Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The dog ate his dinner.

Yep, and I fed it to her. I'm proud to say that last night the Captain called my bluff and lost.

It started just like any other night. He complained woefully that he didn't want dinner, he just wanted a snack. This seems to be a recurring theme in my household. Organized mealtime=bad, haphazard snacking=good. So I finally convinced him that mac and cheese would be a good idea, which he happily helped me mix and cook. But when the time came for him to eat it, he screamed, "I want fish sticks" and proceeded to push away the bowl of mac and cheese, whining and crying as he made his proclamation. I tried patience. I tried encouragement. And finally, I tried fear. I used our usual threat, that Dog would be glad to finish his meal, a technique that usually makes him snap to. But once again he shoved the bowl away. Over and over again. And then he hit the bowl and something snapped in this mediocre mama's head.

I grabbed the bowl away from him and placed it on the floor before Dog, who gulped down half in 6 seconds flat and the Captain shrieked. I'd decided the Captain had enough and picked up the bowl to give him what was left. And wouldn't you know it? The little bugger hit the bowl again. The dog was then treated to the 2nd half of the Captain's dinner. He screamed and cried. And after about 6 tissues, some deep breathing and a couple of hugs, I finally got an "I'm sorry, Mommy," and with that we made a fresh bowl of mac & cheese, which he ate entirely, no complaints.

Captain Kid - 0, Mediocre Mama - 1, Dog - 1

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mediocre Marketing

I'm always both impressed and horrified when I find a medium to out-mediocre me. Which is why I was in bliss today when I went shopping at our new local market. Now I resisted those kiddie car shopping carts for a long long time, fearing the tantrum that would ensue should none be available. But on one fabulous trip to market, a grandparent who shall remain nameless went the easy path and so the Captain's days of cruising around in one of these bad boys began:

And so too did my laziness begin. If I am to tell the truth, these things have zero steering. And I'm not going to pretend that I've never knocked over a display or two trying to maneuver one of these puppies. But what's a mediocre mama to do? If it helps keep the hostility out of my shopping experience then I'll play ball. And so it came to pass, baby you can drive my car. No harm done, though probably a nasty cold picked up or passed in these horrible germ mobiles.


Then some supermarket that shall remain named (Safeway) decided to take shitty parenting to a new level. So behold, now with on-demand:

Yes, for less than the price of a cup of coffee, you too can entertain your child with Thomas, Bob or Barney as you idle about, impulse shopping and viewing lovely advertisements from your video console. And boy did we ever, dropping nearly $200 in one shot. Whoever thought it up is both genius and devil, as it seems they are usually one and the same. Yep, this mediocre mama fell victim once again. Between that and the free sample stations, I'm contemplating just moving in.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Riddle of the sphinx

I was always one of these skeptics who thought Freud spent a little too much time with a bottle in his hand and had one too many trips to the opium den. Beyond a drug induced frenzy, it seemed a little implausible that the average 3 year old boy would want to kill his father and marry his mother. But after a recent growing infatuation, lets just say that we are hiding the sharp objects and locking the door at night.

To call it textbook would be...well...spot on. At bedtime the Captain says that the Deviant Dad gives a bad kiss; the Mediocre Mama gives a good kiss. Of late he's pitted us against each other more times then I care to admit to. And then there's the exhausting list of daily activities that cause fits and meltdowns if Dad does it instead of Mom. Like turning the light on in the bathroom, cutting up his food, or working a simple toy - no matter the task, it's "No, Mommy can do it."

The reality is that it puts me in a perplexing and delicate situation. Not wanting to trample over the Dad, but loving the affection. Not wanting the responsibility of handling all the daily little tasks, but not caring much for the meltdowns either. And then there are the war cries that pit us against each other, from "You're my best friend, Mommy" to "I don't wike, Daddy." And I know exactly how we got here.

My back surgery was exactly 11 months ago as of next weekend. And to date I still can't lift the little bugger and I still don't throw myself into the lion's den when offering up a physical punishment. When he's misbehaving, I have to call to the Dad to take care of it. Nothing I do can be handled with my body, and so my parenting tool is my voice. Is it any wonder that the Dad gained the reputation as the disciplinarian in my house? And I'm sure, being the Deviant that he is, he never envisioned that he'd have to play the bad-cop parent; in his head he's not only the good-cop, he's still the misbehaving child himself.

I know it's frustrating to the Dad and creates some difficult tension, but at the same time I actually think it's made me less of a Mediocre Mama, despite my usual pride in the contrary. Ever since the Kid was 2, I have had him climbing into my SUV, getting into his car seat by himself and handling any physical tasks on his own. And since I couldn't afford to have a kid thrashing about or lying in the middle of the street in protest, I had to learn to use my words more carefully. I had to make him want to do things the right way. And now, I'm his woman. As his teachers recently observed, there's a real love affair going on here. To sum it up, he's smitten.

I know this phase won't last forever. And I walk the line between head in my hands or head-over-heels myself. I just wish it hadn't set up such a twisted love triangle in the process.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Three's a crowd.

It seemed like we were passed the worst of it when the Captain turned 3 last month. Fully potty trained, totally indoctrinated into the Montessori fold and a fierce streak of independence beginning to unfold, the Mediocre Mama and Deviant Dad were finally starting to enjoy some gulp-free moments in our routine. Our function had finally begun to shift from constant kid-appendage to separate and detached. Perhaps we became too comfortable.

Last night after a particularly ornery day for the Captain, he announced that he was going to the potty. He disappeared into his "office" to do his business and moments later came out to announce that he had peed in the shower. We thought it was some kind of weird joke, but knowing him as we do we took the bait. Sure enough there was a big yellow puddle in the middle of the shower.

The logic of a 3 year old is always something to behold, truly you cannot argue with it.

Why did you pee in the shower?

I peed in the shower because I did.

That the subsequent time out and forced cleaup that followed didn't even seem to phase him was troubling at best. He took his medicine, no complaints, and a very insincere, "Oh, sorry," was all that we got. To say that I was pissed off doesn't really get to the heart of the matter.

And a mere minutes later, I noticed the other act of defiance before my eyes. The dog bowl, which was the Captain's responsibility to fill, was half full - the other half of the dog's dinner was floating in the water dish.

Is 3 just about testing limits or is there something much more sinister going on?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To new moms.

A girlfriend poked me on facebook today and asked the burning question that all new mother's to-be ask. Daunted and perplexed as they walk into the baby shop, it's always the same - "what in the hell do I register for?"

I'll never forget my first trip into that dark place. I invited my mother and sister to town, already mother's themselves, to guide me through this dark maze. All the "must haves" and "essentials," the cart filled as my brain emptied. And $200+ later, I was clearly prepared to take on the thing that knew nothing, the little monster who'd never seen a diaper, a diaper bag, a baby swing or a bouncy chair. I was prepared because I had stuff. And stuff prepares you for any emergency. Ha cha cha, you're a mom and you have tons of shit! It's all you, girl. You're locked and loaded.

And then it comes. And you go a little crazy. And you realize the stuff isn't helping. The stuff isn't stopping the crying. The stuff doesn't protect the shit from leaking out the diaper. The stuff doesn't magically put the little bugger to bed. Even worse, you've got so much stuff that as you're sleepily stumbling your way to find the little monster in the wee hours of the morning you trip over the stuff, which you clumsily dropped on your way back to bed. The stuff is your enemy. The stuff doesn't work. You worshipped the golden calf and now, like the ten commandments thrown in your face, it hits you that you're on your own to figure it out.

When it comes to new babies, someone else's stuff is meaningless

"Buy a pump, get the expensive one, you won't regret..."

The Captain didn't make it 4 days on the breast and that very expensive pump spent the next 5 weeks attached to my very sore breast, only to be cast aside.

"Swaddling works like a charm, it will settle him right down. You must get a swaddler..."

The Captain was miserable when swaddled and the only thing that got him to sleep was when he wasn't snug as a bug.

The list goes on. And I'm not saying' it's all useless advice, it's just that none of it prepares you for anything and the investments you'll make, looking for that golden nugget, that miracle that will shut your baby the hell up...it only exists in hindsight.

And so what's MY list of musts? The Mediocre Mama's golden nugget? I could lead new mother's down my own path of comforts and enumerate the things that worked for the Captain, but if my tips work as well as some of the advice I received when expecting, then I'd sooner hold my tongue. Therefore, I guess all I can offer is the practical and not the cure:

Bibs, and lots of them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Politically not correct.

I, along with the rest of America it seems, have had one lady on my mind for the last week. As a self-proclaimed "average hockey mom," it would seem that Ms. Palin would be perfect fodder for this blog. And seeing as how my blog is about mothering (mediocre at that) and not politics, it seems to me that there is no better place to discuss an average hockey mom. So anyone tempted to call me out for being anti-republican or sexist for sorting this out here, bugger off. Yes, let's note it now. I'm not talking about Obama, Biden or McCain. Why not? Because none of them are placing their credentials on their ability to parent. They just do it, like the rest of us, and don't seem to have the delusion that doing so somehow makes them Presidential. You know who the author is and why you read her ponderings. So let's just roll up our sleeves, sit back and enjoy the musings. It's my blog so if you don't like it, take your ball and go home.

At the core of Ms. Palin's spin is the notion that she's just like me. Just an average mom. A PTA mom who shoots caribou. To speak plainly? The anti-Mediocre Mama.

If Ms. Palin were like me she'd hate hockey and dread the wasted days at soccer games that are to come. If Ms. Palin were like me she wouldn't have mustered up the courage to have 2 kids, let alone 5. If Ms. Palin were like me she would have ruffled the feathers of a few PTA members a mere 2 weeks into the start of school. She wouldn't have time to even go to PTA meetings because she'd be too busy at work, trying to squeeze in time to actually play with the 1 kid she has, and riffling through the freezer for leftovers to find something decent to put in front of that kid to eat.

If Ms. Palin were like me she would have taught her daughter about condoms, how they protect against pregnancy and STD's. She'd have taken her to the gynecologist, no questions asked, to get her birth control if she asked for it. You question that I would do that for my daughter? I learned it by watching my mother; she must have been a mediocre mama, too.

She'd have shown her daughter stretch marks and told her about the hemorrhoids associated with pregnancy, not to mention the gas, bloating and six months without sex (now that's abstinence). She'd have awakened her daughter every hour-and-a-half an kept her awake for the next hour and then sent her to school the following morning to spend a full day awake, you know...just to get the message across. She'd show have shown her that there are options and what a great country we live in that we have such freedom. She'd have shown her how shitty a 9 month pregnant girl would look in a cheerleader's outfit.

If Ms. Palin were like me, when her daughter announced her pregnancy, she might have laid low. If offered a highly visible job she might have waited, figuring that she's only 44 and such offers might come again in the future. And no, she would not have turned down the nomination out of her own embarrassment about her daughter, but because she'd have been too worried about how the press might embarrass her daughter.

But Ms. Palin is not like me. Let's face it, she's just not a Mediocre Mama. She's a hockey mom, and can obviously stomach sitting through an entire match. Not only does she not ruffle feathers at the PTA, she's the PTA President. She doesn't have just 1 child, she has 5, one of them with special needs. She's not only against sex-education, she believes that teaching abstinence leads to fewer pregnancies and is against a woman's right to choose. And to boot, Ms. Palin is a strong disciplinarian. What kind of a mediocre mama could have come up with a punishment as good as parading her pregnant teenage daughter before the world stage to be blogged about by assholes such as myself?

No, Ms. Palin is not like me. And perhaps that's why I can't relate to her.

Ms. Palin is no Mediocre Mama, to be sure. But given my contempt and disdain for Momtourage Moms she was never likely to capture my vote. So she shouldn't feel bad. I wouldn't vote for any of those bitches either.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The audacity of hope.

As we crept into his room this morning, and lightly awakened him, we smiled and the Deviant Dad softly said, "[Captain], guess what very special day today is."

He thinks hard. And suddenly the light comes over his face.

"It's my Birthday!"

We smile and laugh.

"No, it's the first day of school!"

And so begins another 19 years of disappointing first days of school, none of which will add up to the bliss of a birthday. Although, I must say that the disappointment was probably our fault. I suppose we should have said, "Guess what very special day this is for Mom and Dad." You know, for clarity's sake.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Looks like we made it..."

Yes, I'm here, I'm queer and I'm blogging. Alright, perhaps not the middle section, but I am for sure feeling quite gay at the moment. Why, you ask? What makes a mediocre mama so chipper at 10:00 on on Friday night? Well (a) the wine, (b) it's Friday night after a long-ass couple of weeks, and (c) the Captain Kid has completed stint with the hellacious babysitter. Yes friends, he's done, I'm done, and from hereon in it's a full day (8:25-6:00) at one school.

Let the good times roll...

But before normal life begins, a little interlude. On Tuesday the Dad drives the Kid up to Grandparent Land and I meet up with the Dad on Wednesday night, kid-free, work-free, ready to play, ready to sleep. Quite a treat for the mediocre mama. Especially seeing as how I'm still negative on personal time off, still trying to fill the hole from my little back surgery stint.

Calgon, take me away...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Because someone complained...

A picture of the Captain and his friends on his new swingset. We couldn't keep them off. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Adieu, mine spider.

I will confess to the most blatantly mediocre parenting in my arsenal...tonight, we are finally taking away the Pacifier (affectionately called Spider). Yes, he's nearly 3 and we're just quitting now.

If I tell you there isn't a bit of heartache in it for us I'd be lying. Though we only use it for overnights and naps these days, we've come to rely on and love our spider. How could we not? It was the automatic off switch we so desperately needed. It got us through hours of plane, train and automobile travel over thousands of miles. It's given him (and us) many a sound night's sleep. And so, tonight I raise a glass to the Spider. Goodbye, old friend. You gave us peace and we will miss you so.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Au contraire, mon Capitán.

We've entered the universe of reverse psychology. I never imagined when such a transition might occur, but as it turns out the Captain has entered his contrary phase. As a point of reference, any sentence we begin with, "Do you want to..." meets a resounding response of, "NO, I didn't want to right now." We are patiently waiting it out, to be sure, but it's led to some rather dizzying conversations and scenarios.

Tonight was Captain Kid's first batter-batter baseball game up in Baltimore.

Not only was it a test of his ability to sit through one whole inning, it was a social test for me, with a party hosted beforehand by my company. I can tell you that he was the only kid there running around and raising a ruckus. He's also the only kid who had the pleasure of a big foam hand, which he insisted he get, only to be followed by a declaration that he never wanted it, only to be followed by tears because we took it off his hand, only to be followed by a suggestion that we just put it back where we found it, okay? He then declared that he didn't want a hot dog until I said he couldn't have one, at which time he seemed shocked and dismayed that I would deny him a hot dog. I'm never sure which side of the argument I'm supposed to be on, further frustrated by the fact that there's just no rational reason for us to be in conflict, and my brain is starting to explode with each dizzying level of argument.

I just keep thinking that nothing I studied in law school could possibly prepare me to lose each and every argument with a tenacious toddler. How can one use logic against the illogical?

Yes, I realize this isn't uncommon and I know he's just asserting himself. You could tell me all about your kid and how he/she went through the same thing. Yes, I know that we're in another one of those "phases." But I keep thinking, when do those fucking phases just end?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ah, bugger.

There's nothing like being called out by a long time reader, first time caller on your blogging or lack thereof. My brain has not yet begun to synthesize all the reasons why I haven't been posting. I wish I could confess to one overriding reason. But I can't. The truth is it's just things, many things, that are clouding my writing, my vision and my mediocrity.

I think in great part it's that my working-mom self of now and my stay-at-home-mom self of last year are simply incompatible. Last year I spent a great deal of my time observing and absorbing. Right now I spend my time doing and taking in little. I have no fewer than 4 partially drafted posts that just never made it to the blog from the last few months. I started and then scratched them, deeming them to be un-blogworthy. It's not that they weren't subjects of interest, I just couldn't craft my way around the heart of them. No kidding, though, it was some funny shit.

It must all mean that things are going well for me professionally. Or perhaps it means that I'm screwing up this parenting thing less and less. Even, dare I say, perhaps some of my cynicism has softened since I was put in medical peril back in December.

All in all, my new found successes are making me far too competent at life and far less competent at creativity. My failed attempts at writing remind me of the old poem. I don't know who penned it originally, but it goes a little something like this:

Here I sit broken hearted, tried to shit but only farted.

Sigh. I'll try to do better.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Important mediocre parenting tip.

Alright, repeat after me. Even if you sometimes have the urge to put your child for sale on eBay, actually doing it is probably a bad idea and definitely a good way to get some unwanted attention.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Just one of those days.

I had anticipated doing my annual and hilarious Mother's Day tribute today, pointing out things like the hilarity of Dina Lohan receiving the Mother of the Year Award. Unfortunately, we're having a bad day.

Between the Captain contracting his first case of strep throat and the Deviant Dad's Grandma passing away yesterday afternoon, the only thing we're doing this Mother's Day weekend is going to New York for her funeral, which is tomorrow morning. Consequently, I'm not feeling much like coming up with my usual hilarious observations. Rest in Peace, Grandma Pearl.

That being said, I don't want to let the tradition die. So I will leave this year's photo essay of mother's that make our lives more entertaining...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Note to self...

Memo - the next time I'm tempted to let the Deviant Dad cut the Captain's hair, please reference previous posts on how bad the Dad is at giving haircuts. Should previous posts be unavailable, look outside at the freshly cut, uneven lawn with long sprouts sticking out here and there and none of the edging work done.

--Mediocre Mama

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mediocre Drama

I am starting to believe that the only thing more mediocre than my mothering skills are the mothering skills of the people I hire to watch the Captain. I have been at the end of my rope with the babysitter for some time and am counting the days til late-August when I can finally say hasta la vista (insert "Baby" if you must for emphasis).

Clearly, the real problem is that I've only been picking the Captain up from her place on Fridays, which leaves me wide open for attack. As I've mentioned before, she has a Neanderthal view of parenting and seems to save up her pent up bullshit for days when I'm on pickup duty. If it's a Friday, all the better; she gives me a tongue lashing for everything that happened all week. So, here, for your mild amusement, are my last two Fridays in a two Act mini-Opera. PS - I envision the whole thing sung in Spanish...

La niñera es un cunt

Act I - The Potty

Now, just a little setting of the stage, the Captain has had absolutely no potty problems for months. Not only will he go in strange settings, he's mastering standing up when a proper step stool is present and even made an entire road trip to New York without any accidents. And it, therefore, perplexed us, that the only place he seems to be having "issues" is at the babysitter's house.

Me - How is he doing on the potty?

Babysitter - He doesn't want to go.

Me - Well, does he ask to go?

Babysitter - No. Never.

Me - That's so strange, because he always asks, not just us and his teachers but friends too.

Babysitter - (in a snarky tone) You know, I'm not one to tell someone how to raise their children (the audience laughs) but I know this woman who used to force her child to go on the potty and the child turned out strange.

Me - (aghast) Well, how can I be forcing him if he's asking to go?

Babysitter - (in disbelief) Oh, I wasn't saying YOU were forcing him.

Me - Well, it seems to me that if he's going at home, at school, and everywhere else, that it's simply a game he's started with YOU.

Babysitter - Oh.

Me - I'll show you how good he is. Captain (to the Captain)? Do you want to go to the potty.


Enter potty stage right

Me - Okay, Captain, where's the potty seat.

Babysitter - Oh, I don't have one.

The curtain falls.

Editors analysis - now, could it be that back in February when we started potty training and we took the time to go out and buy her a potty seat and dropped him off at her house with it, only to have her hand it right back to us with her exclaiming, "Oh, I don't need one I already have one," that she may have been...lying? And what's more, WHY?????? Is she so hung up on her old Italian ways of doing it her way that she can't for one second contemplate that an early potty trainer (under 2-1/2) might be a bit intimidated by the big bowl and if it doesn't mean any extra cleanup or drama that it couldn't hurt just to put him on the mother fucking seat?

Act II - Your child hits.

Our background for this blog entry is that every time the Babysitter wants to make me feel like a shitty parent she tells me that the Captain sometimes goes over and hits other kids and that she's never seen a child behave like that. He really should be put in a petri dish and studied.

Babysitter - The Captain sometimes goes over and hits other kids and I've never seen a child behave like that.

Me - Well, you've mentioned this before. Did you punish him?

Babysitter - Oh no. I won't do that. I'm just telling you so that you can take care of it at home.

Me - (defensively) Well, Babysitter, I'm not really sure what to tell you. You've mentioned this before and since I don't have other children around the house it's difficult to correct behavior that I'm not seeing. They correct him at school when it happens...

Babysitter - Well, obviously they're not doing a good job if he's still doing it (yes, apparently she believes it is their job to fix and not hers)!

Me - ...and he's no longer hitting at school because of it. And if I'm ever around it I correct it, but if you aren't going to punish him when it happens here I don't see what else you want me to do.

Babysitter - Well, I never would have told you I knew you were going to get upset.

Me - (raising my voice) You told me and I'm telling you what you should do. If he lashes out at another child he has to sit out and not play because playing is a privilege.

Babysitter - Well, I tried punishing him a couple of times in the beginning (Editors note - ummm...the beginning was 7 months ago) and it didn't work so I don't punish him.

(changing the topic)

So, Mediocre Mama, have you lost some weight?

Curtain Closes. The end.

This woman is killing me every time I see her. I feel like I'm running from the living dead when I see her (Editor's Note - Zombie movies rock, fyi), like if I let her speak one word to me she's going to suck my brain out.

3-1/2 more months. Holy crap I might not make it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I seem to have developed a bizarre and inexplicable fear of my blog. I have some theories going as to why this is the case, mostly I'm thinking it's similar to someone who avoids going to their shrink for fear of opening a can of worms.

We've been pretty lucky with the Captain over the last month. The potty training sorted (though still problems with the crazy nanny on this front, blog for another date), he's been invited to participate in the next level at school, despite earlier fears, and his speech is coming along smashingly (earlier today he asked if I could do him a favor and when I asked what favor he would like he responded, "Um, purple."). So all that being said, why fear the blog?

I think I'm on such overload between physical therapy and work and healing (or lack thereof) that I just don't know where to start when I get here. It's hard to detail all your mediocrity when your day is oozing over with it. Perhaps if you take time to address it you have to do something to fix it. Hmm. It hasn't stopped me before.

Maybe it's that I was a shut in for so long that I don't want to bog myself down with emoting my every hilarious move of my life. Although that hasn't stopped me from spending way too much time on facebook so I dispose of this theory as well.

I don't know why I stare blankly at it. Maybe it's that fucking muse who checked out on me again. But all things considered, I'd ask you to hang in there with me. I sort of feel like I'm getting going on a diet (which is why I'm blogging this bullshit right now). Sometimes you just need to start doing it, whether it's good or not, until it becomes routine again. So forgive this boring entry. I'm working on it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mediocre Mediator

You know that something has gone wonky when you are blissfully enjoying a shower and hear the Dad yell upstairs, "The Captain's tricycle is going to good will!" Ah shit. Nothing can destroy a perfectly good Saturday quite like a proclamation that involves good will, sales to gypsies, something about underprivileged kids in Africa, or anything involving eBay. All made the worse by the fact that you have that terrible reminder that your Dad's words are falling out of your mouth. Intersperse with that the sound of wailing and screaming and the visual effect of your kid lying on the porch with his head in dirty crushed leaves and a somewhat ailing Mediocre Mama trying to hold everyone together in the background. Boom, now that's a weekend.

I tried to intervene and had him and the Dad calm for a good 10 minutes, only to have it explode in my face when the Kid threw a plate of slice up grilled cheese sandwich so that it landed butter side down on the table. Fortunately we put him down for a nap, a parent's ctrl-alt-delete button for kids, and upon waking up he was a new kid and has been all weekend.

I never understood why parents went all crazy when their kids had off from school. But holy underwear, with the Captain hold up at the babysitter's place all week and some less than forthcoming information about how he did from the sitter, I think I'm coming to appreciate the dilemma. He gets so messed up when school is off on holiday and the Dread Pirate Captain Kid seems to come out in full force. So much so that I'm pretty ready to sign on board with all these school advocates who want year-round schooling, having absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the Captain's education. In my book, "no child left behind" means putting safeguards in place (like a regular school day environment year-round) so that I'm not tempted to leave my child behind somewhere when he's being awful. Is it just me?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peeing on the hottie.

In case you thought it eerily silent on the subject of potty training, yes it was intentional. For me it was a case of this is too good to be true and it won't last why jinx it. But I think we're far enough along to declare it. So here goes...

Captain Kid is officially daytime potty trained.

There, it's out. Now any future failures will come back to haunt me and I will declare that I jinxed it, but the time has come to rejoice (instead of my usual swearing and bitching). Though I wish I could take credit for this one, this was entirely the Captain's Everest. Much to our shock, some earlier anal retentive behaviors came out in our favor. He figured out that, no, he doesn't enjoy being dirty and yes, there is a quick and easy solution. Every day it goes a little bit further, with the Captain relieving himself in strange and exotic places. Where last week he would only perform in the comfort of his own home, this week he has transported his skills to friends' houses and school. And then tonight his potty experience took him to Lebanon as he gave up Number 1 sidesaddle in the bathroom of the exotic Lebanese Taverna. Fancy stuff.

The Captain loves going to the bathroom, so much so that instead of peeing on the potty he now declares that he's "peeing on the hottie." A bit crude for sure, but who am I to undercut his enthusiasm?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dog day afternoon.

Sometime in the last few months, Captain Kid declared a new enemy threatened his domain. Whether real or imaginary, our boy is out for vengeance and every day it gets darker and more sinister. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to shield him from this contentious relationship. It's none other than Dog.

Whether it's an age thing or a jealousy thing dictating these new circumstances, I am not certain of the genesis. Until a couple of months ago, the Captain was up to his usual tricks, walking over her like road kill and finding her to be a handy place to store his toys.

But something must have happened between then and now. Because for reasons only known to him, Captain Kid has declared war on the Dog. In many ways, the dramas he creates in his head are hilarious. Some of his more popular admonishments include:

Go Away, Doggy.

It's MY train table doggy.

It's MY dinner.

It's MY Mommy/Daddy.

It's MY floor.

In other words, it's a seamless rambling of paranoia that comes out of his mouth every time she walks by, sniffs for food or simply sniffs her butt. What makes it even more irritating is that as he stands there shrieking his head off every time she approaches, she gets worried that something is wrong and goes to check on him. It's a vicious cycle.

I'm not certain how we got ourselves into this predicament, especially after such a love affair in the beginning, but it's created an excessive amount of stress and has brought all of the Captain's worst attributes to the center stage. And this poor animal, who would sooner be trampled on than hurt him, has seemingly been labeled the annoying sister by the Kid and the Dad and I are banging our heads against the wall with all the high pitched screaming and hitting.

I don't know what the solution is because we're a family and he'd better get used to it. But in the meantime this neurotic behavior when he's with her is just too much. Perhaps she's just too big a dog for a toddler to be around. Maybe she's just a bit too eager for his style. But If I had to guess, I think this was the start to all the problems...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I just pose one simple question in tonight's post. And I know that I'm spending a whole lot of time on this subject but, yes, you can expect more.

Why has no one invented a 24-hour hotline for parents on the edge of insanity in the never ending battle of the bowl? I mean, they've got every manner of support line, yet for something like this that can drive you to drink, wouldn't it be prudent and in the best interest of...society? I'm just thinking of the children. Just saying.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Potty training, it's total bullshit.

When does this fucking training end? It's getting to a level of panic. He wants to go in the potty, but he doesn't want to go in the potty, but he wants a diaper on, but he doesn't want to go in the diaper. Hours will pass with no activity and then a sudden utterance of "Oh, no" and a frenzied run to the bathroom only to just stop short of doing anything there. Tonight he stood in the bathroom hysterical crying, desperate to pee, screaming "diaper diaper" and with every little desperate jag a drop of pee hit the floor.

I can report to date he's successfully done everything on the potty. And I can also report that he's developing the bladder of a full grown man because he's exercising that muscle a whole lot. Not to mention the fact that he's constipating the hell out of himself.

Holy hell, when does the drama end? If he were wetting or messing and didn't care it would be annoying but at least I wouldn't have to deal with his obvious neurosis. He's paranoid beyond reason and after a long day it only gets worse. As it stands, he's potty training his way to OCD.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Shake n' Bake.

A friend sent me this link a few months ago and I never got around to posting it. This lady makes homemade bento lunchboxes every day, which makes me feel decidedly half-assed when I toss the mac-n-cheese in the microwave or slap together some PB&J. To be sure, if it takes me more than 5 minutes to pull together a lunch for the Captain then I feel I have wasted my time on what could otherwise been valuable websurfing or blogging. I hate that this crazy bitch is giving people the impression that one should be slaving over a hot stove every day so that their loved ones can eat well. The only thing more annoying than her is all the people who comment on her blog and follow her mantra. I wonder what her momtourage looks like...Yes, I mock because I'm inferior.

And let me just say as a sidebar, feel free to shoot me if I ever start cutting the Captain's sandwiches in dinosaur shapes. To me it's wrong on two levels: (1) it seriously fails on the Too Cutsey scale; and (2) it's decidedly a waste of food. Knowing me those extra bits of unusued sandwich would end up in just one place, my ass.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The boy who pooped.

Remember when the Captain took off his diaper and ran around the house creating skid marks wherever he went?

Or how about the time he pooped in the tub?

And then my personal favorite, the time he pooped in his crib and I did a bad cleanup job and walked around an expensive department store with it smeared all over my shirt? I heart my life.

Well today, despite the odds (he's had a case of the runs since Wednesday) Captain the Kid dropped it like it's hot and actually pooped in the right place, the potty, three times already today.

It all went down as such because we put him in underpants today with no diaper parachute. Shockingly he took to it like a pig in shit. How long can we keep this up? Dunno. And with the babysitter threatening to diaper him despite our wishes I'm not confident that this is the end of this subject.

But I guess I'll worry about all that later. For today it's stickers and cookies, celebrations in the street, and kisses a plenty for Captain Kid, the boy who pooped.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You English are SO superior, aren't you?

It's all so clear now. The Captain would be way cuter if when he misbehaved he did it with a sweet little British accent.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Babysitter's Club

I somehow feel as though I've been knocked over the head with a club, dragged around by my hair, and thrown into a cave to watch the children while Fred Flintstone goes out to do the hunting. No, not by the Deviant Dad, but by the woman who watches the Captain in the afternoon, who clearly comes from the school of the man is responsible for earning the money, the mother is responsible for taking all blame related to the rearing of the child.

Truth be told, she comes from a different era, a very traditional Italian background and, well, a different political persuasion from myself. One day she complained to me that her aunt has a couple of "Spanish girls" caring for her and they don't speak any English and don't know CPR. When I suggested that her aunt pay to send the girls for a CPR course she exclaimed, "How can they learn CPR? They don't speak English!"


Perhaps it's this discord that creates friction. But you would think that I would be immune from friction or confrontation, given that I haven't been to her house since my back went out nearly 2 months ago. Yet, somehow she manages it.

Yesterday, after our flogging in the principal's office, the Deviant Dad dropped the Captain off for his afternoon care and made an inquiry to get an overview of his behavior at her house, a synopsis of how he spends his afternoons with her, and just a general yet more specific sense of how his day at her home looks. The point being, if we are to change his "behavior issues" we need to have everyone on board. She politely answered his questions and then proceeded to call me on my cell phone five minutes after he left. What I listened to was a 10 minute rant of defensiveness and indignation, not to mention a lecture on the nature of children and how they all hit and throw things from time to time. I politely tried to get off the phone twice as I was driving on the Beltway and finally told her that the Dad would call her back. He did and she gave him two minutes of lovely and all was well.

From where I'm sitting, my guess is that she has a crush on my husband and just won't confront him. That or it's that Neanderthal perspective on the mother-father/woman-man dynamic and who should be held accountable for transgressions and malfeasance. Boys will be boys. Oh, men. ;-)

I was fuming. And not just because I was once again getting the back of her hand while the Dad got the batting eyelashes.

And once I got beyond the anger, the bigger questions started popping up. What if she doesn't want to work with us on this? What are we going to do about the fact that she refuses to help with potty training? Actually, when we brought up potty training she exclaimed that it could be done in a day and suggested we go to Dr.Phil.com. (Anyway.) And then the even harder question...do I need to, once again, torture myself into finding him a new nanny? As I'm sure you remember from the Nannycide episode, going through a transition to another daycare situation is less than desirable. But if it's a matter of helping to curtail his behavior and working with his teachers, who I know have his best interest at heart, well...how can I not make a change?

One of the most difficult decisions parents have to make is who will care for their child. When you find someone you trust, someone you know who isn't a deviant or molester and who has a generally good nature, it becomes too easy to stay with what is comfortable.

Moreover, the Captain loves her. So in that sense, contemplating firing her feels a bit like if Florence Henderson thought about firing Alice. Only an overbearing bigoted Alice who can't imagine that CPR classes are also administered in Spanish.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mediocre Blogger

Yep, busted. By all accounts I should have been blogging every day of my 6 week recovery. But really, there are so many blogs out there detailing the minutia of "Project Runway," I figured my readers didn't need another.

I also didn't think my bout with stomach flu was worth rehashing. Nor was my sinus infection and irritating cough. In short, my 6th week of recovery was as much about getting worse as it was about recovering. By the time I returned to work last week I was worse than I'd been the week before. Fortunately this week is better than last week, physical therapy is starting next week, and my most recent discovery, I once again have sensation in my toes. That's about the best that can be said for the highlights of these past 8 weeks.

The Deviant Dad and I were marveling tonight that there's very little that we aren't mediocre at right now. Here are a few highlights of our recent mediocrity:

  • Last weekend, the Deviant Dad hit another car while backing out of the driveway...my car;
  • Between doctor's runs for me, taking care of Captain Kid's school and daycare drop offs, 2 stomach flu's and a double ear infection, neither of us feels we're doing a particularly good job at our careers;
  • The house is a mess;
  • The dog is ignored;
  • We've still only managed to rake up about half the autumn leaves;
  • We are stuck on renovation projects all over the house because I can't be responsible for watching the Captain whilst the Dad tears apart the house; and, the really big kicker...
  • Today we were called in to the principal's office to discuss the Captain Kid's "behavior issues."

About the most that can be said for our lives right now is that we're keeping our heads above water. And of course being called in to the principal's office was just a lowlight in a distinct period of lowlights. It turns out that being called to the principal's office is as demoralizing when you're 32 as when you were a kid. Then again, I was NEVER sent to the principal's office as a kid. That's the Captain's OTHER genetic legacy.

I just feel like I want to commit myself to doing something really really well but I don't know where to begin. It's obviously not parenting. It's not my dieting. It's not my health or my job. And it for sure as shit isn't this blog. I'm searching for my Muse. If you've seen that crazy bitch, please tell her where I live.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dog food.

One of the tougher aspects of back surgery is that when you drop shit it just has to sit on the floor until someone comes home to pick it up. As I type this I await the return of my husband so that he can get the lid from the jam, which is now sitting butter side down on the kitchen floor.

This has caused the greatest consternation for me since on bed rest, namely that I would manage to drop something rather important (such as a percocet) and the Dog or Captain might happen upon it before I was able to have the Deviant Dad collect the offending item. In most instances I've kicked the matter to the side of the room or under the kitchen cabinet so as to avoid any mishaps.

Then there was the other thought, which was what if something important fell on the floor that I couldn't just kick under the counter. And that is just what happened yesterday when the dog walked to the middle of the room and started wretching. My first instinct was to chase her off the rug and my second instinct was to chase her into the garage, where she stayed until the Dad got home. But I was left with the more pressing problem, namely, a pile of dog puke in my living room. Talk about helpless.

I did all that I could do, which in this case involved dropping paper towels over the nastiness. In truth, it was sort of a fun little game. But it was a few more hours until the Dad returned from work, which meant that I had to live with a pile of this stuff in my living room until his return.

Since being on bed rest I've become acquainted with all manner of handicapped accouterments, but as it happens they do not have a device for cleaning up puke. Where in the hell is Ron Popeil when you need him?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Business casual.

Tomorrow a good friend is driving me to my office to play a little catch-up and bring some work home that I can do horizontally (no, not that kind of work, I don't think I'll be doing that kind of horizontal work for some time). I'm a consultant and the work environment is fairly casual, but not so casual that I can wear the drawstring sweats I've been living in for the last month. I can wear nice jeans to work, but my doctor reprimanded me for wearing them when last I saw him; my incision is exactly at waistband level.

So until I'm all healed I'm somewhat at a loss for what to do with my wardrobe. Apparently, they do not make drawstring business casual slacks or jeans. And as for wearing a skirt...well, with the Deviant Dad as my designated leg shaver let's just say I'm not eager to show off my legs (not to mention the big orthopedic shoes I'm sporting these days). So all of this has led me to the dark place. Yes, I'm hitting the maternity clothes.

There is something vaguely demoralizing about throwing maternity clothes back on again. I remember about 4 weeks after I had the Captain I pulled out my most comfy maternity t-shirt, contemplated putting it on, and had to say enough is enough. But this back surgery has led me into fashion depths that I have not previously known. Even when I was pregnant I was wearing shoes that were somewhat uncomfortable and likely inappropriate. I have walked miles in heels (probably how I got myself in this mess to begin with) and worn wool in the spring. Yes, my fashion owns me and I love it.

At the moment, however, my options are few. I concede that I don't want to invest in a pair of pants for the sole purpose of waiting for my incision to close up. Of course I worry, too, that by just throwing on maternity clothes I'm tempting myself down the dark path once again. I have too many friends that are pregnant or trying to conceive for me to take just a nibble without desiring the entire cake. Let's just say it's a good thing I'll be laid up for so long. And in all likelihood any temptation will be quashed by a few more bad episodes with the Captain. At least for the time being.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sexual Harassment - it's not just for grownups anymore.

I married something of a self-proclaimed cad. Let's face it, you don't get a name like Deviant Dad if you're not at least a little bit of a cad. So I don't know why I was surprised yesterday when Captain Kid demonstrated what is likely the first of many such odes to his genetic legacy.

We decided to go out for a change of scenery and hopefully to find some non-sweats drawstring pants for me to go into my office for a brief meeting later this week. On the way we decided to stop off at our local burger joint for a quick bite.

So our waitress is a very cute and very blonde 16 or 17 year old girl. Long hair, skinny, the kind of girl you hated in high school. Well, apparently the Captain takes note of this, too, because when she comes over to take his order he smiles sheepishly and introduces himself:

"Hi, Baby," he coos in his sweetest and most flirtatious voice.

I don't know who was more shocked and amused, the 16 year old stick or Mom and Dad. I quickly grilled the Dad, did he teach him this behavior? The Dad quips back, I only wish I had.

How does the word baby, which we've only every used to describe a child smaller than himself, suddenly become descriptive of a cute cheerleader? It led me to one conclusion, some behavior is just innate. That or I'm now paying for all the Sex in the City I watched when he was a baby.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hit me baby one more time.

I held my breath as the Captain returned to school this week, hoping upon hope that his new fabulous behavioral idiosyncrasies (euphemism for bad toddler, no cookie) would stay closeted. Day one was perfecto. Day two he apparently whacked another kid. He followed it up today by knocking over my neighbor's 1 year old. Who knows what deviant behavior lies ahead.

And so I'm sure I can add this to the parent-teacher itinerary for the spring. I know that this is really typical tot behavior, but I'm also convinced that this is all coming out as an homage to his frustration with his Mediocre Mama.

I generally feel useless in the disciplinary department right now. Since I can't lift him I can't throw him in time out. And what's worse is that he's learned to work the system. It used to be that when he was bad he was only eligible for parole by promising to be a "good boy." Those words were the height of humiliation to him so if I managed to drag them out I knew it was lesson learned. Well, he has since learned the lesson...the lesson that the words "good boy" get you out of a punishment. So that effectively went out the window. Next, we moved the lesson to the word "sorry." At first he resisted this one, too. It didn't take long, but now he puts on the biggest shit-eating grin I've ever seen and loudly declares, "Sorry, Mommy," "Sorry, Daddy," "Sorry, Doggy." He may even give a kiss or a hug to boot. This is generally followed by returning to the horrible behavior within mere seconds.

So without an arsenal of physical punishments I can impose, the verbal punishments have become somewhat useless. Truthfully, he's just too smart for me and has become the master of verbal manipulations himself; I'm once again losing my edge. There's something almost sinister and adult about how he does it, too. And it all comes down to this - my Kid can manage to get us to fork over a cookie like no other. I'm sure you'll think we're pushovers, but I assure you that we are not the only ones to fall victim. He's just too darn good at it.

It goes something like this:

Captain Kid - I want cookie.

Me - You want a cookie?

CK - Cookie? Okay!

Basically, he brings up the item he desires (generally in a somewhat garbled voice so that you have to confirm what he's saying), gets you to repeat it, and then pretends it was your idea all along. Like, what a nice thought, eating a cookie. I'll do it Mom!

Okay, he's either aiming to be a politician or a lawyer because I've never seen a kid his age twist words like this. But I figure if he's capable of doing this at the tender age of 2 that the Dad and I are ultimately screwed; I think in the game of terrible 2's we're losing 2-0. And I'm beginning to think that all I've got left over him is spelling words to the Deviant Dad (is it time to give him a B-A-T-H?). But what with the fact that he's going to this fancy school and all, I'm sure they're bound to teach him to read any day now and then I'm totally fucked.

Hopefully my back will improve soon so that I will once again be able to grab him and throw him in his room against his will as a punishment. But for the moment, the back situation is going nowhere. My doctor put me on 3 more weeks of bed rest (major thanks to all those who've e-mailed, dropped by, sent-food). Until I am well, all I can do is try to rationalize with him. Why do I think I'd have an easier time getting Britney into rehab?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy Poo Year.

I somehow turned around and the clock turned to 2008. The many weeks I've spent convalescing gave me loads of time to reflect on 2007, flip through my old blogs, and watch full seasons of "Project Runway" and "The Biggest Loser" (thank you Bravo TV and the Writer's Strike).

I started this blog back in April, when the Deviant Dad was working 30-40 days straight, during a period of boredom, loneliness and a general feeling that motherhood had gotten the best of me. Ironically I've ended 2007 during a period of boredom, loneliness and probably some of the best mediocre mothering I've ever performed. Back in April I punctuated long days of boredom with the Captain with trips to the park, walks to the market, some trolling for lousy babysitters, and an occasional trip to the chiropractor. Now I just watch, let him come to me, and try to stay awake to pay attention to him between the pain and percocet, which I've charmingly begun to refer to as my Pez (frankly, I would fill a Pez dispenser with percocet if only I could find one with Britney's head on top).

For the first few weeks of my recovery the Captain was just great. But after several weeks of having surrogate parents around, no school, and a very overextended Dad (playing the role of caretaker, chauffeur, father, mother and breadwinner), I fear at times he's had enough of me (yes, both the Captain and the Dad). I can't say as I blame him; last week was the breaking point when he entertained himself by dumping milk on my coat and jumping up and down on my bad leg as I lay on the sofa. Throw on top of that the 8 days of Hanukkah, a Christmas Day Celebration, grandparents and family in town spoiling him with toys and affection, and his Mediocre Mama spoiling him with TV and meals in the family room, he for sure hit the height of bad-ass toddler behavior. In happier news he's spending time on the potty these days and speaking in full sentences. But I can't help but worry about some of his other behavior issues that have cropped up from all this mediocre mothering and how they will play out when he goes back to school; Teacher is not going to tolerate this bullshit with hitting and pushing.

As for me, it's just all been so...isolating. I missed every holiday party this season and spent both New Years and Christmas curled up on a friend's sofa. I've been out of work for a month and with all my doping it's been kind of hard to focus on anything more substantial than a magazine. I walk with a limp, cannot bend or lift, have numbness all over my foot and terrible nerve pain in my leg, and lets just say I've got some junk in the trunk from sedentary living and comfort eating. Add to that some grim facts, such as the fact that I've burned through all my vacation time for the next year and that I just don't know when the pain will subside, going into 2008 doesn't give me that "starting anew" feeling that one hopes for come January 1. This January 1st is starting off with a lot of baggage.

As I enter 2008, the only resolution I can make is to get well because it's the only thing in my sight. As for the rest of the year ahead? My Magic 8 ball is pointing to "Outlook hazy. Ask again later."