United States of Motherhood: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Mommy's Heart: Childhood Moving at Warp Speed

First day of school...

Third Grade, Elementary School

...And of course, because it's Seattle, it rained.

6th Grade, Middle School

It matches my mood. For once, I am not ready to kick my babies out the door and sigh a relief that summer is over. For once, the house it too quiet.

9th Grade, High School

I miss them.

Perhaps it's because they fought so little this summer.

Perhaps it's because as Eldest enters high school, I realize I have, but four years left before he permanently walks out that door to college. The clock is ticking.

Most likely, it's the silence broken only by the bubbling water in the fish tank and swish of an occasionally wagged tail by the pup who resides by my feet.

I am getting a taste of what it will be once they all leave the nest for good.

Honestly? I don't like it.

I live for my Li'l man's belly laugh.

I live for PB's too tight hugs she initiates full-heartedly and without warning.

I live for my Eldest's wry, smart alec humor and awkward manner in this stage between boy and manhood.

I exist for them.

Now? I can't wait for next summer and more fleeting moments like these:

Childhood. Every year moves more quickly than the last. This last one seemed like warp speed and my heart just can't take it today...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tit for Tat: Who's Grosser Than Gross?

My husband CG has a naughty sense of humor. One of the many reasons I love him.

He also loves sharing restaurant reviews and recipes to me all day while he sits in his office {finger quote} working {finger quote}.

I sit here at the kitchen table between {finger quote} loads of laundry and mothering and blogging deadlines {finger quote} and share back.

He shared this with me last night:

"Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients - you will love this cook book! "

Not to be outdone?

I share back this back from The Amateur Gourmet:

Tom Cruise's Placenta Polenta

"2 cups polenta (not quick cooking---good things take time, like LOVVVE)

2 tsps salt (don't use Kosher salt---Jews are nice, but they're not Scientologists!)

8 cups water (preferably water that hasn't been placed near any anti-depressants. Those are so unnecessary.)

1 placenta"

Read Entire Directions...

So my friends, Seminal Fluid Pudding or Placent-ahh Polent-ah?

We both think the other won for who's grosser than gross. Follow the links, we'll wait.

{Tapping finger}

M'kay, you're back? Okay, y'all call it. Which makes you gag more?

Who's grosser than gross?

By the way, feel free to join in the contest in your comments. What's the worst recipe you have ever seen?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not for the Faint-hearted: Mothering Teenage Boys

In college, I tended to hang out with far more boys than girls. Especially in the first year or so, they tended to be young, immature boys I met at the music store I worked. These were not the honorable, responsible, generally serious boys I hung out with in ROTC at Cal. These were more teen-aged, still trying to find themselves boys who found farting and belching grape soda in my face hilarious.

Think American Pie and you are going in the right direction.

Yep, I was just one of the boys, except for my waist-length hair.

Since I was a pretty sheltered girl, raised with a heavy religious overtone from which I had just broke free, what those boys said in my company constantly had me dropping my jaw and then bursting out in laughter. I think they lived to shock me. I was certainly the only virgin they knew and they respected that I planned to stay that one. So, off-limits, I was part of the gang.

I learned quite a few new swear words. I learned what felching was and no, for the love of Mike, don't google it if you don't already know. I also heard waay too much about masturbating.

Yes, you heard me right. Surprise! Teenage boys talked about masturbating... a lot.

One image that stuck?

All of them. I mean all of them. We are talking five to six boys around the table admitted to using stuffed animals.

They also fessed up to using meat at one point or another. One discussed the finer points of a good steak warmed up in the microwave to flesh temperature and then rolled up... Gah!

I covered my ears.

What! What?

One mentioned he even put the steak back so his mom wouldn't find out.

Twenty years later?

Somehow this image has stuck with me.

Now as a mommy, I think of E. coli and bacteria and just, yuck, what if his mom made dinner with the used steak. I also now have a teenager and eye all those stuffed animals on his bed with great suspicion.

And no one is left home alone with a steak or warm apple pie....okay, kidding on that one.

Oh, I don't know why this came to mind today, but it's a funny, awkward, and strange concept that flits at the back of my mind. Maybe we moms are just paranoid about ever finding out their baby boys have the same urges as those boys I once knew? I put my hands clapped to my ears, squeeze my eyes shut, and scream lalala just thinking about it.

I remember CG telling me he was taught to keep his non-utensil hand on the table, rather than the American way of it resting it in your lap, because in his mother words, who knew what those hands could be doing under the table. Paranoid!!

Funny enough, those older, honorable boys?

Well, let's call them young men at this point. CG was one of them.

CG still had a little of the boyish in him though because he told me about happy socks.

Yes, as in I had no clues that the dirty socks around a teenage boys room could hold more than stinky feet smell.

Double gah!

And that's why this mom doesn't touch stuffed animals and dirty socks in her teens' room anymore.

Nope, I am scarred for life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mommy-Supplied Vodka Ends in Rape and Stabbing


Just curious: Have you or will you provide alcohol to your teens?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jennifer Anniston is a "Retard"

Have you seen or heard about the mobs with pitchforks going after Jennifer Anniston? Sheesh, you'd have thunk she ate one of Angelina's babies for the uproar.

Nope, she didn't. Sadly...

She called herself, in a self-deprecating manner, a "retard."

Yep, the "R" word.

My thoughts? I think our country has way bigger fish to fry and we as a country have gotten a bit far too politically correct. There is a sense that anything you say can be construed as offensive to the point that we are tongue-tied. I do not think this use of the "R" word is so egregious. Unfortunate? Yes, but I am sure she was nervous and wasn't thinking.

Retarded defined can just mean slow-either in reference to intellect, emotion, or time. Perhaps she meant it in that connotation as the original definition. Mentally challenged/intellectually disabled groups and the media haven't used the word in reference to people in a very long time--definitely before my generation.

I also wonder if people get outraged when people say gipped--an offensive short form of Gypsy, meaning a swindle in which someone cheats at gambling or trying to persuade another person to buy worthless property.

Or someone Welshed on a bet?

Or someone vandalized your car--a person who willfully and maliciously destroys property from (orgin East Germanic people).

Can you say you have never used the words imbecile, idiot, or moron? These also were used to medically define the intellectually challenged in past years.

Have you referred to yourself as lame? Yep, also used for the physically handicapped.

What about calling someone as spaz or calling them spastic? Again, physically handicap. Apparently, Tiger Woods used "spaz" to describe his putting in the Masters. No one noticed in the U.S., but it caused a major furor in the UK.

Ever said the phrase, "Pardon my French?" Not very positive to the French is it?

How about insane? Crazy? Demented? Psycho? Maniac? Lunatic? All can and are used in a derogatory manner with the orgin of being used for the mentally ill.

Have you ever said someone or something was dumb? Yep, not nice for those afflicted with mutism.

How about the child's rhyme eenie, meinie, minie, moe? It seems that some learned that rhyme with the "n" word rather than "tiger's toe." A Southwest attendant used just the words "eenie, meinie, minie, moe" and was sued for racism. Ridiculous.

These days, these words have little to do with their derogatory origins and just become common place in everyday vernacular. Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and then over time will be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. That is what I perceive is happening with the word retarded. It is becoming more removed from it's original use as a medical diagnosis and used as a self-deprecating remark in Jennifer's case.

So, as for Jennifer, come on. Let's give her a break. She wasn't making fun of anyone, but herself. I suggest you can judge her if you yourself have never said any of the words above (or the many more that I haven't listed) whose orgins started similarly.

Forgivable? Yes.

Maybe she should have said she was lame or crazy or dumb instead. Oh wait...

Image via Lord_Henry /Flickr

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another "Oh Shit" Parenting Moment

Eldest chose to spend the last days of summer with viral stomatitis.

That's fancy for the kid's infested with dozens of weeping sores in his mouth, tongue, gums, and throat.

After sniveling out of character at spicy foods, begging to go to the dentist which I ignored as a preposterous aberration, laying down during the middle of a seven mile hike up Mt. Rainier and in alpine meadows "to nap," and generally being unable to swallow?

This mommy took heed... four days later.

Out came the mini flashlight. Oh mercy! This mommy's mouth suddenly became a Mr. Bill "Ooo."

Bloody hell. Sores everywhere.

I googled. I diagnosed. My husband raised eyebrows. I sighed. I made appointment with legit pediatrician. Pediatrician who looked strangely like Dr. Ruth agreed with my diagnosis.

Treatment? No treatment. Suffer for 10 or so days. Fun, fun August it is. Nothing spicy, salty, acidy, or hard. I reviewed what we had eaten for the last week.

Yes, spicy, salty, acidy, and crunchy. Check, check, check, and check.


He'd lost 7 lbs. by this point. He is still refusing his oats, the silly mule. I push fluids and Tylenol.

I googled and his Dr. Ruth agreed Mylanta Milk of Magnesia to swish would help. We have Milk of Magnesia. CG and I decide Mylanta is what we really want. I leave existing Milk on island.

I sashay to store and purchase Milk of Mylanta or Mylanta or whatever it's called. CG and I quarrel over what it's called. I leave it on island.

Later that day and several times in fact, I grab a blue bottle, not bothering to measure since he will swish and mostly spit. He swishes and mostly swallows. No worries. Mylanta just makes one less gassy which dear spawn most assuredly is.

We eat dinner. Another Mr. Bill moments comes.

Not me. Teenager. Rushes from dinner table and on to commode. He is gone a very long time. A very long time. A shitcident of all shitcident. He doesn't want to eat anymore. It's steak and mashed potatoes. His favorite. Not one willing bite.

I push Tylenol.

Tylenol PM. Good for sleeping. Better than a lullaby.

The next morning, I look at used bottle I had used the day before. OH! Shit! Not Mylanta. Wrong blue. It was the Milk of Magnesia and mercy me, it's a laxative. Not so much for gas reducing, but frothy poop inducing.

Poor guy.

He still can't eat. It's only 9 AM and he can't eat and he's dehydrated from his episode the night before. I tell him offhandedly while I blog to take a Tylenol. He takes two.

Two. Tylenol. PM. He sleeps the rest of the afternoon. I tell CG. He judges. How dare he judge.

What? What?! Now you are judging me?

I thought it got easier when they were fourteen. Yes, fourteen. Did I fail to mention in the middle of this, it was his birthday this week-end?

Ah, Imma making memories of incompetent parenting that will last a freaking lifetime. I swear I am not trying to poison the boy. I'm breeding character. The parenting that does not kill him, will only make him stronger, right? Heh!

I take my bow. Another proud Bad Mommy of the Year award goes to me!

Oh, how the mighty do fall... shit!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yoo Hoo Terrorists? Preteens Without ID Fly on a Whim

Read the rest of the story at The Stir

As a mother, I see huge problems with Southwest's policy -- not just for possible terrorism, but just for peace of mind that my own 14-year-old doesn't get just as bored and take off for Minnesota, Paris, Texas, or New York City. Without permission or ID.

Illegal Immigration, Education, Free Rides, & Forwards

With a steaming cup a coffee on this overcast Seattle day, I opened my email inbox this morning, and received the letter below.

I found it as thought-provoking as the Jessica Colotl story I wrote about a couple months back on CafeMom's The Stir.

So I read it. Then I re-read it. I pondered it's financial points with my own motherly compassion.

I'd love to hear what you all, left or right, pro or anti-immigration, have to say about it:

From a California school teacher--

"As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:

I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic and income levels.

Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, etc., where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.

Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten.

I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids.

I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America ..

I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students, here in the country less then 3 months, who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them "Putas"(whores) and throwing things, that the teachers were in tears.

Free medical, free education, free food, free day care etc., etc, etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?

To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.

Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases.

For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.

Americans, We need to wake up.

It does, however, have everything to do with culture: It involves an American third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate, and an American culture that has become so weak and worried about "political correctness" that we don't have the will to do anything about it.

If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone
you know.

CHEAP LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?

Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage.

Consumers don't want expensive produce.

Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.

But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a myth, a farce, and a lie. There is no such thing as "cheap labor."

Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 free.

He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.

He qualifies for food stamps.

He qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care.
His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school.

He requires bilingual teachers and books.

He qualifies for relief from high energy bills.
If they are, or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI.

If qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare.

All of this is at (OUR) taxpayer's expense.

He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.

Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material.

He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6..00/hour left after paying their bills AND his.

Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT!


Please pass this on to as many as possible. Immigration legislation is to be considered in 2010. This is important to working Americans, our economy and our American culture and heritage.."

With so many legal Americans hurting out there, I am getting an increasing supply of such forwards. Have we the right to say enough? No more subsidizing illegal immigration? Or our we hurting the basic foundation of our country by closing the doors to our golden shores?

Personally, I grew up in California's education system which was one of the best in the 70's and 80's. My husband and I then took our children and left in 2000 specifically because of the Californian low-quality school system and high real estate which made it unaffordable to put them in private school.

Perhaps all these free lunches, free daycare, and free rides are draining the system? I also have to say the teachers' unions with their demands don't help. In the end, though, the people here legally who paid into the system are the ones who should be getting payouts in their time of need.

How does someone here illegally then legally qualify for anything?


Images via Fibonacci Blue , Arasmus Photo , fightingtheboss , David Clow - Maryland , dominiqueb , Sweet One , remster_9/ Flickr

Friday, August 13, 2010

Behind Those Camouflaged Shoulder: A Military Family Tribute (Video)

It's been a dozen years and I can still remember the day like it was yesterday. It was the day my husband was deployed to the Sinai Peninsula.

My red-rimmed eyes were almost swollen shut.

My mind refused to admit the day had come. Smiling through the tears, not wanting him to worry, when all I could do was just that.


The worry for him at a time when our post was locked down because Osama Bin Laden had just bombed the embassies in Africa.

The worry for me, alone with a toddler, away from family and friends, in a winter that got to be -60 degrees in interior Alaska.

It literally ripped my heart out to say goodbye.

So when I think about my fellow service members being deployed for the third time in war torn Iraq or Afghanistan, it kills me.

My husband being gone for six plus months blew a hole in our little family.

My little guy stopped talking despite therapy. He became essentially selectively mute to deal with the loss and no amount of speech therapy helped until his Daddy came home.

The experts said they see it a lot with children that experience a loss or divorce which makes one parent absent.

This was completely out of my and CG's hands. In fact, missing CG fifteen months out of the first 2-1/2 years of our marriage, Eldest's first 2-1/2 years of life, was never a choice, but an oath and a promise he made to our country.

An oath I understood being in the reserves myself.

However, I would be outright lying to say I'd even want to be in the military again.

Or even see my little guy, now the size of a man, join up.

My mommy's heart just couldn't take the worry.

So when I happened upon this video below on Facebook?

These families with holes in their hearts, with their loved ones in great danger... then suddenly replete with surprise and utter joy?

Madness. Here I sit eyes swollen, wet-checked, sobbing just like I did on that day at the beauty...


...because I also so remember the day he came back and cannot fathom going through it again-- much less three times during war time.

We often thank the soldier, but today this post is devoted to the military family waiting in the background, heart torn, gut twisted, worry framing their every conscious minute until they can, but just wrap their arms around those camouflaged shoulders once again.

So to you military mothers, wives, husbands, sons, and daughters, my family understands just a small bit of your great sacrifice and we thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby Name Leads to Death Threats

My latest post on The Stir above may make you think twice about smirking or mocking someone's chosen baby name.

Yes, with threats like:

"I'm going to put a cord around your neck, strangle you until you die, throw you in a ditch, and no one will ever know who did it."

Yep, I think I will keep my opinions to myself. And you? Heard any crazy or creative spelling baby names lately that have had you chuckling, my friends? Did you keep mum or speak your mind?

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