Category Archives: Fun

Negotiation Abomination

I am told that one of the many developments in the third year of life is the ability to negotiate.  When your kids turn three, suddenly your house turns into a Middle Eastern bazaar.

Kid: “Can I have a cookie?”

Parent: “Not until you clean up your toys.”

Kid: “How about I clean up one toy and then you give me the cookie?”

Parent: “No, clean up all of your toys and then I’ll give you the cookie.”

Kid: “How about I clean up two toys and then you give me the cookie?”

Parent: “No, clean up all of your toys and then I’ll give you the cookie.”

Kid: “How about I clean up no toys, scream at the top of my lungs for a half hour and then pee on the carpet, eh?”

Parent: “Fine, have the cookie.”

As this phenomenon has unfolded in my house, one thing has become abundantly clear.  My kids suck at negotiating.  I will never, ever hire them to represent me in any business deal or trial.  They will sell me down the river all day long.  If you don’t believe me, here are a few examples of what they regularly do to themselves.

1.  The Carrot Conundrum

We were sitting at the dinner table the other night at the end of the meal and Addy wanted ice cream for dessert.  I told her she could have ice cream if she ate two more baby carrots.  She replied, “No FOUR more baby carrots.” Not wanting her to feel like I was an easy kill, I replied “No, FIVE more carrots.”  “OK” she said, and that was that.  She ate the five carrots.  Such a sucker.

2.  The Peanut Potato Chips

While eating lunch at the café at school on Monday, one of Addy and Zack’s classmates came over to say “hi.”  She was enjoying a bag of potato chips and my kids instantly wanted in on the snacktion.  “Mommy, can we buy those potato chips too?” they asked.  “Not until you finish your lunch, but if you eat nicely we can get them.” I replied.  “No,” Zack said “we can’t get them because last time you said that they have nuts and I’m allergic to peanuts.”  Bam, discussion over.  Potato chips were off the table.  And what’s really nuts is that Zack doesn’t have a peanut allergy!  Just kidding, he does…but I never said that those chips have nuts in them.  He made that up for the sole purpose of sabotaging himself!

3.  The Bedtime Battle

Zack was being a “baby jerk”© at bedtime a few weeks ago, refusing to get in bed, whining, screaming and convulsing on the floor.  We tried multiple approaches to get him to calm down and go to sleep, but he refused so we entered threat stage.  “Get in bed or we’re going to take away Bla Bla.*” we said.  “No, take away Bla Bla AND my camera!” he yelled.  “If you don’t get in bed in five seconds, we’re going to take away all of your toys!” we threatened.  “No, take away all my toys and throw them in the garbage!” he spat back.  We decided to end it there for fear that his next move would be an offer to have us cut off his pinky finger.  I guess, technically this is an example of him using an out of the box tactic to win the negotiation but it was risky, very risky.

So if you see a commercial on at 3 AM advertising the law firm of Addy & Zack, Esq. do not, I repeat, do not hire them to represent you in the Verizon Wireless class action law suit settlement you just got an email about.  Knowing them, you’ll end up owing $5 million rather than collecting the $0.32 that Verizon overcharged you back in 1998.

© Z, 2011 (My friend Andrew coined this brilliant phrase and I use it at least three times a week.)

*Bla Bla is Zack’s favorite stuffed animal

Waiting for the Bomb to Drop…

There are two reasons why I am counting the seconds until one of my three-year-olds shouts out the word “F—K!”  The first is that no matter how many times I look into their adorable, innocent faces and the reality and sanctity of motherhood blows my mind to pieces, I keep accidentally cursing in front of them.  I wasn’t always a potty mouth.  I think it really started in my first job after college, where I worked 80 hours a week at an investment bank surrounded by a bunch of potty mouthed men.  I think if my office was censored and a beep went off every time someone cursed, it would have sounded more like an intensive care unit than a bank.  In fact, at my going away dinner when I left that job to head to business school, my group printed me a T-shirt that said, simply, “FYYFF”.  That stands for “F— you, you f—ing f—.”  It was their way of saying we love you and good luck at school.  I swear.

The second reason why I think I will hear a tiny-voiced f-bomb any minute is that my kids are obsessed with music.  For better or for worse, they’re not obsessed with Raffi or Barney.  They’re obsessed with Billboard’s Top 40.  Normally, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but what makes it dangerous is they know how to operate Spotify on my iphone better than I do.  Just the other day, I walked into the kitchen to find Addy and Zack having a dance party while Adam Levine and B.O.B. serenaded them with the explicit version of Payphone (one of their favorite songs in its clean form).  They were jumping up and down and giggling and having a blast, seemingly oblivious to the monsoon of foul language streaming into their ears.  If I were deaf, I would have sworn they were bouncing around to the theme song to Sesame Street.  It was then that I realized that Spotify’s gotta go.

While my potty mouth has certainly toned down over the years and I’ve since deleted Spotify from my phone, eliminating my kids’ unfettered access to a wonderland of bad words, I know the day is coming.  All I have to say is please don’t let the bomb drop at school or in front of other parents.  If that happens, I will be so f—ing embarrassed.

Eat Your Clucking Broccoli

When I became a mom three years ago, I quickly realized that this job requires proficiency at a large and varied number of skills.  Changing diapers without getting drenched, holding my breath for five minutes while I empty the diaper garbage, patting my head while rubbing my belly in a circular motion, you get the drift.  But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the most valuable skill I could ever have as a mom is the ability to act like a sleeping zoo animal.

No joke, I am required by my children to use this skill multiple times a day, every day without fail.  The two primary locations in which it is demanded are the kitchen and the bathroom.  In the kitchen, here is what goes down:  I put a well-balanced and delicious meal in front of Addy and Zack containing a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and pasta.  They transform into vacuum cleaners, point the hose directly at the pasta, press on, the pasta disappears off of their plates (no chewing, no hands, no swallowing), and then they transform back into humans.  For the next half hour, they initiate 847 different topics of conversation ranging from where Daddy is to how I cured Zack’s hiccups last night (a.k.a. seven weeks ago) by saying “Boo!”  They get up and sit down no less than 25 times, Addy falls off of her chair at least once, and they completely ignore me anytime I say “please eat your [fruit/vegetable/protein].”

One day I was so beaten down from my failed efforts to get them to eat anything nutritious that I put my head down on the table and closed my eyes.  Zack and Addy promptly started screaming at me “Wake up Mommy!!!! Wake uuuuuuuuuuuuuup!!” and then the idea hit me.  I told them that the only way to wake me up would be to eat a piece of chicken and then I fell back to sleep on the table.  Shockingly, they did it and I woke up with a little jump that made them giggle.  Then they begged me to do it again and again and I proceeded to con those suckers into eating their whole dinner.

Over time, my wake ups required more and more pizzazz.  I am now at the point where I pretend to be a sleeping animal instead of a sleeping mom.  When Addy and Ben take a bite of their food, I wake up, jump out of my seat and make any one of about 27 different animal noises.  My favorite is the giraffe because it requires the least amount of effort – munch, munch.  My least favorite is the elephant, which I make by pressing my lips together and blowing really hard to create a horrible noise that makes me feel like I am going to pass out right into their plates.

I’ll spare you the details of how this skill applies in the bathroom.  Just know that my kids can be even more chatty and unfocused on the pooper than they are at dinner and, trust me, the sleeping chimpanzee works better than a tab of ex-lax with a prune juice chaser.

Things I’d Kill Max for Doing…That I Just Did

Since my kids are three, I have a treasure trove of mishaps and fun times to talk about in this blog that I’ve collected over the last 36 months.  But screw all of that.  Let’s start with what happened yesterday afternoon at the park.

Among my numerous neuroses related to the kids, a close second to them getting sick/injured is my fear that they are not active and adventurous enough.  When they refuse to get up from my lap at a gymnastics birthday party, it takes an intensely imagined straight jacket and gag to keep me from shoving them onto the trampoline after berating them with a Bobby Knight-style “pep talk.”  When they ride their scooters two blocks to the playground without complaining, the voice in my head sounds like Aly Raisman’s parents at the 2012 London Olympic Floor Exercise Finals with a touch of Mega Millions winner.

So when Addy and Zack expressed an interest in jumping off a 1.5-foot bench onto the sidewalk, I briefly saw two plaques awarded to brother/sister athletes of the year, [insert NYC Suburb] High School, Class of 2028, then figured, “what’s the worst that could happen?” because I’d surely hold their hands while they jumped.  I said OK and told them they would get one jump each because we needed to go home to cook dinner.

Zack went first and took a soaring leap about three inches up and four inches out while grasping both of my hands like we were seared together with superglue.  Then Addy approached launch position and it all went to hell.  “Get away Mommy, I want to go by myself!” she commanded and before I could respond she jumped and landed, two feet on the floor.  Sure enough, after a two second beat, Zack began scrining (scream-whining), “I wanna do it by myself!  Addy got to do it by herself! I wanna do it by myself! Addy got to do it by herself! I wanna do it by myself!” 

Although Zack is less sure-footed than Addy, I threw caution to the wind and did what I needed to do to turn the volume down – I said OK.  After what seemed like an hour-and-a-half waiting for him to decide where on the bench he wanted to climb up, he shimmied to the edge and considered jumping.  His face and body language couldn’t have been any clearer – he was not sure he really wanted to do this by himself.  He bent his knees and threw his arms back but stopped short of jumping and told me that I needed to say “one, two, three, jump!”  I heeded his request and he jumped, but my instincts screamed “catch him!” and I did.   Fury filled his wide, innocent eyes and he screamed at me “I wanna do it by myself!  Don’t catch me!” then ran back to the bench for a third try.  He again tentatively made his way to the edge of the bench and struggled through a few false starts and a few unanswered “one, two, three, jumps.”  Then he did it.  Right there in the middle of the crowded NYC park, he presented me with the Moron-Mother of the Year award.  He curled himself into a watermelon, slowly tipped his body off the bench and landed square on the sidewalk, head-first.  The sound that his skull made as it met the ground was a cross between what it sounds like when you drop an egg and a 10-pound free weight on cement. 

I basically stood there watching, dumbfounded until the blood-curdling screaming of both Zack and Addy woke me from my daze of horror.  When I picked him up, I thought for sure blood would be spurting out of this forehead and shooting me in the face like that scene with the bicyclist from Monty Python.  Then I thought his eye would be dilated and he’d puke all over me (this is what my pediatrician told me to look out for the last 73 times I emailed her asking what to do when one of the kids bumped their heads).  Before I could even assess the situation, I decided the best course of action would be to call 911, give Addy to the homeless guy eating tuna fish on the bench across the way, throw the tricycle we had with us in the garbage can to my left and hire an attorney on behalf of Max to write up divorce papers that I would be served in the ER waiting room.  But then I looked up at Zack and he was totally fine.  No blood, no egg head, normal pupils, no projectile vomit.  Just some tears and an imprint of the sidewalk on his nugget. 

Addy and Zack were still crying as we walked home and I couldn’t calm them down until I did what any loving parent would do in this situation.  I started making fun of him, and it slayed! “Hey Zack, next time you jump off a bench, try landing on your feet instead of your head!” The crying transitioned to craughing, I was onto something.  Then I went all out and started calling him Humpty Dumpty and it was over, they were toast.

We called Max when we got home to tell him what happened and his reaction was akin to me telling him that I was making boiled chicken and beans for dinner or I had gotten 50 cents off a box of tampons as CVS today.  Clearly, had this happened on his watch, my reaction would have been similarly unruffled.  Psyche.  I would have yelled at him for 20 minutes, given him the cold shoulder the rest of the night, then I would have reminded him of the “mishap” seven times a day until Zack was 25 years old.  But I’m the mom so I’m allowed to react like that, right?  I mean, I’m the one who carried those two babies for 34.5 weeks, suffered through two months of bed rest , then had my abdomen cut open and my guts laid on a table to get them out.  I think I earned the right to overreact a little, no?

Thankfully, Max still loves me (I think) even though he knows I would have castrated him if he let Zack smash his head on a sidewalk.  Here is a list of other things that I’d kill Max for doing that I have actually done:

1.       Leaving the two-year-old kids in bath seats in the tub for “two seconds” while I threw their diapers in the Dekkor.  (They were in bath seats!)

2.       Giving them candy after they shit in their underwear. (Addy and Zack, not Max)

3.       Letting Addy and Zack chase pigeons down 72nd Street while I talk on the phone to my mom.  (What? I don’t need my mouth and ears to see them!)

4.       Telling Addy and Zack that there will be no TV on school mornings under any circumstances, then promptly turning on Dora when they run into our room at 6:30 AM.  (Me sleepy)

5.       Letting the kids stand up in the stroller, unbuckled, while I pushed them uphill with bags hanging on the handlebar, only to have the stroller give from the weight and fall backwards, rendering the kids completely upside down (still in the stroller) and hysterical.  (Oh, stop! They were fine!)