pool danger

A quick cautionary tale…

Rex is in swim classes, so on the 4th when we were at my sister’s pool I let him swim a bit without his floaty vest.  He loved jumping in the pool and swimming out.  He has progressed quit a bit.  I was always by his side.  At one point I thought his eyes were looking very red.

“It’s time you got out Rex.”   NO!  He wouldn’t he was having too much fun.  A little while later we all piled out for dinner.  Rex called for me as he walked across the patio, “Mommy, I don’t feel so good.  My head hurts.”  I panicked thinking of the stories I’ve heard of dry drownings.  Mark said, I’ve never hear of that?  I replied “well, you don’t foresee the dangers I do!”

Rex at his lesson

Rex at his lesson

I took Rex to the bathroom and he proceed to be sick with copious amounts of water.  “Rex, did you remember to blow out like the teacher told you?”

“No, mommy.  I didn’t”  More sick.

I thought of taking him to the ER.  But, gosh I hate going there.  I figured it was good he was getting the water out.  A lot came up and then he fell asleep for hours.  We took him home and I thought he was better, but he got sick one more time.  Then he fell asleep next to me.  I kept there all night so I could watch him.  The following morning he was fine.

Just one more summer worry for you!

Skipping the Super Bowl

Couldn’t care less about the Super Bowl.  I don’t think I’ve watched since the Janet Jackson episode.  That one I was at gathering in San Francisco and I was so irked with the placid, fleece wearing group of watchers.  They lacked dynamism and reinforced my decision to move back to LA where the quality of life can be harder, but people have more pep.flag football

Instead of rooting for big corporations to injure young men’s bodies I’m hosting a seminar on Sparkling wines with two other moms from Vivien’s school as a fundraising event. A sommelier wine friend of mine is educating us while we get soused.   We didn’t mean to do counter programming, but after checking for religious holidays, national holidays who knew we had to worry about football?  Two ladies dropped out and I was left to think… why?

Isn’t it kind of a feminist issue the amount of time, money, energy that is put into propping up sports which offer NO advancement to women?  One dad chided one of my co host for holding an event on Super Bowl night. We have to watch all your action movies on date nights and feign interest in football?  Would he reschedule his beer night for figure skating finals?  What message do we as moms send to our daughter’s if we follow along the hubby to watch his game of men?  Shouldn’t we be going to a Take Back the Night rally?  Or in my case, Take back the wine lounge.

I’ve gotten into the particulars of a game when I was being paid to understand football for a show I hosted.  But, otherwise the enjoyment of Super Bowl parties is lost on me.  Let’s sit around, drinking beer and eating mediocre food, no one looks good, not much conversation is going on and watch a TV.  If I liked football I’d watch from home.  Of course some women on their own enjoy the game.  But, plenty don’t and feel they need to cozy up to their dude.  I’d the like the time back I spent sitting next to some dude I thought was Mr. Right on his couch eating pizza and acting like I gave a shit.

If you don’t like Football don’t pretend.  The Football Industrial Complex doesn’t need you.  Thoughtful feminist who think for themselves and raise girls to not fixate on men’s needs do need you.

 

The kid needs to go back in the picture

Long time cool momers will no doubt have noticed that Rex and Vivien are in less videos than they use to be.  That darn going to school thing is taking my talent away!  I recently wrote an email to a gal about an enrichment class for Vivien.  I was asking about times and the lady wrote back asking “Are you home schooling here?”  Either because she is hoping to fill the slots for that 11:00am class or I seemed  like a brave, intelligent person who could do that.  Not the case.  I’d love to have them around more and have them in more funny videos, but if my kids were home schooled by me it’s doubtful they would be walking upright.

So, here is a little visit with the children. We just caught up over the weekend.

discouraging children from acting

The best kind of performing

Because of my TV and Vlogs my kids are comfortable in front of the camera.  When they shoot the cool mom vlogs with me it takes minutes and if they don’t want to, fine, go play in the mud.  Occasionally producers have asked for my kids to be in a branded shoot.  I always make sure they are compensated and all of it goes into their 529 or IRA.   According to the Coogan law parents of child performers only have to set 5% aside of the kids earnings, which I think is far too little.  I put 100% in.

My kids performed well.  Especially Vivien did what she needed to do on cue.  I was proud of her.  Look at her, cutie pie! 

Now, the most recent shoot we were on was longer and more involved than others.  It was also done during a heatwave. While I love being with my children and love having them get some money for their future I am glad that being involved in a production makes them never want to be actors.

 

“This is boring mommy”.  That’s right production is a lot of sitting around and waiting.

“Why are we doing this again? We did this shot already?”  I know, we have to do it again for different angles, there was a lighting problem, etc.

It was  like a scared straight treatment for budding thespians.

Having been bitten by the performance bug as a tyke, I get it. Yet, seen through the lense of irregular employment, no pension and crows feet I feel acting is the low hanging fruit of ambition. As I helped her out to the set on the HOT day I said, “lawyers work in air conditioned offices all day.  Finance people get up early, but people go and get them lunch while they make obscene amounts of money.”   I learned last year that I wouldn’t be taking them on auditions. Since the people running them are assholes. But, was open for stuff like this that fell in our collective lap.

I don’t want my kids to be going on auditions for the next 50 years.

I don’t want them to have insecure employment.

I don’t want them to need to diet or alter their face in order to get a job.

I don’t want them to worry about eating cat food when they are 70.

I don’t want them to go “wow, I use to work with Ryan Seacrest and now he is 12,000 times more succesful than I.”

Basically, I want them to choose a different path than my own.

I have had some FANTASTIC times working in broadcasting and entertainment.  I’ve met some famous people.  I’ve also had gigs where I did very little and got paid well.

When I hosted “The X- show” on FX.  One of our favorite guests was Sammy Hagar. Circa 2000- 2001.  I forgot that Gary Coleman was also there that day. Sure, I could show the picture of me with Hillary Clinton or at the White House, but this seemed more fun.

But, having lived most of my life in LA I also see the desperate, agitated middle aged lady with puffy lips snapping at a clerk while she orders her wheatgrass shot ( no, it wasn’t Lisa Rinna, but in that vein).

So, this shoot done on the hottest day of the year was hopefully unpleasant enough that the bloom is off the rose.  Show biz is 2 parts perks and red carpet and 98 parts sitting around, multiple takes, long hours, insecure employment.

Maybe the next step is to give my kids some more “sampler” careers so they can focus early.  I’m going to call a Wall Street firm about a little kid internship.  Clearly understanding that stuff is not a requirement.

 

6 year old girls sexual identity

Ugh, I’ve been worrying about this since before my daughter is born.  She in now 6, nearly 7.

I was right to take back the baby Brittney “hit me one more time” Spears outfit given to us at her shower.

I am right to monitor what she watches.  Some crap gets through.  How can it not when the latest edition of “Candy Land” looks like a promo for a stripper bar. Does that lady want to find some candy or a sugar daddy?  But, most sassy, short skirted, too mature for their age shows are turned off.

I was right to deep six the wrong sort.

LET them be kids.

This article from Huffington Post  Called ” Why 6 year olds want to be sexy” is a good read for parents of young girls.

A few years ago my husband had a guy working for him who lived near us. His wife and daughters would nice.  Vivien would play with their oldest daughter.  We weren’t besties, but we got along and since my husband worked with this guy I felt the need to get along.  But, one evening I changed my mind.  The girls were playing dress up and the mom came to pick her daughter up.  The 4 year old girl walked out in a fairy costume which showed her belly button.  The exclaimed:

“SEXY!”

I froze.  She didn’t just say that?  Then she quickly followed it up with:

“Suck in your tummy, it will look prettier.”  The girl did.  “Good, that’s better.”

I was speechless.  Vivien was out of the room or I would have said, “we don’t talk like that here.”  But, she wasn’t and it was one of those awkward moments, of well, it’s her kid, not for me to direct her parenting.  But, after that I started to limit my daughters exposure to them.  I didn’t my daughter to be told that she was “Sexy” or that she should alter her natural, baby like body to please an adult.

Fortunately, the guy was a disaster at work who was sent packing a while back so forced friendship is over.

But, the pressure on girl girls continues as does our need to protect them.

 

No tears meatloaf

A couple of days ago I mentioned how well my meatloaf when over in my house so I thought I would share it with you. Since if the lack of it drove my daughter to tears I’m must be doing something right.  Maybe as a cook, but not as mother.

Needed:

one pound pork sausage ( or you can get ground pork and add garlic, salt and fennel)

One pound ground beef ( The fatter the better.  A store near here has 27% fat ground beef, perfect)

One egg

Splash of water

salt, pepper

1/2 onion, chopped

1 big or two small cloves of garlic, chopped

One carrot, diced.

1 tablespoon of butter

1/3 of breadcrumbs ( I use store bought.  Homemade are great, but I’m not that ambitious)

1/3 cup of ketchup

I always mean to have worcester sauce in this, but haven’t yet and it’s worked out well, so maybe I’ll let go of that dream.

Here is how it all comes together, the food and the family.

 

Getting my daughter to eat breakfast, & Blogher ’11 : Sponsored

Busy week.  Shot two days worth of Her Say ( check out at www.hersay.com). Body suddenly racked by grief on Tuesday ( see previous post). Leaving for super speedo getaway with family. Hard to find the time. When you buy a house the travel budget does dwindle. My kids are so excited for their trip. Vivien packed last night unaided.  This morning I found Vivien was ready to go and had put her stuff in my closet to let me know.

Fwd: Ready to go!

The day after we come back I am going to Blogher’11 in San Diego.  First time going.  I’m going in part so I can check out the activities at the Hillshire Farm booth.  I’ve been collaborating with them this month I’m going to interview their spokesperson, “Bridesmaid” star  Wendi McLendon-Covey.  She will be signing autographs and meeting people there.
I also want to check out the food styling workshop they are doing.  This would be of help to food bloggers and to wives of chef’s who try to take pictures of food with little success.  Who could that be? Mark has told me hilarious stories about what makes food look good in pictures, sometimes it’s car oil.  Seriously, yummy food and yummy photography are not the same thing.  Since I’m his wifeager I think I need more knowledge.
So, maybe I will see you there.
Okay, back to yummy food.  Here is a vid Vivien and  I did about how I get her to eat breakfast.  Yes, it is a win-win.
CLICK HERE to watch… in case you missed it.  Did I mention to click here, no not here, the other here.
Go to http://facebook.com/hillshirefarm for all their blogher info.

Yes, I am being paid a kings ransom to write about Hillshire Farms. It’s crazy money, I could have bought Candy Spelling’s place. Well, maybe some of her wrapping paper. But, I love smoked turkey.  I should have asked for smoked turkey.

Back Stage: Imagination Movers

I super caved and bought the most expensive tickets possible for Imagination Movers in concert.  I kept thinking this year Vivien would grow out of them, but no, she asked every week.  When I saw for an upcharge you can get up close ( we were in nose bleeds last year) and meet the Movers I acted like the groupie mom I am.  I did finagle a tiny, tiny discount through a friend, but what the heck. You are only 5 once!

I took Vivien and her best friend. The Movers show was much better than last year.  It was in a bigger venue as well.  What made the show better this year?

1) They had an idea emergency.  Last year was more free form.  I kept thinking, arent’ they going to solve something soon?  Gave the show some structure

2) Nina.  She is front and center for a lot of the show.  The little girls love her!!  She isn’t wearing her pedal pushers anymore though.  Disney has given her a hand me down from mini and she sports a  red and white polka dot dress.  Bring back the capri’s I say.
a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolmomdotcom/5537726483/” title=”Nina goes into the crowd by coolmom.com, on Flickr”>Nina goes into the crowd

3) Wherehouse mouse made a cameo.   Of course we needed where house mouse.  What, was he holding out for more money last year?
100_4568
4) The Movers came in to the audience more.  They really worked it.  Vivien took off ( from row 7 thank you) and would gather around when a Mover- or Nina- came into the crowd. Rich patted her head.  We were both pretty excited.

5) Songs for the old folks.  As part of the encore they played a medley of some pop songs, U2, etc.  Nina can sing, think Smitty is the weakest vocalist, but they all play well.

Flaws?  Where’s Uncle Knit Knots?

After the show I did as the slip of paper that was in my tickets directed and looked for the Mover Reception.  It had said, “go downstairs”. I asked an usher where to go.  I must have looked like a VIP because he directed us toward a reception in a back lounge.  We waited a short while and then the Movers came in.  It was a pretty small reception.  I thought, really, more parents didn’t pay for this?  I noticed that the Movers seemed to know some of the people there. Then I noticed there were no snacks.  Since I and my kid and her friend always want to eat I started asking where is the food?  A worker said, “Oh, that’s at the other reception.”

“Well, what is this?”

” This is just for Sony.” she said.  Oh, right, I work for Sony ( not).

Quick let’s meet the Movers before they figure out we don’t belong.  Vivien’s friend held back, but Viv went right up to Rich.  She looks at me to close the deal.a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolmomdotcom/5537735321/” title=”100_4581 by coolmom.com, on Flickr”>100_4581

“Hey, Rich, my girl would love a picture.”  He was very nice.  We talked to him about shooting in New Orleans, where he has five kids.

“How did Disney find you?”

“They saw us playing at Jazz fest”.  Good idea Disney scout person
100_4582

Then Scott.  Snap.
mover scott
Me: “Weren’t you a pre school teacher?”
Scott:  “no, 4,5 and 6”  He turned to Vivien “can you imagine if I was your teacher?” like that was a silly idea. Silly AWESOME.

Me: “She was just saying she wishes you were her teacher”.  Then I had to ask what was consuming me.

“Where is Uncle Knit Knots?”  ( not just me wonders ) Scott did one of the faces when you are still smiling, but you are thinking about something not smiley.  “he isn’t on the show anymore.”

WHAT?  Then I realized he hasn’t been in the lastest episodes.

“Oh, that’s too bad.  We like Uncle Knits Knots.” (later I found there is a discussion board on Facebook about the “where’s Uncle Knits Knots?” question. It’s the “who shot J.R. of the preschool set)

Vivien, ” Yeah, cause he is boring.”

Then Dave, who is another super sweet guy.  He has a daughter named Vivian ( with an A, not our E). I said,

“great show”

Dave, ” yeah?”

“Oh, yeah, way better than last year”

Dave, “really?”

me: “yeah, way better.”
Mover Dave

Dave, “well, don’t make it sound like last year was bad.”

I chuckled and enumerated the ways that it was better.

Dave ” yeah, everyone kept asking for Warehouse Mouse.”

I decided to push for more info the beige Uncle.   “But, we did want to see Uncle Knits Knock.”  He gave that same face that Scott gave.

I pounced ” Is there bad blood with Uncle Knits Knock, was he hard to work with?  Did he not want to go to New Orleans to tape?”  I’m a Sony friend, I can ask!

” No, we all parted friends.  He has been acting for years ”  I know I recognized him.  ” He makes a cameo in our TV concert.

Then we talked to Nina, really the holy grail for 5 year old girls.  When Vivien tucked into her for the picture “Nina” ( played by Wendy) cooed, “oh, what a sweetheart”.
Nina!
We talked for a few minutes.  Yes, she lives in New Orleans for 6 months while they film and then comes to LA for her acting career.  My own Hollywood shuffle and all that I have known passed through my brain.  I thought, “oh, stick with the rocking kid show.” But, I didn’t and you can’t tell people that the grass is not usually greener and sometimes it is better to settle.  Who would believe me, except maybe Susan Lucci?

A hug from Smitty and the day was complete.
mover smitty
But, wait, just as we were leaving who shows up?  The train guy and the train lady. “chugga,chugga, chu, chu”. They had opened for the Movers.  Nice people, and he started break dancing right after we took the picture.
choo choo

Best concert since The Pretenders.

Tangles

The combing the hair thing in the morning is so much drama.  I know how much it hurts.  When I was 8 my mom could only hold me down once a week and by that time I looked like Cousin It.  I have to make sure Vivien’s hair is sort of an order as she know has to wear it in pig tails ( or braids, but for some reason she hates braids) because there is a lice outbreak at her school.  Ha, good times. cheers

I spray the stuff on her head, use a wide tooth comb, go in small batches.  I sometimes worry I’m torturing her like that Toddlers and Tiara mom who waxes her kids eyebrows.  Everyday there are snarls.  Conditioning the hair the night before helps, but only a bit, and since she is getting over an ear infection I’ve let the hair washing go for a few days ( also supposedly lice loves clean hair)

Any suggestions or helpful hints for this issue are appreciated.

Should I just go for dreds?

Bone head mom

I might as well have yelled “fire” in a crowded theater.  Here is the story…

Once a week I volunteer for Vivien’s class when they go to their school library.  By every week I mean every few weeks as we are at a public charter school that is underfunded and rents space, so we are often kicked out of the library if the landlords need it. It’s a great little library and our librarian is a dad who volunteers tons of time to sort, organize and label books, coordinate parental volunteers.  He is the kind of parent every school needs ( hundreds of).

For my daughter’s class another dad and I show up to read the class a story and help them pick a book to check out  for the week ( or two months depending upon the next time we get in the library).  Afterward we sort and re shelve books.  Rather I do, some parents don’t, I’m not naming names, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed. (arched eyebrows)

The other parent had read the book the last few weeks so I was eager to read this week.  Let’s face it, that’s the money job, right?

” I need a ringer” I said to Librarian dad.  He picked something about a dragon that was fun and I can’t remember the name because I got so in the zone while telling the story.  I had a little bit of opening night jitters, but I really sold it to the K-1 crowd.  I had them eating out of my hand!  Only a few inappropriate interruptions of non-sequiturs ( you know when a kid says something like, “my grandfather has an ax”.  That’s nice kid, I’m reading a story about a dog)

Well, flush with my bang up job of reading I moved on to helping them pick a book. I knew Vivien was proud of her mom and she was being such a good girl I helped her first.  Ha, whom I kidding, I always help her first.  When I was sorting before the class arrived I noticed two books with unicorns.  I filed it mentally, “must tell Vivien about unicorn books”.

Now, here comes the bone head mom move. I said ALOUD

“Vivien, there are two books about unicorns”
uni

UNICORNS she and her 3 best girl friends yelled.  But, here was the problem.  I MENTALLY noticed the books, I didn’t PHYSICALLY put them away.  As I scanned the stacks I did need to also assist some other kids.

“Where are the fairy tales?”  one little girl asked.  Check, found that. Meanwhile, their teacher is starting to do the countdown.

“You all have 2 minutes to find your book and line up.”  I am finding NOTHING about unicorns.  Now, I have introduced the concept of scarcity to these little girls and Vivien and her best friend, who had walked in holding hands were now at war.  I had found a book about moons or bunnies or somethng and tried to sell it to Vivien in lieu of unicorns, she took the bait, but so did her BFF so there was a conflict about who would get it.  Another girl said they should do “eany-meany”, but they had a fight over that which caused BFF to go and hide under a table as Vivien shouted,

” I don’t want her to count on me.”

“Oh, Librarian dad”  I summoned.  “Where are the unicorn books?”

“Hmm, I don’t know.” It was hard to scan the books, repair a friendship over the din of “stupid, stupid” that was running through my head.

“Vivien’s mom” asked a little boy “where is a shark book?”  Scan for sharks and unicorns.

“Here it is”  Librarian dad found the first one.  Vivien tossed the other book aside and grabbed it.

“I want one too!”  yelled BFF.  Fortunately, the other two girls, who are about 6- 9 months older and possess a whole other level of maturity, had found books about butterflies and pirate girls, yes, I did sell them on them and it worked. Phew.

“Here is the other one”  my white knight said.

“Line up!”  The teacher commanded.   Just as I handed the boy a shark book.

“I got this one.” he said toting a book about turtles toward the door.

Vivien fell in line behind her BFF.  They were smiling.  I gave her a kiss and off they went to class.

As I sorted I said to library dad.

“Wow, what a blunder!  Why did I tell a group of 5 year old girls that there were unicorn books when I wasn’t totally sure where these books were?”  I knew the answer.  I wanted to be perfect mom.  The mom who volunteers, who cares about her kids school and also brings joy and happiness to her daughter.

“Yeah”,  Library dad said.  “That was pretty stupid.”

I know there is no name calling in school.  But, he was right.