the most beautiful lights of all

Today I was reminded of a joke my dad told me this past Christmas: the most beautiful holiday lights for any grandparent, he told me, are the tail lights heading down the driveway. 

This morning my two boys started day camp.

My dad’s right– that is a beautiful sight.

My boys take a bus to school every day during the school year, but it’s a city bus, and I take it with them. So to have two of my children picked up at my doorstep at 9:00 a.m, and dropped off at 4:15, is kind of unthinkably wonderful. That’s an hour longer than SCHOOL, for heaven’s sake. 

And to top it all off, Maggie has been asleep for two and a half hours. 
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.

(Soon enough, yes, I shall have to eat those words. Can’t wait to find out why.)

potty training odyssey, part deux

Perhaps the main reason I really do have to get my daughter potty-trained is that when she poops in her diaper, her two older brothers– it pains me to type this– take turns sniffling deeply at her bottom and topping each other in their reactions.

CONNOR: (taking a whiff) UGH! Gross! Mom! Change her diaper!
SEAMUS: (taking a turn) Oh-ho-ho-ho! Yuck!
CONNOR: Move, Seamus, I want to smell. (He does. Connor does.) Ugh! You STINK Maggie!

Maggie does not really mind this as much as you might expect. But this cannot be good. This has to be messing with all three of them in some deeply Freudian way, no?

Yesterday Connor wasn’t around for these usual hijinks so Seamus was just taking double turns himself. I tried appealing to his better angels.

MOMMY: Seamus, don’t do that to Maggie.
SEAMUS: Why not?
MOMMY: Because she doesn’t like it. C’mon Maggie, I’ll change you.
SEAMUS: Can I come too?
SEAMUS: Can I watch you change her?
MOMMY: No! Seamus, how would you like it if you were making poops in the bathroom and Maggie was standing right there watching you?

Seamus thinks about it for a moment.

SEAMUS: Actuawy, that would be fine wif me.

The really sad part is, it probably would.

and now, an earnest plea from a teenage reader

Here’s my last words on the Yahoo! Shine commenters: a lot of them seem to want to vent about issues only tangentially related to what I wrote. This was a plea posted by one teenager. Horrifying for its own reasons, as you shall see:

What really gets to me is that everytime [my mom and I] go shopping for me she wants to dress like a teenager and it really bothers me. She’s almost 40 years old so she should dress like people her age. I’m 14 and I dress properly at all times, I don’t dress like a hooker. Never have. But I would appreciate if some parents out there wouldn’t dress like they’re 15 when they’re thirty five or worst–40! Yikes. Please consider that you aren’t THAT young anymore. You’re young, just not a teenager young type. Can you consider dressing your age?

35 or WORST- 40?

Yikes, indeed.

I hate that they’re proving me wrong

This week, there’s an excerpt from my book up on Yahoo! Shine’s parenting page. It’s an excerpt from a chapter called “Pretty,” where I talk about the joy I take in dressing up my (then) 1 1/2 year old daughter, and in telling her how pretty she is– but then, of course, in a typically modern mothering way, then worry that I’m doing the wrong thing by doing that. 

I am slightly annoyed that Yahoo! ran the article without putting my NAME anywhere on the page, let alone acknowledging that it’s an excerpt from a book. (Lesson learned: they inherited this content from another site, and no one asked me before this happened. I will hold the reins to what I write much more tightly in the future.)

But in the end, I am quite happy that my name isn’t on there, because at last check, there were 95 comments, most of them to this effect:

You are creating a child nobody will want to be around. Not many kids like a Princess.


You need help. Going to church on Easter Sunday in crappy old clothes and unwashed hair because you spent so much time focused on your daughter’s outfit? Really? What is wrong with you? Did becoming a mom suck out every last ounce of self esteem? Get a grip. Your husband is married to you, not your daughter. 


This woman needs psychological help. She has no self esteem and it is pathetic how little she cares about her own appearance. She is raising a self centered brat who will be embarrassed by her in the future. 


This woman is a good example of why becoming a parent scares and sometimes flat out repels me.

I’ll stop there. You get the drift. There was also some stuff about how my daughter was going to turn out like Paris Hilton, and how my husband was going to leave me because I don’t take care of myself, but after three pages I got sick of looking for it.

I really don’t want to dwell on the trolls. It’s not worth it, and I shouldn’t be feeding them. Since none of them have found their way here, though (again, thanks to Yahoo! posting my work without payment and without attributing it) I’m probably safe.  And hey, if Dooce can monetize the hate, why oh why can’t I? They’re even kind of fun to read, in a totally masochistic way. 

Mostly, I just want to say: ladies, you are making us all look bad. In the last couple of months, when I’ve had a small soapbox to stand on, I have tried to make one thing clear in every interview I’ve done: the mommy wars are bullshit. We don’t stand around judging each other. We’re far too wrapped up in our own neuroses to judge anyone else. Our worst enemies are ourselves.

Now I’m not so sure I was right about that. Certainly the anonymity of the internet seems to bring out the worst in many… but are there really this many mean mommies out there? 

the gauntlet has been thrown down

This week a mommy friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status:

Thank you Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, and more recently, Fuzzi Bunz, Green Mountain prefolds, BumGenius and Rumparooz diapers for covering my kids’ butts for the past 7.5 yrs. We will miss you but are very excited to finally be Diaper Free!!

She has three children, more or less my children’s ages. Her youngest, a week older than my daughter Maggie, is now completely out of diapers. Maggie… is still completely IN diapers.

Let’s leave aside any guilt that I might feel about not using Fuzzi Bunz reusables (“a better diaper for a better planet”), Bumgenius (“cloth diapering made easy”),  Rumparooz (“keeping the poo off your little roo”), and Green Mountain prefolds (“chlorine-free and unbleached!”) I mean, of course I feel guilty now that I have looked them all up and created handy hyperlinks, but they were not even on the fringes of my consciousness when Maggie was born two-and-a-half years ago.

No, let’s leave the ecodiapering guilt aside for now, because I’m full up right now on guilt that my friend has her 31-month-old trained and I don’t. 

Nothing like a little peer pressure to motivate a mom. I now present to you a little scene from this morning, in my kitchen.

MAGGIE: Mommy I need a new diaper.
ME (taking it off): No, let’s have some potty time. If you get the pee-pee feeling, tell me, and we’ll hurry to the potty.
ME: Now, c’mon honey, let’s–
ME: You are two and a half years old! You speak in paragraphs! You are TOO BIG for diapers!

At this point, she took leave of her senses and held her breath until she passed out, banging her head off the kitchen floor as she toppled over backwards. Then she held her breath about hitting her head. Then, when I picked her up to comfort her, she peed all over me. 

Round one to Maggie. This is going to be a long summer.