It has been 3.5 years since the last time I wrote a post for this blog. Here’s what’s been going on with me: my kids have started school, my beloved cat became sick and died, I’m going through a horribly difficult divorce, I’ve started an exciting if not demanding new career, and I threw out half a carton of expired milk this morning. The End.
I’m back. Tricked ya!
To any new Minivan readers who weren’t with me in the days of yore, when Minivan posts were abundant, there are a few things you should know about your time here. First, nothing constructive happens here. There will be no enlightenment, no political musings, no educational value whatsoever. In fact, if you are still reading this after reading the previous line, you should be ashamed of yourself. Second, this is a fun place, so anyone who challenges me via the comments section pretty much sucks. I’m not writing a blog to be challenged. I’m writing a blog for attention. Third, and I really mean this, I think blogging contributes to the nail polish on the tips of my fingernails wearing off too fast. Please send manicure gift cards. Thanks.
Because I have no confidence in you to introduce me to eligible bachelors, I have already taken the liberty of writing my Match.com profile. It feels a little bit like what I imagine writing my own eulogy would feel like, except not like that at all.
Here’s what I’ve got so far. Please note my honesty, minus the omission that I’m like one Groupon away from Botox. Let me know what ya think.
I'm a former teacher turned business owner, and the proud mother of two precocious, if not pesky, punks. They're seven and six, and when neither of them is whining, complaining, or projectile vomiting, they're fantastic! I recently went through the drive-through at a pharmacy to drop-off a prescription, and my son ordered French fries. This is probably compelling evidence that I don’t cook enough, and did I really need the bread maker and panini press after all? I'm 40% motivated to learn to love cooking, 70% motivated to find more yummy restaurants to order carry-out from, and 20% distraught over my poor math skills! So, in summary, I am looking for someone who is not looking for a good cook!
I am also looking for someone cute, normal and willing to watch Dancing with the Stars with me, even if you have to save face with your friends and tell them that during that highly-coveted 8:00-9:00 prime time slot, you weren't inside watching girlie TV. You were, of course, outside branding cattle. With your bare hands!
I have devoted a significant amount of time and attention to self-improvement after the break-down of my marriage, and have come up with the following: even though I'm the common denominator in all of my past relationships, I still assume their failures had nothing to do with me. And this attitude explains my Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs journey toward self-actualization. Or self-righteousness. Definitely one of the two.
In terms of my perfect first date, I'm thinking thoughtfulness cannot be overstated at this point. I was with the same man for over 10 years, and bless his heart, chivalry wasn't really his thing, so I think at this point I'd be smitten if someone so much as made a dinner reservation. Heck, I'd be impressed if it ever occurred to the man to make a dinner reservation, even if he were then unexpectedly sidetracked by something more important like a hot dog eating contest on ESPN.
Everyday I pick my two-year-old, Brynn, up from preschool and everyday I’m met with glowing reports of her sweetness. Of course she’s sweet. She’s mine and Ethan’s and between the two of us we once did something sweet*, so it stands to reason.
I was completely blindsided at pick-up yesterday when I walked into Brynn’s classroom and her teacher bombarded me with tales of her misguided behavior at school that morning. I couldn’t believe it when she told me Brynn had bitten a kid, pushed a kid, and hit a third one over the head. I was absolutely shocked to hear this. I have role-played with Brynn over and over again that when somebody does something you don’t like, kick ‘em!
What’s the point in fine tuning her conflict resolution skills if she’s going to abandon protocol when she gets into a tight spot?
I get so frustrated when she makes a mockery of the opportunities we provide her with. Does she think her American Gladiator crown is just going to win itself?
I did phone the mother of Jaws’s bite victim to see if her little one was okay and determine whether or not we needed to retain legal counsel.
To make it all better, her teacher went on to tell me that Brynn was written up and a copy of her misdeeds was placed in her file. I drop my beautiful, angelic doll off at school in the morning and by noon she has a criminal record. My dreams of universities and pedigrees humbly replaced by hopes of juvenile detention center valedictorian. Should I have capitalized that? I don’t mean any disrespect to my daughter’s like-minded colleagues. Juvenile Detention Center Valedictorian is an esteemed honor. But salutatorians? Losers.
The most critical thing you need to remember to do in preparation for a play date is to be sure your child is ready to perform on cue. And not like one of those trained monkeys you see on Safari Wiggles. More like a fighter pilot running a well-rehearsed combat mission to rescue millions of helpless refugees, but more important. Not blurting out in the middle of an otherwise perfectly jovial play date, "Joey, what is two plus two?" is akin to admitting your child is average. Is that what you want?
If your child ignores you, gives the wrong answer you rehearsed for three days, or otherwise refuses to cooperate because he fails to understand how important it is for you to win this play date, it's okay to follow-up with a redemption question such as, "Joey, how do you spell your name?" It doesn't matter if he doesn't know what spelling actually is, or even if he can recognize his letters yet. What matters is that you tie your self-esteem and parenting skills into your child’s academic prowess.
You are probably wondering by now what to do in the event your child is (gulp!) average. This touchy situation is best handled by geography.
When you get settled into your new neighborhood where nobody knows you, whatever you do, DO NOT ENROLL YOUR PRESCHOOLER IN PRESCHOOL! As soon as he is old enough to buy alcohol, enroll him in Pre-K. You are better off explaining the presence of leg hair than trying to excuse the lack of number recognition.
But not my kids. They’re geniuses.
I love having this blog, however sporadically I may update it, because I know all of the people reading it can totally relate to me and my experience as a mother. Except for my brother.
Ya know how sometimes your two-year-old insists on using the potty herself and then she falls in? And you’re totally embarrassed because you’re at a playdate with kids who did not fall in the potty? My childless friends (and those who pay attention to their children) just can’t relate.
(FYI these snazzy Ked’s shoes dry within just hours and hours! It would be speculative to assume the boogers she was picking dried first. But I think they did.)
My brother, lone male reader of minivan, and his lovely wife have seven children. The oldest turned 11 this week and the youngest is three-months-old. Or four months. What am I saying, I have no idea. I don’t even remember the baby’s name. But it might be a girl. Oh, that would be so great. I hope it’s a girl!
Should anything happen to my brother and sister-in-law, Ethan and I would be awarded custody of their children. All seven of them. Even the one who was born sometime last fall and who may or may not be a girl. I feel honored they would choose us to raise their children and feel confident we would not take advantage of the situation by cashing in their life insurance policy, selling their children (but not all of them because remotes can’t pass themselves), and using the money to campaign for low-flow toilets.
Thanks for reading, Bro. Buckle up!
I have been a bad, bad blogger as of late, but as of tonight I have been a good, good patient. I threw my back out, took my expired muscle relaxers, added a dose of red wine (where I come from a dose is actually two glasses- hey, I'm from Detroit: where the weak are killed and eaten, stay with me here, people.) Another round of ibuprofen and really, right at this exact moment in time I'm ready to blog my ass off. Or I'm ready to pass out and seek some serious medical counseling tomorrow, one of the two. In the meantime, I've been having fun writing the story of my premature son, Colin, that I am calling "Wimpy White Boy," and just enjoying throwing some ideas around on paper. I have 75,000 first pages to this book. This is the first, first page. I'm going to post the other 74,999 first pages tomorrow. Please account for this unexpected turn of events while budgeting your free time tomorrow. Great, thanks.
When I woke-up on the morning of October 21st, 2004, nothing seemed out of the norm. It’s not like I woke-up delightful and cheery. That morning I rolled my seven months pregnant self out of bed and barked at my husband, Ethan, for leaving his dirty clothes on the floor all while tripping over my own pile of filthy laundry, which isn’t hypocritical on any level. (Oh, you do think it’s hypocritical? Okay, Ethan.) After spreading my usual morning goodwill, I moseyed myself on over to my high school teaching job where I taught freshman and sophomore geography.
Technically the one geography class I took in college during the Reagan Administration would no longer qualify me to actually teach geography, but this was before No Child Left Behind was enacted. We left children behind all the time back then. It was particularly difficult for the child we left behind on the field trip to the Natural Disasters Museum. Gabe, if you’re reading this, glad to see the museum now has a bookshop.
Getting through my half day teaching job at this stage in my pregnancy was no easy task. I was an extremely irritable, grumpy pregnant woman who barked at people without just cause all day long. I’m not trying to promote stereotypes here. No, I’m just kidding. I totally am. It probably didn’t help that I was stressed from spending all morning everyday teaching a class I wasn’t fluent in. It’s challenging teaching geography when you can’t point to Yemen on a map to save your life. But it’s not just me who can’t find it. I’d be willing to bet all of those kids I taught geography to over the years couldn’t find it either.
On this particular day I had plans to unwind after work by going shopping with a friend and her five-month-old. As it turns out, shopping with a five-month-old is about as relaxing as sitting on the tip of an orbiting rocket. I want to go on record as saying I have never actually sat on the tip of an orbiting rocket. I would have assumed you knew that, but five minutes ago you thought all geography teachers know where Yemen is.
Obviously I picked-up carry-out for dinner on my way home from shopping. If that wasn’t obvious to you it’s only because this is Chapter One and you’re still getting to know me. By Chapter Three you’ll be surprised that back in Chapter One I picked-up carry-out instead of getting delivery. By Chapter Six I will probably already have had my second child and both of my kids will be throwing macaroni and cheese at each other, but for the record, I made the mac and cheese myself (Easy Mac, but still…).
After dinner Ethan went right up to bed exclaiming, “I have never been this tired in my life!”
(cliff hanger...sorry...this concludes Page 1 of "Wimpy White Boy." Based on past trends, Page 2 will be posted on the 3rd night of Passover...in April)