Signs you may have PSAD (Parental Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Hey.  I’ve been gone for a while now, and while I do have a few valid excuses – traveling, busy with work, with the kids‘ schoolwork, up to my eyeballs as I actually danced in a town-wide fundraising event (more on that another time) – that wasn’t it.  This winter has sucked the spirit right out of me and I know I’m not alone.   Fellow parents, have you found yourself in tears when the call comes in that another snow day is in your future?  Have you fed your kids enough soup to sink a ship…not because it’s warm but because it’s easy and saves you a trip to the store?  Do you and your children sorta hate the sight of each other these days?  If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you may have PSAD, or Parental Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Take heed, though; there is only one cure and that’s Spring.  If you or any other Mom or Dad is showing signs of PSAD, grab something to drink, give the kids carte blanche on Netflix (no judging) and ride out the (literal and figurative) storm.  Remember that you’re not alone.

Signs You May Have PSAD

  1. You have seriously considered cashing in your child’s 529 Plan to take a weekend trip south.  Like, EQUATOR south.
  2. You’ve let your hair color go so long because the mere thought of getting into a cold car to go buy a box of 5G-Golden Chestnut is simply too much to bear.  It takes noticing the Jay Leno white patch that has sprouted in the middle of your forehead and your child pointing to the squirrel stripe along your part to finally bite the bullet and head to the store.  But by the time you’ve prepared to brave the elements and put on the various layers of outerwear, you realize that as long as you’ll be keeping that winter hat on then really, can’t this wait until spring?
  3. 20140311-221804.jpgBinge-watching has become your lifeline to the outside world.  You start with great shows like “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad” but as the wind blows against the windows, you spiral quickly downward to Season Three of “Dance Moms.”
  4. It was your daughter who turned you onto “Dance Moms.”  She’s 8.
  5. You don’t object when your kids start playing dangerous indoor sports like “Stair Basketball.”  As your 4-year old teeters at the top stair and hurls a pair of rolled up socks down into the hoop on the bottom step that his sibling is holding, you don’t picture him falling; instead you relish in the five minute break from Cabin Fever until a fight (or injury) inevitably breaks out.
  6. You’ve found yourself picking fights with your children over the dumbest things.  “Are you SERIOUSLY still listening to the song from “Frozen?”  Good LORD, find something new to obsess over.”
  7. You despise the TV meteorologists with a fervor normally reserved for adulterers or Oprah Winfrey and would punch Al Roker squarely in the face if only you could get close enough.
  8. Your anger level has reached DEFCON 7; upon giving up swearing for Lent (terrible idea, I know), you find yourself dropping the F-Bomb to a friend and then repeating it three more times to emphasize just how &*#!ed you really are.  You quickly realize that you owe $4 to the swear jar for just one sentence.  &*#!
  9. You are quietly rooting against your child’s basketball team because if they lose this game then they DON’T have to play again at 8am Sunday morning.  And just as you are feeling really guilty, you realize all of the other Moms and Dads on the bleachers are doing the exact same thing.
  10. You don’t argue with the kids to wear hats, mittens or even winter jackets anymore because you just don’t have the fight left in you.  Your thinking is, “Fine, get frostbite, you toad…but so help me if it gets so bad that I have to go back out in the cold and drive you to the doctor, I will end you.”
  11. As you clean up the third round of projectile vomiting in a week, you think to yourself, “Well, at least he ate his carrots last night.”
  12. It’s taken you two months to write a &*#!ing blog post.

Think spring, folks.  Think spring.

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Alex’s Letter to…The Ghost of Christmas Future

Aside

Dear Ghost of Christmas Future,

Hey!  How are you?  Hope you had a nice summer!  Did you take any trips?  Not sure if you ever make it to the Cape but you should visit; there are so many annoying tourists to haunt that your dance card would be filled from May through September.

the-muppet-christmas-carol-50th-anniversary-edition-20051220045446879-000Anyway, I’m writing to you instead of Santa this year because what I really want for Christmas is less of the Big Man’s “bag” and more of yours.  I mean, he’s certainly cornered the market on wooden toys, sugar cookies and claymation specials but what I want is right in your wheelhouse.  I know this is a super-busy time of year for you, what with the television specials on everything from CBS to Sesame Street (ps, your Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my faves), but since you probably don’t get these requests that often I’m hoping you’ll hook a sister up.

Christmas Future, what I want this year is answers.  Simple answers that might make the next few trying months of parenting just a little easier.  You have to understand, my three little darlings are at such different stages of life – pre-teen boy, precocious elementary school girl and hell-on-wheels, four-year-old whirling dervish – that the hubs and I are perpetually stumped.  Just when we’ve put out one fire, another one pops up right next to it.  Will it end in 2014?  Will it end…EVER?

For example, let’s take the aforementioned pre-teen.  I’m told that these mood swings are normal but HELLO how long should I expect them to go on?  One minute he’s my sweet, helpful and caring firstborn and the next he’s an eye-rolling, “you-don’t-know-anything, MOM” creature whom I hardly recognize.  IMG_0451I can handle this as long as I know that there is an end in sight…and being the Type A kinda gal that I am, I’m gonna need to know WHEN that will come.  I mean, are we talking three months?  A year?  (Gulp) UNTIL 18?!  If that’s the case then I may consider diving into the ditch with your boy Ebenezer just to ride out the storm.

Here’s another answer I seek…when, OH WHEN, will I be able to go out for dinner with my children again, knowing they will behave like humans?  Get this, tonight a friend and I took our kids out to a pretty family-friendly restaurant, The Halfway Cafe.  They stuck the seven of us in a booth in the back corner of the joint (smart move) and we must have threatened our children 48 times apiece with the old “Naughty List” standby.  To be honest, I think the kids are on to us at this point; they must plan on pulling an 11th-hour miracle because about 10 seconds after each warning they were back under the table again, swallowing full sugar packets.  IS there a future for my family when it comes to fine dining?  Or any dining for that matter?  Will we be relegated to a lifetime of takeout?  Or worse…DRIVE THROUGH?!

My last question is a simple one: when will my children stop yelling?  I don’t mean outside, with friends, on a playground, during a soccer game or at a concert…I’m talking about at home.  While eating dinner.  Or laying in bed.  Or watching a movie.  Or at church.  I’m seriously concerned that they don’t physically have the ability to do anything BUT speak at a volume so loud that it would wake the dead (no offense).  Is there a time in the future that they learn the art of the whisper?  Ever?  No?  Can you nod?  Why do you continue to point that bony finger at me?  Are you going to turn it into a thumbs up?  No?

Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time to read this.  Obviously, peace on earth and good tidings to Tiny Tim and all that jazz; I’m hoping that because I’m not being AT ALL materialistic in my list this year (and since you probably don’t get a whole lot of love from anyone EVER) that you’ll send me the answers that I’m looking for.  If you’ve ever wanted to leapfrog over the Man in the Red Suit, this could be your big chance.  Don’t squander it, Ghostie; take a page out of Scrooge’s book and learn from this.  Ain’t nothin’ like a shiny new second chance.

Hope you have a great Christmas scaring the bejeezus out of cranky old jerks.  If you’re looking for a few new victims this year, just holler; I keep a list of some really deserving ones.

Ho Ho Ho,

Love, Alex

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The Obligatory “Here’s What I’m Thankful For” Post

It’s Thanksgiving.  You knew this was coming, so settle in and embrace the schmaltz.

photo-3Although I often curse the ubiquitous Barbie doll-sized rubber bands that show up everywhere from inside my purse to the floor of the shower, I am actually thankful for Rainbow Loom.  Why?  Because it can occupy hours – HOURS, fellow moms – of Georgia’s time and when one comes face to face with the long sigh/eye roll/”I’m boooooored” monster, you too will want to nominate the inventor of Rainbow Loom for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am happy that certain retail stores still have revolving doors (stay with me here).  While dragging two unwilling children to Legacy Place shopping center last weekend (four year old completely decked out in his Captain America costume, November be damned), I was at my wits end.  Between the constant refereeing of arguments (“She touched me!” “NO. I. DID. NOT!”) and near-shoplifting act by Quinn (he didn’t MEAN to wear the headband out of the store), I was about to lose it.  That is, until we passed Williams Sonoma and the kids took five turns around the revolving door, going faster and faster and laughing like hyenas.  Made the 19-year old cashier confused.  Made me smile.

192904_10151583909027880_847399697_oNow that Ben is in 7th grade and taking English via Latin, I am THANKFUL BEYOND WORDS that I took 5 years of the dead language when I was in school.  For years I felt duped; grownups swore to me that the time spent suffering through conjugating verbs and translating the Iliad would help me on my SATs and in the end, they really didn’t.  However, aside from the fact that I can KILL IT in certain Jeopardy categories (Greek Mythology remains a strength), I am actually somewhat able to help my son recognize the difference between the present and future tense of “to be.”  Ad astra per aspera!  (That one’s for you, Magistra Lowe.)

After injuring my back this summer lifting a sofa (apparently the 41-year old back is not made for that sort of thing, WHAAATTT???!), I am quite sure that Zelayna, my chiropractor, is nothing short of an angel roaming the earth.  If you live in the Boston area and are in need of a miracle of the vertabraeic kind, email me.  Hell, even if you live in Duluth, consider making the trip.

I am super thankful that Whole Foods offers 10% off when you buy six bottles of wine (that one’s pretty self explanatory).

1385483_10201186964739081_653230068_nQuinn has started to really hit his stride when telling a (completely insane) story.  For instance, earlier tonight he proceeded to tell me (while sitting on the throne) that he knows a boy who went on vacation and actually fell down into the potty and got lost.  He declared in bed that “My name is Adrian Crockshaw” and despite googling this character, he seems to be completely made up.  And on the way home from daycare as I was reminding him that Santa is watching and if he finds himself on the the Naughty List then it will be no presents for Christmas, he had a backup plan.  “If Santa puts me on the Naughty List then I will hide behind him and when the kids are sitting on his lap I will creep up and steal all the toys.”  I guess that’s a great alternative to actually being good.

Of course, no Thanksgiving list would be complete without taking stock of how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family, and for that I’m truly blessed.  This year I seem to be even more aware of those that I love and to never take them for granted; I hope that they all stay healthy and happy and focus on the good that is around all of us.

And for all those baddies out there, let’s just hope that Santa has eyes in the back of his head…‘cuz they’re comin’ fer ya.

The 4-year old Operative

While watching the season opener of Homeland, they flashed back to Carrie interrogating Brody inside CIA headquarters.  The more she pressed him, the more he refused to cooperate…and all I could think of was, “They’re doing it wrong.”

If you REALLY want to break someone down, send in my 4-year old son Quinn.

“I didn’t blow up the Embassy!”

“Yes you did I sawed you do it.”

“I wasn’t even there!”

“Yes you were, I. SAWED. YOU.”

“I left five minutes before the bomb went off!”

“YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO COUNT!  THIS IS HOW YOU COUNT!  One, two, free, four, five, seven, firteen, fifteen, seventeen!”

“FINE I DID IT, I SET OFF THE BOMB, JUST TAKE THE KID AWAY!”

Come to think of it, the CIA would be smart to bring in a whole army of four-year old operatives.  Not only could they break even the most steadfast of witnesses but take a look at a few of their other special skills:

  • photo-8Weapons – I don’t know about your 4-year old, but Quinn can wield a plastic machine gun, baseball bat or pirate sword like a government assassin.  He seems to possess expert skills in slaying all sorts of bad guys (and unsuspecting small dogs…heads up, Elvis) and can even handle more specialized tools like nunchucks and water balloon launchers.  Plus, he can turn any household item (such as a paper towel roll or banana) into a lethal weapon.
  • Pay scale – as we are now in the midst of a government shutdown, this poses a very budget-friendly alternative.  Not gonna pay those agents?  No problem.  Hand out bags of candy corn, juice boxes and Power Ranger DVDs and those kids will do whatever you ask of them.
  • PicFrameMasters of Disguise – there’s nothing Quinn likes more than dressing up.  He may not blend in, so to speak, but you would never know it was him.
  • Discretion – what 4-year olds lack in an ability to keep secrets, they make up for when it comes to confusing the enemy.  Sure, they may accidentally spill some top sensitive information but it would be buried in so many layers of irrational storytelling that not even the most skilled decryption expert would be able to crack their code.  E.g,, “Yesterday at school my teacher said ‘what the heck’ is a bad wood and Sam saw a monstuh but a man with a gun killed the monstuh and then I ate birfday cake and I got to pet a tiger!”

While I’m hardly ready to ship Quinn off to Langley, it does make you wonder…maybe the answer to many of the current government problems could be solved with a little 4-year old berating?  I’d bet my life that if we locked Congress in a room with Quinn and a whole army of his insane friends and then told them that they couldn’t leave until they came to an agreement…

We’d have things worked out by noon.