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Category Archives: Child safety

Unsafe Safety Latches


I’ve been frazzled.

Last week I literally had no obligations.

I had no work and by some religious miracle there seemed to be no Jewish holidays last week – so the kids actually went to school everyday!

I have been waiting for a day when I had nothing to do since the 80’s.  I have had a very clear plan in place for some time.

In 1985, at the very young age of 7, I decided what I would do if a day free of obligations ever came my way.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would spend the day in a lounge chair in a black lace bra and shorts, calling friends on my huge cordless phone.

I would drink wine and champagne and Cheetos and listen to cassette tapes…..

 

 

Now that the day is finally here….I think I am too old and fat for my plan……

So I at least took time every day to work out and shower and shop, which was all very luxurious.

I cooked. I cleaned.

I wandered around the house looking out the windows.  Things were pretty orderly, but yet…..I felt disorganized.

I kind of flip-flopped around the house feeling under-utilized and confused.  Didn’t anyone need anything from me??

Apparently all of this not being needed makes me very tired, because on Tuesday, Michael woke me up to ask me for help with his pants.  I rolled over and saw that the clock said 8:19.

Just so we are all on the same page, the bus actually comes at 8:09.

That was a bad morning.

Later in the week I was supposed to go to my mother’s for her birthday and I said I would make a cake when I got to her house.  I went to the store to get specific ingredients to go along with the cake – and I realized at 7 PM that night as we were making dinner, that I forgot the cake mix.  It was a stupid thing that I would have never done if I had 2 screaming babies with me all week and a full plate at work.

It seems now, the less I have to do – the more of a disorganized hot mess I become.

On Thursday, I had to drive the kids to school because Sam had to make a boat for a school project and we didn’t think it would make the trip to school safely on the bus.

I woke up early – so that I could have coffee and get ready for the gym.  My plan was to drop off the kids and be at the gym by 8:35.   We were doing great, as we loaded into the car I thought about “drop-off.”

At school there are very strict guidelines about how you can actually “DROP OFF” your child.

Whereas “dropping off” used to be a term used casually for leaving something or someone somewhere….it is now a full, very serious ACTION that requires strict attention to rules and regulations, or risk ruining the well-oiled machine that is “DROP-OFF.”

One of said rules is that parents must DROP OFF from the right-hand side of the vehicle onto the sidewalk.  Children cannot get out on the left-hand side and mothers cannot under any circumstance help their children get out of the car.

Children need to get out swiftly and efficiently or they will cause a back-up of angry Land Rovers and Escalades.  Lord forbid there’s any problem with seatbelt unfastening or backpack forgetting – you have to just drop-kick your kid to the curb or risk starting a riot.

In the world of child-safety locks this often means that children are locked in the back seat until the DROP OFF NAZI ON DUTY notices and opens the door for them.

This particular morning I said “Kids – I am just going to undo the child safety latch on the door – so when we get to school – you can just hop out on your own.”

While the kids got settled, Sam gingerly holding his boat on his lap – I went over to the door and flipped a switch.

I slammed the door shut and it bounced right back at me. I had turned something so that the door was unable to shut at all.  I fiddled with it and started to freak out after repeated attempts of fixing the problem didn’t work.

I was sweating and swearing as I stared at the little label next to the latch, trying to figure it out.

I stared at this for a good ten minutes thinking…ok, a kid popping out of a space suit and a kid with his space helmet on…..what does this have to do with the door????

Finally in a moment of strong and confident mothering I said, “Kids – I am going to get you to school….Sam hold the door while I drive.”

He looked at me with horror, with eyes and mouth open wide.

He handed his boat to Michael and held on tight to the door handle as I peeled out of the driveway.

We were 15 minutes late at this point.  As I rounded the corner out of our street the velocity pulled on the door and it threatened to open but Sam held strong.

“I can’t do it Mom!!! I am going to let go!!” he screamed.

“You can do it Sam!! Don’t let go – no matter what!!” I screamed back.  All the while Michael was laughing and calling my name over our hysterics.

“What Michael?” I finally answered.

“Well what will you do when we get to school? Who will hold the door for you when you drive home?”

I peered back at him in the rearview mirror.

I hadn’t thought this through, had I?

“I will call Daddy,” I announced with dread.

When we got to school – I left the door wide open while I signed the kids in at the front office.  I called Mr. Gaga a couple of times and he didn’t answer.  Finally on the 4th call he answered he had been in a meeting.  When I explained the pickle I was in, he was not happy.

“Well, you are going to have to wait…I’m in the middle of something,” he said in a very angry tone and pretty much hung up on me.

In his defense I have called him 3 times since school started requesting him to come home for various reasons involving loss of keys for homes and vehicles.

I knew I was dead, and it would be in my best interest to figure this thing out.

If I could figure it out – Mr. Gaga wouldn’t have to leave work and our marriage could be saved!

I figured I could tie the door shut somehow using something I had lying around in the car.  Apparently when I told the kids a while back to keep the car clean – they took me seriously because I didn’t have much in the way of materials to work with.

When I thought I found something that I could use, I called Mr. Gaga and told him I was going to jimmy something together and that he didn’t need to come.

“Too late,” he grumbled.  “I am on my way.”

I stood outside of the car waiting for him.  When he arrived he marched over to the car and I forgot I had left my materials tied to the door.

“Really? Are you serious????? What were you going to do with that?” he asked with disgust, pointing at the door.

This seemed like as good a plan as any…..

“I was going to tie it shut!!” I answered back defiantly.

He pulled the door handle up from the outside, a little click noise happened and he shut the door gently.

I looked down at the shut door. “How the heck did you?…..”

Then I looked up at him as he turned around.

He started to go back towards his car but stopped to let a car go.  The woman waved him to go across.

He said “Go ahead! I’m going to slap her around a little bit!!!” and made a motion of slapping me in the face.

The minivan pulled up and a chinese woman rolled down the window, she called out in broken english.

“You Sam mother?”

“Yes!” I said fake-smiling.  (*Since Sam has been in school all of 3 weeks, his charms, good looks and guido-like tendencies have made him famous and relegated me to simply “Sam’s mom.”)

“You OK?” she asked me , gesturing towards Mr. Gaga with disgust.  Her eyes bored deep into mine so that she could accurately be able to read my cry for help.

“Oh no I’m fine ! He’s just kidding!” I said in a text-book response of an abuse victim.

As she drove slowly away, I said “Oh great…now everyone is going to think you beat me!”

We had a little chuckle which lightened the mood a bit.  He got in his car and peeled out.

It was 9:00 am.

All that and I still had 6 1/2 more hours of confusion and disorganization ahead of me.

I HAVE TO GET MY SHIT TOGETHER OR MR GAGA IS GOING TO LEAVE ME…..IN THE MEAN TIME PLEASE CLICK THE BANNER BELOW SO AT LEAST I KNOW THAT SOMEBODY LOVES ME AND NEEDS ME AROUND HERE!!! XO, LADY GOO GOO GAGA

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Off the Deep End


We spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer.  Up until last year I never sat down once when I was there.  I would lug chairs, towels, lotions, toys, swim diapers, etc. and then I would run around, covered in sand and sweat, chasing two little boys all day.  I would dig holes, take rocks and sand out of mouths, and most importantly prevent drowning.  It’s exhausting.  I’m tired.

These kids need to learn how to fend for themselves, and SWIM – so I can sit in a chair and read US Weekly, and look up occasionally……Is that too much to ask?

We sent both kids to about 5 or 6 costly sessions of lessons in hopes that they would learn to swim at an early age.  My husband and I did “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” to see who would get in a bathing suit and splash around during the “Parent and Me” lessons, and we were out about $500 before we realized we were getting nowhere fast.  If they both got tossed in a pool they would sink like a bag of rocks.

Last summer, Michael finally could stay afloat and do the doggy paddle.  When we went away this spring, he jumped right into the pool, no problem.   I was busy putting SPF on Sam with my back to the pool and Sam started laughing and said nonchalantly, “Look at Michael….he’s drowning.”

What do you know – he was fully drowning.

Into the pool I went to save him with my clothes on.

“This is bullshit!” I screamed at my husband shortly after I saved our child’s life, as he leisurely arrived at the pool, while I stood drenched in my clothes.  While I was putting sunscreen on the kids, blowing up inflatables until I passed out, saving people’s lives and getting the beginning of a sunburn because I spent a half hour taking care of the kids instead of protecting myself from the sun, my husband “had to go to the bathroom.” Please note all that occurred during the time that he spent on one trip to the bathroom.

“Why? What happened?” he said incredulously holding a beer and a copy of Men’s Health.

“Michael drowned!” I screamed.

“Really? I thought he could swim…”

“Well apparently he forgot.” I said with disgust.

Michael was listening to the conversation – floating on a tube in the pool, completely recovered from the traumatic event.  He said casually, “Mom, you should be a lifeguard.”

“I don’t want to be a lifeguard! You guys have to swim!!” I yelled hysterically.

So fast-forward to May, time to pull out the big guns.  There is a swimming school 20 minutes from us that operates a very intense and expensive program.  For over $400 for 2 kids, every night for 2 weeks, they promise you 2 swimming children. 

I signed up for lessons that started at 6:30 for Sam and 7:30 for Michael.  Insane? YES!!!!

I thought – “OK – it will be a rough 2 weeks and it will be worth it.”

First off – this place is in a huge glass building and parents are not allowed inside during lessons.  We are allowed to watch from outside through patches of condensation on the glass to see if we are getting our money’s worth.  Well of course, lessons started 2 weeks ago when it literally RAINED EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.  So there I am each night drenched, miserable, with one child hanging on me telling me they are cold, staring at the clock waiting for the lessons to be over.  One night it was thundering and lightening, and my husband tried to come in the building and they made him go wait in his car!! SWIMMING NAZIS!

Also, because its 20 minutes away, by the time we took showers and got home each night, it was a little before 9.  To say the kids were tired is a huge understatement.  We haven’t been to the bus stop in 2 weeks, and everyone was on edge, and could very easily be reduced to tears at any moment.

Oh – and wait, don’t let me forget the best part! Sam started each morning when he woke up by opening his eyes and bursting into tears, saying “I don’t want to go to swimming tonight!”  He actually cried throughout 7 out of 10 lessons.  I would peek in and see him with his hands on the edge of the pool practicing his kicking just hysterically crying.  There I am, out $450, plus hundreds more on gas, exhausted and this kid is inconsolable.

More than once I thought I had made a huge mistake all in the name of sitting down on the beach, but we trudged along.

One morning I was at the end of my rope, and Sam was doing his morning routine. 

“I hate swimming!” he screamed, “I am never going to swim! NEVER!!” he yelled through tears.

I lost it.

“You ARE going to swim!!!” I yelled, “And not only that you had better be Michael Phelps when this is over!” I screamed in his face.

He just looked at me blankly for a couple of seconds and then started crying again. 

Friday was our last night – thank you Jesus.  Parents were actually invited in!  Do you know that both kids calmly walked down this long diving board, waved to me, jumped into 9 feet of water, popped up and swam to their teacher!!

It was a MIRACLE!!!!   It’s not Olympic worthy – but if I can even read the “Stars – they are just like Us” page of US Weekly I’m going to be one happy girl.

If you love your weekly Goo Goo Gaga – please vote for me by clicking on the banner below!! Thanks 😉

 

Reposted for Adventures in Mommyhood

Top ten ways this is not my mother’s motherhood….


#1 – On weekends my children would go outside after breakfast and not come back until dinner.  They would never bother me to tell me how hungry, thirsty, bored they are.  And during this playtime, I wouldn’t really know where they were, I might have a vague idea of the vicinity, but that’s about it. This would be fine and I wouldn’t worry about sexual predators or the guy across the street that waters his telephone pole every morning.

#2 –In the afternoon/evening my kids could watch Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and Electric Company, back-to-back every day (that’s 2  ½ hours people!!) and I would have zero guilt or worry that they were going to be stupid or violent or fat.  I would just make dinner and talk on the phone the whole time.

#3 – I would never have to attend or host a playdate.  My kids would play with whoever lived on their street.  Even if it was someone they would never ordinarily be friends with, or someone weird or annoying like Fran Drescher’s kids, too bad. They would just play with who was available and make it work.

#4 – Plus even if someone asked me for a playdate, I wouldn’t be available because I would have lunch and then from 1-3 I would have to watch Days of Our Lives and Another World.  Then I would have to take a nap.  Also – my husband wouldn’t be available because he and all the husbands I know would be at work (out of the house.) There would be no chance that a Dad would show up for a playdate or birthday party.

#5 – I could put all of the cereal in the lowest cabinet in the kitchen and teach my kids how to fend for themselves, so I could sleep in the morning while they get themselves dressed, get breakfast, MAKE THEIR OWN LUNCH! and get ready for school.  And if they aren’t disciplined enough to do this and miss the bus, they
could walk or ride their bike to school to learn a lesson.

#6 –I wouldn’t spend 5 minutes every time I got into a vehicle, strapping people into various boosters and car seats like they were preparing for a space shuttle mission.  They would sit (or stand) in the backseat with no seatbelt.  For a special treat, (if we weren’t in the Blue Ford Hornet that had doors that blew open when you turned a corner) I would even let them sit in the front passenger seat.

#7– While in this vehicle I could smoke cigarettes with the windows closed using my built-in ash-tray and listen to whatever I wanted to on the radio. It might be the oldies station, Imus in the Morning, or Howard Stern but the thought would never cross my mind to drive around town listening to the Imagination Movers or Big Time Rush.

#8 – Also, if I needed to stop for my daily milk and cigarettes, I would just park the car and run into the store and leave my kids in the second-hand smoke bomb car.  Or if it was my mother-in-law’s motherhood, I wouldn’t even leave my house.  I would just give my kid $5 and send him on foot to the nearest convenience store with a note that said “Please give my son a gallon of milk and a pack of Marlboro 100’s.”

#9 – When I needed a babysitter, I could just leave my children
with their 85-year-old great-grandmother who was A – off the boat from Italy and doesn’t speak a lick of English and B- could only walk with a walker.  I would just keep my fingers crossed that nothing bad happened that would require an adult to contact the authorities( requiring use of the English language.)  Also, hope that if the kids did something wrong like run baths for their Cabbage Patch Dolls and leave the water running for so long that it’s pouring through the downstairs ceiling, she will stop watching church and doing the rosary long enough to notice.

#10 – I would have given birth at an appropriate age so that when I had a child in kindergarten, instead of being a fat , weathered  35 year-old, I would be a young, skinny and vibrant 27-year-old with my whole life ahead of me. I wouldn’t have gray hair yet, or saggy boobs or fat stomach, so I think I would be in a much better mood!

Oh well, that was motherhood in the 1970’s.  Can you think of a way that your motherhood is different from your moms’? Let’s hear it – Leave me a comment!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

x0x0x

Lady Goo Goo Gaga

I linked up with Adventures in Mommyhood for

Reposted for MAMA KAT!

Safety First


Recently, my father had to bring my kids somewhere and I had to make arrangements to get him my extra car seat and booster seat.

“Well, I’ll just put Sam in the car seat and put a seat belt on Michael.” my Dad said.

“No Dad you can’t do that! I think you will like get arrested or something!”

” Uh, he’s as tall as me, it’s fine,” he responded, annoyed with my overly-safe child-rearing. This is a common theme of conversations between my parents and I. I heed advice from various authorities such as my pediatrician, the DMV and the Surgeon General, and my parents basically tell me I’m a loser. This began pretty much as my first one was born and the Dr. told me not to bathe him until his umbilical cord fell off.

“Well, this baby is filthy,” my Mother would say with disgust.

Her best friend also put in her two cents, “Oh yeah, we would bring our babies home from the hospital and put them right in the kitchen sink….And we didn’t use organic baby wash either, we used whatever was by the sink, even if it was Cascade.”

“And I think you and your brother turned out ok,” my Mother would close all of these types of conversations with this.

And we are fine to a certain extent, but thinking back to our days of rolling around in the backseat minus even a seatbelt, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, it does seem a bit unsafe. That being said, we definitely have made some much-needed safety improvements, but a little throwing caution to the wind would probably help our
anxiety levels a bit too.

I called a neighbor that has a son in 3rd grade to confirm that I was right about the booster seat law.

“Oh yeah, we just took him out of the booster last month, I think the guideline is 70 lbs. And 4’9.”

Ok if this is true, basically what that means is that my college roommate, my great grandmother and Kelly Ripa should all be buckled into booster seats when in a moving vehicle.

Really?

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