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Such is life...

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By Jo Aaron · April 16, 2012

While innocently looking for a restaurant suggestion online the other day, I stumbled across an anti-parent, anti-child blog entry that just annoyed me. It was an angry (and narrow-minded, in my opinion) piece about how awful it is when this particular person has to dine with families at his favorite restaurants. He/she literally suggested that families shouldn't be allowed to dine in restaurants at all, and most definitely not the ones that are any good.

Here are my guesses:

-#1, this person is somewhere between 21-26.

-#2, this person will have a completely different blog in about 5-10 years when he/she has kids of his/her own and realizes that going out for dinner is like parental heorin...you know, your fix is having someone else prepare and clean up your meal while all you have to do is watch the kids and make sure they don't drive the other patrons nuts. Because that's the easy part. Right.

So, while I get that I shouldn't be carting my kids off to the Pump Room for a 9PM Saturday night reservation, I don't think it's such a crime to have them enjoy a 5:30PM reservation at a local haunt regardless of how cool and trendy it is this week. Instead of digitally flicking this guy or gal off by replying to his/her post, instead I thought I'd make a list of all of the ways that they world would be a better place for those of us with kids...maybe this will drive it home:

If the world revolved around families, there would be no such thing as lines at the grocery store. Instead of spending 15 minutes telling our kids to stop touching everything in the checkout line, like candy, magazines, or batteries, we'd just breeze through the aisles, yell our credit card numbers out to the teller as we beelined to our cars. No fuss, no muss.

If the world revolved around families, there WOULD be a Starbucks with dozens of drive-thru windows and on-duty baristas somewhere between my house and school.

If the world revolved around families, there would be TVs with DVD players and current Disney movies playing in every waiting room in the United States. This includes all airport terminals as well. And speaking of airports...

If the world revolved around families, there would be such a thing as teleportation like on Star Trek (yes, I'm a nerd), so that families would never, never, never, ever have to deal with air travel at all.

If there world revolved around families, no one with kids would ever have to go to the DMV, post office or emergency room.

If the world revolved around families, there would be a school that offered pick up AND drop off for every student, before and after every class every single day. Parent conferences would be held at each family's house, scheduled only between 4:30-6:00 so that one teacher could babysit for our kids while the other holds the conference.

If the world revolved around families, along with diapers and those mesh granny panties, the nurse would give you the most recent version of the iPad with 50 Shades of Gray already downloaded, a gift certificate for 1 year of night nursing, and a Rolodex of babysitter names the day you leave the hospital to take your newborn home with you. She'd also offer to come by for free anytime you have a question or need a break, reducing the need for the Rolodex or an income.

If the world revolved around families, all cars would have a third row, a backseat garbage can, a built-in baby wipe holder and one of those dividers that limos have in case the crying, yelling, complaining gets to you.

If the world revolved around families, someone else would pay for college, braces, baseball, ballet, and the wedding.

If the world revolved around families, grandparents would be required to spend one weekend each month babysitting the kids WHILE following every single one of our rules and schedule that we've set for our kids.

AND FINALLY...

If the world revolved around families, everyone else would know that we're doing our very best to keep our kids well-behaved and reasonably quiet while you eat at the table next to us.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the Not-So-Cool Kids

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By Jo Aaron · April 4, 2012

I had a great conversation at preschool today with two other mommy friends of mine.

The Topic: Stupid shit we did when we were young and dumb. And childless.

I started thinking of all of the ridiculous stuff I did between college and marriage and the voice in my head just seemed to be on repeat as it yelled, "if MY kids ever do that stuff, I'll KILL 'em!!!"

Now, at only 2 and 4 years old, I don't expect my little angels to stay angels forever. After all, I know that some form of rebellion will attract them both at some point, but is it so wrong for me to wish that my sweet babies don't have sex until they're 30, followed by their first taste of alcohol a year or two later? That's reasonable, right? No, I'm not Amish...I'm just a mom.

So while I decide if I'm going to treat my kids like the strict father in my favorite movie, Girls Just Want to Have Fun!, I also realize that I have another choice to make. Do I tell my kids all of the horribly irresponsible things I've done in my life? Do I share stories in hopes that they find them dumb/annoying/old fashioned and pray they don't repeat their mother's mistakes?

For instance, do I tell them about the night I pretended to know my way around LA so well that I left my friend's house at night, in the middle of a rain/hail storm with about 2 drops of gas in the tank and no idea where the closest gas station was, let alone my apartment? Or about the night my girlfriends and I ran around our college campus in just our underwear after drinking for way too many hours, jumping in and out of every fountain we could find...and then got stopped by the cops (however, luckily, not arrested!)? I think the answer is....

I dunno know!

My own parents were always pretty open with stories about their lives but, and this is not to say they didn't have a fun singlehood, they definitely lived in goody-two-shoes-land in comparison to my stint in devil-town.

And what's worse is that I'm lucky to be married to a saint whose worst offense in his younger years was purchasing hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks on his parents' credit card and drinking a few beers. He never exactly lived dangerously, even when he was literally playing with fire (works). So compared to him, this mommy has been pure evil.

So it probably sounds like I'm the parent that probably shouldn't tell "I remember when" stories with my kids, but how will they learn from my mistakes if they don't know about them? That's the rub. For now, I supposed I can relax since I have another decade or so before the real worrying begins. In the meantime, I swear I'm a completely reformed semi-bad girl.

And regardless of my questionable behavior in the past, I can promise that these days, no one wants to see me swimming around a fountain in my MOM-de-wear*!

*Not that you questioned this, but the MOM-de-wear is similar to the granny panty. I'm working on the copyright as you read this.

It's a Sunshine Day!

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By Jo Aaron · March 15, 2012

Everyone keeps saying it's a lovely, warm and sunny day in Chicago. And as a mom who spends most of her day trying to get the kids dressed and out the door for something or another, I'll admit, I'm happy to skip the steps that include fighting my kids to put on coats, hats and boots!

But that being said, I'm not a warm-weather person.

Of course I love to see my children riding their bikes or go on walks with them and the dog wtih limited arguments about who gets to hold the leash or the plastic poopie bag. But ultimately, I'd rather do these things in 50-ish degree weather, wearing a fleece jacket and socks. To be honest, the stress that comes with strappy sandals and having to keep up my pedicure is enough to drive a busy mommy crazy!

So since I've had to come up with insincere pleasantries with everyone from the grocery store clerk to the dry cleaner about Midwestern March Summerfest 2012, I've decided to make a list of all the things that drive me nuts about the unseasonably warm weather...

  • First and foremost, there has to be something more interesting to talk about. Britney's new X Factor contract, Kim Kardashian's inability to hold on to a man, or even my grandma's caretakers at her nursing home repeatedly breaking her hearing aid. That last one's both interesting and ironic because she's 99-she admittedly doesn't want to hear what anyone has to say about anything.
  • People become the WORST drivers when it's nice out. As a mom who spends 85% of my life in a car, I have zero tolerance for shitty drivers. But the minute the temperature rises, guys start watching everything but the road, scanning the sidewalks for ladies in skimpy outfits and ladies spend most of their driving time on the phone talking about how nice it is outside and radio surfing. Keep your eyes on the road people.
  • I'm all for a green lifestyle but just because you ride a bike around town when the sun comes out does NOT give you license to moon the entire city. I don't get it-don't you feel the wind on your butt crack as you coast down Milwaukee Ave? Dude, pull up your shorts!
  • My kids are not the best at transitioning when it comes to seasonal clothing. The first day of 70 degree weather, I had to have a discussion that ended with my son in tears as I explained that a down-filled coat and fleece hat with a chin strap would most likely leave him drenched in sweat by the time we made it from the house to the garage. Only issue with getting him to lose the hat and snowboots will come in a few months, when it's May and snowing again in Chicago...
  • Which brings me to this summer. I hate to be a Negative Nelly (well, maybe hate isn't the appropriate word) but if it's like summer in March, I can only assume it'll be like winter in July. Let's be honest, we've seen it before. And the anxiety of having to struggle with the kids to get them to wear coats and hats to summer camp is even worse than trying to get them to shed them for school during the winter!
  • Finally, our closets are in a state of complete seasonal confusion. I have storage boxes, that even I'll admit aren't very organized, that line the tippy-top shelves of my walk-in. To get them down for a vacation is a pain, and a vacation is a luxury. So to get them down for an undetermined amount of days of summer-like weather is the biggest pain in the ass activity there is. Not to mention that my kids don't even have summer clothes right now. Unlike mommies, our children aren't expected to fit into the same clothes summer after summer. We want our kids to grow out of their clothes ever few months and get bigger (ohhh, if only the same applied to us!) And if you live in Chicago, light-weight winter clothes basically include anything that's not made with wool or lined in flannel. You know it's true-just look around your kid's class tomorrow. They will all be wearing outfits that are either too small (because they're from last summer) or too big (because they're summer hand-me-downs from older siblings), or, as I originally stated, way too heavy for a warm day. I guess the only option is sweating it out. Yuck.

 

So sorry to be a Debbie Downer on to what I can only assume you all believe to be the perfect March day, but I'm punchy and overheated. I know, I know. I should just chill out...

 

TGIFunny!

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By Jo Aaron · February 24, 2012

Congratulations! It's Friday so you're one week closer to the end of winter and one week closer to Spring Break, which may or may not be a good thing for you depending on how many kids you'll have running around the house without any scheduled activity to help release all that kiddie energy.

Regardless, I'm hoping to bring some laughs today...spoiler alert: this post is all about my kids and may only be entertaining to me, my husband, and our parents. You've been warned.

Although I'm a few years and one cancelled sitcom too late, I thought I'd do a "funny @#*& my kids say" list. I know, I know, today I remind you of a person who just saw the "waddup?" beer commercial and wants to tell you all about it a decade too late, but whatever. My humor might not be timely, but hopefully it's effective.

So here goes:

  • My daughter loves to sing the Alphabet and obviously, we're extremely proud that she has all the letters down except a few in the middle that she's changed to "H, I, J, K, litte-bit-of-pee".
  • My son has a thing for the following singers-Rhianna, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. He's somewhat of a teeny-bopper at the ripe age of 3 but he has some lyrical changes for Lady Gaga. I found this out when I was singing Papparazzi. He said, "NO! It's Mama"! So now we do every other verse as Mama or Paparazzi.
  • My daughter is big into anatomy which would make any Jewish mother proud as I envision her becoming a doctor or, at the very least, marrying one (let the hate mail begin). So she spends a great deal of time telling me what everyone has, ie. "mommy has a vagina, daddy has a penis"...you get the point. I should also mention that she pronounces vagina as brogina, similar to her version of pajamas, which is burjamas. My son likes this game too, however he also enjoys mixing it up by saying that certain people have a penis and vagina. Seriously, he's talking about Caillou, so he he's probably onto something! Have you watched that show? He most definitely has a brogina.
  • The other night, my daughter was in bed singing a very serious concert to her stuffed animals. Her set list included "Twinkle, Twinkle", "Happy Birthday" (which is sung to random things like her blanket, mommy's coffee, and fishie's trucks), and a song that my husband made up and sings to both kids before bed every night. I snuck into the show via video monitor (g-d, I hope she lets me keep that up until she leaves for college) and listened until she closed her performance with, "ok, I'm going to bed now, so good night." Now, I'm not sure if she knew that I was listening or she thinks her stuffed bunnies are going to be offended if she stops entertaining without an explanation, but it was about the cutest thing I'd ever heard.

 

Off the top of my head, that's what I can come up with on this snowy, gloomy, yet beginning-of-the-weekend-day, so now it's your turn.

Share some funny %&*$ your kids say...

SPOILER ALERT-The Bachelor Picks a Bride-to-Be...if you care

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By Jo Aaron · February 14, 2012

I really do know who the Bachelor picked!  I swear!

Unfortunately, I don't really know who the bachelor is (I'm more of a RHBH gal myself) but I know I'm not the majority, and majority rules. So, if you're interested in finding out which lucky lady of the 20 or so contestants that the Prince kissed and finally chose, check out Beth Sobol's incredible scoop on www.wetpaint.com for the deets...and an enormous shoot of the diamond bling he used to propose to the last woman standing!

Seriously, with a ring like that, ABC might be able to solve the world's economy problem just by slashing the budget for the show by a carat or two!

http://www.wetpaint.com/the-bachelor/articles/major-exclusive-bachelor-b...

They really DO exist!

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By Jo Aaron · February 6, 2012

I'm so annoyed and I've realized that I'm only able to get my anger out online, so for all 4 of you who read this, I thank you in advance for letting me vent.

I went to my hometown last week to run some errands. In case you don't know where I grew up, please refer to any John Hughes movie from the 80's...ladies and gentlemen, may I present the North Shore of Chicago.

And although it was a lovely place to be raised, there is a reason why Mean Girls was based on a nearby high school...those girls really do exist. In real life. And apparently the harder their botox has to work, the meaner they get.

My silly story is that I ran into people I've known most of my life and they pretended not to know me despite having seen them recently and always thinking we were at least friendly, if not friends. They turned away just as I was about to say hi and they tried to pretend that we weren't the only 3 people in the store. After I finally spoke to them, they made some snotty comments and looked at me like I was an ailen. It was rude enough that the store clerk actually asked me if I knew them. Uh, I guess not.

Now, looking back, you'd probably have had to be there to understand how uncomfortable and unnecessary the exchange was...it's not like they called me names or stole my lunch money, but their immature behavior took me back to high school when everyone felt like some character straight out of The Breakfast Club.

So I suppose in this reality movie version, these girls considered me to be the Ally Sheedy character, although with much better, dandriff-free locks, and they were the Claire, the self-proclaimed popular girl. But I don't care much about popularity at this age, especially in a town I don't live in.

So maybe they were so nasty because I was on their turf. But then again, that can't be it because I have tons of friends from the same city who are amazingly warm and friendly, so I'd like to think it's something more specific.

Maybe they were nasty because their starvation diets aren't really working, so they're just hungry and pissed...but most likely, I think it's that they don't have much going on beyond having to go shopping between carpool.

Or they need to get laid. See, I warned you I was going to vent.

My Resolution

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By Jo Aaron · January 29, 2012

It's been a while since I've written, but let me explain. I'm not going to say I've been too busy, although if you know me, you know it's true, but I happen to feel it's a lame excuse. After all, I've found time to follow the Beverly Hills Housewives, read up on Seal and Heidi, and live on Pinterest...I probably could have taken time out to post.

But despite being a chatterbox in real life, I've always felt when it comes to writing, if I don't have anything nice/good/intelligent/funny to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. So that's where my resolution begins. From now on, my blog posts will be like pizza...there will be no such thing as a bad one!

So that being said, here goes...I worship my kids. I love them so much that I sometimes have to go into their rooms at night after I put them to bed because as much as I love mommy time at night, I just need one more little "huggie/kiss" (that's what we call them), so I wake them up! And as adorable as they both are, they have their moments-you know, the ones that are turning me gray...well, more gray. And at least once a day, I feel like I'm (let's call it) challanged by their behavior.

So here's my question...why aren't they scared of me? I mean, I don't want my kids to live in a constant state of fear, but would it be so terrible if they actually listened when I said, "ok, that's it, I mean it"? A variation of that comes out of mouth regularly and it's exhausting, sad and completely ineffective. At least not for me. And just in case any of you work for DCFS, I'm not talking about getting all Olivia Newton John (I will NOT get physical, physical) and yelling does not work for either party-the kids think I'm being funny and I end up with a sore throat. No, what I think I need to acquire is THE LOOK. You know, that look that says, I'm-going-to-snap-and-you-are-not-going-to-enjoy-the-consequences-so-you're-going-to-do-what-I-say-NOW!

But while I attempt to work on my evil glance, does anyone have any ideas...please?

That Little Red Monster Is Driving Me NUTS!

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By Jo Aaron · September 7, 2011

Finally back from summer break and loving it. Of course one of my son's schools actually started a few weeks ago and though my daughter's school doesn't start until next week, they then take most of the month of October off for the Jewish holidays. Not that I'm complaining. I don't mind a few lazy days around the house, but my daughter has been practicing putting on her gym shoes everyday when she wakes up out of sheer jealousy-I think she's trying to tell me she needs a change of scenery.

So while I can't make September 13th come faster, we've been amping up the excitement by practicing my daughter's teacher's names, Cookie and Helena. "Cookie and Elmo!" Oh, poor, poor Helena. Despite all of the facetime this wonderful woman put in with my daughter last year, she will now be referred to as Elmo. Thankfully, Helena has a fantastic sense of humor and accepted the nickname graciously during the back to school picnic. We'll see how it goes over once school actually begins.

What I hope our lovely teacher can understand is that that freaking little red monster is a common response to questions in our house. For example, "What do you want to eat? Elmo!" "Do you love Monte (our dog)? No, ELMO!" "What's your brother's name? ELMO!"

I used to go out of my way to explain that in most cases, Elmo was not the correct answer to my question, my favorite being, "What are you doing? ELMO!" (over your father's dead body!!!), but I recently found out that she knows she's messing with me.

Apparently my 21 month cupcake has learned how to joke, 21-month-style. When you're a tot, being funny is all about the eyes. She does this thing where she looks to one side, like she's telling you a secret, and to be honest, and totally biased, it's hilarious. I must have laughed really hard the first time she did it because she now knows to use it whenever she's being a little naughty. And whenever she's pissing me off by answering all of my questions with Elmo. Well, I finally got smart-or smart-ass-y-because I found Elmo shaped noodle soup at Whole Foods...just wait until the next time I ask her what she wants to eat!

Family Affairs

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By Jo Aaron · July 1, 2011

The last few days, I've found myself in conversations with my girlfriends regarding family; specifically discussing how much (or not so much) grandparents are involved the lives of our children.

If you think I'm going to rant about my in-laws, you've got another thought coming...I happen to have the world's greatest in-laws/grandparents to my children possible. They live about 10 minutes from my house and on top of the fact that they take both kids every Friday, because they are both basically retired and worship the ground my children walk on, they are available at a moments notice, 24/7 (you know I appreciate it if I'm willing to say 24/7).

And my parents are no grandparenting slouches either! My mom babysits for me every single Wednesday and they take the kids for overnighters on the weekends often. My folks still both work, so their schedules are a little less flexible than my in-laws, but nevertheless, I could, and have, called each of them to help out in the middle of the day and both have come through every time.

So, as you can probably tell, I love my family and I'm very grateful that both sets of grandparents have adapted the whole "it takes a village" mentality when it comes to raising my kids.

So I really feel for this poor girl that I saw on Yahoo!'s homepage this morning, who definitely stands no chance at a relationship with her in-laws now that they've been publicly and internationally humiliated (they TOTALLY deserve it, but sadly, I think she's blown her chance at having last minute sitters in her future).  Hope they can afford a lot of help!

Read this-it will make you appreciate your mother-in-law, no matter how much unsolicited advice she annoys you with: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/sex/mother-in-law-sends-worst-email-ever-....

On the other hand, if you can top this story, I'd love to hear from you about your monster-in-law!

Questionable Behavior

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By Jo Aaron · May 27, 2011

It's been quite a few weeks since I've had a chance to write. I've had the normal "busy stuff" going on that causes me to tell people when they ask how I'm doing, "I'm just super busy these days".

But there is some fun stuff I've been dealing with that I'm going to ask you to help me out with.

My son is an adorable, wonderful, happy, sweet, loving child who has recently developed the lovely habit of kicking his legs like the Lord of the Dance when I try to put anything on his lower body, ie. a clean diaper, pants, a Pull-Up, big boy underwear (that I just wanted him to feel how soft they were against his cute little tushie), socks, shoes...

And of course, once I do manage to wrestle these things onto his body, it can be an even bigger struggle to get them off.

This issue has literally become a huge pain...no, literally, it's painful to get beaten by cute little legs a few times a day. So instead of starting a charity foundation for battered mommies, I'm asking you, my fellow parents, for any suggestions.

To be fair, I'll list the things I've tried thus far...

Not yelling and keeping my voice soft and calm as I try to reason with him.

Not yelling, but bribing him with anything I can think of that he likes...the kid could own the Disney Cars franchise at this point.

Yelling. He laughed at me.

Holding him down with my legs over his arms on the floor while he kicked his crazy wild legs. Didn't work and I felt all kinds of wrong doing it.

Having my husband do it. He got kicked. He was pissed.

Talking like Elmo. It worked once. The next day he was over it.

So if you love me, even if you just like me a little bit, you'll offer me some advice. I promise to try everything at least once, so I'm not just being the annoying friend who begs for your help and then ignores everything you've said.

I even promise to write an entire post dedicated to the suggestion that works for me...or give you my first born (he's all yours!)