May 2010

Posted by Duff

It hardly seems possible, but next week, My Mom Genes will reach a milestone of its own: 2 years of posts that we hope have been helpful and entertaining. We can definitely say they have been honest.

We’d like to thank you, our readers for keeping us going, for returning the support, for your solidarity.

And as fellow parents, we encourage you to record your own good, bad, ugly, hysterical and messy — because amid the exhaustion, the doing your best, the crackers in places you thought you’d never find crackers, your memory is not your friend.

The Dervish was nearly two when I began writing about her, and while she is the most interesting person I know, I have only a handful of memories of her early months, whereas I have scads of Atticus.  This disparity became apparent when a friend of mine thanked me for passing along some of The Dervish’s infant clothes.  Clothes that–even when described to me–I couldn’t remember, couldn’t pin to anecdotes.

I have pictures, I have film, but I’m greedy. I want more.

So if you can write just a paragraph from time to time, something that, like your child in your eyes, stands neon against the backdrop of the world, scribble it all in one place.

The Dervish used to cry when she was surprised. She once climbed to the top of a flight of stairs (she hadn’t yet crawled, we didn’t know she could climb even one step) in the time it took to pour a cup of coffee. She slept with her hands folded behind her head. Her first word was ‘yes’, a word she hardly ever says anymore, preferring “Of course.”

She isn’t yet four, and I had to think harder than I thought I would have just to come up with that list of things that originated before I started recording them. Two years, in retrospect, is a blink.

So, go for it. Please.


Posted by AVM

Something hilarious happened today.  HILARIOUS.  To me, anyway.  In my usual harried fashion, I picked up the girls from daycare about 3 minutes before the place closed.  I have the usual stuff I’m lugging – the girls’ bags, lunch boxes, artwork from the day, little flowers that Lovey likes to pick for me in the playground, a squirmy nine-month-old, you name it.  Picture the scene, I’m sure so many of you can relate: I have all the car doors open, Lovey is in the car but not strapped in, I’m stuffing the bags into the back seat and wrangling CeeCee into her carseat, and I hear a little voice yell, “BYE, LOVEY!!!” I look up and there’s another mom, a co-worker of mine, wrangling her THREE children (God bless her! She rocks!) into her minivan about four parking spaces away.  The minivan gates are open, and I see and hear Lovey’s classmate yelling again, “BYE, LOVEY!!”  Lovey looks over and yells back, “BYE, C_____!!”  And then, Lovey’s friend followed up with, “SEE YOU TOMORROW, EYEBALL!”  And Lovey threw her head back and laughed and said, “OK, EYEBALL!  SEE YOU TOMORROW!”

Eyeball?  “Lovey, why did C___ call you  ‘Eyeball’?”  She replied, “Oh, that’s just what we call each other.  She’s just kidding with me.”  Of all the names.  I took a fit of laughter from which I have yet to come down.

About a week or so ago, I was the guest reader for Lovey’s class.  The night before, Lovey chose the book I was to read the following day.  She chose Heedley Pecked Me in the Eye by Wendy Ann Gardner.  This book is an old favorite of Lovey’s, given to me years ago by my sister.  It’s a weird book, but adorable.  Still, I tried to veer Lovey in another direction, as the book is about this crazy chicken (rooster?) that pecked its owner in the eye, and I was afraid of the parents complaining when all of a sudden their child was afraid of chickens for “no reason.”   An excerpt: Heedley wants so greedily to have my eyeball with his tea. But no, it had to be Heedley according to Lovey.  I prefaced the book by asking the teachers to send any and all complaints my way.  And the kids seemed to like it, after all.

Fast forward to today when Lovey and her friend have the pet name “Eyeball” for each other, and I’d say it was worth it.  My best friend and I have a nickname for each other, and it’s weird too, but it’s ours.  And you just had to be there to get it or find it remotely funny.  I am amazed that at three-and-a-half, Lovey and her friends have inside jokes already.  I am constantly amazed at  how socialization evolves between children.  This story was too cute not to share.  And yet, my guess is that you probably don’t find this story as funny or fascinating as I do.  Well, you just had to be there.

PS – Whatever you do, DO NOT Google images of eyeballs.  Yuck.

Posted by Duff

Last weekend, my in-laws came over for dinner, after which they asked if they could take The Dervish home with them, for a sleepover.

Certainly, we said. Enjoy the shiny brass cajones that come along with her glorious, nearly four-year old self.

The Dervish decided she would pack her bag by herself, and as I cleared away the dishes, she did.

This is what she wheeled out to us a few minutes later:

In case you can’t tell, the contents are, in total:

1. One princess dress, petal pink

2. Two patent leather mary janes, black

3. One photo of herself, wearing a borrowed Snow White dress up dress, sitting on my lap.

Aw, we said. She knows she’ll miss her mommy.

Her grandmother helped her repack the bag to include some underwear and pajamas.  That night was uneventful.

But the next day, my child informed me she’d taken the picture  not to remind her of our bond, but because she wanted to look at herself dressed up as Snow White.

Ladies, a lesson from a preschooler: we should all carry a picture of ourselves looking great in a dress.


Posted by AVM

I have distinct memories – and I have seen the photographic proof – of my parents taking me and my sister on vacation when we were young.  My parents gave us the travel bug, and we were lucky enough to go to some amazing places and experience some lovely things.  I remember flying all the time to tropical spots, Europe, all over.  My husband and I loved to travel together before we had children.  It’s one of our common interests – one that has been dormant since Lovey and CeeCee came into our lives.  When you travel with young children, you need to change your definition of “vacation.”  You don’t come home refreshed and relaxed.  You’re not reading a book in the sun with the waves crashing for hours.  Long, lingering romantic dinners, are a thing of the past.  We do try, though.  I want my girls to experience what I did.  Some of those trips were the best times of my life.

Just a couple of months ago we took both girls to Florida.  We had traveled with Lovey by plane a number of times, but this was our first time with both children.  With a 3.5 year old and a (at the time) 7 month old in tow, security clearance is its own specific and unique flavor of hell.  Never one to pack light (note to self: WORK ON THAT),  I had the Sit-n-Stand, CeeCee was in the infant carrier, we had a laptop, a portable dvd player, plus the carry-ons (one carry-on roller suitcase, my enormous diaper bag, Lovey’s backpack, and the camera back pack, plus a snack bag with bottles/formula, etc).  The stroller had to go through the conveyor belt, as did the car seat.  Everyone’s shoes had to come off (including Lovey’s), all the electronics in separate bins on the belt (we had what felt like 30 bins), and picture me, dear readers, as I’m trying to hold a squirming CeeCee while bringing the formula over to a separate area to get tested for explosives, and making sure Lovey actually walks through the scanner and doesn’t get us kicked right out of line with her “What’s THAT for??”s every 3 seconds.  When we get through the line, we had to reassemble everything.  Where are our shoes?  WHY ISN’T THIS STROLLER OPENING??  How long does it really take to put a belt back on, Husband?  Where are the boarding passes?  Everyone on line behind us is huffing and puffing because we’re taking forever (karmic payback for my single days when I rolled my eyes at any parent in a restaurant with a screaming child).  It was right about this time that I was wishing CeeCee’s formula had contained explosives so I could drink it.

This was one instance where I thought – WOW, having two kids is exponentially harder than one.  When we finally boarded the plane, got the carry-ons in the overhead bins, got Lovey settled with her harness and her snack, and CeeCee happily taking her bottle, my husband looked at me, in a sweat, and said, “I never want to travel again” to which I replied, “FINE BY ME!”  The universe took pity on us, and both girls were angels the entire flight and didn’t make a sound.  Although CeeCee’s blow-out at 30,000 feet gives new meaning to the term Mile High Club and what you can actually accomplish in those tiny plane bathrooms.  I think we wound up having a great vacation.  We did, in fact.  Lovey learned to be truly comfortable in the water, and at the end of the day, both girls had a wonderful time.  And so did we.  Truly.

And once again, I am in total awe of my parents.  I have no idea how they did this often and lived to tell the tale.  I think they just had a lot less gear.

Posted by Fitz


I don’t remember anything at all about one of the most important days of my life.  It was October 20, 1977, and family lore tells me that I was shuttled off to a neighbor’s house around 9:00 a.m. while my mom enlisted another neighbor to bring her to the hospital, three weeks late with her second child.  My dad was apparently careening down Highway 128, trying to get to Framingham Union in time for the big delivery.

My mom got to the hospital at 9:20.  My brother was born at 9:40, and my world was changed forever.

My parents always tell me – especially now that I’m on the brink of having two children of my own – how proud I was to be a big sister.  I was a precocious 2 years, 9 months when he arrived, and apparently would introduce him to everyone as my yittle brudder with a beaming smile and a gentle pat on his head.  I was smitten from the get go.  There are albums of pictures of us playing on the beach in Harwich, out in my dad’s boat, lounging in bed, and having fun.  He was my constant companion, and I loved him.

Growing up, we had our moments – all brothers and sisters do.  There are a few incidents (clearly my fault) that I remember  (“You’re an animal!”), but I don’t have to get into them since this is my blog.  I remember him calling me a hot air balloon, which for some reason was inexcusably offensive to me.  On the eve of his first day of his freshman year of high school, when I was a junior, he announced that within two weeks I’d be known solely as his sister (and he was pretty close to being right, given that I was your stereotypical student council nerd with mall hair and he was the smart, nice quarterback of the football team).  We have always been different.  We’ve taken different paths, and have different approaches to life, but have only grown closer over the years. 

I’ve always kept that intense pride for my yittle brudder.  In many ways, he is what I would like to be.  In other ways, he reminds me of the best parts of myself.  He is the only person who can dissolve me into complete, stomach-pain hysterics with a single look from his enormous blue eyes, and is the only person who knows exactly where I’m coming from in terms of family history.  I love how he and my husband have grown to be close friends, and I love the incredible woman he married – giving me the sister I’ve always wanted.  In short, my brother is my best friend in a way that no one else could ever be.  We have always been in each other’s corner.

Why am I telling you this (and embarassing him to death, most likely)?  I’ve been thinking a lot about siblings, and I have the normal worries about how our new baby will impact The Bean’s life.  I’m worried that her world will be rocked negatively, and I’m anxious about her transition to big sister.  But when I look back on how my life has evolved with my brother, I can’t help but get a big smile on my face.  If all goes according to plan, The Bean will be getting her best friend in less than two short weeks.  Her life will be changed for the better in countless ways, and I just can’t wait to watch it all unfold.  My biggest hope is that, someday, The Bean feels the same way about her sibling as I do about mine.

Posted by Duff

Atticus seems to find a way to be sick on the 11th of each month. Usually a cold, that becomes an ear infection.  But for May, Spring, after all, I had hoped he’d be spared.

No such luck. This time, double pink eyes. That became pink ears. That were resistant to antibiotics. That revealed, via an angry rash, an allergy. And consequently, a digestive sensitivity to the third in a series of meds thrown at that resistant (though sweet) right ear.

This is how they get you to welcome the tubes, I guess.

If everyone is doomed to be sick on one birthday, though, I guess it’s better if it’s one of the ones you don’t remember.

We love you, Bear, and we’ll save the cake until you can truly enjoy it.

Posted by Fitz

It was a battle royale in the Fitz household this morning.  You see, The Bean is in a stage where she refuses to wear

The Bean's Favorite Comfy Pants from Gymboree

anything but “comfy pants” – namely, leggings, sweats, or anything else that is soft, jersey, and preferably pink.  She kicks her legs if you try to get a pair of jeans on her, and says that her cute little cargos are for boys.  It is maddening.

She gave in this morning once she saw that I was wearing tan cargos and once I told her that all of her comfy pants are in the wash (or have been relegated to the goodwill/storage bins, because isn’t it supposed to be WARM out?!).  She also told me, as I was walking out the door of her school, to make sure I did laundry so she could wear comfy pants tomorrow.


I’m all for comfort, and Bean’s comfy pants are adorable.  However, is she destined to become the George Costanza of the toddler set?  Will she ever wear real pants again?  I’m fine with giving her some wardrobe choices at this point, although she is too young to call all of the shots.  If it’s a day for her cute Gymboree jean capris with the daisies, so be it.  I’m up for the fight.  All I ask from you, dear readers, is that you don’t remind me of this post in 10 years when my Bean is asking for True Religions or whatever gazillion dollar jeans are in style then – because at that point, I’m sure I’ll be longing for the days of  Circo yoga pants.

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