A Bedtime Story

 

BedOnce upon a time, I thought I knew what I wanted. I wanted to put my kids to bed, tuck them in and go to sleep, serene and satisfied because my little darlings would fall asleep on their own. I wanted it but what I have is nowhere close to it.

For almost a year, we’ve been coddling the kids to sleep. It all started when we moved cross-country and the kids said they were scared at night in their new rooms. Okay, that made sense, so we stayed with them until they fell asleep. Temporarily, we told ourselves. Temporarily my ass. read more

A Halloween Homecoming

jack o lanternHalloween’s always been my favorite holiday. I love the costumes, the candy and the camaraderie. Halloween memories burn bright in my mind.

I grew up in a New York City suburb – exurb at the time – where Halloween went something like this: From toddlerhood to the time I got too cool for it, I’d go to school in costume, come home and head out to the neighborhood parade and costume contest. I’d parade around for the contest and whenever I had a homemade costume — my mom was a great seamstress and designer — I’d place. I never won, but the attention, the cider and cookies all combined to produce some serious joy.

The contest took place before trick-or-treating. When we were small children, the adults would rush home from the costume contest to man their doors for us. We’d all hit the houses, trick-or-treating on our way home. And it was good. We got lots of candy and we were done by dinner. After dinner we’d help Mom and Dad hand out candy, admiring the big kids’ costumes. read more

Halloween Party: THAT Mom

 

I forgot to take a picture before we ate all the pigs in a blanket.

I forgot to take a picture before we ate all the pigs in a blanket.

Oh my God, I am finally That Mom. You know the one. She’s a Pinterest queen, pinning origami bats and coffee filter spider webs, making masks out of egg cartons. Her kid wears a hand-crocheted full-tailed peacock hat on her head. Not only does she print out family photos, she mounts them in a scrapbook, with colorful adornments enhancing her memories for eternity.

I was never That Mom. I am not the least bit crafty. If my daughter gets me to color with her, we put my picture up on the refrigerator. But after almost seven years as a mom, I’ve found my muse.

This week we had a Halloween party. I love Halloween and I love throwing parties. This was my chance to shine.

Writing is my first love. Cooking is my second. So when it came time to plan the party menu, it was on. I did some brainstorming. I chose the kids’ food out of the Big Four – Chicken nuggets, pizza, hot dogs and mac and cheese. I went with the first three. Then came the hard part: how to make these foods Halloweenie. read more

Date Night

CoupleWe’d planned the date for weeks. Our son’s preschool had a Parents’ Night Out, where the teachers babysit the kids and the parents get a date night. My four-year-old son gets to hang out with his friends, and our six-year-old daughter loves seeing her friends from camp there, watching movies and getting her nails painted. She’s always asking us when the next night will be.

Everyone was excited. My husband and I had reservations  at a favorite restaurant – we hadn’t been there since we’d moved back. It was a Friday and my husband left work early to give us more alone time. I’d gone shopping and had a choice of new outfits to feel pretty and wow my husband.

It was 6:00. My husband was on his way home. We had reservations for 7:45. I went to the bedroom to change. I had these new black-faux-leather-front-pants that I couldn’t pass up because they brought me right back to the 80s. Always interested in Resurrecting the Heavy-Metal Goddess, I chose a new black shirt with tiny silver chains draped across its front. I tried them on, thinking if they looked too midlife-crisis I could always change. Lamenting the fact that Motley Crue was no longer touring, I looked in the mirror. Oh my God, there was no way I was ever taking them off. I was that girl again. Long dark curly hair, looking all tough with the chains on my shirt, leather pants that I was actually pulling off – those were the days. read more

Crazy from the Heat

SunGod was punishing us for taking the kids to a winery. We lost our son for the longest seven minutes of our lives (See “Seven Minutes”); and, as if that wasn’t enough, we narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital.

After a two-hour ride in the minivan, we got to the vineyard’s Key West festival, where we were meeting some friends. The way the festival worked, we were supposed to do a wine tasting and buy a bottle to drink. The kids had been great in the car, but they needed to move around, so I said I’d take them and my husband and our friend Annie went to do a tasting.

I took the kids down to a field by the entrance. Some other kids were playing and I told them to race to the end and back. They ran and my six-year-old daughter easily won, but I was happy that they burned some energy. It was hot that day — but not sweltering — and we sat in the shade for a while. When they got restless, we browsed the vendors. There was a sand art vendor and the kids had fun making a multicolored baseball and a clamshell.  Sand art in hand, we headed back to our spot by the band. My husband had set up the chairs and I got some wine and went to chat a little, but just then my three-year-old son kicked off a hardy cry fest. read more