Archives for March 2011

I Call Bull$hit!

I’m on tear this week. I don’t know what has come over me. I really do enjoy looking at other people’s blogs. I tend to linger over the blogs where moms do crafts with their children. Don’t they all look beautiful? In their photos taken with a DSLR sumpin sumpin, the children are smiling and laughing. They are giddily covered in glue and sparkles. I look at those posts and I beat myself up because I am most definitely not one of those mommies.

Not me

I am occasionally inspired to do something crafty, but far too often my real personality emerges from the depths of my Zoloft-induced calm. It’s all smoke and mirrors, believe me. Glue drips on the floor, Kate eats a handful of sparkles, a glass of milk spills, and someone paints the dog. I tell myself that those perfect, happy mommies would snap photos of these mishaps and make it all look so fun. I have a theory that they do these things so shitty mommies like me can log on and wallow in our shittiness. (Alternatively, maybe I’m just paranoid.) Whatever the case may be, I am not capable of being that mommy. I’ve tried. Sure, I’ve experienced a random Perfect Mommy day every now and again, but mostly those days are elusive for people like me. I don’t want craft paint on my freshly painted walls. I don’t want to have to give the dog an unscheduled bath. I don’t want to wipe Kate’s butt, see the forgotten sparkles in her poo and momentarily panic that she has contracted some kind of rare twinkling shit disease. I… don’t… want…that.

I think I’m coming unhinged. I can’t tell you the last time that David and I were really alone together, or if we were alone, that I didn’t worry that all I had to talk about was the children. I don’t want to be that wife. Lately, I fear that David and I are losing each other as we traverse the perils of parenthood. I am turning into a harpy.

courtesy Google image search

Yesterday I spent the day nursing the mother of all sinus headaches. The kind of headache that makes me press too hard on my right temple and cheek bone to relieve the pain. He came home with medicine and sent me to bed. He played with the children and tucked them in. He’s incredible. We sleep next to each other. He cooks breakfast. I cook dinner. We watch television and talk about the kids, his job and my writing. We go to bed. We are never alone.

Last night, under David’s watch, Kate took her poo-filled diaper off and slid her dirty hiney across the couch. I heard him discovering the skid mark and mentally noted that tomorrow I would need to wash the slipcover. Tomorrow I will do this mothering, housework, grocery shopping ‘thing’ all over again. And again the day after that. I will become more and more unappealing, uninteresting, old, and cynical. I will wash the slipcover, I will blog about it and make it look fun. I will hope that when the dust settles, that my husband and I are still able to make one another laugh those fantastic laughs we used to share.

CREDIT: Lange, Dorothea, photographer. “Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California,” February-March 1936. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-DIG-fsa-8b29516.

I drank a glass of wine and took NyQuil Sinus PM. Within a half hour, my head was deliciously floating somewhere near the ceiling and I thought, Jesus…this is great. I remembered that alcoholism is hereditary. I thought of those stories of mommies who hide their vodka in the laundry room. I remembered bad things and drunken grown-ups who seemed huge, out of control and scary. I went to sleep and dreamed of Florida.

Today I will go to the grocery store and I will do the laundry. I’ll make dinner in my new crockpot and I will accept that it’s okay to feel lost every now and then. I think some of those perfect mommies might feel that way too sometimes, they just don’t write about it.

Hey, if you like No. 7…Thanks! That’s enough. Thanks for reading.

Thank You Blogger Friends (What I write on NyQuil & Wine)

For shits and giggles I Googled my blog yesterday and came upon a random review by some random jackass. Apparently, I suck because I use Blogger which sucks because it is connected to Google which sucks because…well, to be honest I zoned out a bit on her rant because it sucked. Note to self: eDee2.0 abhors anything associated with Google but who really gives a shit?

This won’t win me any fans, but don’t even get me started on the cut-throats over at Top Mommy Blogs. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get in the way of the ladies hell bent on delivering a daily recipes along with a review of the latest and greatest in baby leashes on their quest to reach the coveted No. 1! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some awesome and funny fellow bloggers there. Kitten at Mumsyhood and who doesn’t love Jill at Yeah. Good Times.

I’ve never been entirely sure why I joined Top Mommy Blogs in the first place. Sure, I blog about my family but I’m more about the writing part as opposed to mommy blogging. I’m thinking it’s time to say goodbye to Top Mommy Blogs and worry fine tuning my writing instead of trying to win a popularity contest. I already competed in high school. No offense to my fellow blogging friends who participate, I just don’t think that some of my posts really fit that audience. I’m trolling for the right networking site for Narragansett No. 7.

So where does one go to network your blog when you are a mommy who happens to write? For starters, I’d recommend For The Love of Blogs. There are a whole bunch of different blogging niches there and one is dedicated to writers!

I like that For the Love of Blogs frowns on the “follow me and I’ll follow you” bullshit. I want people to follow me because they enjoy reading my words, not because they’re trying to collect a large number of followers. Mostly, I’ve found a really supportive community of people at FTLOB.

If you have a chance, go check out some of my favorites and friends. Take a minute to introduce yourself. This is a fantastic group of women, every one of them is both talented and supportive. They’ve taken the time to read my blog and comment with thought. So thank you, friends! I don’t always have the time to comment when I stop by and I hate writing something that sounds as if I haven’t taken the time to read your words or admire your beautiful photography, but I do.

Of Woods and Words – If I lived in Ada’s neck of the woods, I’d stalk her and make her be my friend. She is an incredible writer. A real writer. Maybe she doesn’t know, but some days she inspires me.

Mommy used to be so pretty…. Her blog’s name made me giggle one day. Then the banner on her blog made both me and my husband chuckle. Another talented writer who keeps me coming back with her humor and touching posts. Check out her recent post titled “and a naughty girl too…”


Rub Some Dirt On It I think she might just be my northern New England soul sister. It seems that her talent never ends…she’s obsessed with french fries and a blue barn door. She lives in the middle of nowhere, with lots of snow and dirt roads. I “get” her.


Midnight Oil Momma. I really like how she writes, her twins share my birthday and she makes a killer meatloaf! I can’t wait to read more.

Another Cookie, Please! What can I say about Patty… I’ve known her for nearly 20 years but didn’t really get to “know” her until we started blogging this year. She’s been one of my biggest supporters, she’s boosted my self-esteem and encouraged me to chase a dream. She’s made me laugh for a long time and now she inspires me. Patty took time out of her busy life to write me a recommendation for graduate school without hesitation. Thank you, friend.  On a side note, she has also had the pleasure of waxing my nether-regions ..isn’t she lucky?

Tales of a Hockey Wife makes me laugh. Without fail, she provides me with at least one chuckle per post. Her hockey mask photos are genius. She is training to be a Zumba instructor and pole-fitness classes. She shares my love of singling out annoying people and writing funny blogs about them, only she’s smart and does it anonymously.

Tales of a Hockey Wife

Chicken Noodle Gravy I am completely addicted to the comfort of Chicken Noodle Gravy. Katie whips up some delicious posts. Her writing style is really engaging and keeps me going back for more. I’ll be honest, I just discovered Chicken Noodle Gravy about two weeks ago, but Katie is an instant favorite. She shares the dream to be published. I think she’s on her way.

My 3 Little Birds Yet another recent discovery and instant favorite! She is an aspiring writer too. Do you notice a theme here? I can’t get enough of My 3 Little Birds. We kind of stumbled upon one another over a shared blog title. “Crack is Whack!” What can I say, she had me at crack.

The Fancy Flea. Amazing photography of her beautiful country/life/random moments. She loves books. I love her.

The (Not Always) Happy Homemaker Diary. Missy has been a constant reader for a while. She never fails to comment and always manages to take the time to say hello via Twitter. I’m so bad at Twitter. I think Missy might be the only person who really talks to me there. We share many similarities and have both spent time lamenting over them. Sometimes it’s nice to know that you aren’t alone in the world.

Rancher Mom’s Realm makes me laugh a lot. It doesn’t matter if she’s commenting at my blog or if I’m reading hers. I giggle. She’s real. Her posts are genuine and I like when other women drop F-bombs as much as I do.

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OK in UK has the best sense of humor ever. I love Mollie. There, I said it. I think I’m weird until I go to her blog and then I realize that I’m not alone in the world. It’s the rest of the people who are weird and not funny. If you’re normal, Mollie will make you laugh. She will also entertain you with her talent for writing. to to her blog!

I didn’t forget anyone. I’m tired and I have a raging sinus infection so if I didn’t give you a shout out please don’t be angry with me. Take pity on me and my bum sinuses. I still love you. I do, really…I do. I’m simply jacked up on pinot grigio and NyQuil Sinus PM and should probably stop before this takes a turn toward freaky.

Beulah’s Thoughts on Sign Language

We never got sucked into the whole “Teach Your Baby to Sign” craze. Mostly, I refrained for selfish reasons. I like listening to toddlers butcher the English language. I am amused when I hear a tiny girl sporting freshly grown pigtails screaming what sounds like filthy obscenities in the middle of Home Goods. Why? Well, because I know that she’s saying “NO PUSHY!” but the two horrified old ladies who were just admiring her beauty thought she was screaming, “NO PUSSY!” Call me immature, but that was a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster day. Plus, I’ve found that a toddler shouting what sounds like the most vulgar of words serves a dual purpose. Besides making me chuckle, it effectively clears the aisles of annoying old ladies who otherwise feel entitled to bump you with their carts or unabashedly rip a fart while refusing to move a 1/2 inch to the right, thus blocking my passage.

The other reason that I never jumped on the “Teach Your Baby to Sign” bandwagon is purely the result of an interaction I had with an annoying woman who lived in our Boston neighborhood.

One afternoon Joe and I were out for a walk, he couldn’t have been much more than 18 months old, when we were stopped by that nosey old coot who I’ll call Beulah. “Oh, well isn’t he just precious,” Beulah cooed. We continued with some lame small talk and then Beulah asked, “Does he use sign language? Because so and so’s baby does sign language.” I politely explained that Joe did not use sign language because Joe could speak. “Well,” she sniffed, “so and so’s baby is very smart” except that she pronounced it smaht. Beulah then had the nerve to cast a pity-filled, forlorn grimace at my toddler as if he was the new neighborhood idiot.

For some odd reason, I suddenly found myself embarking on a mission to make this particular Beulah understand that our son wasn’t stupid, we simply didn’t feel it necessary to teach him sign language when he was perfectly capable of speaking. No matter what I said, she couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of learning to talk using your mouth. Beulah scoffed at the fact that we were teaching him to speak…using his voice and some words.  She simply refused to believe that my child could possibly lead a productive life without first knowing how to sign the word “milk”.

My neglectful parenting just didn’t sit well with Beulah. All of the smaht neighborhood children were signing, you know. After engaging in this circular (idiotic) argument for approximately five minutes too long, I realized that I was having a conversation with a tactless moron. Of course, being me, I bid her a curt farewell and wondered if she understood the universal sign for ‘fuck you’, but I refrained from using it. Besides, I had to hurry home and teach Joe how to say grapes in Spanish with our new Baby Einstein flash cards. Las Uvas…

Have you ever had a run in with a Beulah? Click here to find out what a Beulah is.

Have you ever laughed while reading Narragansett No. 7? Yes? That’s great! Now don’t be such a Beulah…go cast a vote!
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Tune in Tokyo!

I know, you’re asking yourself, now why in the world is she posting a lame clip from a truly lame 80’s movie? Well, because today, in an effort to fill the day with fun activities, I jumped into a deep jacuzzi tub with the girls. Or shall I say, my two daughters and I jumped into the tub and Kate discovered my girls?

This toddler seems to show a lot more interest in human anatomy than the other two did. I spent the better part of bath-time being felt up, tweaked, twisted and pinched by a grabby two-year old. As she performed a dual boobie twist, I was reminded of the line, “Tune in Tokyo.”

It all started when I turned the jets on and the bubbles accumulated. Suddenly, Kate became enthralled with a new game called Find the Nipples.

To begin with, I’m not all that modest. I don’t feel the need to cover my girl parts when the kids come crashing into the bathroom. In my past, I had no problems with topless beaches when visiting another country. However, I draw the line at letting a kid use my boobs as another disposable play thing.

A few months ago, I left the television in the kitchen on for background noise. Normally, as soon as The View comes on, I run to turn the channel. I can’t stand the cackling noises that come from that group of women as they vehemently argue about things like Charlie Sheen’s parenting skills or Chris Brown’s violent behavior. Yet, about twice a year, I find myself sucked in to their weird conversations, like the time Elizabeth Hasselbeck described peeing in a diaper while stuck in traffic.

On one particular show this winter, that bunch of cackling hens clucked about bath time with their children. Barbara piped in and explained how, when her daughter was little, they “bonded” during their communal baths. I thought, huh…I do that, but I never looked at it as a bonding opportunity. More like, I’d love to take a Jacuzzi tub but the minute I run the water, the kids come running as if candy is dripping from the faucet. I say if you can’t beat them, let them hop in.

Gwen never showed any real fascination with my boobs beyond complimenting me on their size. Apparently, in Gwen’s mind, my boobs are GINORMOUS, which is funny because I can buy training bras in the kid’s section at Target or, in the alternative, skip the bra altogether. Gwen never grabbed a boob.

Kate digs boobs. Kate likes to play Radio Operator with my boobs. She’ll stop at nothing to locate boobs. Nothing can dissuade her from her bizarre infatuation and, wearing a look of intense determination; she forages through the bubbles until she finds them, and then squeals with delight, as if she has uncovered the lost ark of the Covenant.

So on this lovely Thursday morning, I endured precisely 15 minutes of Tune in Tokyo before I finally called it quits. I left Kate and Gwen to enjoy what was to have been my warm, relaxing bubble-filled Jacuzzi tub. Within minutes, I heard Gwen yell, “Kate! Stop pinching my boobies!”

I couldn’t help but wonder how Barbara Walters handled getting felt up by her daughter.

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Swedish Fish and the Day I Nearly Vanished

The walk from my farm into the tiny village of West Hebron was at most, one mile. I was ransacking the drawers of my bureau that stood between two of the large windows in my bedroom. Only briefly, I paused to look across the road at the horses and then a warm breeze gently lifted the sheer curtains, calling me to walk.

At ten-years-old, I often spent my summer days exploring or playing with friends. One particular friend was my neighbor, Tracy, who was three years older than me. It was Tracy who I would meet for this walk to the Bedlam Corners General Store. My blue nylon Nikes scuffed along the side of the road, kicking up dust as I stopped to say hello to our horses. My fingers stroked the velvet nose of Tank who nodded his head in farewell before trotting off to follow me along the fence-line. That’s as much as I remember about the first half of our walk to buy a bag of penny candy.

The General Store’s counter was lined with glass jars full of penny candy. My personal favorite was the jar of Swedish fish. On that day, I filled my small brown paper bag with the appropriate amount of fish in exchange for my foraged pennies, stepped from the darkened interior of the store and into the warm late afternoon sunshine. Tracy and I began our walk toward home. We were moving slowly, talking through gummy mouthfuls of sweet, chewy candy when a blue van drove past. The woman in the passenger seat stared at us as the van crept past.

Tracy and I crossed the road to look at the water that flowed beneath the bridge at the bottom of the hill. The willow branches swayed gently, their rustling leaves were all that we heard. The tiny village was quiet. As we pushed ourselves away from the railing of the bridge and resumed our walk, the blue van pulled to a quick stop beside us. I was closest to the road and somewhat startled by the sudden reappearance of this unfamiliar vehicle. I remember seeing the face of the woman in the passenger seat as she twisted herself to yell at someone in the rear of the van. Her brown hair was limp and stringy. Her eyes held a disarming look of rushed panic. In the seconds it took for me to absorb her and her actions, the side door of the van violently slid open and then loudly jerked to a stop when it reached the end of its track.

Inside, a man with dark, greasy hair and a gaunt face was hanging onto the handle. He held the handle as he moved to the very edge of the van and lunged at me with his free arm. The van had begun moving forward in a slow roll when he grabbed my left arm along with a portion of my long, brown hair. I remember being pulled toward the open door of that van and thinking simply, they look so dirty. Their hair is greasy and I don’t know them. In the seconds that this was happening, I searched the faces of three strangers who were glaring at me with an odd hunger in their eyes. At once, I knew that they were taking me. Despite my innocence, instinct told me that they were bad people. As I attempted to pull away, I realized he hadn’t gotten a firm hold on my arm. He floundered. The van was too far from the side of the road and he hadn’t been able to get close enough to pull me in. I know, because he yelled those very words to the driver. The woman was still twisted in her seat and yelling at the man holding my arm, “Hurry the fuck up! Get her!”

courtesy Google image search

Both of Tracy’s hands firmly wrapped around my right arm and she pulled with all of her might. For a few moments in time, I hovered between the gaping hole on the side of a rusted blue van and the firm grasp of my thirteen-year-old neighbor.

As if in slow motion, I turned my head in her direction and saw alarm and determination in her expression. My head prematurely jerked to a stop mid-turn because his hand, the one that was gripping my arm, was also tangled in my hair. In that frozen moment, I looked behind Tracy’s head and watched the sunlight playing through the long, wispy leaves of the willow trees. I watched the long, graceful branches as they painted ripples into the water of the stream and worried that would be the last beautiful moment I’d ever see. Even though I had no idea what they wanted with me, some base instinct told me what they wanted was ugly.

courtesy of Google image search

Tracy’s feet stepped back from the sandy roadside and found purchase on the grass behind her, enabling her to pull with more force than the man in the van could muster from his awkward position. As Tracy tugged my arm, Mrs. Henry’s screen door slammed closed. The banging sound caught my attention and I watched her hurry to the edge of her porch yelling, “LEAVE THOSE GIRLS ALONE!” I saw another woman exit the house and lean across the railing to get a better view.

I turned then, to face the man in the van, and felt his fingers loosening. I looked down at his hand as Tracy pulled me from his reach. Burned into my memory is the vision of his dirty fingers wrapped and tangled in my hair then finally, slowly receding back into the van. As suddenly as it had appeared, the van accelerated and sped away from us. As it did, the man holding the handle was thrown backwards into the depths of the van and the sliding door slammed shut.

My memory becomes vague after his fingers left my hair. I was probably in shock. I recall sitting on Mrs. Henry’s porch and that she gave me a glass of iced tea. She smoothed my hair and asked if she could call my parents for me. Only later did I realize that I had lost my bag of Swedish Fish.

I periodically wonder what they would have done with me, then I shudder and thank God that he didn’t have a firm grasp.
I have never written about my attempted abduction before and returning to those terrifying moments this afternoon as I wrote, was difficult. I’ve never let go of the fear or dark curiosity of what exactly they planned to do.

While I have never forgotten that day, I decided to write about it following a nightmare that I had last weekend. I wrote about that nightmare here shortly after I woke, while the emotion and fear was fresh. A week later, that dream still haunts me. After I posted Nightmares, so many readers responded with their own fears and experiences. One of those writers is my good friend Patty from Another Cookie, Please! Today Patty wrote about the true and dreadfully frightening attempted abduction of her then three-year-old son in a post titled In the Blink of an Eye.

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Self Doubt

Since I began recalling the ability to recall, I recall loving books. More specifically, I recall loving words and the endless possibilities of their combinations. For me, words have always held a certain magic. When put together in carefully crafted combinations, words have the ability to transport you to different times, worlds and into the lives of others.

I also recall being thrilled when, at the age of five, I finally owned the ability to write letters and make my own word combinations and, since that time, I have wanted to be a writer. My entire life has been spent dreaming of penning best-selling novels and becoming a sort of younger, female version of Stephen King. He is one of my idols. King can place you in the darkest and most ghastly of worlds, evoking both fear and disgust, but his descriptiveness lends such an air of realism to the horror. He has kept me eagerly turning the pages of his books for 25 years.

Photo from the collection of the Hoover Library

As a kid, Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired me. When you put aside the whole Little House on the Prairie franchise, stop envisioning Michael Landon as Pa and pick up those books again, you (hopefully) recognize the importance of her writing. She wrote about America and the pioneers of the West. The rich detail of her books is awe inspiring. I can still read them and become swept into the 1870s. Her words have carried me away from the Big Woods in a covered wagon, feeling every jaw-rattling bump as they bid farewell to family they might never see again. She transported me to their dugout at Plum Creek and to their tiny prairie house where I sat by a crackling fire fearing that Pa would freeze to death in the blizzard. On pins and needles, I prayed that Pa would see the lamp that Ma had placed in the window to guide him safely home. I can’t wait for my girls to discover these magical books and hope that they still hold that same magic in a world of DVDs and video games.

Those two authors, worlds apart in their subject matter, planted the seed of a dream. For so many years, I kept my dream to myself. I wrote only for myself and privately and, for a time, I didn’t write at all. It can be hard to hold onto a dream when you are surrounded by negativity and people who are content with being unfulfilled. How is it that some people don’t dream? How is it that some people seem to get some kind of sick enjoyment out of killing the dreams of others? Thankfully, that person is gone from my life now. Oddly enough, the news of his permanent departure from our lives came on the very same day that I received a telephone call from USM/Stonecoast telling me that I have been accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing program. I like when coincidences like that happen. I have a hokey suspicion that ‘coincidence’ was a message from the universe, or God or whatever greater being possibly exists, telling me that my dream is very much alive.

a fair representation of how I view my Dream Killer

As the result of so many years with the aforementioned “Dream Killer,” my self-esteem has taken a few knocks. Despite the fantastic news from Stonecoast, I found myself filled with negative thoughts about the acceptance. I turned to David and said, “An MFA isn’t a real master’s degree.” He got angry. Later I said, “what if no one else is applying because of the economy, so they had to accept me?” He rolled his eyes and got angry.

My dream is becoming reality. Do I think that I’ll write a best-selling novel and become as famous as Stephen King or Laura Ingalls Wilder? No, but I can hope, right? When I was a child, there was a man in our family named John. He lived with my grandmother and he could ‘see’ things. He could also see dead people. So many of his predictions have become truths over the years. One of his predictions came when I was very small. He said that one day; I would be a famous writer. I know…what came first, the chicken or the egg?

This morning, my love woke up early and researched the country’s low residency MFA programs, their rankings and acceptance rates. He desperately wants me to stop doubting myself and my talent. He woke me to tell me that Stonecoast is in the top ten low residency MFA programs in the country and notoriously selective.

I will (try to) stop doubting myself now. Time to follow my dream…

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I remember the cool, cool air blowing from the air conditioner as the car wound through Westchester and Connecticut toward the Long Island Sound. I didn’t need to worry about certain death should the passenger side airbag deploy because it was 1979 and we didn’t worry about seatbelts and airbags then. I was eight-years-old and enjoying the view from the front bench seat of Aunt Rain’s AMC Eagle.

Going to the ocean with Aunt Rain was the highlight of my vacation. Each summer I spent two weeks with my favorite two people in the entire world. My days were filled with the swimming, fairs and fishing, but those beach days were reserved for just Aunt Rain and me. We would float for hours in the salty water of the Long Island Sound at Sherwood Island.

She laid her body back in the water and I thought she would go under, as I would have if I attempted to float. Like magic, her body floated on the gentle waves as she turned her face up to absorb the heat of the sun. The tide was out and crabs scurried beneath our feet. I jumped, buoyed by the water and landed on Rain.  My little body was held up by hers and we laughed about my startled scream and the crab hurrying past my toes. I asked her how she floated so well and watched beads of water roll from her skin.

Our skin glistened with Hawaiian Tropic and my nose was filled with its heady coconut scent. I gingerly laid myself on the blanket, trying my best to keep my greasy skin perfectly clean and free of sand. We pulled sandwiches from the cooler and the Fritos from her canvas LL Bean tote were warm and greasy from the heat of the sun. I alternated licking the salt off the Fritos with sips of shockingly sweet Hawaiian Punch. Aunt Rain read her book and I basked in the sun. Our shared silence was always comfortable.

The ride home was bumpy, sunburned, sleepy and sandy. The lush green landscape of Connecticut flew by my window and lulled me into a sleepy, post-sun state. I looked up at my Aunt Rain, marveled at her beauty and the love she gave before closing my eyes for a cat nap.

Aunt Rain and Kate, January 2011

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Pretty Suckers

Like three tiny vampires, they sucked the pretty right out of me. The first two went relatively easy on the amount of beauty they stole. They sucked just enough pretty to allow me to replenish. They were kind enough to leave the pretty somewhat intact, considerately taking only what they needed. They didn’t cry too much, they slept through the night and, mostly, I only had to chase them around a Boston apartment with two bedrooms and no stairs in the living area. We all went to the gym together, we took advantage of Boston’s sidewalks and the Charles River Esplanade that was right around the corner. The park across the street wasn’t half bad either.
Then we moved to the country. We bought an 150-year-old house and got pregnant in the middle of our grand plans for tearing down plaster walls and renovating a barn (insert the sound of a scratching record here).
The third one is the real culprit. She’s the one who sucked the last vestiges of pretty out of me. Please, allow me to present the People’s Exhibit No. 1.

Exhibit No. 1 - Still Riding the Pretty Train

Exhibit No. 2 (below) shows me one full year after the photo in Exhibit No. 1 was taken. Notice that I was still riding the pretty train, looking fit and well-rested. I was running four times a week at that point. You can tell right? The gym was within walking distance to our apartment and they had free babysitting. God bless the Oak Square YMCA. I miss you.

exbibit no. 2 - still pretty

Then we moved away and purchased what I consider to be the mother of all Pretty Suckers.

Exhibit No. 3 - Evil Pretty Sucker

Just when we began tearing down 150-year-old plaster walls, we were struck with some rather unexpected news.

Exhibit No. 4 - Pretty Sucker Number Three

 Pretty Sucker extraordinaire was born nine months and one scaled back kitchen renovation later. Bathroom renovations? Forget about it. Walk in closet? Yeah, that became a pooky-pink nursery. Have you ever lived through construction in a 150-year-old house? That old horsehair plaster dust sure can travel! Not to mention the possibility of lead dust, the four steep and narrow staircases and drafty windows. So we sold the mother of all Pretty Suckers to provide a safe, warm and comfortable habitat for our little Pretty Suckers.

exhibit No.5

 Pretty Sucker Number Three looks like a beautiful, quiet baby doesn’t she? Look at her peaceful newborn slumber. Breathtaking, isn’t it? *sigh*

Well, here’s the reality of Pretty Sucker Number Three’s first two years.

exhibit no. 6

exhibit no. 7

exhibit no. 8
She is also the star of the Narragansett No. 7’s banner. She’s my muse.

Sometimes the Pretty Suckers can’t control their vicious nature and they are forced to squish themselves into small hiding places to avoid public detection. On the day that this photo was taken (Refer to Exhibit No. 9), Pretty Sucker Number Two was feeling particularly vicious. It hid in this spot at LL Bean in Freeport for 20 full minutes before re-emerging in the form of a child. Under no circumstances should you approach a Pretty Sucker during this heightened state of agitation. They will scream very loudly and there is a strong possibility of a nasty bite. Slowly back away and pretend to ignore the Pretty Sucker. Attempt to make eye contact with the horrified adults in the general vicinity while pretending that the Pretty Sucker belongs to someone else. If possible, laugh and snap a few pictures, but do so from a distance to avoid further provocation.

exhibit no. 9

The male Pretty Sucker is relatively quiet and has a terrific sense of humor. These days he tends to leave me and my minuscule amount of remaining beauty alone. That is, if I allow him to assume his alter ego and scare the other two Pretty Suckers.

In my earliest days with the Pretty Suckers, I foolishly thought they would allow me to retain my pretty. I read them bedtime stories in skinny jeans and a pair of Jimmy Choos before going on dates with their daddy. My hair was still long and luxurious. Well, I was stupid!
Four short years and the addition of Pretty Sucker Number Three has left me in a rather haggard state. I’m considering Thermage coupled with a chemical peel to attack my fine lines and wrinkles… 
Click the brown box below if you would like to donate to my plastic surgery fund. Okay, not really…but a click on the box will register a vote for No. 7 at Top Mommy Blogs!
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Good Luck, Reggie

 One of the perks that comes with living in Maine is this
and these

Since no one else in the family really likes to eat lobster, Joe and I planned to have a special dinner together. We waited all week for ‘Lobstah’ night!

As is usually the case when we have lobster, the kids crowd around the sink and touch the lobsters’ hard shells, they pick them up and bestow them with love and kisses. They eventually name them.

Last night’s lobsters were dubbed Bob and Reggie. You can tell them apart by their rubber bands. Reggie is the dapper looking lobster in the background wearing mismatched rubber bands on his claws.

A few years ago Grandma, who loves lobster like a junkie loves a rock of crack, was visiting and bought Joe his very own lobster. He lovingly guarded the pile of crustaceans that crawled around in the sink waiting for immenent death. He made friends with one particular lobster and named him “Angel”.
My mother and I walked into the kitchen to find him lovingly stroking Angel’s shell and saying, “Don’t worry my Angel…it’s okay.” His hushed voice and far away gaze oddly resembled a scene from Silence of the Lambs.
Perhaps I was overeacting a bit, but I momentarily envisioned future-Joe and Buffalo Bill dancing before his mirror came to mind. “Shhhh…Don’t worry my Angel….”
A half an hour later, Joe ate Angel. With a horrifying lack of empathy, he watched Grandma, a/k/a Lobster Killer, plunge his Angel head first into the pot of boiling water. I chalked his indifference up to normal 4-year-old cluelessness, crossed my fingers that he wasn’t a sociopath and hoped for the best.
Fast forward a couple of years and thankfully, his preschool preoccupation with death and understanding of where food comes from have evolved slightly.
Last night he formed a bond with Reggie. I surmise that when I snapped this shot, he was beginning to question his ability to eat his new friend. Notice the semi-crazed look in his eyes. He’s forcing a smile. He’s not happy that ol’ Reg is about to be boiled, but hasn’t said anything yet.
Bob was already in the hotseat when Joe began questioning how much longer until Reggie was going to be cooked. The timer began beeping and Bob, who was wearing a lovely new shade of red, was placed on a platter.
Okay Joe, it’s Reggie’s turn…  Joe? Are you crying?
head nod
What’s wrong, buddy? Are you upset about cooking Reggie?
gulp. head nod. I don’t think I can.
If nothing else, I understand how difficult it is to eat your own pet. (click here to find out exactly why I am so ‘disturbed’.)

 Would you like to drive Reggie back to the ocean and set him free?


Get your coat! Hey, Daddy!!! We have to go for a while…we’re driving Reggie back to the ocean!

We put Reggie back in his white grocery bag and hurried to the car. Joe brought his plate of broccoli, refusing the chicken that everyone else was eating.

Mind you, the ocean is exactly 8.2 miles from our house, otherwise I might have told Joe to suck it up and eat the damn $12 lobster. We rushed to the beach with Reggie on Joe’s lap. We weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper or play the radio because “it might disturb Reggie. He’s not used to our kind of noise.”

We pulled into a surprisingly full parking lot at the beach for 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday in March. Then I remembered that it was the night of the Super Moon. Great. We would have an audience for our lobster release.

Like a man on a mission, Joe walked quickly and carefully, holding Reggie’s white paper bag before him. We pondered the best method of release and it was decided that we should “carefully throw” Reggie as far as we could so that the waves wouldn’t carry him back to the beach.

At the water’s edge, we opened the sack and poured a very limp Reggie onto the sand. I quickly removed his mismatched rubber bands, but Reggie didn’t make any move to pinch me. I dunked him into the water, hoping to revive him a bit and saw some slight movement.

Good luck, Reggie!

As gently as I could manage, I tossed Reggie into the Atlantic ocean. He was pretty floppy, but I didn’t say so. I just turned and looked at Joe who smiled then ran and threw his arms around me.

You did it Joe! You saved Reggie.

No. We did it, Mom.

Freezing, we ran back up the beach to the warmth of the car and hopped in. Joe laughed about the sand in his shoes and marveled at the boarded up snack shack as we pulled out of the parking lot.

You know…I bet Bob was a real jerk to the other lobsters. That’s why it was okay to cook him.

Hmm…Hey, when we get home do you want to eat some of the chicken I cooked?

No thanks, I’ll just have some chicken nuggets… I can’t tell what kind of animal those come from. I’ve decided that I want to be a vegeterarianan.

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How many times have you had a dream that was just too real?

Last night, my Gwennie and I had a slumber party in my bedroom. We made drizzled party popcorn, I painted her tiny fingernails the perfect shade of hot pink and her little toes too. I brushed her long, beautiful hair and marveled that I used to have that hair too. We watched Flushed Away and fell asleep holding hands and snuggled into the feather bed. It was an evening of magical perfection.

I dreamt that we were at a Wal-Mart. The whole family was unloading from the car at the front sidewalk/sliding doors and a valet was parking the car for us (bear with me, it was a dream). Gwen was standing at the sliding doors waiting for us when we were distracted by Kate falling out of the car. We momentarily turned to pick Kate up from the sidewalk and my last vision of Gwen was composed of her hot pink down jacket and long hair slightly lifting in the wind as she stood waiting for us. The doors were sliding open behind her.

Seconds later I turned again to say that we were all set to go inside. I looked to the spot were Gwen had just been standing but she was gone. I did that slightly panicked mommy spin where you contort to look behind and next to your body while growing more frantic. Was she at my legs waiting? Had she moved closer and I didn’t realize? No, she wasn’t with me. I looked to the left and then to the right and saw only strangers moving purposely across the sidewalk, oblivious to my rising fear.

In my mind’s eye, I saw her standing before the sliding door as it opened behind her and realized that she probably just moved inside the doors to wait for us. David and I went inside expecting to see that little hot pink coat and perhaps scold her for leaving our sight. She wasn’t there. We moved into the store further and frantically scanned the crowds for her hot pink coat. Adrenalin began coursing through my body and I grew lightheaded as I began shouting her name, “Gwen! GWENDOLYN!” David was doing the same thing at the other end of the store. We kept looking at each other, hoping that the other had spotted Gwen or heard her little voice calling in response. Each glance was met with disappointment and increasing panic.

The store announced a Code Adam and locked the doors while we all searched for our daughter. The police were suddenly there and the people who had been locked in with us gawked in nosey horror. One woman shifted on her feet, rolled her eyes and sighed about the inconvenience of being locked in Wal-Mart while the police searched for my missing daughter.

I sat at a table and realized that as I sat, someone was whisking my little girl away from us. I painfully recalled all that I had learned about criminal patterns and behavior when I earned my degree in Criminology. I never expected those lessons to apply to me. I never expected to be sitting somewhere helplessly realizing that the longer my girl was gone, the likelihood of her return dwindled. I desperately tried to push away the thoughts of rape and homicide, but couldn’t. I began screaming her name. In my dream, I realized that I would probably never see her alive again. David tried to hold my arms and the police officers attempted to calm me down but I fought them and began to run through the dream Wal-Mart searching for Gwen…

I woke up with a gasp, covered in a thin film of sweat and saw my beautiful girl peacefully sleeping next to me in her purple Tinkerbell nightgown. Her freshly painted hot pink fingernails were inches from my face and she held Bun-Bun in the crook of her left arm. Slowly, my breathing returned to normal and I wiped the tears from my face. I rolled over and hugged my Cookie tightly, thanking God that I was able to wake up from that nightmare.

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