Tickets please

I got a second mortgage on my house and took the entire family to the movies. Do you remember when a matinee was a few dollars? Now, it’s $10 no matter what time of the day you buy a ticket. I used to sneak in popcorn and treats. I would put the snacks in my pocket book. Then, I almost got busted. I have enough enemies. I don’t need to be blacklisted at the local movie theater. So, I have to buy popcorn and soda, too and that costs $9 million. My kids won’t be able to go to college, but we had extra butter.

I did a little more research this time before choosing what film we would see. I learned my lesson after taking a teenager to see “Gone Girl.” Is there anything worse than watching a sex scene where Ben Affleck goes downtown on his lady friend while your firstborn child is sitting beside you?

I took the younger lads to see “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” The oldest went to see a scary movie with his cousin. I hate scary movies. I hate previews of scary movies. I can’t even watch Dateline. It’s like television network executives want to punish people for staying home on a Friday night. They will make you laugh with sitcoms Monday thru Thursday, but scare the hell out of you on the weekend.

We made it through the entire movie with the children only asking seven times “Is it almost over?” Then, made a pit stop at the bathroom before piling back into the minivan. That is when my daughter embarrassed me. It is impossible to have a giant ego when you are a parent. Children are in the meanest clique of all. They just don’t know it. “Heathers” has nuthin’ on a kindergartener. My daughter will tell me how beautiful I am while pushing on my squishy belly and giggling. She will look at me lovingly while counting the pimples on my face.

She went into one stall. I was in another directly beside her when she asked loudly, “Mom, are you pooping?” I tried to ignore her question. There was a line of people in the bathroom. “Mom, are you pooping again? It stinks!” I could hear teenage girls chuckling outside the door. The stench wasn’t coming from me, but nobody would believe it. I flushed my dignity down the toilet and gave her a brief lecture on bathroom etiquette on the way home. Perhaps we should just stick to renting movies at home.

Conversations in the minivan

My daughter was watching over my shoulder as I posted this and said “Your nose looks really big in that video. It doesn’t look that big in real life.” Children really know how to boost your confidence.   I don’t know why I am frantically looking from side to side like I am driving a getaway car. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this edition of “Conversations in the Minivan.” I am still waiting to interview Ryan Gosling in the third row. Call me!

As Seen On

As Seen on TV products are causing unnecessary stress in my life. My 4-year-old daughter is mesmerized by the commercials. She acts like a middle aged woman at a New Kids on the Block concert when she sees OxyClean on a store shelf. She wants everything on every commercial. She is going to grow up and entertain guests in a Magic Mesh enclosed room. They will eat food mashed with a Chop Magic Chopper and dine by Timber Wick light. Her guests will have a bowel movement while sitting on Comfort Gel Toilet Cushion. When the day is over she will rest her head on a Sobakawa Cloud Pillow.

I hear “I want that” a dozen times a day. She had to have a Ball Pet. It’s a pet you can throw; PETA’s worst nightmare. She nagged me every day for weeks until I finally broke down. Do you know how many times she has played with the Ball Pet? Twice. She also wants a Stuffie. It’s a stuffed animal with a zipper so you can stuff your s**t inside. When I was a kid a stuffed animal didn’t have special features. It sat on the dresser below the cover of a Tiger Beat magazine featuring Ralph Macchico and a Kenny Rogers poster. (That is another story.)

The latest product to launch is “J-Animal.” It’s a stuffed animal you can wear. It comes in child and adult sizes. The pitch is that you can wear it to the grocery store. Who doesn’t want to shop for produce in a tiger costume?


…..and to the mall. As if shopping for jeans isn’t painful enough?


…..or to the movies. I’m sure that wouldn’t scare the hell out of everyone in the theater.


…… and to high school. What better way to fit in than wearing a kitty cat costume to biology class?


How do you clean the J-Animal?
Is it dry clean only or can you use OxyClean?


I planned and executed a covert military operation. Well, at least that is what it felt like. I took my kids to get flu shots. I can’t tell them where we are going in advance. I drove an alternate route to the doctor’s office. Some people say you need to be honest with your children. “It is the only way to build trust.” Hogwash. Do you tell your kids they look like homeless clowns when they dress themselves? No, you lie and compliment their outfit. Do you tell your child their singing makes you want to stab your eardrum with forks? No, you listen to her sing “Let it Go” over and over again, applauding each time.

I made the rookie mistake of being honest once. My son asked, “Am I getting a shot? Mom, mom, mom, mom am I getting a shot? Is the doctor giving me a shot? Mom, mom, mom I don’t have to get a shot do I? Do I need a shot? I don’t want to get a shot. Do I have to get a shot? Will I? Mom, will I get one? Mom, mom, mom……”

I told the truth. Do you know what happened? My son cried in the house and refused to get in the car. I had to peel his fingers off the door knob. (Children either get Superman like strength when they don’t want to do something or they turn into a wet noodle. Either way it becomes a struggle.) Then, he cried on the way to the doctor’s office, in the waiting room and in the exam room. In fact, he tried to hide under a chair. He wailed while he got the shot and afterward. I was sweating like Hillary Clinton during a congressional hearing on the Benghazi attack.

So, this time I channeled Pinocchio. I told them we were going to the office because my son needed a physical. That part was true, but I refused to answer the question about the shot. Once we arrived at the office I distracted the kids and whispered to the receptionist, “Don’t say anything about the s-h-o-t.” They grew suspicious, but I dodged each grenade thrown my way. I filled out the forms on the sly. The nurse knew the plan. She got the needles ready without anyone seeing anything. They didn’t have time to freak out. There were a few tears, but it was over before a major meltdown. I wanted to stand on the exam table and scream “Victory is mine!”


I have been told I have irrational fears. If that is true there are two reasons why. First of all, I have worked for over 10 years in TV news. Watch a 30 minute newscast and multiply that by a decade. I have seen some crazy s**t! On top of that, I am a parent. The minute you pop a baby out of your vagina the phrase “That could never happen” goes out the window. Case in point: my recent ordeal. I was driving the children and their friends home from school. I pulled in the driveway and heard a few seatbelts click. They were so excited to get inside and play. I was waiting for the garage door to open when my son called my name, his voice sounded panicked. I turned around and could not believe what I saw. My seven-year-old had the seat belt wrapped around his neck. It wasn’t just around his neck. It was tied in a knot and he couldn’t get it off You have got to be kidding me?

Unfortunately, this child has my coping skills. He was freaking out. I was relatively calm because shock had already set in. From the time I pulled into the driveway until the garage door opened he managed to accidentally tie a noose around his neck. Did I birth f**king Houdini? My driveway is not really long. He is not a Boy Scout. He still forgets how to tie his shoes from time to time. Yet, he managed to tie something that was impossible to loosen?

I sent the other children inside. No matter what I did the strap tightened around his neck. He could breathe, but he was scared. Meanwhile, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” was playing on the DVD player. “Wa-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah” is even more annoying when you have a child tied up and screaming in a minivan. It was definitely a Calgon moment. The neighbors must have thought I was beating my son. I told him if I couldn’t get him out I would cut it, but first I was going to call grandpa to see if he could help. Even at my age I call my my dad to fix everything. He couldn’t get him out either. I laughed as I walked into the house to get a pair of scissors. I wasn’t taking joy in my son’s suffering. I was dumbfounded. I am used to chaos. I know on any given day a child in my house will miss the toilet bowl. I am ready when they spill things on the floor. I even expect them to break things on occasion. I didn’t expect my son to tie himself up in the van. It’s kind of frightening that it was even possible. I called Honda to see if the seatbelt would be covered under my extended warranty. The operator told me that if I had driven the vehicle to a Honda dealer it would have been. However, it is not covered because I cut it off. The nearest Honda dealer was 45 minutes away. It’s going to cost nearly $300 to fix. I suppose it’s a small price to pay for a valuable lesson. My son will never put anything around his neck ever again.