Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Goodnight Common Sense

Hold on to your old copy of Goodnight Moon. It could be worth something someday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


JT and i finally got around to watching Napoleon Dynamite last night. The brother's love interest is a woman he met online that comes to visit. He's a very nerdy, skinny white guy, she's an African-American knock-out. The fall in true love but the kicker is her name is LaFawnduh.

Now that i'm in "cyberspace" more frequently i'm relating stories of things people have written or correspondences i've had with people online. I'm not quite sure how to introduce these vignettes, "my friend said..." is a little off and something like "on the message board i check this person i kind of know..." is a bit long. So JT's taken to calling all of you "LaFawnduh." Somehow it fits, so now it's established shorthand.

Getting rich, the ole' capitalist way

Hi all,

Over Cdn Thanksgiving, the brother of a high school friend had opened a games shop in downtown Dartmouth. The sister, Rivka, was in the latter stages of a divorce, trying to decide on which city she should move too (she was shedding Ottawa like her tragically bad marriage). She's got like 2 Masters degrees, is phenomenally brilliant and was heading back to 'stall-age' for her PhD in something...

Meanwhile, Rian's truly incredible 'oddmother Kirst in TO has started' Mythical Merchant', a business that makes swords and shields and other play-toys for kids to be in touch with their own inner-kids, without needing batteries.

It got me thinking about getting rich and my many ideas of starting a business. A few concepts have been:
- 'Mythical Management', my true life property management of my mom's apt in East Van. Has paid for most of Rian’s toys but not much else.
- Opening a fair trade cafe in Strathcona (did you know that every 2nd house there is an artist… and artists can't be artists without caffeine…). I know Melissa O’s partner is in the coffee business so I’ve harboured this dream since they moved east.
- Something involving Dome houses, preferably on an island near Van. Check out Dome houses for a little taster of this dream

It got me thinking that its really nice to dream about things, about making a living doing what we want to do, about somehow making a difference in people’s lives while feelin’ good about ourselves.

And just as my friend Rivka was thinking about opening a women-centred sex shop in Montreal hosting lots of sex-positive workshops and stuff, I saw an article on the front page of the Halifax paper that said teenagers these days know less about sex and birth control, etc. than our 30-something generation knew.

So Rivka, make this thing happen! Maybe capitalism isn’t so bad if we do it well??!

Monday, November 28, 2005

More about me!

This is my latest post, in which I just tell more about me and why I'm very glad I'm not a drug addict. I'm sure you're dying to know! :-)


Why I love Bill Gates

I think I've worked out how to set up my own humble blog, started it off with a brief tribute...

Thanks, Kris

..a man of simple pleasures

I made a really interesting discovery after the birth of my son. Babies really don't need as much stuff as everyone would have you believe.

I feel bamboozled! Tricked. Mislead. I spent so much time before he was born (oh, so much time) stressing, preparing and collecting all the items that I believed to be so vital & important. No stone was left unturned. I collected blankets (lots and lots of blankets of different varieties & thicknesses), a swing, a bouncy chair, a breast pump, bottles, nipples for the bottles, a baby bathtub, a baby bathrobe, a little string with a Winnie the pooh clip on the other end to attach his pacifier to his outfit, a sheepskin from IKEA (two, actually), an exersaucer, a moses basket, a jogging stroller and a regular stroller, a co-sleeper, a jolly jumper, a sling, a Baby Bjorn carrier and countless other baby accoutrements.

And the result? I have a boy who prefers keys and random bits of paper to colorful baby toys. He prefers my bed to the moses basket (the moses basket has never seen any action, not a single nap. He hated it from day one. It now serves as a home for my pregnancy books and his too-small baby clothes). He prefers my boob to a bottle or a pacifier. And he prefers joining mom or dad in the big bathtub to being confined in the baby tub.

And the Kick and Play bouncey chair?? It lived on the kitchen table for a few months so I could plop him down in it while I was cooking. But he never really liked it. The lights and sounds scared the poor fella and he'd squirm and cry and beg to be let out. He regarded it as a form of torture. He prefers to be carried - everywhere.

So, it would stand to reason that my boy would enjoy being toted around in his Baby Bjorn carrier or his New Native sling, right? Nope. He vetoed those too. He didn't care for either of them. He prefers the Baby Trekker. So, now I have three carriers, only one of which gets occasional use.

And the swing...that was popular for a month or two...but does that justify the $180 his grandma spent on it, the hours we spend assembling it, and the eyesore that it was in our small living room for so long? Something tells me we probably could have survived without it.

Similarly, the Jolly Jumper never caught on.

Thank goodness my bike was stolen shortly before he was born, otherwise I'm sure I would have ended up with one of those nifty bike trailers too.

So, as he grows, all of these "vital" baby items are being packed into plastic storage crates & retired to the basement, most barely used. Many never used. Perhaps baby # 2 will appreciate them more.

Thankfully much of this stuff was gifted to us and handed down by wonderful friends & family. And while I'll admit, some of it was useful, and all of it is cute to look at, barely any of it has proven to be vital or even important. In reality, the only things I really couldn't live without are the obvious necessities like a car seat, diapers, clothing, and a few blankets. I've never been a minimalist (more of a pack-rat, actually), so this has been a really valuable (albeit expensive) lesson for me.

My baby is a man of simple pleasures. He likes to breast-feed, sleep next to his parents and crawl around and play with things he finds on the floor (including our sleeping cat). He doesn't require an elaborate wardrobe and he doesn't mind if his socks don't match. In spite of all my efforts to dress him up like a prize pony, he really doesn't care if his clothes are brand new or brand name - just as long as they are comfortable.

He's a man of simple pleasures & I love and adore him for it.

Lists are fun

Sam and I are sick (again!), so I figured what better to do when lying in bed than make a list of books I will never read.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

And on the seventh day...

Travel is something that both JT and i enjoy and something we felt would be a marker for our parenting style. We weren't going to buy into the conventional wisdom that you couldn't travel with children and i was determined to disprove the notion that child as traveling companion necessitated mountains of luggage.

If it was just the logistics of travel that turned out to be difficult i wouldn't even be writing this. Unfortunately, as with most things parental, the difficulty lies in the areas i can't control.

I am a ruthless packer and an efficient travel planner. I can winnow Henry and i's belongings to a single roll-aboard and schedule flights so they coincide with nap times without a second thought. I can keep Henry on his general routine, bring Ralph and his other sleep accoutrements, and generally try to provide him the same environment he's accustomed to at home. I can not however figure out, let alone solve, the reason H can be super-baby all day (charming everyone with his continual smile) while his sleep quality begins to erode and then unravel.

At this point Henry is averaging slightly over one trip per month since he first traveled at 2 months old. I think our solution is cutting back on his travel schedule until he's a bit older. At this point we need to pick and choose his trips carefully so that the benefits of visiting family and friends are not out-weighed by the temporary damage to his sleeping. I think i might just start treating this as an experiment (albeit not a controlled one) to see if certain variables make things better or worse. Look for the results of my study in a Pediatric Sleep Journal in a few years...

Hey, all!

I just wanted to introduce myself to you, seeing as how I'm in your group now.

As Doppelganger said, my blog is called Project Eat-To-Live, in which I'm going to revitalize my eating habits over the course of a year and gradually get to the state where I eat to live, not because it's so yummy and I just have to.

I look forward to reading through the rest of your blogs and getting to know you more!

I had a small success today at the Indian buffet...

Enjoy your blogging and the inevitable holiday decorating you've undoubtedly got going on!

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Read why I am not a crazy cat lady, despite having six cats. No, really!

Bad bad bad pictures...

Hey all,

I haven't quite figured out how to make my own blog so I'll just post to this until I work it all out if thats Ok...

There are so many things I would love to talk about with you all - how you met the loves of your life, why decide to have children, favorite thing in your house that you would save from a fire (once the people and pets were out)... so just to start off, I thought I would post this photo-series that cracks me up EVERY time I see it - its of my handsome little son and his gorgeous little grrlfriend Marissa, born 2 days apart, featured here at about 3 weeks old when they both had their serious-newborn look:

Now Marissa is absolutely stunning (and when she's on Canada's Next Top Model, man, these photos are gonna pay for our retirement!) and I think Rian looks much less like one of those grumpy men on the Muppet Show but this last pic is the best:

Anyway, off now to enjoy some cheap Pinot Noir, tasty B&Js ice cream and more of our 'Lost' marathon (guess what box set I got for my b-day last week?).

Good weekend all! Kris

Friday, November 25, 2005

Howdy all - Joinin the bloggin too!

Hey groovy grlllls!

I'm Kris, mate of Tammy's (and Melissa O's) back in the days when we would bring our babes and canines out to the local oval on doggie dates. I share my life with Pete (seen here on the go-cart at our wedding), nearly 7.5-month old Rian (seen here smiling, honest!), and Nova the dog and Binky the rabbit. Pics to follow... though black dogs make pretty bad models - what did people do before Photoshop?!

Anyway, LOVE the idea of bloggin'! Its a whole new world to me! Yippee!!

Take care, Kris

Let's welcome our newest members

Hey and howdy to Jem, who's just joined us. She's got a nifty project starting on her site, Project Eat-to-Live. But I don't want to step all over anything she might want to say about herself by way of introduction, so I'll stop there. Glad to have you here, Jem!

ETA: And also Kris! Welcome welcome welcome!

whiny product of a broken home

I was having a conversation yesterday about the importance of Thanksgiving as a family holiday. My MIL was the child of immigrants, who grew up in Cambridge (kind of the Berkeley of the 30s), so Thanksgiving was not particularly important to her growing up. When she became a mother, she and my FIL lived 3,000 miles away from their own parents, so they didn't make a big deal of the holiday--no travelling home and having a huge family event. She was interested in what my experience had been, and whether I missed having a big family event.

In a word, no. One of the things about being the child of what used to be called a 'broken home,' is that all holidays are complicated. For a time, my favorite holiday was Halloween, because it was the one holiday that my parents didn't care about at all--the one holiday they ceded to their children. There was never any bickering about who got to sort the candy. We spent most of Thanksgiving and Christmas trucking back and forth the twenty miles between my childhood home and my dad's bachelor apartment. Later, when my mom got remarried and I moved in with my dad, I spent those holidays driving my brothers back and forth between both of their houses. So I don't miss that at all. And I definitely don't want my own kids to have to experience it, either.

But something struck me this afternoon, as I was thinking about that conversation yesterday. The first time that I ever ran away from home was on Thanksgiving, when I was about 14. And I didn't remember that yesterday. There was a point in my life when I thought I would never be able to think of Thanksgiving, without remembering myself trudging through that cold gray afternoon on the way to a friend's house. But I didn't think of it once yesterday.

That's a pretty phenomenal thing, in my emotional history. A sign that, with enough time, all wounds are healed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Baby gear I would like to buy despite the fact that it is overpriced, impractical and unnecessary

At the risk of sounding crass and materialistic, I tell you this:

I like nice things.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), I seem to have inherited my mom's post-Depression-era frugality. For the most part, I buy from IKEA, Craigslist, and consignment shops. When I do buy something "good", I shop around and buy it to last. And I can usually control myself and keep from going off half-cocked, credit cards in hand, screaming "Chaaaaaaaarge it!" like Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble.

Having a baby has tested me, though. Mercilessly.

Oh, there've been some moments of weakness. A couple of thirty-dollar sleepers. A sixty-dollar baby blanket. A six-hundred-dollar rocking chair. But let me tell you about all the stuff I ALMOST bought. (My hope is that this will act as a sort of confessional. Your job is to absolve me and perhaps assign me an act of contrition.)

First, there's the Svan high chair. It's almost like a piece of sculpture, and oh, how it sings to my mid-century-modern soul. But it also costs three hundred bucks. So... no.

Next, the forty-dollar organic cotton flannel crib sheets. Mmmm... I wish you all could have touched these. So. Ridiculously. Soft. I am a total bedding junkie. We have more sheets, pillows, and duvets than any house could possibly ever need. I could have gone hog-wild over baby bedding, but refrained. Good thing, too, since the little bugger has conned his way into our bed. His crib is now just a glorified playpen.

I almost had my husband convinced that we needed the Oeuf baby lounger (a bargain at a mere $125). Then I let him talk me out of it. Good thing, too. The website may have touted it as a "nursery necessity" but Sam would have begged to differ. My boy doesn't lounge. He leans. Forward. On the rare occasion that he falls asleep in his stroller, he does so in a keeled-over position that tests the limits of the patented five-point restraint system and makes passersby suspect we slipped him some roofies.

How about this: a thousand-dollar Bugaboo stroller. Just writing that I realize afresh how crazy it sounds. A THOUSAND DOLLARS. For something that doesn't even have a motor. Just aluminum tubing, canvas, and some tires. And do you know our sole burning reason for wanting this stroller? Because it's orange. (Don't laugh. It's the same reason we bought our truck.) Fortunately, common sense prevailed and we took home a sensible navy-blue Zooper... which was overpriced at half the cost of the Bugaboo, but felt like a bargain comparatively.

Did I hear you gasp when you read that I dropped six hundred bucks on a rocker? Want to see the thousand-dollar one (not including the matching ottoman) I passed on, even though I loved it so? Feast your eyes on the Nurseryworks Sleepytime Rocker. (Maybe I'm just a sucker for the alluring names these baby-gear pimps give their products?)

So you see? By not buying any of these things, I've actually saved almost $2500... savings I can use to rationalize the purchase of the thirty-dollar woollen mukluks I just picked up for Sam.

Who says having a baby is expensive? Having a baby isn't expensive. Having a baby and free time is expensive.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

a post in which

And in this corner...

Heavyweight: A post in which I alternately brag and complain about how much my baby weighs.

Monday, November 21, 2005

(Wo)man's best friend

A paeon to my dog, Dobbs. No, I was not drunk when I wrote it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

hi...i'm the other Melissa

i've never blogged before...i've never looked at a blog or posted on one...nothing. This is totally new for me...sort of a revelation. So, thanks for inviting me, Tammy! i've really been enjoying reading all of your posts. Once I get over my performance anxiety i'll publish a few of my own (maybe).

anyway, introduction...I'm Melissa O. I live in Nelson, BC. I moved here over the summer with my husband, 2 black pugs, baby boy & 18lb cat. We love it here. It's beautiful, great community, friendly people..a nice place to raise a child and a fun place to be an adult.

I'm on maternity leave right now, which ends next month. I've been loving it & i'm not sure how i'll fare when my time comes to return to having a more "normal" routine. I'm dreading that. I'm a home-body. I love being a home with my baby doing whatever i want whenever i want. I'm sitting in my pajamas, nursing & eating pie as we speak. The winters are pretty dark here, so i spend a lot of time in my PJs. I love that.

My dad was an Iowa farm boy. When he graduated from college & moved to Saudi Arabia to make some money. That's where he met my mom. She was actually from Egypt, but she was living in Saudi Arabia because her dad died & her mom married a Saudi guy and moved the whole family over there. My mom and dad ran off together, got married and had 2 kids - me and my little sister.

My dad loved being off the farm, so we traveled a lot. We lived all over the place...Saudi, Egypt, Syria, Greece, then a short stint in Quincy, IL (??!), and then back to Greece, then Bahrain (the smallest island nation in the world and now the home of Michael Jackson).

I still really love to travel, but haven't been able to do much lately. My Top 5 dream destinations: Morocco, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Italy, Nova Scotia.

I graduated from high school in Bahrain, went to college in Oregon (studied journalism and fine art photography), then moved back to the Middle East because i missed it. I met my husband over there. I was living in a communal house in Dubai & he moved into the room downstairs. We used to flirt in the kitchen and walk to the gym together. Eventually we fell in love and moved to Canada. We got married in 2002 and had the sweetest, cutest baby boy in 2005. He's got blond hair & 2 teeth (my baby, not my husband).

I immigrated here because i really love Canada. While i was waiting for all that paperwork to go through i went back to school to study baking. Now i'm a pastry chef hoping to one day own my own little cake shop.

I love to cook, have friends over, hang with my baby, do crafts, read...and watch a little too much trashy tv in the evenings.

Nice to meet you all!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

by way of an introduction

Okay, I'll bite.

I'm landismom, the 37-year-old mom of two kids. My daughter (the Bee) is 6, my son (the Potato) is 2. I work as an organizer (but I telecommute--figure that one out), and live on the East Coast of the U.S. My regular blog is Bumblebee Sweet Potato, which is your basic mommy-blog that occasionally branches off into outrage about the Bush administration, tips on organizing, social history book reviews, and ponderings about raising anti-racist children. I'm sure if my blog lasts until there's a Democrat in the White House, I'll be outraged about her/his administration too, if past history is any guide.

I grew up in New Jersey in a 'broken home,' and both of my parents are remarried. I have three brothers, three step-brothers, and three step-sisters. I went to college to study theater, but I didn't graduate until I was 30. I moved to California twice in my early 20s--to San Diego for a year (didn't stick), and to the Bay Area for eight (did, kind of). My dh and I met when we worked together as canvassers in San Francisco, and we've both continued to work in different kinds of economic and social justice organizing ever since. We moved to the East Coast when we decided to start a family, 'cause we couldn't imagine trying to raise kids/own a home in California. My dh, a Bay Area native, misses it terribly, but the cost of living is just too outrageous there for us to think about moving back.

My kids' pseudonyms are their actual nicknames--my dh gave them both of these nicknames in the hospital the day they were born. We have three cats, but I very rarely blog about them, so I haven't bothered to come up with pseudonyms for them. At this point, no one that I know in real life reads my blog, except my dh. I'm not entirely sure why I blog anonymously--it mostly has to do with my fear of being googled by a future employer.

I read a lot, mostly fiction, and a combination of high-, middle- and low-brow. I consume way too much popular culture through television, but I almost never see movies in the theater. I'm a Mac addict. I like hip hop and embarassingly popular top 40 tunes.

And last but not least...I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better!

Friday, November 18, 2005

A link, and all about meeeeee

I wrote a post (inspired by Tamra's post) about whether the shared bond of motherhood is enough to forge or maintain a friendship. Well, it was supposed to be about that, but I ended up rambling quite a bit.

Now, here is a little bit about me. I was raised in suburban Southern California, which means I say "like" and "you know" far too often and have absolutely no tolerance for cold weather. I have an older brother and also a younger half-brother whom I've met only once. I had a somewhat chaotic and definitely white-trashy childhood involving much moving back and forth between my divorced parents, many rides to school on the back of my dad's motorcycle, and the occasional eating of Spam. Just before high school I moved to Northern California, where I still live.

I met my husband C at work nearly nine years ago. We've been married for 2 1/2 years, and he rules. We have a gorgeous 7-month-old baby girl, A. (Both C and A have full names, but I don't mention them online to decrease our Google stalkability.) We live in suburbia with our many cats, plus whatever neighbor cats can sucker me into feeding them. Until I got married, I had never traveled outside of the U.S. (I know! Not even to Canada!) Since then I've been to Costa Rica, France, Italy, and Belgium.

Due to a lack of funds, I never finished college when I was younger. I have been laboriously attending online classes for the past several years in the hopes of getting a degree before I'm forty. I haven't really had what you would call a career. I held a number of retail jobs, then admin jobs, then project coordinator jobs. The only thing I've ever really wanted to do for a living is write. These days my only job is taking care of baby A, which frankly keeps me busier than my "real" jobs did. I feel extremely lucky that I get to stay home with her given that we live in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S.

Let's see, what else? I like Miss Manners, everything from the 1980s but particularly the music, toffee candy, and singing in my car. I dislike brussels sprouts, when people say "myself" instead of "me" or "I," and books by Nicholas Sparks. I think that should cover it.

Introductions all around...

Tammy: glad to see you formally introducing yourself. It was my immediate reaction that formal introductions were in order but i decided i should unleash my emily postisms on you in dribs and drabs rather than all at once.

My father was in the air force growing up so i moved frequently until 4th grade when we landed on Guam. Unlike most military families who do their 2 year tour and want off the "rock," my parents and i adored the island and extended for a total of 6 of my formative years- 4th- 9th grade. Being military, and living in the Pacific, we were able to take dirt cheap flights all over Asia and explore cultures i'm sure my Oklahoma born and raised parents never imagined they'd see. Me-- more outwardly blase at the time but i majored in International Relations and lived for a year in Japan so obviously something stuck.

In 10th grade we moved to the suburbs of DC where i attended public highschool; met my current husband (former bad-boy in the back of my AP history class); and, dare i say most importantly, found punk-rock/positive-force/straight-edge. It helped give my prissiness an edge and carried me well through college before i was able to lay aside the "alternative" trappings and just unleash the hyper-organized, etiquette-conscious, liberal that was underneath all those band t-shirts and scrawled Xs.

Now Henry and I and JT live in Chicago and i work for a non-profit research organization. Work is getting busier now that i've been back for 3 months but ultimately i'm still happy with the work/home balance. I telecommute to my DC office but Henry is in home-based daycare. Nonprofit hours are a pretty standard 9-5, so i feel like i get to do work i love without missing all of my sons' young life. I'm hereby wrapping up this blunt-force introduction and will hopefully introduce more subtleties at a later date when i'm not extremely tired and a bit tipsy.

Oh yeah, the one point i wanted to make when i sat down to write was that i'm psyched for this blog because the other one i keep up everyday is read widely by family and co-workers and friends and i find myself shying away from some topics because i know all they really want is an updated picture of Henry and some news of his day. This blog gives me an awesome outlet for the ideas in my "blog list" that my constituency just won't appreciate.

That Bridget Jones, she's all right in my book

That's right, I'm a Bridget Jones apologist. No one was more surprised than I to realize it. I blog about it on my site.

On a completely unrelated note, it strikes me (with a dull, echoing thud, as most things do) that now that we're mostly roughly assembled, perhaps introductions are in order? It goes without saying that we all rock, but that might be all some of you know about each other. I'm not even sure how much some of you know about me, other than my recent public confession that I peed my pants.

A few barebones facts:
  • raised in semi-white-trashy rural eastern Ontario on my parents' dairy farm
  • middle child, with an older brother and sister and two younger sisters
  • noisy, insane family probably responsible for escapist, book-nerdish tendencies
  • received BA in English from mediocre southern Ontario university (and met my dashing future husband at same)
  • moved cross-country to get masters degree in publishing at less crappy university (completed coursework, but got cool job and lost interest in thesis, alas)
  • have been much luckier than deserved in always getting jobs in editorial field (have worked as book editor, magazine editor, web editor and TV editorial producer)
  • have been even luckier in recently spawning super cool baby boy, Sam
  • currently seven-twelfths the way through one-year maternity leave and loving it, even despite occasional cabin-fever-induced flirtations with insanity
  • have three pets with varying levels of desperate neediness: 14-year-old tabby, Puck; four-year-old Portuguese water dog, Dobbs; and ?-year-old rescue tabby, LuLu
  • am good at: spelling, swimming, belly-dancing, decorating, and baking cookies
  • am bad at: organized sports, singing anything involving high notes, talking to strangers, and basic cooking
How's that for a start? And now if my man ever leaves me, I've got my personal ad all ready.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Becoming a mother has profound implications, not least of which is the re-introduction to social pecking orders. Not since i was in highschool have i been thrust together with groups of women that i would normally not come into contact with... ever.

In highschool (and i'm basing my comments here on a public school experience) you have no choice about the people with which you are confined to a building day in and day out . Students do what they can to mark themselves as part of a group, but it's impossible to completely avoid the jokers plaguing your yearbook class.

College provides a much larger pool from which to find kindred spirits. Move along the non-profit route and generally you find yourself surrounded by people that share many of your social, intellectual and cultural markers.

One day you're blithely mocking urban hipsters (welcome to the world Henry!); the next you're sitting on the floor of someone's living room exchanging parenting tips with a woman in oversized sunglasses and manolo blahnik boots.

True story, a group of us with babies 6 months or less are gathered in a neighbor's living room exchanging stories about meltdowns our babies experienced while we were out. The woman across from me began by recounting the time her newborn son had a fit while she was shoping in Sacks 5th Avenue. It didn't even occur to me what a contrast my story of Henry's freak-out in Walgreens was until well after the fact.

All of this to to say that motherhood is a much stronger forced commonality than high school district ever was. The fact that you can make absolutely opposite choices about 99% of your life and still find a fierce 1% of parenting topics to hash over with strangers is a really new experience for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wardrobe, please...

note the child's admiring gaze

Last week my daughter informed me (and by informing I mean I found a notice crammed into the bottom of her knapsack) that I was to attend a parent/teacher interview. My stomach knotted and I had to resist the temptation to make up an excuse not to show. I hate the "parent/teacher interview". Teachers make me uncomfortable and when I'm forced to deal with them I'm afraid I will say or do something that will make them hate my child. And to be fair, she can be a bit of a nightmare, my little girl, and she needs good representation. I don't feel qualified.

But of course I couldn't bail. That would look bad and since it's all about appearances there was no way I was going to pull a no-show. And so I resigned myself and had even managed to bolster myself with some verrrrry complimentary pep talks:

"You are NOT a bad mother. You love your child. You feed her and dress her better than yourself and you're even reading Harry Potter and Philospher's Stone to her - again. You let her use your expensive blowdryer and you even let type a few words on your laptop. You're a-okay, pretty lady."

And on it went until I was actually feeling alright the afternoon of the interview. And then, as I cleared up the dinner dishes, my daughter spoke.

"Mommy? Can you please... you know...not dress so fashion tonight?"

So fashion? So fashion??? My first instinct was to correct her grammar - as in 'Pffft... you can't use fashion like that. You don't even know'. But her hopeful expression blunted my sharp tongue. I would have to handle this properly.

"Why? What's wrong with the way I dress?" Nice and shrill. Off to a good start.

The poor thing looked nervous. "Well, you dress like a teen-ager." She was staring hard at my knees.

I was about to protest and then I looked down. Hoodie, short skirt and knee socks. Damn her averted eyes! She had a point. And so I threw the little monster a bone.

"Alright. You got it. No fashion tonight." I was surprised by my mild tone. My daughter looked very relieved and she helped clear off the table with nary a complaint. Apparently this compromise thing was going to bear fruit.

I was happy that she was happy, but man, was my ego bruised. How long had I been embarrassing my child? Nevermind that, how many other people - taller people - had been thinking along the same lines? Had I crossed over from the "young and sexy" camp into the humiliating wasteland of the"young at heart"? And how had I remained so oblivious?

Unfortunately, or perhaps blessedly, I didn't really have time think about all that. I had precisely a half an hour to pull together a "mom outfit". As I rifled through my closet the words from SNL's "mom jeans" skit reverbrated through my head. "I'm not a woman anymore...I'm a mom." Just a few weeks previous I had found this hilarious. Now, not so much.

Finally after trying on and rejecting one trendy outfit after another I found a demure pair of pinstriped slacks and a long-sleeved sweater that covered the tattoos on my forearm and wrist. I quickly wiped off my lipgloss and opted for untinted lipbalm. As I surveyed the results in the mirror and I had to admit the effect wasn't half bad. Sure, I felt frumpy and a bit fat, but I also looked rather presentable. I pulled my sophisticated dress coat from the back of the closet and I was ready to go. I looked like a working mother. A woman who didn't take any shit in her low, comfortable heels. I felt somewhat prepared to face the teacher.

I walked from my room expecting my daughter to inhale sharply with shock or to burst into grateful applause, but she was too busy whining about having to wear rainboots to even look up - the wee ingrate. I was forced to ask her what she thought of my outfit.

"Oh. You look nice." She looked suitably impressed as she scanned me from head to toe. But, then her eyes narrowed."You're still wearing earrings,"she hissed at me.

Geeze Louise, when had my fun-loving little girl become such a puritanical drag? I told her that there was no way I was taking out my earrings and that if she made a big deal out of my tasteful (and small) silver hoops I would march back into my room and bring on the fashion. That seemed to scare her straight and we were finally out the door.

The interview went smashingly and although I really hate to admit it, I think the outfit helped. I was able to slip into confident mother role quite easily. Even sitting with my ex-husband didn't unnerve me - visibly. I asked the right questions and refrained from strangling the teacher when she lamented how unfortunate it was for my daughter to have to grow up in a "broken home". But then she also told us that our daughter is smart, happy and doing well. And to think the child managed all that coming from a broken home, with a visual artist for a father and a mother who dresses like a whore! Ah, modern childrearing.


I'd like to tell you that I rushed out and cleared out my local Talbots to appease my child, but I didn't. I can't afford that stuff anyway. However, for mother/daughter events I do tone it down. And seriously, I've been told that I don't look as ridiculous as my daughter would have me believe. My friends and co-workers assured me that I don't dress obviously too young for my age. But then again most of my friends and co-workers are filthy liars. So who can you believe?

I guess I'll go first...

And why not kick things off right with a little TMI?

Posted earlier today on my blog: The Lost Continence.

Can anyone feel my pain?