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After three kids, I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked out the myriad of stupid situations and random disasters that come with raising sons. Because, if I were to have a crystal- clear recollection of it all, I’d be occupying a padded room somewhere. My brain has done me a solid with the repression of those memories. Unfortunately this repression has landed me in uncharted waters and I’ve come to the conclusion that my baby has a death wish — he puts absolutely anything and everything into his mouth.

Now, back to my faded memories of my other children at the same age. I’m sure they must have attempted to eat things that weren’t meant to be eaten, but it was a lot easier to regulate then. I could contain mess because I didn’t have many children. That is the furthest situation from the truth today. There is always a wayward Lego, a small slice of wrapping paper, or a large chunk of plastic wrapper lurking about. And the baby has become an expert at discovering these things and quickly squirreling them into his mouth before I can run my fat-ass over to retrieve it. I once found a foam exclamation point nestled inside his cheek and when I wrestled that shit from his clenched jaw, he was ridiculously angry.

It’s not that he doesn’t have a million-fucking toys that are age appropriate to jam in his mouth. He does! But those things don’t have the appeal, that say, a paper clip does, so now I’m spending all my time either yelling at the older kids to pick up their shit, or souring the floor on my hands and knees for things that could kill my child if he consumes them. Which he will, because plastic is damn delicious.


So there it is. The glamorous life I lead. It would be easier to tango backwards in 6-inch stilettos.

This problem has become more urgent in the last 2 weeks. The kids are on winter break, the baby has finally gotten into a crawling groove and I can’t pick the shit up fast enough that they leave everywhere like exhaust fumes in their wake. The stress and the fear of this kid getting into something he shouldn’t, while I’m dealing with all the other lives in this house, has me at my breaking point. Scratch that, my broken point. I’m a frazzled, frantic, mess. It’s not a good look.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Eating a little Lego never killed anyone.

At least according to Google.




24/7 365.

That’s just about how much time I’ve spent with my kids since each of their births.

All the time… give or take an hour here and there.

So, you’d imagine my surprise when my first-born started making words and the first noise out of his mouth was… yup, you guessed it, “Dada.” Thinking back on it now I wasn’t even surprised. Disappointed? Oh yes. A bit heartbroken? Undeniably. For months, I’d been waiting to hear this baby’s sweet little voice call for me, “Mama…” I could hear it echoing in my head, magical words, as he validated the time I’d spent doting on him with 2 little syllables. But no, Mama was not to be… not for a long while.

I shoved my insult and disappointment aside, “After all, he’s just a baby. He’s not doing this on purpose,” I thought.

Of course, my husband was elated. “That’s right buddy, I’m Dada.” I let him revel in his babble victory. Watching his face beam with pride, knowing that eventually, when the Mama finally came from my infants lips it would be so worth the wait.

As days passed, I started noticing that Dada didn’t mean, “I love you, Daddy.” Quite the opposite, Dada meant everything and anything.

Reasons my baby is yelling Dada:

The bag boy at the supermarket talked to him while bagging our groceries.

The sun hit his eyes in that special way that he could still see.

I gave him mashed banana.

He spotted me, his Mama, after waking up from his nap.

He’s about to get a bottle.

Someone picks him up.

He’s found the tag on a toy.

He’s about to eat dirt, a hairball, or plastic.

So this got me wondering. Which came first the Dada? Or the Dad?

I could just imagine a Neanderthal family: sitting in their cave, the fire toasting some dead animal and their caveman baby opens his mouth to let the first sign of verbal communication fly… “Dada,” he exclaims! And that’s when the patriarch of the family stands over the fire, bangs his fist on his chest and declares, “Me, Dada!”

Sounds about right.

As I had a second child, and then I third, I watched them all babble the same words first… everything started with Dada. My caveman theory left me feeling less empty. That, and the fact that the Dada babble seemed to mean everything and nothing all at the same time. But when each child finally looked at me with their chubby little faces, light dancing in their eyes, an out stretched hand as they shrieked, “Mama!!!” I knew they meant it. I knew they meant me.

Now? I’d currently pay good money to go 20 seconds without hearing someone yell, “Mom, Mom, MOM!”


I woke up feeling really good today. Like, unreasonably good for December 22nd. The shopping is done, my work as “class mom” for preschool is over until the New Year, the kids have just started their holiday break… THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER! We have the most valuable commodity to me right now, time! We are so busy in our normal day-to-day we never have any time to do anything that isn’t scheduled. And now we have no schedule for 19 days?! Bring on the fun. Bring on the lunacy. Bring on the crazy festivities.

“Let’s go have our picture taken with Santa!”

Is wasn’t until I had all three of my children, dressed in red polo shirts and khakis (holy shit, they look like Jake from State Farm), in the car before I thought, “Shit, this might be a very stupid idea.” Hindsight people, hindsight.

It was a very stupid idea.

We ventured off to the Bass Pro Shops who advertise a “Santa’s Wonderland”. The hubby and I took the kids to this last year. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my youngest son, and we had a really nice time. There was barely anyone there. We walked right up to Jolly Old Saint Nick and got a picture (for free). The kids played with the carnival-like set up that had a “Paul Bunyan” theme. We aren’t really the outdoorsy-types (read: we don’t like to kill our own food) so most of those things were lost on the children. But it was effortless last year. So I ventured the trek to Bass, 30 minutes away from home.

As we parked the car I discovered things were very different this year. The place was PACKED. We approached Santa’s Wonderland with more fear than wonder and ventured to the line to meet Mr. Kringle. This is Heavy B’s first Christmas… we needed to get this picture. That is when a store employee handed me a card that said, “Come back at 12:30”. It was only 10 a.m. Apparently, the rest of Florida had caught wind of free Santa pictures and he was in high demand. WTF are we going to do for 2 1/2 hours at the Bass Pro Shops? We attempted to go play some of their “holiday wilderness games” but my kids, apparently, aren’t the biggest assholes running around town. Watching my 4-year-old patiently wait on a line for 20 minutes just to have his turn absconded from him by a 40-year-old with a neck tattoo is not my idea of festive family fun.

Sidenote: I have NO PROBLEM with anyone with tattoos. This bitch just happened to be an asshole, and have one, on her neck. Glad we cleared that up.

So, in the spirit of the holidays and the fact that I thought it might be a mistake to go Red Ross on some chick in front of all 3 of my kids, my practicality kicked in, “Well, I guess the Santa picture just isn’t meant to be. Let’s go home.” Unfortunately, I had already placed the thought in their little kid heads and the 4-year-old looked at me with the big puppy-dog eyes, “Please Mommy, we have to see Santa. My brother needs his first Santa picture, and I want to smell him.”

He wanted to SMELL Santa?! How adorable… and disgusting. Fingers crossed he didn’t smell of beef and cheese.

“Okay! Santa it is. We’ll go to the closest mall.”

Just like that, I piled my children back into the family truckster and ventured to the local (but 40 minutes away from our town) mall.

While driving, the little voice in my head (the one I barely listen to anymore) said, “But you don’t go to the mall. And you’d never go to the mall 3 days before Christmas.” I should listen to that voice more often.

The mall was the exact scene you would except from a suburban mall 3 days before Christmas. It was a hot-fucking-mess. Crowded, everyone trying to go, go, go. A nightmare. My kids looked really small there, among all those strangers. The older boys held hands, navigating behind me while I pushed the stroller. We asked a mall employee where we could find the big man and navigated to his Christmas village. I think the 4-year-old started to run. He was very excited.

That’s when we saw the sign: Santa will return to the North Pole at 12:45.

Are you fucking kidding me? It was 11:30.

We discussed leaving. We discussed putting a flame-thrower to this awful plan and going home. We tried. We failed. No picture with Santa. That’s when the 9-year-old chimed in, “Well, now we just have to do it. We’ve gone too far to go back.” I knew exactly what he meant.

We went to the food court in the mall. The kids ate sandwiches from Subway while talking about Santa. The baby slept. We walked the long trek back to the North Pole and arrived just as it opened, 12:45, to find 25 families ahead of us.

The boys had more patience than Mommy. Of course, the baby’s diaper was about to burst so I changed him while on-line in his stroller. I’d rather the whole mall see my baby’s junk then have him piss all over a mall Santa.

It was finally our turn. Santa asked the boys if they were good and what they wanted for Christmas. Then he told them where to sit and made some cute jokes. I never really saw the monkey attempt to smell him, but he didn’t report any bad smells afterwards either, so that’s good. Right?

We left the house at 9:30 and arrived home at 3 p.m.

Next year, I’ll let my Mother-in-law take the kids to have their picture with Santa.

I need a drink.

P.S. The picture is fucking adorable.

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It happened slow, like that snail crawling from one side of my patio to the edge of my pool. I watched him for a while, not realizing the metaphor that was dragging before my eyes.

When I was a kid the holidays came. We ate turkey or ham (a canned one: especially if we were at my Grandma’s house). We opened gifts and sang Hanukkah songs, or Christmas carols. We watched Frosty the snowman, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas. The older people drank spiked eggnog and ate rum balls, I may have snuck a couple. It was Hanukkah, it was Christmas, it was New Years Eve. It was over.

Now it starts while they are selling Halloween costumes. There are pre-lit Christmas trees in the store while you kid decides if he’d like to be Pokemon or that 32 bit Minecraft head. We buy pumpkin spice all-the-things all through November and once the turkey has been carved, people leave their dirty Thanksgiving dishes in the sink to shop for the best deals. The morning after black Friday the tree is anointed in all it’s glory, the lights are strung on the house and we are at 1.21 gigawatts of power for the whole month of December.

In comes the Elf on the Shelf, the Advent Calendars, the Mensch on the Bench, and the build up that is the Festival of Lights or the Birth of Christ is now at warp speed. It’s everywhere on social media, “Oh, I forgot to move the elf,” or “Look,did you see what my Mensch did? He’s in the hot tub with Barbie”. We aren’t trying to one-up you, we are trying to one-up ourselves. Bigger is better, even if cleaning up the Elf’s mess takes time away from all the things you like to do. We still do it.  Every time your kids get together they have a holiday party: in school, in religious school, at sports. And parents are baking and frying and having to supply food for these get-together’s for the whole month of December.

We aren’t even keeping up with the Jones’ anymore. Wonder Woman couldn’t keep up with the Jones’. We’ve set the bar higher than it ever needed to be set, higher than anyone asked us to set it. NO ONE ASKED US TO MOVE THE BAR! And for what? The memories, the “OMG, I don’t want to be left out, have my kid feel like he got less, like I am less,” memories.

The problem with the happiest time of the year is that we’ve made it less happy time, dragged out over a longer period of time. Sure, the holidays still fall on the same times of the year, but after doing the Elf, the Mensch ,the advent, the kids forget about the holiday spirit and it’s now about all the things, only the things.

We raised the bar because we remember the holidays were so much fun as kids. My Grandma used to set up her tree on Christmas Eve. Not on December 1st. That adorable tree was put up on December 24th, the night of her marriage anniversary to my Grandfather, and It was the best memories of our lives!!!! Of. Our. Lives. And why? Because it was short and sweet and filled with family and friends. But now we’ve stretched that feeling into months of planning, months of running around like headless chickens, which has only given everyone involved an emptier feeling when it’s happening and a straight up “what now” feeling when it’s over.

Each gift needs to be over the top. What do you get for a 10-year-old who already has a laptop nicer than your own?  Holiday meals must go beyond the amazing meal you had last year. My Grandma’s delicious canned ham has turned into a turducken overnight.

I’d like that ham back please. Grandma always put pineapple rings, cloves, and maraschino cherries on it just for me.

And I never felt empty.

I was always full.


Five days ago, I took to my blog to voice my extreme dissatisfaction with Toys”R”Us. You can find the post here. Well, the entry was viewed over 600 times that day and by the time I went to bed I’d received an email from a reporter for ABC.com about my situation.

To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. This reporter wanted to contact Toys”R”Us directly and attempt to get a statement from them regarding my predicament. Why had they placed orders from Cyber Monday they couldn’t fulfill? Why were they standing by their “no cancellation” policy for internet orders? I was very interested to see what she uncovered. I sent her the information regarding my order number and my name on Friday at 4 p.m. By 6 p.m. that evening I’d received a phone call from Toys”R”Us corporate in New Jersey.

Mind. Blown.

The woman I spoke to was very sweet. I explained to her that I’m not a psycho-bitch with a chip on my shoulder, who has it out for Toys”R”Us (or anyone for that matter), but that I found the fact that they couldn’t fulfill the order nor would they allow me to cancel it under those circumstances to be very unsettling. While she was a very pleasant person, all she was able to tell me was the same information Toys”R”Us previously shared in their email to me. That, “while they were working on fulfilling my order, they couldn’t give me a definite ship date, time, or even confirmation that I would get my shipment before January 9th.”

That was still unacceptable.

But, this Toys”R”Us employee told me she would be checking in on my order daily and trying to get it shipped to me in the appropriate time frame to arrive for the holidays. I told her not to waste her time. In a week, I would already have repurchased the items elsewhere and she should really dedicate that time to the multitudes of other customers who were in this same pickle with Toys”R”Us. It was the truth. We exchanged pleasantries and ended our phone call.

And that was that.

Until last night.

Last night I received an email from Toys”R”Us stating that my full order had shipped and AMAZINGLY… it would be here today. On Tuesday.

I didn’t pay for shipping, let alone one-day shipping. I hadn’t found the time to buy the items again yet. I was no longer screwed and put-off, now I was in pretty good shape.

So??? The million-dollar question… how did Toys”R”Us find these goods in 5 days after telling me they probably wouldn’t have them in 30 days?

Maybe they ordered them from Amazon?


I could spit nails right now. Or fire. Or nails and fire.

When I was a teenager I had an after school job at a national pizza joint. The job was the pits but I did get to work with my best friend so there was one silver lining. We were told repeatedly that the customer is always right. It was drilled into our little teenage brains. You wouldn’t believe how furious some people would get over a fuck up in their dinner order. The whole place was run by kids, what did they expect? And while a dissatisfied customer would be spewing venom in our faces, we’d have to smile, take it, and apologize profusely. Refunds? Sure. Free Pizza? Constantly. Anything to make the customer happy. Because the customer is always right.

Unless you are Toys”R”Us.

On Cyber Monday I sat in front of my computer in yoga pants and a 10-year-old Ani DiFranco t-shirt, steaming hot coffee in hand, clicking all over the interweb getting deals for the multitudes of children I have in my life. My sons, nieces, and nephews would have that awesome shock-and-awe on Christmas morning, and I performed all this magic in the comfort of my own home. It was lovely.

Now I’m sorting through confirmation emails and deliveries. Sure, I still have some shopping to do, but the big stuff had been taken care of. Until I received this e-mail from Toys”R”Us this morning.


My first thought was, “Well, that blows.” and my second thought was, “I’ll just cancel the order and buy these things somewhere else.” I mean, what’s the point if they get here on January 9th? These are Christmas gifts. Shit, January 9th wouldn’t even make them New Years gifts, if there was such a thing.

So I called Toys”R”Us to cancel my order and that’s when I got the biggest shock… you can’t cancel an order with Toys”R”Us.

Wait? What?

Yup, you read that right.

When you place an order with Toy”R”Us, you have a 45 minute window after the placement of the order to cancel. After that, you CANNOT CANCEL. Even if they can’t fulfill the order, YOU can’t cancel.

In this digital age we live in, Toys”R”Us has managed to make themselves the Fred Flintstone of the internet. By this comparative scale it would make Amazon the freaking Jetsons. With Amazon, my Cyber Monday orders arrived on my doorstep Tuesday afternoon… and I didn’t even pay for shipping.

I was told that my only cause of action is to wait until January 9th for them to cancel the order OR if the order ships before then (they don’t even know if it will) I can return the items to my nearest Toys”R”Us store. Doesn’t that kinda defeat the purpose of Cyber Monday??

The scary part was, the customer service agent I spoke to said she’s been having this same conversation quite a bit. Lovely to know I’m not the only person getting shafted by Toys”R”Us, but still completely ass backward.

So THANK YOU Toys”R”Us! Thank you for your ridiculous policy which proves that you couldn’t give a shit about your customers. Thank you for running specials on Cyber Monday without knowing if you could honor the deal, thus tying my hands and forcing me to buy these gifts twice.

You have now given me an excuse to never shop with you again.

Good riddance.