Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Enough With the Mom Labels, Already!

I feel that it's time to address a trend that I have been trying my damndest to ignore. In the sixties, seventies, and eighties kids played outside for hours unattended. This used to be called "life". Now it is called "free range parenting" and if you are in fact a free range parent you will either be seen as a strong confident mother who is fostering a sense of dependence in her children, or a lazy irresponsible borderline negligent parent depending on who you talk to.

Are you a tiger mother? Not the giant cat with strips. If you are a tiger mother you push your children to excel at all things. you are very strict, sometimes a harsh disciplinarian and you want your kids to be all they can be. You are either seen as a narcissistic killjoy or a vigilant hero depending on who you ask. 

Are you a helicopter parent? Do you literally hover over your kids at the play ground? Do you gasp every time they trip? Do you fear kidnappers are lurking around every corner? Do you worry about your children's safety? Are you typically within an arm's reach of your children? You are either a major buzzkill in need of a Xanax prescription or a responsible in tune parent depending on who is watching.

Are you a from the couch parent? I recently learned that this has nothing to do with actually sitting on a couch. I mean really, when is the last time your ass and couch met? I bet they wouldn't even recognize each other anymore. No, couch parenting is the philosophy of not running to your child's aide every time he or she needs something important like a fuzz removed from his sock. If you are a couch parent you tend to let siblings work out their differences with minimal intervention from you. You do not cook more than one dinner, and you ignore your children when they are entertaining themselves. If you are a couch parent you are either a lazy neanderthal or a ground breaking genius.

Are you the most modern parent of all? Are you a (GASP!) cell phone parent? Do you look at your phone while in the presence of your child? Has your child ever told you to stop reading your phone? have you ever pushed a swing and checked Facebook simultaneously? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are either a parent who has found a way to spend every moment with your kids while still staying connected to the world, or you are a checked out technology junkie in need of a detox program. Also, you are missing the magical moment of your child sliding down a slide. It may not happen again in the next five minutes.

We have all heard about the "mommy wars", a term that makes me cringe in and of its self because it sounds so unbearably patronizing. Truth be told, most of us have pretty strong convictions about what works for our own children/families, and not a whole lot of time left over to judge what works for the children/families of others. If you ask me, the concept of "mommy wars" is a little over blown. Since when did working/staying home, breastfeeding/bottle feeding, co sleeping/cry it out become so political? As if those issues weren't anxiety-inducing enough, now moms should fit into a specific parenting camp, and these labels can spark more debate than a campaign speech. 

Also, what is with all of these judgy open letters? Dear Mom On The iPhone, Dear Mom Who Yelled At Her Kid, Dear Mom Judging Me for My iPhone, Dear Helicopter Mom..... enough already! Aside from the fact that no such labels seem to exist for dads, since when is motherhood such a dichotomy? If you are like me you probably have a little bit of every mothering type in you. It reminds me of that old song "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one. I play with my kids often but sometimes I need to do laundry, cook dinner, or take a mental break and troll other blogs. If they are arguing I offer some suggestions on how they can work it out and then I wait and see if they can. If my two year old is whimpering during the night I can tell the difference between a cry that requires instant attention and a cry that means he will settle himself back down. I don't hover at all; I encourage my kids to climb, get dirty, and explore. Unless we are in a crowded place, the pool, crossing the street, or at church. Then I require them to remain close to me. Usually, I feed them healthy organic balanced meals. Sometimes I feed them Chick Fil A nuggets and Dunking Donuts (but not at the same time - that would be a diaper change nightmare). My six year old was in under pants before two and a half; my almost two in a half year old finds the concept of doing his business outside of a diaper traumatic. I don't lean towards tough love or corporal punishment but both of my kids have received the occasionally swat on the hand for reaching for and outlet or hot oven. You get it. I am none of those moms listed above, and I am all of them - all rolled into one. Motherhood is confusing enough without having to chose a political party. As long as you are a loving mother you're okay in my book. Now, can we stop with the labels already?

"Bitch" - Meredith Brooks
I hate the world today
You're so good to me
I know but I can't change
Tried to tell you
But you look at me like maybe
I'm an angel underneath
Innocent and sweet
Yesterday I cried
Must have been relieved to see
The softer side
I can understand how you'd be so confused
I don't envy you
I'm a little bit of everything
All rolled into one

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your hell, I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
You know you wouldn't want it any other way

So take me as I am
This may mean
You'll have to be a stronger man
Rest assured that
When I start to make you nervous
And I'm going to extremes
Tomorrow I will change
And today won't mean a thing


Just when you think, you got me figured out
The season's already changing
I think it's cool, you do what you do
And don't try to save me


I'm a bitch, I'm a tease
I'm a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I'm your angel undercover
I've been numb, I'm revived
Can't say I'm not alive
You know I wouldn't want it any other way

Monday, May 18, 2015

Summeritis - God help me!! Please!!

I thought that when I graduated from college, I was done. I thought I wouldn't have to worry about grades, tests, projects and homework ever again. But then, I had kids.

Yes, we are embarking on the last two weeks of school (for my high schoolers) and I think my head is going to explode. Not over their great willingness to study, to stay up late plowing through their textbooks or going over old quizzes and tests while referring to their notebooks filled with pages upon pages of notes they have taken diligently during the semester - no, of course not. That would be too logical, too mainstream. No, my head is going to explode over their summeritis that seems to have infiltrated their bloodstream and has taken over their bodies and their brains leaving them almost incapable of studying for longer than fifteen minutes at a stretch.

What recourse do I have but to sit their asses down at the dining room table and force them to study? All the while, I sit (or my husband) with them to make sure they are really studying and not texting or doing random shit on their computer or Ipad? So now, I am a prisoner in my own home, at my own dining room table for the next two weeks - fantastic!

I looked up how to survive Summeritis and there is nothing! Can you believe, with all that's on the web, there is not one helpful piece of advice for this temporary yet very real phenomenon? I need someone to throw me a rope, keep me from sinking into the "I'll suck you down to the depths of hell" quicksand! Of course, since there is no manual on how to survive this, I thought I would strum up some advice of my own, are you ready?

1. Make sure your house is fully stocked with your favorite libations.

2. Drink libations until you don't care anymore. Drink until you start to think that the idea of your child living at home for the rest of their lives seems suddenly appealing to you. After all, when you are old, you will now have someone to wipe your behind, take out the garbage and pluck those hideous thick gray whiskers from your chin.

3. Keep drinking. Because if you begin to sober up, you will feel like crap and now you will care, but your head will hurt too much to do anything about it!

Seriously, there's really no other cure for summeritis than summer itself. If you're not into drinking yourself into oblivion, here are some more sound ideas:

1. Have your son/daughter get organized.
2. Have a place in your home where quiet, uninterrupted studying can happen.
3. Take scheduled study breaks.
4. Make time to do something fun, take the stress off.
5. Create incentives.
6. Provide plenty of yummy snacks and drinks.
7. Encourage a good night's sleep.
8. Find time to laugh.
9. If you're religious, pray!

And then, when summer is finally here, CELEBRATE! Until, until..... you get that damn summer work packet! And then, let the nagging begin AGAIN!!!!

Good luck everyone! And if your kids are already done, you're one lucky son of a gun!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Letter To My Birth Mother

After I read Kat's amazing letter to her mother (my mother-in-law), not only was I impressed with her memory ('cause I can't seem to remember yesterday let alone, all the specifics of childhood), but I was also touched by her sentiment and the truth that, we learn how hard it is to be a parent once we become one ourselves. I have a lot to say on this but, the purpose of this post is to thank someone, who never gets thanked on Mother's Day for the selfless decision she made over forty-seven years ago.

To My Birth Mother,

Not a day goes by that I don't give you a silent thought, a 'thank you', for your selfless decision to carry me for nine months and give me away to a family you never met. Because, for me, I know I wouldn't be here today if you would have made a different decision.

Even with abortion being illegal at the time, I know you had resources that would have allowed you to easily dispose of me, yet you didn't. Whatever the reason, I am humbled by your decision to carry me, nurture me, feel me move inside of you, go through the pain of labor and then hand me over to a couple who wanted me so desperately. By your selfless act, you fulfilled the dreams of a couple who wanted a sibling for their daughter, but couldn't give her one naturally. You gave a little girl a sister who she prayed for night after night. You allowed me, a tiny insignificant being, to be significant, to be someone people would love and be loved by. By giving me life, you allowed my children (your grandchildren) to come into this world - without your selfless decision, they would not be here today, nor would their future children or grandchildren.

Your selfless act created a ripple effect that will continue to grow well after we both cease to exist on this planet. Everything I do, my children do, their children do, is because of you. You may have thought of your pregnancy with me as a big mistake, but I think of it as God's ultimate test of your commitment to life and of your strength, not only in pure will, but also in character. It takes an incredibly strong person to do what you did. Because of you, I have a love for God that exceeds any formal teachings from a church. My love is embedded in the knowledge that He trusted you enough to carry me and do what was right by me.

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. Thank you for giving me life, thank you for creating endless possibilities for me, thank you for not taking the easy way out, thank you for thinking of more than yourself, thank you for your incredibly selfless act and thank you for teaching me how precious and important life really is. I am, and always will be grateful for you! Happy Mother's Day!

Your daughter,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

To My Mom On Mother's Day

Well, only an hour left of Mother's Day and I kind of wish I did more for my own Mom. Then again, what can you do that's adequate? Thanks Mom, for giving me life and guiding me from an ameba to a full fledged human being with spawn of my own, here's brunch as a token of my sincere appreciation?

I guess that's really the point of Mother's Day. We expect mothers to just be there, and as mothers ourselves we don't expect or need to be thanked or given a pat. Mother's Day is a reminder that, although we can never sum up the depth of our awe of mothers and all of those mother figures, we can't overlook their importance either. So here's my two cents:

To My Mom,

Now that I have children of my own I intimately understand the enormity of the sacrifices you made and continue to make. I know I was a (ahem) surprise child, and certainly I put a wrench in your plans to become empty nesters, with your only child ony two years away from college. I have many times tried to imagine that moment of realization when you found out that you would be essentially starting over, and that conversation when you broke the news to Dad. I am sure it was scary and maybe even somewhat depressing to discover that another child was on the way, but you did it. That is the first thank you.

As a parent of young children myself, I know sleep deprivation like I never have before, and then I think, does anyone ever thank Mom for all of those sleepless nights? It's part of the gig, right? But now that I am on the flip side, I really feel that a thank you is necessary because it's darn hard to patiently rock and feed a baby, or talk through a nightmare when son of a gun you really flipping need some sleep before your eyes roll in the back of your gosh darn head permanently. See, I am keeping my language clean. In all seriousness, children are instinctively selfish and they have no idea that it is so difficult for Mommy to stay up all night and then get up and take care of them the next day when she can't stop guzzling coffee and fantasizing about pillows and horizontal positions (in a stictly G-rated way). Even when we get through childhood this isn't something we say thanks for because we take it for granted. I remember crawling in your bed in the middle of the night because I read a scary story and it might come true, I heard something in my closet, or my friend's older sister told me that the doll you painstakingly picked out for me for Christmas resembled a relative of Chucky and it was probably planning to kill me in my sleep. That must have been really annoying! Although, you have to admit that doll was pretty creepy. Nonetheless, I realize now how difficult it is to reassure a child with a hyperactive senses and a run away imagination, particularly when you have just been rudely awakened from a deep sleep and a dream about coffee. Seriously, that is what I dream about these days. So thanks for all of the hours upon hours of sleep that you gave up to appease my irrational fears. As convinced as I was that my doll was alive or monsters lived in my closet, I was equally convinced that they were more afraid of you than I was of them, because you know moms have super powers.

Thank you for the endless hours you spent playing mind numbing games with me. Usually when I engage in pretend play with Aiden it goes something like this:

Aiden: "Mom, you are Mrs. Antbottom and all of the students and I am Mr. Aiden, so bring the kids on a field trip, okay?"

Me: "Okay."

Aiden: "Say in a Mrs. Antbottom voice, 'Now class, we are at the new factory for our field trip today.' Then say in the kids' voices, 'What kind of factory is this, Mrs. Antbottom?'"

Me: (in a loud squeaky voice) "Now class, we are here at the new factory for our field trip." (in kid voices, whatever that means) "Are we going to see Mr. Aiden today, Mrs. Antbottom?"

Aiden: "Mom! No, they don't ask that! They are supposed to ask what kind of factory this is. Then you answer in a Mrs Antbottom voice that this is a recycling factory, and THEN they can ask if Mr. Aiden is here, and then you answer in a Mrs. Antbottom voice...."

Yeah, this goes on for about two hours. At this point I just wait for my lines. I can still remember you on the floor of my bedroom playing little people. I remember instructiing you to "say this" and "now say that". The thing is I thought you genuinely loved playing little people because you were just that into it and willing to do it. Looking back, I know you were just doing it for me and after the first forty minutes scrubbing toilets seemed entertaining. Remembering this from my own childhood makes me realize just how important it is to do it with Aiden, because it was so important to me. I hope he remembers Mrs Antbottom when he's grown up. If he doesn't I'll be sure to do the voice in front of his girlfriend so that I can embarress him.

Going along with the sleep deprivation, thanks for all the sick days that you didn't take because you couldn't. I remember you holding onto the wall sick with the flu and still taking care of me. I also remember the days you had to abandon work to take care of me when I was sick. As an adult I know that you haven't been to the seventh circle of Hell until you've had to contend with a crying child and a skull splitting migraine simultaneously.

Thank you for researching baby sitters, nannies, and schools. This is another thing I thought was simple. I was wrong.

Thank you for cooking dinner and letting me "help" even when I was more likely in the way. I have fond memories of your beef stew, and of climbing up on a chair and washing the fruit.

Thank you for choosing a good father for me. You have said before that if you did nothing else you gave us a good father. Well, as you can see you did plenty else but this one is noteworthy. I was the envy of the grammar school having a dad who picked me up from school and went on all of the field trips.

Thank you for keeping me safe. Let's face it, I was a pretty naive child with my head in the clouds. I am sure I would have thought the strange man at the park was nice.

Thank you for staying up nights worrying about me, dealing with my drama, and getting through the teenage years.

Thank you for the idyllic vacations and your willingness to take another child along so that I would have someone to hang with. Thank you for doing the Diseny thing all over again, even though by that point it must have seemed slightly less magical and slightly more hot and crowded and expensive from your perspective.

Thank you for providing for me and planning for my future. Thank you for keeping my tempermantal Lhasa Apso for fifteen years. Thank you for screening my friends. Thank you for always giving me a dollar for the ice cream man (it's double that now so I think I'll just stock the freezer) and coins for the claw machine. Thank you for that super cool pink and blue Huffy bicycle with the tassles on the handle bars. Thanks for making our house "the place to be" for my friends growing up. I realize now that this was not only fun for me but also really wise on your part.

Thank you for all the messes you cleaned up, all the swear words you didn't say, and raising me with faith. Thanks for all of the things I am too tired to put into words because I am still in the sleep deprivation phase and already scared of the teenage years. Thanks for your support now. And finally... drumroll please... the one you have been waiting for...

Thank you for making me go to that "dumb church group for losers" since that is where I met my husband.

Happy Mother's Day Mom! Love You!

A Daughter and Fellow Mom

Friday, May 8, 2015

Why My Car Looks Like An Episode of Hoarders (and I'm not ashamed of it)

Look inside my husband's car and you will see the floor, a case of CDs (because we are still living in the nineties and haven't caught up to you wippersnappers with your XM radio), sunglasses, and maybe a bottle of water. This is pretty much unchanging.

Look into my car on any given day and you will find some or all of the following:

Drive through receipts 
Because Mommy needs coffee

Empty coffee cups (see above)

Random toys and books 
Because God forbid we embark on a fifteen minute car ride without ample entertainment in the form of New Truck, Old Truck, School Bus, Other School Bus, Snuggle Blankie, Brown Bear Brown Bear Book (which my two year old will want me to read to him while I'm driving. I'm all about multitasking, but...), Kiddie Zoomer Watch and no fewer than eight hotwheels that will inevitable roll under the seats.)

Diapers and wipes
I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop at the pharmacy and buy over priced diapers while I am out because I forgot to stock the diaper bag.

Colored on kids menus
Because my five year old thinks he's Picasso and if we go out to eat we need to keep the restaurant menu on which he colored since "it's so beautiful".

Crayons (are you even supposed to take those from restaurant?"

Snacks/snack wrappers/and empty snack containers 
I don't care if I feed them breakfast three minutes before we get in the car, before I even shift into reverse I will hear, "I am hungry/Can I have a snack/I want bar bar!" I don't care if they just ate or if we ar on our way to eat. If I don't feed them it will be a miserable ride.

Crumbs (See above)
 My husband doesn't allow eating in his car, a rule he has to enforce upon....himself. I once ate ice cream in his car and one microscopic drip escaped. I though he was going to drive straight to the courthouse and file for divorce. I once implemented the "no eating" rule. I caved after one day.

A CD collection of the Frozen soundtrack, Vacation Bible School 2013, Vacation Bible School 2014, and Vacation Bible School 2015 
Some people call my music inappropriate. I call these people "My Mom". Since I am always driving with kids, my music has to take a backseat. See what I did there? I know, I think I'm a comedian. Then again the fact that I drive with kids is the reason for all the aforementioned crap in my car.

An umbrella
Okay, this one is practical.

An ice scraper
Because you never know when you'll run into and ice storm.  In May. Hey, I do live in Chicago.

A case of water and empty water bottles
Because we all might die of thirst driving through the desert on the fifteen minute drive to school. Oh, wait, we live in the suburbs.

Because the world is my children's canvas.

A layer of sticky.
Because Trader Joes won't stop giving my kids lolly pops.

Some are actually current.

A cell phone car charger
I need my phone in case we break down in the middle of the desert. Suburbs.

and finally

A huge double stroller that takes up my entire trunk.
Because I never know when my kids' legs "won't work".

The fair question is, why don't I clean my car? The sad thing is I do, but it stays that way until my kids get back in it. I have kind of given up on the whole clean car concept, and least until college. A few weeks ago my husband got into my car and said, "Is there a car somewhere under all this?" Funny guy. I would show you a picture of the inside of my car but I'm afraid you would feel obligated to call the health department, or contact the show Hoarders to inquire if they have a car edition, and I don't want to put you in that position. Your welcome.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

I cannot fail to acknowledge teacher appreciation week, even though we shouldn't really need a week specifically dedicated to appreciating these amazing, dedicated human beings. Like Mother's Day, though, this week gives us a gentle nudge, a reminder to acknowledge our appreciation. I appreciate teachers all year long, I just don't take the time to voice this appreciation, so I am glad to have this week to remind me to do just that.

Sure, there's good and bad in every profession and teachers are no exception. That being said, generally the teaching profession is chosen by some of the most patient, hard working, dedicated, caring individuals on earth. Often, teachers are the unsung heroes. Who among us cannot recall a memory of a teacher who touched our life? I still think about my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Casper. I don't know, maybe I've mentioned this before but I was an awkward kid, a nerd before nerds were appreciated. A target for bullying. Grade school was tough, and I don't think anyone really gets through middle school unscathed, but thanks to Mrs. Casper I can remember sixth grade as my best year in grade school. Mrs Casper took a liking to me, but she was wise enough not to do it in a teacher's pet kind of way. Bullies are like vultures and they'll descend on any new material. So Mrs Casper made me feel important in subtle ways. We had a class pet, a rabbit named Buster, and he used to hop around the classroom freely. Often he would sleep under my desk or even try to grab one of my papers. Mrs. Casper invited me to come after the final bell and help care for Buster. You might think that giving someone an opportunity to clean a rabbit cage is a weird way to show favoritism, but I gladly kept my job even through seventh grade. Mrs' Casper's room was a kind of sanctuary. I would sit in the empty classroom, hold Buster, and talk to Mrs. Casper as she graded papers. She always seemed genuinely interested in me. Once when I missed a science test on account of a stomach ache, she excused the test, again on the sly. She was not an easy teacher, though. Her weekly lab reports needed to be specifically outlined and completed according to the scientific method. I worked meticulously on those lab reports, wanting to please Mrs. Casper. Thanks to her, I developed a love for science. I wish I could find her again and thank her.

My good friend and my son's godmother, Claire works as a teacher aide. She faces many frustrations every day and often needs to be everything and wear many hats, which she does with grace though she may not know it. She really cares about the kids with whom she works and a more dedicated, big-hearted person can't be found. I admire her, and not just because I'm biased!

I want to give a special thank you to the directors and teachers at my son's preschool, although you may never read this. You created a safe, loving positive environment and patiently dried tears on Aiden's first day of school. I am glad he didn't cry. In short, you made his first experience being away from family a positive one and for that I am eternally grateful. I can't wait to send my baby to you in the fall. I know he will be in good hands. Oh, and if you do read this, don't read my "Terrible Twos" post, K?

I'll bet you didn't know that Jan is a teacher by trade, because she is modest like that. Before having children of her own and dedicating herself to stay at home motherhood, Jan taugh often troubled kids at an alternative high school. I think we can all imagine the difficulties of that job and the resonating impact she made (and continues to make as a mom, friend, wife, sister in law, and writer!).

Last but far from least, I would be remiss in not giving a personal thanks to Aiden's current teacher, Mrs. Buckman. Teaching kindergarten is not for the faint of heart; you are introducing kids to formal education. I admire you even more, having had the opportunity to volunteer in your classroom. On a more personal note, this has been a tough year for Aiden, and for us as parents. I am sure kindergarten is a rocky transition for every kid and parent, but even more so for Aiden as his initial experience was negative. I am so glad that we brought him to your school and your class. He has certainly thrived. I remember on the day of the Thanksgiving feast you rearranged the lunch schedule so that kindergarten could have the lunchroom to themselves without the "big kids". You didn't have to do that but you went out of your way to make Aiden feel comfortable so that when the Valentine's Day party came along he was able to eat lunch with kindergarten and first and second grade. He really loved your "chew time". You handle the class with grace and I can see how the kids respond to you, especially Aiden. Thank you for guiding us through a tough year and making a stressful year more comfortable. You went above and beyond your duty and we will miss you!

If you are a teacher, teacher aide coach, or mentor, what I am trying to say is that is how important you are. You are doing far more than just teaching subjects, you are making a mark. I still remember the things Mrs. Casper did for me twenty years ago. I wish I had enough time and computer memory to give a shout out to each and every individual inspiring teacher that I know or have known. Since I don't, I am just going top tell you all that I know you are underpaid and often under appreciated. I know you have to deal with sometimes difficult children and sometimes even more difficult parents. I know that you go home every day exhausted, and that you give up many an evening and weekend to grade papers, perfect lesson plans, prepare for conferences, and attended sporting events and fund raisers. I know that you are sometimes called "mean" by kids who can't see the merit of a paper you have assigned or "unfair" by parents when you don't give Johnny an A+ on his obviously B- paper. I know you have to work within a system and that sometimes, your hands are tied. I also know you are dedicated to each student, to building futures. I know you find joy in what you do even when you also find bucket of frustration. I know that sometimes you feel like we parents expect a lot from you, and we do. It takes a lot for us to hand off our children to you. I know you also sometimes feel that we parents don't appreciate you. I appreciate you and admire you. I know that whether you still teach, are on sabbatical, or have left the teaching profession, you will always be a teacher and you will always be important in many, many lives. Thank you.

An Appreciative Mom

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

I stumbled upon a recipe for beer margaritas while searching for a banana peanut better protein bar recipe on Sure, I can see how that's the same thing. Nonetheless I was happy to try it since Cinco De Mayo is like pretty much every holiday in that it offers an excuse to drink. I know the term "beer margaritas" throws you off, my husband was skeptical. Just trust me, it's like having a restaurant margarita, and he had to agree. Better yet, don't take my word for it, try it yourself:


1 can ( 12 fluid ounces ) limeade
12 ounces tequila
12 ounces Modelo or Corona
12 ounces water

Stir and enjoy!
Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mad Mondays: Celebrities About Whom I'm Sick of Hearing

Admittedly this may not be a very popular post, but do you get sick of hearing about celebrities from time to time. This is not to say that the celebrities themselves are (necessarily) annoying, but how many times do we really need to be informed about some stranger's life transition? Celebrity gossip can be fun as a distraction from our own mundane lives, but sometimes the media is like an iPod stuck on repeat, and sometimes I get really sick of hearing the same old story. 

"Well, Kat, if you don't want to hear or read about something then just don't."

Listen, I don't subscribe to People Magazine or troll the internet for celeb factoids. Anyway, Google and I are off again, remember? But the media inundates us these days, and we cannot turn on the television, fire up the laptop, or check out at the grocery store without learning personal information about the celebrity craze of the month. Is this bad? Not necessarily, but sometimes it is a bit much. I mean, why do we care so much? Two celebrities who (through no fault of their own) about whom I am sick of hearing are Bruce Jenner and Kate Middelton.

I know, I know; Bruce Jenner is not only dressing as a woman but she is now living as a woman, having finally had the courage to be who she is and opening herself up to attention. A one on one with Barbra Walters was even granted. It seems the media response to Bruce Jenner's transformation has been accepting if not downright congratulatory. Great. But really, all I want is to walk through the check out line at Target without seeing before and after pictures on the covers of no less than ten magazines. I mean, I'm glad she has found peace, but can she get on with her life now, please, media?

This brings me to Princess Kate.

 "But, Kat, what kind of person takes issue with a princess?"

Perhaps the same person who hated dolls as a little girl and chose instead to play with transformers, but I digress. 

Here me out. I have no problem with the princess. Yes, she is beautiful, and she seems like a real nice gal from what I can tell of the pictures. All 8,765,999,000 of them. Actually, the entire royal family seems like one big happy bunch. They are always smiling. It almost makes me want to pack my bags and move overseas. And rifle through their medicine cabinet. That being said, I have to wonder why Americans are not merely interested in but completely fixated on the royal family. Kate, nice is she may be, is famous for marrying a prince, and most recently, having a second baby. She is the ONLY woman on earth who has ever had  baby before. In fact, the entire survival of the human race rests on the tiny fresh from the birth canal shoulders of Baby Princess Everyone Stop What You Are Doing So You Don't Miss The Epic Name Announcement. Damn, will that name even fit on a driver's licence? It would be kind of hip if everyone on earth had a British accent, though. And, OMG, how does Kate look so totes good 5.7 minutes after passing a human watermelon through her lady bits? We want to hear about the nursing bras and mesh panties, and the need for her to waddle around with an ice pack in her sexy mesh undies while a toddler hangs off her leg and a baby hang off her breast.That's the honest to goodness shit we want to hear about, right? No? Just me? Fine, then.

We all know that just because she is smiling and sporting her yellow non maternity dress for the cameras does not mean that the war-torn postpartum situation isn't under the surface. But, dammit, a princess must bleed purple if she bleeds at all, and her breasts must produce pure gold. No, I am not bashing Kate. On the contrary, I both admire her and feel sorry for her. I didn't really even want the nurses to see me after giving birth and I am pretty sure the revolving door of people coming in and out of my hospital room where I was alternately trying to get the baby to latch and begging the nurses to "Please, when you get a change, remove my IV so I can take A FUCKING SHOWER in the 3.5 minutes I have between feedings thanks so much" didn't want to snap pictures. Well, except that lady trying to sell newborn portraits. She was a little pushy.You'd think after making me sit through her sales pitch (not I bad scheme; where was I going to go?) she could have at least tossed me a Percocet on her way out. Or bought me a drink considering she saw up my shirt. Just sayin.

Anyway, it's all over the internet. Amazed people, mostly women, blogging, commenting, and lamenting about how amazing she looks so soon after giving birth. But that's all nice and positive, right? Except it puts a lot of pressure on that poor woman to look amazing and smile blissfully after she JUST HAD A BABY. Now, I loved having friends and family visit within reason, but beyond that my postpartum self wanted to be LEFT THE FUCK ALONE! So let's leave the poor woman alone and allow her to sit on an ice pack  wearing her husband's flannel shirt in peace, okay? What, you don't think princes own flannel shirts?  

Speaking of babies, I hope that newest Duggar baby is happy and healthy. Do they even blink at the arrival of another baby anymore? I would hate to be the last kid in the family pushing out a baby. By that time it will be, 

"Oh, what do ya know, there's another one. When did that happen?"

I really can't even get into that family. I call my kids by each others' names and occasionally by the cats' names, and I have two. Twenty kids all with J names? Those parents must take a lot of Ginko. 

I suppose the question is, are these really the most noteworthy important events in the world? I mean, obviously they are in those people's lives. But really, why do we need to keep rehashing celebrity stories over and over again? Like I said, maybe it is because it gives us a distraction from our own lives. I am not even saying the stuff isn't interesting - the first 278 times it is broadcasted/photographed/talked about. Maybe we keep consuming it because, although less relevant, it is also easier to swallow than some other current events, such as the latest ISIS threat. Who wouldn't rather see baby pictures?

Nonetheless, we live in the information age, and how much is too much? I keep seeing this Joey Salads pseudoscience guy who is a famous u tuber (who knew that was a thing?) His latest social experiment was quite terrifying. With parent permission, he walks up to children at the park with a cute little fluffy dog under his arm. The mothers of said children all insisted that they had drilled into their children not to talk to strangers, which I'm sure they had. The kids, however, saw and heard "puppy" and happily went with the man.

Terrifying? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

Obviously, we all hope and pray that our children never encounter a real life situation such as the one simulated in the experiment, and we prepare them to be on guard. We hope that if they are on some weirdo's radar our voices will be resonating in their heads. But kids are still kids. They are vulnerable, innocent, and easily distracted. Still, we as parents are more vigilant than ever and our kids are probably more protected than they once were. This experiment may make us more vigilant, but it will also make us more scared. Yet we are already vigilant and we are already scared. I wondered as I watched the video, how easily could Joey have led the kids away without the mothers noticing? I'm sure it could happen. We are all prone to distraction. Like when a picture of that cute royal baby pops up on our news feed.

In all seriousness, I respect what Salads is trying to do. I myself feel like I am always walking that tightrope between too smothering and not vigilant enough. Of course I have had the stranger talk more times than I care to recall. With my five year old I have to tread carefully because he is so imaginative and sensitive. I would like to think there is no way in hell he would walk away with a stranger, even for a van full of puppies. Fortunately, at the park I am not far enough away for this to happen without my noticing, although even as I say this I realize it can happen in an instant. And I realize we can't be right there always. Please understand I am not minimizing the implications of the video. If anything, it is the reason I am not asleep right now.

Damn, how did I get on to that topic. I mean, really how did I go from Bruce Jenner to child abduction? Can we just go back to talking about Kate's baby? And her underwear

Yes, as humans in a complicated world, sometimes we need distractions and sometimes we need reminders. And sometimes what we really need is to take a break from both and go to sleep. I have to say I am really glad that when I wake up it will be May 5th, because so help me if one more person says, "May the fourth be with you.........."