Playground Uprising

Academic Transfer
May 20, 2010, 2:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“I am going to Florida. We are staying at the Breakers.”  “Excellent, I am staying in Richmond where I will watch your children break things (preferably your things).” It is like we are living this parallel life, except I am hosing crap off of our patio and you are having drinks by the pool. Comparisons aside, tonight was peaceful. Mac went to bed at 6:58. I of course told him it was way past his 7:30 bedtime – feeling perfectly content in this fallacy –  as I quietly whispered to myself – this is your way of encouraging him to actually apply the knowledge he learns in school to his everyday environment. You see, the fib is actually a lesson in academic transfer. And – I know this is in fact possible, because in Mac’s short two year tenure in school, he has learned a variety of peppy renditions of the Barney song (all including references to automatic weapons) and  is convinced that fruit snacks are a legitimate fruit that grows on the fruit snack tree – growing just left of the new Martin’s grocery store (don’t get me started). In the meantime, I am able to eat a veggie burger in peace and watch my taped episodes of The Hills and The City, which is vital to my fashion sense (obviously I don’t tune in often enough) and my understanding of how to base your self-worth on how blond your hair is and the expense of your shoes. So you see – Mac and I both learned important lessons today as our father figure sipped martinis by the outside bar. Ain’t life a beach.


Game On – Again
December 31, 2009, 3:29 am
Filed under: Family, parenthood, parenting, potty training | Tags:

Today was Charlie’s first day in big boy underpants. Well perhaps second or third – FIRST – day if you count the other times we started and stopped to potty train Charlie because his dad ran out of hard liquor. We got off to a dry start thanks to the reminder from his preschool teacher that those absorbent training underwear really do beat the pants off of the Sponge Bob Leaky Pants designer ones we bought first go round. They provide the boy with a little coverage, a little “I got your backside Charlie” when the Backyardigans is on and there is no time for a station break. All in all the day was a big success. Success one – we are both still talking to each other. Success two – he put on the underwear without a single curse word (he knows several). Success three – he has mastered his stance (step on stool, stare backwards at the potty, brace you hands on the upper lid). Success four – we have all demonstrated our own canning ability to “pee the potty” and have rejoiced by wallowing down potty treats as we celebrate our own victories. Now as not to continue to parade our own accomplishment – we have had some minor technical difficulties. For one, though Charlie’s stance is good and his attitude solid – no complete sentence speaking human has yet to see any pee actually come out – which leaves a girl to wonder. But for now the boy is asleep and perhaps reminiscing about his earlier day’s visit to Victoria Secret to help his mom make some Christmas returns – when he shrieked – “look mom everyone here loves underwear” as he picked up a perfume bottle, turn it into a machine gun, and lit up the store. Updates to follow in 2010.

The Great Wolf Lodge: Toenails, and Bikini’s, and Wolves Oh My


I have not written on my blog for a while and though I have made lofty, yet sporadic attempts to rectify the situation – life just seems to get in the way. But – as all writers know there are experiences that run you over and just yell WRITE ME! I had one of those this weekend.

It began something like this:

“Mom I want to go to the Great Wolf Lodge for my birthday.” To which I responded, “Their closed.” “For how long?” “Until 2021 -which is around the year you turn 18 and can take yourself.” “Mom, – that is impossible- I just saw an advertisement on TV.” Curse all forms of technology. Think, Think, Think. “Well if we go to Hell and Swaller, I mean the Great Wolf Lodge, than that will have to count as your birthday party and you won’t get the opportunity to have lots of friends over to give you expensive plastic things that break.”  “I’m in.” “Call your grandparents.”  “No!” “How about the new neighbors that just moved in – perhaps they will take you.”  “No – mom you and dad have to take me.” “Damn!”

And so we did – and as we headed down 64 East I tried to convince myself that Hell and Swaller could not possibly be as awful as I remember – but this fleeting crash with optimism was quickly averted as we got off the “well marked” exit in attempt to follow “the signs” – that led us 5 miles down the road to an old gas station and an exasperated husband yelling “where the hell is this place” to an unassuming gas attendant that appeared to be counting his blessings that he did not have to accompany us into the darkness.

And as we arrived – we found that check-in time was at 4pm, but you can kindly come at 1pm and rent a locker in which to store your stuff. The locker only costs a week’s salary or an unborn child. We tried to offer Charlie, our second child, – but the temper tantrums dampened the sale. Fortunately for us – we were able to sweet talk the nice lady into letting us move into our “nonsmoking” – smoked fill room a bit early so that the boys could throw their clothes around the room, wrestle, and get their bathing suits on in anticipation of the water park.

Yes water park – because if you are going to spend 24 hours in hell what better way to capstone the experience than being wet and in a bathing suit with 300 other people that missed the memo that there is a certain age and a certain size in which bikini’s are no longer an inalienable right.

And after the germ infested water drained parents’ energy and good humor (ok we never had any of that) – we were off to dinner. A steal to be had at $18 a person – allowing you to feed the fam a nutritionally void meal for around $100. And don’t forget the plastic –no not utensils  – I mean the plastic wand, and plastic toy, and plastic tasting pastry that are all yours for the remaining part of your retirement.

And as the evening waned and we hopped on beds and big brothers practiced karate moves on little brothers – Mac comes out of a small body slam holding an unidentified, sasquatch like white thing and exclaiming – “look dad  I found  your toenail.”

Only that one wasn’t ours.

Next year I am sure the Great Wolf Lodge will be closed in October and we will no longer have access to any form of technology that connects us to the outside world.

Game Over
June 26, 2009, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Children, potty training, teaching, Uncategorized | Tags:


He’s two and a half. The economy’s downward spiral is not helped by our weekly purchase of diapers. AMVETS is now the proud owner of a pack and play. Our crib has gone down the road to a young woman who just had triplets (God bless her). We are moving into Big Boy territory and that terrain calls for underwear. It’s true. Ask anyone.

So – two weeks ago on an obligatory Target run I found myself spouting, “Charlie – how about we look at underwear. How cool would that be?” “NO” And so the story should have ended there. But in my mind I am thinking “GAME ON.”

Think….. think … “Charlie – I bet if you went potty I could spot you a M&M.” Never mind that just last night I shared with my graduate students the perils of extrinsic rewards.

The red head is not impressed. “NO.” Hmmmm, Hmmmmm – “Well the economy is slowly coming around – I bet I could score you a whole bag.” “NO.”

He looks at me with a “this woman is obviously not riding my wave so let me break it down for her” kinda look.

“Mom, I wear diapers. I am not wearing underwear. No. No. No. No” (Now close your eyes and imagine the red head stomping with hands on his hips and a noncompliance eye). All children have gifts. Mine is extremely verbal and he never loses an occasion to use it against me.

“Greg – he is not ready. We cannot rush these things.” I say over dinner using my calm educator’s voice, but inside I know that I am a “my schedule kinda girl” and whooooo hooooo we are jumping on the underwear train.

Later that night Charlie and I pick out several books and climb into bed. We have the terrible trio – Wheels on the Bus, Machines at Work, and Big & Little. He has meticulously picked each book out with an anticipatory grin that says “yes I know I pick these same books out every night, and yes I will continue to have you read them to me though the year 2011 – which by my calculations is the precise year I will entertain wearing underwear and at a minimum it is going to cost you a crate of M&Ms.”

Well Little Mama had some trick of her own – and as we closed the cover to the last book – I pulled one last treasure from under the bed. POTTY TIME. “No, no, no, mama I DO NOT LIKE POTTYS THEY GO IN THE GARBAGE TRUCK.” “Oh silly boy, this book is not for you – I am just itching for a read and you can listen to if you want.” Score one for mom. Sure enough the little man snuggles up with me and as I victoriously read the last page in which Michael pees on the potty, Charlie gleefully says – “Look mommy it is our family, there is you, daddy, and look there – Mac (aka big brother) is on the potty peeing. Good for Mac.

Game over!

I’m Going for A Run …
March 7, 2009, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My husband has been in Honduras for the last week. In short – we are a proud but mournful family unit – who misses their third ill behaved kid. So –today I broke down and actually paid the gym daycare $10 so that I could have an hour on the treadmill and elliptical machine in an effort to get my groove back. Sometimes a girls got to break bad in order to retain her Saturday sanity– a feat I usually accomplish on my neighborhood runs. But despite the chaos – I understand that leaving one’s young children unattended in the house may result in an unexpected visit from our friends down at Social Services. Not to mention – that besides soccer and matchbox cars – Mac’s favorite pastime is setting up the redhead for an inevitable fall which he is the first to plea – not involved. It goes something like this. I say, “Mac, please do not stick that very strange suction cup toy – plucked from the overpriced, nutritiously void, environmentally hazardous Happy Meal –on our freshly painted walls.” This request is promptly  translated to “Oh mom does not want ME to stick this thing THERE but – the red head over HERE lacks forwarded thinking and craves catastrophe – so I think we have ourselves a winner – CHARLIE ………”  Screech – laugh – paint chip falls to the floor – “MOM look at what Charlie is doing, bad Charlie.” This scene has repeated itself approximately 11 times over the last twenty four hours – and has only ceased because strange toy mysteriously found its way to the trashcan and then a landfill – where it will sit for the next quadrillion years to torture future generations.  So imagine the apocalypse that could ensue with an hour of no parental guidance? Come to think of it – a quiet night in the slammer isn’t looking so bad about now.  I am going for a run.

I’m Back
March 3, 2009, 5:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

welcome-home-sign11Tuesday, March 3, 2009 / I Am Back

Well it is officially Tuesday, March 3, 2009 and I AM BACK – after a wee bit of a hiatus  – that if one was going to get picky – could be roughly calculated out  at about a year and few months thrown in for good measure. Ooooops – time does fly when a girl is trying to skirt her responsibilities. So how did I arrive at this juncture at 12:31am? Well first of all my husband is in Honduras and my oldest son is at the grandparents’ abode – and I feel like a kid in a house with no rules – so I am staying up late – and eating M&Ms with a toddler as we watch yet ANOTHER rerun of the Backyardigans all the while – my mind wonders to the America’s Next Top Model marathon calling my name just a few channels away. Well the runway will just have to wait. And – in the heat of another Backyardigan snappy song – after being torn away from the lure of Facebook – I stumbled upon my old Pal Stacey’s blog  which you should really check out – simply because she is fabulous and I say so. Then – all at once – it hits me like a ton of bricks – or perhaps like the matchbox car that just got tossed into my head at appalling speeds – I miss being a writer. You see – earlier this year I left the University life – hanging up my professor glasses and patched overcoat – and put on my holiday teacher dress as I headed back to the classroom to teach fifth grade. The move feels right – and the boys (I teach at a boy school) are energizing and smelly. But amidst all this change I lost THE conversation – the one that goes something like “yo how is that article coming – or will you read this draft of my paper” – and so – I simply stopped writing all together  – while never really noticing the hole until it was just so big – and I was scared I might fall in if I returned. But – as explorers must do – I have trudged back to the trenches where I will begin again – and hope some of my old fellows will resdiscover me and start another grand conversation. Until then. TTFN -DCS

PS – Did I mention it is a snow day?

January 23, 2008, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Children, diet, Family


“So, Mac ~what is your favorite thing to eat?” Dr. X inquires as she walks into the exam room for the five-year old check-up.

 “McDonalds,” the boy offers boldly – assured he has gotten this test question RIGHT. Because, just that afternoon, after being subjected to yet another kindergarten readiness screening, I offered up the golden arches as a reward for a job DONE, not thinking our lunch scheme would enter into the afternoon interrogation. After all, I am a vegetarian and try to stay away from the slaughter – so  McDonalds drive -byes happen approximately three times a year – as a buy off for not yelling at or in the barbers, a reward for brotherly love, or when a minor hurricane  has shut down ALL other establishments offering food. A point I am too tired to offer up as Dr. X records a F next to “parent provides family with daily nutritious meals.” A fact further confirmed as she digs deeper and questions, “So Mac what type of green things do you have in your house?” And I am thinking, redemption, we have this baby in the bag – cause we gots spinach and endamame and green bean and peas – just falling out of the refrigerator. A homely image Mac fails to pull up as he replies– “Oh yes – I really like those green limes my daddy put in his DRINKS (extra emphasis on s) every single night.” Suppose  I should start joining daddy more often.