Catfights in the Sandbox

A couple of days ago my ten year old scored at her volleyball game. She pumped the ball thirteen times before popping it over the net and she scored!  Yes, it was a really big deal, partly because of how elated (and in shock) she was.  And for me, to know that she weighed a mere four pounds when she was born and now she’s playing volleyball of all sports was an emotional double take! My eight year old leaned over and asked if I was crying. I didn’t think it was obvious so I explained they were happy tears and that I was so proud. “So if I get really really really happy, I’m going to start crying? That doesn’t make any sense Mommy.” Nothing like that rubber band to snap you out of your moment:)IMG_1122

I remember when my oldest was born and my dad said “she’s not even as big as a five pound bag of sugar.” She was healthy, just tiny. No explanations why. As a new mom, I couldn’t help but worry but after lots of reassurance from the doctor and my intuition, I knew she was ok. Funny how things shifted on the playground. That’s where I endured endless chatter of those moms whose children were smarter, bigger, faster, slept longer, ate more, cried less, talked earlier, walked quicker,  had more hair, more teeth, anything that could give that mom a home court advantage over us visitors. They could smell the fear in new moms and rather than give comforting advice, they would wave those percentile charts over our heads like victory flags. (My child barely if rarely was even on those charts). More than once I left the park clutching the remainder of my nonfat latte in one hand maneuvering my non-cooperative stroller with the other wondering if I had just made more organic baby food or switched to cloth diapers or nursed EVEN LONGER, maybe then my child’s head circumference would be in the 80th percentile!

I finally migrated to the moms who’s kids were the ones eating sand and they just smiled and cooed at them without concern. They were the ones who weren’t worried their children would catch a cold being barefoot in November or that their child didn’t get into the baby Mozart class with all the other perfect children. Looking back it was always their second or third child. They learned from the first, that barefeet and sand snacks wouldn’t kill them. And that was brilliant advice to me. I, too, let go of the fear with my second one. I tossed those awful baby books that convinced me of all the possible things that could go wrong with my child. Remember them? The ones that we read like a bible daily to guide us through pregnancy and baby years. They guided me alright-into sheer panic.

images-8And now, I have two extremely different children whose interests are polar opposites. I have one with the intensity and focus of a laser with artistic ability far beyond her eight little years. And another who floats around the room like a butterfly who connects the dots of life in a unique pattern all her own. They keep me guessing everyday as to who they will become. It’s exciting to watch and I hope everyday goes slow.

In the chaos of daily parental Olympics, the competition is exhausting to me.  Everyone is racing for gold. I wholeheartedly admit I run towards the back of the pack at times, and it’s not because I don’t want my kids to excel. I refuse to get tangled in the drama. It’s a fine line of pushing your child to their max to succeed and pushing them in the opposite direction. It’s the difference between encourage and force. We decide where that line is drawn.

So fast forward a few years and my little four pound baby is now playing volleyball. I won’t remember who she played or if her team won. But I will remember that she played. And even scored! I’ll remember that she laughed with her teammates and looked cute in her uniform. And that I sat on the sidelines with tears of joy.

So, if my children don’t make straight A’s and O’s in elementary school, will this lead to a mediocre academic life with no chance at a 5.0 GPA and no college acceptance?  Should I have painted their walls in primary colors versus pastels to boost their IQ? I’m going to walk away from this sandbox with confidence and know that they’ll do great. Call it Mom’s intuition.


“There’s a crack in everything.  That’s how light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

Ain’t being an adult grand?

Things that are good with capers…..arewelcome even better without them.
I’ve always had this aversion to these little balls of tangy confusion. I don’t see why they are placed atop anything let alone tuna tartar, chicken, or my beloved salmon.  I don’t know if they grow on a tree, a bush, or if they’re pulled out of the ground like peanuts. Nor do I care. Bottom line, I don’t have to eat them or even like them.That’s one of the medals I’ve earned in my ranking as an adult. I can eat what I want! And while I’m at it, I can skip dinner altogether and eat a whole bag of Kettle chips with red wine while in my underwear watching Friends reruns or Duck Dynasty. (Hey Si! You’re the bomb!) I can keep all those bitchin’ clothes in my closet that I should have tossed (we had so much fun in the ’80’s didn’t we?) It’s all so liberating being an adult! Notice I did NOT say “grown up”.

To be grown up, we give up. We give up a lot of things. To be an adult, we gain things. Like freedom. Our perspective is different even when our responsibilities are the same. We can pull out the child in ourselves. We have that thing that lots of grown ups gave up: a sense of humor. It’s a survival tool to use when all else is fails. Throw up your hands. Laugh! Make fun of it! It won’t change a damn thing, trust me, but magically you’ll feel better. Grown ups get ulcers.

Remember those HUGE one-year birthday parties we had for our children? They weren’t for them. They don’t remember them! They were for us to show the world that we were all ‘grown up’ and somehow managed to feed them, keep them alive and healthy, and given all the obstacles, we made it a whole year! We were adults in disguise.

And now?

Here are just a few things that we get to enjoy with our “Got Out of Childhood Almost Unscathed while Attempting to be Adults” membership card:

Cancel appts
Hell, you don’t even have to make them! (Dentist? Every year, every other?)
Get to drive!
Play MY music as loud as I want!
Have sex
Go to bed late (see TV schedule below)
Drink wine
Have more sex
Buy stupid stuff and no one can tell you “no way!” Because it’s your money!
(That you’ve just blown on stupid stuff)
Don’t clean your room today!
Watch anything you want on TV whenever you want for as long as we want (yeh, watch out 10:30! I think I can see you tonight!)
Sleep late! (Ha! Who am I kidding)
Wear high heels (guys?)
Don’t brush your hair
Have an opinion and USE it!
Say bad words just ’cause it’s so much f—ing fun!
Have sex
Say ‘No’ and mean it with no explanation
Say ‘Yes’ and mean it with no explanation
See a movie in the middle of the day with no explanation
Weed out those people who piss you off or who are just plain crazy or stupid!
Read trashy novels
Write trashy novels!
Stay as long as you want
Leave whenever you want
Decorate any way you want
Wear whatever you want
Eat Reese’s peanut butter cups (oh how I love them) until the bag is empty. Then open a second one!
Stay out late because you have no curfew!
Hire a babysitter so you can stay out late!
No Homework
No Capers

Ooh, I must throw out one small caveat: children and partners can hinder some of the above. Make your decisions wisely:)

Yes, yes, yes. There are the notsofun things like jobs, bills, aches, laundry, grocery shopping, divorce, marriage, and a plethora of things that only life and age can drop on our doorstep. So, today, do one thing on the list. Or two or three! Make your own list. Step out of the ‘grown up’ box. Do your best to stay up until 10:30! Feel liberated! Watch a really bad movie and laugh at it. Way too many cynics in the world. Don’t be pulled in.

I’m going to go bake salmon right now with butter and lemon, just the way I like it.  Join me?


“As a child I assumed that when I reached adulthood, I would have grown-up thoughts.”
― David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

“Magda looks at me as if I’ve gone mad. Or I’ve grown up. It’s kind of the same thing.”                                               ― Victoria Schwab, The Near Witch

“I wondered if that was true: if they were all really children wrapped up in adult bodies, like children’s books hidden in the middle of dull, long adult books, the kind with no pictures or conversations.”                                     ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane