Last week, I took a trip to the Apple store. Oh, the Apple store. It’s like a Dylan’s Candy Bar for adults. Like it’s namesake, in the Garden of Eden, or in the hands of Snow White’s evil stepmother, APPLE was so inviting… so enticing. There it was, in all of its overcrowded, 8 gazillion watt minimalistic splendor. Continue reading
I went out shopping with my mom the other day and I felt guilty, not because I was breaking my necessary self-imposed shopping ban, but because I had left my kids. I had left them not with a babysitter, but with my husband. They were not doing child labor; they were simply going to a movie.
I couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the feeling I was having. Maybe it was guilt brought on by the fear of sending them off alone with their dad. Would something happen without my guidance? Continue reading
You know when you’re feeling a little big for your britches? (Using that phrase alone should nullify anything I’m about to say.) Then you get a flashback, a glimpse of some past experience that is earth shatteringly embarrassing and the universe puts you right back in your place?
Well, here I am trying to parlay this “CBS Expert Mom” thing into a piece for a national magazine. I am at my laptop touting myself as an “expert,” and trying to seem way more important than I am. Just as I am rambling on about my amazing qualifications to a senior editor, whom I shouldn’t be writing directly in the first place, Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” comes on the radio. I am immediately transported to Cockeysville Skateland circa 1984. Its Girl’s Skate, the disco lights take over the floor.
Now, if you are unfamiliar with roller skate culture, “Girl’s Skate” is the precursor to “Couple’s Skate.” During “Girl’s Skate,” your job, as a girl is to look as cool as possible. You have to rock your shirt with the iron-on decal, those jeans with a comb sticking out of the back pocket, and those leg warmers you shoved up over them to add a “Flashdance” effect. The boys watch from around the rink and if they likes what they sees, they put out a hand for you to slap. The hand out also implies that they would like to Couples Skate with you. If you think they’re cute, you slap their out-stretched hand. Yes, it is an exercise in self esteem. Years of this did quite a number on my psyche.
On one particular day, I had my eye on a very cute older boy; he may have even been a preteen! I spotted him from across the crowded rink, as my dad laced up his skates trying to catch up to my speedy entrance. Oh, I didn’t mention that my dad skated with me every week? How could I forget that detail, this story is about how cool I am right?
Here I am doing my best tricks: The speed up and glide, the crouch down and stick one leg forward, the professional leg cross weave around the corners. I look around at the outstretched arms, More than a feelin, should be my background music. As a sensitive kid, I am an equal opportunity slapper. So, I slap the hand of anyone that puts it out there, unless they’re really dorky and everyone else is avoiding them, obviously! Those poor kids go home and make “kill lists,” or comfort themselves with their Star Wars figurines.
Then I spotted him, that cute preteen, he looked bad. I mean good bad. He probably drove here on his motorized dirt bike with his skates hanging from the handle bars and a switchblade hiding in his pocket. He was definitely from the other side of the tracks. You know, like Matt Dillon was in Little Darlings. I noticed that he wasn’t really offering his hand to too many girls and in a defensive action started to skate towards the middle. As I got closer, he did it. He eyed me and then threw out his hand. Holy crap, that’s for me and now I’m so far on the inside I’ll never make it, and then we won’t get to couples skate. I won’t be able to hold his hand, which I’m sure will be cool and big, not small and sweaty, like the other boys I always couples skate with. He may even be good enough to do the envied backwards hands on hips skate! My life is officially over…Move Jenny, move. I weaved through a few slow girls and reached as far as I could to touch even a fingertip. Then in a crushing blow he pulled his hand back and pretending to slick his hair… Shit, he gave me the “psyyyyych.”
To add insult to injury, or in this case injury to insult, my arm had overstretched to meet his teasing gesture. I felt myself going down think slo-mo in some cheesy 80’s film. Ohhhh Nnnoooo, I grabbed at the wall to pull myself in and slammed straight into it, then ricocheted off, and slapped to the ground. I am SO COOL! I got up quickly and ran to the bathroom to cry in a stall, while reading about who is ez, and who loves whom 4-ever. “Couple’s Skate” started without me, as if the most horrifying incident had not just occurred on that concrete slab of rejection. I remember the song perfectly, it was Air Supply’s, “All Out of Love” or maybe Journey’s “Open Arms,” or some ballad by Foreigner or Styx. I also remember the pain, oh the pain and the uncoolness. Apparently, you can’t get too cocky in Cockeysville, cause someone will put you right back in your insecure, struggling, awkward place… where you belong. Unfortunately, I’ve been put in my place too many times than I care to remember. Even as an adult, a simple song can bring back an experience that sends you to rock in a corner.
Dear Senior Editor- I am a lowly writer, eh forget get it.
I’m not gonna name names, as I would certainly be one of them, but there are distinct qualities that describe most Facebookers.
The Over Sharer -This person seems to think that a trip to the store, a traffic jam, or the weather is worth repeating. They give updates like a minute to minute log. “Sitting in traffic.” “When will it stop raining?” “Just left SB, grande cap, mmmmm.” The Over Sharer is also the most enabled of all personalities. Other Over Sharers are constantly responding to their minute to minutes with fascinating epiphanies like “LOL” or “Rain makes me sleepy” or “Love Starbucks J” (Yes, let’s not forget the smileys, winkeys, and frowneys.)
The Workout Addict and the Closet Alcoholic -These people are actually the same, personality-wise. They feel the need to tell you what they’re drinkin’ or what they’re doin’ in the gym… and the stats. I think they’re both sending signals that require intervention. “20 mile jog, 500 sit-ups and feelin’ it.” “5 mojitos, ahhh” Not only do they flaunt the accomplishments of their pastimes, they like to question their friends as to whether or not to do it. “Do I climb a mountain, or go to the 10:15 spin?” “Drinks with the boys at Lucky’s, or sit on the couch with a cold one?” 😉
The Just “is” – At first I thought these people were publishing this status by accident, but then I realized certain people do it more than others. Either they have sausage fingers and can’t work the keyboard or they just “are.” What does that mean? Is that a call for sympathy a cry for help? A Buddhist feeling of zen? You people are too profound for me. ):
The Gibbrisher -Everyone knows a Gibbrisher. This person speaks in code. Code that at least one friend understands, while the other 500 hundred friends are wondering what the hell, “is so $ due MJ explosion!” means? LMAO
The TMIer -This person is like the Over Sharer in that they have too much time, but takes it one step further by including info about last night’s sex, a bout of diarrhea, or an overly itchy rash. Anytime you talk about your own genitals in any fashion, you fall into this category, BEWARE. TMI
The Self Promoter –Don’t waste your time thinking, “Oh, the irony,” I know this is me. This person thinks that their business is of the utmost importance, TO YOU. They don’t want you to miss a single sale, review, TV spot, story, or promo. They ask that you join the 50 fan clubs, groups, and subscription sites that they have spent valuable work time setting up. Don’t think we, I mean they don’t check to see if you join every one of those clubs and sites! IMHO
Honorable mention: The Quoter and The Lyricist.
BTW-There will be a sequel. I would love to hear about your experiences with these personalities and the other personalities you have encountered.
OMG I almost forgot please join my fan page on FB , seriously!
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I am now freelancing for iVillage, which is an amazing site for women. They cover enough issues to give me work and let me keep the humor in my essays. Those pieces will not be printed on my site as it is against my contract. I will give you the links as I get them and I am so happy to share the news with you all. The first article is
Do You Have a Case of Nanny Envy? I hope you read it, tweet it, FB it, email it, and continue to enjoy me here at Suburban Jungle!
Thanks for your unwavering support!
J from the B
PS- if you haven’t read iCan’t iStand the iApple Store, do so. It set new records on my site!!!
There are certain phrases that you imagine hearing, years before they may ever be spoken. As an adolescent, you dream of those three little words “I Love You,” being said with something other than a familial connotation. You envision the intoxicating “I do,” and long for the significant, “Congratulations, it’s a (put sex here).”
The phrase I heard today didn’t represent one of these reveries. Instead, I got the ever-dreaded question “Mommy, where do babies come from?” and more specifically, “How do they get out?” This is not the first time I’ve been asked this question, but it’s the first time I considered answering it honestly.
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I’ve given quite a few explanations over the years: The stork, the basket on the doorstep, “out of mommy’s bellybutton.” I’ve even given the seldom used, “We found you in a trashcan,” explanation. An excuse used by my own dad, who on too many occasions told the tale of how they first heard my echoing cry, and then debated whether or not to take me out.
How is this happening? Just last week I reiterated, with strong conviction, the existence of the Tooth Fairy, and now I’m about to share the reality of how one enters the world? While I looked around the crowded diner for signs of eavesdropping, J said, “Do they come out of your belly?”
“They can.” I said, hedging.
“So they have to cut your belly open and take the baby out?”
How come when he says it, it seems like a scene from Alien?
“They can.” Still hedging.
“How do they put your belly back together?”
“Stitches,” I replied, knowing this would not be the end.
“RY… RYYYYYY!” J yelled to his sister, “You’re gonna have surgery, ‘cause you’re a girl and girls grow babies.”
Ry, who was previously occupied with the jelly packet mountain she was building, looked up in horror.
“Whaaat?” She cried and looked to me for some explanation as her mountain toppled over (for dramatic effect).
“Go back to your jelly.” I said attempting to redirect her. “J, there’s another way,” I whispered, bracing myself for the look I was about to see. “Babies can also come out of a Mommy’s vagina.”
No amount of bracing could have prepared me for the grossed-out, confused, gape-mouthed, unblinking eyes that now stared at me. A scene from Alien on the table across from us would have been a treat.
“NUH-UH!” He said in horrified denial, as if I was saying it to be funny. Like telling him if he eats too many watermelon seeds, he’ll grow a watermelon vine in his belly.
“WHAAAT, BABIES COME OUT OF YOUR VAGINA??”
The families that hadn’t been paying attention to us before quickly turned, as “vagina” is not the usual morning conversation fare.
“Shhh, J we can’t scream the word vagina in public,” I whispered thinking, this wouldn’t be the first time (see the “Let’s Name Our Dog Butt Munch” article).
“Well, I think it’s better to cut open your belly.”
“If it comes out of your vagina, the baby would just drop in the toilet. Yuck!”
Not where I thought this conversation would go, but before I knew it, I was explaining stirrups and OBs pulling out babies and OMG I just wanted an omelet!!!
Jtook this in with unwavering interest. I felt like I could actually see the mechanics of his mind, like watching the inner workings of a watch. Just when I thought he had digested it all he said,
“How do the babies get inside you?”
No way am I going there, not until he finds the Tooth Fairy utterly ridiculous.“Eggs,” I said, “Eat your eggs.”
I was quoted in Redbook magazine August, p.27 in response to the Question: Is it ever appropriate to get “Hot and Heavy” when you’re a houseguest?
My response, “It’s always appropriate to get hot and heavy, unless you are staying with your parents. Then it’s only appropriate to get warm and light.“
Sage advice, sage advice.
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IF YOU ARE IN THE SOUTH FLORIDA AREA THURSDAY 7/23, CBS4 WILL BE RUNNING MY SEGMENT SOMETIME BETWEEN 5 AND 6:30!!!!! TIVO OR WATCH!
Last week I received a call about doing a segment for CBS4 Miami as an “Expert Mom.” It’s ironic because I am totally an expert at the mom thing, as most of you know. It’s about time the media noticed. I was told the interview needed to be soon, so we agreed on Friday. On Thursday at noon I received a call from the reporter asking, “Can I come in an hour? This is the only time I am available.”
Well, I was still in sweaty workout clothes and hadn’t had a bite to eat. Oh, and I was also researching the subject of the interview. I said, “Fine, but hair and make-up will have to take precedence. “ He agreed, and that’s when I knew we’d be friends. I jumped in the shower and recited whatever info I could remember. I then grabbed a bowl of cereal and a serving ladel. You get bigger bites that way. I shoveled spoonfuls in with one hand, blew my hair dry with my second hand, and put on make-up with my third. Yes, I have three hands but that is a whole other blog.
The subject of the interview was, “What can moms do with their kids when they are not in camp?” The reporter questioned me about my blog, “Oh, is that what you write about? Places to take the kids? Crafts you can do at home?” I said, “No, I write about what happens when you do those things and they go horribly wrong.”
He really had no response and may have searched for a door, but all exits were barricaded. I would not lose the interview. Aside from some dramatic sweeping hand gestures and goofy comments in a fake accent, I think the interview went famously. In the end, I’ll look like a certified expert or a certifiable lunatic. it’s all in the editing.
By the way, look at my armpits for a tuft of white tissue. Yes, when I was blow drying my hair and sweating I shoved tissues in to make sure I didn’t have marks on my dress. Apparently I forgot to take them out… Good times, good times.
If you are not in South Florida, I will post a link… Maybe.
PS I was asked back to do another segment on back to school bargains!!!
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think we need to take a break. Sure, I love the way you and your friends with oversized heads eat breakfast with my family and entertain us with your theme parks, but you ask for so much in return.
I pay a near fortune to see you, then you woo my daughter into expensive princess attire and offer pricey oversized turkey legs, costly Pooh shaped popsicles, and expensive embroidered hats with ears… that don’t really translate in the real world. I’m sorry, that sounded like I was blaming you for the economy. I’m sure you and Minnie have a ton of Disney stock options, so I know you’re feelin’ it as well.
According to the latest statistics, me and 1/3 of other American families are cancelling trips this summer and taking a “stay-cation” instead. I know you’re angry. The last time you waved at me and said, “See ya real soon,” you thought it would be sooner. I’m thankful you only have 4 fingers, because I know what you’d be waving at me now.
This summer, like most Americans, I will be visiting (Chez Pa Tio). I will take a portion of the money I’m saving and recreate much of the awe and wonder you provide, without ever leaving town.
I will save $60 on those mandatory Mickey mist sprayers, and have my family stand in the general vicinity of wet neighborhood dogs when they shake. Each night my husband and I will wrap ourselves in twinkle lights, and then we’ll run by the kids really fast and call it Space Mountain. Then we’ll slow down and call it the Light Parade. Who knows, we could wear them to bed and call it Pleasure Island.
I will cook pancakes in your likeness. Then I’ll have my neighbor with an abnormally large head come over and eat them with us. I’m sure my family will be none the wiser, as his head is really big. Have a great summer now, ya hear.
Jenny from the Blog
This was written for the new site saleHOP.com. I am now the feature writer for this awesome site. Wahoo! Here is a little info on it so you can be one of the first “in the know.”
SaleHOP is an online sale listing service for:
PEOPLE who host garage sales, yard sales, moving sales, estate sales, and more.
SMALL RETAIL STORES who seek a more effective way to attract new shoppers.
LOCAL EVENTS who want a cost effective way to promote their sale online.
BARGAIN HUNTERS looking for ways of saving time and money
They provide bargain hunters with a better way to find items they need at any sale or event occurring in their local area; while providing sellers an affordable and effective way to attract shoppers; in a comprehensive and feature rich website that provides a safe and fun environment.
This one is tough for me to write. While finding the irony in the situation, the neurotic part of me still gets a pit thinking about it. My children had a sleep over at my Father and Step Mother’s house this weekend. Like any overly anxious mom, I am not capable of total relaxation when they are away because I am unapprised of their minute to minute safety status and whereabouts.
To make matters worse a sleepover at their house is like a carnival. They go from arcades to movies to the beach to the boat to Dunkin’ Donuts often in a 4hr span. Getting in touch with them in near impossible and guessing which activity they are doing, even harder. What if my parents make a bad decision? What if they feed them food that is not cut small enough or let them ride the escalator at the mall alone…in their flip-flops!? What if they don’t account for the beach’s undertow? What if they lose them, step on them, dehydrate them, don’t apply enough sunblock?! These types of things worry me, actually all types of things worry me, down to the pillow placement on their beds and if my son, who sleeps in my antiquated brass bed, will get a limb or worse, his head stuck in the unregulation sized slats.That being said, I had a lovely dinner with my husband and a glass of champagne, or two, or a bottle lessens the concerns. The next day we went to pick up the kids and stayed for a BBQ. It was at said BBQ that the offense occurred. We were having desert, fresh fruit and Redi whip. Like butter, cheese or chocolate, whipped cream makes anything edible. My children, having control of the whipped cream can, joyfully and excessively sprayed it in heaping mounds, masking the fruit below. Squirt, squirt…air.
My step mother grabbed the can walked towards the trash then stopped as if a light bulb went off above her head. “Who wants to suck out the air and talk funny?” she said with the enthusiasm of an eight year old.
“Um the preteens that hang out by the dumpsters in the grocery store parking lots, maybe.”
“That’s not helium in there, that’s a whippet.”;”>Whippet: Slang term for the inhalant drug “Nitrous Oxide.” Use causes a momentary lightheadedness due to a depletion of oxygen to the brain. In worst cases can lead to brain damage, and SSD (Sudden Sniffing Death). People also risk falling and getting a concussion.
“I’ve never done it, I just remember hearing something about it.”
“I remember hearing something about hypodermic needles on the beach, but I’m not going to play Doctor with them.”
I was trying to play it off, but my heart was pounding. In my minimal experience with whippets, I remember falling on my dorm room bed, giggling and most likely killing enough brain cells to forget the SAT words I had spent the previous year trying so desperately to drill into my head.
I have no idea what that rush would do to a 4 and 7 year old, and THANK G-D no one was finding out! Ahhh, something new to add to the list… fear of grandparents offering my children recreational drugs. A new concern, a fear I would have never imagined and I imagine some far fetched scenarios.
In all seriousness, I will use this as a warning. Take a moment to make sure your parents know that sucking the air out of whipped cream cans, computer dusting cans (Dusting), and air-horns is very dangerous and should never be used as a game. It seems so obvious to us, but intelligent people who were not teenagers beyond the 80’s may have no idea.
New Vlog! I started doing how to videos for some of the Mommy sites I write for. Though not totally serious, the concept of explaining even the simplest thing, gave me quite a giggle. So, I taped this video on “How to sit on a chair.” In it I explain in layman’s terms the delicate artform that is “sitting on a chair.” You may want to use a spotter your first couple attempts. I assure you, with my expert guidance, you will be sitting on chairs in no time!
If you know anyone that could use this kind of instruction, please pass the link on -so they can take a load off!: mom demonstrates important skill “how to sit on a chair
Figuring out that your parents knew as little about raising children as you do is a mind altering experience.
I spend much of my time in disbelief that I am the mom of two amazing kids, because I often feel like a kid myself. How did this happen? When did this happen? Just yesterday I was getting my license, graduating college, moving to my first apartment… and somehow I am an adult with a home and children. Children that come to me in the middle of the night with growing pains, and nightmares — looking to be comforted. I’m mothering by the seat of my pants.
How is it that I am winging it and my mother seemed to know everything? I walk around sputtering a slew of medical advice I got from this woman who was so thoroughly competent and mature at 35, they may have even let her practice medicine in some states, like West Virginia.
Was Dr. Mom wrong? Was she all knowing or just a teenager, stuck in a “mommy” body, spouting the information imparted by her mother before her? If your tongue has a green tint, do you not need to make a BM? If you get stung by a bee does toothpaste not soothe the sting? It all made perfect sense when I was 8.
I took these practices as gospel, logging the protocol in my “future motherhood file,” for safekeeping. I filled my arsenal with pertinent and sometimes even magical remedies, only to find myself at 35 in a CPR and safety class being jeered by the instructor, the “movie star” hot instructor.
Because I am mentally no more than 21, I was secretly praying he was a stripper, hoping his snug manly fireman’s uniform would Velcro straight off to the sound of some cheesy disco accompaniment.Don’t think I didn’t whisper, “bow chicka bow wow,” to get the ball rolling.
I attempted to impress him with the vast medical knowledge I had learned from the omnipotent Dr. Mom.
“Butter for burns?” He laughed. “Coke Syrup? for a belly ache?“
“Who taught you this stuff?” He prodded and not in a flirty teasing way.
Apparently, my medical knowledge was archaic. Not only did it make me seem old, it made me seem Amish.
I was about as sexy to this strapping buck as the Snapple Lady. There it is, that four letter word that is so hideous so heinous… L-A-D-Y. To this stud I was just some “lady.” My mom was just like me… some kid who was a “lady” to everyone else.Some of those brilliant treatments she made up on the fly and the others she just relayed as I did, hoping to sound as if she knew what she was talking about.She believed what she was told as a child, because her mom, another “Lady,” of maybe 25, told her it was so.
My entire foundation crumbled in 3 hours and a snack break. Realizing your mother was no more prepared or mature than you are is a shocking and mind altering epiphany. It’s like trying to figure out what was here before the world. If you think about it too much your head may spontaneously combust.
My mind was swimming. I tuned out the sexy EMT, well muted him, to think this through. Have I found the key to motherhood? Is it not in the actual knowledge but in the belief? My ultimate goal as a parent is for my children to be safe and secure. Is that not what my mother, the witch doctor, did for me? Having trust and faith in her knowledge was a necessary part of making me feel safe and secure.
Maybe we don’t need to know everything or be ultra mature to be good parents. Maybe the answers we have are enough.
My epiphany was making me hyperventilate .I considered throwing myself to the ground, grabbing my throat and kicking resuscitation Annie out of the way. Look, sometimes you take it any way you can get it.
Today, I was leaving a birthday lunch for my friend Tracey. I pulled out of the parking lot with her pulling out behind me. I got to the light waiting for her to pull next to me. Spontaneously, my face contorted into some stupid face, because I’m 5 like that. While looking straight ahead, I gave her the finger as her car inched to my side. Keeping my head toward the traffic light, I shoved said finger up my nose, way up my nose…because I’m 5 like that. I made some weird bucky beaver face while snorting and slowly turned to look at Tracey, HOLY SHIT THAT’S NOT TRACEY. The elderly woman staring me dead in the eye with a look of total and utter disgust is someone I have never seen before.
She turned quickly as if caught eaves dropping, but not before an eye roll. I stopped snorting, removed my finger from my nose, and gave her a meek smile. This is why I should not be allowed out of the house.