Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Happy almost Mother’s Day!

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the radio. In anticipation of Mother’s Day, one of those moronic wacky morning shows had listeners call in and share the biggest lie their mother ever told them.  Well that’s easy. When I was around 5,  my mother lied and told me that I chose my bedroom wallpaper. The ugly wallpaper with ugly pink, ugly green, ugly yellow and ugly white hexagons all over it. (Did I mention it was ugly?) For years she told me that horrible wallpaper was my first choice even though I distinctly remembered picking out white wallpaper with little pink flowers all over it.  Twenty years later, she finally admitted that I hadn’t picked the hideously ugly wallpaper. Liar, liar, pants on fire! 

I did not call the radio show to share my tale of deception because, let’s be honest, no one really cares about the story of a little girl and her wallpaper. No one except for my therapist. Wait, that’s not true. My therapist doesn’t care either.  But the radio show did make me wonder if one day my sons will be telling stories about the lies I told them.  (Yes, sometimes I lie to my kids. A shocking revelation, I know.)

Let’s see…  

Little Lie #1:

Me:  What would you like to do today? (Please don’t say go to the children’s museum. Please don’t say go to the children’s museum.)

Son: Let’s go to the children’s museum!

Me: The children’s museum? Oh, no! The children’s museum is closed today.

Son: Closed? Why?

Me:  It’s closed so they can clean it.

Son: Why don’t they just clean it at night?

Me:  They do, but, um, a bunch of kids made such a huge mess that they needed an entire day to clean up the messy museum. 

Son: Oh, OK.

Nah, my sons won’t be telling stories about this lie later in life. Too ordinary.

Clever Lie #2:

Son: Happy Mother’s Day!

Me: Thank you. You’re  going to be good today right?

Son: Yeah. Why?

Me: Didn’t you know? Mother’s Day is the one day a year that if kids are bad, mothers can return their children to the hospital.

Son: REALLY?

Me: Yes, it’s true!

Son: I don’t want to go back to the hospital. I’ll be good!

Yes, my children are gullible. Definitely one of my better lies. 

Boldfaced Lie #3

Son:  Who discovered heaven?

Me:  Heaven?  Who discovered heaven? Well…uh…heaven…let’s see…um….PONCE DE LEON!  Ponce de Leon discovered heaven.

Son: Oh, OK.

Anyone know when kids learn about Ponce de Leon? Because it’s going to be pretty awkward if my 8-year-old declares that Ponce de Leon discovered heaven.
Oh yeah, this is the lie that my sons will be sharing with their friends. And their therapists.

Eight

Eight years ago, my son shot out of my lady bits and I became a mother. Oh wait…he didn’t shoot out – he was forcefully extracted by a vacuum suction cup. Too much information? Nah. Too much information would be if I told you that I pooped during childbirth. But luckily that didn’t happen because I was so constipated. So I guess too much information would be if I told you about my second degree vaginal tears. Yeah, that would definitely be too much information.

Now what was I saying? Oh right…my son.

Eight years ago my firstborn son entered this world and I entered the exciting world of parenthood. If you’re looking for a sappy, lovey-dovey birthday post, you’re not going to find it here. I don’t do sappy. I do funny. At least I try to do funny. (I don’t always succeed.) In honor of my son’s birthday, I’d like to share a special story about his birth.

When I was pregnant, we decided not to find out the sex of the baby before the birth. During the pregnancy, there were no special signs that made me think I was having a boy. However, toward the middle of the pregnancy, I dreamt that I needed an ultrasound very late in the pregnancy. In the dream, we told the ultrasound tech that we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby. She didn’t listen and told us we were having a boy. I remember being incredibly pissed…at the ultrasound tech, not at the fact I found out I was having a boy.

So, out of dreamland and back in real life, it turns out that I did need an ultrasound very late in the pregnancy. I was convinced that my dream was going to become a reality and the ultrasound tech would spill the beans. The first thing I did at that ultrasound appointment was tell the ultrasound tech all about my dream and remind her like a thousand times that I did NOT want to know the sex of the baby. Guess what the ultrasound tech did? She did not tell me the sex of the baby. (You thought I was going to say she told me I was having a boy, didn’t you? Ha, fooled you!)

Not knowing the sex of the baby was harder than I thought it was going to be. The last few weeks of the pregnancy were the hardest. We couldn’t wait to find out if we had a son or a daughter. Finally, that day came. And as the doctor delivered my baby, we waited for him to announce it was a boy or a girl.

Me: So what is it?

Doctor: I don’t know.

I don’t know? I DON’T KNOW? No, no, no. The only 2 acceptable answers to that question are boy or girl. Not I don’t know!  Fortunately, the doctor’s I don’t know response was not because our child had come out looking like some kind of freak of nature. No, it was because our son had his arms stretched out and his hands were completely covering his genitals. Our son was shy about his little boy bits! (Maybe he was worried about shrinkage…it was cold in the delivery room.) Once the doctor moved his hands out of the way, he announced that we had a baby boy. And we couldn’t have been happier.

Happy 8th birthday R! You’ll always be my baby #1.

See You In Hell Patrick Warburton!

If you’ve never seen Family Guy, you might think this animated series is an ordinary cartoon. But you’d be wrong. Very very wrong. Family Guy is an adult cartoon. A very very inappropriate adult cartoon. Family Guy is not your kid’s let’s-sit-around-in-our-pajamas-and-watch-Saturday-morning-cartoons cartoon. Oh no. In fact, each episode is prefaced by a warning that Family Guy contains some material that parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.

And when R was in preschool, Family Guy was his favorite show.

My husband and I watched Family Guy when it started in 2000. Back then we didn’t have kids so we didn’t have to monitor anyone’s television viewing.  Fox canceled Family Guy, but years later had a change of heart and Family Guy returned to the Fox lineup. When Family Guy returned, we had a child and we monitored his television viewing. OK, we were supposed  to monitor his television viewing but may have done a piss poor crappy bad job.

And when R was in preschool, Family Guy was his favorite show.

I never thought much about allowing R to be in the room when Family Guy was on. He would play on the floor with his toys while my husband and I watched Family Guy.  R was engrossed in his cars and trucks and wasn’t paying attention to what was on TV.

Or so I thought… 

R: (laughing) Look, Stewie’s peeing on the curtains!

Me: (also laughing) Yeah, that’s really fun…. (stops laughing) Wait a minute! You’re not supposed to be watching this!

How could this be? I thought R was completely oblivious to the TV.  He always appeared focused on his toys and not the TV. But appearances can be deceiving. Sure, he was focused on his toys but his little ears were focused on the TV. The tyke had mastered the art of multitasking –  he could play with his toys and listen to Family Guy at the same time!  And what he heard must have piqued his curiosity. I figured out that while he was playing with his toys, he was sneaking peaks at the TV’s reflection in the mirror…that’s how he was watching Family Guy

At that point a responsible parent would have forbid their child from watching Family Guy. But responsible parenting is so overrated. So I let my preschooler keep watching Family Guy. And boy did he watch it. He watched it on Fox. He watched it on WGN. He watched the back to back episodes on TBS. Every time R turned on the TV, Family Guy was on. It was like he had some weird Family Guy sixth sense.  He watched it so often that he was able to tell us which episode it was after only watching the first 1 or 2 minutes. Not exactly a talent that will get him in to college, but impressive nonetheless. Watching Family Guy was something we did together as a family. We’d eat dinner, sing a little Kumbaya and watch a little Family Guy.  R watching Family Guy was no big deal – it was harmless. To R, Family Guy was a cartoon.  He missed the adult humor.

Or so I thought…

R: (pointing at the TV) What are those?

[It was Jennifer Love Hewitt in cartoon form and she was drawn with ridiculously oversized breasts. R was pointing at her ginormous breasts.]

Me: Well son, those are her breasts. You see, the writers of Family Guy are implying  that Jennifer Love Hewitt’s celebrity status is not based on her acting skills, but on the size of her breasts.  Those are…..hey, who wants ice cream?

You’d think having my preschooler point out Jennifer Love Hewitt’s giant breasts would convince me that Family Guy was not appropriate for him. But no, I still allowed him watch it. And then one day….

R: Holy crap!

Me: What did you say?

R: Holy crap!

Me: Where did you learn that?

R: From Family Guy. Peter Griffin says it.

Holy crap, my kid was saying “holy crap”! Preschoolers shouldn’t be saying “holy crap” (yeah, yeah, preschoolers shouldn’t be watching Family Guy either…keep reading.) I was pretty sure his preschool had a zero tolerance policy on spewing phrases like “holy crap” and might kick him out for this age inappropriate behavior. As I began to think that maybe watching Family Guy was a bad idea, actor Patrick Warburton made me realize that, yes, watching Family Guy was a bad idea.

Patrick Warburton?

Yes, Patrick Warburton. You may remember him from his role of Puddy on Seinfeld, but in our household he was the voice of Joe the paraplegic police officer on Family Guy.  One day on my drive to work, I was listening to the radio. Patrick Warburton was being interviewed on some radio station. When asked about his role on Family Guy. Patrick Warburton responded, 

“Oh, I’m definitely going to hell for being part of this show!” 

Then he said Family Guy was so outrageous, so vulgar, that he forbid his 12-year-old daughter from watching it.

OK, what’s wrong with this picture – Patrick Warburton didn’t let his 12-year-old watch Family Guy but I let my preschooler watch it. Was I parent of the year or what? Yes I was….worst parent of the year! And if I continued to let my son watch Family Guy, I’d be hanging out with Patrick Warburton in hell. 

So I finally put an end to Family Guy. I told R that he wasn’t allowed to watch Family Guy until he was a teenager. There was no crying, no fighting…he really didn’t care that he couldn’t watch Family Guy. In fact, when R flipped through the channels, if Family Guy was on, he would flip past it and comment that he wasn’t allowed to watch it until he was a teenager.  Our home remained a Family Guy free zone for many years. But now when R flips though the channels, every once in a while he stops on Family Guy and instead of flipping past it, he starts to watch it.

Oh well. Maybe hell isn’t such a bad place. I’m always cold and it’s very warm in hell. And Patrick Warburton seems like a funny guy.

Hey Patrick Warburton, I’ll see you in hell!

Give Me A Brake

Just when things can’t get any worse for Toyota, they do. Sticky gas pedals, runaway Priuses…yep, Toyota is totally screwed.  

My husband drives a deathmobile Toyota. His car is one of the models affected by the recall. (Are there any Toyota models that haven’t been recalled?) Fortunately his car has not experienced any episodes of sudden acceleration due to the floor mat, gas pedal, an electrical problem, a poltergeist or whatever is causing the problem. But since we didn’t want to die a horrible death while riding in our Toyota, he brought his car to the dealer for the recall repair.

Obviously many Toyota owners were at the dealership that day for the recall repair. While waiting for his car, my husband overheard a gentleman talking about his deathtrap Toyota. According to the gentleman, his Toyota spontaneously accelerated and he crashed into his garage.  This Toyota owner was an older gentleman. Definitely a senior citizen. Probably in his 80’s.  His continued telling his Toyota tale:

Yeah, the car suddenly sped up and I hit my garage.

It was the car that accelerated.

I’m pretty sure it was the car.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me.

I don’t think it was me. 

Maybe it was me.

So the next time you see an elderly driver in a Toyota, watch out!  They might have a sticky gas pedal. Or perhaps just a sticky foot.

Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame….Road?

You may have noticed that I suck at blogging the frequency of my posts in 2010 has sucked been less than stellar. The problem is I start writing a post but then another awe-inspiring interesting idea for a post pops into my head. I end up putting the first post on hold as I start another post about the new idea. This can happen several times which explains why I have 19 half written posts in my drafts folder. One of these half written posts was about the vacation we took in June 2009. Since we are going to Walt Disney World soon, I figured it would be a good idea to finish that old vacation post before embarking on our next vacation.

In June we took a vacation to Langhorne, PA. What’s in Langhorne, PA? Why, Sesame Place of course! Sesame Place is a theme park devoted to Sesame Street complete with rides, shows and water fun. It has been around since 1980 but I never heard of it until I had kids and read about it in a parenting magazine. When I read about Sesame Place, it sounded a little bit like Walt Disney World but on a much smaller scale. We weren’t quite ready to do a Disney family trip, so we decided to try a Sesame Place vacation instead.

(Disclaimer: This post is not being sponsored by Sesame Place. I am not being compensated. But if I was, like Cookie Monster, I would gladly accept my compensation in cookies)

Here are some random thoughts about our Sesame Place vacation:

  • The actual address of Sesame Place is 100 Sesame Road. If you’re going to have a theme park devoted to Sesame Street, wouldn’t you expect the address to be Sesame Street, not Sesame Road?
  • It’s amazing that a 6-year-old boy can be brave enough to ride a roller coaster but is scared shitless by a person walking around in a 6 foot Elmo costume.
  • Sesame Place is filled with stores and kiosks that sell all kinds of Sesame Street merchandise. It was nice to see some of the less popular characters like Prairie Dawn, The Count and Telly Monster get a little face time on the merchandise.
  • When choosing names for my children, I always said I wanted names that could be found on mugs, pencils and stickers. As a kid, I had a tough time finding my name on stuff. Sure, “Laurie” was easy to find, but it was a lot harder to find “Lori”. At Sesame Place we tried to find personalized mugs for my boys but both of their names were completely sold out!  D’oh! (And, of course, they didn’t have “Lori” either.)
  • You know you’re not from Langhorne, PA when you have no idea what a jughandle turn is.
  • You know you’re from Cook County, IL when you consider 6% sales tax one of the highlights of the trip.
  • We drove by a mattress store called Sleepy’s. Best name for a mattress store ever.
  • We spent a day at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.  It’s a great children’s museum and my kids loved it.  I can’t help but think that in our litigious society, it won’t be long before some pedophile sues the Please Touch Museum for false advertisement. (But your honor, it said Please Touch right on my admission ticket!)
  • The women’s bathroom in the Philadelphia International Airport had free tampons and pads. So if you’re at this airport you’ll be paying for your bags, snacks, wi-fi, blankets and pillows, but not your feminine hygiene products. Stock up girls! (Sorry boys, no freebies for you.)
  • It is impossible to get two kids to both look good in the same photo.
  • Kids + vacation + portable DVD players = happy kids & happy parents. I wonder how we survived childhood vacations without portable DVD players. When babies are born, instead of giving parents free samples of formula, hospitals should give parents a portable DVD player. National portable DVD player coverage needs to be part of health care reform.

So there you have it – my Sesame Place vacation post is finally done. One draft down, only 18 more to go!

 

Drop & Give Me Nine

A few days ago my family was hanging out in the family room. The kids were playing with their toys, I was reading a magazine and my husband was watching television. He was flipping through the channels and stopped on MTV. MTV was showing a music video. No, I’m just kidding! A music video on MTV? When’s the last time that happened? OK, it happened when Michael Jackson died. Let me rephrase the question – when’s the last time MTV aired a music video before Michael Jackson’s death?  A decade or two ago? Now instead of music videos, MTV’s lineup consists of  laughable fine shows like My Super Sweet 16, Date My Mom and Real World/Road Rules Has Beens Challenge.  Apparently my husband had stumbled upon one of MTV’s newest trainwrecks productions, World’s Strictest Parents.  He started watching it while I kept reading my magazine. At least I tried to read my magazine – it was hard not to be distracted by this ridiculous show. World’s Strictest Parents focuses on two poorly behaved, spoiled teenagers who are making their parents’ lives a living hell.  The spoiled teenagers are sent away to live with another set of parents….[gasp!] THE WORLD’S STRICTEST PARENTS! During this episode the world’s strictest parents were laying down the house rules for the unruly teenagers. Swearing was not allowed in their household. If the rebellious teens disobeyed, their punishment would be swift and harsh. Their punishment would be push ups. Yes, push ups. For every curse word uttered, the world’s strictest parents demanded the teens drop and give them 20.

Me: [bursts out laughing] Push ups? What kind of punishment is that?

J: [snickers] Oh yeah, like you can do push ups.

Me: I can do push ups.

J: You don’t have enough arm strength.

I hated to admit it, but he had a point there.  My arms are scrawny not very muscular. But I’m able to carry my 3 1/2-year-old son around with ease. True, he’s barely 30 pounds and has always been in the 3-5% for weight, but I still need upper arm strength to carry him. Also, 9 times out of 10 I’m strong enough to open the jar of jelly (1 time out of 10 I can’t get the damn jar open and my kid is stuck eating a peanut butter and peanut butter sandwich, but that’s OK because he’s only 30 pounds so he can use the extra fat).  Sure, I wouldn’t win any World’s Strongest Woman contest, but I figured I had enough arm strength to do push ups.

Me: I can do push ups. 

J:  [more snickering] OK, let’s see.

I got down on the ground and assumed the push up position (real push ups, not the on-your-knees-girlie push ups).

One push up, two push ups….oh yeah, this is easy.

Three, four….still going strong.

Five.

Six.

Sseevveenn.

Eeeeiiiigggghhhhtttt.

Nnnnnnniiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeeee.

And…..I’m done.

Nine push ups! Woo hoo! I felt great about doing nine push ups and I felt even better about proving my husband wrong. I knew I was strong enough to do push ups. I was proud. I was vindicated. I was….

….sore.

Yes, the following day I was sore. My arms were sore. My chest was sore. They ached as if I had done 100 push ups. But I had only done nine and I was in pain. How pathetic is that? I guess I don’t have as much arm strength as I thought.

Note to self: if I ever meet the world’s strictest parents, be careful not to swear – 20 push ups are harder than they look!

This Photo is F*#!ing Golden

“Guess who I saw today?”

Those were the first words out of my husband’s mouth when he came home from work the other day. What kind of question is that? How the hell am I supposed to know who he saw – the possibilities were infinite. I’m not a fan of guessing games, especially guessing games that I had absolutely no chance of winning. But because I’m such a kind,  loving and sarcastic supportive wife, I acted like I cared and played along.

“Jerry Springer?”

“No but you’re close”

“Rachael Ray?” (Rachael Ray? Oh yeah, on the spectrum of human beings, Rachael Ray is real close to Jerry Springer – they’re practically twins. You can see that I wasn’t putting a whole lot of thought or effort into this guessing game.)

“No, not Rachael Ray”.  

My husband scrolled through his cell phone for a minute and when he found what he was searching for, he thrust it in my face. I found myself staring at this photo:

 

As I looked at the picture I thought wow, that’s a damn good Rod Blagojevich impersonator. He’s even got that infamous Lego man hair helmet going on. I kept staring at the photo. OMG!  That’s no impersonator, that’s the real Rod Blagojevich! My readers from Illinois are all too familiar with Rod Blagojevich and can appreciate how funny this photo is. And if for some reason you’re a reader from Illinois and you don’t know about Rod Blagojevich, what’s up with that? Have you been living under a rock? In a convent? (What? Oh, you have been living in a convent….my sincerest apologies Sister Mary Frances. Thanks for reading and praise bejeezus). My readers from outside of Illinois may know Rod Blagojevich from various news or talk shows but may not be completely familiar with Rod and his escapades. In short, Rod “Blago” Blagojevich is the former governor of Illinois. He was indicted on federal corruption charges including charges that he tried to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat to the highest bidder. The smoking gun in this case appears to be secretly recorded phone conversations in which Rod swears like a mommy blogger sailor and even refers to the senate seat as “f*#!ing golden”.

How in the world did my husband end up in a photo with his arm around ex-governor Rod Blagojevich? My husband explained that a business associate had called that day and asked him if he wanted to go to the Cubs game. Although he’s not a big baseball fan, the tickets were practically right behind home plate, so my husband decided to go to the game. Usually at this point in our conversation I would initiate our typical “going to the Cubs game is not work” debate. I would start out by saying going to the Cubs game is not work.  He would reply that it is work because he went with a business associate. I would say that’s not work and the only people who can legitimately claim to be working at Wrigley Field are the players on the field or the guys walking around selling peanuts and beer.  He would counter by saying they needed to talk about business. My reply would be that if they needed to talk about business he could sit his ass down in his office and pick up a phone. Then my closing argument would be that we pay for a nanny to watch our children so we can work, not so we can go to the Cubs game.  Oh yeah, checkmate – for the win! But today there would be no winner, no gloating, no debate. This time I let it slide because it was f*#!ing Rod Blagojevich! 

So my husband got to the Cubs game and his seat was in the 6th row right behind home plate. When he sat down he noticed the person sitting in front of him was attracting a lot of attention.  This person in front of him must be a celebrity, he thought. Was it an actor, a singer, a criminal? Why, yes, it was a criminal – it was ex-governor Rod Blagojevich!  As word spread throughout the stands that Blago was at the game, Cubs fans made their way down to his seat.  They approached rowdy Roddy B. with pens and cell phones in hand in hopes of getting an autograph, picture or video. Although people were staring and pointing at the ex-governor, my husband observed that people were well behaved and weren’t making snide or rude comments.  Personally, I would have asked Blago how much he’d sell his 5th row Cubs seat for, but my husband said no one made any smartass comments like that.  Blagojevich was very friendly and accommodating, eager to fulfill the requests for autographs and pictures, including my husband’s photo request.  And in between taking pictures and giving autographs, Rod gave Cubs fans the same load of crap he’s been shoveling on talk shows and to anyone who will listen:  “I did nothing wrong. The tapes will prove it. Once all of the tapes come out, I will be vindicated!”  Good old Rod Blagojevich – you can take the man out of politics but you can’t take the politician out of the man. 

There was someone else at that Cubs game with Blagojevich – his 12-year-old daughter. My husband said that as he witnessed the Blagojevich spectacle, he felt sorry for Blago’s daughter.  Even though I wasn’t there,  I felt bad for her too. What started out as a father and a daughter spending time together at the Cubs game, turned into a small circus.  Blagojevich’s daughter has grown up with her dad in the limelight so she ‘s probably used to having crowds around her.  But it’s different now.  The reason people used to approach Rod Blagojevich was because they admired him; they respected him as a political leader and a person. Today that respect and adoration is merely a figment of Blagojevich’s imagination. When people encounter Blago now, there’s plenty of smirking, whispering and laughing.  My husband didn’t get a photo with the ex-governor because he admires him, he did it because having a picture of him & Rod Blagojevich is hilarious – it makes a great cocktail party story/blog post/Facebook profile picture.  Blagojevich’s antics have made him a buffoon, the punchline of a joke. And his 12-year-old daughter is old enough to realize this too.  She’s old enough to know that people are pointing and laughing at her father. She’s old enough to know that people are not saying kind things about her father. She’s also old enough to know how serious the charges are against him and that her father may go to jail.  If Blagojevich does go to jail, it will provide plenty of jokes for late night comedians.  Perhaps a Top Ten list for David Letterman. Maybe a joke like – hair today, jail tomorrow.  “Jail tomorrow” may be a great punchline, but I know of 2 girls who will not find any humor in it. For Rod Blagojevich’s 12-year-old and 6-year-old daughters, that’s no punchline, that’s reality.  What tends to be forgotten among the jokes, the spectacle, the absurdity of Rod Blagojevich, is that 2 young girls may lose their father to prison. And as much as Rod Blagojevich tries to laugh and make light of the predicament he’s in, for his girls there is nothing to laugh at.