The Chachi Fairy Cometh

I finally did what I said I was going to do for ages now–get rid of the effing chachi (or pacifier for all you normal people out there). We kept finding excuses to put it off: we were going on vacation and couldn’t do that to the grandparents, or we were just too tired, or we were just too scared.

To tell the truth I was dreading it, even though I knew it had to happen! Everyone I talked to said it would take 3 days of screaming and I just couldn’t do that to myself. However, it was so much easier than I thought it would be! (Feel free to punch or throw something or throw a punch at me!)

Sure, the Chachi Fairy had to send her assistant racing to the nearest sporting goods store to purchase a scooter and something for the smaller one, and then she had to collect the 2 chachis and put them in their little pouch so the big one could place them in the tree in the front yard for pickup in the middle of the night.

And of course the chachis would become permanent stars in the sky so the girls could always see them at night. Daddy even went so far as to point out their Mama’s old chachi. Oh yeah, and she also had to wrap the presents and make little cards with glitter hearts so that by the time she was done, the house looked like Tinkerbell farted pixie dust everywhere! This all sounds so silly, but it freaking worked!

Chachi Fairy's Business Card

Chachi Fairy’s Business Card

Love,  The Chachi Fairy

Love,
The Chachi Fairy

My wine glass and I were prepared for a sleepless week–a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad week. But on the first night, the little one slept straight through without a peep and we were shocked. She didn’t do that when she had the chachi! She usually woke up a couple times needing it put back in. The big one had a harder time obviously because she had the stupid thing for much longer, but after a couple days of asking about Chachi, she stopped and forgot about it.

So there you have it. All that time I could’ve thrown them away sooner and saved myself countless hours of searching for a goddamn pacifier!

I’m so excited that they’re gone–it feels like I’ve won some big important parenting award! The hubby is excited too, but he couldn’t part with them for sentimental reasons, or maybe it was because he wanted them as backup in case our plan didn’t work.

Maybe we’ll have them bronzed for posterity’s sake.

Success!

Success!

Obsessed with Books

We go to storytime every week.

It’s our religion.

I don’t know if it’s more for me or for my daughter as I’m just as obsessed about getting new library books as she is. It must be what Carrie Bradshaw felt every time she passed a shoe store. My palms get all sweaty and my heart skips a beat seeing all the book spines lined up.  I want ALL the books and I want them now!

I can’t help myself from perusing the shelves while my daughter sits and listens to the librarian read aloud. For the length of those three books, I’m in hog heaven imagining I had time to read at all. I end up checking out books that I know I’ll never finish–a classic case of my eyes being too big for my stomach. If that’s not an addiction, I don’t know what is. I could care less if my little girl is behaving and listening while sitting criss-cross applesauce, just let me look at books and imagine sitting in a quiet room, or better yet, an island in the sun with my book and a daiquiri.

I wanted to pass on my love of reading and books and I think it’s already taken. She loves to read all day, sometimes choosing them over watching a movie (which makes me really proud). This is what the corner of her dresser looks like at all times:

Library Books Galore

So I’ve decided to start writing about our favorites. I’ve come across so many children’s books that I absolutely adore that I want to share them with someone. Whenever the storytime lady reads one that I’ve already checked out, I yawn and shine my knuckles on my crusty shirt, “We read that ages ago. Get with it, lady.” Not really, but I do feel some sort of smug satisfaction that we indeed already read it. How stupid, huh? I can’t help it.

Our newest batch of books includes Crankee Doodle, Little Oink, and Hank Finds An Egg.

Hank Finds An Egg

Hank! My Hero!

I instantly fell in love with the photos in this book. It features an adorable little teddy bear named Hank who *surprisingly* finds an egg in the woods!

There aren’t any words in this book–which is somewhat an issue for a writer as myself–as the story is the guts of the book–however without words, it gives the writer in all of us a chance to create our own story. The author, Rebecca Dudley, created a storybook with whimsical pictures and a heart-warming storyline featuring a bear who wants to return a lost egg to its rightful owner. When we see all the trouble he went through to get the egg back to its home, do we then, truly understand Hank and his journey.

There’s something truly magical about Hank and his quest to get the egg back to its nest.

mama and hankHe’s a gentleman in an age where chivalry has died. Sure, he could go ahead and eat that egg when the economy has tanked and he’s ‘hankering’ for a Whopper but all he gets are some sprouts and berries. But no, he goes and delivers that egg to its Mama, like a true gentleman. There should be more dudes like Hank in the world. Out, not just for himself, but for mankind.

Check out this enchanting book if you still believe in happy endings…and I’m not talking about the kind at the massage parlors.

Tuesdays with Snooki

The moment you realize you have more in common with Snooki than Michelle Obama do you:

A) Call your mom and apologize
B) Sign up for etiquette  classes
C) Do 10 shots of Jager and say screw it right before getting up on that tabletop to dance
D) All of the above

snooki

The other day I realized I had more in common with Snooki than I cared to admit. When writing a tweet that said something like, “I hate when people who can’t read go on to write a book,”I was referring to the pint-sized self-appointed “meatball” from MTV’s Jersey Shore and her book, Baby Bumps.

Snooki book

After tweeting it, I realized I was just hating on Snooki for doing something that I dream about doing –getting published– not achieving the world’s deepest tan or highest pouf. In the midst of my hating, I had to take a hard look at myself and that’s when I realized I was more like Snooki than I thought.

And here are the top 10 ways:

1) I used to be addicted to tanning. Me with my freckly German/Irish skin used to “fake bake” in a cancer box my senior year of high school. Back then in ’99, spray-tanning wasn’t what it is today. It was just a can of orange spray paint but similar to the effect seen below.

snooki tan

2) Have thrown up in my share of parking lots. I used to have a life before I had kids and that included going out and drinking way too much. I finally learned that shots were to be done at the beginning of the evening and not at the end after you’ve already had one too many. And Flip Cup should never be played with Lemon Drops.

3) I’m kind of Italian. My grandmother was 100% Sicilian and 200% crazy so by that logic–I’m 1/4 Italian and 1/2 insane. Apparently Snooki was adopted from Chile by Italian American parents so she’s basically Italian by osmosis.

4) I’m short. Still taller than Snooki, but short all the same.

ss

5) I used to be a vet assistant. Apparently Snooki went to vet school to be a vet tech. I can’t imagine she’d be good at expressing anal glands, however she might have had her finger in worse places than a dog’s butthole when she lived at the Shore.

6) I’m a mom. No one ever predicted that Snooki would settle down and have a baby. While I can’t say the same for me because I was never a true party girl, some days I’m still surprised that I’m somebody’s mom.

snooki mom

7) I’d sleep all day if allowed to. I’d give anything to be able to sleep like a teenager again. Any.Thing.

8) I have awful tattoos. There are only 2 small ones on my back but one is technically a tramp stamp and the other is often misconstrued as the wrong initial. Here are just a couple of Snooki’s.

snooki tattoo

9) Have lived with a relative as a grown-ass adult. But at least it was a long time ago and way before I ever had kids.

10) Had a tiny crush on Vinny. What can I say–it’s hard to resist a babyface.

In conclusion, I can see why Snooki became America’s Guidette–there’s something about her IDGAF attitude that is infectious–or wait, maybe that was just another one of her UTIs. Who knows!

Look forward to the top 10 ways I’m NOT like Snooki, coming soon!

10 Tips for Surviving Disneyland With a Toddler

disneyland

1.Buy your tickets online and print them out at home instead of just checking the park hours like my rookie ass. It will save you from waiting in yet another line because at this point you’ve already waited 20 minutes in line to park, 15 minutes in line to ride the tram, and another 20 minutes in line behind the lady who is buying annual passes for every single member of her family. As you’re well aware, waiting in line is against a toddler’s everything.

2. Two hours later, or as soon as you get inside the gates, buy an ice cream cone or cupcake or both. No doubt you will already be cursing your stupidity for taking your kid(s) to the “Happiest Place on Earth” so sugar will at least trick your brain into thinking it was a good idea for 10 minutes.

3. Know that you will become asshole magnets attracting that stupid drunk group of people. They will undoubtedly stand behind you in line for the tram — karma for all the times you were those loud, belligerent assholes. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em by bringing your own flask because I still never found out if Disneyland sells booze.

4. Avoid driving through LA to get to Disneyland. Driving through LA is never a good idea. Stay nearby in a crappy hotel or freeload off a relative who lives close by even leaving one of your other kids with them to make your experience more enjoyable.

5. Bring a bag of toys and books to distract your little one while you stand in lines that last for days. You won’t be able to give her your phone because you need something to distract you also.

6. Don’t let yourself become “hangry” and settle for breaded chicken chunks and limp fries because it’s the closest thing. Just eat popcorn, churros, and cotton candy all day. Avoid the cafes and restaurants cause all they sell is overpriced microwavable frozen food.

7.When your child who normally naps around 1:00 starts acting like a whiny jerk, just give her more sugar like the moms on Toddlers and Tiaras. It totally works.

8.If you want your toddler to stop talking about going on the carousel for the millionth time, take her on the teacups cause she can’t speak when she’s going cross-eyed.

9. If global warming is in full effect and the weather is unseasonable warm, seek refuge in A Small World. It’s air-conditioned and it lasts a long time.

10. Feeling regretful at any point in your visit? Take a look around and notice all the other parents sporting the same FML look of frustration as they try mercilessly to please their overwhelmed youngsters. Try not to high-five your spouse when you see other children throwing a tantrum and yours is behaving, cause your time is a-coming!

BONUS TIP

11. Look up an actual article with helpful tips for surviving Disneyland with a toddler. You’re welcome!

Another Birthday Letter

To Our Kooky Lil Bundle-of-Fun,

Happy 3rd Birthday Lovey Bear! You might as well be turning 23 today instead of 3 because you’re just so grown up now. You are quite the little character, telling tales using your hands like an even tinier Roberto Benigni. In fact, you look a lot like him. Same crazy hair, miniature body, and insane excitability. I’m going to enroll you in Italian classes tomorrow to complete my vision.

You

You

Him

Him

 

That old cliché is true…it seems like just yesterday your father and I were bringing you back from the hospital, staying up all night holding your precious little body, and staring at you with such wonder. We couldn’t wait to hear your little voice for the first time or find out who you’d become. I know you have a lot of growing and changing still to do, but I love who you are and will love who you’ll be no matter what. You are so smart and want to discover as much as possible. You love horses and balloons and books. Your favorite song is Alphabet Pony and you love interpretive dance. You make me laugh the best laughs of my life and that is everything.

We took you to Disneyland for the first time (cause you were free) and your favorite part was the carousel and picking out which color saddle you wanted. You loved A Small World and Dumbo and had more sugar than real food. You picked out a pair of glittery red Minnie Mouse shoes and you wore them home. All in all, it was a great day and I’m glad we could go.

I hope your birthday was as special as you are. Daddy and I love you like crazy.

All my love,
Mama

Piece of Cake

Having one kid is cake. But you could never know this until you have two.cake

When our children are away from each other, it’s like they’re different kids. The baby is the happiest little angel never screaming or crying like she normally does in her sister’s presence. And the big one is her most sweet and charming self when she has all the attention and the patience of parents who don’t have a fussy baby to placate first. It makes me wonder what the second one would be like if she were the first born and vice versa.

It’s like those Luvs diaper commercials. You know the ones — first time moms vs. second time moms. Where the new mommy is breastfeeding in public for the first time in a busy restaurant. She’s nervous someone will see her boob, her baby is screaming cause she’s starving, and Mommy has a full-blown panic attack. The next scene shows the same mom with her second baby. She could care less about a cover-up, her boob is free, the baby is happily nursing away while her toddler throws crayons at the waiter who is ogling said boob. She gives the waiter the, “My eyes are up here” move with her fingers and proceeds to place her order. And just like that, a veteran mom gets her wings.

The other commercials are equally awesome, showing how a second-timer can leave the house with only a handful of Cheerios and a spare diaper, or let a greasy mechanic hold her baby while she writes a check for her new brakes. These are things a first-timer would never do. A first-timer has the entire house packed into the diaper bag and car before heading out anywhere and no one who hasn’t bathed in Purel and had all their vaccines can come close to touching or even breathing on your first born. But second born, shoot, you’d let a group of house-trained monkeys come in and do the job if they were willing to put up with your jerk of a baby.

As a second-time parent, there are a million things I’ve said and done that I never guessed I would. I openly curse them in the middle of the night in my exhausted stupor. I leave them unattended, asleep in their beds while we go next door for dinner. Before you get all Judgy Judgerson on me, I totally have the video monitor that alerts me if someone is crying or being kidnapped (although the signal only reaches the corner of the dining room). What? It’s not like the doors are unlocked and not like we live in a major city. We live in the sticks and have two of the yappiest (I mean, meanest, toughest, tear-you-to-bits) dogs in the world, so no way anyone is getting into the house without us knowing. And besides, we’re right next door….if we were Oprah, it’d be like they were just in the East Wing of the estate. No biggie.

Thinking back, I never left my first-born alone in the house even to go get the mail. And when she was strapped into her car seat waiting in the driveway, I’d lock the doors while I walked the 100 steps to the mailbox even though she was never out of sight. Now I go strap them in their car seats while I come back in the house to get the rest of our crap, moving as slowly as possible, enjoying the fact that they’re locked down and not running circles around the kitchen island while I’m trying to fill sippy cups and snack bags.

We start out as over-protective Mama Bears who fiercely watch over our babies and then whether it be because we’re tired, or more relaxed, or more experienced (and definitely more frustrated), we learn to let go just enough not to go completely cuckoo and to actually enjoy the odd moment of parental bliss i.e. naptime.

To Spank or Not to Spank? A Squirrel Satire

tree squirrel

Once upon a time there lived frazzled Mama Squirrel who, one day, took her two baby squirrels to the nearby playground to get out their chitters and squeaks in the fresh air so she wouldn’t be a complete nutcase by dinnertime.

Turned out all the other Mamas had the same idea and the playground was packed with skittering feet darting all around.

Mama Squirrel’s two little ones were playing well with the others until a bossy chipmunk wanted to use the counting toy and forcefully moved Sister Squirrel out of the way.

“No, Chippy Chipmunk,” her mother squeaked angrily. “You need to play together!”

Chippy huffed and continued on. Sister Squirrel was very understanding, swelling Mama Squirrel’s heart with pride…for once.

Meanwhile, Chippy’s mom proceeded to tell Mama Squirrel all about her dilemma just getting to the playground. First, her best jumping branch broke and she had to wait over an hour for the handyman to come fix it, then she had to nurse Chippy’s baby brother for a half hour only to be rewarded with a blowout on their journey over, but not before almost getting creamed by a guy riding a bicycle and texting at the same time. Mrs. Chipmunk was obviously distraught and Mama Squirrel knew exactly how she felt. That easily could have been her morning.

Out of nowhere, Chippy, still upset from being reprimanded by her mother, took out her revenge on Baby Squirrel, extending both arms and forcefully pushing her down. Poor Baby Squirrel didn’t do a thing!

Watch out, Baby!

Watch out, Baby!

Mama Squirrel swooped in, rescuing Baby Squirrel before Chippy stamped on her tail or gave her rabies.

Looked something like this.

Looked something like this.

Mrs. Chipmunk, with Baby Brother, strapped to her chest, didn’t miss a beat. She grabbed Chippy by the arm and swatted her behind three times and said, “We do not push anyone. We’re going home.” And off they went, Chippy’s mom pulling her by the arm while Baby Brother slept peacefully in his pouch, oblivious to what his future held.

Mama Squirrel felt badly for Mrs. Chipmunk, they’d only just gotten there and what an ordeal it was to do that! At the same time, Mama Squirrel was happy that Mrs. Chipmunk had no qualms about spanking her beloved little Chippy in front of a playground full of other mothers. Not only did she see what happened (because there’s nothing more annoying than when a mother doesn’t see her offspring behaving badly) but she took matters into her own hands, literally, and showed Chippy that pushing was not acceptable behavior. Now, if it had been Mama Squirrel, she wouldn’t have spanked because what does that teach them? It’s confusing to their wee chipmunk-sized brains. Yet, if Mama Squirrel was being honest, there was a tiny part of her that reveled in the punishment because who has the acorns to that these days? Apparently, Mrs. Chipmunk does, that’s who!