November 2010

Posted by Duff

Based on the holiday reviews I’m getting from friends, family drama starts young.  We’re talking pre-kindergarten.  You’ve heard of the terrible twos (and many of us experienced terrible threes), but a wise mom I know coined this current phase the f*^k you fours.  If you’ve been here, you know what she means.

I’ll be honest, though. Whether it’s The Dervish who’s mellowing out as a person, or me mellowing out as a mom–used to a child who never dissolved into tears, but instead was more likely to erupt into a tsunami–I’m not sure.  But as long as I expect a little abuse, what is dished out (lately) along with the cranberry sauce and stuffing, is mercifully less traumatizing for both of us than I’d expected.

I think it has a lot to do with expectations, with the relative behavior of the previous four years, years during which bystanders commented on the fierceness of my girl, worded as their appreciation for her moxie. We all know what that means, don’t we?  Let’s just say what takes other people by surprise, at least where she is concerned, flies below my radar. She, a future poet I’m sure, is the girl who cried Life.  And fruit snacks. And Barbie Fiat.

So maybe our Thanksgiving was bookended by ferocity: a day before, The Dervish traded face kicks with her brother while I shopped for canned pumpkin and paper towels, drove herself mad in anticipation of playing with her cousins for hours, and the day afterward told her father ‘You don’t love me. You never let me do what I want and you’re not my best friend and I don’t love YOU.’ My husband, by profession, is used to dealing with the irrational and belligerent. Who would have expected this slur to cling to him like al dente spaghetti?

But I knew this was coming–par for the course at holiday time–with a bonus: Because both The Dervish and Atticus, though overstimulated and under-napped and sticky, when it counted, ate meals quietly and neatly and over a period of moments long enough for me to eat a meal with adults and enjoy a wonderfully paired red wine.  This never, never happens at dinner time in our home.  And when it did happen this past Thursday, I couldn’t have been more thankful.

Here’s to the upcoming holidays!  May they be merry. And bright. May you taste the food you spent so much time cooking with love and remember how you could barely contain yourself within your skin this time of year when you were a child. And may I remember, too, with the help of all things peppermint, snowflake and evergreen. And cocktails. Cheers.


Posted by Duff

It occurred to me this morning that parenting is a lot like preparing a Thanksgiving feast: the entire process should be undertaken in celebration (though the stressful moments and multi-tasking make that easy to forget), it takes infinitely longer to prepare for the result (as you hope, all the while, it turns out well) than the moments of enjoyment  you experience on the other side and when is all is said and done, you can barely move, you’re so full of its blessings. Also, you need a nap.

With that, I wish all of My Mom Genes’s readers a happy, healthy holiday, an amusing inner monologue, and the type of memories that last a lifetime: those captured with a sense of humor amid the imperfections that make a family a family.

Posted by Duff

Okay, where was this guy when we were 12-(until however long it took for each of us to say “What was I thinking, wasting my youth on so-and so?”).

Let’s band together and hire him to chat with our daughters:

Check out some of his others and his “It Gets Better“. Well worth your time.

Posted by Duff


Sticky Rice: 1/Duff: 0


Atticus: 1/Sticky Rice: 0

Which tells me that it’s not the game that matters, it’s the players.

Note: some substances should be allowed to dry before being cleaned up. Estimated drying time for sticky rice is 7.2 hours. Bring a book.

Posted by Duff


This morning, I awoke to two children completely taken with the magic that is a new day.

Atticus woke up slowly, singing “Happ-eee. Happ-eee.”

The Dervish came pounding down the hall: “Mommy! Look outside–it’s SNOWING. Is it Christmas?”

Whose children are these? Can you imagine how fantastic it would be to greet your days like this, rather than grumbling at your alarm and meeting a reflection of puffy eyes and sheet marks? Typically, neither can I.  But this morning, I could. And it really did feel like Christmas.

Optimism, like the sniffles, is contagious.  Feel free to sneeze your hearts and flowers on me, anytime.

Posted by Duff

Your participation is requested. Your responses need not be parent/child related.


It doesn’t take a/an astrophysicist to determine that giving spaghetti to a toddler destined for Olympic shot put, discus or javelin is a bad idea.

I vow to throw away all of my mismatched and quitter socks.

I never de-clutter as much as I mean to. I obsess far more often than is good for me.

Recently, and for the first time ever, I completely used up a lipstick before throwing it away.

Three things I can’t live without: lip gloss, pockets and wi-fi.


Your turn.  Remember: I think you’re far more interesting than I am.