Striking Perfection: Bowling Is Alive & Well In NJ


Birthdays, in our family, are celebrated in many ways. One thing we do is the celebrant is allowed to pick how we spend a weekend day. Junior, newly 14, decided we should go bowling.

Bowling is a fantastic activity for families with kids, as evidenced by the clientele in our local alley today. It’s relatively cheap and unlike years past, the facilities tend to be clean (thank God Jersey is largely smoke-free!). Okay, so due to the presence of bars in some places and the graphics on some of the pinball machines, I wouldn’t call the alleys completely wholesome, but they’re still a prime place to spend a summer afternoon. And, lucky for us, we have three facilities within 30 minutes of our home.

Since I’m not a fan of the sport, I chose not to bowl, but rather watched my son, daughter, and husband play. I did, however, get to enjoy one of my favorite activities: people-watching. As I mentioned, families were out in full force today, enjoying each others’ company while escaping the muggy heat outside. Most were clad in the state’s summer “uniform” of shorts and t-shirts which advertised local sports teams and camps. The most competitive players, by far, were the kids who jumped up and down, cheering for and jeering at each other after a ball was thrown. I was reminded that my area of New Jersey is ripe with ethnicity as a few Hassidic Jewish men, dressed in white shirts, black pants, and yarmulkes dispensed advice on bowling technique to their progeny while women and girls in long skirts and stockings cheered each other on. A group of Asian teenagers laughed as they helped younger siblings avoid the bumpers; at the same time, their grandparents smiled lovingly, happy to be out and about. I heard Indian dialects, Spanish, French, and Jamaican accents as I took a little stroll around the facility. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

In the alley in front of me, my daughter was giddy with delight. A glitch in the computer system meant that every time she took a turn, no matter how many pins went down, the screen showing scores indicated a strike. She was killing her brother and father in the game! Junior did not take to this well and, shedding his normal shyness, marched up to the desk and calmly asked that someone do something about this injustice. The mistakes were corrected and he accepted defeat at the hands of his father who won one game by one pin.

I was proud of the fact that although Junior could have invited a friend to play today, he chose to spend the day with just the three of us. Bowling is something that engages us all, in different ways. It gets us away from the compulsive video screens we all seem to be hypnotized by and allows us to play and enjoy each others company. It’s New Jersey family time at its best.

This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by L. Klonsky who can also be found at Moms Crayon and Is It Hot in Here, Menopause, Motherhood and More

Smells Like Pre-Teen Spirit


After arguing with my 12-year old daughter E who has autism of the high-functioning variety, she shouted out, “You have to be nice to me because I have a disability!” I stared at her in disbelief. I wondered who ever spoke these words to her and how she came to the conclusion that because she’s in the multiple disability program that she’s more “special” than other children and not culpable for misdeeds.

This exchange stemmed from her and her brother J’s fight at our local pool and me attempting to break up the argument by VERY LOUDLY telling them to get out of the pool and sit quietly in their chairs while I decided their fate. One kid grabbed the other’s shirt, and the retaliator pushed the original culprit into the pool. I decided to leave the pool, and thus created more problems than we started with.

E doesn’t accept punishment of any kind lightly – she argues, back talks, yells, ripping and crumpling up any nearby paper. Better hope $100 bills aren’t lying around! Although I know a portion of this is good, old-fashioned pre-pubescent girl behavior, it’s further compounded by the flavors of autism.

One time at her special needs cheerleading practice, I innocently asked if girls with autism and other similar disabilities went through puberty in the same manner as neurotypical girls. Groans echoed throughout the snack bar where we perched on picnic tables while practice took place. Then the tales of woe and frustration about sassy behavior and disagreements spewed out. My mouth hung open in dismay and surprise at the torrent of horror stories. I thought I’d get a free pass from this!

Believe me, I remember being a pre-teen girl and the fights with my mom, complete with slamming doors, and thinking she was unfair and uncool. The B initial for my name could stand for back talk (my husband would probably agree). How I never realized that disabilities could eliminate hormonal changes and the usual nonsense that teens put their parents through is anybody’s guess. I suppose I assumed that with a developmental disability, the development we all know as puberty is null and void. Another one of nature’s jokes!

However, as parents, B and I have never excused typical “bad” behavior from either one of our kids as acceptable and try to address it as such. If E does something she’s not supposed to or doesn’t do something she’s supposed to do, she’s reprimanded like any other child. Maybe if she harbored more severe issues, we would lessen the sentence, especially if she did not understand the crime.

But I’ve seen E in action. She’ll get that maddening gleam in her angelic blue eyes, pout her lips, and loudly shout “No!!!” and point her finger at you, bony and menacing like a witch, inches from your face, when she wants to do something she knows we disapprove of or continues a behavior we already informed her was wrong, inappropriate or obnoxious. And she’s learned quite well how to slam a door hard enough to bust the hinges. Like mother, like daughter. More than one threat of removing said door has bellowed from my husband B.

When hearing E’s flimsy defense that she deserved special treatment, not punishment, for her offenses due to her disability, I couldn’t help being stunned yet also amused. Despite her troubles, she really displayed how typical she really is. Just like any other kid, she found a clever way to deflect the possibility of a punishment with an excuse. Gotta admire her pre-teen spirit!

This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by M.B. Sanok, who can also be found at her Blog, Maple Brown Sugar

If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Can Make a Comeback, Why Can’t I?

I am lame. I am shallow. I am mean and manipulative.

The painful truths are still dangling in the air weeks after I made the solo decision on what my three year old would be for Halloween. My husband shook his head in unmistakable disappointment when I told him the costume choice and he proceeded to rattle off these insults rather easily. Emma would be dressed as a fairy princess. It is every little girl’s dream come true. It seemed like a no brainer. Everyone wins! Unless you happen to be me, or Emma, or my disgruntled husband who knew that this fairy get-up was not his daughter’s idea at all. Not. Even. Close.

Emma really wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I know what you are thinking – didn’t Michelangelo, Donatello and the rest of the Renaissance named reptiles go out with bang circa 97’ along with Bananas In Pajamas Figure Sets? I thought so too, but these sewer dwellers are back with a vengeance and can be seen on Saturday mornings following everyone’s favorite yellow sponge. The commercials for the Ninja Turtles are relentless, bordering on a brainwashing level of intensity and somehow my sweet and dainty daughter was attracted from her very first glimpse. After the fifth or six commercial Emma had made her mind up, and although it was only mid September and the word Halloween hadn’t been uttered by a soul, she announced her costume idea. She wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. She said it would be ‘totally awesome’. [Read more...]

The Book of Love

My daughter, who is 7, has recently morphed into a rampaging mood-swing monster. She’s always had slight drama queen tendencies (and I have no idea where she gets those) but her new levels of highs and lows can set me trembling at the thought of her actual teenage years still to come.

Luckily, for me, some of that passion gets funneled into a desperate devotion to her mommy. She loves me, she needs me, she simply must have me all to herself. She’s like my own little Endless Love stalker. I just hope she doesn’t set the house on fire. Dad, on the other hand, is treated like a loathsome intruder, allowed to stay only for his skill in making homemade chicken nuggets.

Last week, she found a new outlet for her mommylove. She started writing a book about me. More of a little journal, really, capturing her impressions of me, complete with illustrations!

It’s thrilling, I admit, to have my biography underway; though as she ran through her initial ideas and then started asking me more about myself to trigger new entries, I found myself slightly chagrined at how few ‘interesting’ things I could come up with. Might be time to take up kickboxing or get into a shouting match with our loud-mouthed governor to give her some good material.

For now, I invite you to enjoy a few of my favorite pages so far …

She has black hair. p.s. and a little bit of white

and lots of lotion She is funny

She has a girl and boy children / She has a good/bad husband

She can save you! She’s in love with Johnny Depp

She likes to take pictures of food.

She can get back together with you (I’m sorry. It’s OK.)  / She is almost awesome.

Love the way this kid expresses her wild little self. And love the way she loves me … no matter how she spells it.

This is an original JerseyMomsBlog post. Deanna Q is a freelance writer and mother of two fantastic little beings

Child Nurse

My daughter was born in December 2006. In August 2007 I was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Since she was a baby, she has come with me to all my neurologist visits (at least every 6 months), has come to various fundraising walks/bikes with my always growing team, and knows the days when Mommy is just not 100%. I pride myself on the fact that I take good care of myself. Of course my whole family is my driving force, but the emphasis on it is my daughter. Of course there are some off-days. For instance, on days when fatigue is hitting me hard, she tells me to lay down and rest. Once a month she’ll hang out with her uncle, aunt, grandma, etc, when I go to the hospital to get my infusion. When I get home she’ll see the bandage on my arm and ask me if my boo-boo is ok. (Side note: my “boo-boo” has always been ok. Never had any side effects from the medication.) I sometimes feel bad because she doesn’t totally know what’s going on with me, but on the other hand she doesn’t know any different.

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