This is why we need more kids playing sports

As a full-fledged adult now (I have my own CHECKING ACCOUNT…that even on rare occasions has money in it), I can honestly say I’ve never knowingly used algebra or had use for all the crap I had to learn of early Ohio history.

(Want to bring a party to screeching halt? Just mention that more U.S. presidents have come from Ohio than any other state. Believe it or not, this impresses no one).

But there are many other subjects I was forced to learn in school that have paid off mightily. For instance, I iz writter nao. I writ real good. Thanx, Mr. Abbott.

And, perhaps most surprisingly, is the fact that all those skills I learned playing youth and high school sports have finally paid off. All it took was becoming a parent.

So, whenever you hear someone saying sports are pointless and only for dumb meatheads, please show them the following…

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August? What do you mean it’s almost August?

Things I planned to do this summer:

  • Go to the beach as much as possible.
  • Take my toddler to the Tiny Tot summer reading program at the library every Monday.
  • Take a weekend trip to Maine.
  • Sign my kid up for swimming lessons.
  • Go camping.
  • Go to the free sunrise yoga in the park.
  • Wear sundresses and flowers in my hair.
  • Drink a glass of wine on the back porch with my husband as the sun sets.
  • Take the family to Movie Night in the Park and have a picnic while watching a family-friendly film.
  • Get the air conditioner fixed.
  • Go to the weekly farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Make s’mores.
  • Go to a Red Sox game.
  • Attend at least one music festival.

What I’ve actually done this summer:

  • Found my swimsuit bottoms from 1998 but no luck yet on finding the matching top.
  • Went to the library exactly once only to realize it was Tuesday and Tuesday is the “Wild About Reading!” tweens reading program.
  • Googled “weekend trips to Maine.”
  • Googled “swimming lessons for toddlers.”
  • Googled “camping sites that don’t have bugs or humidity” and survived five hours in my house with no power because of a blackout.
  • Wore my yoga pants all day like I actually dragged my ass out of bed and went to sunrise yoga instead of watching “Sesame Street” in a comatose state while drinking a gallon of black coffee.
  • Ponytail. Tank top. Flip flops. Every. Single. Day.
  • Drank an entire bottle of wine on the back porch with my husband. Woke up hungover. Missed sunrise yoga yet again.
  • Waited until toddler went to bed and then ate KFC on the living room floor while binge watching “Vikings.”
  • Got air conditioner fixed (I’m lazy, not suicidal).
  • Actually did make it to the farmer’s market a couple of times but left sporting not insignificant bruises from little old ladies who feel elbowing you out of the way of the asparagus is acceptable societal behavior. And it is acceptable societal behavior for them because who’s going to stop them? They’re ancient and yet slightly scary.
  • Searched for bag of missing marshmallows for three days. Found approximately 43 half-eaten marshmallows under crib.
  • Googled “Red Sox tickets.” Had heart attack.
  • Listened to Wilco on vinyl while drinking overpriced coconut water mixed with vodka and snapping selfies (which is basically the same thing as actually going to a music festival).

Well, I guess there’s always next year.

Sigh…

On the bright side, pumpkin spice lattes will be available soon. Oh! And I have so many plans for this fall! I want to go hiking and drink in a beer garden while wearing a cozy sweater featuring an ironic bunny and make homemade apple cider and sew my own Halloween costume (a.k.a. tell my mom want I want and make her sew it) and bring the baby to a pumpkin patch and…

How it feels when you get carded in your 30s…

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Voted Most Likely to Write an Awkward Blog

Dear fellow high school classmates,

‘Sup?

Or…I don’t know.

Greetings!

Or however the hell we’re supposed to address each other now that we’re all in our 30s. Hi? Hello? Salutations my brothers-and sisters-in-arms in the war known as the Public Education System?

You’ll all be glad to know, as per your multiple requests in my yearbook, that I did, in fact, stay cool but didn’t freeze. I also had a great summer, I tried my best never to change and yes, Hank, my boobs finally did come in. I’m also happy to report that although I am one of the laziest people alive (I once ate spaghetti while lying down), I did make fairly good on my promise to stay in touch with you, thanks to technology invented by people who graduated a mere three years behind us.

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Yes, courtesy of Facebook, we all get a daily peek into each other’s lives, sharing photos of our kids (holy crap, we have KIDS) and keeping up to date on everybody’s career (holy crap, we have CAREERS, with bank accounts and everything…possibly even retirement accounts for those of us who don’t feel the need to eat spaghetti lying down). In fact, it’s pretty much eliminated the need for reunions (especially if you’re shot-gunning beers while scrolling through Facebook).

Which brings me to the rather uncomfortable reason why I’m writing this. Now, I don’t want to alarm anyone but it’s…hmm…how do I put this delicately? This year marks 15 years since we graduated and WE ARE ALL OLD AND PRACTICALLY DEAD ALREADY.

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I don’t know if any kind of reunion is being planned (although if I was supposed to help plan it and accidentally forgot because I have a toddler who has turned my brain to mush, don’t worry, I totally sent out the invitations…they probably, most definitely, I’m almost 99 percent sure got lost in the mail). But just in case we all aren’t able to get together, I figured I’d take this opportunity to ask you guys a few questions I’ve been wondering about. Questions that I really only feel comfortable asking you since we all grew up together and all remember each other before we had to do disgusting grown-up stuff like pluck random black hairs from our cheek and groan involuntarily while getting up from the couch.

For instance, do you ever stare obsessively at your face in the mirror after a shower and look for new evidence of wrinkles with the same ferocity you used to look for pimples?

No? Yeah, me either.

But do you ever get a weird bruise on your hip that mysteriously appears one day and won’t go away and you’ve pretty much convinced yourself that it’s cancer? Or the plague? Or gout (which used to be a funny word until you realized you might have it)?

No? Really? Well, me neither. I was just asking for a friend. A much OLDER friend.

Have you ever turn on the radio and realized you didn’t know any of the songs and why do they all sound so whiny and like they’re singing through a fan and is it necessary to use the word “baby” that often and oh my god, we’ve turned into our parents.

Anyone else find it weird Paul Rudd isn’t aging?

Have you ever not insignificantly injured your neck just by falling asleep on your lumpy couch? I mean, I haven’t obviously, cause that’s only something that happens to old people, but I was just curious if YOU guys knew anything about that. Which you don’t, of course. Because we’re all the same age. And that age is young. Very, very young.

Anyone else find it weird that they can’t remember where they left their keys, or their phone, or their child (oh, just the one time, calm down) but can still remember all the lyrics to Warren G’s “Regulate?”

No? Just me? Hmm. Well, at least all you skirts still know what’s up with 213.

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Ever hear a news story about stupid teens getting caught doing something stupid and think to yourself, “well, we were never like that,” only to remember that we were totally just like that, only slightly better because we never got caught?

Yeah. Me either. And if my son ever asks, you better tell him that or I will FIND you.

But let me ask you this: Have you ever tried fitting back into your high school jeans, lying down on the bed to try and zip them up and then jumping up in victory only to pass out immediately because it cut off all your blood circulation and then waking up in the emergency room where some doctor is surgically removing the jeans off your legs?

No? Haha! Yeah, no, me either. I was just kidding. That would be CRAZY. And sad. Very, very sad.

Anyhoo, it was great catching up with all of you. And, if I may, I’d like to leave you all on this note…

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P.S. Happy retirement, Mr. Boeke!

You have to choose your battles

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Spongebrain NoPants (or How to Make Your Kid Wicked Smart)

I’d always heard the phrase “a child’s brain is like a sponge, soaking up everything.” But it wasn’t until I had a kid of my own that I began to truly understand just what that meant.

Their brains are, indeed, little sponges. Little, tiny, thirsty sponges that soak up any and all knowledge. In particular, any knowledge that may be left in the dwindling juices of their parents’ sleep-deprived brains.

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It’s all very sudden. One day they’re just lying there like adorable lumps of leaky clay, completely uninterested in Mr. Cloppity McHoover that you keep jangling in front of their face. They downright ignore your Oscar-worthy reenactment of “On The Night You Were Born” (complete with your dead-on impression of a tap-dancing polar bear). And as for peek-a-boo? Forget it. They couldn’t care less that you freaking DISAPPEARED for three seconds and then came back using nothing other than the power of your hands (which, let’s be honest, is a little hurtful).

And then BOOM. Suddenly they wake up and want to know EVERYTHING. What does Mr. Cloppity McHoover taste like? Let’s bite his face and find out.

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What is the symbolism and literary merit of dancing polar bears? Let’s gnaw on this book spine and find out. Where does Momma go during peek-a-boo? Let’s bite her finger and make her yell because it’s the funniest thing in the world.

Before you know it, they move onto the big questions. What’s that? And then there’s what’s that? And, of course, perhaps the biggest question of all, what’s that?

Yes, my son, who at 16-months still can’t (or more likely won’t) call me Momma (and instead refers to me as “Eh”), can say “what’s that?” so clearly and distinctly that it would make even poor Professor Higgins* weep with joy. I mean, granted, he’s had plenty of practice considering he’s asked me this question no less than 683 times a day, every day, for the past two months. But still, being that I’m his Eh, it makes me proud.

And exhausted.

Oh, so exhausted.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that my son wants to know all the things. But when I say “all the things,” I really mean All. The. Things.

He doesn’t just want to know what a tree is. Or even what a leaf on that tree is. No, he wants to know what every single leaf on every single branch of that tree is.

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And even that would be hypothetically doable, this game of naming everything in the known universe, if it weren’t for one teeny tiny detail:

He never, ever remembers a thing.

Yes, toddlers have horrible, horrible memories. Oh sure, he remembers the important things. He never forgets that 5 a.m. is TIME TO WAKE UP. Even if he stayed up until 4 a.m. the night before. Doesn’t matter. Cause 5 a.m. is TIME TO WAKE UP. No exceptions.

He also remembers that he’s not supposed to pull Mommy’s books out from the bookshelf. This, of course, doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it. He does. All the time. He just knows he’s not supposed to be doing it while he’s doing it, which is why he runs drunkenly on his tiny legs every time he snatches my copy of “The Hobbit” and hides oh-so-cleverly behind his playpen, which is made from 100 percent see-through mesh.

And he also remembers with startling clarity who Elmo is, which is why if you dare to even whisper the “E” word in our house, he will run drunkenly and directly to the TV and point and cry until that little high-pitched red demon is on the screen.

But as for anything else, WOOP! In one ear and out the other.

And that is why I just spent the last hour with him looking through all the pages of his “Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site” book. Not reading it, mind you. But slowly turning the pages and stopping every time we came to a page that had the moon on it so he could point to said moon and ask “what’s that?” while I answer “the moon…again.”

I’m sure, developmentally speaking, this is a very good sign. Of something. I have no idea what. My college childhood development classes** were many years and many, many beers ago.

So, I’m not complaining.***

Because in the end, curiosity in children should always be nurtured. No matter how brain-dead it makes you.

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*Old white dude from “My Fair Lady” who has a fetish for Spanish weather.

**Oh yeah, in addition to my journalism degree, I have a teaching degree. So, sleep tight tonight knowing that someday I could be the one in charge of your child’s brain…Muah-hahaha!

***Ha! Just kidding! This whole thing is pretty much one long complaint.

How to communicate with your toddler (or “The Diaper Incident”)

It’s always an exciting time when your precious toddler moves from the pre-verbal stage to the almost-verbal stage. You know, when they’re just talking up a storm but in a dialect and a language that you don’t quite understand because it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the entire universe.

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Take this recent incident between my son and I. See, currently his favorite game is “Drag All The Random Crap Out From His Room Into The Living Room And Into Momma’s Awaiting Hands.” The only rules I have imposed on this game are to not bring out his clean clothes from his dresser or the diapers from the diaper hangy thing (probably not its official name).

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We were playing this game yet again one afternoon when he brought out one of the diapers from the aforementioned hangy diaper thing. Being the amazing mother I am and knowing how important it is to give children boundaries and stick to them, I made him put it back.

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But then, a few minutes later, after handing me a rubber duck, a dust-covered binkie and his most prized possession, my left flip-flop, he brought out ANOTHER diaper. This time, I sternly laid down the law (again, because my mothering skills are unparalleled).

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And would you believe, he went back in his room and immediately came out with yet ANOTHER diaper, handing it to me while loudly and sternly proclaiming “Bah doo ishbah!” Kids, I tell you. They always have to push those boundaries (as any wise mother such as myself knows).

Well, believe you me I told him to put it back.

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And then…well, then he made his point the only way he possibly could when your wise, perfect, idiot mother is absolutely not listening to you. He reached into the diaper he was currently wearing and showed me in no uncertain terms that he had shat himself.

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“Oh…so, guess you need a diaper change then, yeah?” I sheepishly said to him.

And walking toward his room with as much dignity as one could muster with a pantsful of poop, my son replied over his shoulder, “Duh.”

It just goes to show you, communicating with your toddler can be rough at this stage. But with a little bit of love and a whole lot of patience, they’ll eventually teach us stupid parents to listen.