Archive for April, 2009


A friend of mine edited a collection of essays in a book entitled Afterbirth. I read it. It’s so good. And this is coming from someone who is very very over reading parenting related books. Done. But this collection is essays from mostly TV writers who have no shame and will reveal things that a lot of us wouldn’t tell our friends let alone attach their famous name to in a book.
I’m including one of the essays from Dani for your enjoyment. And to give me a day off from coming up with my normal genius shit.
Also, Dani was kind enough to offer a signed copy of her book if I wanted to hold a contest. So here it is, the first person to guess what Elby’s favorite bedtime story is right now wins.

Not Enough Good Old Days
by Dani Klein Modisett

“What’s this fancy envelope?” I ask Gideon, my seven month old, spooning vegetable mush in to his mouth. I decided to open the mail this morning between swallows because even though caring for an infant in my forties has me so exhausted my head feels numb a lot of the day, I still feel compelled to multi-task. My new favorite tandem activities are checking e-mail on my phone while breastfeeding, when I’m not busy making dinner while wearing my child as a hiking accessory.

Gideon opens his mouth like a blonde bird begging for more grub worms. I give him a lump of squash while I slide my thumb underneath the seal of what appears to be an invitation. I think, “but no one we know is getting married.”
“Twenty five years Strong” the raised print reads announces.
Oh my God, my high school reunion, 25 years? Is that possible?
“Bring your kids, fun for all,” It says underneath
“Fun for all?” Blech. I guess “Fun for everyone except those of you who risk reliving being gonged at high school “Gong” show, and years of sitting home eating ice cream on the couch while other people were having sex in the back of cars,” was too many words.
And of course it doesn’t say, “bring your babies.”

Because who has a baby 25 years after graduating from high school? Other than me, and my invitro fertilization support group. And I’m pretty sure no one else in there went to Staples High School.
I give Gideon more yellow pabulum and dial my sister.

“There’s no way I’m going to this,” I tell her. I’m so excited to have a child who’s eating vegetables I try stuffing one more bite in Gideon’s mouth. Unfortunately, he’s moved on to chewing the strap of his chair. Drool is streaming down the front of his Onesie.
“Why not?” she asks. I can almost hear the wine glass in her hand. She’s a card-carrying member of the “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” club and has been since she threw up on the dance floor in 7th grade.
“Screw them. Go! You can show off your beautiful family to all those people who thought you’d never settle down.”
“I’m forty four. With an infant.” I say, “I’m a circus freak to them. Again.”
“Who cares? And show off those big nursing boobs too!” she takes another sip, “Listen, you can’t dodge high school memories forever, my dear. Wait ‘til the boys are in high school.
“I’ll be 80 by then,” I joke, “and hopefully senile.”

“I won’t really be 80 when you graduate high school, buddy, don’t worry,” I say, pulling Gideon out of his high chair. “I’ll be….”
I’m not good with math. Never have been. It’s no secret I flirted my way through high school Physics.
“63, I’ll be 63” I blurt, pulling a diaper off the nearby stack.
“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 63.” I sing, trying to lighten the weight of this realization. Gideon giggles at the sight of me shaking my head from side to side.
I smile back, sigh, and think,
“Baby penises are really small.”
I fasten the diaper at his hips.
“I wonder if it will get proportionately larger as he gets bigger.
I hope it does.
I wonder what other women will think of his penis.
I wonder if I will live long enough to meet any of these women who will evaluate my son’s penis.
Will I live to meet his wife?
If he waits as long as I did, it’s not looking likely.
While I continue to dress Gideon for his nap and settle him in his crib, my life flashes forward like animation cells. There I am at his Bar Mitzvah, closing in on 60. I’m wearing some Eileen Fisher outfit with no waistband. Unlike the ubiquitous younger mommies in their Hard Tail yoga pants, my body didn’t bounce back. In fact, there hasn’t been much bouncing in the last 10 years, just a lot of hanging. I am standing next to my earnest son witnessing him becoming a man; a doting, wrinkled mommy blob in soft separates.

Five years later we’re at his High School graduation. Carloads of families pull up to the big day with surfboards and water skis strapped to their hoods. As soon as the ceremony ends they are heading for sun and surf celebratory vacations. The audience is filled with tan, beaming smiles. Not me. I’m holding the program up against my nose because I’ve forgotten my reading glasses in the car, right next to my calcium supplements. During the valedictory speech I loudly unwrap and chomp on mints to mask the odor of my acid reflux. The ceremony ends and Gideon throws his cap to me. I reach for it and throw my back out. I hobble to the car wincing; very proud of him, but hoping I can stay awake to watch “American Idol Where are they Now.”

Then I’m at Gideon’s College graduation. Again, I’m in the audience, only this time I can’t sit still. If I don’t find a bathroom soon I am going to wet the seat. Gideon’s girlfriend’s mother is trying to tell me where the nearest restroom is, but I can’t hear her over the din of the school band because I refuse to wear my hearing aid. Part of the problem is the woman’s Asian accent, but the truth is I haven’t really heard anything clearly since 2023.

Next I’m at his wedding. A small, quiet girl glides down the aisle next to her father. She is beautiful. Not my type, but if she makes him happy that’s all that matters. A gray-haired trollish looking woman starts down the aisle, but not without a lot of help. No surprise, that troll is me, I can tell by the outfit, more shapeless swathes of fabric. I look like a Keebler Elf in a silk cocoon. So much for the calcium supplements, I’m so hunchbacked I can barely walk. In fact, is that a skateboard I’m standing on? Yes it is. I am being pulled down the aisle like a dried out apple face doll on wheels to give the illusion of dignity before being placed in my wheelchair waiting on the aisle. It’s pretty humiliating and yet I’ve never looked so happy.

I walk out of the room to toss Gideon’s diaper and go preheat the oven. I pass a picture of my father in the hallway.
“What are you worried about?” I hear him ask me. “Old ‘shmold. Who cares what you look like as long as you’re alive?” This from a man who refused any chemo treatments that would make his hair fall out. Which is to say, the vain apple doesn’t fall far from the even more vain tree.
His voice follows me in to the kitchen.
“You should only be so lucky to live that long, Sweetheart.”
Shit, he has a point. He was 44 when he had me and he died when I was 33. He never even met Tod; forget about my five year old Gabriel or Gideon. Amidst my relentless vanity, there’s a piece of me that knows what I am hearing him say is right. No wonder I looked so happy in that wheelchair. He would have given anything to be at my wedding.

I come back to the crib and notice the receiving blanket from the hospital where Gideon was born under his pillow. My mind takes another leap and I’m in the hospital with Tod by my side. He’s almost a decade younger so he can still stand. And I guess in my fantasy he hasn’t left me for someone more age appropriate, even though I’ve been telling him to since our first date. We are there for the birth of our first grandchild. Gideon hands me the baby to hold. I take a long, deep breath.
“I made it,” I think. “I’m old and shriveled and my daughter-in-law hates me, but I’m here and I’m holding a grandchild.”

I wipe a small tear from my eye, an action that takes me back to my kids’ room. Gideon is screaming. His favorite toy, a set of plastic car keys, has dropped out of reach. His cry is earsplitting. It should bug me, but it’s so full of life, in this moment I love it. I want to steal it and put in a sports’ top bottle so I can suck it down thirty years from now.

“Here it is, honey,” I say, handing him the toy.
“You keep reaching, sweetie, even when they tell you that you can’t, you shouldn’t, that the odds are against you, you keep fighting.”

“And do what makes you happy!” I add, throwing the invitation in the garbage with a flourish and picking up a laundry basket of clean clothes to fold.

Ah ha! I’ve stumbled on a perk of being an older mommy. Look how wise I am!
I lean in and kiss Gideon’s nose,
“Oh! And don’t be afraid to settle down young.
Younger than your friends.
Younger than is legal.
I’ll explain when you’re a little older.
Sweet dreams.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 30, 2009 5:30 pmUncategorized16 comments  

Jessie’s Girl

I don’t usually do stuff like this because I am not running a review blog but sometimes I just like something and want to turn you all on to it. In this case it’s a new CD of children’s songs by Rick Springfield. I am a huge sucker for non kids singers doing albums for babies especially when they are lullabies. This one is called My Precious Little One. It doesn’t disappoint. I popped it on in the car first and played it for Elby who loved it (she is a girl who was going to sleep every night to Shawn Colvin’s lullabies and I needed a change). The first song is called Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting and it’s super sweet. Other faves were Another Rainy Night and Sleepy Children.

So, I am going to give away an autographed copy to my twentieth commentor. Fight among yourselves. If you are commentor 20 – leave me your address.

Also, IDOL update is available again!! But I started a new blog for all my TV reviews. It’s called http://www.realityroadkill.com/

LuluandMoxley’s author is running this site with me. Check it out and if you want to review a certain show, you will be able to submit to us after we get it up and running smoothly.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 29, 2009 8:13 pmUncategorized23 comments  

Is Your Kitchen Sponge Worthy?

My friend Jen Singer has a new book out and she decided to stop by my blog to chat – which is something I always enjoy – not posting something new and yet -fresh material from another funny mom and author. So enjoy a few words from Jen and then why not buy her book?

I don’t know how my neighbors keep such a clean house with such an impossibly small sponge. It’s about a third the size of the usual sponge, the normal-sized sponge which in my house is usually coated in something that looks like smooshed pasta or coffee grounds. Why nobody around here ever thinks to wipe that stuff off the sponge is a mystery. But at my neighbors’ house, it’s not even an issue.

Over spring break, I was in my neighbors’ house daily to feed their cat, the guinea pig and the fish and to generally make sure nothing died. Lucky for me, one of their fish decided to check out just two days before I was to pet-sit, so I didn’t have to spend the entire week looking for an identical fish.

Anyhow, I went to the kitchen sink to clean out the cat bowl when I found this silly little sponge. I looked around at the spotless counter, the fingerprint-free fridge and the shiny stove, and I wondered how they do it. How do they keep their kitchen so mess-free? How do they keep everything so neat and clean – from the dust-free living room to the clutter-less everything? How do they do it all with that dumb little sponge?

To keep my house clean, I require three sponges, all of them quite a bit larger than my neighbors’ Hobbit-friendly sponge. Well, I need two of them to make up for the third, which is always covered in smooshed pasta and coffee grounds. But I keep those two plenty busy by using them to wipe up everything from strewn sesame seeds to cup-bottom-shaped rings of milk. A little sponge just wouldn’t handle the mess that is sometimes my kitchen. A little sponge would be overwhelmed by the sesame seeds, among other things.

I’ve seen my neighbors eat, and they’re not necessarily any neater than we are. And yet somehow, that teeny little sponge works for them. Or maybe, they’re hiding a jumbo sponge under the sink, and the next time they go away, I’m going to find it and leave it by the sink before I leave.

Guest blogger Jen Singer is the creator of MommaSaid.net and the author of “Stop Second-Guessing Yourself – The Toddler Years” (HCI, April 2009)

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 28, 2009 12:22 amUncategorized17 comments  

These Were a Few of My Favorite Things…

Gawd, sometimes I just get reminded by a smell, sight or sound of something from my younger days (not that I’m, like, a hundred or anything) and I think “Damn, I miss that.” So I thought I’d compile a list so I don’t forget things that once gave me pleasure.
Shaun Cassidy’s first album. Ahhh, Da Doo Ron Ron anybody? Oh 1977, how could you be more than thirty years ago???
Jean Nate bath splash – can’t you just smell it now? Or at least picture the chick on horseback in the advertisements? What was her deal anyway? Or am I confusing Jean Nate commercials with douche commercials? Either way, aaaaaah. “Jean Nate. Jean Nate.”
Corkies – the greatest shoes ever. I want some now. There were the high high ones and the medium. My mom finally broke down and got me the medium after months of begging and I still promptly fell on my ass.
Pop Rocks, Hot Tamales, Lemonheads, Lik-M-Aid (Fun Dip) – all insanely delicious candy. And I never had cavities as a kid so SUCK IT “no sugar” moms!
Avon Lip Gloss – remember the ones that came in an Oreo cookie or a set of lips or a strawberry? Someone could make a boatload of money if they brought that back. Obviously not me because I’m very lazy. But I do just happen to be full of great ideas.
Wacky Packs – Particulary 8th series containing You Bum coffee etc. I still comb ebay to get a hold of some but I don’t feel like spending 1000 dollars to relive one summer of my youth.
Black Jack Gum (and that Clove flavored kind) anyone noticing a sweets theme here? Whatever. Stop judging.
Dittos and Chemin De Fer Jeans – one word: HAWT!
Construction paper – There’s just something about the way a big brand new pad of colorful construction paper feels in your hand and the way it smells. I certainly am not artsy and couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag but I do love construction paper.
The smell of jet fuel – It’s not that I haven’t been around airplanes in the last few years but there’s something about the way that jet fuel smelled to me growing up. It smelled like traveling and adventures and…okay who am I, Huck Finn? I’ll stop.
Tab – best. soda. ever. Diet Coke comes a close second but there is nothing like the sweet taste of saccarin to really take you back. I forced myself to like it in junior high (at the beginning of my de rigeur eating disorder) and never turned back.
Levi 501’s – The only jeans I would wear growing up. They really were flattering on everyone. Of course everything would be fine until some dude showed up in a pair of 509’s and ruined the whole look.
Deenie – Is it just me or did this Judy Blume book almost make you want to have scoliosis? I still love you Judy!!
Push up pops – fine I’ve got a big butt and think about food a lot. Moving on.
my Sony Walkman – I was addicted to my Walkman for a large portion of the 80’s. I was never far from my Flock of Seagulls, Manfred Mann and Breakfast Club soundtrack cassette tapes for a good five years.
Cowboy boots – I don’t know why these went out of style. The only time I’ve ever felt I owned some downright kick ass footwear is when I wore my black leather cowboy boots. Please make a come-back. I beg of you.
Bonnie Bell lip gloss – I realize this is still attainable but it’s not the same. I don’t want Skittles flavored lip gloss, I want 7-Up. And I want it in the big size, fuckers.
Scented magic markers – Write my name with a pen that smells like maple sugar? Yes please.
Don’t leave me hanging, tell me some of yours!

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 21, 2009 8:44 pmUncategorized77 comments  

I Believe

I believe there’s no shame in loving Barry Manilow.

I believe that people who don’t drink coffee in the morning are suspect.

I believe flossing every day is overkill.

I believe Botox is an amazing invention – provided you’re not a fan of winking.

I believe Twitter is trying to steal my soul.

I believe in an afterlife- I have to.

I believe that deep down most people are good – except those profiled on my favorite crime documentaries. And people who don’t comment.

I believe Ariel is the coolest princess.

I believe consistency is the spice of life.

I believe you’re never too old to have a BFF.

I believe in the healing power of love.

I also believe in the healing power of Xanax. And Pinot Grigio.

I believe it’s important to own a great hat.

I believe in a sixth sense (I also loved that movie).

I believe airlines should go back to offering peanuts. Peanuts are delicious. Pretzels, not so much.

I believe if you buy a cup of coffee for $1.99 and you hand the cashier two bucks, life is too short to wait for your penny in change.

I believe you should stop getting birthday presents once you’re an adult. Especially from your friends.

I believe talking on your cell phone while working out on the Precor machine right next to me should be considered a war crime.

I believe Love Actually is an underrated movie.

I believe John Mayer should have to register himself as a repeat relationship offender.

I believe reading bedtimes stories is an absolute requirement of parenting.

I believe David Letterman has still got it.

I believe in pedicures.

I believe in the Official Scrabble Players’ Dictionary.

I believe Earth Day always seems to come too fast. First it’s Easter and suddenly out of nowhere, it’s Earth Day.

I believe in the check/raise.

I believe the world will never stop missing Maddie Moo.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 15, 2009 10:42 pmUncategorized74 comments  


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