Zaffy’s Got Sticker Envy

Mgazi had to get her polio vaccine last week. She screamed. She kicked. She did not bite me, but just like last time she got a shot, I had the distinct feeling that she wanted to. In the end no amount of cajoling, cuddling, bribing, or threatening would calm her down. So I plopped her on my lap, pinned her arms to her sides with a bear hug, and yelled at the nurse, “GO GO GO!”

It wasn’t pretty. And all she got in the end was an effective defense against a horrible disease and some measly stickers.

As we left the office, my five-year old was sniffling from the indignity of it all. My seven-year old, who had been waiting in the waiting room, was miffed because “some crazy baby was screaming like crazy in one of the rooms and I couldn’t hardly read my book! Mom, it was awful!”


In the car:

Zaffy: Hey! Why did you get three stickers?

Mgazi: mumble mumble sniff mumble

Zaffy: I don’t think that’s it. I’m awesome and I never got three stickers.


Need Last Minute Gift Ideas? How About a Deadly but Curable Disease?

Sweet Mgazi

Please select the answer that best completes the following phrase:

The conversation below took place in the:

a) Bathroom
B) Bedroom
C) Vatican
D) Car

The correct answer is D, of course. I actually have a tag that links to all conversations that have taken place in the car. All the best do!

Mgazi: Mommy, can you give me a TB shot for Christmas?

Me: What?

Zaffron: What?

Me: Gaz, do you want to me take you to the Dr’s office to get another vaccination? Honey, you cried like crazy, don’t you remember? You kicked. You screamed. You actually bit me!

Mgazi: I didn’t bite you.

Me: Okay, you didn’t bite me. But I could tell you wanted to.

Mgazi: I want to have the shot so I can give it to you and daddy and Zaffy.

Me: Do you mean you want to administer the Tuberculosis vaccine to the entire family?

Zaffron: No, mom! Geesh! Don’t you get it? She wants to jab the needle in our arms and push the thingy down so that we can stay healthy and not get diseases! [Zaffron throws her hands in the air, exasperated that once again she has to explain something to her dense, and obviously slow, mother.]

Mgazi: Uh huh. I want my family to be healthy. So I’m going to stick you here [she points to her shoulder] and here [she points to her leg] and here [she lifts up her left butt cheek and pokes at it. (Or maybe it was her right, I'm not sure. I was watching all of this through the rearview mirror.)]

Me: Sweetie, that is a very kind thought but it’s not going to happen.

Mgazi: Fine then. If you won’t do it, I’ll just ask Santa!

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Mommy Juice Style

Kinko! For God's sake, please don't poop in there! Bad kitty!

Kinko! Bad kitty! Does that look like the litter box?

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave me to me…

  • a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

  • Two Little Loves –  Zaffy and Mgazi, of course, the best daughters a mom could ask for
  • and a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

  • Three “Take Ten”s – you know, when you’re feeling a little like you are going to lose it. Like you might snap. Like your head might pop and spray brain tissue across the room (Hey, if it reached the Christmas Tree I wouldn’t have to go digging around for those lost ornaments!) Like you are about to smack someone right then and there even though there are witnesses. Breathe. Take ten.
  • Two Little Loves
  • and a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the fourth day of Christmas, my stinkin’ cat whose about to get kicked out of the house gave to me…

  • Four Kitty Turds –  Every morning without fail, I wake up to find my otherwise adorable feline friend, Kinko, has shat somewhere in the house — on the kids’ bathmat, on the kids’ bedroom carpet, on my husband’s pants. (Hey, Russell, it’s not just me that gets annoyed when you leave your clothes on the floor!)
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • and a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the fifth day of Christmas, my pawn broker gave to me…

  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings – yeah, money’s a little tight.
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

  • Six Hairs a Graying, Teeth Decaying, Kids Disobeying, Spittle Spraying, Thoughts Betraying – I’ve had a bad day six, just sayin’.
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

  • Seven… seven… damn! What rhymes with “swimming”? Brimming? Skimming?
  • Six Hairs a Graying
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

  • Eight Maids a Cleaning – I don’t own cows, what do I need Eight Maids a Milking for? Now, if a cow produced wine… well, then, this would deserve a rethink…
  • Seven Diets a Slimming <– lame
  • Six Hairs a Graying
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the ninth day of Christmas, my therapist gave to me…

  • Nine Days Xanaxing – Can you imagine? Nine anxiety-free days. *Blissful Sigh* Thank God for therapists who are willing to treat people who don’t actually have anything wrong with them! Without all my perfectly normal worries and fears, maybe I’ll finally get some sleep!
  • Eight Maids a Cleaning
  • Seven Trees a Trimming <– blech
  • Six Hairs a Graying
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the tenth day of Christmas, my children gave to me…

  • Ten Morns to Sleep In – Holy crap! The Xanax is working!
  • Nine Days Xanaxing
  • Eight Maids a Cleaning
  • Seven… seven…. seven… nothing
  • Six Hairs a Graying
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love  gave to me…

  • Eleven Tears a Wiping – I’m not crying because I’m overwhelmed, scared, and feeling as though I’m not good enough. I’m crying because I’m pissed!
  • Ten Morns to Sleep In
  • Nine Days Xanaxing
  • Eight Maids a Cleaning
  • Seven Periods of Skipping – OMG! It’s Meno Clause!
  • Six Hairs a Graying
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my credit card gave to me…

  • Twelve Brookstone Products Humming – What? Did I say something?
  • Eleven Tears a Wiping
  • Ten Morns to Sleep In
  • Nine Days Xanaxing
  • Eight Maids a Cleaning
  • Seven – why are you even reading seven? There’s nothing to see here!
  • Six Hairs a Graying
  • (72 bucks for) Five Golden Rings
  • Four Kitty Turds
  • Three “Take Ten”s
  • Two Little Loves
  • And a Marriage that is Stress-Free!!!!!!!!!!!!

First image courtesy of m_bartosch /
Last image courtesy of photoexplorer /

Thoughtless Words Get Me Into Trouble (Again)

Families in the LopSo, I was asked to contribute to a Chicago parenting site called Families in the Loop last month. Their tagline is “where parents let loose.” In other words, they say what they actually think, not what they are supposed to think. And they swear a lot. (They’re all kinds of awesome.)

So, I wrote this piece called “All I Want for Christmas is to Knock Out My Kid’s Two Front Teeth.” Zaffy had lost her top front tooth, her third one. And it was upsetting to her, just like losing her first two. She vacillated between exhilaration and terror. Laughing and crying. Poor thing didn’t know what to feel.

I felt sorry for her. But I was also annoyed. That’s what got me into trouble. She turned on me when I helped her with her tooth and then I turned on her in a very un-grown-up like way.

It’s not always funny.



Parenting Fail: Feeling Like a Big Pile of “Sheet”

She had begged me to help her get her tooth out. So I did. And immediately after it came out, the little stinker accused me of some insidious plot to rid her of her teeth, like I could sell them on Craigslist. (Hmmm, note to self …)

It was awful, being 180’d in this way by my seven-year-old after I tried so hard to help her. The first thing that popped into my head was “you little shit.”

I didn’t say it out loud, of course. I just thought it in my head for a second before it disappeared. Not even a second – a nanosecond.

But it didn’t go away. It became a permanent thing the moment I decided to include it in my previous FITL post. I made yet another of my quite frequent dumbass parenting decisions. I let Zaffron read the post before I submitted it.

“Why did you call me little sheet?” Zaffron asked.

Oops. I had forgotten I included that part.

“Actually, honey, if you read carefully, you’ll see that Mommy didn’t call you a little sheet. I called you a little … Sweetie, if you read extra carefully. you’ll see I didn’t call you anything at all. I only thought it in my head.”

“But you typed it down.”

My five-year-old piped in. “You typed it down, Mom.”

“Mgazi, this isn’t your conversation.” I pulled Zaffron close to me. “Zaffy, I didn’t actually think that.” Eek! My first lie (of the day). “I just wrote that I thought that.”

“But you always say that you write what actually happens in our family.”

“Well, that’s not exactly true, honey.” Damn. Did it again. A full 96% of what I chronicle is spot on. “Sometimes I exaggerate. Remember we talked about the word ‘exaggerate?’”

“Oooh, Zaffy, I think Mommy is lying to you.”

“Mgazi! This is none of your business!”

“But you are zaggerating to Zaffy!”

I shot back my standard response for when my children are right and I am wrong. “Go clean your room!”

“Mommy,” Zaffy asked, “What exactly is a sheet?”

And so I told her, being sure to demonstrate the proper pronunciation. Then I gave her permission to use the word, so long as she wasn’t at school and she used it appropriately.

“Were you using it appropriately when you told the public you think I’m a little poop?”


I had actually hurt my daughter.

This was not my regular parenting fail, which could be smoothed over with jokes and a few kisses. As Zaffron pulled away from me, her face displayed the confusion, sadness, and disbelief that her mother would turn on her in this way.

I felt like a big pile of sheet.


This post was originally published on Families in the Loop, an amazing blog run by some incredible women in Chicago. I’m grateful for their support.

[photo credit: photostock/]


Zaffron’s in Love… Again

Zaffron’s in love. The boy is in 5th grade. Much too old for her, if you ask me. This is what it’s like when your second-grader is in love.

On the school grounds:

Mom! There he is! No, don’t look! Mom, I said don’t look. He’s right there! WHY DO YOU KEEP LOOKING?

In the car:

I’m not using his sister to meet him. I liked her before I ever knew she had a brother. I just want to hang out with her even more now!

In bed:

Mom, my tummy has been feeling funny for days. I think it has to do with you know…you-know-who.

In the car:

Well, maybe I’m using his sister a little bit, but I really think she would understand. She gets this kind of thing.

In the kitchen:

Dad, he ran past me today and I felt the wind blow through my hair.

All I Want for Christmas Is to Knock Out My Kid’s Two Front Teeth

Wow. That title sounds bad.

Would it be better if I told you that she asked me to do it?

My daughter had thrown herself face-down on my bed and I heard a muffled, “Please, I just want this over with.”

“What’s that?” I was barely paying attention, absorbed as I was in making a mental list of the presents I needed to buy so my husband would have something to give me on Christmas morning.

“Just get it out of me. I don’t want to do this anymore.” My 7-year-old flipped over, flailing her arms and legs. “PULEEEEZ! Please, please, please! I want it out!”

Since I was pretty sure she wasn’t giving birth, I decided that she must be talking about her loose tooth. A top front tooth had been loose for months. During the last few days, it had been aggravating her to no end.

“Okay,” I said, “Let’s see what we can do.” We sat facing each other on my bed and recreated a scene we had acted out twice before with her bottom teeth. “First, I’m going to twist it to the right.”

I began turning her tooth slowly until she pulled back with a gasp. “Ahhh!”

“Eeew!” I answered with a shudder. “Okay, again, but the other way this time.” I gingerly twisted her tooth to the left.

“Ow, ow, ow!” Zaffy pulled away, covering her mouth with her palm.

“Eeew!” I flapped my hands at my sides. “Ick!”

“Mommy! Why are you saying ‘ick?’”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that wiggling her tooth out of its socket gave me the heebie jeebies, so I semi-lied.

“It’s just that I hate hurting you, honey. It goes against a mother’s nature.”

This wasn’t a lie per se; it just didn’t apply to this particular situation. I couldn’t have cared less about what she was feeling. I was more concerned with not puking on my candy cane-striped sheets because I found the whole endeavor so gross.

My daughter patted me on the shoulder and shook her head, saying, “Mom, it’s just part of the job. Sometimes a mother has to hurt her child. Please get this tooth out of my mouth.” She looked me in the eyes. “I’m begging you.”

Dutifully, because it was part of my job, I knocked my knuckle against Zaffy’s front tooth, putting a little bit more force behind each try until I felt the crunchy, wet crackle of the tooth’s connective ligaments snap and give way. I suppressed a gag.

Zaffy threw both hands over her mouth and her eyes widened in surprise. “What have you done?”

“What do you mean?” Was she turning on me?

“What did you do? Why did you do this? I never wanted this!” She started to cry.

“Are you kidding me, you little … ?” I stopped. To finish the sentence wouldn’t have been very merry, and I’d been trying awfully hard to have the holiday spirit.


“Are you kidding me, Zaffron?” I asked. “You begged me to do this. You actually used the word!”

“I did not. You made me do this. I want the tooth back! PUT … IT … BACK!”

“Zaffy, remember when we talked about the word ‘ambivalent’?”

“Mommy! Pay attention!”

I stared at her.

“I’m not going to look cute for Christmas!”

“Oh for God’s sake, is that what you are worried about?”

Zaffron gave me a look that only a daughter can give a mother, the one that communicates her deep desire to never have emerged from the likes of you, and ran out of the room.

I walked to the kitchen, where my husband was making eggs for the kids.

“Zaffy lost her tooth,” I said.

I heard a distant yell from another room. “I didn’t lose it! Mommy knocked it out!”

I sighed and returned to my bedroom, defeated by my latest parenting fail.

When it was time to get into the car and drive to school, Zaffron sidled up to me and slid her arms around my neck. “You helped me lose my tooth,” she whispered in my ear and gave me a hug.

“Is that your way of saying you’re sorry?” I asked, hugging her back.

She squeezed tighter. “I’m really not sure.”


This post was originally published on Families in the Loop, I’m very grateful for their support.

[Photo credit: westy48 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA]


It’s a 2012 “Big Thing” – I get Published in a National Blog!

Families in the LopOkay, okay, so the nature of the web means that all blogs are national… or worldwide, for that matter… let’s not get technical and suck the joy out of this very cool moment.

An excellent website out of Chicago, called Families in the Loop, asked me to write a little something. And I couldn’t be more honored. This is just as exciting as walking on fire or seeing the Dalai Lama pretend to poop!

FITL (I can call them that, we’re tight) encourages their parent bloggers to “let loose” so I took them at their word and wrote about Zaffy losing her tooth and the extreme heebie jeebies that resulted.


Zaffy’s 13 Secrets About Boys

We’re moving. Which means I’m packing. On Monday, I packed some of the girls’ art supplies. Stuffed between some loose sheets of constructions paper, I found this booklet:

The Secret’s About

Boys By: Zaffy

I now present to you my seven-year-old daughter’s 13 beliefs about boys. Spelling intact.

  1. If Boy’s like you they try to bather you.
  2. Boy’s don’t communicat there feeling’s very well.
  3. Most Boy’s don’t know how to react aroud girls.
  4. Boy’s don’t think before they act.
  5. Boy’s are very playful.
  6. Most Boy’s are always in your way.
  7. Most Boy’s like you but don’t show it.
  8. Some Boy’s aren’t very good at math.
  9. Most Boy’s are always trying to help.
  10. Seretent Boy’s are mean and bossy
  11. Boy’s start to like you when you talk about Star Wars and otter Boy movies.
  12. Boy’s love good food.
  13. Boy’s like to play outdoors.

That’s Right! I am the Bossity Boss.

Me: Zaffy, go do that incredibly boring thing I told you to do five minutes ago. You know, the same thing you neglected to do ten minutes ago, the first time I asked.

Zaffron: Fine…. bossity boss.

Me: Hey Zaff. For that you get to go to your bed.

Zaffron huffs and stomps off to her bedroom. I can’t remember what it is that I asked her to do. But I do remember it being the third time I asked. She was pissing me off. (Usually, something like calling me “bossity boss” wouldn’t have been a “go to your bed” offense. It would have been a “excuse me? try again” offense.)

I waited a few minutes before going in to talk to her. She wasn’t in her bed, like I instructed. Instead, she was in her sister’s bed, fooling around under the covers.

Me: Zaffron! Where did I tell you to go?

Zaffron: My bed.

Me: Then why aren’t you in it?

Zaffron: I’m sorry, Mommy.

Me: Happy to hear it.  Now get into your own bed, like I told you.

As she climbed up the ladder to her bunk bed, I heard her muttering to herself.

Zaffron: You don’t look happy to hear it.