Category Archives: kids

“This is only a drill.”

Last year, I was helping out in my youngest daughter’s classroom. We had a surprise lockdown drill.
I.LOST.MY.SHIT.
First, this is embarrassing, but…yeah, I’ll share.  Because I know that I’m not the only one who has felt like this and it needs to be talked about because it’s actually ok for us to say out loud, “this is scary.”  I am scared for my children, for my friends’ children, for my teacher friends.  I’m scared for everyone.  Even everyone I don’t know.  The whole package.  And also, I wish I was braver and not so scared. 

Let’s all agree that if you know me well, I’m a little…let’s say…hyper-empathic, to a fault….badly coupled with an overactive imagination that is way too big for it’s britches.  
But here I am….excited to help out in class…the last year that I can before my youngest moves to middle school. Cry! Weep! Take a selfie with her…post! I adore the teacher and the kids and we are doing cool things with planets and rockets and cereal boxes and cotton and….

Surprise lockdown drill? 

That…was not on my volunteer agenda. But here I am.  I’ve got this.

The alarm goes off and the teacher locks the door, turns off the lights and starts to huddle the kids under the desks. I look at her quizzically and she smiles and tells everyone it’s a drill. Or did they announce it?? I don’t recall.  I do remember feeling my blood boiling and my face getting hot and I put my hands on my cheeks and my stomach starts to hurt.  I follow her lead and pretend like I’m even an 1/8 of the superhuman she; as all teachers are in situations like this.  I am trying to calm the kids, who’s levels of fright are somewhere probably ranging anywhere from a 1-3 out of ten….I was lingering at somewhere around 149 out of five. While I’m smiling, winking and making funny cool-mom faces, inside I’m dying. Kind of literally.  All replayed out in different scenarios in my over-active absurd mind. I’m legitimately scared and there is no valid reason for it.  It’s a practice drill.  But I’m not 100% sure.  They don’t tell you that before it starts because….it’s a DRILL

Some of my thoughts…that I can vividly remember…that were pounding in my head, flying and whipping around like lights at a Floyd laser show:

(1)WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER. She’s literally right next to you.  Where are my other kids? Safe at school.  Safe?  Safe. These kids are safe.  I’m mom to all of them right now.   Count the kids. one, two, three…I don’t even know how many kids there are but still count..four, five, six….smile.

(2) What is that look in the teacher’s face? She looks scared.  This isn’t real.  Could this be real?  This isn’t real.  I’m listening so hard with my ears for every.little.thing.

(3) Can the kids see me crying a little bit?  Stop.  Stop.  Breathe. Smile.  

(4) Wall of windows.  How do those windows open? How fast can I get there and open one to get the kids out before something happens and I can’t make it? Omg STOP.

(5) Can the kids even fit out the window? How far do they open? Stop.  

(6) Where is my cellphone?  Where is my purse? It’s across the room.  I don’t need it.  Why the FUCK is my cell phone not in my pocket?  Smile.

(7) Re-lax. This is a drill.

(8) Almost done.

(9) Is the teacher scared? Wait? Is that a scared look? No, she’s fine. No wait, she’s acting like she’s fine, but she’s losing her shit.  No, she’s annoyed that her parent helper keeps staring at her and is losing her shit.  I’m so sorry.
(10) This could NOT be a drill.

(11) Keep smiling.  Keep making silly faces.  Keep winking.  Hide fright.  

(12) Why doesn’t Mike ever volunteer?

(13) I want Mike.

(Smile at Lulu, wink, squeeze her hand…make funny face)

(Turn away so she doesn’t see me crying again)

I hear footsteps.  Then the door jiggles. They are checking the locked doors. The principal and the police officers.  I know this.

It’s just a cop.

It’s just a cop.

It’s just a cop.

Omg. Is this real? Staring at windows. Starting at teacher. Staring at windows.

The next 5 minutes felt like 5 hours.

*Announcement: Drill over.

As I non-challantly blow a kiss to my daughter, make a lackadaisical eye-roll laugh and wave at the teacher, after I sign out at the front desk, tossing out some witty repartee about how “I always pick the best days to volunteer” and as I saunter out of the building… I am choking…CHOKING back the tears and the sobs that I finally let out all the way home.  I should have just taken her home with me.  I want to take the entire school home with me.

There wasn’t enough bottles of Chardonnay for me when I got home that day.  Why yes, I did day drink that day.  Sue me.

That experience wasn’t the real thing.  The vile thing.  Nothing I felt or thought that day could ever even TOUCH what all these children and teachers have had to experience and are continuing to experience.  The HORROR.  The REALITY.  

NO ONE. No child, no teacher, no parent, no law enforcement, no rescue teams should EVER have to go through any of it. Those children were helpless in a war they didn’t ask to fight in, in an unmarked war zone they called school and without any way to defend themselves. This is the worst kind of war ever.

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And in the End…Home Trumped Ovaries.

I’m sitting here reflecting on how, right at this very moment, I would be coming out of major surgery to remove my lady bits.  But instead, I am home and able to celebrate the 16th birthday of my daughter.

About three weeks ago, dear husband and I decided that there was no way we could financially survive me not singing or teaching for two whole months.  I thought long and hard about it all…weighed the pros and cons…finally deciding that in order for us to be able to eat and have a roof over our heads for the next year, I had to take one for the team. That makes it sound like I am the bread-winner; I most certainly am not.  I’m more like the crumb-loser.  But it occurred to me that it’s time that we needed to get real about what is really happening to us financially.

Federal Debt

We are in big trouble.  There.  I just said it out loud.  Most people don’t want to hear that.  Many are in trouble too and don’t want to share that.  Some simply just don’t want to know the real story.  “GAH AHHHH!!!!DON”T TELL MEEEEEEE!”

My dear husband has been gently encouraging me to watch motivational videos by different financial analysts, ranging from get-rich gurus to more emotionally connected professionals like Suze Orman.

A really strange think happened to me when I started to watch them:  I would choke up and bawl.  I felt some strange emotions and I did’t understand why i was getting so upset. It was blocking me from really listening to what some of these people are trying to help me understand.  Suze Orman really got me.  She’s good.  She basically pointed out that we are are a bunch of people walking around, not being real and not talking about our debt.  And that’s why we all have it.

We are not a family that has ever had money.  Never since we have been married….we have struggled to stay afloat for 18 years.  EIGHTEEN YEARS. Yikes. We are people that barely meet the needs of our children, much less anyone’s wants.  But they do get to do their sports and play their instruments and we struggle because we try to make that happen.  We get ourselves into trouble “trying to make it work.” We don’t spend money to impress. We don’t care what our neighbors are doing or the other kids at school or even our friends.  But wait.  That’s a lie.  We are trying to impress someone.  Our children.  We want to give them what they need and want to show them how much we love them and it’s killing us.

What is my greatest financial fear?

I have a couple: Losing our house.  It’s very real right now.  Therefore, not being able to provide a roof over our children’s heads.  Another one?  Feeding them.  Getting number three her braces.  Keeping number 2 in therapy.  Making sure they can all go to college.

So, we set our goals.  My first goal is to try to prevent all the scary things I just listed from happening.  Have money on hand for emergencies.  Start saving for things that we need to improve our house like floors and paint.  Build a back paver.  Remodel a bathroom.

Big goals?  Vacation.  We have never brought the kids on a vacation.  No Disney, No Cabo, no skiing.  Any trip we have taken, it’s been to Florida and it was gifted for holidays and birthdays by my parents.  How grateful we are and how embarrassed we are.  That’s honesty for you.

The saddest thing is we work hard.  Dear husband has a great job.  I teach around 25 lessons a week in three evenings and sing at night 2-4 nights of the rest of the week.  I also have a part time day job at a friend’s store.  Darling husband comes home from a long day and he feeds and takes care of our three kids while I work.

And it’s still not enough.

We don’t “go shopping” or “go out on dates”.  We don’t have “credit cards”. We don’t have “cable” or “go do family outings”. Most of our money is spent on our mortgage, bills, food, school and paying the high interest on the loans we need to take out to make it another month.  We are in a huge hole and we will not be OK until we can crawl out.

How are we fixing it?  By being honest.  Here it is.  We are so broke, that I can’t get the operation I need.  But, when one door closes, another one opens.  Or in this case, when one ovary is not removed, we can make a mortgage payment.

We are working with a great budget program and have been analyzing our spending for the last three months.  We are figuring out where we can save and make cuts.  We are setting goals and will try to turn around the way we look at our money.  The little we have.  And we try like hell to make it grow.

As far as my Fallopian Tubes…oh well, stay comfy in there, you goofballs; we get to keep partying together until next January.  Let’s make 2018 the best year ever.  Midol, anyone?

 

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The Moran Elf Project 2012: Watch it, Bucko.

 The little rat bastard is BACK.  Billy Bob Joe…Merry Christmas; come trash my house.

Let’s face it.  He is creepy, snarky and get’s into all my shit.  But he is very loved, intensely anticipated and he is filled with the stuff that makes Moran little-people-memories. So let’s see what the little North pole Juvie has in store for my clan.  Bring it, Elf!

Welcome, Trouble.

Dec 1: Welcome, Trouble.

Those pretzels were for lunches.  Not a good start.  I may send him out to the Jewel to get new snacks ’cause we are not made of money around here, Elf.  Wasteful troll.

Dec 2: State is not for Suckers.  Go Lulu.

Dec 2: State is not for Suckers. Go Lulu.

I was SO pissed off he punched holes in the Cuties with little toothpicks.  Those things are pricey.  I may juice HIM.

Thanks, Billy Bob Joe, for the Mammories.

Thanks, Billy Bob Joe, for the Mammories.

I will make him finish that whole glass.  And if he comes back from his little “check-in visit” from the North Pole tonight and that Oberweiss is not fully consumed, then it will still be waiting for him to finish in the morning.  And the day after that.  And the day after THAT.

Cause Mommy Dearest doesn’t screw around.

pirate1 pirate2 pirate3

Bitch Pirate Barbie strikes again.

apples1I think someone is officially DTF.

fishies

Here fishy, fishy, fishy…..

copy

elfbutt

Too much egg nog at the office party, ya little brat?

jar

Jar-head, busted.

repel 3 repel1 repel2

“Creepy Elf boyfriend, I am falling and I can’t get up!”

“I’LL SAVE YOU!”

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I have misplaced my ability to read…

…it must be around somewhere….I used to be able to read all the time…let’s see….let me get my glasses…oops, don’t know where they are either…probably on my head….nope…darn it all to heck…that’s really a shame because I FINALLY got a copy of the middlemarch book , but upon opening it, I realize it’s typeset is sized for readers the size of…

THUMBELINA

The cover is super pretty, ya’ll….looky….

I finally grabbed a spot on the couch…it was really quiet a beautiful breeze blowing in..kid were upstairs and I had about 20 minutes to spare before getting ready for a fun Friday night out…and I stared at the cover for about 5 minutes.  I kind of got lost in it, really.   I ceremoniously adjusted my head on the couch pillow and started to read the first page.

Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.”   Kick-ass first line.  This is going to be good.

Then a wet naked Barbie flew over me on the couch.  Oral bomb noises quickly followed,  and ended with a biff-to-the-forehead noise and an “OUCH-UH!!!”  (That’s a new thing that the girls are doing…adding “uh” to the ends of words.  That’s DUMB-UH, WHAT-UH,  COME ON-UH.   WTF is that?  Look, there is even a FB page for it HERE)

 Then Bambi yelled at Cracker for whipping it at her and they had an apology fight.  “You apologize, no YOU apologize.” Someone please fucking apologize because I have read the first line 5 times.  Then the phone rang.  Then I really tried hard to concentrate and while I was reading the first paragraph, I tried really, super hard to concentrate but then I thought about if I have time to take a shower before we go over to a friends and did Cracker leave her Sonic shake in the car because I will forget about it for a couple of days until it smells and OW!!! I  suddenly got one of those shooting boob pains, what the hell IS that when that happens cause I don’t die from it when it happens but it’s in my boob and I think I need to Google that…READ READ READ, concentrate….I came across words like “frippery” and I really wish I could be reading this on my Kindle so I could hit the word and the definition pops up.  I suddenly realized I am going to need a pocket dictionary.  Hey, look.  I am no chump.  I am no idiot.  I was an English Lit. minor in one of my many colleges I attended.  I done read good.   But it’s been awhile and I have spent the last 12 years reading Highlights Magazines, Mattel Toy Assembly instructions and “Everybody Poops”.  (Great read BTW, highly recommend.)

I got down to about a third of the page and I started to schvitz a little bit.  I flipped back to the end of the book .  746 pages.  That’s a lot less than Volly, my reading project partner.  That’s maybe because my font size is -1pt.  

“The pride of being ladies has something to do with it…”  What is that smell?  What IS that?  Is that a rotten orange?  Shit, I forgot to drop off dress at the dry cleaner and I can do it tomorrow….no I can’t do it tomorrow, what is tomorrow, what do I have tomorrow, OMG why can’t I remember what tomorrow i-FOOTBALL scrimmage, right, then drive Papa and Nana to airport and

Shit…ok….“The pride of being ladies has something to do with it…The Brooke connections, although not slightl-“

I was staring at the words.  I was starting at each individual word, trying to process it.  It actually made me feel like I was going a little bit insane.    I heard a fly and thought of the bad meal we had a a local place this weekend because we ate outside and there were flies everyone and I thought about how they poop on everything and how everyone always freaks out and really, how bad could fly poop be, I mean it’s so small that it’s almost as small as the font size in my book.

Then I really start to ride the procrastination train and I start reading the quotes on the back.  Who does that but people who are procrastinating?  Or bored people pooping on the potty?  Then I read the biggest quote on the back.  I quite literally made me jump up, shove a Bath and Body Works 20% coupon in the book as a marker and run into the office to quit reading forever.

“One of the few English books for grown-ups.”  – Virginia Wolff

I am too busy to read now.  I have to go get that shake out of the car, find the source of the kitchen smell and starting drinking heavily.  Then, when I stumble wasted into bed later tonight and read the first page of my book 12 times, I will at least have a very good excuse.

(I have NEVER even blogged the word “poop” before and I think I used it today about 10 times.  See what a bad influence reading can be to a person?)

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One-Armed Wrapping Doesn’t Have To Be Lonely…

I apologize the for low quality of this photo. Perhaps you will forgive me, since I only have ONE WORKING ARM.

I blame Love’s frozen yogurt.  You chilly,swirly bastard.

I was with Cracker yesterday, just leaving an appointment and I saw a sign that had this retro international symbol of awesomeness…

"Open to the public!"

I totally slammed on the breaks and did a U-ey…man, I used to love that stuff!  Where has it been??? The whole Frozen Yogurt Movement!!  It used to be all over the place…wasn’t it?  Am I crazy?  I mean, I think the last time I had one, I was wearing a Bosom Buddies t-shirt.  I kept on telling Cracker it was ice cream, hoping that it wasn’t going to taste like crap.

It was inside of a workout facility for seniors and they were trying to promote the “healthy” vibe in there.   When we walked out, some old lady actually asked Cracker if she just finished working out.  Cracker giggled adorably and said “no”.  And the lady said, in all seriousness, “then you don’t deserve to have that”.  I seriously, seriously almost bitch-slapped her.  Seriously.

So, you remember, you can twist that all up together…two flavors…remember that????  So I got a french vanilla, just for nostalgia-sake, and some sugar free/fat free pepermint.  Holiday party in.my.tummy, ya’ll!

HELLO, SELF, you idiot.  I am allergic to anything NOT PURE.  There is nothing that is pure in a sugar free/fat free yogurt.  Like, what IS IT?  And it kinda tasted like peppermint baby vomit.  But I ate it in defiance.  The whole freaking thing.  I could hear Cracker in the back seat, going “ew” a couple of times, but I think she ate it in defiance, too.  In defiance of what, I am not certain, but has a tenancy to run a little surly.

It took about 30 minutes before I started to feel “THE TWINGE” in my left shoulder.  It can be any joint.  My immune system likes to change it up and leave me guessing.  “THE TWINGE” is quickly followed by the voice in my head saying “Uh oh.  ‘THE TWINGE.’  I will be virtually lame within an hour.”  By the time we finished errands and I am rushing home to teach a lesson, I could barely steer.  On goes the sling.  I really need to bling that thing up.

After dinner, I realize that I have to get my nieces’ gifts in the mail, wrapped, so they can be delivered in time for Christmas.  I annually SUCK at all things having anything to do with Christmas deadlines, but  “As God is my witness…not this year!” she says, holding up a radish to the skies…

Look, she only has one arm, too.

Now, I had my arm in a sling, not because it’s frozen, but because if I move it a cillimeter of a millimeter of an eigth of an inch, shooting daggers of pain whip up my arm, through my shoulder and stab my brain.  So, I just try not to move it.

Thor sweetly offered to help, but he was busy helping Alpha finish the project at the last minute that he had TWO WEEKS TO DO BUT DON’T GET ME STARTED.  Cracker was off somewhere having her Barbie’s kiss and hug ’cause that’s her newest thing and Bambi is running around the house like the quadruped Turkish tribe who walks on all fours.  We are strange, yo.

So I had to wrap all these presents.   Bambi eventually returned to Bipedalism and offered to help.  She actually got really excited and put on Christmas music.  She said, with kind of a maniacal and over-caffeinated look in her eyes, “This is great, you guys, I feel like an only child!!!”  *Sigh*  I love her.

And I was thinking while we were doing it, every crease, every fold, every piece of tape thrown on there and the bow, Lord of the RINGS, the bow…all of it was literally made very slowly, painfully and with a helluva lot of love.  And in the end, with all three of us together, Thor and I agreed on one thing:  a nice wrapping job, done well and with care, is definitely part of the present 😉

And I will NOT be accepting Love’s frozen yogurt gift certs this year, thankyouverymuch.

(And you can only imagine how long it took me to type up this post with only 4 fingers from my right hand.  Love, people; that’s love.)

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Because Everyone Else’s Elf Jumped Off the Shelf…

Meet Billy Bob Joe, the Moran Elf.

Rambunctious, sassy, creative, good in the kitchen, at times aloof and always the first to draw out a giggle, Billy Bob Joe delights our family every morning with another witty hiding place.  Here are some highlights so far in the Moran 2011 Christmas holiday season….

Hurry! Time for WGN Morning News!

Elf jazz. Dig it.

Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?

Elves get THIRSTY.

Elfmlette Anyone?

MadElfLibs

Prince Ken's Utter Devastation...

Come ON dude, what a mess!

Oh, Billy Bob Joe, key parties are soooo 1973.

Movie Night!

Baby, It's cold Inside the fridge, ya freak.

The Games Elves and Barbies Play When The Cat's Away...

Unfortunately, you can't see that Prince Ken has safari hot shorts halfway up his thighs.

Is it WRONG?

The Elf Jar: Dude, that's gotta hurt.

Thank You Billy Bob Joe for all the daily giggles and excitement…

More Elf mischief coming soon…Happy Holidays….

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Falsies at a Children’s Dance Rehearsal…

Mine were not this long.

…don’t really work.

At least that is what I was thinking when all the other moms were talking to me this morning at the tech rehearsal for Cracker’s holiday dance show tonight.  They pretended not to notice that I looked like a washed-out 60 year old hooker on a 4 day bender.  I found that rather gallant of them.  Especially because I think the falsies were a little crooked.  I still had some of my makeup on from last night.  I am just glad they actually stayed on my eyes.  Once, I woke up with one of them stuck to my cheek.  At first I thought it was my old cat Emma licking me on the face, but then I realized I didn’t have a cat anymore.   *Blink*Blink*

I had a TON of makeup on last night for my show. We ended up staying at my moms after a last minute detour on the way home from Cabaret Club to the Redhead Piano bar.  That place is aces.  So it was a late, late night, I mean morning.  We just crashed when we got home, knowing we would have to wake up in 4 hours to head back home for the rehearsal. I usually take everything off and wash my face, etc, but sometimes, I am just too drunk.  There, I said it.  Just kidding, sometimes I’m too tired. Sometimes, I just don’t care.  Sometimes, I rip those falsies off after a gig and leave them on the kitchen counter.  I disgust even myself.

But let me ask you, where does the makeup GO?  I think I heard that it gets absorbed in the skin.  Ew!  Is that true?  I mean, if that’s true, don’t you think we have to be more careful about what it’s made of and what we are actualy putting in our bodies? (This, coming from the woman who just put an Egg McMuffin, of which she is allergic to, in her body.  Have you SEEN the FB viral McDonald’s chicken video?   I shutter.)  I am thinking that if you are going to be putting makeup on your face that is going to eventually oooozzzeee into your pores, you might at well make it fun.  Aha!  Let’s start a new makeup line!  Like pomegranate-infused vodka foundation or Skinny Girl Cosmo eyeshadow.

I love this stuff. Let's make an eyeliner out of it.

I think I have also heard somewhere that some crazy party renegades actually put vodka in their eyes to get a buzz.  Whoa, dude. That’s extreme.  I like my cocktail on the rocks with a swizzle stick and not mixed with my falsies and a touch of  mascara.

Hey, it just occurred to me. You do know that when I say falsies, I mean fake eyelashes and not boobs, right?  I did not go to Crackers dance rehearsal this morning with fake boobies on my eyes.  Just wanted to make sure you got that.

So, I was saying that I had all this makeup on for my show that I did last night.  The show that we did for my husband.  And 4 family members.  And one guy who looked at his watch and mumbled every 16 seconds.  Did I mention this?  Oh, you guys, this weekend at the Cabaret Club.  Rock bottom, ya’ll.  Really strange.  Really surreal.  Really humbling, annoying and eye-opening.  Did I mention expensive?  I think the cherry on top was having to pay $750 out of my own pocket to cancel one night and do the show for my mom the next night.  That’s ok.  It was just the entire Santa money for my kids this year.  Hey, maybe Alpha, Bambi and Cracker would be okay to find under the tree Cabaret Club cocktail napkins, a semi-opened mint from the bottom of my purse and olives on a toothpick.  Cause that’s all I got left.  We will figure something out,we always do.  I married my hero and together we will save the day.  Or rob a bank.  Ironically next week I will be doing the same show for hundreds of people who will love the hell out of it.  I don’t know. Life is a total goof job.

Whatever.  You know, I needed this.  It was like a really expensive wake-up call. I really think that I am ready to move on from performing and concentrate more on the things I love…my family, my friends, my home, teaching, cleaning my pantry, not being a cripple…really put focus on the important things in life.  Like the most precious moments:  watching Cracker tonight as she tap, tap, taps like a beautiful dancing happy smiling penguin right into my heart.  That right there, folks, is what it’s all about.

Tap, tap, tap…Tap, tap, tap…Tap, tap, tap…

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BAN THE CLAW

THE CLAW

THE CLAW

Do you see this thing? This evil tool from the game room of the pits of hell?

It’s the claw game.  Most of you have seen one.  It’s the gargantuan crack-like monster lurking in the corner of dusty and dirty game rooms in mid-rate family restaurants across the land.

And Bambi is addicted.

I mean it, I am not sugar-coating it.  Where did I go wrong?  Why can’t she be drawn to the mint bowl like Alpha or the lollypop stash like Cracker?  But Bambi aims higher.  Oh, and let me say also that Bambi is a doll.  A gorgeous, sweet, funny, lovable sweetheart and I love her more than anything.  But she turns…Every time we encounter the crappy animal stuffed beast, she spots  it, right at the moment when we walk in.  If she doesn’t find one right away, her eyes bulge with her mission, eyeballs ever searching, jutting, tearing apart the layout with tiger-like prowess.  She makes her mark and she starts to jiggle, jostle around and sweat.  And she spots her Shangri-La.  She is instantly transformed, she is Gollum.  THE CLAW THE CLAW, THE MIGHTY CLAW.  From the second we sit down, she starts the “claw whine” and I know how badly it will end.  It will end with her crying all the way home.  But let me fill in the middle.

She starting the please game.  “PPLLLEEEASSSEEEEEEEE. “

“Honey, you can’t play that game, we go through this every time.”

“But Mommy, just ONE TIME.”

“No, sweetie, no one ever wins.”

(This is when, conveniently, the little brat from the next door table returned with her gloating father, carrying a cheap ass, Korean-stuffed, lower-quality-than-carnival-crap teddy bear.)

DAYUM

“MOMMMMMMMMM-“

“Just- Honey, can we order first?”

Movie in my head:  I walk over the table, grab the satanic prize  from the little brat and then I smack the dad in the face repeatedly while yelling at him for not being a team player.

If parents across the world would just say NO, then the owners of these establishments would remove them for non-use.  But we get suckered in.  Because we are hungry and we want the cheeseburger and draft beer and we can’t have them until they stop begging and we give them a fucking quarter.

We try to avoid this.  Mike and I do a “claw check”  when looking for a place to eat, much like the old “kid friendly-non smoking” peek in from days of yore.  He double parks and I run in.  If there is a claw, we move onto the next Applebees-barnabys-Hackneys-TGIF’s-crap place that we are looking to dine at…

Santa even had the elves construct a real claw game for HOME.  She plays with it non-stop, while I crouch in the corner and whack my head repeatedly with a wooden spoon to the beat of the circus song that plays over and over and over and over and over an

This should sate her, we gave her the crack pipe.  We let her use it in the comfort of our home.  Surely, she need not go out to get a buzz.  But crack kills, kids, crack kills.

We had an incident the day after Christmas.  Damn, I let my guard down ONE MINUTE.  We were heading to meet family at Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was my cousin Coconut’s birthday and we were all coming together to celebrate.

THERE WAS THE CLAW.  Stop staring at me, you big red greedy whore. You thief, you stealer of little tykes’ hopes and dreams.  Starter of addictive personalities.  DON’T EVEN LOOK AT IT.

What could we do?  We couldn’t leave, this was not our gig.  I could have said, “a table please, very far away from the claw”,  and an older motherly hostess would, with a twinkle in her eye, lightly chuckle while winking and lean in to whisper, “I completely understand, let’s see what we can do”.  And she would put us in the farthest corner from the devil box.  Alas, we didn’t have Aunt Bea, but this young waitress at the prime of her life with her tight sports jersey and her perky, non-breastfed boobs and she would not get it.  She will know soon enough when she starts to breed, but this time,  the slutbag she seats us right smack dab in front of it.  Not directly near it, but riiiiggghhhttt where Bambi can stare at it.

Who am I kidding?  She would have found it.  All the kids were walking around, scoping out the video situation.  Planning and strategically toying with our money in their quick little minds.

I was at the women’s table with the mommies and the offspring.  “A round of chicken tenders, chocolate milk back, for everyone!  And three beers for us, please.”  Cracker was getting a cold and was not recovered from her 5 minute nap in the car.  She whipped off her shoes and hunkered down into doublefisting both her and Bambi’s chocolate milk.  Seven minutes after that, the caffeine kicked in, her legs started to pump and spin like the Road runner, and for the next hour, I chased her while she did laps and half tripped every nubile, perky breasted waitress in the joint.  My beer was neglected.  I needed one of those hats with the beer holders and the straws – Spongebob recently owned one of those.  So J.

And everytime she came back, she went to me first.  Ol Battleaxe Betty who tells it like it is.  “No one ever wins, sweetie.  They make them that way.  Yo-”  (And piping in from the party of 8 in the corner) “I got one Daddy!  I got one!”

Bambi claws at me, “SHHHEEEE GOOOOTTTT ONNNNEEEEEE, MOMMMMYYY PLLEEASSEEEEEE”

“Go talk to your father.”

And Mike who is sitting at the guy table, shoving habanera teriaki wings in his mouth with one hand, and alternating drinking his beer and playing computer poker with the other.  He licks his fingers clean and gives her money.  And the  nightmare continues.

Mike gave the lil nugget almost THIRTY dollars in the span of an hour and half.  Are you fucking kidding me?  AND, it was in 4 quarter increments.  Do you know how many times that means she went back to him to ask for more?  And he gave them to her?

Oh, but by no means was she alone in all this.  She had a partner in crime.  My cousin, Felt and his wife, Teeth, have two adorable little boys, Heisman and Wrestler Fan.  Heisman and my very sweet Alpha were happily content at the end of the table, wolfing down smily face fries and taking turns with the Nintendo DS.  Apricot’s little guy, Star Wars kid, who is like a 4th child to me, brought a little buddy along with him so all the boys were content in their mini-man-dom.  Cracker continued to run laps while gnawing on a chicken tender, which leaves us with the dynamic duo, Bambi and Wrestler Fan.

Those kids were nothing, if not diligent.  At one point, Wrestler Fan, I think was amazed at her determination and put all his efforts into grabbing one for Bambi.  And we all rejoiced!  Our champion!  Our knight!  Victorious!  Slaying the dragon and bringing Guenevere the riches of the world!  Now she can shut it, sit down and eat her mac and cheese.  But it wasn’t the one she wanted.  She wanted the MONKEY. And there were tears.  She flung the unwanted stuffed alligator at Cracker, who screeched with glee and whipped it at the couple behind us.  Bambi was finally cut off.  “You are CUT OFF.”  She remained pouting at her seat, in claw rehab.  There she moped, moaned, keened and wailed until I finally chugged my Blue Moon and declared to Mike, “Wipe your wing-stained mouth, help me grab Cracker and let’s hit it.  I can’t stand it anymore.”  And we dragged Bambi to the car, and she cried the whole way home.

The next morning, my cousin and Coconut’s wife Apricot called me, trying to entice me with bloody mary’s and HBO mockumentary marathons.  As tempting as it was, I was in my own different little rehab, so I had to decline.  But before we ended our chat, she added, “So, wow, Bambi really is addicted to the Claw.  You weren’t kidding.”

Thus,we move on..we start anew, we remain vigilant in our quest for non-claw dining and we strive to encourage home use.

And the bright side is that, although she is tiny enough to do it, she has not been one of the Chuck E Cheese idiots that have tried to climb inside.  Dumb, Bambi ain’t.  😉

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Swiper NOOOOOOO Swiping! (If you are going to take something, go swipe me a glass of wine.)

I am declaring this as an official statement.

Here Ye, Here Ye, pilgrims of Motherhood! I am officially sick as hell of children’s television.

Even as a college student, I had dreams of being a mom. As I lied in the arms of my college bofriend, I planned out what it would be like. No TV allowed, just blocks of clay in the corners of rooms and paint in buckets so they could paint the walls. I would make all my own organic foods picked out of our garden. I would hand stitch all of their clothing with hemp and frolic in wild open fields with my babies, wearing weaved daisy crowns on our heads and some shit like that. What an asshat.

Then I had Alpha. Oh, I was a proud first mother with all the best intentions. I would not even DARE to let him watch anything when he was a baby. I logged his bowel movements in an excel spreadsheet. With multiple tabs. I made homemade apple sauce, peas and he only drank soymilk. When Bambi came along at a whopping two pounds, we were freaked out for a year so: TV became a little more familiar. Thomas the train and Bob the Builder became familiar friends. By the time Cracker came around, it was hot dogs, pudding, goldfish and after-dinner drinks for Mommy and Daddy. I started to get an itchy rash when hearing Elmo’s voice and my butt would clench listening to the teletubbies theme. But believe you me, bucko, that shit was ON.

Cracker recently became completely obsessed with Dora the Explorer. Ahhh Dora, our little bowl-cut bilingual friend. I love her and I love that she teaches my children to say “por favor” instead of the ol’ stanby “please”. Cracker was previously addicted to Dora’s madcap animal rescuer cousin, Diego, but she has since moved on…

I have taped every episode on our DVR and she would scream “Dddoooorrraaahhh!” at the top of her voice. It’s on quite a bit. There are, of course, regulated breaks. We go out side, we play, we eat, we do puzzles, we read, we play with all of her Dora and Diego toys, but somehow it slowly creeps back on…

I find myself cleaning one room and as I am doing that, the kids are utterly destroying the family room that they are in. When I return to the room*, it’s feckin TRASHED

(*This is not my home, merely a prototype. You get the idea and most probably relate.)

I moan and I cry a little bit and I send them to their rooms. (“DON’T MESS ANYTHING UP! I JUST CLEANED IN THERE!”) I cry because I KNOW that they are trashing the rooms that I just cleaned. I pick up the shit that I have tried to throw away numerous times and has been stealthy picked out of the garbage can by little hands. I find an eleven month old banana stuck in the bottom of the Lincoln log holder and I think I crawl over a little urine on the rug and my blood pressure rises with every bend of the waist and Dora is turned up to volume eleven and our little Amiga is bitching and moaning about Swiper stealing something, (Diego’s Bobo’s are not much better) and I have to yell,

SWIPER, YOU LITTLE FUCKIN’ DELINQUENT, STOP TOUCHING HER DAYUM SHIT AND PISS OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then I cry because I have cramps and look at the clock and see how many hours it is going to be until I can have a glass of wine. Usually it is around 9:30am and that is always a very unfortunate thing.

Next fantasy…no more TV.

Where’s my glass?

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