“Do I Have To Wear Pants at Preschool?”

I registered my fourth kid for preschool yesterday. My older three have gone to the same preschool, and it has been a wonderful experience. I am looking forward to messy handprint art and wobbly attempts at writing his name. My expectations for this son are the same as the ones for the brothers and sister who came before him – ABC’s and 123’s, learning to socialize with new friends, learning to follow classroom rules….

I do have some additional hopes and dreams for this kid though. Hopes and dreams that I didn’t have for the others.

I hope he develops a love for reading. And pants.

Specifically pants. Though seeing the aptly nicknamed Captain Underpants conduct his daily life in his skivvies is (at the low end of) acceptable here, I am fairly certain that preschool isn’t the place where my kid should stage his “it says nothing about PANTS on that sign” protest.


He wasn’t thrilled about the idea of wearing pants to the screening appointment, but to my relief, I won that fight, and he kept them on the whole time. He made up for this by streaking through the neighborhood in his underwear once we returned home. I would like to say this doesn’t happen often. That would be a lie. So much of a lie that last week, my neighbor questioned why my son looked so different, and came to the conclusion that it was because he was wearing pants.

I hope he develops a love for language.

CLEAN language. For the love of all that is holy, I pray that my foul language loving kid develops a love for four letter words like shiP and Duck. I hope that my kid, who picks up on foul language like a heat seeking missile, chooses to say “How the HECK is that story going to end?” and “SHOOT, I dropped my pencil.”



Oh, and ARE-YOU-THERE-GOD-IT’S-ME-MARGARET, please don’t let him use any of the (cough, cough) loving nicknames he calls his siblings when he turns into the tiny blonde Hulk with his sweet little classmates come September, ok?

I hope he starts using real words.

When he gets nervous, he becomes goofy. He does silly things, and uses baby talk. Yesterday, he bearwalked from the perimeter of the playground to greet his new principal with an enthusiastic “GOOEY GOOEY!”

Which I suppose is better than the aforementioned alternative.

Perhaps the baby talk isn’t so bad. After all, it covers up what he is really saying when sweet ladies get too close while talking to him in the grocery store.

Yes, lady. He certainly loves ducks and ships. A gooey, gooey day to you. Screenshot_20170512-100528

Perhaps we should cut to the chase here. My kid needs to skip preschool altogether and go straight to college. He will make an awesome Frat boy one day.

Have his #@$^&* toga waiting.


That Time We Found a Tick. Or, That Time My Kid Nearly Got Eaten By A Monster. Whichever Title Works Better For You

Before yesterday, I thought ticks were gross. I had a rather rational level of disgust for  them, but didn’t think much of them beyond “Shoot, I am about 7 decades behind in putting flea and tick stuff on the dog, I should get on that…”

And then yesterday happened.

My kids become practically feral once the temperature reaches 40 degrees. Yesterday was no exception. I saw them for approximately 6 seconds after school, and then the front door slammed in a whirlwind of blonde hair and discarded school supplies.  Eventually, I wrestled the girl-child into a leotard, and sent her off to dance class with a friend. An hour and a half later she returned home, plopping down on the couch next to me as she excitedly started to tell me about her dance costume.

And there it was. As my daughter mimicked the layout of a tutu, this THING was doing it’s own little dance through her hair, it’s 7.5 million little legs waving disgustingly as it stumbled through her curls.

“And it has a red apron and a skir….”

I calmly interrupted my daughter.

“GET OUT OF THE HOUUUUUUUUUSE! It’s in your hair, it’s in your hair, go into the yard, GET OUT, now, now, now! GOOOOOOOOO!”

Once outside, I reacted to the tick like a mature, rational adult. This entailed swatting wildly at my child’s head with a paper towel, yelping like a hyena.

Once satisfied that the beast was removed from her head, my daughter wanted to look for it. Pointing to minuscule dots on our front walkway, she yelled, “I see it!”

Not wanting to alarm her, I refrained from telling her that the tick was slightly larger than those dots.  Somehow, I don’t think “No dear, the bug in your hair was the size of a small chihuahua….” would have gone over so well.

I glanced up from monster hunt just long enough to catch the eye of our neighbors adult son as he gawked at me in bewildered amazement while getting into his car. I am pretty sure he left to submit the paperwork for my Mother of the Year nomination. I mean, I clearly handled that situation like a BOSS.

Since that ghastly, Cadillac sized beast attempted to scalp my kid (well, I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. I guess he could have been trying to French braid her hair. But, for the sake of my fear mongering little story here, let’s just agree that he was a monster out for blood, mmmmm-kay?) Anyway, I digress. Since he hitched a ride on my kid’s head, I have been itching non stop. Every piece of hair that touches my arm is certainly a tick. Wind blows? Tick. Strange creaks that I used to attribute to the house settling? Monster sized ticks. Door bell rings? Polite ticks. They are everywhere. My Facebook feed was full of articles and comments about them. Texts and messages came flooding in. Friends began finding traveling hairdresser ticks in their own hair (perhaps in solidarity?).

Nothing bad actually came of our tick encounter. Well, except for the fact that I may itch my own skin off. But, who needs skin anyway?

In all honesty, the giant monster tick population this year is apparently a gazillion times higher than it usually is. So, be aware. Check yourself, your kids, your pets, and be careful answering the door in case they are going door to door selling whatever the heck ticks sell. If you need to learn proper tick removal techniques, I will be starting a class soon titled “Smacking Your Kid On The Head With A Paper Towel Like A BOSS. Tick Removal 101.”

If there is a silver lining, it is that I am now hyper aware. And that my pets have been flea and tick treated.

“What a beautiful picture!”

One of my big parenting goals is to have pictures of all of my children together. I am admittedly horrible at keeping up with baby books, so these myriads of pictures serve to document my children’s youth alongside their siblings, and to see them grow together. As the years have progressed, I have come to the realization that I am not just watching them grow physically, but I am also capturing the growth of their bond with each other. Chubby toddler hands clinging to tiny infant bodies have slowly morphed into the grubby, protective hands of a pre-teen firmly grasping the wildly wiggling toddler, lest he slip out of his grip and fall…

Sentimental? Yes. Easy? Hahahaha!

For every picture I share with my friends and family, there are easily a dozen outtakes.  (And by a dozen, let’s just say that I currently have over thirty thousand pictures stored on my external hard drive. My kids don’t call me the Mama-razzi for nothing.)

Though I would love to tell you that I always lovingly guide my children to smile at the camera lens to document holidays and random, silly occasions….well, that would be a lie. For the most part, I am cheerful in my attempts to get them to look at the camera, and they dutifully indulge me. But, there are five of them. Five wiggly, active, silly, often uncooperative KIDS. Undoubtedly, “someone is touching me, looking at me funny, breathing too loudly, or just existing in a way that makes me angry!” These times happen most often when I am trying to get a picture that I desperately want. In my frustration, I find myself snapping at them. “JUST LOOK HERE! AT THE CAMERA! FOR ONE SECOND! ALL I WANT IS ONE PICTURE!”

Because of this, there are some pictures that I have shared that come with a twinge of guilt. Pictures where my children have been super uncooperative, and I have ended up snapping at them in frustration. Pictures that have, in turn, turned out to be rather beautiful.

My beautiful children, hugging each other and looking out at the ocean?13767216_10153743448688663_8939927236115441036_o

This was taken after a memorial service, on the year anniversary of a dear friends passing. Weighing on my mind was the fact that my friend’s brothers were standing on the beach together, without their beloved brother. Gone unexpectedly, and far too soon. There would be no more sibling pictures. Their family would be forever incomplete. I was emotional, still crying, and desperately wanted one picture of my children together on that beach, in that moment.

They were having no part of it.

One was crying because he had sand in his eye. One was complaining that the sun was too bright and squinting like Popeye. One was eating sand, and crying because his big sister wouldn’t take her hand out of his mouth. One was angry because nobody would let him sprint into the ocean fully clothed.

I finally snapped, swore under my breath, and angrily told them through my tears to sit down and face away from me. Forget it. If they wouldn’t cooperate, I would just take a picture of their backs and call it a day.

They dutifully sat, clinging to each other. Still upset, but bonded together, and desperately trying to appease their now sobbing mom.

I got my picture. With a little side of guilt.

Perspective. It changes everything.