Don’t forget the bug spray

Nothing prepares you for the day your 7-year-old asks, “What are tits?” It is
yet another chapter missing from the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Series.”

I should have figured my day would end with a stellar conversation. It began in an equally dramatic fashion. My 4-year-old daughter has a mosquito bite. Translation: it is the end of the world. She noticed it while dancing in the mirror. She was singing, making faces and laughing. Her laughter can light up a room. It fills my heart with such joy. Then, she spotted it. There was a small red circle on her arm. If this were a movie the next scene would be shot in slow motion. She went to scratch it as I hollered, “Nooooooooo. Doooon’t Touuuch It!” Too late. She poked the bear. Now, it was my fault that it wouldn’t stop itching. “It itches! It itches!” She went from being a sweet American Girl Doll to Chucky.

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“Why won’t you make it stop itching?” she shrieked. Thousands of screaming girls at a One Direction concert would sound like a whisper compared to the noise my daughter was making over a bug bite. I finally convinced her to allow me to put Hydrocortisone on it. Growing up, my dad put Neosporin on everything. It was the miracle medication. Did you cut your hand off? Just apply some Neosporin. It usually worked. I felt better even if it didn’t because I trusted him. My daughter doesn’t believe me. She trusts a stranger in the mall with a 5 o’clock shadow, wearing a lint covered suit who says he lives in the North Pole, but doesn’t trust the woman whose womb she once called home. I needed a drink or two or three after dropping her off at school.

Her arm was no longer itching by the time I picked her up in the afternoon. That was a relief for both of us. Then, my son got in the car. He proceeded to tell me a story about a kid in his class who got in trouble for saying a bad word. I was thinking dummy, stupid head, jerk, etc. After all, it is second grade. “He said tits.” Gulp. “What are tits?” (Stunned silence). They are usually mosquito bites, unless you live in L.A.

Ding, ding, ding

My ears are ringing. I am sure there are a few mom’s talking about me. It was not a good morning. My 7-year-old cried before school. He is a sweet, sensitive boy. A sweet, sensitive boy who is driving me insane. He has done this every year in September since pre-school. This morning, I made the mistake of walking him to the door. I should have just slowed down and pushed him out. I’m kidding. I just wanted to see if you’re paying attention. He cried, I hugged him, he went inside and ran back out. Rinse and repeat. He did that FOUR times. The fifth time, two moms walked by as he clung to my waist. If donuts tasted as good as apples he wouldn’t have so much to cling to. “Do NOT walk out of that building again,” I scolded, teeth clenched. I swear I saw one of those moms call CPS on speed dial.

They missed the other four times I spoke softly and comforted him. This kid needed some tough love. Did I mention the day before he went in the building, I began to drive away only to see him in my rear view mirror hauling a** on the sidewalk, chasing my car? That is not safe. It reminded me of the scene in “Home Alone” when Kevin McCallister is running with the stolen toothbrush. Yes, I just compared my life to a McCauley Culkin movie. I would say that is rock bottom, if I didn’t pluck two chin hairs while sitting in a minivan last week.

I can hear you now “Aw, poor guy.” I feel bad for him. I really do, but you also reach that point. You know the point. I felt bad the second and third time he ran out. By the fourth time, I wanted to stomp my feet, throw my hands in the air and scream, “What the f**k!”

I emailed his teacher, asking how she handles his emotional outbursts during the day. She had no idea what the hell I was talking about. In fact, she wrote:


“Good news is that I don’t see any of it. He seems quite confident in class and is so attentive! He is having a great day!”

I was relieved and dumbfounded. Is he f**king with me? Is he a good actor? It’s not like I am sending him to the wolves. Then again, they are teaching Common Core. Could it be that he misses me? Is this separation anxiety or does he want to stay home and finish building the wall around his castle to protect Steve and keep the creepers out? (Ding, ding, ding)

Senior photo

A teenager in Upstate New York is petitioning to have this photo in his school’s yearbook.

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Lasers + Cat’s Reflection = PERFECTION!

Draven Rodriguez said he wants his friends to remember him as someone who loves cats. His favorite feline, Mr. Bigglesworth, is in the photo. Mr. Bigglesworth? Can this story get any better?

It could be a stunt. No doubt this story will go viral. Maybe Draven really does love cats that much. Either way, who cares! Put the kid’s picture in the yearbook.

I am actually really jealous of Draven. We only got the basic package when I was a kid. We couldn’t afford the extra fee for the laser background.

Is it any worse than other senior photos? I looked like a complete a**hole. Remember the shot where you are playing peek-a-boo behind a tree? How about the pose where you are looking over your shoulder? Are the pictures of you laying on grass, dressed in costume or holding a prop any worse than the shot of Mr. Bigglesworth? No.

Flush it

There is something you have to be prepared to do if you want to become a mother. You must announce when you are pooping. If you are not pooping, pretend to be pooping. You don’t need to give a Meryl Streep performance. Think Jesse Spano.

It is the only way you stand a chance of being left alone in the bathroom. You don’t need a megaphone, but that is not a bad idea when your children are screaming your name over and over again. You will not get privacy by merely announcing that you’re in the lavatory. Urine is not an effective child repellent either. Miss Manners is cringing, but you have to use the word poop. Of course, this tactic won’t work with toddlers. After all, they would rather sit in their own filth than learn how to use the potty. And their toilets light up and play music. I would be eating Raisin Bran and drinking prune juice everyday if the toilet was entertaining.

Hell, a toddler has no problem hosting a tea party at your feet while you drop a deuce. However, as they get older poop is gross. The word is funny. A fart is hysterical. Your poop is disgusting. You are disgusting. Actually, for a few years everything you do and say is disgusting. My daughter recently told me,in her best valley girl voice, that I was “really gross.” What did I do? I was breathing.

Allow me to illustrate the power of the word “poop.” This method is not guaranteed to work with children under 4 years of age.

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Mom raises voice slightly, but still manages to sound like June Cleaver .

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She speaks a little louder.

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Now, she is getting anxious. She speaks slowly, enunciating each word as if giving directions to a foreigner.

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Mom flushes her dignity down the toilet, but enjoys a moment of silence.

Easy like Sunday morning

It is tough being a parent these days. Honestly, I think our parents had it easier. Sure, they walked 10 miles back and forth to school, barefoot and in the snow, but life was much simpler. Here are 10 reasons why :

1.) A cold was just a cold. There was no such thing as the internet. So, they couldn’t Google the symptoms and convince themselves that we had meningitis, cancer or a brain eating amoeba. They didn’t freak out and waste $35 on a co-pay at the doctor’s office to be told what they knew all along. It was just a cold.

2.) They didn’t have to listen to the annoying background music on apps. I imagine a high percentage of patients in the psych ward have children who play Minecraft.

3.) They didn’t have to worry what photos we were posting on social media or storing in a magic cloud. It took months to use every strip on a roll of film. (Click, wind, wind, wind. Click, wind, wind, wind) It took even longer to remember to take it out of the junk drawer to develop it. Our parents couldn’t upload pictures from their phones. They dropped the film off at a pharmacy. They could pick up a bottle of pills and take a stroll down memory lane.

4.) They sent us to school with pencils. They didn’t have to sell the house to afford the supplies on a list longer than John Hamm’s package.

5.) They didn’t have to come up with a theme for a birthday party or make goodie bags. We ate cake. Curse you Martha Stewart and Pinterest!

6.) They didn’t have to watch Caillou.

7.) They only had to watch cartoons one day a week. Kids had to wait until Saturday to enjoy an animated show about a clay boy and his dog.

8.) They never read a single fabricated Facebook status. They didn’t feel like a lousy parent until they visited their in-laws.

9.) Ingredients weren’t listed on food items or on menus at restaurants. Sugar and butter were delicious. The end. What you didn’t know didn’t hurt you. They fed us bologna sandwiches and chips for dinner. We washed it down with a glass of Kool-aid and nobody criticized them. (Hint: we survived)

10.) They didn’t have to schedule play dates. We just played.

A dark day

An officer with the Rochester Police Department was killed last night. My heart sank when I heard the news. I have worked in this city for almost 15 years. During that time, as a reporter, I met and interviewed many officers on the force. I have friends who work with the department. I cannot put into words my admiration for these men and women. I ask that you say a prayer today for the officer who lost his life in the line of duty. Pray for his wife and their three young children. Their youngest is just an infant. It is unlikely you will see protests over this senseless killing. Perhaps, people are marching for the wrong cause.

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Tube socks and other pressing issues

I used to be a TV news reporter. I wore a lot of make up. It was like plaster. I don’t wear much anymore. (#LOOKATYOUROWNRISK) In this vlog you will see every nook and cranny. That’s life. I’ve earned each and every line. (….but #WILLWORKFORBOTOX) My mouth sparkles. Growing up, I went to a dentist in a town with one traffic light. He brushed my teeth and billed the insurance company. The end. I had better equipment in my play set at home. So, I got a few cavities. Back then, if you fixed the problem, you looked like Lil’ Wayne. (if he were poor) The fillings were silver. Nobody thought it was a good idea to have fillings that match your tooth? Nobody? Anyway, here is another video blog.

Act your age

I spent Friday night playing with Play- Dough. That is something I never said in my 20’s. I don’t want to brag, but I made a killer Play-Dough pie. It was wicked awesome.

I put my daughter to bed and decided to hop on the treadmill. Nothing screams “I’m not cool anymore” like power walking while 20/20 is on TV. Television network executives have decided to make us laugh Monday through Thursday and scare the s**t out of us on Friday. Freddy Krueger has nothin’ on Dateline.

I was rocking out to Ace of Base when I got a text message.

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A few friends were enjoying a night out when an argument ensued. I wasn’t invited to dinner, but apparently I was the topic of conversation. Were they discussing how kind I was? Were they admiring my wit by sharing funny stories?The answer is (C.) none of the above. They were talking about how f**king old I am. Thanks to vodka, they thought it would be a good idea to text me to see who was right. I want to know which person said, “No way, that b**ch is way older than 37! She has deeper wrinkles than a Shar Pei!” Note to self: hit up the laboratory at the hospital around 6 a.m. tomorrow and find a new posse.

I’ve become the subject of a game at a carival midway. Next week the person who guesses my weight is the big winner. The prize is a giant stuffed Tweetie bird, feather clip or Ace of Base poster.