Princess Pen

I think part of being a good parent is embracing your dorkiness. I was just at the park with Vivien for her sports class, and I had on a navy hoodie, brown velvet sweat pants, and worn sneakers.  No makeup, no shower (hey, bath the night before). One dad strode into the park with newsboy cap, leather blazer and posture that said, “These kids haven’t beaten me down!”  I thought I wish I had an outfit on. I wish I had clothes that match.  But, then again, why? I’m chasing after Rex crawling through the grass and sand. I’m lugging a bag over my shoulders full of snacks, water and diapers. A bag that would ruin the line of any stylish outfit. So, why bother? Why not just be covered and utilitarian and embrace it.

Yeah, I don’t dress up, I’m in momcognito.

Yeah, my roots are deep, and my nails are jagged because I’m too tired or too busy to leave my kids to attend to that.

And yeah, when I go to work ,my motherhood can betray my attempt at professionalism.

Have you ever had a moment like this at work?

Tantrums, Part 1

I was just speaking to my dad. He said his weekend was about air conditioning (it’s been hot and smokey in LA) and the funeral ( Ted Kennedy’s). I said, “Me too!” We hung on the phone with each other for about 30 minutes during the wake Friday night. We have divergent political views, but my dad and I love history and politics and it’s hard not to feel connected to the Kennedys. We were critiquing some of the speeches and who moved us the most. Orin Hatch,charming, Biden, throws his heart on the table, Sen. Culver, very funny (sidebar: during the funeral Saturday morning Ted Jr. won the weepy award. Touching!)

Some of the commentators have been saying that some of the Kennedy’s associates might ask themselves now, “What would Teddy do?”

When I was watching it all, I just wished I had been invited to sail with him. Looks so cool. (Growing up a middle class kid in Culver City we didn’t have a family sport. Wait, I take that back. Figuring out where to go to eat for dinner and having a fight over the one good seat in the family room while “Love Boat” was one, that was sport.) But knowing me, I probably would have yakked.

In my own life as a mother I sometimes say, “What would mommy do?” Thankfully I can ask her. So, this week a special two parter of Morency, my mom.

Motherhood Ages You Like the Presidency

Spent some extra time in the editing room for this one.

Ironic having aging and presidency in the title after the death of the last patriarch of the Kennedys. But am i the only one that has noticed this phenom? Other than smoking and having Irish skin, I don’t know of anything that can age you more quickly than being president or being a mom. Another reason to have a woman president, what if one person were both!

Though I think it’s the early years… and months… that really do it to a gal. And waging wars we should have never entered into, that can really deepen the lines in the crows feet… and the soul.

Mom of a Mom Blogger

It’s the return of MY MOMMY! If you were coming to this blog a year ago you might have seen my dear mom Morency making a few appearances. To catch up those who haven’t seen her before, she is a Minnesota-born, wise, steady woman who raised three daughters, has 4 grandchildren, and has taught and mentored students in the over 30 years she has run her private school.

I taped four little vlogs with mom the other day. Please note my sterling production value… mic hanging openly, too-large photo distracting between the two of us (which is of my engagement party by the way).

I’ll play the other three soon.

Please, No More Autographs

Well, now that Ringo Starr has announced he will no longer accept autograph requests, I think it’s the perfect time to say I have been dying to make this announcement, as well. Since I am a basic cable superstar, I have been inundated with requests for my time, advice, and even 8×10’s. It has gotten to the point where I receive these requests almost twice a year and I am crushed by the demand. Please, people, I am a mother, and an expectant one at that!  Since my Dr. Phil appearance, granted, I only received one email, but it was when Vivien needed her nap and I thought I might be having a Braxton Hicks, and I was trying to zone out with a People Magazine as I headed toward the can.  So please, give a girl a break.

Imagine how poor besieged Ringo must feel? Let alone Paul McCartney. I feel sorry for him, really.

My only question is, “What the hell is Ringo so busy with?”

Verbal Elder Abuse

Here’s a great piece I found in Tuesday’s New York Times about how damaging it can be to the elderly to be spoken down to by health care professionals. Now, I think health workers have a rough, tough job. But this is a pet peeve of mine from my own dad’s hospitalization.

My Parents on My Wedding Day

My Parents on My Wedding Day

It’s bad enough that the hospital workers, nurses, doctors, etc., yell at him when they speak. My dad has some problems, but his hearing is perfect, and I see my father recoiling. The demeaning language has consequences, and I’m glad to see it written about with some credibility.

I have my own anecdotes regarding poor behavior. A few years ago, my dad was in the hospital because he had gotten dizzy and a friend took him to the ER. Mistake number one. It is better to stay out of the hospital.

The staff at this particular hospital were not even on duty when I found my dad strapped to the hospital bed after a night or two of being there, his eyes wide-open and fearful. I said, “What the hell is going on?” The nurse said, “We had to strap your dad down. He is a bad boy.” I complained to the head nurse, who said, “Well, we had to – he was a bad boy.” The nurses used the term “bad boy” so many times I wanted to bitch-slap them.

Long story short, he wanted to leave, would get up, and they’d yell “bad boy” at him, which made him only more determined to leave. I complained to the doctor. I said they had given him medicine that was harming him, as was the treatment. The doctor didn’t think so. They gave medicine to him to “control” him. “He’s only calm if your family members are here.” So I said, “Then we aren’t leaving him.” My sister and I were present, took off the straps and called my mom and our other sister. I said that we had to stand watch and guard him while whatever they gave him passed.

And so we did (my dear mom taking the overnight shift). Within 24 hours, he was 100 percent back to his normal self. He didn’t need to be drugged or to be there at all – no one wants to be treated like a misbehaving child. This is especially true when that person is an older adult, frightened about where they are.

After that experience, we learned that if he goes into the hospital one of us has to go with him. Maybe we do not have to be there 24/7, but checking in as frequently as possible.

I’m going to be checking my own “sweetie” remarks today.

Kiddie Parties

Okay, let’s sort out this whole kiddie party thing, shall we?  Does anyone remember having big gift bags when they were kids? I think it’s a spillover from celebrity gifting suites for award shows. If kids gift bags get any bigger we are going to have to pay taxes on them.

Have you ever gotten invited to a big kiddie party, where you don’t know any adults accept the host? Torture. I’ve had to pass on a fair bit of kiddie of parties because they are smack in the middle of naptime, and it’s just not worth it. I went to one that was great and it was great, partly because it wasn’t too big. I actually could sit. There is nothing worse than having nowhere to sit.

What are the highs and lows?

In Appreciation Of Non-Mom Friends

Yes, mom friends are great, but sometimes it’s great to hang with the childless set.

Let’s hear it for the non-mom friends.

Thank you for being available to go out for dinner.

Thank you for having time and disposable income.

Thank you for giving me a chance to not talk about kids.

Jess and I
Creative Commons License photo credit: sara.atkins

Thank you for still having casual sex and new romances and giving me all the details.

Thank you for the lousy internet-dating stories, reminding me how glad I am to be married.

Thank you for not being too exhausted to do anything.

Thank you for even letting me know there was a lecture, concert, exhibit, I should go to.

Thanks for still taking an interest in my kid when I do bring her up.

I can only look at so many pictures of dogs, but other than that, you’ve all been great friends.

My Dark Places

I know it’s not good to dwell on the bad and sad, but sometimes my mom brain can’t help itself!

On the verge of getting sick the other night I was seized by the desire to watch an adult film. Not porn, but mature themed, the kind you can’t watch with your child in the room. So, Vivien was asleep and I watched “Gone Baby Gone.” It’s a very well made film, Directed by Ben Affleck. The movie has all the ingredients, great acting and all the good stuff, including a plot with lots of twists.  But, a central theme is children who are criminally mistreated (to put it politely). So, it comes as no surprise, that it gave me nightmares. In the middle of the night I had to climb into Vivien’s bed and hold her hand to reassure me. But, then I am worried about all the children in the world who are not looked after. My husband groaned the next day, “I knew you shouldn’t watch that movie.”

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

My friend’s mother is a foster mother. Every child my friend takes in has been severely sexually abused, often by both of their parents. This is unbelievable, right?  I can get so worried about these harmed children it makes my stomach hurt, yet I’m not sure what to do with this worry.  I’m not ready to be a foster mom myself.


My other mom worry of the day was triggered when I glanced over my husband’s shoulder the other day while he was reading the paper and saw a story about a mom who discovered she had advanced cancer when delivering her daughter. She was a remarkable woman. She fought on until her daughter’s 2nd birthday. There was a photo of this mom hugging her daughter when she was an infant, and you could see that mother love intensity. You know she never wanted to leave her daughter. You can’t read this story without crying your eyes out. That is my second greatest fear in life.

Those are my dark places.