Friday, November 11, 2011


This week, I have felt disappointed and disgusted.

I just heard on NPR that Herman Cain's fundraising has gone UP since the allegations of sexual harassment. UP. A man interviewed said that he didn't believe the woman because if it happened to him, he would have come forward right away. Really - you would have? So, you would have come forward 15 years ago and have people not believe you then? Call me crazy, but in my view, coming forward so publicly with sexual harassment is believable. To go public and put yourself through this kind of scrutiny - who would make that up? Why go through this ridicule and character assassination? These women didn't choose to run for president and therefore put their life under the microscope. Herman Cain did. Yet, these women have come forward under a moral obligation to make people aware of Cain's character. Thinking it would make a difference. I am saddened for them.

My stomach turned early this week when the students at Penn State protested the firing of a football coach. Not the victimization of young boys by the assistant coach and the complete lack of accountability and taking of responsibility by people in positions of power to do something. I guess you could say the students are young and naive - innocent. Like the sex abuse victims. Today, Penn State students are having a candle light vigil for the victims. A little late.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thumbs down

I can remember the day at 5 months old - look, how cute - she found her thumb! I even have a picture...

I will tell you now, if you can do it - STOP the thumb sucking! I used to think that the grandmotherly types who would comment, and sometimes actually try to pull my child's thumb out of her mouth, were pushy (well, actually, that is pretty damn pushy). Now I realize they were not so subtly trying to say STOP the thumb sucking, before it is too late!

Fast forward 6 years and we are talking almost $4,000 in braces. Apparently, LittleBug has managed to pull her top jaw forward, make room for 8 teeth in front, where there should be 4, and push all her bottom teeth back. She can suck her thumb without even opening her teeth.

How did we let it get this bad? It is totally embarrassing. We are good parents - limit t.v., lots of books, art, fun activities. How could we let our daughter destroy her mouth? Her twin had a pacifier. At age 2 1/2 we "gave" all her binkies to her dentist's new baby son. It was a hard couple of weeks, but we did it. But what about the thumb? How do you take that away?

A few months ago, the dentist's promise of a new Barbie helped her stop during the day. But then she started to get so stressed about how to stop at night that she started sucking in during the day again. We've put bandaids on her thumb, she pulled or sucked them off. We tried putting a long sock on her arm at night - after 2 hours of crying, she asked, "Mommy, can I not do this tonight?" What am I to say? I feel her stress and know it is so hard for her.

So now, here we are. When desperate - go back in time: medieval torture devices. With her braces, the orthodontist will install a plate in the top of her mouth. She will have 3 weeks...if that doesn't stop her, then he will install prongs on the plate. Prongs - spikes - in my daughter's mouth. You have got to be kidding me.

So now, I am telling everyone I can: STOP the thumb sucking. It is not cute. It will torture you and your child later and cost you lots and lots of money (the orthodontist recommended that we switch insurance before she needs braces again at age 13 - seriously).

I may start pulling babies' thumbs out of their mouths.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

“They flew the planes into buildings”

There is no easy way to tell your children about 9/11. Especially our girls who we have sheltered from so many things – even PG movies! But with the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks coming up, I felt like I had no choice. The news is teeming with retrospectives, information on memorials and “remembrances.” One of our favorite local

events, a hot air balloon race, is even having a special ceremony on Sunday, the day we are going.

I don’t want the girls to learn about what happened from someone else. We should, as parents, be the ones to teach and comfort, especially about something like this.

But I’ve realized in telling the girls about 9/11, that I, a 41 year old woman, can’t even handle what happened. I have done my best to block out the horrific images of the plane ripping through the second tower, the buildings crumbling, the pentagon burning.

So to have to explain that terrorists took over four planes and flew them into buildings was gut wrenching.

“what are terrorists mommy?”

“People who don’t want us to feel safe, who are upset at some things our country does”

“did all the people on the planes die?”


And to realize there was no way I could tell them about all the people in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon who died, or that the towers crumbled. Or about the oh so brave people who brought the fourth plane down before more lives would be lost. How to find the words?

Instead we talked about feeling proud of our country, feeling empathy for what happened to all of those people (“it makes me want to cry, mommy”). We talked about how safe things are now – all the things we do before we get on a plane to make it safe. How this can never happen again.

I hope. I wish – I want that to be true more than anything.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thoughts of the past few months...

Memories of the year thus far ...

As we wind down the school year, it is hard to believe the twins, LadyBug and LittleBug, are almost done with kindergarten and QueenBee is going to be a third grader. They have impressed and wowed us all year. And, of course, frustrated and infuriated us at the same time. Here are a few highlights.

Awesome skiing - all three girls surpassing mommy in skill and confidence. Truly awe-inspiring to see your child zip down a snow covered slope, knowing there is no way in hell you can catch them.

LittleBug starting violin lessons - not that I would recommend starting such an instrument at age 5, but she likes it and and seems to pick it up quickly. Recommend a very patient teacher...

Rocking out to Justin Beiber with the girls (he's not bad, you know....better lyrics than Lady Gaga, which we like too.)

A full year of school with mommy working: the highs at the lows: LittleBug taking a picture of me to her show and tell: "This is my mommy. She is a judge. And I love her." To...."mommy do we have to go to day care?" "Do you have to work ALL summer/break/the time?" Sigh....

The beginning of many "That's not fair..." from the eldest who has an acute sense of justice and a very short memory of her childhood (from 2 years ago). Everything the twins do is infinitely more fun that anything she ever got to do!

Soccer Ball to Littlebug's face: lots of blood, 2 stitches in the lip, and one very brave girl.

LadyBug's true love emerges: dollies. She now owns four "American Girl" dolls (she is a keen garage sale shopper) and I don't even know how many baby dolls. She falls in love with them....loves to be a little mommy.

Starting piano lessons for QueenBee: who knew the "OCD" in her would come out to earn the "stars" for extra practices? One morning, as I stepped out of the shower at 6:00 a.m., I heard her practicing the piano!

Roller blading at the roller rink, which has not changed since I was a kid - around and around....and around (see rocking out to Beiber above)

Coming home and/or waking up to piles of dog crap, etc. The joys of owning an old dog with a delicate palate and a young dog who eats everything.

The six year old style tantrum: arms crossed, mouth in a hard pout, a firm "no" from LadyBug - that will last forever. Or from LittleBug, the wide "hurt" eyes, running out of the room, silent tears while sucking her thumb.

QueenBee's ode to our deceased pet fish (who, prior to becoming a pet, was food for the really, he had it good): "My Dead Fish Ted" My fish Ted is dead, No it can't be!!! A special fish. He'd follow my finger, tapped the tank. Ted had a plant in the tank. A nice fish, a friend of mine!"

Playdates, dinners with friends and family, yoga for mommy and daddy - here is to all that keeps us sane!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream....

So I have a question for anyone out there - does anyone remember having insomnia as a child? If so, what did you (or your parents) do?

Here's the back story. LittleBug has been our consistent wake-us-up-at-night girl. We have tried being sweet and comforting, being mean and stern, giving Tylenol or Motrin, getting her a night light that doesn't bother her sisters, putting piles of books next to her bed, giving a new toy if she doesn't get up 10 days in a row.... You get the picture.

Well, it's started again and now that she is six, I'm balking at rewarding her for something that she should be doing. Her sisters certainly aren't getting rewards for sleeping all night. Not that life is fair, but really?

So my husband and I are talking on our "date night" about what we can do about our little night visitor. My first idea of buying scary masks and putting them on before we go to sleep was good for a long laugh, but ultimately a horribly cruel idea. I mean, can you imagine?! That would even be too bad for!

Then we both say, wait a second - maybe the question isn't what she should do when she wakes up, but WHY is she waking up? (ok, perhaps a "duh" moment - but you know, we don't do our best thinking in the middle of the night!) No one else wakes up at night. And even if LittleBug doesn't get us up, she wakes up - EVERY NIGHT. Every night her light is on, books are all over. When she does come to get us, she usually says, "I'm bored and I can't sleep." Oh my gosh - does she have insomnia? Is that possible?

So right there at dinner, we google (thank you iPhone) insomnia in children. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we have now come up with anxiety, depression, or some random pain. Great. Everything says if the child wakes up more than 3 times per week, she should go to the doctor. Um....try every night for the past how many years? Kind of feel like an idiot now!

So, I don't usually ask for feedback, but if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them! We will be up all night trying to psychoanalyze our child...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dream Coming True

As parents, we often worry about how our children will be affected by learning about bad things. It begins with the decision of when to explain about "stranger danger." As children grow older, they, of course, hear things on the news and ask about them. NPR in the car is replaced with the Wiggles, not just to entertain, but to protect. But as much as we would like to shelter our children, the reality is that they must learn, take in the new, process it, and apply it to their world.

During the Inauguration last year, my three girls kept asking, "Mommy, why are you crying?" Of course, I could explain these were happy tears, but to explain the enormity of our nation's first black president would be to explain the decades of injustice and evil done by some of our own countrymen. Besides, to the girls, Obama just was - he wasn't black or brown or whatever. They loved him because Mommy and Daddy said he would do good things to help people, and because he had two little girls.

So now, Queen Bee is in second grade. Late one night, when emptying her backpack, I found her weekly reader. This week it was on Martin Luther King, Jr., his life and the challenges that the nation was facing at that time. It was, in fact, a very thorough summary of slavery, "whites only" signs, Rosa Parks, burning buses, and protesting students. All things that I hadn't talked to her about, not wanting to scare her. But here we are.

The next morning in the car, I mention that I had read her reader - it had some pretty bad and scary things, didn't it? She agreed and started to talk about MLK. Her sisters, who, of course, have had none of this exposure yet, chime in, wanting to know what we are talking about. So I launch into a slightly glossed over version: that in the past (not wanting to go in the present just yet), people thought if your skin was a different color, you weren't as good or didn't have as many rights. "Civil Rights," says QueenBee, "I learned that!" Then we talked about MLK and that he was shot. "Why?" "Because some people don't like change, didn't believe what he was saying, and were scared.

I told the girls about his most famous speech, that he spoke about a dream he had that children of all colors could play together and that black children and white children would be -- QueenBee interrupted, "would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Yes, that is right child - that is exactly what he said.

The rest of the way to school, with a few tears on my cheeks, I felt proud. Not just that QueenBee had clearly been moved by this amazing speech - so much so that she memorized part of it. But proud of our country. As hard as things are right now, MLK's dream is there. Child by child, it is coming true.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tears on Christmas

"Don't you remember, mom, I had a bad Christmas?" Said LittleBug

As an only child with 3 girls, I often ruminate on the sibling experience. What fascinates me is how siblings, even twins, growing up in the same family, same parents, vacations, schools, etc., can have wildly different memories and feelings about experiences in their childhoods. This can occur even when parents try to keep things even or fair.

And then you can just blatantly give your children different experiences to really rock their world, right? Here is the back story:

My husband and I spent a lot of time thinking about what Santa should bring the girls. Well, to be fair, we spent a lot of time thinking about what Santa should bring LittleBug. LadyBug very clearly stated that she wanted another dolly, even though she had dollies, because she loved dollies. QueenBee just kept repeating, more books, more books, more books. LittleBug didn't ever say what she wanted. She would pick out things here and there, in catalogues or at a store, but nothing seemed to stick. We didn't want to just buy her some crap toy that never gets played with. Then we had it - knee-high dark brown leather boots! Nice boots (nicer than mine, to be honest) that she could wear every day. This is our child whose favorite colors are black, brown and purple. Pink is just not her thing.

So we are all set - spent the same amount of $ on each. Fast forward to Christmas Eve. We open all the presents from relatives and friends on Christmas Eve. Take about toy-poluzza! Fun, fun, fun! Later, after the girls are sleeping, we get out the Santa present. As we look at the gifts: a box of 8 books, a new doll with a wardrobe & clothes, and the brown boots, I made the crack - so, which child do we love the most? Even though the gifts all cost the same, the brown boots were not looking so keen next to the wardrobe and doll. Hmmm.....and now I realize something else. As much as she will love the boots, you can't play with them. Hmmm.....

So Christmas morning, there is lots of excitement and fun with the stockings and then it is time to open Santa's presents. QueenBee is totally content with her books. LadyBug is over the moon with her doll and clothes, etc. And LittleBug, who clearly likes the boots, starts looking around, "Is there more?" Not in a snotty, I want more toys way, but in a genuinely puzzled way. Oh dear...

Then it is time for presents from each other. And I start to realize that there are no toys from us - I tend to buy clothes or other things since they get toys on Christmas Eve and Oops.

Seeming to sense LittleBug's mood, her sisters say, "Open the present from us!" She does, and to her delight it is a toy - a cute remote control doggy! That doesn't work. I kid you not, 4 adults and many batteries later, we pronounced it DOA. LittleBug doesn't whine or throw a fit, but she sits there, sucking her thumb, holding blankie, with big tears rolling down her cheeks. Heartbreaking.

So, the next day Daddy took her with her Christmas money to the toy store where, after getting a dog that works, she managed to get some things to play with. And seemed happy. Until when tucking her in and commenting about our nice Christmas weekend, she said, "Don't you remember Mom, I had a bad Christmas?"

P.S. She has worn the new boots everyday.