Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Talking to your kids about sexual predators

Hello there,

I know it's been a loooong while since I've posted, but I felt this was an important enough topic to come back online.

With the whole Sandusky trial, as well as my own experience with sexual abuse, I wanted to see how parents out there were discussing the dangers of sexual predators with their children.  I'm not one of those mothers who sees peodophiles lurking around every corner, but I do want my children to have the information they'll need should they ever encounter one.  After searching online for a bit and finding nothing terribly helpful, I ad-libbed the following while in the car with my children.  The Sandusky verdict had just come on the radio and I wanted to explain it to them in an important, but not scary way.  Here's the gist of what I came up with.  What would you have done differently.

1) There was a man that lots of people really liked, and they all thought he was a great guy.  They thought he was a good coach and a good friend.
2) It turn out that when he was alone with children, he was touching them on their private parts. (I use the anatomically correct words, but don't want to trip up any blog post censors)
3) Your private parts are yours and yours alone. 
4) That is never okay for older people to do this to younger people. 
5) It is ALWAYS the older person's fault.  Never the child's.
6) These people will lie to children, and tell them that bad things will happen if they tell anyone.
7) When this happend to me, it was my brother's friend, and first, he told me that if I told anyone I'd be in big trouble.  The next time I refused, he told me that he would tell my parents, and they wouldn't love me anymore if they found out.  That's when I knew he was lying, so I just stayed away from him and he stopped coming over.
8) If anyone tries to do anything like this to you, or anything you're not sure about, you come talk to me.  I'll never be mad.
9)  If you have any questions about anything, your private parts, your feelings, your fears, whatever, you can always always talk to me.
10)  I will love you no matter what.  That never goes away.

Would love to hear from other parents on what this script should have been, or if I left anything important out.

Thanks for the ear everyone.  We're all in this together.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Race-ing kids right

Okay, so as you may or may not know, I am one of the whitest people on earth. The clothes, the music, and of course the skin-tone...I give it all such a glow that if I got any whiter, I'd be minty-green.

That said, I also live in a great diverse neighborhood and want to make sure my kids are a part of it, so they go to a neighborhood Baptist school where, let's just say they're really easy to spot in class pictures. And I've had some interesting race-based experiences lately.

The other day, my daughter was at the dinner table and asked me if her skin would be brown when she grew up. I told her that no, she'd have skin like mine and her fathers. She started to cry and told me that a friend of hers at her school, (we'll call her Sue) had told her that "only brown girls could play." I calmed her down and the next day, asked her teacher to keep an eye out for anything like that. No biggie.

The day after that, I finished dropping my daughter off and Sue's mother was waiting for me by the door. No sooner had the words "Uh oh" zipped through my brain than Sue's mother came up to me and somewhat frantically assured me that "She wasn't raised like that. I swear I don't know where she picked up any idea like that. I wouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior." It makes me smile just thinking about it. You'll be glad to know that my daughter and Sue are still friends, brown or no.

More recently, my children were in line at the airport with me and my daughter pointed at a black couple at the ticket counter and exclaimed, "Look mommy! Barack Obama! Look! Barack Obama!!" I don't know if the "Oh god no" that screamed through my brain made it out of my mouth, but as I frantically tried to A) shut her up and B) get as far away from there as possible, the black woman who'd been at the ticket counter turned around and I almost cheered. There, on the back of her jacket was a HUGE glittery picture of Obama.

I'm not a religious woman, but halleljah!

Thought all three of you who read this might get a kick out of that.

Momrad Alison

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Les Mis...

I took my husband to see Les Mis last night for his birthday, and I, in my infinate wisdom, decided to buy myself a 11 oz bag of dark chocolate Raisinets to eat during the performance. Took me about 10 minutes to polish those bad boys off in between my general sniveling.

I have never been emprisoned, starved, or forced to work in a sex trade, but I promise that today, I'm as "Miserable" as anyone in the show last night.

That said, they're fabulous and worth every minute of misery today. I'm going to buy stock in Nestle.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Let it snow, but let us know

Remember when you were young, and you woke up and saw snow on the ground and you screamed you were so excited? Well, I woke up this morning, there was snow on the ground, and I screamed, but not because I was excited. I'm officially old.

The kids' schools' policy is that they do whatever Washington D.C. does with regards to weather related closings. So I check the radio and Washington D.C. is two hours late. Soooo, I wait two hours and take the kids to school......only to see a note taped to the door saying that the school was closed due to the weather.

So, let me get this straight. I was under the impression that the whole point of weather related closings was to keep people off the roads. But instead, we have to drive the kids to school and then drive them home again because the weather is too bad. I was also under the impression that if there's someone in the school to pin up a note on the outside of the door, then there's someone inside the school who I pay to take care of my children on a daily basis. I'm already there. At least one teacher is already there. My kids are already there. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

But alas, no.

I end up at home with the kids, with my phone pressed against my head for 3 hours worth of conference calls. Now, to be fair, the kids played wonderfully inside and outside today. My conference calls didn't go so well. Perhaps because every minute or so, I'd have someone under 4 feet coming over to me and saying one of the following things "I'm hungry!" "Can you play with me?" and my personal favorite "Mommy! I farted!"

Good stuff.

Friday, January 23, 2009


My children have this strange idea that they miss out on all sorts of fun once they go to bed. I can't for the life of me figure out where they got this notion. I mean, it's not like they've woken up and caught me watching their beloved TV, surrounded by halloween candy wrappers, playing around on the internet.......more than twice.

And I'm a repeat offender, this morning, my son came upstairs with a ziplock bag that used to contain a gingerbread man. Now, in my defense, this gingerbread man had been completely neglected since well before Christmas, so, really, I was doing that cookie a favor. I mean, we'd destroyed his house a long time ago, and eaten the rest of his family. He was the last of his kind. So it was an act of mercy, to eat him, and his gumdrop buttons, after dipping him headfirst in camomille tea.

So my son comes upstairs, and points out, correctly, that the gingerbread man is gone, that the bag he was in was on the couch (next to the remote). I agree that yes, that appears to be the bag that once contained a gingerbread man. He states that he helped make the gingerbread man for Christmas. I agree with that version of the facts too. Then, he turns to me, points at me with one hand, while holding the bag in the other, and with a gleem in his eye that would make Columbo proud he asks, "Did you eat the gingerbread man?"

I cracked under the pressure, confessing everything, throwing myself on the mercy of the cookie court. My son then switched from prosecution to judge and jury. "YOU make more, tomorrow. For ME to eat."

I've been sentenced to Man 1, Gingerbread Man 1 that is...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Mommunist Hero for the New Year

Every mommunist nation creates and celebrates larger than life heroes to increase morale and instill their citizens with passion to work for a higher purpose. This past week, I may have found a candidate. Here's to real heroes, and the triumph of good over evil, in battles big and small.

Monday, December 15, 2008

and the "Worst Mother of the Year Award" goes to.......


First, I'd like to thank all the little people that made this award possible, especially God, my parents, and those under 4 feet tall who inhabit my house but never seem to pay rent. (Laughter)

I know a lot of folks thought it would be hard to top my performance in this year's critically acclaimed "Birthday Blues" in which I played a woman so preoccupied with scheduling various family events she completely forgets her daughter's fifth birthday.

But little did you know that in addition to performing in dramas, I'm also part of the comedy team that wrote and directed "Kids is a 4 Letter Word." Audiences laughed and laughed at the scene when the little girl turns to her mommy as she's being tucked in at night and says sweetly "Mommy, you can get the h. e. double-hockey sticks out of my room now." They say never perform with children or animals, and now I certainly know why.

And last but not least, there was my most recent role in the gripping psychological thriller, where two darling children are torn between a truth that could destroy everything they know, and the love of their parents. Did you like the surprise ending when the little girl courageously stands up in front of the whole class and informs her pre-k teacher that in fact, Santa Claus isn't real? It certainly surprised me! Personally, my favorite scene is when I ask her where she heard that and the little girl says "You said so at Grandma's."

So, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the cast and crew of mommunism, I'd like to thank the members of the Parenting Academy for this year's "Worst Mother of the Year" Award! Eat your heart out Livia Soprano.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm so thankful for all of the amazing experiences my parents gave me growing up.

Road trips are not included on this list.

I remember when I was little, I would be wedged in the back seat of an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, where the "vista" consisted of a rectangular magnifying glass above the back seat, which I'm convinced was created to scorch children when they were in the back, and melt the vinyl seats when they weren't. There were no ipods, or dvds, or walkmen, heck, I'm forgetting if we even had a radio. I do remember reading, doing Madlibs and puzzle books with invisible ink. Wooo hoooo. Those were the good ol'days...... NEVER AGAIN.

As soon as I cranked out the second kid I got the kickin' minivan (used of course, I'm still cheap) with the DVD Player in the back. Got my kids carseats with their own cupholders. None child of mine will be forced to, god forbid, hold their cup in their hands if they stop drinking.

Oh, and the DVD player, yeah, the kids have there own headphones so I don't have to listen to whatever it is that I let them watch. Cause really? For a 7 hour car ride, Disney can fill their brains with whatever snot nosed character Owen Wilson has decided to voice that month. Heck, they can watch "Throw Mamma From the Train" for all I care. The videos go on and I don't hear a peep from the wee ones for the whole trip. It's absolutely fabulous.

I also make stops every couple hours, let the kids out to let them play. Unlike my folks, who once refused to pull over because we were making great time so I had to, um "refill" a McDonald's cup while remaing in the back seat. I'm sorry, I love my parents, but where on earth did we actually need to be that couldn't have waited 10 minutes for to hit a gas station rest room.

So as you travel for this holiday dedicated to giving thanks, give your kids a break, give in to whatever makes the long haul go by a little faster, and give up. Your kids will thank you later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Salvation via Safeway

So, unsure if I've shared this with all 4 of you reading this blog, but Eliza's birthday hovers around Thanksgiving. So much so that we usually do a family party at Thanksgiving dinner and a friend party well after the date, so her school friends will be less likely to still be traveling....

(You see where this is going, don't you?)

So today, at dinner, Eliza tell us that she's like a pink cake for her birthday. Okay, my husband agrees, when we get back from uncle Andy and aunt Kathy's, we'll have your party and he'll make her a pink cake.

No, she says. For my party at school.

Okay, my husband says, he'll make one for her party at school....when we get back from Uncle Andy and Aunt Kathy's......after Thanksgiving.....

Eliza starts to do the lip tremble...

Trying soooooo hard not to cry.....

And then we realize.

Her actual birthday is tomorrow.

Her teachers, who are amazingly wonderful women, knew this, and had assured Eliza that she would be having party at school........ tomorrow. I have FORGOTTEN that 5 years ago I was sitting in the hospital waiting to meet her. I have FORGOTTEN that 5 years ago, I didn't know if I was going to have a boy or a girl and I was sooooo excited that she was a girl, because the only name my husband and I had liked had been a girl's name. I have FORGOTTEN that for exactly 1,825 days, my daughter has thrilled, delighted, amazed and frustrated the h.e.doublehockeysticks out of me.

Thirty minutes and $21.95 worth of sheetcake later, my daughter will have a birthday party at school, tomorrow.

And I will not burn in bad mommy hell for all eternity. (Well I might, but not because of this...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

C is for cookie

So, Christmas is coming and I have no earthly idea what to get my children. That said, I know what not to get them.

1) Things with small, impossibly sharp parts. -- My husband and I play a game when we walk across the floor barefoot. When you step on something and scream, the other person has to listen to the sound you make and guess what it is that got left out. You'd be amazed. The sound you make when stepping on LEGO is completely different from the sound you make when stepping on Polly Pocket teapot.

2) Things that move on their own accord. My son was presented with a TMX Cookie Monster last year. He opened the box and said, in no uncertain terms "I don't like it." "No, no no", said my sister-in-law, who'd given him the gift, and she proceeded to poke Cookie Monster to show him how it worked. Cookie Monster began to laugh, triggering a fight or flight reflex in my son the likes of which I've never see. He punted Cookie Monster across the room and then ran for his life. Cookie Monster hit the wall and then fell on the floor, while still in spasms. I don't know if he was laughing, but I sure as heck was.

3) Things that make noise for no apparent reason. My folks got my son a dumptruck. Not just any dumptruck. A dumptruck with lots of buttons that make it beep and dump and do all manner of trucky things. All of which are annoying, but really quite cool for a toy. And then there's one button, that plays a cheap Metallica rip-off riff. My son LOOOOOOVE that button. And I can't accidently leave it "out in the rain", he'd be heartbroken. My parents think this is as funny as I found TMX Cookie Monster.

This list goes on, but I've got to get to bed. I'll tell all two of you the rest of the list later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Give it away now...

I may, at some point, have mentioned that I'm the cheapest human being alive. This quality has served me pretty well in life, and kept me out of a lot of trouble. But I've come to realize that I'm probably not giving like I should be. I have friends who give of themselves seemingly without limit. On mission work in impoverished countries, to homes where families of sick children stay, to hospice care centers, to children with nowhere to go. They give every day, pushing themselves to give more of their time, money and energy to make the world a better place.

I'm pretty sure I'm not one of those people, but that doesn't mean I can't do something, perhaps a small thing to try and make a difference.

Two things in particular have caught my eye this year. One is Kiva.org, a micro-lending site that empowers individuals in cash-strapped countries to make a better life for themselves. Not only do you have the power to radically change someone's life, but the return on investment is currently around 98%, practically unheard of in lending. So, it's entirely likely that after your money is used to buy a pig in Peru, it will be returned to you, so then you can send it to help someone build a home for their family in Cambodia, and then again and again and again. It's like the cash version of karma. I'm going to sit down with the kids and pick out a couple of folks. Unsure if they'll understand the true power of money when they're this young, but this seems like a good way to start that journey.

Another thing that appeals for a completely different reason is Operation Christmas Child, where you fill a shoebox with nice little Christmas presents and for $7, it goes to "the neediest children regardless of nationality, political background or religious beliefs." The organization is very religious, and I'm not, but anybody who does something that fantastic for children in need will get my support. We learned about this program from Chic-fil-a, and have two shoeboxes sitting here, waiting to be filled and sent off. It makes me cry just thinking about it.

So, here's to creating a better world. One cheapskate at a time.

I'm cheap with time, with money, I'm the cheapest human being alive, I'm all for

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So, because I'm cheap and somewhat health concious, I don't buy treats or sweets. The kids tend to bring enough candy through the door that there's usually something in the house that'll serve as the occasional bribe.

But once a year, round about this time, I begin to dream of Reeses and Baby Ruths. Paydays if I can find them, peanut M&Ms and York Peppermint patties. At some point in my childhood, I think I got left on an Oldsmobile dashboard with some chocolate and it melted into my DNA. I love it. It makes me whole.

So round about this time, I have to figure out a way to buy the candy I like, and then not part with it. This year, as in years past, I will tell myself the following choco-lies...

1) We're sure to have hundreds of Trick or Treaters this year.
2) Not too many of them will go for the microwave popcorn option I give them
3) Children in the neighborhood will be scarred for life if I run out of candy
4) Extra candy can be frozen and brought out for the occasional treat

With these handy self-deceptions, and a large supply of the suprisingly popular microwave popcorn bags, I'll have a nice stash of "leftover" candy to last me to the next candy-based holiday. 'Cause I wouldn't want any of it to go to waste, or for the kids to eat too much. So I'll just plow through a pound while watching Doctor Who and life will be good.

And, can I just say to all the candy manufactures out there, there's nothing actually fun about a "fun size"d piece of candy. For them to actually be fun, they'd be the size of my head.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Watch your language!

Check out Steven Pinker's facinating discussion of language as a window into human nature. A real treat for language buffs.


Friday, October 24, 2008


While trying to come up with something pithy to subject you to, I was chatting with my sister, who shared with me the following.

A friend of hers has been battling cancer for a couple years and today, the specialists she was seeing have sent her home to spend her last days in hospice care. She's 41, and she's got three little kids at home, who will remember their mother sick, if they remember her at all.

So, if you're reading this, please take a moment and appreciate what you have. Your health, your family, your friends, your intellect, your passions, your talent, your hobbies... whatever thrills you...whatever makes you smile...whatever you'd rather be doing than reading this. Or in my case writing this.

Cheap is the new black

So all of the folks out there buying "green" things are missing a huge point that true mommunists have always known. Cheap has always been the best way to be green.

Every thing I don't buy doesn't need to be shipped, packaged, stored or disposed of AT ALL.

Every thing I buy used (every piece of clothing or toy I've ever purchased for my children) or get hand-me-down is completely re-used until my kids outgrow it and I bring it right back to the fabulous folk at my favorite local thrift store. I've basically leased all of my children's things.

That said, I may be running into a problem with food. For some reason, when I present my children with leftovers repeatedly and they don't eat them night after night, I still somehow I feel as though I've gotten my money's worth. This might be crossing line. Hmmmmmm