• BLOG

November 2, 2015

Recap: Dylan's First Halloween

After two years of failed Halloweens, after protesting his costume for weeks, being unable to walk past Halloween decorations without freezing in fear, and then waking up sick on October 30th, we did it. Dylan finally had his very first Halloween experience. YAY! Though it was looking iffy for a while. I mean, how was I supposed to get a screaming, crying child into a costume without having a screaming, crying child? 

But as it turned out, enticing Dylan into wearing his Batman costume was actually pretty easy once I figured out why he chose to dress up as Batman: the kid wanted to fight. “You want to fight me?” I asked, kind of hoping he’d say no. 
“YEAH!” he bolstered without hesitation. 
“Okay but you can only fight me if you’re Batman.” I offered, since I am in no way above bribery.* Voila! Dylan was ready to fight me party. 

Still, there was the whole Halloween décor issue. How would Dylan summon the courage to walk door to door if every passing cobweb petrified him into paralysis? Another easy solution: candy. After Dylan’s first house, he was a trick or treat feign. This Halloween I learned that my son will walk past Satan himself if there’s candy to be had. He nailed the whole script too: knock on the door, say “trick or treat,” and then “thank you!!!” ...Okay, so maybe the whole “thank you” bit wasn’t very consistent. Most of the time he’d turn to my husband and say, “Daddy, I want more.” But please forgive him, he’s merely 2…and in character. Batman is apparently quite the brute. 

Dylan was so proud of himself. He ran through the streets from one house to the next. He could’ve gone all night if we let him but you gotta stop somewhere. I couldn’t figure out the wherewithal of all this extra energy until the following day while collecting on candy tax examining his treats for razor blades, I noticed there were several pieces of candy with bite marks in them. Apparently Dylan ate waxy candy wrappers under the radar without choking or getting sick, atta-boy! He's practically a professional! 

It took two very boring and failed Halloweens to get here, but my little Batman is a Halloween fool. WORTH IT.

The day after, with no intention of sharing

*I’m actually right below it situated alongside of begging.

September 30, 2015

The Opposite of Pregnant Chick Envy

A reoccurring phenomenon takes place with each of my pregnancies: I become possessed. Somehow the positive, happy, relaxed and sharp lady that I normally am is replaced with a wretched woman that lacks patience, focus, energy, and enthusiasm. I’m just not myself. Though I’m trying…I really, truly am…but pregnancy isn’t for me. Sure, I’d like to enjoy these nine months of baby growing and bask in the miracle that is the creation of life; however, I can’t get past the swollen kankles and back pain to even acknowledge a so-called glow. And these ever-growing boobs? No thanks. 

Before I became pregnant with my second child, I suffered from pregnant-chick-envy. I saw the little protruding tummies and longed for a wee wittle baby of my own. My first born was growing up, his baby fat was melting into big-boyhood, and my ovaries yearned for the scent of newborn flesh. What a fool. You see, somehow, in between post-pregnancy with my first and pre-pregnancy with my second, I lost all memory of the shit show that takes place during these nine months. And okay, not all women have such disdain for the days of alcohol free, sushi free, weight gaining, gel-brained living, but I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t even know who I am anymore. It’s like… 

When I drove to a restaurant to pick-up my to-go order that I never placed. No, I swear I ordered it. Look, I’ll check my email for the confirmation that I don’t have. 

Going to Las Vegas (which a pregnant person has no business doing), and buying new shoes every two hours because each pair is SO uncomfortable, only to realize six pairs later that the shoes ain’t the problem- these swollen feet though…*

Cutting out my daily meditations because I can’t focus, sit still, or even stay awake long enough to mediate. Three words: Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Coming home from Hawaii at 1 in the morning to a house with no power because I forgot to pay the electricity bill…probably since I… 

Ignored the mail man’s note on my front door advising me to “COLLECT YOUR MAIL, MAILBOX FULL!!!” because uhm…I just don’t feel like it. How long has it been again? Oops. 

Inadvertently teaching my two year old the term “fucking idiot” because that’s what everyone on the road is now. My patience? Dead.

Passing my iPhone to Dylan so that he can watch 34,000 monster truck YouTube videos while I try to nap. Questionable (and lazy) parenting alert.

Arguing with my doctor about my weight gain and reminding her that I gained 57lbs last time and NO, I still don’t drink soda or juice. 

Looking at my blog and realizing I’ve only posted twice in September and it’s already the 29th. Pathetic. And reading blogs? Sorry Tamara, Echo, Jessica, Jennifer, Tawyna, Liv, Camille, Karen, Danielle, and so many more I can’t think of at the top of my head. I’m hopeless!** LIKE VANESSA!***

So while all the other pregnant women of the world indulge in the wonderment of baby growing, baby glowing, and all things special within these 9 months of expansion, I’ll be counting the days until I can serve an eviction notice upon my unborn child because quite frankly, I miss myself. But hey, at least I'm getting a little baby, right?

With the man that did this to me
*Once the swelling goes down, I'm left with 6 brand new pairs of shoes that are two sizes too big. But of course.
**This makes 3 posts, so I'm celebrating with pie. 
***Couldn't be more embarrassed I forgot Vanessa. Aw fuck.

September 28, 2015

The 30 Day Bright Mind Challenge: Results

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BrightMind #CollectiveBias

As I mentioned in my last post, I turned my old dog into an experiment by switching up her daily diet in hopes of noticing a visible difference in her interest to play in her older age, since she's always been a big time tennis ball chaser and I don't want to see that change. This meant feeding her Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind dog food for thirty-days, which is specifically formulated with botanical oils geared at memory, attention, and trainability promotion for dogs over 7.

It's not easy watching your dog grow older. I forever see her as that puppy that was unexpectedly brought home and bit my nose.

But here is Schatzie after taking the thirty-day bright mind challenge, with no signs of slowing down:

The proof is in the pudding, Schatzie is an old dog performing the same tricks and bringing the same sass she always has into our family. And I'm happy to have Purina's support in keeping her youthful and sharp. 

Now if you Spend $10 on any Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog or Cat Food* at PetSmart between 8/31 and 10/4, you can save $10 on your next Purina Pro Plan Dry Food purchase, 14-lb. or more, on or before 11/1. Subject to availability. Transaction total is after discounts and before taxes.

September 15, 2015

Old Dog...Same Tricks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BrightMind #CollectiveBias

It’s been a year since I lost my 14 year old dog Liebchen and I still miss her every day. It’s not surprising how immersed our pets become in our lives and how important they are as members of our family. The only complaint I have about our pets is that they don’t live long enough. By 7 years old, a dog is already considered a senior. SEVEN! I feel lucky to have had Liebe for seven years beyond that senior point but I still would’ve done anything to extend her health, happiness, and life for as long as I could. 

Schatzie is another dog that has been in the family for the past 10+ years. My husband brought her home one day as a surprise gift (for himself) and she quickly became the sassiest, curious, and most rebellious dog we’ve ever had. The day after bringing her home, I was woken up to her biting my nose. She’s eaten cash from my purse, she’s escaped yards, and she’s led complete strangers back to our house following her adventures. But despite her very colorful personality, there is one skill that stands above the rest: tennis balls. 

Schatzie can’t let a tennis ball fly past her without running for it. She will drop anything and everything to pursue a dang ball. It’s the ultimate way to control her. But I worry that because dogs’ brains begin changing around age 7, with glucose metabolism production impacting their memory, awareness, and decision making, that the day Schatzie slows down will be the beginning of the end for her. So proper nutrition is key here and I’m so happy Purina has come up with a formula of enhanced botanical oils that promote memory, attention, and trainability. Not that Schatzie is trainable….she’s SERIOUSLY a rebel. So I decided to give the senior formula that is Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind a shot. Thirty-days to see results, they said. 

So I took Schatzie to her favorite store, PetSmart, to pick out her special food and began our transition into sharpening her senior mind.

So far she’s as lively as ever, running around like a freak and chasing Dylan and her ball with no signs of slowing down. We have another week until we hit the full thirty-day mark I can’t wait to share the full results!

August 31, 2015

Suffering from Crazy Pregnant Lady Syndrome

“But what if we both die and he never sees us again? He’s not going to understand what happened and he’s going to be so sad.” 

That’s me, going through the what-ifs with my husband as I mentally prepare for leaving my 2 year old behind on our upcoming (and random) trip to Hawaii. I should mention that I’ve never been anxiety prone, especially when it comes to flying, but here I am, soiled in hypothetical morbidity as my mind runs through all the things I must do to prepare for the unpreparable: my death. 

And then I start crying. Ugly, uncontrollable, baseless crying. I try to talk myself down: people fly all the time; whatever happens is going to happen regardless; if I’m meant to die and orphan my child then that’s just how it was supposed to be. More tears. All I see are flashing headlines announcing my demise through a flight number, running across CNN, as people that knew me offer a few words of shock while recalling that I was 5 months pregnant. Wait a minute…I see what’s going on. 

I’m fucking pregnant! And these hormones are a real piece of work, let me tell ya. “Do you want to stay home?” My husband asks in response to my anxiety. Somehow, even though the possibility of dying during my trip to Hawaii seems very real and threatening, I can’t allow it to take over...completely. “Absolutely not! But YOU HAVE to survive.” I demand, hormones and all. 

I begin calibrating his survival skills. I rank him quite high. If anyone survives, it’s definitely going to be him, I tell myself. “Just remember, don’t drink the sea water, it will dehydrate you and kill you. No matter what!” I instruct him, confident that he’ll somehow manage to stay afloat in an emergency raft when the airplane dives into the Pacific, hypothetically of course. And then I fall asleep. 

And as ridiculous as it is, and as nutso as it sounds to regular hormone regulated folk, I still feel obliged to leave a letter to Dylan in a sealed envelope on my fridge, along with a list of all my account passwords so that he has access to my digital footprint should I never return from my tropical vacation. Not just because I love him, but because pregnancy is a real motherfucker and right now she's driving this bus all the way to crazy town, Xanax free. And mommy loves you DingDing.

August 24, 2015

Not Playing With My Toddler (He Had it Coming)

One day I will be buried in more past than future, so I try my very best to soak in every moment of my toddler’s childhood that I can. It goes by so fast, they say. So when Dylan pulls at my hand insisting, “Play with me? Yeah? In the room?” I know I ought to stop what I’m doing and make quality time for him. Because a year from now, two years from now, three years from now, and definitely 15 years from now, he’ll probably have no interest pushing around toys with mom across the bedroom floor...and it might will break my heart. But today, he wants my companionship, my attention, and my crazy. Badly. (Yay!)

So I do it. I pick myself off of my pregnant tuchus, waddle on over to my kin’s room and park it on his couch. “NO MOMMY, SIT HERE,” he instructs pointing to the carpet in his best no-bullshit-fortune-500-CEO tone. OKAY. I comply, begrudgingly, his worker slave. I take hold of one of the many monster trucks he has carelessly scattered around only to be corrected, “NO! Not this one!” He says, snatching it out of my hand. “Hey, that’s not nice, you have to share.” I remind him, quietly hoping that his sister-to-be will collect on his karmic debt. I go to pick up another truck, “No! Don’t touch this one.” My patience. It’s dying. “Dylan, I don’t want to play with you. You don’t share!” My sass however, is sizzling hot. 

The kid gets the message and switches gears, offering me the smallest truck he has as if it’s some grand prize, “Here mommy, want this one?” I accept his not-so-generous peace offering and begin pushing wittle wimpy, doing doughnuts around his plethora of giants. Okay, now we’re jiving! I think to myself. But I’m having too much fun, apparently. Boyfriend rescinds his offer, “No, No, NOT this one, THIS one,” he barks as he switches me to a full-sized monster before I even have the chance object to his excessive micromanagement. 

Maybe I was romanticizing toddlerhood, but this is not what I meant when I said I wanted to soak up every moment. I mean, Father Time would never age me as quickly as Dylan’s dance of rules and regulations do. So no, I don’t feel even slightly guilty when I tell him, “You know who really wants to play trucks with you? Your dad.” He had it coming.

July 30, 2015

Mom's [Non-Existent] Book Club

Before I joined the parental posse, I had a long running list of activities I knew I wanted to do with my hypothetical child(ren). One of the big ones was: read. And for years, I’ve maintained a draft email featuring various titles I would buy and read to these little bookworms I would one day water and grow. I knew that this was one activity where I would truly shine because this my friends, was my shit. That is, until I actually had a kid. 

Life is funny like that. My fantasy bedtime routine has proved to be just that, a fantasy. I mean, sure, Dylan loves reading and has a laundry list of books on books on books he wants to read before shut-eye, just not with me. Dick. The kid wants his dad, which is funny because dad would rather play with trucks than read a book about them. And dad cuts him off at 1 book, 2 on a good day, whereas mom will go marathon style and is [eagerly] willing to comply with a “1 more” request. So....WTF CHILD. 

In addition to the blatant rejection I suffer on a regular, my kid is like any other toddler, in that he’s so damn rude about everything. “It’s bedtime,” I announce. But before I can even take a post-announcement breath in, Dylan interjects with a whopping, “I wanna read the books WITH DADDY.” Uhm, thanks for the clarification. Still, I try. “No honey, you’re going to read the books with mommy.” Insert protests here. 

So I fold 4 out of 7 days a week, and let the damn kid have his favorite parent. But on the weekends? That’s when I go off. That’s when I get Dr. Seuss popping like a library after hours, which I suspect is quite the…party? Whatever. I figure I still have a chance. I’m not going to throw in the towel on my Reading Rainbow night life just yet. Because now that I have a daughter on the way, I’m putting all my eggs in her basket. Grimm Brother’s fairy tales? WE’RE COMING FOR YOU.

July 23, 2015

Bad Mommy - Trouble at School

Don’t be fooled by the red lipstick and high heels, this heart is all boy. Tomboy, anyway. Growing up in a house of five daughters, I was frequently referred to as my mom’s only son. I played rough, I got dirty, and I liked it. Sure, I’ve warmed up to dresses and curling irons as I’ve gotten older, but I’m still the same old g. However, I may have gotten a little out of control in channeling my inner boy child when it comes to playing with Dylan. Though I don’t want to be the parent that apportions blame on themselves for their ill-behaved kid…I’m a bad example. 

You see, Dylan got in trouble at school yesterday for playing too roughly with his peers. Apparently he was pushing them, tugging on them, and trying to climb on their backs, then dismissing the teacher’s instruction to calm down. They had to move Dylan into another classroom for the day. And though I shouldn’t laugh because disobedience isn’t funny, I could just imagine the madness. Mostly because that’s how he and I play at home…every day. (Sorry Ms. Lisa!) 

It takes Dylan sixteen seconds to jump on my back once I sit on the floor. My response is to flip him off of me, pin him on the ground and squish him. And when he comes back for more, I declare “wrestle mania” so as to alert him that the ante has been raised. I used to think I was fun, now I realize I’m just immature. I may or may not be responsible for nurturing a perfectly normal wild child into an out-of-control brute for my own enjoyment. Regardless, it’s time for some damage control.

"Dylan, did you get in trouble at school today?” I asked my sheepishly grinning kin. 
“Uh-oh, that’s not good. What did you do?” 
“I pushed Anabelle.” 
“Is that nice?” Crossing my fingers he gets this one right
“No.” Hallelujah! There’s hope! 

So I explained as best I could to a 2 year old that pushing is not allowed at school and that he has to listen to his teacher when she tells him to calm down. I love our rough play but wrestle mania in the classroom is a little embarrassing when it’s home grown (and my fault). But not as embarrassing as when Dylan asked me to “pop the pussy.” 
“EXCUSE ME?” I exclaimed. 
“I WANNA POP THE PUSSY!” He whined, “Ashes ashes, we all fall down!” 
Oh. “You mean a pocket full of posies?” 
“Yeah! I wanna pop the pussy!” 

Welcome to the freak show.

Photo credits: Eddie Gomez

July 15, 2015

Pregnancy - Not Blowing Up

Even though I’m super excited that I’m expecting a little girl, there isn’t much else I enjoy about expecting. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those over the moon pregnant women that resemble fertility goddesses and feel their best during these 9 months. I'm tired, yo'. I may sound jaded but let me explain, I gained 57 lbs during my last pregnancy and MY GOD was it miserable. This time around, it'd be nice not to blow up. And since it’s highly likely that this is the last time I’ll be pregnant, I want to enjoy it as much as possible. So what’s a girl to do? Get schooled.  

But OH MY GOD. The internet is littered with TMI. Simply conducting a google search leads to information overload with "facts” that all seem to contradict themselves. My go-to has long been the well-known What to Expect® When You're Expecting book. I received this book as a gift during my first pregnancy and I LOVED it. My favorite thing to do was look through the index at things I was feeling and find the information I needed in plain and simple black and white terms. And even though the book has been updated many times since its original release, there’s a reason it’s been on the New York Times Bestseller list for over 600 weeks. I mean, I’m fairly certain there isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t heard of this pregnancy bible.  

However, there are still some things that I didn’t know and hadn't heard of….like, they wrote a book just for me! My newest obsession is their Eating Well When You're Expecting because HELLO! I want to eat well but I don’t want to gain another 60 lbs. Plus, I really, really want to enjoy this pregnancy and when your back hurts, you can’t fit into boots because your calves are too big, and you have to worry about every calorie evolving into gestational diabetes, that’s not enjoying jack. Eating Well is an easy read that doesn’t complicate your diet. The recipes are simple to follow and can actually be executed and enjoyed by the whole family  (which is critical because my 2 year old has to eat too). 

So HOORAY! Here’s to finally feeling like I have found a way to help make this second pregnancy start off on a better note than the first. No offense Dylan, lol.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

July 7, 2015

Things Dylan Does - My Overachieving Tot

"One day there will be hell to pay," I tell myself in the midst of the physical and mental abuse. "But for now, he is merely a child." I like to say that, too. Dylan was about a year old when he started doing naughty things such as slamming his head against the tile floor when upset, and people liked to offer condolences in the form of, "Oh! An early case of terrible twos! They'll pass sooner than later." The insinuation was that I was practically lucky! And the encouragement would’ve been nice if I weren’t banking on it, thank you very much. 

But there's a lesson to be learned here, and it's: Never bank on anything. EVER. Because Dylan's halfway through his second year of life and though the head banging is no longer his thing, he still has things. Lots of them. Let me tell you about some of the things Dylan does. 

Yesterday I was laughing really hard, and last I checked, that’s not a crime. In fact, some find laughter to be contagious. But Dylan? He finds it annoying. Of course he does. So as I sat in a fit of giggles with my head resting against a pillow, Dylan charged at me, lifted his arm up the air, and slammed his green Hotwheels semi-truck into the side of my face. Instant bruise. I cried. 

I often contemplate the term “terrible twos” and the injustice it represents. Terrible? I can deal with terrible. My husband listens to terrible music. I sit in terrible traffic. Creamer in my coffee? Ack. Terrible. But Dylan? At 2 years old? Now that’s terrifying. Traumatizing. TORTUROUS! He forbids laughter, demands I don’t dance, and the little tyrant doesn’t allow singing, either. Go ahead, ask him anything. I guarantee you the answer will be “NO.” And not just any no, but a “DON’T BOTHER ME PEASANT, I SAID NO!” And if you kiss him, “DON’T KISS ME!” 

But despite being the King of Mean, he plays up that victim card, too. Like when I’m pushing him in a grocery cart and reject his plea for 36 grams of liquid sugar, he belts out, “NO, DON’T HIT ME! MOMMY NO, DON’T HURT ME!” And you know people these days, they have CPS on speed dial, so I waste no time throwing my arms up in the air like a cop’s pistol is pointed at my chest because I want everyone to know, I’M NOT TOUCHING HIM! I SWEAR! 

So please, spare the encouragement and just be real with me. These are the traumatic, tumultuous, terrifying toddler years gifted upon me by the little baby boy I swore I wanted so badly (before I got to know him). And I love him, it’s true. But let’s be honest, I have a black eye. So if you want to call it “terrible twos” then fine, but admit that my son is clearly an overachiever.

June 29, 2015

Baby Fever Update - CURED!

After months and months of suffering from the ills of baby fever, I have finally been cured. I’m pregnant! Yay!!!! And though I’ve always wanted more than 1 child, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to experience pregnancy again. The sickness, the weight gain, the back pain, the birth itself, it’s all uncomfortable…though ultimately worth it. So here we go again, this time with a little girl instead of a little boy, and this time with a due date for the books: my birthday

Since having Dylan, I swore that if I were to get pregnant again, I’d make sure I took it all in and enjoyed it. Not only because I loathed pregnancy the first time around, but because I want to adopt children and a second pregnancy would mean I’ve committed to having three kids. And three kids? That’s enough for me. But now that I am pregnant with another baby (and for the last time), I just can’t figure out how to enjoy it! 

On the plus side, I GOT MY BABY GIRL! I’m no longer throwing up at the sight and smell of everything, and I’ve had two ultrasounds that have definitely helped me “get into” this pregnancy. But let’s be real- I’m sort of a mess. My clothes are already too tight, I’m constantly overheating, and generally, I’m a lot to deal with. My patience is at an all-time low and at around 5pm I can fall asleep anywhere. I simply don’t understand how women actually enjoy this process, but I'd like to. I want the damn baby already! 

So if I appear rather snippy with you, if I come off a little too strong, just know that my hormones are all over the place and it’s not you, it’s me. I’m that pregnant girl. Just ask my husband (sorry).

June 23, 2015

Trying [Hard] Not to Traumatize My Tot

Like a drone shadowing me, I hear his constant chatter and realize: the kid is trying to drive me mad. I’m sure of it. “Mommy, I read the books. Mommy, I read the books. Mommy, I read the books.” He repeats in six sets of three as both the book and the tot sit in my lap ready to go. My jaw tightens, and like a skilled ventriloquist, I clench my mouth closely as if merely opening it will result in my impatience to slip out in the form of a SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY! So instead, I pull it together and say, “Yes honey, we’re going to read the books.” 

This is a test. I tell myself. He’s testing me. The following day, we’re in the car when my seemingly angelic son is singing songs in the backseat, “I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee…” It feels like one of those special moments when a mother can really enjoy her child, so I seize the opportunity and join in the sing-a-long, only to be immediately scolded, “NO MOMMY! DON’T SING!” What. A. Brat. I want to set him straight but his sass is too misleading. Though he acts 15, he’s only 2. So instead of a backhand, I gift him the silent treatment and continue driving. 

Now we’re at the stop light, about to turn onto our street when suddenly I’m instructed, “GO THIS WAY! MOMMY, NO, NO, NO, GO THIS WAY!” I turn back and see bossy-pants pointing in the opposite direction. His voluntary navigation is cute, but that’s all it is. “We’re going home Dylan, and home is this way.” Then much like an earthquake, unpredictable and feeling longer than it lasts, I’m struck by Dylan’s vortex of high pitched, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I WANT TO GO THIS WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The windows are practically shaking. However, I shrug, magnitude 3.5. I’ve survived bigger

And there’s at least 4 hours left in the day until bedtime, so I do my best to brace myself for the psychological warfare my toddler is bound to produce once we walk inside the house. Patience is a virtue. I repeat, despite not really giving a damn about moral righteousness. I contemplate my future, knowing Dylan has the upper hand. Though he gets under my skin, he’s a permanent resident of my heart. So for now, I’m screwed, with no choice but to clench my jaw and prevent myself from traumatizing this cunning, clever, outlandish, ridiculously sassy tot that knows no better. Stress builds character, I repeat to myself. Plus, one day, this toddler will be a teenager. And payback? She’s a fickle one. And in this house, we call her mom. 

June 18, 2015

Spoiling the Greatest Dad Ever (I Kind of Owe It To Him)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NauticaforDad #CollectiveBias

“I feel bad for your dad!” People have said over and over again throughout my life once they learn I’m one of five daughters. And my dad scoffs each time, “Are you kidding? I have my very own fan club!” And it’s true, I’m a big fan, maybe even president of said club. But the way my dad refuses to entertain any of the challenges related to being the lone man in a house full of 6 estrogen riddled women is pretty impressive. I mean, it’s not like we let him off easy. 

And personally, I was a handful. OKAY FINE. Two handfuls. I went from a straight A student who asked Santa for world peace for Christmas, to a rebel-rebel high schooler passing out drunk at 15 on the front lawn, insisting that I was “just tanning.” (Sorry dad.) He refused to let me spiral out of control. Like the time he dragged me to the office of my High School to talk to the attendance clerk about my multiple absences that I swore were (lied about being) a clerical error. Once the staff explained they were legit truancies, he had some words to express very loudly in front of the entire office, who all looked on shocked and pleased with his shakeup. 

I gave him every reason to be upset, to lock me down, to build resentment and treat me like a delinquent. And yet he still warmly and eagerly expressed his unconditional, unwavering love and admiration for me. He’d wake me up at 3am to watch a meteor shower, he’d tell me how proud he was to have me for a daughter, and he’d make time to take me on special trips to like breakfast in Malibu where we’d have big talks on life and what really matters.

My dad is my anchor. Five daughters and we never had to compete for his time. He has been there for each of us in childhood and adulthood and I can’t imagine being the stable, spiritual, being that I am today without his sans judgment guidance and constant support. I love my dad more than I could express in words.

And this Father’s day, Macy’s has a Nautica Men's Fragrance Gift Package that is irresistible for the anchor in your life.

It’s a four piece gift set for $65. If the products were sold individually, it’d total $128. So it’s a GREAT deal and smells SO GOOD. But the point is that dads are special and it’s nice to celebrate them. A fragrance set is something my dad wouldn’t think to purchase for himself because he’s always putting everyone else’s needs and desires before his own.

And for that reason, I’m spoiling the greatest dad ever.

Did I mention Nautica has a big fat giveaway taking place right now?

1 Grand Prize Winner will win a $4,000 Cruise Vacation Package and 5 Second Place Winners will win a Nautica Men's Fragrance Gift Package!!!!!!! You can enter below and if you'd like to keep up with all things Nautica, you can find them here:

·         Facebook    -    Twitter    -    Instagram
  Nautica for Dad

June 11, 2015

Small Town Dreamin'

I know nothing about small town living. It’s too easy to blend in with the masses when you live in California. And I don’t know if I’m just a product of my environment or generally a very private person, but I fit the stereotype and prefer to keep to myself. Just imagining all of my neighbors knowing details about my life that I’ve never personally shared with them irks me. And yet, a simple life in a small rural community sounds incredible…at least on paper. And in Lifetime movies. 

There’s a fiction book titled, “Home Is Where Your Boots Are” by Kalan Chapman Lloyd that’s all about a girl (Lilly) who leaves her small southern town, Brooks, Oklahoma behind, embarks on new life as a big shot attorney in Dallas, TX, only to return after having her heartbroken (cheating fiancé alert). Again, I know nothing about small town living other than what I’ve read/watched, but I just don’t understand why some people are so adamant about breaking out of their hometowns when the place is so dang hospitable. 

Sure, everyone knowing everything about me might get annoying because people don’t let you forget who they think you are, but Lilly came back to a whole community of support filled with people that loved her, people that helped her, and people who knew who she really was. The book made me feel like I’m missing out on a special sort of social connection with people that you can only get when you’re born and raised in a small community. There’s the local church, the local diner, local gossip, southern living and southern charm. 

For example, I visit the same Starbucks every morning and each day I’m treated like a stranger who’s never been there before. That would never happen in Brooks, Oklahoma! I guess what I’m saying is, I just want a taste of this type of simpler way of living, even if it’s only through fiction. Though I should mention that though its fiction, parts of it (I don’t know which) are based on the author’s real life hometown experiences. This is only the first book of Lloyd’s series on Lilly, and I’m hoping the others are also semi-autobiographical because I need this picturesque life to be real. I want to believe that the town of Brooks really exists. 

I’m also hoping that the reason the second book is titled, “These Boots Are Made For Butt-Kickin’” is because Lilly is going to kick a non-local’s butt in the courtroom. Lol, I work at a lawfirm, what can I say?

June 9, 2015

My Son's Other Parents

I’ve never met my son’s other parents but I know they exist because Dylan constantly brings them up. “It’s time for bed, let’s get your pajamas on!” I announce to my resistant toddler, who begins insta-wincing in protest. Sometimes, I’m so excited that Dylan and I can communicate, that he’s reached new levels of understanding language and can anticipate what’s to come. And other times, it’s time for bed, and ain’t nobody have time for the headache that is toddler negotiations and clever forms of stalling. 

I lift his shirt over his head and pull it off. “I WANT MY MOMMY!” He screams inches away from my face as if I’m merely his captor. 
“Mommy is right here.” 

So I look around, just to make sure some ghost mom from a past life, who is just waiting to rescue the lad from my cold, evil step-mother hands isn’t watching me in grave disappointment with our sleep routine. Affirmed, coast is clear, no need to douse the place with holy water. 

We’re moments away from entering his bedroom and reading books when suddenly the front door opens. Dads home, fifteen more minutes of daytime unlocked. Dylan’s shut-eye induced depression vanishes and is replaced with bouncy, boisterous, boyhood. And I watch on as they play, pleased with their rollicks yet slightly annoyed that he’s getting all worked up before lights out, and then pleased again knowing that Dylan’s going to request that Dad put him to bed. “No longer my problem,” I laugh to myself. 

“Do you know what time it is?” My husband asks Dylan, a form of mental terrorism that is met with screeching despondency. Yup, he knows what time it is. My now sobbing child is pleading, begging for, and lamenting over wanting “his daddy.” 
“You have your daddy,” he assures our unreasonable precious baby lout. 
“NO! I WANT MY DADDY!” Dylan repeats, certain that his other set of parents will save him from the torment of these impostors. 

Whatever Dylan. These other parents are clearly the most patient bunch of people I’ve ever heard of. They probably gave him dessert even though he didn’t touch dinner, bought him toys even though he didn’t pick his room up, and they knew nothing of curfews, restrictions, and they had zero expectations. Each time I say “no,” each time I correct behavior, and every night before bed it’s the same thing, “I WANT MY MOMMY! I WANT MY DADDY!” The other ones, of course.

And even though I’ve never met them, these phantom parents have certainly made my life more difficult by spoiling the child with a taste of the good life. But the worst part? I'm super jealous. The spineless duo sounds amazing and I want to be their kid, too. My son prefers his other parents...and so do I.

May 27, 2015

Killing The Dino - Mom Skillzzz

Worst case scenarios were taking me over as my toddler's voice cut through the air with piercing screams. It was 10 o'clock at night and I was just about to get in the shower when something caused my normally solid sleeper to lose it. I threw down the towel and shouted at my husband, "Do you think he’s having a seizure!?!?" With no history of such, it was farfetched. And though the theory didn’t make sense, my imagination will run with anything it can recall reading about…once. 

I bolted to Dylan’s room and found him standing in his crib (yes, he’s 2 and still contained), screaming himself blue. I picked him up and began patting his sweaty back through his shirt. Does he have a fever? I wondered. “It’s okay honey, shhh, mommy’s here. It’s okay.” I offered as he sobbed uncontrollably, covering my shoulder with snot. I sat down on his couch and continued patting his trembling, sweaty body. I’d never seen him so literally shaken up before. “Why are you crying boo boo? What’s wrong?” He pushed himself up from my chest and tried to catch his breath, staring at me with pouty, quivering lips before whimpering, “I killed the dino.” 

…uh, huh? I wasn’t understanding. “What did you do?”  
“Mommy!!! I killed the dino.” He mournfully repeated, as if confessing to some grave offense. Yeah, that’s not creepy. I didn’t even realize he knew the term “kill” or how to properly use it. Obviously I'm on top of things. Still, I clarified, "You killed the dino?” 
“YES! Mommy kill the dino too.” Great, now I’m involved?! 

But I had a feeling we weren’t the ones doing the killing. You see, Dylan specializes in backwards talk. When his shoes are too tight on his massive fat feet, he says they're "too big." So my assumption? The dino killed us...in a nightmare of course. Trauma alert! So I did my very best to explain that it was all a dream, that everything was okay, and once I was finally able to calm him down enough to put him back to bed, I confirmed he didn’t have a fever and peace'd out of there.

He slept through the night without a hitch and everything seemed to be fine until it was bedtime the following day. Suddenly we were back in a tizzy, as Dylan begged, "No bed! No Mommy! I killed the dino!” Ugh. After fifteen minutes of comfort and repetitive assurance that there would be no more dinos, he calmed down enough to go to bed. And the next day, same thing…and the next day…and the next day…until a week passed and now I've added dino hunting to our bedtime routine, as he insists he “show the dinos” that are in his bed. 

We’re on week two of dino madness and it’s becoming more and more apparent that what started as a traumatic dream is now an elaborate scheme to avoid going to sleep. And as much as I want to tell the kid put a sock in it, I respect his cleverness too much to dismiss him. I mean, he has figured out how to channel a distressing event into an advantageous tool, after all. (THAT'S MY BOY!)

So yes, I clear the room for dinos and trick King Tricky into thinking his bedtime has been delayed...but the jokes on him- boyfriend can’t read a clock! We've been going to bed earlier than ever because the only thing that's killing anything around here are my parenting skills. I'm Queen of scheme here, son. 

May 15, 2015

How to Survive the Terrible Twos: Mombie Mode

Sometimes I’m a mom and other times I’m a mombie. Though I have some experience in drowning out incessant noise (a skilled learned from growing up with four sisters), the mombie performance is a new and critical survival tactic for me as Dylan ventures through terrible twodom. Activating mombie mode is easy. There’s no full moon required, I need not be bitten by a fellow mombie (though being bitten by the child will trigger a transformation), and there’s no pathogen causing the non-communicative, unemotional, distant gazing mom I mutate into. The mombie culprit? Toddlers. Specifically when: 

There’s no way out. Like when I’m driving home with Mr. Sunshine in the backseat and he suddenly comes down with a loud case of Goldilocks Syndrome. The straps to his carseat are too tight, too loose, and are never ever, ever just right. Screams and whines from the backseat ensue. ZONE OUT ACTIVATED

There’s no reasoning. It’s time to eat but the food is too hot- a major offense to my wittle big boy. And instead of blowing on the dish or patiently waiting for the meal to cool, loud pangs of dissatisfaction are spewed, food is tossed on the floor, and cries for the dejected “yum yum” on the tile are made. Meal time zombie mommy. 

There’s no explanation. The child wants up, now he wants down. And in both instances, he’s pissed. The more pissed off my toddler gets, the less I’m able to understand. My husband looks to me, “What’s wrong with him?” I stare, I grunt, and I shrug my shoulders, defeated. Full blown mombie. 

Nothing works. I’ve mastered the art of diversion- practically a parenthood requisite…but it’s far from bulletproof. I only have so many tricks in my Mary Poppins bag and though I’m willing to scrape its bottom, sometimes nothing works. Like when the memory of a donut surfaces in my toddler’s mind and he wont let it go- I’m done. I don’t have any donuts kid. Does it look like Mombie cares? 

Being a mombie is me being the best mom I can be in the moment. Non-reactive, unemotional, with one single purpose driving me to keep moving forward. And if you think that’s scary, you should see the alternative- she’s a real monster. But based upon my assessment of equally distressed children I’ve witnessed in public places, I can confirm that there are many mombies amongst us. Even dad-ombies. (Only the name for them is less cute.)

May 12, 2015

Moms At Parks: Can't You See We're Friends?

I don't want to be a helicopter mom but honestly, I have no choice. My kid makes me. I recently read a blog post all about helicopter moms ruining the park experience for non-choppers, written by a fellow mother and writer. And though I never actually considered myself a helicopter parent, by her "2 kinds of park parents" definition, I definitely fit the bill, seeing as I am the mom on the gym equipment who goes to the park and plays with her kid, as opposed to partaking in my own adult play date- like her. 

Though it does sound amazing! I would LOVE to play bench warmer…but my 2 year old won't have it. I try. "Mom, get off the seat, come here! Get down!" He barks, tugging at my leg once my ass finally meets the seat. "Ugh," I internally dread. I’d much rather catch up on my separate existence for a bit, and I’d so prefer to observe his activities from afar, but no. I'm the fun mom whose participation is demanded. Why can’t my presence be enough? I’m jealous of you, benchy. 

You see, Dads are usually thought to be the fun parent. Dads are the wild, the rough, the eternal children. But in my family, I'm that fool. And it's all fun and games until you're being dragged off the bench by a two year old following a full-day of work at the office because your son wants to put sand down your shirt. 

But so you know, bench warming momma, I'm not watching your kid. At all. You don’t have to worry about me judging you because I couldn't careless about your child testing her boundaries. If she falls, that's on you girlfriend. I let my kid fall all the time without acknowledging it. Okay that's not true, I usually laugh before pointing out the obvious, “Did you fall?” HAHAHAAHAH! 

It must be nice to sit around at the park, shooting the shit with other moms like yourself, while I run up and down participating in tot activities. But before you judge me for my involvement, just know that the only way I can get through said activities is to get into them. So yeah, I have fun. And yes, you'll see me acting like a 2 year old, roaring down slides and coaxing my son to "just come!" across the bridge. But you need not worry about my involvement hindering my kid’s social skills. He’s got skills, trust me. He's in preschool from 8 am-3:30 pm 5 days a week. He even has a steady girlfriend that he kisses goodbye each day (what up Annabelle)! So when we are at the park together, he wants to play with his mom. He thinks I'm fun. And you know who else thinks I'm fun? YOUR KID. 

Your kid starts out watching us, curiously feeling me out and deciding whether I'm a threat, a freak, or just an oversized kid.* She slowly inches near us and before I know it, I’m playing with your kid, too. The only reason I keep looking up to eye for her parent is because I don’t want you to think I’m some sick predator hitting your kid up. 

So let’s do each other a favor and show a little more acceptance. I’m not trying to ruin your park experience by playing amongst the children, and I’m certainly not judging your position on the bench. I’m actually envious of your mini-break, lord knows we all need one. So don’t judge me, either. For whatever reason, kids think I’m fun and they won’t get off my back until I’m on it, pretending to fall down. Entertaining your kid wasn't part of the plan but it certainty kept them out of your hair, didn't it? So you’re welcome. You and I are actually better friends than you think. So save me a spot? 

*I’m all three.

May 4, 2015

Modern Survival Tools - Mom Edition

He refused to get off the ground. My toddler was kicking, screaming, and publicly broadcasting that somehow, by not taking him directly to the park after work, I was abusing him. We were twenty-feet away from the front door but actually entering the house was looking more like an insurmountable quest that would take up to a week. I felt my neighbors’ eyes on me but refused to look up. I didn't have the patience to be judged and I certainly didn't have the patience to be a hero today, I was tapped out of problem solving. 

So I picked my two-year old up, thrashing body and all, put on my best Zen face and remained stoic through the hair pulling and limb wielding tantrum, unlocked the door, entered the house, and immediately put the kid in his room and shut the door before heading into my own space for two separate but much needed timeouts. And then I asked myself, “What if I’m not cut out for motherhood?” 

My threshold for shitty behavior had surpassed the cap and any confidence in my ability to rear a child had been deflated. The super mom I wanted and thought I would end up being was up in smoke. FINE. I accepted it. And honestly? What a relief. In that moment I lost both the cape and the pressure of being supermom. 

And I’m not the only parent that has locked themselves in a room and wondered how other moms and dads do it, questioning whether they’re even cut out for this parenting gig. I know this because two women wrote a book on it! And not just a book, but a survival guide for all of us appropriately titled: Lose the Cape. It’s my new favorite reference for realistic parenting and is truly a survival guide for the modern parent. From new mom problems like “To Boob or Not To Boob,” to strains associated with “The Spouse Factor, Lose the Cape is packed with valuable advice, comedic relief and legit issues parents deal with, fully equip with the tips and tools needed to tackle them. 

Though I wish this book existed back when I was pregnant, now that it has been written and is available on Amazon (literally just released April 26!), it’s my official baby shower gift for expecting parents and my go-to gift for struggling-to-be-it-all parents that are just like me (and you). And with mother’s day approaching, it is the absolute PERFECT gift to bestow on your fellow mom. If you really want to do yourself or your fellow parent a favor, help them Lose The Cape

It's worth mentioning that I didn't get compensated in any way to say any of this. But if you want to know more about the authors of the book, visit their blogs: Alexa Bigwarfe  and Kerry Rivera

April 29, 2015

Things That Scare Me: Getting Personal Calls at Work

“Do you want a call from an Erin Davis? She said it’s regarding a personal and confidential matter.”
Huh? I was confused. Why would I get a call regarding a personal matter at work, and what was personal and confidential, anyway? Could it be Dylan’s school? Oh god. 
“Yeah, I’ll take it.” I nervously told the receptionist. The line clicked and the call was transferred. 
"Hi, this is Rebecca.”
Erin wasted no time demanding confirmation of my identity, which I had no intention of providing. 
Hold on. What exactly is this regarding?” I pressed suspiciously. 
“I’m calling about an outstanding debt.” 
“Okay. But why are you calling me at work? Actually, I don’t care. Never call me on this number again. I’m at work and have no time to talk but if you’d like, call me at noon on my cell phone.” Yes, I know. I’m the sweetest. 

Erin agreed and at noon, she called again. 

The second conversation went something like this: “I’m calling about an outstanding Wells Fargo bank account you had from 2010. You owe $926 but we’re willing to settle today for $555 in an effort to avoid escalating this to litigation where you will incur legal fees and further interest.” 
I was confused. No bells were ringing. 
“I’m sorry but I don’t even remember having a Wells Fargo account. Can you give me more information?” 
Erin proceeded to explain that Wells Fargo bought out Wachovia and Chase bank, then hit me with, “You’re scheduled to be served with a subpoena on Friday.” It was Wednesday. 
“How can I be served with a subpoena? Shouldn't I be served with a summons and complaint first? I work at a law firm so if you need to take me to Court then do your thing. But right now, in this moment, I’m telling you that until I look into this, I’m not giving you any money.” 
“I can probably get approval to hold off on legal proceedings until 8am tomorrow if you’d like.” Erin offered. 
“Okay great.” 

Though I may sound like a ball buster, I was actually very nervous. Could it be true? Could I have an outstanding debt that I’m unaware of? The girl called me at work! I quickly looked up my credit report and found no mention of Wells Fargo. Still, the threat of going to court was scary. If the debt turned out to be real, there’s no way the Court would rule in my favor. I’d be a debtor and debtors are punished, their wages garnished, judgments entered against them, sheriffs looking to serve paperwork on ‘em, and not to mention the instant inflation of attorneys’ fees tacked onto the debt once papers are officially filed. I’d be screwed. So paying the piper and avoid the stress seemed like the best option. But something didn't feel right about Erin and my intuition was going haywire. 

When Erin called the next day, I had no plan. 

“We want to resolve this matter with you but we need you to make a payment TODAY.” She emphasized. 
“Here’s the thing, you’re not on my credit report, I haven’t found any information about this alleged account, you aren't giving me the account number, so I’m done. I've decided I’m not going to pay you. Do what you have to do and don’t call me back.” 
“So you’re refusing to pay?” 
“I’m not refusing to pay, I’m telling you I can’t pay for something you can’t produce legitimacy of.”
“Didn't you get my email with the account information I sent yesterday?” Uhm….no. “I’ll resend it and call you back in a couple of hours.” YES!!! An email with something to reference! How did I miss it?

I anxiously waited for her email while fumbling with the possibility of a sheriff stopping at my office to serve me with paperwork in front of everyone. Or in the alternative, forking over $555 bucks that I didn't really have. But alas, Erin’s email came through with an attached letter that appeared pretty legit. It was written on letterhead that indicated the company was headquartered in New York, contained my personal information, and made reference to a case number. It was everything I needed to legitimize her claims. Only instead, I discovered that I was the potential victim of a sophisticated scam artist. Debunked! I couldn’t wait to let Erin know the curtain was up. That bitch almost had me.  

So I replied to her email: 


I looked into this and I am confident that you are part of a debt scam. This debt is not on my credit report, you are not listed as a collector on my credit report, there are hundreds of people online indicating that you are scammers, and you're not listed in New York's business entity database. 

If you are certain that you are not a scammer, I encourage you to send me the account number associated with the alleged debt, as well as any offer to resolve the alleged debt via USPS to the physical address you have on file. 

Otherwise, do not contact me again. Either way, I will be reporting you to the FTC. 

BAM! I felt liberated but still, they almost had me. They literally ALMOST had me. What if I didn't know a subpoena had nothing to do with initiating a legal action? What if I didn't know to look up their business on New York’s entity database? I could've easily been suckered into giving my card info to some loser over the phone who would've done god knows what with it. Normally I’m not so foolish but SHE CALLED ME AT WORK. How the heck did they know my work number? 

But now I know better. And I want you to know better too. So if you ever get caught up in a similar phone call, here’s how to debunk their claims: 
  • Check your credit report. All debts and corresponding collectors are listed. If it’s not there, it’s probably not legitimate. 
  • Ask what state the collection company is conducting business in. Once you know that, you can run a search on that state’s business entity directory. Any legitimate business will be registered as “Active.” If no results show up, that business doesn't exist (or it’s operating illegally). 
  • If you’re super paranoid or the scammer is super smart and using a legit business as a front, google the phone number their calling from. My scammers called from “unknown” but the letterhead had a number on it which revealed a plethora of online reports indicating the number on the letterhead was associated with group of scammy scammers. 
  • Google the company name for any info you can get. Do they have a website? Are they listed on the Better Business Bureau? 
  • Don’t let their threats scare you into paying them. Any offers made telephonically should also be put in writing and sent to you via regular mail. Offers that are emailed don’t hold the same authenticity as mailed correspondence. If they won’t mail something to you, red flag. If they don’t have a website, red flag. If they cant give you an account number, red flag. 

Erin has followed my instructions and hasn't contacted me since my email to her. And though I’m relieved to know I’m not going to be taken to court this week, I wish I would've held out a bit longer, played along, and taken more steps to get her exposed. But hey!!! At least I won’t pee in my pants the next time someone calls me regarding a “personal and confidential matter.” Losers!

The seemingly legit letter. Redacted and comments added. 

April 22, 2015

Isn't Anyone Concerned?

Two years into Dylan’s life and I’m just waiting for a cop to show up at the front door to arrest me for some sort of hard knock crime I'm not responsible for. I worry about the passerby who strolls past my abode and hears the shrilling screams and death calls my toddler emits throughout the day. I almost feel compelled to stick a sign in the yard with a terrible-twos disclaimer just to ward my reputation. 

You see, I've been a big supporter of the wild ride that is Dylan’s emotional flux since the very beginning. My kid has always been a super emotional brute who feels things intensely and as a result, cries. A LOT. Over many things. The normal stuff and the fussy stuff. Seatbelt too tight, wrong tone, wrong movement, wrong word, wrong snack, wrong part of the day, mom didn't catch a bird...anything at any time can  can trigger a full-blown snotty, pierce-pitching meltdown. Though I can usually tell when Dylan is teetering into a tail spinning crisis, I'm clueless as to why things get him worked up as much they do other than they just do.

His kidnap pitch is some next level shit and it isn't used sparingly because it's triggered by being misunderstood; and when you're 2, that's pretty common. Everything is a hypothesis. And even if I do figure out that yelping the word “soon” is actually a request for a “spoon,” there's no guarantee that I get to pass Go and collect $200.  The consequence for failing to understand Dylan the first ten times comes in the form of decibels that the whole neighborhood gets to enjoy.  (Sorry guys.)

Still, I'm trying. Aka I continue to play the toddler-speak version of charades and patiently anticipate the day authorities will knock down the door in response to Dylan's, “HELP! MY MOM IS TRYING TO SKIN ME ALIVE!” sounds. And quite frankly, what's taking so long?

April 15, 2015

Enlightenment Via Hot Wheels

“There’s no throwing toys Dylan.” I said sternly, trying my very best not to lose my shit in the face of a rebellious toddler. Deep breath. Dylan stared, maintaining a “what are you going to do about it?” type of look. He should’ve been cleaning up the dozens of toys littered on his bedroom floor like I asked, but the request angered him. So instead, he chucked a monster truck at my head. No respect. Exhale. 

It was one of those parenting moments when the threshold for nonsense is tested. Dylan’s insubordinate behavior was becoming more common, less surprising, and increasingly intolerable. And though the tantrums were as prevalent and predictable as soup du jour, I wasn’t hungry today and refused to be served. “Pick up your toys and put them away,” I urged, handing him a basket for his heap of plastic junk. He picked up another truck and blatantly threw it against the wall. OH MY GOD THIS CHILD WANTS ME TO LOSE IT. 

There were a lot of ways I could’ve reacted. I could’ve insisted, I could’ve put him in time-out, I could’ve ignored him, spanked him, yelled, I could’ve left him in his room and closed the door behind me with a threat or two. But today, none of that felt fruitful. There was something about being struck in the head for the umpteenth time that pushed me way past irritation and straight into a state of detached observation. So I looked around and asked myself, “Am I creating a monster?” 

“You’re not listening to mom so I’m taking your toys away.” He began wailing. Predictable. He’s only 2, but he gets it. I acted assertively, collected the bounty of playthings and walked into the kitchen and placed the basket in plain but unreachable sight. He followed me. “You can have your toys back when you start listening to mom.” He continued to cry. “It’s okay to be upset.” I said in conclusion. And then I moved on, seemingly. 

Later that night, the conglomeration of recent and ongoing bratty offenses were getting to me. Taking his toys away hadn’t occurred to me before, and in a lot of ways I felt responsible for Dylan’s intense reactions to daily life. I felt like the mom I wanted to be and the mom I was becoming were miles apart. I didn’t want to fight with Dylan, I wanted to play. I didn’t want to end the day scolding him, I didn’t want to be responsible for his misery, I wanted to keep him happy no matter what. But that’s not quite how parenting works. 

Suddenly the expression my dad’s face used to make when he punished me growing up was recognizable. It’s the face I make when I have to do something I don’t really want to do, like playing the disciplinarian. Taking away all of my kid’s toys as he sobs, begs, and calls out for “mommy” is hard on me- I’m a spoiler by nature. And though folding to Dylan’s requests feels easier in the moment, intellectually I know that there is no greater act of disservice I could perform than to nurture a perfectly good child into becoming a spoiled brat. 

And then it hit me (no, not the truck). If I eliminate the emotional urge to keep my son happy, I’m the detached observer who isn’t in the business of appeasing children into monsters. And that my friends IS the mom I want to be. So shout out to Hot Wheels for the enlightenment and kudos to Dylan for knocking some sense into me. But do not test me child, I will snap you in half.