So Good You Can Taste It

Apparently I have been starving my poor son of the privilege of visiting craft stores for nearly three years. The other day, I took him to JoAnn Fabric to pick up some supplies because he wanted to paint. He was overtly impressed with each passing aisle. I’m lucky we got out of there spending less than $50, because he thought we probably needed everything, including several jars of buttons, which he tried to stuff in his pockets. I have no idea what his intentions were with the big round plastic buttons, but he was adamant that he needed them. I was able to distract him with a chalkboard and we proceeded to the checkout without much incident.

Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m no marketing specialist. But I’ve noticed in several stores lately that there is an exorbitant amount of CRAP in the checkout aisles. And naturally, they are not the short little stands like in the grocery stores. No, you have to go through a freaking labyrinth to get to the cash register. Surrounding you through the maze are coloring books, lip glosses, lotions, and, of course, candy. Lots of candy.

I noticed Harrison was lagging behind a bit as I made my way to the sales associate, however, I was just simply not paying attention to what caught his eye. “Mama, I want this.” Yes. Of course you do. I turned to see what his latest desire was, and he had in his hand a package of orange and yellow gummy rings, covered with sugar. Now, I am no saint when it comes to my kids’ diets, but I can promise you that these treats have never been in the mouths of my babes. Even for me, they were simply too much.

Harrison is used to me telling him that we cannot buy his heart’s desire, so he threw no fuss when I said, “No baby, go put that back.” But the cashier started giggling, and I looked at her, perplexed. I thought, ‘Do you not have children? Do you not know my suffering?!’ I was briefly annoyed at her snicker, because I thought we should be a united front. I thought she should say, “Your mom said no, buddy. You gotta put ‘em back!” I immediately took her laughing defensively, and my thoughts must have shown through my facial expression (and, if you know me, my ‘mean teacher glare’ probably was playing a small part). She said, “Your son is licking that package, ma’am.”

Sure enough, Harrison was holding the bag of gummies that were full of grossness, and LICKING it. WTF?! Just holding the closed package, as though he knew I was going to say no, and licking the outside of it, hoping for some residual sweetness to filter on through the plastic. Who is this child??? Who taught him this?? I do not go around the grocery store licking wine bottles!!

My mortification was so deep that I did not even offer to buy the snack my son slobbered on, yet I simply let another sales associate take them and put them BACK ON THE SHELF. Some poor soul is going to buy that package that my child licked. Someone is going to open that snack and eat it, and they’re going to hold that package that my son had in his mouth, and they will be none the wiser. Good God. I don’t know if I can live with myself.

Wait, You’re Gay?

It didn’t matter seven years ago, when she called to interview me for a job. “You live on the same street as my best friend,” she said. That was odd because I was pretty sure my only neighbors in this rural Maine town were goats. Turns out, I did have neighbors, and one of them was indeed her best friend.

It didn’t matter when we began tutoring students together after school. What mattered was, were there enough snacks, and did I remember to sharpen the pencils? (Usually, I didn’t.)

It didn’t matter when we worked side-by-side one summer, sharing the suckiness of teachers working during break, the suckiness of our boss, and the suckiness of scheduling people to work for us. I never got the hang of that, scheduling people, but Ivy and I got the hang of being friends. It wasn’t long before we were out-of-work friends too.

We both liked beer. We had dry senses of humor. We found ourselves and each other quite hilarious. The fact that her best friend lived on my street in this tiny town in Maine where I knew no one made me feel connected. She would call and say, “Can I stop by when I’m in the neighborhood?” Fuck yes. No one is ever in my neighborhood. Come on over, I’d tell her. And when she came over, it didn’t matter.

I honestly thought we’d covered all the topics. We’ve had silly talks and serious talks, and we talk just to talk sometimes. We send pictures back and forth, pictures of iconic members of our past, such as a My Little Pony figurine and a toy horse named Porky, both of whom took up residence on the desk we shared for a substantial amount of time. We talked about past relationships that might have been just as sucky as our old boss. We talked about work, and working out. We talked about mutual friends. We went places. We just simply became great friends. It didn’t matter then either.

So, I was a little surprised that my friend of OVER SEVEN YEARS told me last night that she was gay. It wasn’t a, “hey, I think you should know…I’m finally coming out” thing. She’s been out. She’s dated. She’s lived her life out in the open and it.just.never.came.up. Not because the topic was avoided. It just never came up. We had such a good time being friends, that her sexual orientation just was never an issue. I think mine was probably obvious being that I’m married to a man, so she never thought to ask me. And I never thought to ask her, because, well, you just don’t think to ask people that in the middle of a good conversation or a fun outing or a ridiculous work day.

We had to laugh at the silliness that this never was a topic of conversation. But then I thought, what if EVERYONE acted like this? What if NO ONE cared? Because, really, why should you care?

And you might be asking yourself how this story ended up in my parenting blog. Well, my life is parenting and every experience that I have bounces back to how it might impact my children. I can only hope that I will raise them with the same open-mindedness and love that my parents raised me so that they might find the quality of friends that I have now.


Today, we went downtown for Mayfair, a city wide yard sale and get-out-of-your-house-because-its-nice event. It was truly a gorgeous day, especially appreciated after so many snowy and rainy months we’ve had to spend inside. I was delighted to get out of the house with my little family and prance them around town in search of fun things to do.

There were two problems: 1. Justin was sick and 2. Harrison was a jerk. There’s pretty much nothing worse than a sick man-husband, but I won’t dwell on that now, primarily because he reads everything I write. Couple that with a cranky kid, and my fantasies of outdoor bliss just simply flew out the metaphorical window.

So there we were in the middle of downtown, with the rest of our city’s population milling about and Justin informs Harrison that they must hold hands to cross the street. Oh. My. Word. You would have thought Justin asked H to rip off his hand and throw it in the river. So Harrison starts flailing about and screaming as only toddlers do. His degree of irrationality simply amazes me because I, I am extremely irrational, and he makes me look like a wet noodle.

He’s acting the way I might act if you told me champagne was discontinued, or if yoga pants went out of style. I would be completely irate. But this was NO BIG DEAL. We hold hands every time we cross the street. I am positive Harrison was playing on Justin’s sick-man short temper, thinking he could manipulate the situation to meet his own desires. An absolute breakdown occurred on Front Street, and there was nothing we could do to stop it. So, we quietly let him work out his anger with shouts and whines and wiggles of discontent. Then the looks come. Then the stares. Could he be getting abducted? Is he in danger?, they think. Should we intervene?

But, all of a sudden, the light of knowledge flickered in the onlookers’ eyes. Oh. He’s angry. He’s a toddler. There is nothing we can do. To those people who averted their eyes, thank you. To those people who gave sympathetic glances, I am so happy to know I’m not the only one with an irrational offspring. To the few condescending, holier-than-thou individuals who looked at my sweet sweet family with disgust, I’m not fooled. Your skeletons are still inside your closet. But my perfect imperfections are strolling along beside me in their double jogging stroller because I’m proud of them. I’m proud my sick husband endured illness to spend the day with his family. I’m proud my son is expressing himself. I’m proud I didn’t disappoint myself by spending the day inside at home despite a few challenges. My husband is going to feel better. My kid is going to learn to express his emotions appropriately, But you, you’re going to go home and be disappointed in yourself way more than you were with my family’s behavior. Stop judging and start loving, my neighbors.


So, Justin is laying on the couch watching the Kentucky Derby coverage. Harrison repeatedly asks to watch a show, and Justin replies that he may, but only once the Derby is over.

There must be hundreds of horses on television, but the second a commercial comes on with a beautiful, partially dressed woman beside a beach, holding the reins to her horse, Harrison announces, “Hey Dada, this is the show you’ve been waiting for!” Boy does this boy have his dad pegged.


Today started many, many hours ago. I woke up around 5:15 to Ella yelling “yummy” from her crib. We think that means milk. Or maybe banana. In any regards, it does not mean, “I want to go back to sleep.” Shortly after Ella’s noise, I got a text message. Who, pray tell, texts before 6 am? Well, other mom friends of course.

My friend Lauren was already wondering if I wanted to go get coffee. She lives down the street, and her son apparently caught the early train to wake-up land as well.

But here’s the problem. No place in town is open at sunrise. Not the number one breakfast place. Not the grocery store. Not even, and in my interests, most importantly, the coffee shop.

So there we were, anxiously awaiting 7:30, left to ponder our pre-coffee misery in the presence of wide eyed children.

In order to kill time before the cafe opened, I did some laundry. Ella tested out the box fan to see what would happen if she stuck her fingers in it. Luckily it was off. Harrison woke up and immediately asked to do fun things. WTF dude? It’s not even light out.

When we finally did get to the cafe, we set up camp on some comfy couches where the kids could snuggle up and read with us or from where they could sit quietly in the toy section of the shop. Instead, they ran rampant through the tables like pinballs. I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with the fact that we gave them cookies before breakfast. We were considering their behavior exemplary because A) None of our three combined children escaped out the front door onto the busy street (this actually happens on a regular basis) and B) Harrison did not hit any children with the toy ladle from the kitchen like last time.

We got some side-eyes from childless patrons-get this-looking for a peaceful place to enjoy their morning cup of joe. Ha! No, my fellow townsfolk! We are all awake now, and we are going to share with you the vexation that is morning time with toddlers. They always say that it takes a village, and you indeed are part of our village. Of course there were some smiling onlookers, but those were the same people, I noticed, that were taking their coffee to go. Sorry but not sorry, fellow coffee drinkers. Us mamas need that caffeine the most.

PS-Be sure to like my new Facebook page

Potty Talk

We’ve overcome the hurdle that is potty training with Harrison. It was a lot easier than I anticipated, since usually these kinds of milestones come with a litany of crises. Some people say boys are easier to train; others say girls are. I’ll let you know my stance on that argument once we train Ella (check back in a few years).

Harrison has a few things about this bathroom business figured out.

1. He loves an audience. As a matter of fact, he insisted everyone in child watch at the gym report to the stall to watch him pee last week. Twice. In one night. Luckily the other kids were good sports.

2. Poop is awesome. Every time he poops, he stands up to inspect his work. He’s always quite impressed with what he sees. Recent comments include, “Look Mom! Look how many!” and “Wow, it looks like an elephant!”

3. He must be a distant relative of Elvis. Now, I’ve heard the cheerio trick, where you put a cheerio in the toilet to help boys aim. This wouldn’t fly with my kid. He’s figured out that gyrating his hips makes for much more fun when taking a leak. He likes to yell out “Wahooo!” while he’s doing it. Fantastic.

4. When you have to go in public, it’s best to yell about it real loud so Mom and Dad will take you as fast as possible. We were at a somewhat important event at my father-in-law’s place of employment, and Harrison, out of the blue (and in the middle of a tour) screamed, “Mama, I have to go stink right now!” You can guess what stink is. So could the rest of the shipyard.

5. He’s got some room to grow. Apparently, a few weeks ago, Harrison was bemoaning the size of his, well you know. Justin reassured him that he’d grow soon, and that it wasn’t anything to worry about. How on earth does my two year old already have a concept of the “size matters” theory?!

6. This is the only time in life someone’s going to tell you to focus on your penis. I have caught myself WAY TOO MANY times yelping out, “Pay attention to your penis!” when Harrison gets distracted midstream and starts to make a mess. I need to find a way to let him know that no woman will ever say this to him again.

I think all parents should pride themselves on the completion of this milestone. After all, who would your kid be if he or she couldn’t pee alone on the potty? It’s a big deal.

We’re really loving life over here in Lightning McQueen underpants.


I am WAY out of the current events loop. I make a valiant attempt to watch the news each morning, but it’s harder than you think. H is constantly asking to watch a show as soon as he wakes up, and then there’s a need for milk, and then of course the obligatory morning poop, which both my children feel the need to do before my first cup of coffee. Well, it was hard to miss the headlines about the Baltimore rioting, and thankfully the news hit my Facebook page. That way I was able to read about it instead of trying to hear about over my children’s endless demands.

I really don’t know where I stand on the whole thing, because, as I said, I was distracted by my children so I didn’t get a good handle on all of the details. On one hand, why the hell are people burning down a drug store over the death of a man? I get it, I get the importance and the significance of the death. But it’s a drug store. And then I wonder what in God’s name are cops doing THROWING rocks at people? Isn’t there a more, umm, adult way of going about things?

But, I am not a news blogger. I am a mommy blogger. And that is what brings me to write about this particular topic. We all saw the mom in the yellow shirt hauling her son off the scene of the crime. Many people were so impressed that this woman took ownership of her child that they began to refer to her as Mom of the Year.  I mean, where are the other people’s moms during all of this? But then I watched the video. The mom of the kid who was committing violent and abusive crimes was beating the absolute shit out of her kid. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This struck me as wrong, and I cringed every time she slapped her son. I was pulled away from these images by a request for cereal, but they did not leave my mind.

I thought long and hard about this mom and her son, as I am sure many mothers of sons have been doing over the last few days. At first I wanted to proclaim that this mom was doing the right thing because she came and removed her kid from the situation. Then I was mortified because she was hitting him. After all, her son was obviously using the tactics with which he was raised to attempt to solve a problem and stand up for his beliefs. That video doesn’t show us how the mother was brought up. That mother doesn’t tell us anything about her life. And yet millions of us are going to sit in our living rooms and judge her. How many times did she cry because she couldn’t get to the grocery store with unruly small children hanging out of the shopping cart? Did she stay up late at night with her kid when he was sick (and where were the video cameras then?) What were her child’s parent teacher conferences like? Could she even attend them, or was she working? How was she raised? Did she suffer abuse herself? For whichever side you’re on, if you’re taking a stance about this woman’s actions, you’re passing judgment. So many moms and dads are willing to do this these days, and in truth, most of us are doing the very best with the hand we were dealt.