As a mom, I’m not one for empty threats. I’m not overly fond of threatening my kids at all, but in my world, when all else fails, threats work. After 4.8 billion times of making the same request to an audience that’s chosen to ignore you, eventually you’ll start chucking anything out there. “If you don’t pick up your toys I’ll throw them all away.” The problem with that threat is, it’s usually an empty one, which you realize when you’re astute and stubborn child says, “Fine, I was tired of these toys anyway.” That’s when it dawns on you how much time, energy and money it will cost to follow through on that threat and you change your tune. Now your spawn has you by the balls, and they know it. I learned this early on, when I only had one child. Now I only make threats I’m damn sure to follow through on.

At least I thought I did.

While getting ready for school this morning the 3-year-old was being his normal,willful, 3-year-old self.

“Okay, let’s get dressed,” I repeated once, then twice, then many, many more times, over and over again before he finally muttered, “I not listening to you.” That was plainly obvious. That’s when I whipped out the big guns. SANTA threats. “You know who really doesn’t like when little boys don’t listen?” I answered in a very serious tone… “Santa.” His name hung in air as I spoke it in a type of whisper, almost like Harry Potter speaking the name of Albus Dumbledore… with reverence. The monkey’s eyes grew very wide. That little shit was listening now. Gotcha. “Yeah, Santa is watching everything you do,” I continued, “and if you aren’t being good, and listening to Mommy and Daddy… {here it comes, the kicker} he’ll give you a lump of coal!” The 3-year-old looked relieved? {Really? What?} “Yeah, Cole doesn’t like to listen either.”

Oh shit.


“No, not Cole your friend, a lump of coal,” I tried to clarify, failing miserably. “What’s a lump of coal?” he said curiously.

And there you have it, the emptiest threat of all! A threat he doesn’t understand.

As I started to think about how to explain coal to a 3-year-old I found myself laughing. Sure, coal is mined and widely used here in the United States but we live in Florida. You don’t have coal miners here. Sure, we have charcoal, but that’s not coal. Have I ever even seen an actual lump of coal myself? I just accidentally broke the cardinal rule of dealing with a toddler, “It doesn’t exist if I can’t see it.” This is Mom 101 here and I’m failing like an out-of-state Freshman. I had to come up with something quick to cover my ass. Something he’d understand. Something that would make sense to him as the equivalent of coal, as the anti-gift from the jolly Saint Nick that would leave him spinning in place all day, thinking about how he needs to start listening so he doesn’t get screwed on Christmas morning. It had to be real. It had to be tangible, and it had to be something that wasn’t an empty threat.

“Coal is a brand new iPad without a charger, and no one else’s charger will work either.”

The monkey got really quiet.

“I’m gonna listen from now on, okay Mommy?”

Mission accomplished.

I’m sure this will come back and bite me in the ass when he eventually learns about fossil fuels.



We’ve all heard the line, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’

Someone needs to explain this to my 3-year-old.

Toddlers are little emotional terrorists and this kid has made a sport out of testing my patience. All toddlers are contrarian. They will rebuke any idea. Especially when you are dealing in fact. Even more so when it’s your idea. “The sky is blue,” I sigh, staring at the gorgeous blue sky. “Nope,” the toddler sings, “The sky is yellow with purple polka-dots.” This is just one minute example of every conversation I’m forced to have on loop with this child. I’ve started to just agree with him,”You’re right… I do love a sky with purple polka-dots,” I remark. “Silly Mommy, the sky is blue. You’re so silly.” Groan. He’s trying to kill me.

The 3 and 4-year-old curriculum at preschool is all about the alphabet. The alphabet is our world, and we eat it, we breathe it… we got this bitch. For every week we have a specific letter. Dinner times are spent coming up with words starting with the aforementioned letter. Bedtime is spent reading books where every affected word has to be pointed out, that’s the thing about 3-year-olds… they can be adorable and charming, witty and funny, filled with enthusiasm and empathy, but don’t put your guard down. No matter how cute they act or how much wine you’ve drunk, toddlers are the human equivalent to a feral cat. It’ll take your food, but it will go psycho ninja if you try to pet it.

This week we are on letter D. It seems like such an easy letter. A letter filled with promise and hope… that’s until my kid got hold of it.

We were driving home from school, “What would you like to bring in for letter D show-and-tell tomorrow?” I can’t believe I remembered this in advance. Even though his teachers just told me. Even if they stapled a post-it note to my forehead… this should be good. We’ve only been talking about this letter for a week. “I. Don’t. Know.” whined the monkey. “How about your duck? Duck starts with the letter D.” I knew what was about to happen… the contrarian that is my child was about to show his face.

“I don’t have a duck,” he muttered with disdain.

“Sure you do, the one your brother won for you, the one in your bed.”


“MOOOOMMMM…. that’s not a REAL duck!” Oh lord, here we go. “Um, I don’t think it has to be a real duck.” Where the fuck can I find a real duck? Now he’s thinking.

“How about a dinosaur? Dinosaur starts with the letter D.” This is gonna get ugly. Is it too early to start drinking? What time is it?

“I don’t have a dinosaur,” the toddler yells.

“Sure you do, all those dinosaur toys you’re always playing with.”


“MOOOOMMMM…. those aren’t REAL dinosaurs!” Now he’s screaming. Screaming is bad. “Um, real dinosaurs are extinct. I’m relatively certain your teacher doesn’t expect a real dinosaur.” He rolls his eyes. Rolling of the eyes is a very bad sign.

“How about your doggy? Doggy starts with the letter D.” He loves his stuffed doggy. Maybe I’ll get a stay of execution on this fight.

“I don’t have a doggy!” Now he’s pissed. I’m screwed.

“Sure you do, your Aunt bought him for you when you were born. You sleep with him every night.”


“MOOOOMMMM…. that’s not a REAL doggy!”

This went on for the entire ride home, and an extra 20 minutes once we were inside the front door. I’d ruled out the possibility of him bringing in his daddy, donuts, disco ball, diuretics, detectives, Doritos, dominatrix, delivery boys, and decomposition. Okay, some of those were a joke, but less than you think. I was about to hand him my most cherished engagement ring, because diamonds, and tell him to have at it so I would be done with discussing show-and-tell for the letter D.

D is for douchebag, D is for dumbass, D is for DRIVING ME CRAZY!

He picked that moment to blow my mind…

“I think I’ll bring in duck.”


I’m gonna pour myself a drink (D) and start thinking about the letter E.


Part of being a parent is the hypocrisy that goes hand-in-hand with child rearing. I’ve heard from lots of parents the basics: they smoke, but they don’t want their children to smoke, they drink (and drank underage as a teen) but they don’t want their kids to drink. Let’s not even get started on the whole topic of pre-marital sex. None of my children are in the double-digits yet, so I’m just going to bleach my mind of that thought for the next 6 years.

When you’re a parent of young kids, you find yourself saying, “Don’t pick your nose” but then you go in the bathroom and pick your own nose… fine, you don’t pick your nose (yeah, right). Or the whole, “stop touching your privates” but we all know what adults do with their privates, when they are in private. (don’t lie) It’s hypocritical, it’s a daily occurrence, it’s parenting.

I’ve gotten used to the hypocrisy I know I possess as a parent. It’s become a necessary evil. I am a normal, albeit flawed human, and “do as I say, not as I do” is always in the back of my mind. We are trying to raise children into competent adults, and with that, comes this amazing grey area of what is acceptable behavior in public. While I, as your mommy, will attempt to deal with your ridiculous, violent temper tantrum at age 3, your boss, when you are 23, might not want to have that around the other employees. If they figure this shit out then I’ve done my job right. {Fingers crossed}

When you get pregnant anytime after your first child, it’s like your brain resets itself, or maybe you take all the awful shit and repress that into a dark corner of your mind as a defense mechanism, or maybe it’s just preggo brain and you can’t remember if you put underwear on that morning or not… either way, I have 3 kids and I seemed to forget the biggest hypocrisy of my childbearing history, until this morning.

This morning my middle child, my 3-year-old, had his first soccer game. A real soccer game, with a real coach, and real uniforms, and real teammates. Mind you, my oldest, has been playing competitive soccer since he was 3. I’ve spent the last 7 years on soccer fields with children, so today was an exciting rite-of-passage for Middle Monkey. To him, it meant he was, really “a big boy”, to me, it meant, oh shit, another place to remember to bring another kid, but I was, of course, excited for him. While watching and assisting in the shit-show that is 3-year-old soccer, one of those hypocrite memories from the days of yore flooded my brain.

The biggest hypocrite parenting moment starts when our children play competitive sports. From the moment they interact with others we tell them: Share, don’t hit, don’t take things, don’t take things that aren’t yours, don’t scare other people, be nice, be kind, be respectful, be compassionate… and then they start playing “real” sports and the most demure, the most reserved, the quietest parent on the planet, becomes the biggest psycho in the universe when she screams, “GET THE F*CKING BALL!” Okay, maybe she didn’t say that out-loud. but she wanted too, she was close.

If it takes place on the field, every modicum of truth has gone out the window. We now tell our kids the complete opposite of all the things we’ve been saying for 3 years about being a good kid, a good person, and a good friend.

“Get the ball!”

“Go get it back!”

“Steal it from her/him!”

“Don’t let her/him take that from you.”

“Get up! GET UP! What are you doing?”

“Check her/him back. That’s your ball!”

“Run!!! Don’t stop!”

Even at 9AM on a Saturday, even without alcoholic drinks in our hands, and cheerleaders on the sideline, parents lose all self-control and forget about the normal everyday messages we’ve been teaching our kids since birth. We expect these little people to flip a switch between gamer and good person on a dime, and then are surprised when it takes time for them to come back to what is expected.

Thankfully I wasn’t that mom today (although I’ve been that mom before). Monkey is a gamer all the time. His post-game-tantrum was because the game was over and he wanted to keep playing. Other kids, not so much. I’ll be surprised if they show up next weekend.

At least one thing is the same on and off the field… Don’t bite.


The boys started asking for chicken and dumplings two days ago…

Asking?  Not really.  More like begging.

But it’s summer and we’re in Florida.  It’s freaking hotter than Hades up in here.  I was hoping they’d just forget about it.  Nope.  Not that lucky.

I get it… shredded chicken, creamy sauce, yummy dumplings. Amazing. I make a mean Chicken and Dumplings.

So tonight (when they were at soccer practice) I began the process.

It’s not that chicken and dumplings is difficult to execute.  It’s not even that chicken and dumplings is super labor intensive… under normal circumstances.  But I have 3 kids.  And there is nothing normal about having 3 kids and trying to make meals from scratch.

The 9-year-old loves and eats everything.  Always with a please and a thank you.  I would travel the world with Boy Wonder.  And my first stop would be Japan or India.  Boy Wonder would make us proud in any culinary situation.  His love of food is the reason I learned to cook.  And he’s pretty appreciative of my skills.

The Middle Monkey isn’t a fantastic eater.  Compared to other kids his age he eats wonderfully… but by our family standards?  He’s a shitty eater.  Unless he wants to eat…  and since he’s been asking for chicken and dumplings for days I thought this was a no brainer.  But now… now??  Not so much.  I get it.  He’s 3.   It’s all about power and control when you’re 3.  3 year old’s are like mini Napoleon.

We are all almost done with dinner and of course, Middle Monkey is starting his normal shit “I don’t like chicken.  I don’t want this bite.  I don’t like vegetables.”  It’s enough to make a sane man crazy.

My poor Hubby.  He is the sane man.  He’s rational, he’s all heart and he loves his family.  And while he’s sitting next to Middle Monkey saying “Have two more bites and then one more bite.”  This is our normal coercion eating tactic with this child.  I’m in the kitchen doing the dishes (already fed up) saying

“Just have him eat.  Stop spooning it for him… Jeez.  If he doesn’t want it that’s fine.  No desert then.” 

I’m not the sane one.  I’ve lost my patience long ago.  I’m the Pink Floyd parent… “If you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding.”

I guess everyone has a breaking point. Cause that’s when Hubby broke.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen him angry..

“I’m tired of you not eating!  I’m tired of Mommy being mad!  You can just go to bed RIGHT NOW!”

And with lighting speed Daddy hauled Middle Monkey off to his room and put him in a time out.  You could hear the 3-year-old scream as he closed the door.

He saw the look of unhappiness on my face right away…

“What? This is ridiculous! You’re right. I get it.”

It’s not about being right. It’s about us not babying him.

“That’s why I finally said screw this.”

I know that babe, but you blamed it on me.

“I what? That’s insane!”

You said, “I’m tired of mommy being mad!”

“Well, I am. And you most definitely are.”

Yes, you are right on that, I am over this dinnertime bullshit dance he does. A dance that we let him do. But one minute you’re helping spoon-feed him and playing Lets Make a Deal, and the next… the next you banish him.

“Jeez, I did do that, didn’t I?”

Yup. So now I’m the Evil Queen and he’s Snow “one more” Bite.

“Good lord… I get it. I’ll go get the prince.”

Fingers crossed that dinnertime goes a bit better tomorrow evening.

The story of Snow White has been retold a million times over.

I’m not really a fan of fairy tales.



Macklemore has nothing on my toddler. Except access to Slurpees.

Whelp, summer is officially upon us.

Which means if you’re anything like me, these little animals that we call children are home.

All day.


So after 2.6 million games of Candy Land, breaking out the Play-Doh, countless hours of Lego building, becoming an imaginary superhero, bike riding, baking, cooking, and laundry I have mentally and physically left the building. And sadly, we are only on the second day of summer break.

At this point, I am certifiably insane. You know how I know this? Because crazy people do desperate things. And in my desperation, I did something that I hate to do with all my mind and body. I packed up the family Truckster and took my kids to an Indoor Play Place.

The Indoor Play Place is the final resting stop for all frazzled parents everywhere. You can see the look of defeat on each and every one of our faces. We are screaming it behind our fake smiles “I GIVE UP!”

Because no one with the proper mental facilities would pay $12 for their kid to run around and jump in an indoor bounce house at a strip mall. No one in their right mind would allow their kid to play with a plastic toy that was just in a strange child’s mouth. But Summer Mother isn’t all there. She’s desperate. She’s trying to fill the time void until the next meal, the next nap, the next bedtime. Summer Mother isn’t practical – she’s a crazed lunatic. And where do the crazy parents hold the meetings for their 12 step program? The Indoor Play Place. That’s right.

This, my friends, is one step above the park and one step below maximum desperation – Chuck-E-Cheese. I’m not there yet.

But it’s only Tuesday.

My toddler entered the Indoor Play Place like a little version of Macklemore entering the club… one hand in his Superman underwear, mismatched ensemble he put together himself of a NY Jets Jersey (Johnathan Vilma, by the way, who hasn’t played for the Jets since 2007), a plaid vest and pajama pants with a paisley pattern – Yes, he rocks your Grandpa’s style – His other hand is reserved for the thumbs up sign he’s throwing at the little blond girl in the corner who has lifted her dress high above her head exposing her Frozen undies. I watch his eyes as they dart around the room, sizing the place up, undoubtedly looking for the most dangerous or disgusting thing to play on/with. He cracks a smile from ear to ear and runs off in the direction of the dress up corner. Before I can even form the word, “Wait…” he has placed a plastic Fireman’s hat on his little head. He’s dancing around singing a fire truck song, and I’m putting “buy RID Lice Shampoo” on my shopping list.

The Indoor Play Place isn’t for the faint of heart.

As I begrudgingly hand over my $12 to the establishment, I find a place without gum or Nutella stuck to it to sit down. This is the part of the Indoor Play Place that sucks for parents. The waiting. There are three loads of baby laundry on my bed that I have to fold today. Can’t do that here. I need to marinate a pork loin for dinner and buy a fresh salad but instead I am sitting in a vacuum. No sane person would do this.

I’m tending to the baby, making small talk with another mom who looks about 1 step away from institutionalization. She’s wearing two different sneakers. They aren’t even the same brand let alone the same style or color. I decide to keep this observation to myself. Nothing good can come of her knowing that right now.

My 3-year-old calls, “Hey Mom, watch this,” while he hangs from a rafter, clearly not part of the actual maze the Indoor Play Place has put together.

“That’s lovely honey,” I mutter, not wanting to battle it out here. There will be enough battles when I try to get him to leave.

He finally approaches me with those words no Mom wants to hear in a public place, “I have to go potty.”

I’m starting to think my toddler might actually be reviewing public toilets for Zagat or Yelp! Because he has sat on every public toilet in a 50-mile radius.

I then venture to the restroom with him where he proudly sits on the toilet and sings the ABC’s while his little legs dangle. The last time this happened was at a Golden Corral restaurant (don’t ask), and the whole family was sick for a week. Of course, the baby is now ripe and needs a diaper change too. I whip a gallon of hand sanitizer out of my purse and make the changing table fit to lay my changing mat on. I can’t help think about some of the college bars I frequented back in the day. Considering there aren’t any drunk 20 somethings here, this bathroom could give them a run for their money. I wipe some asses, and we leave that nasty place. A minute more and I might have puked.

After 2 hours I’m finally able to get him to leave without incident promising him the ultimate toddler treat, frozen yogurt.

Make mine a double. With a side of hand sanitizer.


Today was the 3-year-old’s last day of school. They had a sweet little show where the kids sang songs and did dances. It was completely adorable and for a tiny millisecond you can almost forget that cute little angel is your psychotic toddler.

This is bad.

Never forget.

Don’t even think about forgetting the fact that in an instant they can go from “Aw” to The Exorcist.

I’m telling you this not to scare you (but lets face it, fear is your friend with a toddler) but to keep you on your toes. The very toes he’s going to pound with his fists during the next tantrum.

In our normal, everyday life I make pretty good choices on what to feed my kids. This usually depends on my exhaustion level. We don’t do a lot of fast or frozen foods, or candy, or sweets. The oldest has juice, but not the 3-year-old. And when they don’t eat shit, you can really see a difference in their personality. At least I can see the difference in my kids. I can probably see the difference in your kids too but they aren’t my problem.

That’s why it is totally my fault what is happening right now. Letting my guard down today was a huge mistake and I’m paying for it. In spades.

It’s to the point of Masochism. I knew what the outcome was going to be but I allowed it to happen anyway. Touche peer pressure.

After the little play they had an Ice Cream Social to end the school year.  My very hungry caterpillar had a loaded ice cream sundae, with chocolate sauce, and mini-m&m’s. Then he ate a brownie. And I’m watching him consume all this junk and saying to myself, “he never gets treats like this, it’s only one day. How can I deny him when he’s not allergic, he hasn’t been bad, all his friends are doing it?”.

But I know better.

Then his teacher gave him a lovely end of the year gift… a beach pail filled with toys, and his name on it. So sweet of her. As I loaded the kids into the car I was busy looking at everything and reading her card to me {a tear-jerker for sure}. I missed the fact that a pack of Skittles was also in the pail. 3-year-old didn’t miss a beat and started pigging out on Skittles.

By the time we got home things were going downhill.

“I don’t wanna take a nap, I big boy”

Big boys take naps.

“Not Daddy, not big brother.”

Daddy’s at work, I can assure you if he were home, he would be napping.


{Oh Hell No! I’m nice Mommy. You’re Fidel Castro with a sugar high. Don’t get it twisted}

I’m sorry you feel that way.

Once we arrived home he seemed to chill out a bit. We watched some mindless children’s programming but he barely took a bite of the sandwich I made him.

As nap time approached I gave him lots of notice. All met with a very specific type of anger that is the true symbol of a sugar crash.

He’s in his bed right now pitching a fit reminiscent of Veruca Salt.

Note to self, stop at one bowl of ice cream and next time, make sure you have enough wine.