Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm the Mom Who Yells

Have you ever been out in public and seen (heard) the completely frazzled mom who is yelling at her kids and been slightly alarmed/felt sorry for her/called DCFS?

I'm that mom.

Let me set the stage- it's a lovely Saturday morning in December and I am at the photo studio to have E and M's Christmas portrait taken. My mother bought them the most beautiful and elaborate Christmas outfits (from the ridiculously expensive We're-Overindulged-Only-Grandchildren-Collection) and she wants a portrait for Christmas. Piece of cake.

So we arrive at the portrait studio and I must say that the children are looking radioactively cute. Everyone in the place starts 'ooohing' and 'aaahing' over the kids, the outfits, etc. The kids are even acting the part of perfect Christmas angels too- holding hands and sitting in chairs next to each other. I, on the other hand, haven't even had a chance to take a shower and am still wearing the same underwear from yesterday. And since my husband worked all night, I am by myself, trapped in a sea of Stepford families- all perfectly groomed and coordinated, wearing Christmas outfits, scampering with puppies, and basically looking as if they are going to jet off to Vail for a weekend of drinking hot chocolate and whizzing down the slopes. I can already feel them judging me and staring at the poor, dirty single mom with the adorable children- I wonder why she doesn't have a husband? Doesn't she know about birth control?? Quit staring at me you fuckers! You don't know my life!!

Ahem. Um, anyway...

So the kids keep up the perfect angel act until we actually get into the studio- then all hell breaks loose. They stand in front of the camera for about one nano-second and then start running around like holy terrors- throwing props, jumping off the blocks and stools, climbing up the backdrops (!). As soon as one of them gets in front of the camera, the other one runs behind the backdrop and starts rolling around, knocking shit all over the place. Or one starts grabbing the camera as the other runs out the door and I am torn between chasing the escaping kid or keeping the destructive kid from taking down all the studio equipment and thus making me pay $4,000 for Christmas pictures and the resulting damages.

This is when the yelling begins. (Note that my quiet requests for 'good listening' and 'smiling pretty' have been completely disregarded).

The following is a transcription of what the Stepford Families heard emanating from our studio room:

Loudly, "Come on guys, don't touch that! That's not ours! Now let’s smile pretty and take some nice pictures for Nonna!"

Then louder, "You little monkeys (read: assholes)! Quit climbing please! (Read: get the fuck down!)

And louder, "Seriously guys! NO TOUCHING!"


In the midst of my full-on screaming rant, I notice that the entire portrait studio has gotten eerily quiet. As I slink to the bathroom to change the kids out of their festive party-wear, I feel the stares. I look up, but no one will look me in the eye, clearly afraid that if they make eye contact it might just cause me to shave my head, climb a tower, and start shooting random people. The fact that my unwashed hair is now standing up on end from my numerous attempts to pull it out only heightens the effect. As we make our way out to the waiting area, everyone clears a path for us and starts looking for the nearest exit.

The kicker is, once the children are in public view again, they revert to full-on angel mode. E goes and sits quietly in the corner and watches the video that's playing while M sits calmly in my lap as I spend 20 minutes (and $200) ordering pictures. If Hallmark made a 'Fuck You, Mommy' card, this would be it.

So was my yelling particularly effective? For the children, hell no. It seems that the most effective strategy would have been to pin a $100 bill to each kid and drop them off at the studio, since they clearly didn't listen to a damn thing I said; however, the child welfare agencies frowned upon that plan. But the yelling was cathartic, so I'm going with it. The way I figure, those two little shits are going to spend the next 18 (okay, 30) years fucking with my head and making me a complete basketcase so I'm allowed to yell and blow off a little steam now and then. As far as a shopping strategy goes though, the yelling was rather effective. After all, no one wants the crazy unstable bitch behind them in line at the store.

Studio lighting, cameras, and other equipment: $4, 986

6 months of intensive psychotherapy (for mom and kids): $29, 000

Christmas portraits: priceless (actually, that's bullshit- they were $193.57)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dora the Explorer- that bitch makes me nuts

So E and M have a new little friend, Dora. And let me tell you, that bitch is making me crazy. Oh sure, she seems innocent enough. I like her Latin flare, and more brown people on tv appeals to my white-liberal-PC sensibility. And the music is catchy. However, even after taking all of the above into consideration, the show still drives me bat shit crazy. Let's look at the episode E and M were engrossed in this morning- for an hour.

(Yes, I let my 2 and 3 year old watch tv for an hour this morning. We didn't make crafts out of sticks, or learn French, or participate in any Montessori or Goddard endorsed enrichment activities. We sat on the couch, ate doughnuts with sprinkles on them at watched Dora. Don't worry, they will be fine. I expect they'll still go to college someday too.)

Anway, the synopsis of the episode goes like this: Dora and her pal Boots (a monkey (?) who wears boots. Get it? Ha. Funny.) find a bunch of puzzle pieces. The disembodied puzzle pieces start talking as Dora (who is supposed to be aided and abetted by the young audience) puts the puzzle together. Once assembled, we discover that the puzzle is a picture of a wizzard that was clearly taken off the side of a circa 1970 van- you know, the ones with the sticky interior coated with bong resin and the bumpersticker that reads "Cash, Grass or Ass-no one rides for free"- and said wizzard is missing his magic wand. So Dora, having never been warned about 'Stranger Danger' and without enough common sense to avoid the wizzard on the van driven by the token child molester in every single Lifetime move ever written, goes off with the wizzard to help him find his wand. Of course since this is programing for the 2-4 year old set, every episode has to follow the same series of events. So in every episode Dora has to help someone find some thing, and in order to do that they have to pass 3 things. Let' s go to the transcript, shall we?

Map (another of Dora's friends)- To find the magic wand, go over the lake, through the tunnel, and to the end of the rainbow!

Map (again)- That's lake, tunnel, rainbow!

M- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

M- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

M- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

M- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

M- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

Dora- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

D- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

D- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

D- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

(This is the point where I load the revolver and put the barrel in my mouth)

M- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

D- Lake, tunnel, rainbow!

Do you see what I mean? Bat. Shit. CRAZY.

Oh, you can give me all the crap you want about word repitition and vocabulary building and whatever the hell makes people think that this kind of drivel is educational. Let me tell you, kids don't need you to repeat 'lake, tunnel, rainbow!' 57,000 times in order to learn new words. Say 'fuck' in front of them once and they will remember and repeat that shit until the end of time.

So anyway- after I come out of the seizure induced by Dora and her pals repeatedly screaming 'LAKE! TUNNEL! RAINBOW!!!' the episode wraps up by Dora and her pals- a map, a backpack, a purple cow, the freaky van wizzard, and the trusty monkey Boots- go up in a rocketship piloted by an iguana (!) to the top of the rainbow (!!). They then slide down the rainbow, find the magic wand, and the wizzard thanks them by using his magic wand to produce piles of toys and lollipops laced with LSD.

Don't believe me? I'll be happy to give you the dvd. I couldn't make this shit up.

So I ask you, what is the point of this? It can't just be to drive the mothers of 2 and 3 year olds crazy, because we all know you don't need a dvd to do that. What have we really learned from Dora? Diversity and tolerence? I doubt it- I don't think my kids even identify with Dora as a latina. You want to teach your kids diversity and tolerence? How about you go out and get some friends that don't look and talk and think exactly like you do?

What we have really learned is this:

1. The writers of Dora the Explorer clearly engaged in way too much recreational drug use during their formative years.

2. Exposure to too much Dora will make Mommy fall on the floor and twitch repeatedly.

3. Talking wizzards lifted from the side of vans driven by drifters loaded up on crank and weed aren't scary to children and thus the whole 'Just Say No' and 'Stranger Danger' school intervention programs must seriously be reworked.

Seriously. Bat. Shit. CRAZY.

Bad Mommy Confessions

Sick of the ultra-competitive, over-analyzed, uber-researched parenting 'trend'? Yeah, well so am I. I'm tired of feeling like I have to have a PhD in snot wiping in order to raise happy, healthy, well adjusted kids. I'm sick of feeling like I was a failure since I didn't have an un-medicated, intervention- free birth and then I didn't go on to exclusively breast feed my kids for 3 years. I'm worn out from trying so hard to do everything 'right' and feeling like I'm getting it all wrong.

So I say fuck all that.

I say it's okay to let your kids eat Oreos for breakfast once in a while. It's okay to skip educational lecture at the zoo and go right to the ice cream stand. It's okay to call in sick to work and daycare and spend all day in your jammies in front of the tv occasionally, even if it is really nice outside. And it's okay to admit that sometimes your own sweet, lovely, beautiful children will make you so freaking crazy that you will have fantasies about running off to a remote island with their pediatrician/the UPS guy/the inventor of the vasectomy and not leave a forwarding address.

(It is NOT, however, okay to abuse or neglect ANY child even if they are being a total shithead. I am an ardent supporter of the Constitution and do not believe in the death penalty, but I think anyone who willfully hurts a child should be disemboweled in a public square and their bodies fed to rabid dogs. If you think this blog is about that kind of 'Bad Mommy Confessions' you are sorely mistaken. So go throw your sick carcass off a bridge somewhere.)

The point of Bad Mommy Confessions is to unclench and admit that sometimes I go off the grid of parenting advice. It's a place to confess that although I love my children more than life itself sometimes they make me so fucking mad I want to rip my uterus out and throw it at them.

If you find all this absolutely shocking and incomprehensible you clearly have no children. Or sense of humor. Or both.

If you can relate just a little tiny bit, I'm glad you found me. Now let's get real.