Oh yeah, that’s why I never….

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Take three kids to the grocery store at once. Right. Haven’t done that in over a year. I mean, call me spoiled… or call me SMART. But it’s been well over a year since we took our kids grocery shopping. Usually one of us goes out sans children to complete to fortuitous task of stocking our pantry.

It’s actually quite the coveted job in this house, because of the blissful silence of label reading and aisle strolling whilst the other sorry parent (or uncle in last year’s case) gets to be a human jungle gym for an hour.

But no. Not today. Today I took the kids up to choir and because of the success of one event, stupidly decided to just ‘run into’ the grocery store and ‘pick up some stuff’ for dinner. I let myself be duped into thinking the most DANGEROUS THOUGHT for a mom, “I got this“.  (head up to all my mommy friends : you never get it. ever.)

We needed three things: bread, salad, and eggs. How hard could that really be? Three things. Three kids. So I wouldn’t need a cart. I ran through the rules and loaded out the stakes, early bedtimes if I lost someone from wandering off, etc.

I scooped Charlie, 3, out of his car seat and inquired
‘Would you like to walk?’
Which translates in toddler-speak to ” Do you want me to chase you around the grocery store?
Of course he said yes. And I fat, dumb, and happy obliged.

It took me about 10 minutes to realize the terror I had unleashed upon myself. I was in the produce section, picking up the lettuce when he and Jack started wrestling each other near the glass jars of garlic. Hmmm, I believe 1 billion is the amount of times I had to wrangle the two of them off of one another and hiss through my teeth,
“Knock it off!”
I kept dodging other customers and looking around all squirley hoping no other people would tisk at my lack of control. I gripped Charlie’s hand tighter and started stomping off to find the bread, commanding Jack to ‘march in front where I can see you” and feeling Mia trailing along hanging onto my other shirt sleeve.

Rounding a corner, and surrounded by a gaggle of customers in the deli line, Jack announced clear as a bell,
“Look Mom! It’s your favorite! Wine!”
NOOOO I cringed outwardly and inwardly. SHUT UP.

Of course, as you all know, ignoring a child only makes them talk louder. Especially when you really don’t want them to. Especially when you already looked like you couldn’t pull your life together.

“MOM!” (louder) “MOOOMMM” (pointing, louder) ” Wine! Look! YOUR FAVORITE!!”

And so, because I did not know how to react to the fact that I keep one measly bottle of wine on my counter, and apparently this is how my kid sees me… I giggled out loud correcting him,
“You’re so silly. That’s not Mommy’s favorite!”

Which in mommy language means
“Pipe down you nut. I don’t need people thinking less of me than they already do!”
I’m sure not one single person on that deli lined believed me. And if they followed me the rest of my trip, they might go pour me a glass themselves.

Because the rest of our ‘quick trip’, which in actuality lasted over a half hour, I was chasing Charlie, juggling eggs, putting items back on the shelves, yanking heads out of the bakery baskets of bread ( “c’mere Mia!! Smell this bread! Oh I wish we had this bread!” —– ” Oh so that lady can’t afford to buy her kids bread but she can buy wine. Tisk Tisk“)

Then. THEN. I made the crowing glory choice of the whole trip. I said,

” Hey. You’re not frazzled enough. You deserve to go through self-checkout


I’m such an idiot.

Because our self-checkout station was right next to a big, shiny, silver trashcan. Transaltion in boy : “Yum and Fun” And I had two ridiculously rambunctious boys in tow. And Charlie had been walking, holding my hand, but dropping to his knees every 2 feet of our trek up to self checkout. So I was in a GREAT mood by the time we got up there.

You know how with self-checkout, you have to scan the item then place in bag. But if you put too much in the bag or hang on the bag holder thingy, or sit on the bag holder thingy, or breathe near the bag holder thingy the whole register shuts down and says ‘Please wait for assistance’.


It was a really, really long check out process. A lot of

“Stop! Stop pressing on that! It’s reading your weight and throwing off the bags! They think we’re stealing!”


“Get away from the trash. We don’t touch trashcans”






Yep. Never doing that again.  Yep, I have a serious headache.

And yep, I’m writing this all down for you right now while sipping a glass of my favorite.

How to Pick ’em

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I’ve been trying to instill in the kids more of a servant mentality. And by that I mean the other afternoon I said

“Hey guys, you know what is the best thing you can say to anybody? It’s ‘what can I do to help you?‘ “

I talked to them about how everyone loves to be asked that question, and how it’s really what Jesus is calling us to do as Christians… help each other.

We went back and forth asking one another “what can I do to help you?” and it seemed to be that the lesson was learned.

Fast forward to that evening, and I was crawling around the living room floor gathering up legos, strewn story books, random sippy cups and laundry in a frantic clean-up-before-bedtime scramble.

As I stuffed puzzle pieces into their places, and re fluffed pillows for the couch, Chubs sauntered into the living room and lingered by the fireplace.

“Mom?” he asked with one hand near the bottom of his chin, “What can I do” his pointer finger began to slide up his nostril “to help you?”

My heart went from elation to shock as I watched him snag a booger and wipe it affectionately on my mantle just as he completed his offer of help.

He stared at me with his big, brown, doe eyes, truly offering his assistance out of the bottom of his heart.

I stared at him with my mouth hanging open in utter dismay as to how the whole scenario could have been more ironic.

This is also the same child who weeks earlier, as I was chatting with some friends, walked up to me in mid-conversation  and pried open my fingers, placed his booger in my hand and walked away. Completely and genuinely oblivious to how unappreciated his random acts of kindness are.

So needless to say, I informed my son he could help me by starting with that booger, and cleaning it off the mantle. to which he replied

“Ew, Mom. That’s gwoss


God sure knows how to keep me humble. Just when I think we’re turning a corner here I get to delightfully encounter a moment with my child that smacks me in the face with reality.

Apparently helping hands that have boogers on them are not as commonly appreciated as you would think. Next up on our agenda is learning about hygiene!

Speaking of what sells….

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CSS_Company_LogoBig news over here! Chicken Soup for the Soul bought one of my stories! We are going to be published! Can you believe it? This is a dream come true… quite literally one of my life goals so I am beyond excited. I have been reading Chicken Soup books for as long as I can remember, some of those stories have impacted my life so much that I still reference them to this day.

I am so very honored to have had a story chosen, from thousands of other submissions (they said so!) and it’s all because of you readers out there, I couldn’t have done it without your support and encouragement— thank YOU. You keep me blogging when I can’t even keep my eyes open.

Now, I’m not going to tell you which story it was that they picked (my last post should tip you off enough…) but the book will be available to purchase nationwide on March 18th! If you like reading here, or if your just my friend, or an internet stalker… then go out and buy it and tell all your friends, too! You can pre-order on Amazon now by clicking here.

  • also! I have a “page” for the blog on Facebook now! (no. I am not on it, it’s just a page for updates synced with my Twitter. ) So like us on Facebook for more updates and please share us with your friends! Click here to like us!

Oh ! Did  I tell you the title? It’s the “Multi-Tasking Mom’s Survival Guide” Fitting, huh? Actually, I haven’t the least idea how to survive beyond ear plugs and coffee so I can’t wait to get my hands on that baby myself!

Gosh. I just want to ask you to join in a virtual happy dance with me right now because I am giddy beyond measure! <<<(no amount of exclamation points could possibly convey)   Like a complete nerd, I just keep salivating at the fact that on March 18th I can bust down the doors of my local Barnes & Noble  find my name in print there! Eeep!

I would be remiss if I didn’t credit my ever-chattering Italian family, especially my parents, who are so well versed in the art of storytelling, that they made aspirations of writing an attainable desire. Thank you! And  of course to my patient, super encouraging husband and oh, those three kiddos. Thank you, you mashuganas!  I can honestly say, without any hesitation, that I have never been more grateful for flatulent children that I am today.

(((((big smiles from Wisconsin))))

What sells more than controversy? Poop.

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Even thoughSanta? Imagination? Wait how religious are you? was such a hit (lol) It’s sad, but it’s true. Especially to stay at home moms like me. I see a heated debate about NFP or Kris Kringle and I’m  all in on reading it, but I see a story about a mom who took a walk with three little kids, got lost, couldn’t find a bathroom, somehow got stuck riding a train with these lunatics, one of which crapped his pants while she was holding him…..and I am jumping for joy

“Yes! That’s what I am talking about! My life is full of poop too!”

Yep. That story wasn’t actually true, it was my dream from last night though. The entire dream I was looking at my hand going

Oh my god. There is diarrhea on my hand. It’s on my hand. How have I come this far in life to have diarrhea on my hand?”

Isn’t it bad enough I have to deal with this crap (pun intended) all day long, do I seriously need to be dreaming about it too? And here’s the truth, and I know every single Mommy out there can raise a hand in solidarity with me when I relate to you my afternoon last week:

Today I wanted to write my blog post. It seems as though fate is against me. After I wasted away most of my morning dressing up the kids and posing them as famous movie scenes (please view Instagram) I decided to feed them lunch. They wanted cereal which was easy for me and I figured I’d soon be on my merry way typing for my blog. But then, Princess knocked over the entire bowl of cereal until there was a lactose river of bliss flowing through every crack and crevice on my kitchen floor, and under the seat cushions that are screwed into our kitchen chairs.

In the time that I decided that I indeed was going to have to mop (sigh) and actually getting the mop, Princess had managed to wet her pants, hide them, and run around my house sans underwear. Once we retrieved the soiled linens, deposited them in the washer, and got the mop upstairs all the kids went down to the basement to play.

Right as I was starting to mop I heard yells and shouts coming from the basement bathroom. The words “lots of water” “poop” “Chubs flushed” rang through our house and I cringed and started my Lamaze exercises.  The clocked proved so far that only about 23 minutes had passed since the milk incident. I calmed myself, went down to the netherworld basement bathroom where I smelled strong aromas of a stinkier nature.  “It’s poop again” I muttered to myself as I peeked into the bathroom, gagged, then sprinted up the stairs to do some serious self-talk through. “You can do this”.

By some miracle, literally seconds later Camera Guy walked in for lunch, which I offered to him on terms that he would address the poop situation. Kids were still playing in the basement. After Camera Guy left for work again, I called the troops up for naptime and as I was hopeful, blog writing time. As Little Guy began his ascent up the steps I once again smelled poop. And also noticed he had thoughtfully removed his pants, and his diaper. After some more muttering and self-talk “It’s POOP AGAIN” I was absolutely delighted to noticed Little Guy’s white onesie was now brown, his legs were covered, and numerous little nuggets of joy were scattered in a trail from whence he came.

So you see, I really wanted to do some awesome, life changing blogging today and I wanted it to be different from all the other stories I write, but alas, as hard as I may try to avoid it: poop is my lot in this life.


And even as I relate this delectable incident to you, I will have to excuse myself from wrapping this post up because I hear  one toddler sifting through my kitchen trashcan and another one screaming “WIPE ME” from the bathroom.

Ta Ta.

Santa? Imagination? Wait. How religious are you?

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A popular topic in mom’s groups these days is the realm of imagination in our toddlers.  Some philosophies suggest that it is harmful and has lasting effects on a child’s psyche to expose them to fantasy play prior to the age of reason. The argument is that until they can distinguish the difference between their imagination and reality, children will only  be confused by “make believe”.  I’ve heard mothers express their concern with this premature exposure leading to increased nightmares, fears,  or obsession with fantasy characters. While this poses a valid question for us moms, I personally hold the opinion of the old proverb, “everything in moderation”.

This is just my two cents, but I think that a healthy imagination is completely normal for children. Eventually, around that age of reason we all understand that certain things are make believe and I wouldn’t say that any of us were scarred or emotionally harmed by “growing up” and discovering that the tooth fairy was really Mom & Dad (was anybody?).

Imagination and fantasy play produces more creative individuals, and in a sense, may help children (and adults) grasp the harder realities of life to understand. A professor at Franciscan University always use to say in his evangelization class that you need an imagination to grasp your faith, and that you should use it when you pray. Obviously not in a silly way, but he has a good point. There are lots of things in our faith: angels for instance, that we have to imagine. If we don’t learn how to use our imagination and are constantly grounded in the actual, physical reality of what we can grasp with our senses our Catholic faith would be ridiculously hard to accept and imagining things would be difficult without prior practice!

It is of my opinion that most atheists are so “grounded” in reality and reason that they are able to easily talk themselves out of the existence of religion, because they cannot believe something they cannot see.  Atheists cannot logically reason the mystery of the Eucharist, the existence of angels and demons and the fact that there is a heaven because to them it is  “make believe”.  It is categorized along with fairies, unicorns and the Easter bunny. (In watching “Expelled-No Intelligence Allowed” this is how one famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, argued against religion.)

Not only do I feel imagination is good for children, but in a sense practically necessary. Our world is built on the talents of imaginative people. People who embrace creativity and are able to dream of different possibilities or outcomes for various situations. Skyscrapers, military executions, stories, toys, technology, art, and practically everything we encounter in life is derived from an exercise of the imagination. Could fostering your child’s imagination possibly lead to the development of a more creative, talented individual? Is there a chance that their confidence could blossom since they are lauded for the stretching of their mind? Husband and wife psychologists & Yale professors, Drs. Dorothy &  Jerome Singer  world renowned for their studies on the effects of imagination during the pre-age of reason stage in children. They have concluded,

“A childhood rich in fantasy play thus lays the foundation for an adult life that is rich with not only imagination and a sense of playfulness but also with adaptive skills that are useful and necessary for dealing with a complex society.”

The Singers further go on to explain that developing your child’s imagination can strengthen their verbal, emotional, coping and imagery skills. They stress that indeed, imagination is critical in a child’s development for this is the way children learn to cope with different emotions or problems they face.

“When a child’s range of make-believe is too limited, he is more likely to focus on extremely narrow fantasies, leading to distortion of later reality. Sociodramatic play-pretending to be other people in various social roles- is really preparation for facing complex realities, and a child’s imaginative anticipation of numerous situations prepares him or her to respond effectively to these realities.”

So, in short, I suppose I disagree with this philosophy of restraining imaginative play until the age of reason.  I don’t know how many of us adults were confused upon the exit of our imaginative childhood years. For me, I feel like it just naturally faded out and I didn’t think too much of it otherwise. How many of us were truly devastated to realize the Cat in the Hat was not real?

In the end, it is truly all up to each parent’s comfort on that topic. I just think how do you cap that train of thought once it is started?  If no fantasy then how can I let my daughter play dress up as a princess? She’s not really a princess…or how can I let her make her dollies talk to one another? They’re just dolls…How do we read our children fairy tales ? It seems to me that it potentially could become quite a runaway train. Obviously, I am not encouraging allowing your child to indulge in cartoons, fantasy books or “make believe” to the point where they are lost in the oblivion of pretend. Simply, everything in moderation. I  think a great point is made by one of the nation’s most esteemed pediatricians,  Dr. Sears, on encouraging an active imagination:

“Your child has a long life of reality ahead of him…let them enjoy being a child”.

In regards especially to Christmas and oh my word: SANTA. Let me just say that hoopla which surrounds this  topic in Christian circles is appalling. Apparently it’s the caliber that fellow Christians measure each other by, whether or not you lie to your children. It proves how religious you really are, or orthodox of a Catholic you are.

It’s sickening. Really? This is a little bit nit-picky and puritanical. Reminds me a lot of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Isn’t it also defeating the point of the season, which is one of charity and Christianity?

I put my Christmas lights out and tree up the first weekend in Advent, that’s what we do. My Grandpa died suddenly when my Dad was 12, two weeks before Christmas. Christmas was his favorite time of year, and he loved decorating with lights. So I grew up fully aware that we decorated for my Dad, who wanted to remember his father during that season. It’s possible that other people have their own reasons and ways and still manage to do penance in another, more private way during Advent. Why though do we make it our business to judge outward appearances?

As for Santa. I have no problem carrying on the tradition as Jen mentioned, because that’s what we do. And I do think it’s fine, and entirely an topic that is way more non-threatening of an issue than it’s made out to be. For me, there are bigger fish to fry. And bigger issues to over analyze.

So what about Santa? It’s not real. It’s a fake. It’s not what Christmas is about, right? It’s lying to your kids, isn’t it? Santa is….well… bad. Isn’t he?

By being so rigid in your grip on imagination, you’re dancing with a very Jansenist and Calvinist viewpoint. Jansenists and Calvinists hinged on scrupulosity. They viewed the world as bad, and all things of the world as evil. But Catholicism holds that the world is good, and many things in the world are good and can be used as windows to our faith. We need our imagination to grasp the mysteries of our faith.  Our Catholic faith hinges on the Eucharist,  an enormous mystery of faith that we must use our very imagination to believe in. As  Deacon Matthew MacDonald says,

“We are called to be faithful, we are called be holy, and we are called to perfection. And perfection requires creativity. Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) emulates Christ to us. In his humility and generosity, he shows us why Christ became incarnate. Our salvation is not something that we’re owed- it’s a complete and total gift that we do not deserve. He makes Christ touchable to us.”

How could it be summed up better? I love the famous words of the editor of The New York Sun in reply to a letter written by Virginia O’ Hanlon:

“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.”

He goes on to make a beautiful point

“The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.”

Who says we can’t use the spirit of Saint Nicholas to open our children up to a greater reality, that they cannot seen nor explain: our Faith, the angels, the Eucharist? Our faith in an incarnational faith, its rooted in our traditions and our culture. These things in our culture can be windows into who Christ is. The window shows us what we can strive to perfect in our own lives: generosity.

I ask you, does Santa come to your house? Or as we say here to our kids “The spirit of Saint Nicholas”?  The spirit of Saint Nicholas is none other than that of love, generosity and devotion. The spirit of Saint Nicholas comes to this house and I am most certainly willing to bet that it comes to yours too.

“You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

Lies We Tell the Kids

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Dear Kids,

Well, I hope you are totally grown up and raising your own children when you read this. Because if you are, you can sympathize. If you aren’t, and you’re still living under my roof you might not be taking me too seriously anymore. So I might be shooting myself in the foot right now.

Listen, I’ve told you these “things” for your best interest. Your benefit. I’ve just tried to do the right thing. Unfortunately doing those things, er, rather getting you to do those things does involved a fair amount of fibbing. (Sigh) What I’m trying to say is: I don’t really believe or agree with everything I tell you, but I kind of have to say it anyway because Dr. Sears says so. And right now, we are in that phase of parenting where Dr. Sears is the Wizard of Oz to us. That and Dr. Google.

So I just want to clarify, mainly to just get it out there, what I really feel about some of these white lies.

1. Ok, I know I tell you “No, you’re only allowed to watch 2 shows a day…too much tv isn’t good for you.” But here’s the thing. I think 2 shows a day is stupid too. As soon as your in bed, we’ve got Hulu up faster than you can pitch a fit. Heck, do you know how awesome it is to be grown ups? I spent my whole childhood to get to this point in life: finally having complete and total control of my own remote control. I think every adult out there feels the same way, too. We built this though, we had to endure years of limited television exposure so that we could be smart, well adjusted adults who…honestly want to do nothing more at the end of the day than kick back and watch our shows. So I’m with ya on that one.

2. Food. Goodness gracious, it is so hard for me to tell you to eat your veggies first before another helping of noodles…when all I am doing behind your back is eating bowls of noodles before I even set the table. And in my head I’m thinking “Who could blame you? I hate eating salad too. Pass the bread, please!” Listen to me: Mommy is a carb-oholic and Daddy ate an entire box of chocolate covered potato chips by himself last week. So. It does get better, I promise.

3. A consequence of having you kids are these really awkward “naptime” lies I am forced to tell people because I’m so stinking desperate to keep you asleep. Lies like “Oh, our toilet isn’t working today” when really I mean “Sorry you stopped over to visit during my kids naps…but we don’t flush the toilet during naps because it will wake them up and I just had diarrhea. So. Toilet’s broken.” These lies can consequently have quite adverse effects if people don’t take you literally. Trust me. (ask Aunt Katie)

4.I really cringe each time I tell you that it’s silly to be afraid of the dark. That is one of my worst bold face lies because inside I’m screaming “Mommy is STILL afraid of the dark”. I purposely make Daddy sleep the closest to the door because I get so skiddy when its dark. Heck, I have an entire escape plan figured out if we ever get attacked during the night. (Which totally includes a strategically placed 2×4 under Daddy’s side of the bed) I freak myself out daily when I’m glued to a rocker glider at 2am nursing and the moonlight hits the scrunchie on the floor just the right way that I could swear it’s moving. All I do replay that Twilight Zone episode in my head (which is so, so stupid at 2 am)…the one with the little robot on the floor…and when your nursing and you can’t move or whimper lest you fully awake the baby, terrifying fear typically manifests itself in strange gastrointestinal grunts and sweating. So being afraid of the dark isn’t silly, at least not to me. But,I’d rather be the only one up worrying at night instead of all of us together…and so…I lie.

5. Lastly,the stupid age old “You need to go get some fresh air” one is my least favorite. I feel so bad on the days you guys don’t want to play outside and I convince you how good it is for you, how much healthier you’ll be…blah blah blah. I, for one, do perfectly fine with house air. In fact, I love it. Especially when it’s like 2 degrees outside and I’ve got Pride & Prejudice loaded up on the Netflix. So sorry for all those games of tag I made you play when you just wanted to color. And all the times I lured you outdoors with bubbles or made you ride bikes instead of “helping” me fold laundry. Lies, all of it. That and a little manipulation to exhaust you so you’d nap good.

So there, I got it off my chest. Even if you guys don’t read this for many, many years to come. I feel better clarifying these things with you. I want you to know I feel your pain, and I get it and mostly, I’m on your side. I don’t know who comes up with these rules anyway. They might not be fully human. I mean veggies? Fresh Air? No TV? Gimme a break, this is all we’ve been working to escape our whole lives! Don’t get any ideas too soon, though. The rules aint changing because I want you to turn out right. But I promise you, once you’re grownup, mature, and well adjusted (hahahaaaaaa) we can spend the entire day inside eating cookies and watching every Colin Firth movie ever made. Oh, and we can sleep with the lights on too!

Party in 2050!



7 Quick Takes Friday- Vol. 2

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— 1 —

This week has been one of those weeks that makes me realize, we all have different sized plates. Some of us can take on a lot on our plate and may be, say, a platter. Others fall into the dinner plate category or the salad plate section. I am firmly, and humbly convinced I fall somewhere above a spoon rest and just underneath a teacup saucer plate.

— 2 —

My favorite tweet this week was from Demetri Martin who tweeted constantly during the Presidential debate. When Obama and Romney were going back and forth about teachers and how much they like them, @DemetriMartin tweeted:

” I don’t love teachers. #NotTrue #ILoveTeachers #NotAllOfThem #YouKnowWhoYouAre #MissZambrano

then he followed it up promptly with

Second Grade was a rough year for me. #DoNotGetMeStarted”

Had me in stitches.

— 3 —

On the topic of@DemetriMartin I am hugely looking forward to downloading and watching his new comedy album : Stand Up Comedian and hoping he delivers more deliciously hysterical bursts of laughter from blunt, dry observations like  “Sometimes when we learn the meaning of a new word, it can be very disappointing. I remember when I was a kid and we were going to visit one of my mom’s friends who she told us was a ‘cat person’. And when we got there….I was just like ‘Wait. So you just like cats?’ Dude. That’s a ‘cat-liker’. A ‘cat-person’ is a different story…like ‘why does Steven never go in the pool? Oh yeah….he’s a ‘cat-person'”

— 4 —

Last week, as the credits were rolling on  The Avengers….Tom noticed Fatty the Squirrel taunting him, sitting on the fence post above our trashcans….just staring at us while we ate popcorn. Probably due to the recent fighting footage, and feeling totally invincible, he jumped off our sofa, grabbed the first “weapon” he could find (which ended up being a Melissa & Doug wooden cupcake) and went running, growling, into our backyard vowing to avenge (pun intended) our pumpkins and obliterate the squirrel. With a wooden cupcake. In broad daylight. I’m sure lots of grown men chase squirrels around their backyards with wooden cupcakes on Saturday afternoons….hmmm. Might be investing in that BBgun my Dad suggested.

— 5 —

Ooo. I failed to mention that Fatty the Squirrel also just chewed his way through our second pair of new trashcans. So, Tom’s wrath was justified.

— 6 —

Jack ate a bowl of carrots with yogurt for lunch yesterday!!! I did a happy dance and praised him, and now he won’t eat carrots anymore.

— 7 —

Baklava is evil. It cannot be made at 9:30 at night by an exhausted wife. You can never offer to bring it to your special little Mediterranean potluck at work ever again. Potlucks for work fall into the “Nay Nay” category. I am choosing to homeschool my kids precisely  to avoid things like packing lunches and making special cultural dishes for a monthly Hoo- Ha- Ha.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

The Picky Eater Project- Ch. 1

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Man cannot live on bread alone, but my son Jack can.

I sit here staring at him thinking of what a mess I’ve created by catering to his every whim, desperate to get him to eat something, anything. In my exasperated state I caved over the months, giving him chicken nuggets, waffles, frozen sausage links, toast…just to see him eating. At least he’s eating I tried to comfort myself. But now all I am left with is an almost 3 year old whose resolve has become so ingrained in him that he won’t even try one bite of something other than his standard. It’s terrible! And I feel so responsible and that I have done everything wrong that I could have done right, if I had just stuck it out a year ago when all this was snowballing before my eyes. I think I was too tired.

Parenting magazine had this lovely article in this month’s issue which completely steam-rolled my miniscule hope that he’d grow out of this phase. The article entitled, “Grow a Foodie!” had a jumbo-sized caption in the middle of the article shrieking at moms what the point they were trying to make was. It said

Picky-eaters are not born, they’re made” and in my my brain, in true mom fashion, I completed the sentenced, “and you’re making one”.

They could of just made a pop-up centerfold that poked me in the eye shouting “loser!”, and it may have been less harsh than that. The entire four page article went on and on about how we are enabling them to be picky, and that this phenomenon is strictly western culture because elsewhere the world there isn’t such a thing as the “kids menu”, kids just eat smaller portion of what their parents are eating! Shocking! The overall message I got from the article was: it’s my fault. Which is pretty much our deepest worry as moms that keeps gnawing at our sanity in the wee hours of the morning. The dreaded…..what if it’s all…my…fault? What if I made a bad decision? Or I messed up? How is this going to effect their adolescence, their potty training, or goodness gracious, what if they hold it against me for the rest of their life?? I can already see him now! Riding a motorcyle, drinking beer and eating pork rinds all because I could never stick it out and transition him to REAL FOOD…(and then Tom pointedly remarks, yes, but at least he’s eating pork.) Side note:It is never advisable under any circumstances to weigh options on any parenting decisions you have made from 11pm – 9am.

But it didn’t used to be this way! As a baby he tried many foods we presented to him and enjoyed things with flavor like chili, meatballs, lasagna, and carrots. Now, at 2 1/2, he has a strict menu of chicken nuggets, toaster waffles, pretzels, toast and PLAIN (not buttered! For the love he just might pass out if he sees butter) noodles. He is turning me into the parent I never wanted to be! I never, ever, ever, was going to have icky processed chicken fricken nuggets in my freezer or piles of toaster waffles on my counter for breakfast. I can’t tell you the countless kids I babysat for in high school and I thought I was never going to feed my kids as horribly as their parents were feeding them. Well that idea totally bit me in the butt.

I have one kid who eats anything, another who would if I would let him (even though he remains toothless) and the other who is pretty much the poster child for a happy meal. It makes me so guilty and frankly, very stressed out to think of all the nutrients he is missing out on, and now thanks to Parenting magazine I have pressure to purge him of these eating trends! I’ve got to change his preferences now before he’s asking for chicken nuggets and noodles at his high school graduation party. Or crying at his dress rehearsal dinner because some moron put a slab of butter on his bread.

As with every bright idea I have I always set out a tad bit too excitedly, and in Jack’s case, that’s a major turn off. I thought why wouldn’t it be a great idea to teach him and Mia about the food we eat and let them build their own plate? I sprang into action after tossing Parenting magazine in the trash and began piling different items from the fridge on the counter. We made carb piles, protein piles and fruit/veggie piles. I explained that at every meal, they had to have a carb, a veggie and a protein. Mia built her plate awesomely, made my Mommy heart swell with pride only to be utterly deflated a mere second later by Jack who insisted on having for his veggie: bread and his protein: bread. Equaling a lunch of : bread . About 15 minutes later, and a million and one negations on proteins(Me” “Hey, how about some Peanut butter?” Jack “How about not some peanut butter”. ) (Me: “how about CHOCOLATE YOGURT?!??!?!” ahahhahhaaaaa <<<— that’s me, breaking down in a fit of maniacal laughter at the absurdity of how much I’ve lowered my expectations) To summarize: on day one of the picky eater project, my son ate bread for lunch.

Is this a power play? Is he strong willed? Will he eventually cave? I don’t know. I think he’s going to have to give in eventually. I’ve tried every darn idea in the book and it’s not working. I don’t know how, but somehow, they just know when you sneak nutrition in. I did the old “turkey meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato frosting” thing. Stupid. He looked at me like I was from Mars. Then I tried mixing flax seed into his pasta sauce. HAHA. Yeah right. Then I cut up a real chicken cutlet to make it look like nuggets- nope. I even got out ice cube trays and gave him a whole flippin buffet to pick from and he just blinked at me and asked me why I even bother. Ok, he didn’t ask me that. But I knew that was what he was thinking. Yes and I’ve told him everything from he needs to grow, to pick food that is colorful, to let’s play a game, to I’ll give you a sticker, to just take a “no thank you bite”, to just-take-a-bite-of-it-and-i’ll-give-you-a-jelly-bean, to leveling with him and saying

“Look. If you don’t eat, you’re going to end up in the hospital.” To which he asked me, “Which hospital.” <<—and that is where I almost broke down in tears because in that moment I looked at his eyes and I heard “Bring it on, woman.” Oh dear, this is going to be much more difficult than I imagined. Thanks a lot, Parenting magazine!

So. Today is day 5 and we’re putzing along slowly. I’ll keep you all updated on how it turns out but I’ll leave you with a funny thought. Yesterday as I was making dinner so was my starving son. He was cooking in his play kitchen. He brought me a sampler platter of what he was making and when I asked what it was he told me,

“This is noodle and frosting and pancake soup with banana fries” Then he kind of stared at me with these big “Do-you-want-me-to-make-this-any-clearer” look. I know we’re both thinking this doesn’t need to be this difficult. I told him I’d have to find a recipe. Ha. I guess I’m going to need to get a little more creative than I thought here.

Sneaky Signs

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Yesterday afternoon, the kids and I were having lunch. Chubs was sitting pleasantly in his high chair with his tray bearing a baby-buffet of chicken, pineapple and some crackers. Princess was seated directly across from him in her booster seat munching on some pizza. Her pigtails were sagging, his head was sweaty, we had all had a busy morning outside in the nice weather and it was finally time to eat and regroup before nap time.

I grabbed my favorite pineapple yogurt and some leftovers as I joined them at the table. Sitting in between both of the munchkins, I inwardly sighed as I ripped the foil lid of the yogurt. Lunch time was always an awesome time since it was the pre-cursor to the ever anticipated nap time. Plus it was always even more awesome when I had this

“ Yogurt which should be classified as a dessert” I thought to myself, eating a spoonful of the creamy amazing-ness and escaping away to a mommy-vacation via food.

Princess was chatting about how much she loved pizza and Chubs was chomping down on the pineapple, letting the juice dribbling over his fat bottom lip,down his clef chin and onto his orange polo shirt.

Normally that would have made me cringe, but with my magic yogurt and the quickly approaching naptime, I couldn’t help but think

“Oh well”

I glanced over at Chubbers again and he smiled his wide-toothed grin with pieces of fruit smashed between his pearly whites. He chuckled at himself (he’s his  biggest fan).

I smiled back at him,

“You silly man. Look at you! You’re making a mess.”

He smiled again with his eyes this time. And then he started blowing raspberries, or as we call it, “spitting”.

Tiny particles of pineapple and pineapple juice started to spew across the kitchen, towards myself, Princess and various cookbooks on my shelf.

My smile immediately turned upside down,

“No! We do not spit at the table! We eat our food…”

Princess took this as an opportunity to exercise her big sister authority,

“Chubby man, no spitting!”

He buttoned up on the spot and smiled.

I must admit, I was taken aback by how quickly he co-operated. Normally it takes at least 3 or 4 back and forth bouts of spitting/reprimanding before he chills out.

Pleasantly pleased, I turned back to my lunch and continued to eat. No sooner did I start eating again, did Chubs start blowing loaded raspberries.

This time, before I had a chance to say anything, Princess was standing on her booster seat shouting,

“Mommy said no spitting! No Chubs!”

I turned my back to Princess, facing the boy full on. He signed “again” to me, by placing one index finger in the palm of the other hand. Was he asking me if he could keep spitting? That’s odd. I shook my head and enunciated “NO” to him.

“No you can not spit again.”

As I was doing this, he stopped and his big brown eyes seemed to stare beyond me. After a moment he looked back at me with an impish grin,  signed “again” and started to spit!

I started up the “no spitting” thing again, and was hearing a Princess echoing me in my instruction. Suddenly he started to pick up the pace, while signing frantically “again!”. He started spitting more, this time louder and more excitedly.

Confused, I spun around to catch Princess in mid-sign signing “again” to her brother  behind my back. She stopped abruptly and looked sheepishly at me.

My eyes widened at what was happening. She was silently egging him on, while pretending to be helping me!

“What are you doing?!” I asked Princess as she started to toy with her pizza, avoiding my glare.

“Um. Is Chubs in trouble now?”


I could not believe my eyes. Or my ears. All those sign language lessons came back to bite me in the butt. At 2 1/2 Princess had already figured out the best kept secret of sibling rivalry. She actually tried to get him in trouble! By signing to him but brownnosing up to me. If I didn’t turn around, she would have totally gotten away with that.

I was impressed by her cleverness but baffled by the scenario that just took place.

“I have to call Daddy” That always my way of getting out of the situation.

“I like your diamond, Mom” She offered as I picked up the receiver.

I looked at her in disbelief.

“Are you for real? This is stuff I used to pull in middle school!”

I shook my head in confusion. I thought they grow up in stages. Like baby, toddler,  kid, then teenager. Not toddler then teenager.

“Ooof.” I slumped down into the sofa and dialed Camera Guy’s number.

He picked up,


“Hi it’s me. We’re just having lunch and oh, you’re never gonna believe this one…”

Snot a good morning

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So this morning, as I was scrubbing down the highchair (for the first time in days….yet again another sign of the second time around) I noticed Pretty Princess had managed to retrieve the box of Rice Krispies from the table and pour herself a heap into her lap and have a snack. I sighed but resigned myself to the next task at hand which would be krispy clean-up when I began to see her face start squirming. Her eyes were getting teary and she was scrunching up her nose a lot. It passed through my mind quickly what might be going on, but instead of giving my thought up….I inquired,

"What are you doing?"

She looked up at me, and quipped, "Um, cereal booger."

Just as I had suspected, she was shoving Rice Krispies up her nasal pasage. Lovely. My thoughts turned to stories I had heard of friends with kids who had manage to get play dough, bagels, and M&M’s up those delicate tunnels. And I quickly wondered if she had snaked them up far enough to get trapped in her sinus cavity.

I walked over to assess the damage while asking,

"Did you get them stuck in your nose?"


Laying her down flat on the floor I took a peek. The little booger, pun most definitely intended, was clinging for life not so far up her nose. Would I need a tweezer? Would my finger be too big? What if I push it farther up? Ahhh what the heck. I held the other side of her nose down and told her to blow. Out flew the krispy and she exclaimed, "Booger!"

After we went over strict instructions on what things were allowed in our noses (answer: nothing) I sent her on her way and went to get the broom to sweep up the mess. Before I could make it back, she was snorting again. Sure enough another blow and four more rice krispies came flying out! I couldn’t believe it! What was going on with her? And how gross is that?

Ahh so needless to say, it was a long morning. Only beginning with cereal boogers and ending somewhere between two dirty diapers and a hurricane-like rainstorm while running late to the doctors. At least bedtime is not too far off, should I attempt a bath tonight?