Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Fake Cry.

Here are things I would rather endure than having to listen to Luca’s fake cry:

Needles in my eyes

Reggae, the listening to of

Any sort of exercise class with the words “combat” or “pump” in it

Having to eat bananas or poop, which is basically the same thing

Being forced on a submarine (this needs its own post, I think)

Watching Fox news or Nancy Grace (who’s a freaking nut job, by the way)

Wearing bad fashion, including oversized t-shirts and high-waist jeans

Reading Nora Roberts or Barbara Delinsky, exclusively

Watching any television show with the words “Jersey,” “desperate,” “pimp,” or “-zilla” in the title

Spending a week in Chicago O’Hare airport, with no cell phone, computer, or iPod


Because it’s awful. It isn’t just awful, it’s persistent, grating, ongoing, and so clearly fake. It’s so fake that I actually find myself rolling my eyes, at my three year old. If he decides to fake cry, we are talking about up to an hour of the fake cry. An hour, people! That is a long freaking time! He stays in character like it’s a drug that he is addicted to. And so far, it makes the top of the list of the things that the children do that no human should do. Ever. It’s even above eating pencils, which Luca thought would be a great idea to do the other day. Now that was the ultimate head scratcher, since, well, getting our kids to try new foods can be a freaking nightmare, yet one look at that pencil and my child takes a bite.

I digress.

John and I have always been grateful for Luca. Not simply because he is alive and he is our son, but because he is the yin to Rowan’s yang. He’s our comic relief. He motivates Rowan to take risks, while Rowan cautions him. Luca is the first to, um, try new foods (and pencils) and he literally smack-talks Rowan into trying them too. He is almost 100 percent in the moment, and spends little if any of his time reflecting, regretting, or being upset about missed opportunity or negative situations. I envy him, actually. He is so self possessed! And he could care less what you think of him. He’s the kid that asks if he can have a dress to go with his fairy wand, and loves to carry around his Fancy Nancy books, or his new hideous and demeaning Barbie book. (Seriously, it’s bad, that Barbie book.)

What Luca brings to the family is such a gift. And the child is cute. SIPNEL! He is a-freaking-dorable! So cute that although he picks his nose and eats it in front of his entire karate class, all the moms giggle and exclaim about how cute he is (well, I’m sure they cringe, or as one dear friend said recently, “I just have to look away when he does that.”). He gets away with so much, simply due to the cute. But when he busts out with the fake cry? He ceases to be cute.

Now, the fake cry at our house is usually the result of a few different things: either he “hurts” himself in the most ridiculous way (for example, the time he hurt his shirt, or the other time, when he hurt his hair), he does something wrong and gets punished for it, or he doesn’t get his way. Your basic stuff. Here is a perfect example for you: I got on the phone with my sister, and seconds later, Luca came and asked me to play the “relaxing game” with him. I said no, but that I would when I was off the phone. Cue the fake cry. I spoke to my sister for 47 minutes that day, and the entire time Luca did the fake cry. The entire time. My sister will vouch for me. When I got off the phone and asked him what game it was that he wanted to play, and he told me again, the “relaxing game.” I asked him, “what do you do in the relaxing game?” and he replied “lay down right here with me and relax!” So, for 47 minutes my child fake cried because I wouldn’t lay down.

Oh, the irony.

About a year ago, just when I thought I had dodged the terrible-twos bullet, some extremely evil soul informed me that the three’s were worse. Way worse. They didn’t qualify it other than to call it the “traumatizing threes,” which, as you can imagine, made my blood run cold. We actually had fared pretty well with both boys, behavior-wise, and I just assumed we would have smooth sailing until hormones hit. But, alas, it was not to be.

Because then came the fake cry. It is extremely identifiable. Luca could be 1,000 yards away from me and I could tell you whether or not his cry is real or fake. Mothers, upon becoming pregnant, are fitted with an electronic bullshit sensor. Either that or the sound of a fake cry is so distinctive that it is impossible to mistake for a real cry. I think the sensor is more likely. At least it would be way cooler. Either way, I’ve got his number. But, see, the thing is? It doesn’t matter. I may have his number, but I still have to listen to the fake cry. (The double whammy is when he both fake cries and picks his nose and eats it. That one kills me.) But now, when he begins the fake cry, I just cut right to the chase and pick him up, walk him to my room, put him on the bed, walk out and shut the door behind me. It’s what any rational human would do.

The thing is, it changes nothing. No amount of punishment makes it stop! In fact, I think he likes it! He knows it has power, simply because we react. Honestly, it’s like he gets in the fake-cry zone and simply cannot get out of the zone. There isn’t anything that has been effective so far, and now we all sort of walk on eggshells around him, so as to avoid the fake cry. Today, I heard the boys playing in the other room, and Luca started to fake cry. Rowan very hurriedly said “Oh! Sorry Luca, it was an accident!” and Luca stopped fake crying. It was both a relief and a bit disturbing, because Rowan did crisis aversion! I’m pretty sure we are all just biding our time and thinking, “please make it stop . . . please make it stop . . . please make it stop” and in the meantime, we do whatever it takes to make it not happen. I’ve stooped as low as offering him money to stop fake crying. I’m going to guess that this is in every single parenting book under “What Not To Do.” But, clearly, they haven’t heard Luca’s fake cry.

Now it’s your turn to share your stories with me! Audience participation! What is your child’s most annoying and hard-to-parent habit? What has worked for you? Booze? Corporal punishment? Bribes? Do tell.





Filed under Children., Confessions.

Won’t Someone Fix My Tiny, Elderly Jaw?

I hesitate to use this as a place to vent, but I’m frustrated and a great way for me to process frustration is to force it on other people. Plus, they only allow so many characters in a facebook status, so there you go.

Lately I have been in pain. Like, constant, physical pain. Which is ironic, considering that I relieve pain for a living, but what can I do? I’ve been taking ibuprofen daily for the last couple of months, not really thinking much about it, because compared to the pill-popping I had to do when my arthritis was active, a few ibuprofen a day is like so many Tic Tacs to me. But lately, it has begun to get more acute, so after avoiding it for the last 8 years, I decided to look for a specialist. Which reminds me, here is a little back story.

Aside from the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis I had as a child, as I grew older, I began having extreme pain in my neck (which is different from being a pain in the neck). The pain led to an MRI, which led to a diagnosis of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder which at the time (the 80s) was a newer disorder, whereas today, almost everyone I know has TMJD. It’s like ADD for the face. When I saw the film from the MRI (I think I was 11 or 12), the doctor actually uttered this bit of pure diagnostic gold to me: “Well, Sarah, it seems that you have the jaw of an 80-year-old woman!”


And that was in the 80’s. So, imagine if you will what my jaw may look like now. If I had the jaw of an 80-year-old woman almost 25 years ago, I imagine that, now, underneath this gorgeous face is a festering mess of disgusting bone. However, the larger issue is that, over the course of 25 years, my neck has been trying to correct whatever has been happening in my jaw, so my neck is literally crooked.

So, over the course of my life, I have done what I can to treat it, which is to say, lately, not much. I have seen so many specialists that for the last 8 years I have actually had to take a break. I just got sick of them poking around in there. The end of the line for me was spending thousands of dollars and my 29th year of life in godawful braces as yet another attempt to alleviate my pain. They were (1) severely ugly, (2) severely painful (another great irony, eh?), (3) severely expensive, and (4) one big suckfest.

But I did it. I did it because the specialist of the year told me that this would be the solution, and I so desperately wanted a solution! So, I believed him and I did it. Close to the end of my braces time, John and I moved to another state, and I was referred to yet another specialist. Within 3 minutes of my first exam with my new specialist, I was told that being put in braces was one of the worst things that I could have done for my TMJD and that they needed to be removed immediately. And that is when I decided to take a break.

But not until after being fitted with a splint, which for me is sort of like asking a 450-pound man to put himself inside of a overhead compartment in an airplane. My jaw is so small and so damaged that I suffer through any type of oral treatment. Knowing this, I warned the new specialist, so they used a child-sized plate to create my mold, for yet another device I would have to somehow make sexy. And even that got stuck in my mouth and required two people and an hour and a half of time to remove, leaving me bruised and sore for days.

So, now, 8 years later, I have been given no other choice but to find another “specialist” (and here is where I begin putting “specialist” in quotes). What I need is quite literally, a new jaw. I need to have a full joint replacement on both sides, since the damage is so severe and my joint, bilaterally, is quite literally gone. It is no longer the 80’s, yet it may as well be. I made one phone call this morning to a local (and referred) “specialist” who, after listening to my lengthy history advised me to call another local “specialist”. This person told me that they don’t take insurance, and referred me to another “specialist”, who referred me to a surgeon while also informing me that they don’t take insurance.

Oh, and did you know that they actually use Botox now? On the jaw? It may be the only time in my life I do anything cosmetically surgical to my face.

It’s amazing to me that all these years later, there seems to be little if any change in what these specialists know about the disorder. I can handle not being able to chew gum, eat sandwiches, snack on chewy food, or use my mouth for vocal projection. I have grown accustomed to the fatigue that my jaw feels after singing for a long time, or in the morning after a night of clenching, or even during emotional moments. I have made adjustments, and they are keeping me from being a miserable puddle of agony. But hopefully, I am going to live for at least 40 more years, and I would like to know that I won’t be in pain the entire time. I have, like, NO JAW! And tendonitis in my masseter muscle! And no discs between the joints! And muscle atrophy! And cervical misalignment that causes excruciating headaches! And my face is totally crooked! I’m a freaking mess! Oh! And I have to brush my teeth with a snoopy toothbrush because all the others are too big for my mouth!


And if I do choose to have the very-scary and not-so-promising replacement surgery, I can only hope that by then, it will be covered by insurance, so I won’t be living out of a cardboard box and dumpster diving until it’s paid off. In the meantime, I would love it if just once I could find a “specialist” that has a solution for me that isn’t a guess, or ego driven. Just once I would like to have a doctor that believes me when I say that I will go into muscle spasm if I have to keep my mouth open for more than 3 minutes at a time. And just once in my entire life, I would like be without pain.

End rant.


Filed under All of them., Before Children., Confessions., TMJD and Arthritis


It’s that time of year, where we all go drop a wad on clothes for the kids and start moving their bedtimes back. Already, almost all of my friends have had their first-day-of-school experience. Our school doesn’t begin until the 30th, which is really freaking annoying, but the school is so special that they can get away with that crap. Really! They could hire ninjas to teach the children and I’d be all, “Okay! Sounds good!” The school is that good. “I’m sure those ninjas are really special ninjas!”

The point here is, school is starting. And I’m stoked. I’m not just stoked, I’m giddy. I have a list! Of things I’m going to do! Alone! Here are some:


Lay on the floor in the living room.

Lay on the floor in the bedroom.

Lay in bed.

Eat peas in the pod without sharing.

Sit in silence.

Watch porn.

(I’m not really going to do that. Or am I? No one will ever know!)


Get rid of my muffin top.

Lay down some more, which won’t do much for my muffin top, so I suppose that after I lay down a bit, I will exercise.

Are you sensing a theme?

I think I may be a horrible mother. Or at least, not the kind of mother that wallows in sentimentality, which, in the world of mothers, seems to be another way of saying that I may be a horrible mother. BOTH of my children will be in school this year. BOTH. And I am not in the least bit sad about it.

You know what that means? It means so many things! It mostly means that I have to explain to Luca’s teacher that he has a really unusually large interest in girls. So large, in fact, that in karate, he gets in trouble with Sensei for flirting. He’s three. Luca, not the Sensei. He’s three and he is quite visibly flirting with an older girl in class. So visible, that a friend who has a son in Karate with us leaned over to me this week and said, “Oh, my god! I think he’s checking out her butt!”. He’s three. That night, when we got home from class I asked Luca, “What do you like about girls?” To which he replied:

“Well, I like girls that are pretty. And I like girls that have boobs.”


So. Um. I think I may need to mention this at our parent-teacher conference. Which is going to be awkward. That and the nose picking. Oh, and the eating of what is picked from the nose. I believe it is my duty to warn the people.

Then there is Rowan, who is a pro at the whole school thing. However, over the summer he seems to have developed a really large oral fixation. He needs to be told on a regular (and really annoying) basis to stop licking me. And he does this open-mouth kiss thing all over me that is really innocent but borderline weird. So there’s that. I actually have to tell him to not open-mouth kiss my butt. Which, to me, seems like it should be a no-brainer.

This is going to be the post I delete once the kids start being able to read and learn that I blog about them.

Oh! And I get to meet a whole new group of parents, which is both great and a bit daunting. There will be the regular period of time in which I alienate half the class because I am unable to edit myself. And I tend to be perceived as slightly aggressive, which always cracks me up, but tends to sort of leave me appearing (as time passes, and I try to keep my mouth shut so I don’t inadvertently tell another mother she has a nice rack) cold and standoffish. Which is another perception people have of me. Either way, I’m screwed and destined to be the outsider for at least one month, while they come to terms with the fact that really, I’m totally awesome. And adorable.

I’m totally okay with the fact that the boys are starting school. Not to be insensitive, but I am always a bit baffled when mothers get really freaked out by school starting. Not because they should be as stoked as I am about having free time, I totally understand how that free time could be weird, and a little lonely. What baffles me is that school is sort of to be expected. Like death. Time passes, and kids grow, and they go to school, and then we all die. It’s sort of always been that way. I suppose I just don’t get overwhelmed by things that have always happened. It would shock me if, say, Rowan decided to become a rapper. That would be an adjustment, because . . . well, does that really need an explanation?

Really, I am so excited for me! And let’s face it people, if there is one thing I have learned about myself, it’s that I am very important. I’m excited for me, and I’m excited for the kids because frankly? I may be really awesome, but there is only one person in the world that should be around me all the time, and that’s me. Everyone has a shelf life. So the kids get to go to school, paint shit, dig in dirt, climb shit, learn how to get out from under mean kids, drink from a cup, flirt with girls, open-mouth kiss the teacher’s knee, and, hopefully, not think of me at all. So when, three hours after I drop them off in the morning, I return to pick them up, everyone is happy.

Yep. I’m that mom. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that the entire time I’m away from the kids, my phone will be one centimeter away, just in case they need me. I may be drunk at the bar, or laying on the floor in the living room not watching porn, but I’ll be reachable. And I’ll strain my neck looking over at my phone. And at the twelve o’clock pick up? I’ll be the first mom at the gate.


Filed under Children., Confessions.