Tag Archives: life

BOOK POWER FOR CHILDREN IN LIFE


OK, so as a writer, everyone knows I can’t read books fast enough. But when I found out I was having a boy – I did a HORRIBLE thing. I pre-judged that boys were not as easily able to sit for long periods of time as girls. Therefore, I assumed my children would not be interested in books, no matter how hard I tried.

And what do they say about assume? Half of it spelled out is: ASS.

I was so wrong.

My boys adore books. Instead of turning on the television, they beg for me to read to them. They read by themselves in their room, at the table, and all night. Now, fellow mommies, please do not think I am bragging or trying to make everyone jealous. They are television addicts also and I have done other terrible things to them, so just because they read don’t think I scored high on the perfect mommy scale. NOT.

Back to the books.

I noticed my foray into children’s books unearthed some new classics, all time favorites, and oldies but goodies. Sometimes what I found I loved as a kid my boys turned their nose up at. Very disappointing. I have a large photo of GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU, in their room, but they always hated the book. And they don’t like Good Night Moon – are you kidding me? Who doesn’t like that book? But what amazed me about the reading was not the unconscious skills they’re forming, or learning their letters, or other important things. No, what really got me is the lessons they’re taking from the books they read on a daily basis.

The other night, my older one asked me to put him to bed. He specifically requested I put him to bed the way Little Bill’s grandma put him to bed – with the magic blanket so the things in the closet can’t get him. Having read the book a million times, I shook out the blanket, smoothed out the wrinkles, and tucked it under his chin. I said the magic words” Oh magic blanket, protect Jake from all the bad things.” Then my gorgeous five year old sighed and thanked me. And said this, “You know mommy, I just can’t believe it. The wolf is back.”

“What wolf?” I asked.

He sighed impatiently. “Remember the wolf I used to dream about when I was four? Well, he’s back. I saw his shadow on the wall, and I got scared, but then I remembered the magic blanket and I knew it wasn’t real.”

Are you kidding me?  First of all, he’s talking about being four like it was a decade ago. And I remember that wolf well – that wolf forced four people and a dog to share a bed. Second, how could he have possibly made such a rational leap from a book? But he did.

My little one asked me for juice the other day and did not use the magic word. He promptly apologized and I hadn’t even caught the slip. “What are you sorry for honey?” I asked.

“Not using my manners.”

My mouth fell open. “How wonderful! Did you learn that from your teachers in pre-k? Or mommy? (hey, I can hope.)

He shook his head no.”We read about it in the please and thank you book. Remember mommy?”

Yep. But he actually heard the lesson? Remarkable.

Of course there were other cases that did not turn out so well. Like when my oldest drew a remarkable painting on the wall in purple crayon for Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Or when he made weird noises that he proudly told me were farts from Walter the Farting Dog.

Or when my little one pointed to a little old lady in the grocery store wearing a funny hat and shouted, “No, I do not like that hat!” from Go Dog Go.

But the majority worked out fine.

Bottom line? Books rock. All of them. Even the ones parents are afraid of, that talk about sex or violence or other scary stuff. Because books teach – even the lessons we don’t want them to learn. Coming from a girl who marked all the passages of Judy Blume’s,  Forever. Coming from a woman who writes romance novels because when she was 14, she picked up a Silhouette Desire and realized dating didn’t have to be a terrible, awkward mess, and that one day I would feel strong, independent, and meet my match, just like those heroines. Those books provided me hope, a needed escape, and a place to believe.

What were the books that affected you?

View Details

THE P FACTOR…


I am in the midst of the P factor. This includes, but is not limited to: pee pee, #2, potty training and penises.

If I have not lost any readers as of yet, let’s move on.

I got rid of my Diaper Dekor a few weeks ago and whooped around the house in success. I had crossed over and I was feeling great. But there are still issues. My older one has constant accidents. He is the thinker in the family, and he becomes so engrossed in his activities, he ends up going in his pants rather than to take the necessary time to visit the bathroom.

My little one is the charmer. I had a terrible time getting him to wash his hands after using the potty, and stooped down to horrific tactics like lying. “If you don’t’ wash your hands after you hold your pee pee, and then touch your face, you will get terrible sores in your mouth,” I warned. “Then we have to go to the doctor and get the pinch!” This worked well for my older one, who cowered in fear and ALWAYS washes his hands.

But the little one is something else.

I caught him the other day going to the bathroom. While I watched him use the potty, I realized he wasn’t holding his penis. He was just swaying back and forth, spraying pee all over the bathroom in relaxed nonchalance. I went in there – guns blazing – asking him why he couldn’t target a very large opening. He literally shrugged and beamed a handsome smile up at me. “Mommy, I found a way not to touch my penis. I can go potty and I don’t have to wash my hands and I will never get sores in my mouth.”

I was busted.

I backtracked and explained how he needed to hold it to control the aim but am still working on it.

The penis is the biggest factor. Having three penises in the house is sometimes overwhelming. I hear women complain about the constant state of the toilet seat being up. I would NEVER complain – I long for that day. I can flip it down easy enough. But in my house, the lid stays down, and all I see is residual bad aim – pee on the floor, the walls, the seat. My hand is always cramped around a Clorox wipe.

Now the other p word – #2. Another residual effect of potty training is the backslide. They do well – perfectly well – but they have accidents or “phases” of backtracking. My little one has recently decided he likes going #2 in his underwear rather than the potty. This I discovered quite by accident.

A little while ago, I was getting ready for bed and my older one wanted to lay down and watch a tape. I began clearing out the mess of DVD’s and tapes and books and little animals with spiky pointy things that I always step on or roll over. And I found a little ball in the bed. My son spotted it, too.

“Mommy, what’s that?”

“I don’t’ know.” I thought it was playdough.

NOT.

I picked it up in my fingers and realized it was a small #2. I looked into my son’s eyes with terror. “It’s Poop!” I screamed. Our mouths dropped open in matched horror as we stared at the ball. My husband came running in. “What is it?”

“Poop!” we both cried out in unison.

Then we looked at Joshie.

He knew he was busted. God knows how long it was going on – going in his underwear and dumping it in the toilet. He didn’t even try to lie. “But mommy, I was going to pick it up with a tissue so I don’t have to wash my hands and get sores in my mouth.”

I went a bit hysterical then while I explained this was absolutely NEVER going to happen again. Do you know what my three year old said to me? With a twinkle in those beautiful blue eyes, he patted my arm and said, “Mommy, it’s OK!”

Needless to say, I have been a Nazi ever since, consistently checking his clothes, my bed, his bed, and anywhere else he lays.

And the penises.

Well, everyone knows in cyberspace that my boys live naked most of the time. They still come hurtling out every night, unclothed, yelling “The Naked Brothers have Arrived!” And the motto in my house, with two little naked boys doing dangerous stunts is the constant mantra:

“Protect the pee pee!”

I came in the living room the other night after working on my writing and found the three of them in the living room watching a Netflix movie: Night at the Museum. My husband, clad in his usual boxers, had his hand down his pants. I have questioned this intention many times – quite curious as to why this is such a comfortable position – but he grunts and waves me away, telling me to stop asking him outrageous questions. My gaze flicked to my little ones. Both boys were in their matching CARS chairs in front of the tv. Both had their hands resting on their penises, with a large bag of Goldfish in the center.

I just shook my head and walked out.

Words still escape me.

Boys. The p’s. And yet, their minds still fascinate me – their simplicity in life makes me envious. I already feel sorry for my future daughters in law when Joshie shrugs and states, “It’s ok!” to an important issue.

Still, I learn something about the opposite sex every day, especially in my role as mom and wife. I use all of it in my writing to try and create varied, interested and flawed characters with hearts of gold beyond the hard exterior.

Life is never boring in my house.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Theme Songs for Mothers, Children, Writing and Life


It’s Thursday, past hump day.

Things have been a bit tough on the home front.

Let’s have some fun and talk about theme songs.

 If anyone is around my age, you watched the popular show, Allie McBeal, which only confirmed your absolute certainty that dating and men were crap, and Mr. Right will always screw you in the end. Even with the cool theme music at the end by the talented Vonda Shepherd, single women were basically depressed. We at least felt in good company when Allie suffered.

In one episode, Allie and her girlfriends had to pick a theme song . Picking a theme song is extremely personal and gives a glimpse into a character or at least a summary of where this character is in his/her life. Barry White was the ultimate musician and they used his songs to portray the characters in the show.

Let’s play.

Rules are simple: think of your life and then pick a song that will best describe where you are or what you believe right now. Theme songs change as life changes. For example, a close friend of mine is balancing a new baby, an active 3 year old and a full time job. She is stressed and tired all the time, and her spouse is like a ship that passes in the night between shifts.  Immediately, I term her theme song as Carly Simon’s, Coming Around Again.  Caught up with household and baby chores, sometimes you lose sight of your husband. I believe this is temporary and will lift and one day you will recognize the person you decided to spend your life with.  I lived that theme song myself a few times. Gotta love Carly.

When I was dating, my own theme song was from Queen, Another One Bites the Dust. No explanation needed there. I couldn’t get a relationship to get off the ground with a rocketship – everything just bit the dust. It was actually my entrance song at my wedding.  Joshua loves it too, he calls it the “pirate” song and sings the words around the house, having no idea what the words mean. Hysterical. At least he’s not lip syncing with Britney.

Another girlfriend of mine is going through a chaotic time in her life. Work stress, family stress, and personal stress. She is walking the tightrope and trying to keep positive. What’s her theme song? I told her straight out at lunch: Mary J Blige – No More Drama.

When my son was first born, before the post-partum depression struck, I was completely delirious with the experience of giving birth. I thought it was the coolest, craziest thing I had ever done in my life. After all, I fainted at the sight of needles and never rode a roller coaster. In 26 long hard hours, I had reached the pinnacle of pain, received the biggest needle ever known to man in my spine, and birthed a watermelon. For some reason, Creed’s song, Arms Wide Open just resonated with me.  I had a son, and I had all these intense dreams of him experiencing everything in life I could possibly give him. I wanted him to be open and not afraid. That was my theme song. I hope to dance with him at his wedding one day to that – if my future daughter in law will let me.

Let’s talk writing and characters. Picking a theme song is a fun exercise and can really help delve into your character. Music is such an integral passion in life – why not use it to create a better character? Just thinking of personality may help pinpoint a certain trait or experience to help in your writing.

When I was writing my book, All the Way, I constantly replayed Jan Arden’s song Insensitive. I had the image of my heroine’s last encounter with the hero after an intimate moment, and she realizes he is going to leave her. This was a turning point in their past relationship. I used this song as her theme song and deepened her motivations for why she couldn’t trust him.

And my theme song right now? Well, it’s the one that is constant – unchanging – and always playing in my head.

Rocky.

Just hearing the pounding notes makes me realize I can survive. I can do better than survive. I can triumph.

Here are a few suggestions and some of my personal favorites to fit my journey in life:

Mary J Blige – No More Drama

Carly Simon – Coming Around Again

TLC – No More Scrubs

Queen – Another One Bites the Dust

Barry Manilow – I Made It Through the Rain (no comments please. Barry rocks.)

Jan Arden – Insensitive

Creed – Arms Wide Open

Irene Cara – Fame

Chantal Kreviazulk–Feels like Home (my wedding song.)

Bruno Mars – I want to be a Millionairre

Daniel Powter – You Had a Bad Day

Pink – You Make Me Sick (good for dating and problem husbands)

Bette Midler – Baby of Mine (played all the time when my boys were babies)

What’s your theme song?