"A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y!" she sang to me, pointing to the little sticky foam letters which will peel most, if not all, of the stain off the table when we finally get around to removing them. "Did you know Y can be a bowel, mom?"

Um, yes I do, actually?

"Oh, I mean vvvvvowel. It starts withhh a VEEE. Vowel."

Oh just knock it off with the growing, kid. 

One day they realize that if you're happy, and you know it, you aren't actually supposed to clap your feet, or that it isn't Chris-chris time, and the next day they're at school getting girlfriends or worrying that their period is going to start soon and you just sit there looking at them like, "How is it possible that you are able to eat food on your own again?" 

And then you take your daughter out to play after she's given you a grammar lesson and you both see it at the same time. A monarch fluflubee, flying just above and in front of her, and you stop to watch because there will never be anything more fantastic than a fluflubee. At that moment the wind picks up and the fluflubee is tossed around through the air, hurdled to earth and broken against the black concrete. 

Your daughter runs over, bends down, and picks up the creature. She's afraid at first, and so is it, but she is gentle and it is in need and you don't even notice when she she perfectly enunciates the desperation behind momma, the butterfly's wing is broken and the prayer inside of can we fix it, momma? because no matter what she says or how she says it, she is always going to be your baby and you are always going to be spellbound by her wide eyes and huge heart.

Girls don't like boys; girls like cars and fractions.

My friends had some stuff they had to take care of over the first half of this week, and since I haven't have a good sadomasochistic torture session in a while love them, I agreed to take their girls for three nights so they could focus on whatever it is they're doing.  

This morning, they woke up (which is on its own way more than I am used to) (My 13 year old son woke up at 12:17:46 pm today) (I know because I heard his eyeroll all the way in my office) (which is the kitchen table during summer vacation) (dear god, let school start) they woke up and were like, "Auntie Mr Lady! What are we! Going! to do! Today!" because what no one told me is that young girls of school age insert! exclamations! everywhere! 

So I started to make breakfast and the three girls (because mirth is contagious, and I skipped that vaccine in my daughter) were like Katy! Perry! Face! Book! Justin! Bieb....and I was like this has gone far enough! Get dressed so we can eat lunch and...um...buy webkinz? 


When I recovered hearing in both ears, I realized that I'd blown the best bargaining chip in my pocket on the first morning of the first day and resigned myself to just being fucked for the rest of the week, so I took them all to lunch. 

That was fun. 

No, really, it was. Only one kid spilled a drink and only one kid didn't like their food and those were the same kid. Only two of them are riddled with teenaged hormones rendering them nigh incapable of human interaction 98% of the time, and absolutely beyond fucking hilarious the other 2%. The other two are blond, in every sense of the word. 

So we come back home and the boys get on the XBox to play Left 4 Dead, which they convinced me involved killing Nazis (because I, being all for the swift and painful removal of all Nazis -fictitious or no -would not deny their little German hearts any change to right the wrongs of their ancestors, and they know that) but does not, in fact, involve killing Nazis but does involve the rather disturbingly violent disembowelment of every living thing you've ever seen, ever, in four-part harmony.

Meanwhile, the girls go upstairs to get their Webkinz set up online and I get to work. And I hear the moans of the dying out of my left ear and out of my right ear, I hear my daughter say, "Girl A! Girl A2! I'm counting to 100!" and I hear Girl A and Girl A2 reply, "I know! Isn't counting so much fun?"

And I really don't know which one was worse.


Safe Kids, Unicorns and Other Mythical Creatures

In honor of Safe Kids Week, and in support of the upcoming Safe Kids Facebook webcast on sports injury prevention, I agreed to write a post about preventing injuries in children. Because I am the World's Leading Authority on Sports Related Injury Prevention.

My husband is an athlete and aspires to have little athlete minions running around our home so I do the best that I can to keep our kids active and and athletic even though I am incapable of standing upright for more than five minutes without falling over sideways because I have all the balance of an egg and as much coordination as cooked pasta. But I write a mean line of code. Shut up.

However, in my now thirteen ohmygodkillmenow years of raising children, I have learned that there is one universal, undeniable truth...everything will break your children. Everything. There is nothing safe. All you can do is bubble wrap your kids and hope for the best.

Bubble Wrap

*Bubble wrap the outside, people. OUTSIDE.

Don't believe me? Let's walk through a few different types of sports and see what we find:

Swimming: I started the children in swimming at a young age because my husband was a swimmer, so naturally, he wants his kids to be swimmers but naturally, he doesn't want them to know that he wants it because men are confusing and I give up.

So we gave our kids the gift of water and this what water gave us back.
Yes, my son cracked his head open on water.
Yes, my child cracked his head open on water. It's a gift. We also got a hematoma on the frontal lobe of a skull and a toe with a disconcerting amount of skin that just refuses to ever grow back for our effort. Pool: 3 Us: 0

Gymnastics: They call it Tumbling to lure you into some false sense of security, like it's sweet and polka dotted and made of unicorns and Jujubes when really it is lurking in a dark alley waiting to jump you with a crow bar and rubber cement.

*You're welcome for not showing you the pre-stitches picture with the brain matter hanging out of the side of his head.

And if the gym doesn't succeed at poking holes in their heads, it'll just attempt to rip those cute little heads clean off. Gym: 2 Us: 0

Playgrounds: Get your kids outside! Go to the park! Slide down the slide! Break an EYESOCKET.

And if that doesn't do it for you, you could just walk around the slide, smack your foot against the side of it and break that, instead. The playground gods giveth; the playground gods taketh away.

Broken Foot

Or you could just let gravity take care of everything for you and spend several hours catching vomit after they fall from the 'mom, look how HIGH I climbed' part of the jungle gym. Because that's good family fun for everyone. Playgrounds: 3 Us: 0

Gravity in General: With every step you take you are snubbing your nose at 9.80665 m/s2 of gravitational pressure. That's, like, a lot. And eventually, gravity is going to snub you back. It'll probably be when your neighbor decides to play that 'toss your kid in the air and catch' him game, except he's only really good at one part. Or maybe when you take your kid out to play and he rips half his face off because his Buzz Lightyear costume broke after he jumped off a giant embankment, so even though he pushed the ba-woo button, he no fa-wy. Nature: ∞ Us: 0

Playing with balls:


And that's all I'm going to say about that. Balls: 3 Us: Depends greatly on whom you ask.

So I guess my point is this: If you can't keep them safe, learn to use a camera. If you can't use a camera, learn to keep them safe. If you want to learn to keep them safe, you can visit Safe Kids or join in their sports injury webcast on May 2nd, on Facebook. It'll be hosted by:

  • Dr. Angela Mickalide, CHES, Director of Research and Programs, Safe Kids Worldwide

  • Dr. Douglas Casa, Director of Athletic Training Education, University of Connecticut

  • Dr. Gerard Gioia, Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology and Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Medical Center

  • Steve Young, former NFL Star Quarterback and On-air Talent ESPN

They'll be talking about preparation through pre-participation exams, the importance of hydration, concussion awareness (possession-style vomit is your first clue) and acute and overuse injury prevention (which, sadly, I learned about the hard way.)


Children are wretched secret-keepers because they haven't yet learned to detach themselves from the rest of humanity and live solely in their own heads. This is arguably their greatest attribute.

My sons told my daughter about my mother. It was an accident, an off-the-cuff like duh remark made one day in passing that she zeroed in on and has been hunting since.

Your mother hurt you?

Your mother doesn't... ...love...you?

She cannot grasp the concept of a mother not loving her child and I thank every god I can think of for this gift.

She associated fear with the word 'mother', and I cannot make this better for her. She was thrust, headfirst, into her gene pool and now she will have to learn to swim in it, just as I did. She cries sometimes because she doesn't want to grow anymore so she can't be married so she won't have babies and I tell her that she doesn't have to do any of those things. I hold her in my arms and tell her lies that feel like wishes; you don't have to grow anymore. You can stay right here in my arms forever. I will always be your momma and you will always be my little girl and no one can change that.

Her questions come faster than I can bear to answer them, ruthlessly unrelenting, hashing over old details that taste bitter against my tongue. I sweeten and spice and kneed them so they are palatable to her fragile heart. She asks what did you do, and I answer nothing every single time, as if the repetition will lead to belief. She wonders why I don't call my mother and I tell her that I don't know where she is. She informs me emphatically that I need to tell my faddur and he will tell my mudder that I am sorry, because if you say you're sorry and you mean it then everything can be okay again.

I take her face into my hands and stare as deeply as I can into her perfect big brown wondrous eyes and I tell her that she is right, silly old me; I will do that right away.

The shades of gray that color the excuses I make for what happened - my mother was broken and it wasn't her fault, that it didn't hurt me and I am not sad - give way to the vibrance she recklessly splashes across my past.

She asks me if we can go see my mudder after my fadder talks to her and I say in crimsons of course we can, bugga-boo. She asks if my mother will hurt her and I tell her pensively orange no, my mother will love you so much. The truth in that statement rips new holes in my heart. She asks what we will do and I tell her powder-bluely that my mother will read you a story and you will have tea and you could even brush my mother's hair if you'd like; she always loved that. She asks what color my mother's hair is and I realize that my mother isn't yet a person for her, merely a concept.

This has nothing to do with my mother, and everything to do with knowing that her mother can be hurt.

I keep waiting for her to move on from this but she cannot. So I continue to lie to her, and I will as long as she will let me, because I don't know how to share this truth with a five year old child. I cannot. She tells me that maybe she could grow up, and when she does she can be my mother, and I tell her that would be the grandest thing of all, gosh you'd make a good momma for me. She sleeps easier, knowing she has healed me, while not knowing at all that she is healing me.

Together we paint different pictures over this canvas I drag around with me, flooding the gray spaces of my life with her bright lightness.

{Separate yet equal: we're talking on Momversation about tragedies, and how much you tell your kids.}

Lights Out For Legendary Venue, Mr Lady's Uterus


Houston, Texas – (October 26, 2010) – Mr Lady’s Uterus, a renowned local hotspot, is closing its doors after a memorable history.  Founded on March 20, 1975, the Uterus remained an unknown until bursting onto the scene in the late-90’s when it launched the existence of 1of3.  Though it has been nearly thirteen years since those grungy days of flannel and angst, 1of3 still embodies that era and its sensibility.  “That was my first apartment.  I mean it’s not like I can go back, but I’ll still kind of miss it, ya know?” said 1of3.

Less sentimental was 2of3, who could not be reached for comment.  Though he emerged just two short years after 1of3, they don’t often play the same venues anymore.  “He tries to punch me in the face.  It’s not cool,” said 1of3.  The Uterus was dormant for a few years after 2of3, hosting only a local legend known as “Big Daddy” and of course the house band “IUD.”  But just five short years ago, 3of3 came on the scene, bringing new irreverence and joy.  “I’m a puppy!” she offered, when asked for comment.  Many will miss the historic hallowed halls of Mr Lady’s Uterus.  “That place was so fucking punk rock,” said Big Daddy.  “I rocked that joint so hard.  I helped make everything that came out of there.  It's the end of an era, man...”

Those feeling nostalgic for Mr Lady’s Uterus, will be please to know that although it will no longer be accepting new tenants (and will in fact be relocated to a nearby bio-hazard facility) visitors to the old site will be able to arrive via the newly refurbished Bionic Bubble Yum Windtunnel™.  Sound effects, wifi, a bottle opener and DVD/VCR combo are available options in the upgrade, but a full list of amenities has not been made available at press time.  Following the renovation, admittance to the Windtunnel™ will be strictly VIP, invitation only--- if admittance is even allowed at all.  Because seriously, the place will be pristine and we don’t need anything fucking it up.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Lady Reproductive Public Relations