My son slumped over in his chair at the dinner table. “Is he okay? Is he okay?” my husband asked, alarmed.
“He’s just looking around,” I said. He was. Like a turtle, pivoting on his neck, with a sleepy look on his face.
“He’s choking!” my husband said, and sprang into action. He thumped my son’s back. So did I, and my son’s head slumped. I stuck my finger into his mouth and felt teeth.
“OPEN YOUR MOUTH! OPEN YOUR MOUTH!” I said.. Oh my God, this could be it. We could lose him right now! I always thought if someone was choking, their mouth would automatically open but his didn’t. Thankfully, he did open his mouth when I said so and, as I worried my nail was too long and would scratch him, my finger reached for the back of his throat. I swept it, got some small pieces of sausage, and my son began to perk up and breathe. Breathe. It was the most beautiful breath I’d ever seen him take. read more
“Evan French kissed me,” said my five-year-old daughter. We were sitting in the living room after dinner. She was just about to play cards with Daddy.
“What?” we both said.
“What’s a ‘French kiss?’” I asked her.
She stuck her tongue out and rotated it. “He put his tongue in my mouth.”
“Where did this happen?”
“At Kids Club,” she said — her after school program. “I tried to tell someone there, but they were too busy. He did it to my friend, too.”
My poor little girl. “I’m gonna call your school, Sweetie. When did it happen?” read more
Sometimes, in a marriage, everything you do as a couple clicks. Sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t know what the hell’s going on with my husband these days. He’s usually an attentive, compassionate guy and when I have a goal for the family, he supports me, but not lately.
He was out of town for three days this week, and usually I miss him, but this time I was glad he was going. He’s been working on de-cluttering the house for more than a month now – we’re drowning in toys and kids’ old clothes, yet every single weekend, he asks me what, exactly, he should get rid of. I told him what to trash at the beginning. I was specific. And the next week when he asked, I told him again. And the next week, again. And I’ve been as clear as I possibly can, but every weekend, the question comes up again. And every weekend I say the same thing. And, adding to the strife, the project keeps us physically apart, because, as any parent knows, it’s impossible to throw stuff away with kids around. We could be trashing concrete blocks and the kids would say, “Noo, I want to play with those!” So I take the kids out of the house and he stays at home and works on the project. read more
What happened to Halloween? It used to be my favorite holiday. I loved to dress up. As long as I can remember, I’d choose my costume on November 1st of the previous year. All year long I’d plan it, anticipate it. When I was young, I’d ask my mom to make it and she’d plan it along with me. As I got older and lost my mom’s services, I’d have to figure out how to make my costume – no small feat since I don’t sew. And my costumes were good. They were fun. And every year I’d have a great Halloween.
When I was young, there was, of course, trick-or-treating. In junior high and high school, there was egg-and-shaving-cream-sponsored vandalism. During college and beyond, there were parties. Sophomore year of college, my mom made me an “Addams Family” Cousin It costume and once I was on my own, I made an Oompa Loompa costume. In my 30s, the annual Parrot Head convention in Key West would coincide with Halloween. I went as the “Conjunction Junction” guy and Princess Leia in the gold bikini and had a blast, every year. read more
What a difference two weeks can make! Until about two weeks ago, my almost-six-year-old daughter was having frequent, epic – and I mean epic — meltdowns. She wouldn’t just cry and scream and hit, she’d try to hurt herself to get attention. She’d punch herself, try to make herself vomit by choking herself and once she tried to climb off the second-story deck. But now the meltdowns have pretty much stopped.
That’s right, stopped. After reading “Dog-tirade,” a close friend commented about what she thought was going on. She said that my daughter’s tantrum sounded a lot like her daughter’s behavior before she stopped consuming artificial colors. I never thought we’d be a family that had dietary restrictions. It’s not that I don’t believe in them, it’s that we weren’t allergic to anything. Even my friend said “I felt like a crazy hippie at first, then I said to myself, what are artificial colors? Chemical dyes. Red is made out of coal. Yellow is made out of petroleum. If I gave my daughter, say, a small amount of methamphetamine and she had a reaction, no one would be surprised. So…my daughter reacts to the chemicals in artificial colors the way a tweeker reacts to meth.” Because I haven’t watched “Breaking Bad” yet, I’d never heard the term “tweeker,” but I took her word for it. read more