing when raising our children. We have the best intentions, but sometimes lack of sleep, set of circumstances or just the plain old stress of parenting gets the best of us.

Have you been there?

With three boys, I certainly have.

Being a mom has given me the opportunity to put together sentences that I could never in a lifetime fathom that I would speak.

Example:

Ring.

Me: “Hello.”

Mom: “Hi, honey! How is everything going over there?”

Me: ” Okay. What’s new with you? CAN YOU BOYS BE QUIET? I’M ON THE PHONE! Sorry, Mom.”

Mom: “Well, today on Doctor Phil, he had this couple on, you wouldn’t have believed it…”

(COMMOTION AND NOISE IN THE BACKGROUND)

Man chases cat with spatula

Me: ” Wait would you hold on a minute mom, GET THAT SPATULA AWAY FROM THE CAT! Okay, sorry mom, you were saying?”

Mom: “Never mind honey, maybe I should let you go…”

Me: “Okay Mom. I’ll call you back.”

 

Having three boys in the back seat of the car while you are driving always makes for warm memories and insightful conversation…

Marc (to Rocky): “Stop touching me with your knee!”

Rocky: “Am not! Stop touching me with your knee!”

Marc: “Are so. Stop it.”

Kevin: “You guys are breathing on me.”

Rocky: “I’m not breathing on you, Marc is!”

Marc: “Uh-Uh, Rocky, you’re breathing on him!”

Image result for images of three kids in car arguing

Rocky: “Am not! You are!”

Kevin: “You’re both breathing on me…and you’re too close Rocky, stop touching me!”

Me: “OKAY, EVERYONE JUST STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER! AND STOP BREATHING!!

 

Notably not the best advice…but somehow it worked. Well, the kids didn’t stop breathing (Thank God) but I did put an end to the “Touching – Breathing war.”

 

My mom has always been a class act. She is no longer surprised, or even shocked by my kids, my elevated voice or the bizarre things the come out of my mouth, although she didn’t handle things in the same manner when I was growing up.

 

One day, my mom was on the phone with a friend when an argument between my sister and I broke out in the livingroom. This was back in the day when you were chained to the kitchen phone by a short phone cord.

I can’t remember what it was that my sister and I were arguing about, but I can remember the scene like it was yesterday. As our voices heightened, my mother didn’t change her expression, pause the conversation or even let on that there was a situation arising in her home.

My mother just continued talking and reached for the nearest available item. She picked it up with one hand without skipping a beat.

She leaned into the hallway where she had a clear shot into the living room. When I glanced over, all I could see was her arm above her head spinning like she had a lasso.

I had no idea what she was holding, yet she continued her conversation with a smile.

The argument with my sister resumed and our voices got even louder.

To both of our surprise, my sister and I simultaneously got hit in the head by a flying object.

Image result for images bag of Wonderbread being thrown

We were immediately silenced as we stared at the loaf of Wonderbread at our feet, realizing what it was that hit us. (Damn, my mother is a good shot!)

Then, as girls often do, we broke out into laughter.

I could no longer remember what I was so upset about and I doubt that my sister could either.

Funny thinking of this now and considering my current style of parenting…

I could certainly save myself a ton of ridiculous sentences and a hoarse voice, with a trip to the bakery and a round of Lasso Lessons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For the Love of Sharks

My son Rocky grew up loving sharks. I mean, he was obsessed with them from the time he could talk.

And he talked about them constantly.

He watched every shark movie that he could get his hands on and Shark Week was a major event in our home. One day I came across a bundle of shark post cards at a gift shop that featured a photo of a different shark on the front of each one, with facts about the shark on the back.

Rocky carried these cards around with him like a bible.

He talked about sharks incessantly, until I thought that my head was going to explode but I have to say that he did become very knowledgeable about all of the different kind of sharks…

…the Hammerhead, the Sand Shark, the Tiger Shark, the Great White, the Angel Shark, the Shortfin Mako, the Bull Shark, the Whitetip Reef Shark…

He knew them by sight and he knew the facts about all of them.

It was actually quiet impressive, so I lightened up on worrying about the degree of his obsession.

Until one night, Rocky came to me with a large grin and said, “Mommy, I have shark teeth!”

“Shark teeth?” I asked, “What do you mean that you have shark teeth?”

With that Rocky opened his mouth.

Image result for images of double rows of shark teeth

Sure enough, there behind his two, lower, front teeth was a second row of teeth.

I was panicked.

Did I mention that at the time I worked for a dental practice?

Well, I did.

The next morning, (a bit embarrassed for not noticing my son’s “Shark Teeth” earlier) I brought Rocky right in to see one of the dentists that I worked for.

This dentist happened to be newly out of dental school. I think that she was afraid of my 7-year-old feeling any pain…so she loaded up on the anesthetic…not one, not two, but three carpules of Novocaine.

The baby teeth came out with ease and the dentist ensured me that Rocky’s adult teeth would move forward, right into place.

 

The dentist was nice enough to let me leave work to drive Rocky a few blocks to his elementary school. I knew that I would have to be quick so I could get back in time for my first patient.

 

As we entered the school, Rocky said, “Mommy, my lip feels weird.”

I glanced at Rocky’s swollen lower lip. It was so taut and red that it appeared as if he was wearing lipstick.

“Okay honey,”  I replied “We’ll stop at the nurses office and get you an ice pack.”

 

We were a bit late by the time we got into Rocky’s classroom.

Everyone turned and stared.

The teacher took one glance at Rocky and asked with concern, “Is everything okay?”

I replied, “Yes…he just had two of his baby teeth pulled.”

Rocky slowly removed the ice pack to expose his red, swollen, lower lip.

The teacher gasped, looked at me and asked, “Mrs. Reed, you do know that today is school picture day, don’t you?”

Image result for photos of shocked moms

(That’s a hockey joke for when my boy, Rocky reads this)

 

“Well…he can just take the make up photo.” I stated, “Can’t he?”

The teacher replied, “We have to take the photo today because the school needs one to go with Rocky’s permanent record for this school year.”

Rocky shot me a bewildered look.

The teacher waited for my reply.

“Okay…” I said sheepishly, as I gave Rocky a supportive hug and a kiss before leaving.

 

I thought about my poor son the entire day that day, and the school photos.

I felt terrible but there was nothing I could do about it.

 

As parents, we buy the school photo no matter what it cost or how bad it looks.

That’s just the way it is.

We love our children more than life itself…

images (6).jpg

but we don’t have to love the photo, or the ridiculous circumstances that led up to it.

That is just part of being a parent.

 

 

*Photo credit Disney, Finding Nemo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Ridiculously Relatable Real Motherhood Moments

I’ve caved and succumbed to the latest popular blog craze…the top ten list. Apparently life is so busy, and the majority of people have so little time, that any kind of numerical list is preferable to having to read an entire article. I can certainly deliver…just expect that even my list will carry the same humor and perspective that makes my blogs worth reading.

Ready?

Top 10 Ridiculously Relatable Real Motherhood Moments:

  1. The Diapering Challenge – Any mom worth her weight will tell you that she has managed to diaper her child in a gas station bathroom, on a trip, while balancing her baby on the top of her thigh. This takes skill. Not to mention, an experienced mom could fasten a diaper on a standing, moving child any day of the week.
  2. Inappropriate Baby Talk – Your first night out postpartum may entail you’re telling the waitress that your drink tastes “Yucky.”  As soon as the words leave your mouth you no longer feel like an adult that should be out in the real world…no worries, it’s par for the course.
  3. Safety First – Eight years of car seats lined up across the back seat of a mini van. Finally your youngest is ready for a booster seat and you are almost home free. Then your youngest receives a Toys r Us  gift card for his birthday and he can buy whatever he wants. Unfortunately, what he wants is a baby doll that he names George. George comes well equipped with a mini stroller and a car seat. Is there no end to this madness?
  4. Where Did This Come From? Three kids running around the grocery store while you’re checking your list and shuffling through your coupons can only lead to disaster. Keep the faith while you hold up the checkout line removing all of the items that your kids threw in the carriage while you weren’t looking. Who knew a three-year old could lift a metal gallon of extra virgin olive oil into a cart?
  5. For the Love of Independence! So sweet to let your child save all of his change in a zip lock bag and learn how to purchase a toy on his own. Such a proud consumer moment, except for the annoyed cashier and the woman behind you that’s on her lunch hour.  Cringe. Sorry…but not really.
  6. Oh My God! He was Just Right Here! – Most mom’s hate to admit it but we have all lost our children in a store, a mall or at an amusement park. You can taste the fear in your throat while you argue with your significant other about whose fault it is, only to find your child happily playing a video game in the arcade.
  7. Did He Really Just Say That? – While in public, your child growls at a woman in a thick, black fur coat while curling his fingers into claws, or he decides to point and loudly refer to the feminine looking man next to you as “That Lady…” Either way you have to smile and suck it up.  Yeah, motherhood!
  8. It’s In Here Somewhere –  You’re at the bank when the teller asks for your ID. After removing four action figures, a few matchbox cars, two happy meal toys and a half eaten cookie, you’re still looking. Ignore the eye-roll. You’re a good mom.
  9. For the Love of Laundry –  Okay, admit it. You have washed everything. When I say everything, I mean everything…rocks, chewing gum, crayons, markers, action figures, cell phones and birth certificates. If you laughed and shook your head yes while reading this list, yet still have more to add, you are definitely a seasoned mom!
  10. Just Smile & Ignore Them –  Let’s face it, our kids come first. So what if your son is at the grocery store in full Santa attire ( Santa Suit, boots, gloves & Santa hat) in July when it’s 90 degrees. People may stare but at least they don’t have to wash costumes year round, like you do. Let them think what they want.

Being a mom isn’t for that faint of heart…in fact it’s for the women with the biggest hearts of all! Carry on. You’re doing GREAT!!

The Big Picture

I don’t care what anyone says, it’s hard work potty training boys. Sit, stand, aim. Boys just seem overwhelmed and uninterested. I tried everything… a sticker box and glossy chart to go with it, m&ms as a reward, and the old tried and true, Cheerios in the toilet.

By the time my first-born was off to preschool, I desperately tried to entice him with a shopping spree for “big boy pants” all his own. In the store, we both in stood amazement staring at the vast selection. Immediately, Kevin fell in love with the Spider-Man four pack. That was easy, I thought. Each of the underwear had a small picture of Spider-Man on the front, a large Spider -Man scene on the back, and all were trimmed in different primary colors. Kevin was so excited! I was excited too, but for the reason of putting the expense of pull-ups behind me. At the time, I was also paying for Pampers for his brother Eric.

After a trial run over the weekend, the novelty of the new “big boy pants” hadn’t worn off. When Monday morning arrived, Kevin took pride in dressing himself for school. I encouraged his new-found independence, giving his snap close jeans and Spider-Man T-shirt a once-over and a quick and prideful expression of approval.

“Kevin, I am so proud of you!” I said with delight.

Kevin beamed a smile back while we were on our way to his preschool. In the car, I explained about wearing “big boy pants”, using the potty (like we had at home), and of course, the importance of washing your hands.

“I’ve got this!” I thought, feeling like the best mom ever.

As soon as we entered the classroom, I discreetly let the preschool teacher know that Kevin had a great weekend potty training and that he was actually wearing underwear. I think I was as proud as Kevin was. Feeling hopeful that I had finally conquered the potty training battle, I left for home to catch up on the laundry and house cleaning.

Hmm. Not a call from the school. Kevin must be doing great. I knew it. One down, one to go and I’d be well on my way to financial freedom.

When I returned to pick up Kevin, the teacher was busy with another parent. I thought, well, no news is good news. We drove home, got out of the car and went inside for lunch and then a well deserved nap.

Kevin was playing in the family room with some toys when I called to him that lunch was ready. It was then that I noticed that his jeans were unsnapped. “Kevin, you didn’t snap your jeans. Come here and mommy will fix it for you,” I said.

Kevin came running over. I pulled his jeans together but was unable to snap them. I tried again. They were too tight or there was just too much material. It was then that I noticed that there was definitely too much material. I could see the bands of color from his big boy pants…red, yellow, blue and green.

“Kevin, how many pairs of big boy pants do you have on?” I asked.

Kevin matter-of-factly replied, “All of them.”

I asked Kevin, “Why did you wear all four of them?”

“I couldn’t decide.”

I pulled at the material bulging out of the fly of his tiny jeans. Sure enough, there were all four pairs of Spider-Man underwear. Looking more closely, I could see the large colorful scene from the back of his underwear. He had them all on backwards.

“Kevin, why did you put all of the underwear on backwards?”

“I wanted to see the big picture, Mom.”

I chuckled, but little did I know that Kevin would grow into a young man who always seeks the big picture in life and in turn never gets hung up on small details.

Maybe, that is a lesson for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

This Moment

Sometimes life is about the moment… the moments that you remember because they shape who you are. The moments that are brought on by a feeling, a song or a memory…the moments, good or bad, that you never forget because they stay with you forever.

I had one of those moments tonight. My eldest son, Kevin moved to Long Island. I am so proud of him. It was his decision to go and he even said, “Mom, I know that you’re upset with me for moving, but I have to go follow my dream.” You see, Kevin is a bright star, a writer, a deep thinker, a performer, an editor and a film maker. A spirit that hones his craft in the wee hour of the morning, not unlike me. I love this kid and he never ceases to amaze me with his wit and his drive. “Kevin,” I said, “The majority of your generation lives at home until they are almost thirty. I never pushed you to leave, but I believe in you and I support your decision.”

Kevin is a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. He has an amazing ability to express himself and to connect with people. His expression is honest and real and he definitely has a gift that has been under construction since he picked up his first camera at the age of three. I love to see what Kevin is going to do or say next. He hasn’t had an easy path and he definitely wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but that is what makes his perspective on life so raw and so real. I  have always told my kids that it’s not what has happened to you but what you do with it and that all great art comes through struggle and pain, whether it be painting, writing, singing or film.

After arriving in New York,  Kevin called. “Mom, did you happen to put that cough medicine in my suitcase? I don’t feel well…I think I’m getting sick.”

I replied, “Yes Kevin, I did. Look in your suitcase and call me back.”

I had packed Kevin’s suitcase with brand new cologne, a hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, bar soap, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, a toothbrush, nail cutters, wash cloths, Advil, Tylenol Cold, cough drops, a digital thermometer, face pads, Q-tips, socks, underwear, gloves, a hat, a flash light, batteries, stamps, envelopes, scissors, tape and clothes. I can’t even remember everything that I bought. I just wanted Kevin to have everything that he needed and all the comforts of home. I struggled to make it all fit in the overstuffed suitcase while John said, “You are such a good mother and I hope that Kevin realizes all of the love that went into all that you have done.”

At the last-minute, I took a small envelope, slid a one hundred-dollar bill in it, licked and sealed it…then wrote on the outside, “In case of emergency. Love, Mom.”

The phone rang. It was Kevin calling back. “Hi, Kev.” I said “Did you find the cough medicine?”

“Yes. Yo, that was the most motherly shit ever! Thank you.” Kevin replied

“You’re welcome. I love You, Kevin.”

“I love you too, Mom.”

Sometimes life is about the moment. This very moment.

 

 

 

The Award Goes To…

When my boys were younger I always worked multiple jobs. Okay, I still am, and probably always will be a workaholic. Actually, most of my life working like a dog has been an absolute necessity, yet even when not, I always maintained the same work ethic.

I became the queen of quick meals, crock pot cooking and yes, the master of the microwave. I was always pretty proud of myself and my ability to hold two jobs, vacuum the  living room while still wearing a suit and heels, wash, dry and fold laundry into the wee hours and of course, whip up a meal in minutes.

Kevin, then 6 years old, came home with a smile, a bounce in his step and a paper from school boasting an “A”.

“Mom, guess what? I got an “A” on a project!” Kevin beamed.

“That’s wonderful honey! What was the assignment?” I inquired.

“Well, everyone had to write down what their favorite food was, write one sentence about it and draw a picture.”  Kevin continued, “Most of the kids picked pizza or hot dogs…but wait until you see mine!”

Kevin continued beaming as he turned his paper that sported a large “A” towards me so I could see.

At the top of the paper, Kevin had  written perfectly, “My favorite food is broccoli.”

Underneath was his sentence about the topic.

“Boy, Can my mom microwave up a box of broccoli!”

The drawing below showed a box of broccoli and a to scale replica of the green giant.

Embarrassed and momentarily fear struck, I tried to form a smile. My first-born child had no idea that broccoli was grown in soil, in gardens and farms.

“I’m so proud of you Kevin!” I said with a hug.

I’m definitely going to have to decline that “Mother of  the Year” nomination…it’s the right thing to do.

And…this year, maybe plant a garden.

It’s Funny cuz It’s True…

When I tell my friends, family or co-workers a story about my life, they always say, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!” My standard reply is, “It’s funny cuz its true.”

When my kids were small, I saved enough money to transform the entryway of our home into a page straight out of a decorating magazine. I purchased a beautiful wooden sitting bench and an elegant mirror to hang above it. I painstakingly selected wallpaper with a small vertical gold stripe and the tiniest, most delicate floral pattern set against a background of white. I knew together, the wallpaper, the mirror and the bench would make a striking, yet warm and inviting entrance into our home.

I hired a person to put up the new wallpaper since I hadn’t a clue where to start and I wanted it to be perfect. To my surprise, the wallpaper was flawlessly installed in a day. I was elated! I enthusiastically positioned the bench, hung the decorative gold framed mirror, and lovingly added matching gold framed pictures of my children to the hallway.

It was finished. My vision, made into reality! I couldn’t have been happier.  I spent many of the days that followed standing in the entryway admiring its beauty.

Upon returning home from work one night, I was stopped dead in my tracks…low on the wall, across my beautiful new wallpaper, were some swirling red lines. I thought,”Oh my God, is that red crayon…red pen,  or worst of all, red marker?!” My heart was beating through my chest. Because the red scribble was low  on the wall, I knew it had to be my 4-year-old son Marc. My shock was now turning to anger as Marc greeted me by the door.

I forced myself to take a deep breath and smile. “Hi honey. Do you happen to know how these red marks got on the new wallpaper?” I asked.

To my surprise Marc replied, “Yes, I do. It happened last night when you and daddy were sleeping.”

“It did?” I questioned, “Tell me all about it.”

“Well, a burglar broke in,” Marc began.

“A burglar broke in?” I repeated, fully intending on seeing how far my son would go with this story. “Why didn’t you wake us?” I asked.

“I didn’t want to worry you.” Marc said.

“That was very nice of you, Marc.” I replied. “So, what did you do?”

“I just stood there. Then he grabbed me,” Marc stated.

“He grabbed you? You must have been so scared. Why didn’t you wake us?” I asked.

“I didn’t want to worry you,” Marc replied.

“Then what happened?” I inquired.

“Well, he had a knife,” Marc said.

“A knife? Oh my God!” I shrieked.

Marc continued, “And… he had a red pen.”

I said, “So he had a knife and a red pen. Wow, that must have been scary. How did you get away?”

“I jumped out the window,” Marc explained.

“You jumped out the window…Where did you go?” I asked.

Marc replied, “Well, I ran all the way to Dr. Baron’s office (he was Marc’s pediatrician at the time).”

“Why didn’t you have Dr. Baron call me?” I asked.

“He didn’t want to wake you up,” Marc replied.

“Marc, let me go get the camcorder so you can tell me again what happened and I can record all of this for the police.” I left the room to grab the camcorder.

I returned to find Marc standing in the exact same place, looking white as a ghost.

“Mommy?” Marc said sheepishly. “I wrote on the wall with a red pen.”

“I know you did, Marc.” I replied.

“Wait, how did you know?” Marc asked, as I handed him  some soap and a sponge.

“Mommies just know these things, Marc.” I said stifling a smile.

Fortunately, the red pen came off and Marc never wrote on a wall again.

We’ve all heard the expression, “You can’t make this sh*t up.” Trust me, I don’t have to make it up as there is never a lack of material in my life…It’s just funny cuz it’s true.

If Your Belongings Aren’t Broken…You Certainly Aren’t Raising Boys

For all intents and purposes, I’m pretty simple when it comes to material things. I abhor the mall and  I couldn’t care less about the most popular trend or “Keeping up with the Jones.” I sacrifice to do for my kids. I must admit, I love to decorate and I do take pleasure in incorporating my latest bargain or thrift store find, into our humble abode.

In the last month we have had to replace a toilet seat and the mechanism on the screen door that keeps it from both slamming and blowing off onto our front lawn. Seriously? Why are boys so rough and destructive? I know that it’s not intentional, but it has become obvious to me that they use the same amount of force to reach under a lamp shade and turn off a light as they do to make a slap shot to score the winning goal in a hockey game.

I’m pretty sure that the writing was on the wall even when my kids were small. I was pregnant with Marc and busy fussing over the nursery while I set Kevin (6) and Eric (3) up with brand new bunk beds, sheets and matching comforters.

One wintry, cold night after putting the boys to bed, I stepped out of the shower and reached for the most luxurious, plush bathrobe I have ever owned…a gift from my mother. As I wrapped the bathrobe around my shivering body and reached for the tie…wait, I can’t grab the tie…left side, right side…Where is the tie? Never mind. Are Kevin and Eric still up?

I wrap the bathrobe around myself the best that I can and head into the boy’s room. I turn the light on and begin to say, “Boys, it’s time for bed…go to sleep you have school…” I stop mid-sentence. Hanging from the top bunk is the tie to my new bathrobe. I frantically try to unfasten it, but the knot is so tight it is impossible to do so..

“Why is the tie to my new bathrobe attached to the top rail of your bunk bed?” I ask, exasperated, as I continue trying to free it.

“We were playing spider man.” Kevin replied.

“Just go to sleep.” I quip.

“Kevin is spitting at me!” Eric states before I exit the bedroom.

“You’re spitting at your brother from the top bunk, Kevin?” I ask.

“He tried to spit at me first!” Kevin says.

“There is no spitting in this house!” I state as I leave the room feeling defeated. “Please go to sleep.”

I stop in the hallway for a moment, realizing that I will have to cut my bathrobe tie off of the bunk bed rail and reluctantly, throw it out. Oh, well. The ending of something nice I once owned. Little did I know, the beginning of all of the endings, of the nice things I will ever own in years to come.

I pause an extra few minutes just to make sure that the spitting war has ceased.

Silence.

Then I hear my son Eric state, “Ya know Kevin, mom is right. Some kids don’t even have spit and you’re wasting all of yours.”

I stifle my laughter and think, God I love my boys.

Damn the Kardashians

So, here it is, my blog. Maybe my daily life deserves more of a platform, like say, a reality show. Maybe the Kardashians have more junk in their trunk, or more stack in their rack…but they have NOTHING on me. “My life, I swear….” I find myself repeating that as my mantra in the face of yet another ridiculous situation, after another ridiculous situation.

I am a single mom of three boys, Kevin (20), Eric aka “Rocky” (17) and  Marc (14). I live with my boys and my fiancé , John, a man I dated 27 years ago (that’s a story in itself). John also has a son, Matthew (20) who lives with John’s ex-wife but comes to visit us. Sounds like the normal 21st century blended family, right?  Right. Unbeknownst to us, my ex-husband spent three days living in our basement this past winter. Did I mention that Kevin is an aspiring film maker and a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting? This kid has been carrying around a camcorder since he was three and nothing is off-limits, in fact EVERYTHING is material. Kevin is also a rapper, as is Marc. They have rapped on the stage of Toad’s Place, New Haven, as well as other venues. Eric, also known as “Rocky” is my sports star, a seasoned hockey player. John’s son , Matthew, is a talented,  competitive ballroom dancer. John is currently unemployed, which leaves plenty of time for friction with my unruly teenage boys. I am a writer, public speaker and most importantly, a midlife waitress.

There’s the cast of characters.. Ready to see what could possibly happen to make my life put the Kardashians to shame? I promise not to disappoint.