The Best Present She Ever Gave Me

My 6-year old cleaned my bedroom the other day. She’d decided that mom and dad’s room needed an overhaul, so for an hour on a Saturday, she did the deed. We didn’t know she was doing it – we were downstairs cherishing the silence. She’d disappeared once before like that and was found sound asleep in her bed taking an impromptu nap. Usually if something bad is happening upstairs, there are telltale sounds like bumping or yelling or the ceiling shaking. In the absence of any of those, we assumed all was well. We just didn’t know how well.

She came down with a knowing smile on her face. “Guess what I did?” she asked. That’s never a good question, so my husband and I sprung to attention. We mentally scanned her for blood, broken bones, to see whether all the appropriate teeth were intact. Everything looked good. “Come, Mama,” she beckoned me, taking my hand. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, the same way they do when I’m entering a hospital room or are being shown the stirrups (yes, THOSE stirrups).

My door was closed. I looked around for the cat, who has been taken prisoner so many times I can visualize black and white prisoner stripes on her fur. Nope – the cat was behind us. My daughter was beaming. “Presenting….your room,” she said with a flourish as she threw open the door.

The bed had been made. The night tables had been dusted. The miasma of papers, bottles, and chargers beside my bed had meticulously been put away or arranged into neat piles. My dresser had been cleaned of the usual piles of clothes waiting to be mended, empty glasses to be brought downstairs, and TV/DVD remote controls. My drawers, usually overflowing with clothes, had actually be CLOSED. Cedar chest at the foot of the bed was empty of the basket of clean clothes. Only my husband’s tall dresser, which my child is too small to reach, remained untouched. [Read more...]

About L. Klonsky

L. Klonsky aka Mom's Crayon is a born-and-bred Jersey Girl. She is the mother of two wonderful children, one biological and one adopted from China. As a later-in-life mom, she is currently caught between the drama of having a teenager in the house and the hot flashes associated with menopause. L. is also the author of two blogs: Mom's Crayon (http://momscrayon.blogspot.com) dedicated to the topic of motherhood and "'Is It Hot In Here' Menopause, Motherhood, & More (http://isithotinheremmm.blogspot.com) which offers a fresh perspective on The Change Of Life and motherhood, with unbiased product reviews and household tips thrown in for fun. Her goal is to minimize the amount of therapy her children will inevitably need. Visit her and share part of YOUR parenting journey!

The House of Brotherly Love

When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, one of my first purchases was an ‘I’m a big brother’ tee-shirt for my son B.  I bought a few big brother books, too, including a cute one called “Mail Harry to the Moon.”  When I found out my second child was going to be another boy, I was very excited that I was going to have two little boys- brothers- who would be only 27 months apart.  My husband and his younger brother are also two years apart, and they are very close.  I was hoping the same for my boys.

As we neared N’s due date, I bought each of them presents to give to each other in the hospital: a stuffed monkey for N, and wooden trains for big brother B.  When N was born and B visited us in the hospital, he was not interested in his little brother.  I was not concerned.  Once we got home, the indifference continued for the first week or so.  Once my husband went back to work, however, and I was alone with two boys, my son started complaining about his baby brother.  Every time I sat down to nurse N, B would start demanding something.  Even if I tried to anticipate every need he could possibly have and take care of it before I sat down, B would still request something, then throw a fit when I could not get up to help him.

As N got older, B’s complaints escalated.  When N started sitting up and reaching for toys, B started having meltdowns.  I had never needed to discipline B or give him time-outs until this point.  B was repeatedly hitting or pushing his brother, or taking away toys.  I felt like I was spending much of my time yelling at B, putting him in time-outs or consoling a crying child.  I was stressed.  I tried to spend as much time with B as possible when N was napping, and my husband had alone time with B, but it did not seem to help.

Now I really began to worry.  Were my beautiful boys ever going to get along? [Read more...]

elizabethsboys

About elizabethsboys

Elizabeth has been living in New Jersey for over 15 years now, so she considers herself well-versed in all things Jersey- especially since she married a Jersey boy. Growing up in the midwest, she dreamed of moving to New York (thanks to the movie “The Secret of My Success”) and, while that dream became a reality when she landed her first job in Manhattan, reality also required a more affordable New Jersey rental. Thus began an 11-year relationship with NJ Transit. Elizabeth has a B.A. in Writing-Intensive English from Marquette University and worked in legal for two large corporations in New York City before turning in her key-card to become a stay-at-home-mom to two beautiful boys, ages 4 and 2. In her spare time she is an avid reader and amateur runner and triathlete.

No More ‘Little Hooker’ Lines

The permission slip specifically noted “no thong bikinis” for the annual field day.  A friend asked me if we received the same letter at my son’s school in the same district which, amazingly, we didn’t.  A few other heads turned in the social skills class, prompting a mass cry of abject horror over who would dress their elementary school age daughter in a thong.  What purpose did a thong serve a young girl? It wasn’t to smooth out unsightly panty lines from showing in a snug, sheer skirt or tight pair of pants.

As a child, I thought Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeannie” embodied glamour.  Both she and Cher wore midriff-baring, outrageous outfits.  I pretended to be them, wearing conservative two-piece swimsuits paired with furry winter boots.  In kindergarten, I was warned not to wear wooden clogs that, apparently, resulted in noise pollution and potentially dangerous, slippery falls in the hallway.  Confusion struck me at age seven when, before picking up my dad at the train station, my mom made me wear clothing over my swimsuit.  Sixth grade brought me run-ins with the clothing and cosmetics police.  In that year, I not only was summoned to the principal’s office for wearing a modest pair of blue culottes, mistakenly determined to be shorts; but I also borrowed two cool baby blue and mint green eye shadows from my mom who promptly insisted I wash them off my “grown-up” eyelids.

However, I was horrified hearing about girls’ thong bikinis and further puzzled by the need for padded bikini tops that my mother-in-law shockingly spotted when out shopping.  As my friend G exasperatingly says, “I’m tired of the ‘Little Hooker’ lines for girls!”  Pair that with the “Little Thug/Pimp” lines and you have a disastrous combination of innocence and sleaze. [Read more...]

About M.B. Sanok

M.B. Sanok works as a stay-at-home mom attempting housework in her book-cluttered home while holding court on the phone and volunteering for the International MOMS Club. Raised in a Northern New Jersey town, she relocated to South Jersey for love and has a beautiful, mildly autistic eleven-year old daughter; a schmoozing, mischievous eight-year old son; and occasional thoughts of a third. Her current mantra: So little time to achieve greatness when my life is tied to meeting buses. Her accomplishments include being in the second grade reading class in the first grade, dressing up in full make-up as Ace Frehley from Kiss for her high school Lip Synch, writing horoscopes in college masked as one of the infamous Psycho Swamis, and, most recently, catching a fly ball with her butt at her first minor league baseball game. She started her writing career as a lowly reporter for her middle school newspaper, progressed to writing furiously in her journal and passing notes in class as a teenager, helming her college newspaper as a stressed out Editor-in-Chief, rejecting classified ads for massage parlors for a local newspaper and getting fired from her second publishing job for not remembering or knowing enough about the rival company’s secret website passwords. MB loves reading, writing, puzzles, music, and her husband, children, friends and family. She is the Executive Editor for South Jersey MOM www.southjerseymom.com magazine and a Contributing Writer for Jersey Moms Blog. She also volunteers as a State Coordinator for the International MOMS Club http://www.momsclub.org/. Some of her blogs have appeared on the MetroKids MomSpeak website which won the Gold Award for Best Blog in the 2013 Parenting Media Association’s Editorial and Design Awards Competition. The Monmouth County issue of The County Woman featured her and her blog post, “Updating My Stay-At-Home Mom Status”, in their “Woman in Profile” section in the July/August 2012 issue. She made her radio debut on March 6, 2013, on author and baby expert Blythe Lipman’s Baby & Toddler Instructions Live Internet Radio Talk Show on www.toginet.com.

Trouble at the Border

I am an experienced traveler. Patience is not my strong suit, but I know how to wait. I once killed six hours on the Russian – Mongolian boarder reading Tolstoy and trying not to worry about whether the guards would want a bribe.

Since she was little, my daughter has been a good traveler too.  Gone are the days when she can sit on my lap tearing up in-flight magazines and riding for free, but we still enjoy traveling when we can.

So I was thrilled when, several few months ago, we planned a family trip to Quebec City. It would be her first time in another country and despite a nail-biting wait for her passport, it finally came just a few days before our departure. Still, this was not going to be an ordinary trip. For one thing, it turned out my husband wasn’t going to be able to join us. Sad, but not insurmountable. I’ve flown alone with the munchkin before, to a business meeting in San Francisco and to see her godmother in Florida.

I didn’t have much time to pack, and admit I did panic a little bit when Air Canada announced (two days before our departure) that their baggage handlers and some other staff was on strike. OK then. Seriously?! [Read more...]

tpavis

About tpavis

Theta Pavis is a creative writer, journalist and media consultant who grew up in Manhattan and Jersey City. She left the East coast for the West coast (with a stop over in the Midwest) and then spent a year backpacking around the world with her husband before returning East and landing back in Jersey City. She enjoys gasping at the gentrification in her hometown while railing against its under-performing school district (which is just as backwards as it was when Theta starred as Maria in her high school production of West Side Story.) These days the only musical theater she’s involved in is singing funny songs in fake accents to her five year old daughter. Theta holds a B.A. from UCLA and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and literary journals and blogs, including New York Family, Wired News online, The Mom Egg and the Journal of New Jersey Poets. She’s passionate about women’s issues and works as a consultant for nonprofits. She’s grateful she married a fellow journalist/editor who understands what a deadline means and why the dishes didn’t get done, again. Theta also blogs at the North Jersey Beanstalk

The Nearness of You

My 6 year-old daughter is the ultimate Klingon. Not the wrinkle-headed humanoid kind from Star Trek, but the Velcro-monkey-arms draped around your neck kind. She is on me, for many, many waking hours of the day, like the proverbial white on rice.

Upon waking, my sweet child stumbles bleary-eyed from her bed across the short hallway to my room and climbs (sometimes directly across her sleeping father) into mine. She pulls back the sheet and inserts herself as adhesively as possible into my arms. If I’m facing away, she tugs at me until I roll over and drag her into an embrace. Once settled, she reaches a small hand up to hunt under my curls until she fastens onto my earlobe (right ear, free of post earring, preferred) and begins a rhythmic caress.

Throughout the day, she generally manages to stay on her own two sturdy feet, leaving me a pleasant sphere of personal space, but there are always intermittent bursts of cling. When she approaches to explain, in her wonderfully detailed stream of chatter, about some idea or experience she’s had—all wide eyes and dramatic gestures—she often ends up in my lap or sprawled halfway across my legs as she perches on the arm of the chair or couch I’m occupying. Throughout the lively monologue, she usually performs a number of grasps and proddings, as if I am some curious specimen she can only comprehend through her sense of touch. She squeezes at the flesh on my upper arms, leans in to examine my eyebrows (once announcing, “I know what those dots on your forehead are. That’s where you used to have hairs when you were an ape.”), runs her fingers over freckles and bug bites.

[Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

Bye-Bye, Boobies

Dearest Barracuda Baby,

We had to say good-bye eleven days ago.  We’re sorry, please know that.  We are tired, though.  So is your mommy.

Your mom, she loves you very much.

She prays you don’t end up with PTSD as you experience withdrawal symptoms.  It’s been 18 and 1/2 months (who’s counting?) and your mom told us she was exhausted and cranky and wanted her body back.

Lovely Barracuda Baby, you are the youngest.  You don’t understand, at least at this tender age, that your mom has been pregnant and/or nursing for the past 8 years (coupled with a miscarriage and a few months of reprieve).   A total of 5 years breastfeeding; that’s 1/20th of a century.  (Maybe your mom may end up with PTSD.)

Your oldest brother will be 7 this September and he nursed for a very long time.  He, like you, was a born nurser, a “barracuda.”  Both of you came out of the womb with eyes and mouth wide open, ready to attach.  There was no stopping either one of you and be as it may, neither one of you stopped on your own.  [Read more...]

Brenda Milouchev

About Brenda Milouchev

JerseyMomsBlog Co-Founder. Brenda is a full-time mom, a dual PhD Psych and Religion drop-out and a born and raised Jersey girl. She grew up in Seaside Park and was dangerous on the dance floor when Snooki was in pigtails and The Situation was not a noun, but a tween riding his bike to the corner store. That aside, mothering has been more challenging than any thirty-page paper she ever composed or mis-functioning family she ever case managed. Momming a 1st grader who is the mayor and Casanova of his school, a 2 year old rapscallion born with one kidney and a propensity to be a Major League pitcher, and a 1 year old old daughter whose eyes can read the depths of her soul, stirs difficult questions. “What’s it all about?” “Is the Greater-Aha hiding somewhere amongst the cases of wet wipes?” “Is this what she signed up for?” And true to her Jersey roots, “What the f***?” But Brenda loves being a mom. And she loves living back in NJ after 10 years away, although, unlike her girlfriends, she has yet to see Bon Jovi drive his red Lamborghini (or was it a Ferrari?) through the streets of town. (Did you hear, John Stewart just moved in five blocks away?) And Brenda loves trying to find the humor, hope and irony in the chaos, uncertainty and irony of motherhood. Brenda wrote for the New Jersey Silicon Valley Moms Group and now, you can also find her blogging at Meridian MomTourage. Brenda holds a BA in Psychology from Boston College, an MDiv from Bangor Theological Seminary and started a PhD in Psychology and Religion at Boston University. Currently, she holds a changing bag, lunchbox and a sippy cup. ….Where are those keys?

Sprout

My dad gave me a book today.
“Stress is a Choice: 10 Rules to Simplify Your Life”

First rule is “Spot that Sprout.”
It asks the reader to find the sprout you need to focus on & to let the other things go, as much as you can.

I took from the short chapter that you want to focus on remembering that sprout. Making the sprout the priority in your life, while other issues/people/what-not get taken care of when you can take care of it.

One such sprout in my life is the Cheekers. I waited a long time to have him. 36 years to be precise. Quick do the math, you know you all want to. Due to having to work full time & having a commute of about 30 mins., I drop him off at daycare at about 7:15 am & pick him up about 5:45pm. That’s one heck of a long day for him & for me.

When we get home I usually make dinner, clean it up, give him a bath & then it is goodnight sweetheart.

Last night, we threw caution to the wind, decided to nix dinner and head to the pool. He had an ok day at school (Cheekers is what we loving refer to as a discipline issue…I’ll write more about that at another time) so his reward was to go to the pool.

I would like to say that it was just he & I for 90 minutes at the pool. It takes us all of 30 seconds to walk across the street & run to the big pool. [Read more...]

Potty Training…Not for the Weak

I know hate is a strong word, but there is something in this world I can’t help but say I hate: children’s potty books.  I had a stack of them for B to read as I began potty training him.  I started when he was 2 ½ years old, thinking it would be great if I could get him trained before his brother was born.  We’d sit down and read the books together.  Every character (Justin, Henry, Elmo’s doll David, etc.) was excited to receive a potty as a present, willing to sit on the potty, and- once that first pee hit the bottom of the bowl- immediately wearing underwear and so proud of themselves!  Oh, if life were as simple as in a book!  I have heard some children are potty trained in as little as a few days, but that was not the case for us.

B had no interest in the potty at 2 ½.  He didn’t want to sit on it and we had accidents all over the house.  So, I kept the potty in the bathroom, but stopped encouraging him to sit on it.  By the time he turned 3, my mother-in-law, with constant reminders that all three of her children were trained by the age of 2 (!!) insisted I get him back on the potty.  Thus began Round 2 of potty training. [Read more...]

elizabethsboys

About elizabethsboys

Elizabeth has been living in New Jersey for over 15 years now, so she considers herself well-versed in all things Jersey- especially since she married a Jersey boy. Growing up in the midwest, she dreamed of moving to New York (thanks to the movie “The Secret of My Success”) and, while that dream became a reality when she landed her first job in Manhattan, reality also required a more affordable New Jersey rental. Thus began an 11-year relationship with NJ Transit. Elizabeth has a B.A. in Writing-Intensive English from Marquette University and worked in legal for two large corporations in New York City before turning in her key-card to become a stay-at-home-mom to two beautiful boys, ages 4 and 2. In her spare time she is an avid reader and amateur runner and triathlete.

The Suicide of Tyler Clementi

Suicide.  An act of despair.  An act of hopelessness. 

On September 22, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers freshman, jumped off the George Washington Bridge just days after Clementi’s roommate and his roommate’s friend streamed live video of Clementi having a sexual encounter with another man.  

I did not know Tyler Clementi personally, nor do I know anything about his life except for what the media has written.  But what I do know is that suicide is an act of desperation.  An act that screams, “Life is not worth living.”  And as a mom, I am deeply saddened.   As a mom, I know Tyler Clementi was more than just a “gay” student at Rutgers.  Right now, there is a mom in Ridgewood, NJ who has lost her son.  Tyler Clementi was someone’s child.  He was a grandchild.  A nephew.  A friend.  A neighbor.  [Read more...]

Brenda Milouchev

About Brenda Milouchev

JerseyMomsBlog Co-Founder. Brenda is a full-time mom, a dual PhD Psych and Religion drop-out and a born and raised Jersey girl. She grew up in Seaside Park and was dangerous on the dance floor when Snooki was in pigtails and The Situation was not a noun, but a tween riding his bike to the corner store. That aside, mothering has been more challenging than any thirty-page paper she ever composed or mis-functioning family she ever case managed. Momming a 1st grader who is the mayor and Casanova of his school, a 2 year old rapscallion born with one kidney and a propensity to be a Major League pitcher, and a 1 year old old daughter whose eyes can read the depths of her soul, stirs difficult questions. “What’s it all about?” “Is the Greater-Aha hiding somewhere amongst the cases of wet wipes?” “Is this what she signed up for?” And true to her Jersey roots, “What the f***?” But Brenda loves being a mom. And she loves living back in NJ after 10 years away, although, unlike her girlfriends, she has yet to see Bon Jovi drive his red Lamborghini (or was it a Ferrari?) through the streets of town. (Did you hear, John Stewart just moved in five blocks away?) And Brenda loves trying to find the humor, hope and irony in the chaos, uncertainty and irony of motherhood. Brenda wrote for the New Jersey Silicon Valley Moms Group and now, you can also find her blogging at Meridian MomTourage. Brenda holds a BA in Psychology from Boston College, an MDiv from Bangor Theological Seminary and started a PhD in Psychology and Religion at Boston University. Currently, she holds a changing bag, lunchbox and a sippy cup. ….Where are those keys?