Actual Things: Embarrassed Car Singer

Yesterday I was invited to a networking event at a fun little restaurant where I met a group of women (and few men) to talk about projects and upcoming fundraisers in KC. It was quite an anomaly to be somewhere on a school night meeting cool new people and talking about actual work projects. As I was driving home around 7:30, I was really feeling like a cool grownup writer and blogger, instead of a frumpy mom who’s been basically a shut in for the better part of two years. Like any cool grownup would do, I stopped right before my street (so my husband and kids wouldn’t know I was home yet) and played my cool grownup music (Ben Folds Five) while I just kind of bobbed my head, passionately singing along and mindlessly looking at my phone, coolly. Next thing I know, this lady comes out of her house and is (rightly) like, “What are you doing?!” and “Can you not?!” and “I just got my baby to bed!” First of all, do you realize HOW LOUD AND FOR HOW LONG I had to have been blaring Ben Folds to elicit this poor young mom to come out of her house in the dark and confront me? Needless to say, I’m mortified. My first instinct was to just move to a different neighborhood, but this morning I opted to drop off an apology note and a couple Starbucks gift cards. Honestly though, if some dummy woke up my new baby with unnecessarily loud acoustic music on a random Wednesday, I don’t know if there would be enough Starbucks in the world to make up for it. In my note, I assured them that I would be doing my car singing outside my own house from now on, and I almost added that I’m still available for birthday parties, but I didn’t know how well that would go over. So in conclusion, I absolve Ben Folds (and the other 4) from any blame associated with my behavior. I, alone, was Rockin’ The Suburbs. I was doing it of my own accord and I hereby formally apologize to any other families who may have been affected by my actions last night.

Sincerely,

Embarrassed Car Singer

#ActualThings

Spare me, Liar. (Alternate title: I Whistle A Happy Tune.)

When one of my daughters was 9, as I was tucking her into bed she asked me, “How come you’re not afraid of anything?

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “Like, how come you’re not afraid of spiders?”

I told her that I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with the fact that as a child my best friend (and step-aunt – yes we have a weird family tree -) Marisa was really afraid of spiders and she was littler than me so I pretended not to be afraid, just to make her feel better when she had bad dreams. So I concluded that maybe I just tricked myself into not being afraid? Whether the fact that I’m not afraid of spiders is a result of that or just a coincidence, I guess I’ll never really be sure.

Coming full circle, this technique totally backfired when I tried not to pass along my lifelong phobia of snakes to my young daughters by going out of my way to say how “cute” and “fascinating” reptiles are when they were toddlers. This led to them shoving library books in my face and innocently exclaiming things like, “Look, Mommy! A picture of a snake! Your favorite!” Cut to me breaking out in the full meat sweats covered in hives. Just a simple picture in a children’s book would send me reeling, literally feeling the saliva drain from my mouth and the blood drain from my face as my entire back wet through my shirt and I started doing some weird panic version of heavy lamaze breathing. (Is lamaze breathing redundant? Would you still get the point if I had just said lamaze? Also remind me to someday publish my 600 page book of essays entitled, “Why I Can’t Go Back To That Library.” Spoiler alert: there’s more than one library.)

When the girls were older, we once got invited to a friend’s uncle’s farm in the country and it was like that horror scene from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movie where I looked over and saw my children playing with a F*CKING BUCKET of baby black snakes. You know…black snakes…the “harmless ones.” Harmless, that is, if you don’t have an automatic vomit trigger from fear and anxiety. I was too paralyzed to scream before I felt my knees start to waiver and my innards upheave, but I’m here to tell you ladies and gentleman, that I did not yell, puke, or faint, BECAUSE I’d been training for so long in case such a moment should arise. Poise-wise, it was my Jackie Kennedy at the funeral procession moment. Methinks I shall never summon a more courageous portrayal of “normal person doing fine” again; it was truly the performance (and bowel retention) of a lifetime.

That whole “fake it til you make it” thing is really misleading because it implies that if you fake it long enough you’ll eventually make it. In my experience this hasn’t always been the case. Marisa is still afraid of spiders, and yet I’m not, but I’m still afraid of snakes. (If you’re wondering how much appreciation she has for my sacrifices on her behalf, a couple of years ago she bought my kids souvenir cups at the Sedgwick Zoo in the shape of Boa Constrictors. She “swears” she thought they were “elephants.” OKAY, MARISA.)

Honest question: how many of you have intentionally lied to your kids about something you intensely fear/dislike to spare them the bad feelings you had to overcome?

Maybe the “making it” part of the old adage is that even if we couldn’t truly overcome our inner fears, at least we tried and hopefully didn’t pass our burdens onto our children unnecessarily. Then again, what if I’m just teaching my kids to be liars and telling myself it’s a means to an end of not having them absorb my fears? Also, how bad will I feel if one of them gets bitten by a snake?

 

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Actual Things: Unmarried Dot Com

Dear friends,

I’ve had a cold so long I can barely remember what it’s like to not have a cold. As I was lying in bed last night still hacking after a second dose of Nyquil and some good old fashioned night soup*, I started to get really fed up. (*Night soup is that thing where you are so desperate to stop coughing you get up at 1am, make soup to eat in bed, spill some of it on yourself and then pray you don’t die of an accidental cold med overdose leaving your children to find your puffy-faced body in a bed full of used tissues in the morning.) I decided to refocus on tranquility by saying all my thank you prayers. Since I’ve been Catholic most of my life I have a habit of ending my prayers with the sign of the cross, only last night instead of the traditional “Amen” I realized I accidentally ended my prayer with, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit, Dot Com.”

So there I was, wheeze-laughing in the dark in m’soup-stained tank top…

This brings me to my second actual thing. I overslept. Which means my kids overslept. Which means we had approximately 9 minutes for a 12 minute drive. By some miracle of traffic patterns, we coasted up to the door with about 15 seconds to spare as I tossed backpacks into the backseat like they were life jackets on a sinking ship. As I watched my sweet blonde cherubs head for the front door I rolled down the window and started shouting things like, “LET’S MOVE! LOOK ALIVE! I WANNA SEE KNEES TO CHEST!” It really put a pep in their step and I’m thinking that maybe I should start wearing a coach whistle to drop off.

It’s a good thing I’m such a natural motivator because kids can be so inconsiderate, am I right? Like, I didn’t leave the house bra-less in a soup-stained tank top and accelerate through four yellow lights for you to mosey in 20 seconds after the bell and make me look like a bad mom.

Thirdly, and this is a biggie: I got unmarried a while ago. For months now I’ve mulled over when and how to share this information publicly, but the more I thought about it, the more all of your comments over the past years came flooding back and reminded me that I should just keep it real. It wasn’t in the plan for the original fairy tale ending, but I still got a lot of fairy tale moments over the years that can never be undone.

So I’m back to writing. As a single mom, I assure you I have a backlog of material to share with you. If you’re reading this, please know that I appreciate you. I hope you’ll forgive my absence and come back with all of your hilarious feedback I treasure so much.

And those are the actual things.

Love, Emily

 

Alternate Titles:

Working On My Night Soup

Accelerating Through Yellow Lights: A Philosophy For Life

Unmarried With Children

Fairy Tale Middles

I want to sneak in a HUGE thank you shout out to the many, many supportive women friends who have been true bright spots through this cloudy, unpredictable season of my life. Here are a few of them:

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Of Pie and Bravery

Thankful For Pie

I remember my first crush in Kindergarten. I also remember the first and last names of each boy I had crush on in subsequent grades up until middle school when I had THE BIG crush on one boy for like four years. He was the Winnie Cooper of my Wonder Years. I’ve had countless crushes in my life, most of whom never even knew. I suppose that is the gift of the combination of a big imagination and intermittent shots of anxiety to keep you practical.

I know some parents balk at the idea of little grade schoolers having crushes, raising eyebrows and saying how they are way too young for that, etc. But to these parents I ask, do you show your kids Disney movies? Continue reading

Erin-Go-Bar (Baby’s first Bar Method class)

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When your friend stops by and you guys accidentally look like a lesbian couple at their bohemian wedding.

 

Back story:

I went to my friend Erin’s birthday party and one of her other friends brought a handmade lavender bath bomb from @Spire_Sweet, and Erin was like, “Emily you have to try this sometime,” so I grabbed it and was like, “oh I totally will, thanks!” and then Erin’s friend had to awkwardly be like, oh, actually that was my birthday gift to Erin. And what I should have done was be like, “how embarrassing of me to assume it was for me to try, of course I can’t keep this” but what I actually did was throw it in my purse and yell BYE-YEE! Continue reading

Sh*t My Kids Say: Fallon/Hilton 2020

Sometimes in the pool we play trivia and the girls (Avery 6 and Savvy 4) take turns “impressing” me with their knowledge while we float around…

Me: Who’s the President?

Savvy: JIMMY FALLON!

Avery: Donald Trump.

Me: And who was president before him?

Avery: Obama.

Savvy: OBAMA!

Me: And who was the other candidate besides Donald Trump? Remember? The woman candidate?

Avery: I don’t know…

Oh wait, yes I do! Celery! Celery Hilton!

Me: What state do we live in?

Savvy: AMERICA!

Avery: Kansas. Duh, Savvy America is where the President lives in the White House.

Me: I think you mean Washington DC.

Avery: Yeah. It’s super far away in Canada.

Me: Um, okay switching categories…What does Bonjour mean?

Savvy: YELLOW!

Avery: It means Hello.

Savvy: THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

Me: How do you say Hello in Spanish?

Avery (high-pitched): Yoo-hoo!

On the way out, Avery took a drink from the fountain and then helpfully notified the children and mother nearby that “This water fountain tastes like martini water.”

So I guess the take-away is that what Savvy lacks in knowledge, she makes up for in supreme confidence, enthusiasm, and volume. And I don’t know what to do about Avery, but I do know that my new alter-ego is a socialite named Celery Hilton who drinks martini water at the pool and calls out “Yoo-hoo!” to greet people Spanish.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Summer Seventeen so far:

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Actual Things: More Sh*t My Kids Say

Today I had to take Savvy(3) to the doctor with me to get my blood drawn. She watched curiously and asked lots of questions of the nurse. As we were walking to the car:

Savvy: “Mommy, is that nurse going to keep your blood?”

Me: “No, she’ll send it to a lab.”

Savvy *knowingly*: “Oh. Which one?”

Me: “…I have no idea…”

Savvy: “George?”

*This is George: the lab. He is NOT a licensed medical professional. Please do not let him convince you otherwise.

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