Play Dates From Hell Pt. 2

Oh, the play date! It’s always so nice when a mother arrives at my doorstep to drop off her adorable, sweet, freshly scrubbed, shiny, little child. At any given time after that, it is likely, said child will mutate into Linda Blair in The Exorcist complete with demonic possession, projectile vomiting, and joint defying head spins as my husband and I stay cowering in our bedroom, hoping that the children are having fun, and trying to have as little as possible to do with it, if they are not.

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Hello! Can Anjelica come out to play?

I was thinking of creating an award for Worst Play Date Ever. One dilemma was whether to grant this award to the child for making the play date so especially horrific, or to the parent who had to endure it. Anyway, without further ado, I’d like to introduce the nominees:

Anthony: I am, what my husband calls, directionally challenged. The words Alternate Route hold no appeal for me. In fact, I’d rather go 10 miles out of my way then risk getting lost. It is especially nerve wracking when a passenger suggests a different path when I am en route. And it is even more nerve wracking when that someone is an 8 year old boy who has spent the better part of the afternoon explaining to me how my suggestions for fun and entertainment were neither fun nor entertaining.

After explaining to this boy that I would not be taking his route and why, he than suggested I drop him off at random corners, presumably in an attempt to have me arrested for child neglect. Oh, Reader, was I tempted!!

I finally blew up at Anthony right before depositing him at his door step. It’s alway nice when you send them home with tears in their eyes.

Hannah: I’m really great with a wrench. I mean, after getting through the hard part, which is actually getting the wrench to fit around the nut, it’s all righty tighty, lefty loosey from there. Of course there comes the part during turning when you realize that the left has become right and the right has become left and the damn thing doesn’t appear to be getting any tighter at all…but I digress!

So there I am, on the sidewalk, mini-skirt strategically arranged, sweating through my mascara, wrench in hand trying to tighten the training wheels on our Play Date’s bike. Her Royal Highness herself walks up, her 7 year old form towering above mine and says, “Uh…can I ride my bike already?”

Abbey: But it’s probably Abbey who absolutely takes the prize. This is a girl who decided her afternoon’s entertainment would be to extract my daughter’s loose tooth from her mouth in every nauseatingly disgusting, unsanitary manner possible. I finally asked the girls if they’d like to take a break from the afternoon’s festivities to go out for frozen yogurt, (you know, one of those places where you pay for yogurt BY THE OUNCE??).

I’m sure you know where this is going. Within seconds Abbey’s cup overfloweth with frozen yogurt and, much to my horror, she continued the atrocity by adding Sno-Caps by the shovelful. She then proceeded to sit down with her mountain of gluttony, take two bites, and ask “Can we go to Carl’s Jr. now?”

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photo credit: mommyish.com

Crazy Little Sister

This blog was written by Marissa Bergen from, what she believes, is the perspective of her 11 year old son.

Hi I’m Jesse and I’m 11 years old. This is a picture of me when I was a baby. Cute little bugger wasn’t I? I guess it’s okay to say that because apparently everyone said that about me, plus they also commented on what a sweet, nice, well behaved baby I was.

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Those were the good old days, just me and the parental units, hanging out, going places, buying toys.

Then one day my parents said they had to talk to me. They said I was going to be a big brother and they were telling me how wonderful it would be and how I would have someone looking up to me and all that. Yeah, whatever. I’m going to my room now and I’m gonna stay there…for the rest of my life.

Anyway, time goes by and soon enough they’re bringing my sister home from the hospital.

This is a picture of us from the early days. You see I’m smiling but if you look closely it is more like one of those crying on the inside, laughing on the outside, call for help kind of smiles.

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Anyway, it didn’t take me long to figure out this chick was off her rocking horse.

For the first 3 years of her life all she would eat was macaroni and cheese and, oh yeah, dirt. Like she’s too good to put a carrot in her mouth but dirt is perfectly acceptable cuisine. I once saw her lick rain off a car.

And talk about drama queens. It’ s always whine, whine, whine, cry, cry, cry. I mean, like, you fall, you get hurt, you get up, you get over it, right? No need to make a federal case about it, you know what I mean?

But the worst of it is, she always wants to do everything I do and she likes to play with my toys and a lot of the time she breaks them.

I guess my mom kind of understands. She’s always saying stuff like, “Sorry we ruined your life but your sister loves you very much. She worships the ground you walk on.”

And I have to admit, she’s kind of right. Sometimes it is cool to be an older brother.

Just don’t tell THEM I said that.

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They’ll Probably Kill Me (A Music Vlog Starring Moi)

A music vlog dedicated to all the women who feel like they have to be everything to everyone.

I ain’t gonna do the laundry so there
My husband will probably kill me
He won’t have no clean underwear
I know he’ll probably kill me

What do I care? Not a lot
I’ll just put on something hot
My husband will probably kill me today

I burnt the dinner again today
My kids will probably kill me
It was frozen pizza anyway
I know they’ll probably kill me

If they’re mad or if they’re hurt
I’ll just give them chocolate cake for dessert
I know they’ll probably kill me today

Wrote something dirty on Facebook today
My mom will probably kill me
I’m a big girl but anyway
I know she’ll probably kill me

I don’t know but I have a hunch
If I try to be nice and take her out to lunch
My mom will probably kill me anyway.

The Lego Movie: Not Everything Is Awesome

So there I was, dear readers, shuffling into the movie theater, with the Weekend Warriors, the yokels and rubes, and the many, many, many snot nosed kids. Obviously I was operating under the false pretenses that, being that the movie had already been running a week, and that we were catching the 10AM show, it would be anything less than packed.

Immediately, upon entering the theater, I broke the second cardinal rule of the Anti-Social Club, which is Thou Shalt Not Sit Next to A Stranger. Fortunately, the stranger must have been an honorary member of The Club as well, as both of us spent the entirety of the movie clinging for dear life to our respective arm rests. Oh, for the price of resting our feet on the unoccupied seats of the handicapped section in front of us…TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

Of course about 10 minutes into the movie I had to repress the urge to get up and scream, “Listen people, if your kid can’t keep quiet for 2 hours, they do not belong in a movie theater!”  Let me tell you reader, it was a lucky thing I suppressed this urge as it was clear I was sorely outnumbered, and probably would have been pelted by a barrage of undigested popcorn, soggy breast pads and dirty diapers.

Now I know that children’s movies can sometimes be amusing. However, if you are over the age of 18, and find yourself guffawing loudly at the jokes, especially when you are the only one in the theater doing so, I sincerely hope it is because you bought a pot brownie at the concession stand. If you find deep social meaning in said children’s movie, I sincerely hope it is because your popcorn is laced with LSD. But, although I unfortunately, had no mind altering substances flowing through my body, I did learn a valuable lesson from this movie.

About two Christmases ago, my daughter was given a Lego set. I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to assemble it, but whatever joy was to be given to my daughter by said assembly, was soon replaced by the horror of watching her mother turn into The Green Manalishi with the Two Pronged Crown. Curses were not muttered but bellowed, emotions ran high, and pieces were thrown into the dark depths of my living room only to emerge again when I found they were painfully lodged into my foot. Then, once the assembly was done, my daughter would play with the set, only to have it fall apart again, and so the continuation of the vicious cycle.

And so back to the valuable lesson learned…Krazy Glue….why didn’t I think of that?

Is It? Is it really??

Is It? Is it really??

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On The Off Chance I Offended You…

I am writing this in reference to the blog I wrote yesterday, ” Singing the Blues at the School Music Recital” and the lukewarm reception it received. (And also to thank the few brave souls that did actually like it.)

Of course no one really knows why a blog is ignored. In fact you could actually be thinking to yourself, “Did Marissa blog yesterday? I didn’t know that!” But I am going to work on the assumption that it was a bit harsh, especially for some of the mommies out there. And though I would have rather received hundreds of scathing comments, promoting my blog to the controversial masterpiece it deserves to be, I will have to settle with what I got. But maybe what I am about to say needs to be said anyway.

After I wrote that blog, I was unsure if I wanted to publish it because I thought it might come across as a bit insulting. So I did what any woman does when she is indecisive. I called my mother.

My mother grew up in a different time, when things were not as politically correct. Children did not get medals for losing, and sometimes they were told that they weren’t the best at everything, maybe if only in the hopes that they would then focus their attention on something more worthy of their time.

I know some of you have children that are younger than mine, some older, and some of you may not yet have kids. But I can guarantee you that if child rearing is, or ever was, or ever will be, a part of your life, you will find yourselves spending a weekend in a dank auditorium or a hot baseball field, where there will be screeching violins, a game prolonged because one player does not have a good understanding of the rules, or a recital practiced for months only to be ruined by a little girl with two left feet. You may react with a suppressed giggle or a discreet eye roll, and indeed this may be better etiquette than writing a blog to live forever on the pages of the internet or until such a time when you hit delete.

The point is, we all love our children, and we all make sacrifices for them. and not every weekend will go the way we want it to go; and sometimes the best thing we can do, is laugh.

Singing The Blues At The School Music Recital

So, as a musician, I am very passionate about encouraging performing arts programs for kids. What I am not passionate about is going to see these performances. My older child has just started Junior High, so while I am holding out hope to see some improvement with school orchestras in the future, so far, the best way I can describe the performances I’ve seen, is ‘plodding along tunelessly’.

Probably my least favorite performance so far was the one I saw this weekend which was comprised of everyone in the class getting up and doing solos. Yes they are adorable, but once they put bow to string it’s almost as if Satan has condemned me to a life of eternal damnation on earth.

And if there’s anything I’d rather see than my kid going up and butchering a classic in front of a hundred people, it’s someone else’s kid getting up and butchering a classic in front of a hundred people, oh yeah, times about 40.

Now I know you’re all thinking what a horrible person and mother I am for being down on kids who are trying to perform and learn art, but talk to me again after you’ve heard about 20 different kids butcher ‘Ode to Joy’, an excruciatingly slow version of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ played on stand up bass, some tuneless attempts at Jingle Bells (in February no less), and, oh yeah, a version of ‘Wrecking Ball’ on cello, which sounded nothing like the original but may have actually been an improvement.

Now I understand that many of these kids are just learning their instruments and to those I say, hang in there, don’t give up, it will get better. After all, I know how it was when I started out, believe me.

But there were some kids up there who, unfortunately, had no hope. I know it must be awfully upsetting to try to encourage a child to take up an instrument and then realize you have made a terrible, terrible mistake. I would persuade you to nip this in the bud as soon as possible before any further suffering is endured.

There are many approaches you can take with this. First there is the Simon Cowell method where, you very bluntly tell your child, “I know that you have practicing, and working very hard, but your father and I feel it would be a great service for violins, ears, and humans everywhere if you were never to go near a musical instrument ever again in your entire life.”

Or you could be a bit more subtle. For instance: “You know there are so many great musicians, but someone has to be a fan. How about you?”

Or just simply: “Wow that was a really great performance. How about next time we try origami?”

It’s an 8 Years Old’s Birthday Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Remember the good old days when, if your kid was invited to a birthday party it meant you had a chance to put your feet up, relax, and take the afternoon off? Well now, in the days of child predators, and when every bump on the head could mean a concussion, and don’t even get me started on food allergies, parents are required to sit with their children for the duration of the party (often a minimum of two hours) cutting a considerable chunk out of their weekends.

My husband and I used to go to parties thinking of any conceivable way to get out of staying, but the best we could do was having the host’s parents reluctantly agree that it was okay to be the ONLY PARENTS to leave our child. Some odd hours later, we would return to the judgmental looks of parents who feel we have done the unthinkable. Needless to say, we have since given up and resigned ourself for a good couple of hours of:

Getting To Know The Other Parents: I, for one, am terrible in social situations. Often I lurk on the fringes of these parties trying not to look like the miserable social leper I truly am. After a bit, I may glom on to one of the parents, more often than not because someone has taken pity on me and decided to introduce me to the poor woman. It is then up to us to try and fill (yikes!) two hours trying to come up with a topic of conversation when it turns out that the only thing we have in common is that we both have young children. Just imagine what happens when I try telling them I used to play in a rock band.

The Deathtrap That Is The Bouncy Castle: I can not tell you the amount of joy that will fill a child’s heart when they realize they will be spending the afternoon trapped inside the rubber walls of this Tower of Terror, bouncing against their out of control cronies. (Sounds a bit more like an insane asylum to me.) Usually, at some point during the course of the festivities, this inflatable holding cell will collapse much to the horror of the many screaming children that are trapped within. We watch in trepidation as a few brave parents escort the terrified children to safety and look on glumly until such a time that is determined whether or not the damn thing may be resurrected lest they be left with hordes of disappointed children.

The  Food: I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult to enjoy the food at a child’s birthday party. No matter how appetizing the food may be, no matter what it is, no matter in what sort of a sanitary manner it is being served, once it has passed the lips of tens of young children, to me, it immediately becomes re-regurgitated vomit mixed with saliva.  Usually I have to decline the food so many times that I run the risk of offending the hosts and making everybody there think I have some kind of strange eating disorder, which may or may not be true.

Those of you who are looking forward to the inevitable deterioration of my sanity, will be pleased to know that my daughter had been invited to, not one, but two birthday parties this weekend. At best this inspire will me with material for my next Miserable Mom blog. However, if you don’t hear from me within a few days, you can bet I am bouncing around in a very small room with rubber walls.

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I’m A Bit Worried About the Grandchildren

I know this is a bit alarming, but it seems my daughter has informed me that I now have grandchildren, seven of them in fact. They’re lovely girls don’t you think?

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Well actually, the truth is, I’m a little concerned about some of them. I think their color is a bit off. And frankly, they look like they could use a good meal.

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And one of them even turned up at a sleep over party with no panties. (Actually, I’m not just being perverted, at $25 bucks a pop, you’d think they could at least come equipped with underwear.)

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Barbie says she doesn’t like them at all, but I think maybe she is just jealous. The other day, I walked in to my daughter’s bedroom and saw…

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Barbie said she was just being affectionate but I think she was trying to strangle poor Frankie Stein! (Maybe she doesn’t like Jewish people.)

Anyway, my grandchildren also have these adorable pets.

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I know they look a little worse for the wear but I have to say these little buggers have really won my hearts. Of course Watzit is a bit of a problem on account that he constantly is rooting around in the garbage so we have to give him a cootie bath every night.

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This is Count Fabulous. I know you won’t believe this, but Count Fabulous is actually a boy. Draculaura just can’t resist dressing him in ribbons and bows. Of course, this makes my husband a bit uncomfortable, especially when Count Fabulous declares that everything is fabulous, in a very flamboyant manner, but I say, whatever makes him happy.

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Besides, I know it’s really not a grandmother’s place to butt in.

But I have to tell you…

I’m a bit worried about the grandchildren.

Fear and Loathing at Back to School Night

I guess it is my previous blogs about Chuck E. Cheese and amusement parks that have got me in the mind set of reflecting on what other heinous rights of passage one must partake in as a parent. I think probably chief among these would be school functions. Just the mention of the words PTA meeting, school orientation, back to school night, or open house is enough to send me into an apoplectic fit wherein I may go to such lengths as hiding under the sink or even denying that I have children. But it never seems to work. So, off I go to yet another loathsome affair all the while thinking of why I don’t want to be there.

1. I have to leave my house. I hate to admit it, but as a working mother of two children, I really need two solid hours a night of sitting on the couch and watching sitcoms in a vegetative state. If I am deprived of these two hours, it better be for a damned compelling reason. I guess there’s not much question in your mind as to whether I find these functions compelling but if there’s any question in your mind as to why I feel this way, read on.

2. Attendance is mandatory? Okay, it’s not really mandatory, it’s just kind of highly recommended in that this is a preventative measure for teacher’s to take so that they are not assaulted by a barrage of questions later in the year. Therefore, it is upon pain of death that you don’t attend. Punishment could possibly result in being the mother responsible for there not being a pizza party at the end of the month, loss of an extra credit point for your child, or being spoken about in the following way:

“I heard Mrs. Bergen did not attend Back to School Night last Thursday. Do you know that she also serves her children frozen dinners and doesn’t recycle her soup cans??”

Well I am here to tell you that I have missed an occasional Back to School function and it is not the end of the world. You bring them to school on time, you have them do their homework, the report cards come, you figure it out.

3…. And we’re back at school. I don’t know what it is, maybe the fact that I am now seated in a tiny chair wherein my knees are positioned somewhere close to my ear lobes, but I suddenly feel as if I am now the world’s oldest kindergartener. This in turn makes me feel very rebellious towards the teacher, so watch out for the various circumstances in which…

4. The teacher pisses me off. This could, and has included teachers using improper grammar such as the misuse of the word ‘like’ as in “I was like…” Please, if you can not use proper grammar when meeting your student’s parents, you should not be teaching my child. Also, the use of the collective we, as in’ “How are we doing today” begs the answer, “I don’t know about you but I feel like killing someone”. And any hint that you are going to be a hard ass on my kid may give me the idea that we are not going to be buddies.

5. We’re all in the together. Now parents, I know that we are all here for our children, learning about their education, with one common goal in mind…to get the hell out of here as quickly as possible. This is why I dread the time when the teacher is done talking and I am hopeful that I will get maybe one hour of couch potato time, when 50 hands spring into the air. I know you may have questions. Even I may have had one or two in my time. But let’s try to eliminate the obvious, (If my child is sick should I keep her at home? what if it’s just a cold?) are relevant only to your child (Little Lucinda gets a little stuffy if the temperature is over 73.5 degrees, is it possible to adjust the school thermostats accordingly?) and the downright stupid (So the kids have to be on time every day??).

Okay, so now that we’ve laid the ground rules, please tune in for my next blog, “Why You Really Don’t Want Me To Join the PTA”.

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