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Date archive for: September 2010

Insanity by Baby Book

Shhh. Listen … There! Did you hear that? That snarky mumbling? They’re doing it again. Taunting me. Shaming me. Making judgmental “tsk, tsk” sounds in my direction.

Yes, I know they’re only books. Just glossy hardcover journals. Just pretty pastel diaries with a soft-focus cover photo of some baby’s delicious feet. The books look so tidy and innocuous, with their sweet ribbon embellishments.

But we know better, don’t we?

We moms know that baby books — those keepsake compendiums where we’re supposed to inventory our kids’ cute sayings and developmental milestones for posterity — do not exist to bring joy to families. They exist to bring revenue to the gift industry. And to drive me self-loathingly, inferiority-complexedly deranged. (Ooh, there’s a nice line for the baby book. Lemme jot that one down.)

Sure, there was a time — when my babies napped often and I was too exhausted to stand up and go make a sandwich — when I wrote diligently, dutifully in those pretty books: “Why we chose your name … ,” “Our first days together … ,” “Your first smile … .”

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'Why He's My Ex'

Smacking your head on a low-hanging beam. Ordering an expensive dinner and forgetting your wallet. Neglecting to notice the gaping hole in the crotch of your pants.

Some things just aren’t funny until they’re over. Looong over. And then they’re hilarious.

Bad dates and god-awful ex-boyfriends are like that. They make us curse, cringe, cry … and ultimately leave us no choice but to cackle like maniacs.

That’s how I feel now about the guy I once dated who was hot for my mom. And also the one who compulsively stole pens from drugstores.

And it’s how friends Jessica Hill and Krishna Devine felt after enduring ugly breakups a few years back.

“We were sitting around having cocktails, dissecting our dating experiences, and comparing notes,” Devine recalls. “And we said, ‘We’re ready to get over this. It happened, but we’re going to find the funny part of it and move on.'”

So the gals coauthored a book, Why He’s My Ex, a snappy and acerbic new picture book cataloging the heinous-cum-hilarious things men do that make them Mr. Wrong. They’ll sign the book at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 26 at Chaucer’s bookstore.

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Take My Kids … Please

It was like a meeting of Irresponsible Parents Anonymous. Shuffling anxiously into the sterile office, we were strangers to one another, with two shared attributes: shame that we hadn’t taken care of this sooner, and relief that we were finally doing something about it.

We are the laggard parents (perhaps you’re one of us?) who haven’t yet named a legal guardian for our children — haven’t debated the relative merits of various friends and family members to raise our children in the event of our untimely deaths, haven’t had the touchy conversation with said individuals wherein we ask them to accept the onerous responsibility of ushering our spawn gracefully into adulthood, haven’t filled out the legal paperwork making the decision official … But as you see, the process is complex.

It’s one of those parenting chores that fall into the category of “prudence” — and that I stink at. Saving for their college. Having them fingerprinted. Even getting them flu shots. So if I’m an unfit mother for not planning for their potential orphanhood, well, add it to the list.

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Since When Does 'Adult' Mean Dirty?

Growing up is no rare achievement, but we did work hard to get here. Stumbling around the house in our parents’ shoes, calculating our ages in cheeky increments of halves and quarters, scrutinizing that slow-growing height chart etched onto our bedroom doorframes in ballpoint pen.

In fact, you could argue that our entire childhoods were devoted to prepping and plotting for adulthood. In my own eager little mind, being “big” meant freedom. It meant confidence. It meant respect.

Imagine my shock to discover that adulthood actually means shopping for vibrating underpants and schmoozing the stars of Busty Cops and Naked Heroines Bound for Trouble!

This weekend, porn stars and erotic toy peddlers will gather at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the annual naughtyfest known as Adultcon. Open to the public, the expo invites guests to meet “over 69 adult entertainers,” purchase “male sexual enhancement products,” and learn about “vaginal rejuvenation centers.”

All of which sound diverting indeed. Stimulating? Maybe. Amusing? Undoubtedly. But … adult?

Let’s ignore the fact that the girls in Adultcon ads appear to challenge even the legal definition of “adult.” And let’s disregard my own clearly twisted associations of “adult sex” with responsible considerations like love, birth control, and (yawn, I know) STD-prevention.

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Life is Laundry

Some of my friends are sending their kids off to college this fall and discovering, with some shame, that their offspring — who can build Web sites, play stringed instruments, and locate Latvia on a world map — are deficient in other life skills. Basic skills. Crucial skills.
“We just got back from dropping Devon off for his first night in the dorm,” says my friend Tracy. A superlative mother, Tracy has taught her children to play cribbage, iron a dress shirt, and consider protein and fiber percentages when choosing their breakfast cereals. But that evening, while introducing her son to his new bedroom, she realized there are still some things she’s failed to demonstrate.
“They need to learn how to put sheets on their bed,” she says, describing a slapstick scene of mattress-wrestling that left her shaking her head. “Thank god he didn’t have the top bunk.”
We modern parents are great at teaching our kids the value of empathy, recycling, and broad bandwidth. But have we forgotten to school them in, say, soaping their skivvies?
A young woman I know admits she had no idea how to do laundry when she left home: “My mother always said she paid too much for my clothes to let me mess them up in the wash.”
Another says she’s flummoxed by grocery shopping: “I always forget to buy something important.”
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