25 Alternative Facts of Parenthood

pinocchio1I’m no politician, but I know a fancy phrase for bullshit when I see one.  It doesn’t bode well when you’re the actual advisor to the President of the United States of America. But as a parent? Let’s just say there hasn’t been a better made-up word since “threenager.”

When you have kids, lying becomes second nature. No one is saying you’re proud of it, but it’s true. The older your kids get, the more quickly you can come up with the perfect line of bullshit to suit every situation. Few parents will make it through their kids’ childhood without crafting a few necessary “alternative facts” here and there. I like to think of it as a survival tactic. So to celebrate my new favorite expression, I thought I’d share some of my favorite alternative facts of parenthood.
“The elf is watching everything you do and Santa is leaving you nothing!”

“No I’m not on Facebook, I’m fact checking your homework assignment.”

“What’s wine? This is grape juice.”

“Daddy was just in the bed checking mommy’s legs for tick bites.”

“Caillou isn’t on today. Actually, they cancelled it. Forever. Ditto for Max and Ruby.”

“Only grownups are allowed in the restaurant on date night.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“If you call 911 when there is no emergency, the police will come and take you to jail.”

“I LOVED doing homework as a kid.”

“Wow! That is the prettiest stick figure I’ve ever seen!”

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose — as long as you had fun!”

“Your face will freeze like that” (technically this is true because I’ll snap a pic and share it on Instagram, where it will remain frozen forever).

“Sure, I’d love for you to help me cook dinner.”

“No, I don’t mind waiting (an eternity) while you button your own coat.”

“My kid will NEVER get away with (insert literally any offense at all) when he/she is a teenager.”

“It gets easier after the terrible twos.”

(To your spouse after being home with the kids all day) “I’m just gonna take a fast shower, be out in a few minutes.”

“I’m ONLY going to Target for diapers.”

“My Costco bill will be under $300 today.”

“I don’t have a favorite kid.”

“You’re never watching YouTube again!”

“Sure, I want to see your Minecraft house.”

“I missed you guys so much while you were in school today!”

“Yes, you can cut your finger off with a butter knife.” (also technically true, right Uncle Mike?)

“You can only use your tablet for ONE hour today.”

What are some of your favorite alternative facts in parenting?

Five Things I Need in a Bestie

Bestie goals.

So I haven’t posted a new blog in over six months. Why? Well, I won’t bore you with details, but mostly because life. Because stress. Because marriage. Because work. Because 4-year-olds. Because 8-year-olds. Because writers block. Because summer. Because back to school.

Speaking of back to school, my daughter just started kindergarten at the school where my son is currently starting third grade.

If you read my most recent blog post, aptly titled People think I’m a Bitch, you may already know that I’ve struck out pretty hard when it comes to snagging some new mom friends from my son’s class. Apparently hiding behind trees to avoid social interactions does not win you any points in the new friend department. But I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf with my daughters class this year. I’ve been given a second chance with these mamas and this time I won’t screw it up. Heck, I’m already planning my future blog entry titled “People Think I Couldn’t Be More Fucking Awesome.” I’m gonna leave that one at the top of my blog for even longer than six months this time!

Sorry for the painful cliche, but this is a new year and a new me. No longer will paralyzing social anxiety leave me hiding behind trees (and no, not just because there aren’t any trees shading the front entrance where the kindergarten classes are dismissed). I’m going to slap on a smile, maybe swallow a Xanax or two, and get my ass in friend-making mode. This year I will meet my future mom friend BFF.

Full disclosure (and before she kills me) you should know I already have a bestie and she’s, well, the best. But whatever, she works a lot.

So here’s the thing. I just have a few small requirements for my future bestie. I know, I know, someone with a social circle the size of a cheerio shouldn’t exactly be picky, but if we’re gonna be sharing wine and bitching about everything from husbands to homework, then she’s gotta fit some necessary criteria. Like the following:

She must drink wine. Like copious amounts of it. I’m not really into that whole “oh I need a glass of wine, I had a rough day” crap where you literally drink just ONE glass of wine and then act like it made an ounce of difference in the shittiness of your day. I want my future BFF to be the type of chick who goes “oh today sucked” and then guzzles a whole bottle before ordering $300 worth of Christmas decorations on Amazon and passing out on the couch with her hands in a half-empty bucket of Party Mix.

She must not be a judgy bitch. Look, we’re ALL guilty of passing judgement here and there. But you can’t be a total witch about it. Like if we’re at the park with the kids or something and I see a woman breastfeeding her kid and  I’m like “hey good for her, breastfeeding her kid in public and not giving a fuck about what anyone thinks” and then you’re like “oh gross, she should put those tits away,” and then I’m like “well the baby’s hungry, it’s no big deal” and you’re like “oh but there are kids around” and “I’m like yeah totally, there’s one even hanging off her boob” and then you actually walk over to the poor woman and tell her to go feed her kid somewhere else, then not only can’t we be friends, but I will loudly call you the C-word before asking Public Breastfeeding Mom to squirt some boob milk in your bitchy, judgemental face

She must watch trashy reality TV. If I send you text during the Bachelor asking who you think is SOL on getting a rose this week and I don’t receive a response within exactly five minutes, then this isn’t gonna work out.

She must not be too weird on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media site. I guess it goes without saying here that she needs to also be ON Facebook and Instagram, mostly because I’m a huge fan of the screenshot and she should be too. I don’t have any specifics for “not too weird” but if your kid comes down with some hideous rash and you post a photo of it, asking for opinions from all the Google University doctors on your Facebook page instead of consulting an actual doctor, then that falls into the “weird” category. Also weird? Is the compulsive desire to post nauseating pictures of your significant other every day, declaring your undying love for all the world to see as often as possible. Aside from an overabundance of daily selfies, there’s nothing more likely to get you deleted, or at the very least, politely hidden. Don’t mean to sound bitchy, it’s just that if I don’t even want to see your face in my News Feed then there’s no way I want it anywhere near me in real life.

She must dislike talking on the phone. There are very, very, VERY, few people whose calls don’t go directly to voicemail (or they would, if I ever bothered to set my voicemail up in the first place), and I’ve known all of these people for over 30 years. So unless you want to wait til we’re in our sixties to chat, let’s just stick to texting, k?

Are you out there, future bestie?

Why I’m Terrified of the Next Stage

At least once a day I find myself thinking: “Nope! I didn’t sign up for this. Parenthood, screw you.”

Because this stuff is not easy. Like, realllllly not easy. Like set the difficulty level on maximum, tie a blindfold around your head, and then try to beat the game kind of not easy.

And it’s somehow just getting worse every day.

But how is that even possible? I’ve spent 20 whole months of my life walking around with another human inside my body. I literally had a watermelon-sized PERSON squirming away in my uterus, smashed up against my internal organs, stealing my vital nutrients and playing trampoline with my bladder. And that was the EASY PART!

After that came the sleepless nights and unforgettable days of being nothing more than a caffeine-fueled zombie with leaking tits. I’ll never forget the miserable nights when my colicky baby would scream at maximum lung capacity for four hours at a time and it was all I could do not to rip my own ears off and feed them to the dog. And the new parent anxiety? The trepidation associated with realizing there is a tiny little person whose life lies entirely in your hands and there is no reset button to press when you screw up? The fear of this realization is paralyzing, especially to those of us riddled with anxiety to begin with.

And what’s next? The toddler shit show. You know, when your sweet little chubby-cheeked angel somehow evolves into this shit-talking baby/person hybrid that still does all the annoying baby stuff but now thinks it’s a tiny grown up and yells at you every fifteen seconds. If you’re not yet in this phase, someday you will find your two young children huddled in a corner holding “safety” scissors and hacking away at each other’s hair, and you’ll fight back tears of frustration as you think to yourself “I can’t wait until this toddler shit is over, it can’t be worse than this.”

Oh, but I think it can. And it will.

Brace yourselves. Toddlerhood is coming.

Brace yourselves. Toddlerhood is coming.

When my kids were really young and they were glued to my hip 24/7, sympathetic people would occasionally say “don’t worry, it gets better when they get a little bigger and you don’t need to be on top of them all the time.” Although they were probably just saying that to steer the conversation away from the latest object my kid stuck up her nose, they were partially right. There is a certain undeniable freedom that goes along with being able to turn your back for ten seconds without the fear of finding a child swinging from a cabinet or eating raw chicken out of the garbage can.

But once you emerge from the sleep-deprived hell-on-earth of raising toddlers, you’re far from in the clear. When people used to tell me “little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems,” I wanted to punch them in the throat. I admit it wasn’t just their condescending attitude that pissed me off—it was the underlying fear that I would someday learn they were actually telling the truth. And now as I watch my own children each graduate from toddlerhood, I realize they are about to enter a world where they’re old enough to start remembering stuff. There’s no longer a margin for error. One bad screw-up and they’re like scarred for life, you guys. How is that for pressure?

Once toddlerhood is over, it dawns on you that that all you really needed to fix little kid problems was a big stack of baby wipes and a little patience. Or preferably, a good set of ear plugs. But these big kid problems are a doozy. Your kid starts coming home from school with questions that you’d rather fake your own death than answer. Let’s just say they don’t bat their innocent lashes at you and inquire where babies come from anymore. Oh, and the homework assignments? I can answer Final Jeopardy correctly at least once a week, yet I have to Google my son’s second grade homework problems for answers. WTF?

I’m not sure how much worse it gets from here, but I’ve read enough horror stories about texting and driving to know that the crap I’m dealing with now is fucking peanuts compared to what’s coming next. And I’m not ready for any of it.

I Love It When People Aren’t Assholes

I really love it when people aren’t assholes.

Let’s face it, people are assholes ALL THE TIME.  Everywhere you go, you find asshole people doing asshole things in all different kinds of asshole ways, and you think to yourself, “wow, what assholes.”

For example, when I’m trying to catch an elevator because I’m lugging around a stroller that, believe it or not, doesn’t come equipped with retractable legs for climbing stairs, and I’m suddenly cut off by a group of non-stroller-wielding, non-handicapped individuals, I’m like “holy shit, these people are a bunch of assholes.”

Or when I’m waiting for my son outside his school, and I look to my right and see a person parked in the yellow, school bus-loading zone and her gargantuan SUV is blocking actual school buses from parking there and letting children on, I think to myself “she’s quite the asshole.”

Or back when I was nine months pregnant in the supermarket, pushing a heavy shopping cart full of groceries and a screaming three-year-old, and someone practically threw themselves in front of me like a goddamn NFL linebacker in order to get in line first, I was like “yeesh, asshole city!”

It’s like the world’s population consists of just two kinds of people: assholes and non-assholes.

Once in a while, you get lucky and come upon the non-assholes. I like those days.

I like the days when when I walk into a shopping mall and someone jumps ahead to grab the door and open it for me and my awkward, bulky double-stroller.  I like when I’m at the pediatrician’s office and I’m checked in by the sweet receptionist who smiles at my kids and offers them SpongeBob and Dora stickers, instead of by the miserable teenager who clearly hates her job and sneers at my babies like the spawn of Satan that she is.

I like when I’m driving and people kindly let me merge into their lane when mine is closing, instead of slamming on the gas like Speedy Gonzalez with a drivers license just to not let me in for NO REASON AT ALL.  There’s a special spot in hell for those kinds of assholes, by the way.

I liked it when I used to commute to work on an express bus and a person would get a call on their cell phone, and they would speak in a low whisper or, even better, hang up and promise to call back when they got off the bus.

I like the words “thank you.”  I love to hear them and I don’t think people say them nearly enough.  It’s such a simple phrase, yet I can’t count how many doors I’ve held open, how many cars I’ve let go ahead of me, how many sneezing strangers I’ve blessed, without receiving even the simplest form of gratitude.  It’s truly mind-boggling.

I also enjoy the words “excuse me.”  They are, incidentally, very simple to say.  Assholes of the world, please try saying them with me.  It won’t take more than a moment.  “Excuse me.”  There.  You assholes CAN say it.  So the next time you feel like charging onto the subway like a fucking bull in a china shop, try uttering that very simple phrase instead of proceeding to be the animal that you are.  I lost a shoe on some train tracks in Brooklyn a few years ago on my way to work because of an asshole like you, and I will never get over it.  Yes, seriously.  That happened to me.  Stupid asshole kicked it right off my foot.  Not my best day.

Sometimes it seems like there aren’t any nice people left in the world.  Some days you just encounter one asshole after another, and you’re so fed up with the assholes around you that you think you may, someday soon, just turn into one yourself.  Maybe that’s how the world ended up with so many assholes in the first place.

But please don’t ever do that.  Please don’t ever become an asshole.  You’ll be letting the assholes win and you must NEVER LET THE ASSHOLES WIN.

Where is Larry David when you need him??

Where is Larry David when you need him??

Believe it or not, my goal today is not to spread my disdain for those eternally plagued by asshole disease.  Such people are disliked widely enough all on their own without any of my help .  My goal is actually to celebrate the wonderful people among us who are not assholes AT ALL.  It is to give thanks to those who go about their day, every day, with no intention whatsoever of unleashing deliberate grief or anguish upon a single person they come across.

I wish to express my appreciation for those who always keep their nasty comments to themselves, who often go out of their way to make brighter the day of the people around them, who will express their own gratitude toward others who have been decent to them as well, and who never fail to follow the most basic, childhood lesson in morality that a shockingly large number of people seem to have long forgotten: always treat others the same way that you, yourself, wish to be treated.

I want to use my blogging platform today to give a big, hearty THANK YOU to the NICE people of the world. Your kindness, manners, and general awesomeness does not go unnoticed by everyone (contrary to how it often may feel).

And as for the rest of you?  Please stop being such assholes.

You know who you are 😉