Archive for the ‘Parenting Tales’ Category

I am from lanyard bracelets and friendship pins, from Pitfall and tins of Kraft mac-and-cheese.

I am from doo wop on the record player, Johnny Mathis crooning while the tinsel twinkled on the Christmas tree.

I am from the buzzing of cicadas during after-supper kickball games in the street, the lightning bugs at dusk while we hop fences playing Ring-a-levio.

I am from Easter brunch golf cart rides and squishy locker room floors at the pool, from dad’s plaid pants in the Corvette going to Saturday soccer games, and mom’s curly lamb chops hidden in napkins under the lip of our plates.

I am from thighs sticking to Nana’s vinyl car seats on the way to get Fribbles at Friendly’s on a hot summer day, from shag carpets and wood panelling while watching the Dark Crystal.

I am from Sunday School hymns, dried palms and unopened Bibles.

From stockinged feet in patent leather shoes in the backseat of a brown station wagon, eating Charleston Chews and sprinkled cookies while returning from church.

I’m from Long Island beaches and heaping piles of pastrami.

From tickets, golden rings and carousels at Nunley’s, and afternoon bike-riding adventures.

I’m from boat shoes with curly laces at field hockey games on blue-skied, crisp, autumn days. From soccer balls and trophies and freshly shorn fields.

I’m from sparklers and Barbies and sticker books and Keds.

I’m from home.



This was a writing meme that was inspired by other bloggers this past summer, and the original source can be found here.

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Treasure Box

Last year, after learning about pirates, buried treasure and treasure maps and spending weeks squinting one eye and growling “Aaargh!”, LJ painted her own treasure chest. I explained to her that she should only keep her most prized possessions in the box, the things that are the most special to her.

The contents of the chest have varied throughout the year, and sneaking a peek is like sneaking a peek into her 3-year-old insanely random and adorable mind. She’s pretty possessive and secretive about the box, so I tiptoed into her room while she was napping the other day to check out the latest treasures.

Naturally, any kid’s most prized possessions would include:

  1. A wind-up pumpkin head
  2. That knee-tapper thing from the doctor’s kit
  3. Mr. Potato Head’s glasses and only ONE ear
  4. Some yellow bit from the Tinkertoys
  5. One ponytail holder
  6. The flower that broke off of some cheap, solar-powered dancing daisy
  7. One red jewel – that’s been in the box from day 1.
  8. Some medallion that broke off her Tinkerbell dress – also in the box from day 1.
  9. A disgusting, wiggly pink dinosaur she named Squaggily Boggily, and
  10. A bunch of seashells and coral from Mexico and the beaches here in NY
What are your kid’s favorite things? I know we’re not the only home with a well-loved, 25-cent Squaggily Boggily.

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Why is it when my husband goes away on business trips I become convinced that one of the following will definitely happen:

  1. The apartment will go up in flames while we’re sleeping. Probably because I forgot to check that the toaster was unplugged the usual 24 times.
  2. LJ, fur-child and I will all succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. A creepy, murderous crazy person will bust into our apartment through the roof door.
  4. Some insane person will swoop into LJ’s room in the middle of the night and whisk her off to some far-away land where she will fetch a hefty price on the black market.

The thing is, when my husband IS here and we experience the occasional middle of the night “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT NOISE?! OMGGOCHECK!!” freak out moments: I’m usually the one to go fight off the killer rapist in the kitchen with the pointy horn of LJ’s unicorn doll. I’m the crime fighting mama-bear. Pete usually stays in the bedroom “protecting the dog”. My lab, by the way, couldn’t care LESS if we were being robbed. While my bat ears hear every thump in the building, causing me to launch out of bed in supreme freak-out mode: Carson is all, “Huh? (Yawn)” as she resumes snoring and chasing dream squirrels.

So why do I morph into the helpless damsel in distress when he’s away? Most of the time, my fears are completely irrational. Like the black market bit: that probably won’t happen. I’m sure I won’t have to pull a Macgyver and fashion some sort of massive Moby wrap out of a bedsheet that can hold the dog AND kid while I shimmy out the second story window in a fire. No, I haven’t thought about that awesome plan at ALL.

I know I’m not alone in the irrational fears, though. All you need is a vivid imagination to freak yourself the f*ck OUT when you’re home alone. Case in point: my mother. 1993.

When I was a senior in high school, my parents hit a rough patch in their relationship, and for a very brief period of time my father was living in the next town. My sister, who was about 22 at the time, mom and I were trucking along in our usual routines, just sans a man in the house. Late one weekend night, when my friends pulled up to drop me off after a night of drinking wine coolers in various parking lots in town, I noticed the living room light was on and you could see the back of my mother’s head silhouetted in the window. When you’re a teenager that is never, EVER a good sign. I entered the house, walked up the stairs to the living room and found my mother AND sister both sitting on the couch looking panic-stricken at 1am. Cue 17-year-old  (buzzed) heart beating out of my chest as I try to imagine what I did to deserve this insane intervention-like meeting. The following conversation (more or less) took place:

Mom: Tracy, sit down. We want to talk to you about something.

Me: ….Okay. (Shitting in my pants. Did she find my Parliaments? Fuck!)

Mom: Now I don’t want you to get upset….

Me: … Okay. (I’m. DEAD. My life is over.)

Mom: …but we’re a little afraid that someone may have tried to break into the house.

Me: Huh?

Mom: We’re a little afraid that someone may have tried to break into the house, and they put THIS picture through the front mail-slot as some kind of warning. (She slid the following picture across the coffee table.)

Me: Wait, Ice Cube?

Mom: OH MY GOD YOU KNOW HIM? Why would he put a picture through our mail slot?!

Me: Why would WHO put a picture through our mail slot? Ice Cube?

Mom:  WHO IS HE?!?

Me: He’s a rapper!! Are you INSANE??!?

Mom: Are you sure? You mean it’s your picture?

Me: It probably fell out of my backpack or from one of my magazines or something. You mean you SERIOUSLY thought a robber would give you a PICTURE OF HIMSELF before he robbed you? You thought Ice Cube was some stalker that was trying to break into our stupid house?  (Dying laughing at this point. Almost crying.)

Mom: (clearly embarrassed) Ok, that’s enough. I was afraid. Never mind. Now, go to bed!

Clearly overactive imaginations and the inclination to expect doom and horror around every corner run in my family.

Also, poor Ice Cube.

***P.S. In no way, shape or form is (or was) my mother racist. It bums me out that I even have to comment on that.***

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Happy Friday. 🙂

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Have I mentioned how much I love the beach? No? Well, I do. A LOT. Growing up on Long Island, I spent many days and countless summer teenage nights at the beach (doing illegal things, most likely, but we won’t talk about that here). I don’t think I could ever live far away from a coast: it makes me claustrophobic even thinking about it. The ocean soothes my crazy. It’s my Xanax. Or Klonopin. Or Valium. Whichever you choose.

We have a cabana at a beach club on Long Island which makes going to the beach, especially with a kid who loves to dive face-first into the sand the second I apply sunscreen, much easier. It’s awesome. We even have a cabana boy. A CABANA BOY! Like in The Flamingo Kid and 90210, except not really. Not having to deal with lugging chairs and coolers everywhere leaves us plenty of time for our favorite beach activities: sitting, punching waves in the face and saving the jellyfish. LJ will spend HOURS picking up jellyfish, and often jellyfish BITS that have washed ashore, and throwing them back into the ocean. She thinks she’s “saving” them from dying. Even though she only throws them 2 feet away and they wash right back up. That’s my girl!

Summer rules, with or without jellyfish bits.


For this Wordless Wednesday I linked up with the fab mamas at Live and Love… Out LoudProject Alicia, Moms Own Words and Angry Julie Monday.

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This morning LJ and I were driving to the beach when the song “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince came on shuffle. The following conversation took place:

LJ: (smiling) I love this song! Woohoo!

Me: (smiling back at her in the rearview mirror) Me, too! Woohoo!



LJ: No, I said, “Woohoo!”!

Me: I said, “Woohoo!”, too. Woohoo!

LJ: No, stop saying that. I said “Woohoo!”!

Me: Well, so did I. WOOHOO!!


Me: What are you talking about? Woohoo!!!


Me: No, I won’t stop it. I’m allowed to say “Woohoo!” whenever I want thankyouverymuch.


Me: Stop saying what? “Woohoo!”? I don’t want to stop saying that. I can say whatever I want. WOOHOO!!!

LJ: (Bursting into tears) NOOO!!! JUST STOP!! STOP SAYING WORDS!!

Repeat some version of this conversation about 5 times a day. Yay for 3 year-olds and equally as stubborn mothers!

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Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. -Anatole France

I had to say goodbye to my 15-year-old cat, Tia, last night. Rest in peace my beautiful little softball head.

For as long as I’ve been alive I have never NOT had a pet, so it comforts me to know that Tia had a lot of furry friends waiting to snuggle with her (or chase her) last night. Dogs that stood by my side through the terrible two’s, tween awkwardness, bad hair and teenage angst: they all touched my soul and will always hold a place in my heart.

Love you Diamond, Onyx, Anabel, Yani and TiTi!

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss

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