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Author: toni

~ 10/30/09


Due to a tsunami of mombligations, posting at MAMMAKAZE has been sporadic this week. We resume our regularly scheduled snarkiness on Monday.


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Author: toni

~ 10/28/09


The child rearing experts are at it again. And this time they’ve chimed in on the punishment issue.

According to them, gone are the days when belts and switches and wooden spoons are the disciplinary tools of choice among parental units. This is because studies have shown that spanking is not only fruitless, it can also lead to lower IQs. 

Yeah, maybe it’s because people are more enlightened. However, personally I think it’s because the political tide has turned on the “mind your own beeswax” rule. And the anti-corporal punishment contingent doesn’t look kindly on seeing a child with welt marks across the back of his/her legs. And so they’ll actually speak up about it. Usually to Child Protective Services. And there’s no better deterrent to the pro-corporal punishment faction than the fear of jail time or being on the outs with neighbors from whom they borrow power tools.

So what do parents do instead of hitting their kids? In a word. Yell. I mean, what else can we do?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found those time-outs to be totally ineffective. Maybe because my kid is an only child and she has the ability to entertain herself under any conditions. So sending her to her room or the bottom step to sit quietly only results in her singing to herself or talking in different character voices or just plotting the next neighborhood musical.

So… there’s yelling. But to be honest with you. I’m not a fan of that either. I grew up in a house where yelling was used in conjunction with the belt. Also solo, without any hitting at all. In fact, yelling happened pretty much all the time. It mostly came from my mother to whom, being of Italian heritage, it seemed second nature…and not just relegated to moments of anger. “CLEAN YOUR ROOM!” WASH YOUR HANDS!” “COME EAT DINNER!” “I LOVE YOU!”

Of course, she did it so much that we became numbed to it. And children have an amazing ability to tune out things. Even the screaming of a wild-eyed Italian woman brandishing a wooden spoon.

So I developed a strong aversion to yelling and swore I wouldn’t have that kind of household. Not that I don’t yell at my kid. Oh I have. Yessiree.  And when I do it, it scares the bejeezus out of my kid. Because she doesn’t expect it. Because I don’t do it often.  Usually it’s during one of those “end of your rope”, “straw that broke the camel’s back” moments. Which is really much more effective than yelling all the time. The result is that she usually hops to attention…if only for the moment.

But the experts say it’s not good to yell too much. Also, they say that there is “appropriate yelling” and “inappropriate yelling”. And in case you don’t know the difference, I will give you examples.


Inappropriate yelling: I WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!

See the difference? If you don’t it’s probably time to seek counselling.

The experts also say that moms do more yelling than dads. Well, duh. First of all we’re with our kids more. And therefore are likely to have our last nerve worked more often. I remind Randy the perfekt husband of this when he comes home to find me irritated with Julia and tells me that I “need to be more patient”. Yeah. I was more patient the first 15 hours. But by the 16th hour, whining and the inability to find a pair of socks in the drawer right in front of her take on monstrously irritating porportions.

Second, women are more emotional and verbal creatures. So we tend to screech to the high heavens let out our feelings instead of bottling them up. Third, we don’t have the innate power to scare the crap out of our kids with just a look like fathers do. It’s one of the disparity between the sexes. Like equal pay and the ability to remember thousands of baseball statistics.  

So if it’s not good to spank and it’s not good to yell, how can we discipline our kids?

Well, the experts say be firm and consistent and don’t get angry. I say, spoken like folks who never had kids.

Look, every parent has their own parenting style. And what works on one kid might not work on another. Discipline, like everything else in child-rearing, is a trial and error thing. You have to find what works for you and your kid. But it should never, ever include hurting a child…and that includes with words.

As for our house, we have found that the most effective form of discipline is chocolate deprivation. Cuz as Julia will attest to, there’s no worse punishment for a girl than to be without her chocolate.

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Author: toni


I was driving in the car yesterday and John Lennon’s “Imagine” came on the radio. And as I listened, I felt a pang in my chest. And I realized, no, it wasn’t the cranberry orange scone I had for breakfast. It was because I was still hurting over his untimely death. After all these years. It still bothered me.

And it got me to thinking about all the things in my life that I have never fully gotten over. We all have them. Things/events that no matter how positive and zen we are about them, we never completely move past. Here’s my list.



1. John Lennon’s untimely death

2. That I never got to experience natural childbirth

3. 4 decades of cramps followed by 3 decades of menopause. Whassup with that?!

4. The fact that the same guy who wrote “Fragile”  is buddies with Howard Stern

5. That I’ll never again be able to hold my daughter in a tiny bundle to my chest

6. The betrayal of a good friend

7. The end of “The Shield” – I still get the occasional “Mac” jones

8. The unfairness of a universe that would give Stephen Hawking such a brain and then trap it in such a body.

9. My brother John moving away

10. Missing all those years with my dad


Those are mine. What’s on your list?

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Author: toni

~ 10/27/09


Mammakaze is having posting trouble. I blame it on the wind because, well, why not?

I will resume regular snarkiness tomorrow.

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Author: toni

~ 10/26/09


I don’t remember exactly when it happened, when I crossed that threshold, but at some point in my life, strangers started calling me “ma’am”.  The bag boy at the checkout stand in the grocery store. The shoe salesman in Macy’s. The kid who bumped me in line at Disneyland.

When kids said it to me it wasn’t such a big deal. To them, anyone over 5 feet tall is a ma’am. But the adults?! And it seemed to happen overnight. I went from being carded to being called ma’am!

And I wasn’t sure in what way I had instigated it. Was it my demeanor? The little crow’s feet that had begun to tread lightly at the corners of my eyes? The fact that I was actually old enough to be the bag boy’s mom slightly older sister?

Whatever it was, it was a jagged little pill to swallow. And I’m not lying when I say I went through every one of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief in dealing with it: Denial (surely he’s talking to the silver-haired lady in line behind me). Anger (call me that again jerkweed and I’ll stick this size 8 mule down your gullet). Bargaining (I’ll workout, I’ll eat better, I’ll shop at Forever 21…just don’t call me ma’am). Depression (this sucks) and finally…yes, Acceptance (Oh, what the hell).  

Okay. So some people call me ma’am. So what? There are worse things, right? Like maybe….being called “MOM”.

Don’t get me wrong. I proud of my mommy status. And I love hearing my daughter call me “mom”. Well, except when it’s preceeded by a “no” or followed by a “whine”. But generally, I love being a mom and being called such.

But now my kid’s pedatrician calls me MOM! And it’s not just her. It’s every pediatrician in her office. And apparently – based on the letter of complaint from a mom I read today in one of those help columns in the paper – every pediatrician around the country has added this to their pediatric nomenclature.

Not Mrs. so and so. Or Toni. But Mom. “Mom, can you hold your daughter while I administer the shot?” “Mom, how long has it been since her tetanus booster?” “Mom, do you find that she’s pooping regularly?”

I don’t know when this trend started. Probably at the same time it became okay for five year-olds to call me by my first name. But I’m NOT a fan.

And I know other moms who are even more offended than I am. I have one friend who is particularly incensed by it. “How tough is it to look at the chart and say my name?!” she fumes.

I see her point. It just seems like another in a long line of dehumanizing practices that have become increasingly common in our society. Like having to pump your own gas, or keeping up with friends via online social networks rather than getting together. (By the Way. Shout out to my Facebook friend Jacque. Babe, get a picture up already).

Now I read somewhere that pediatricians supposedly use the term “mom” for the kids’ benefit. To make kids feel more “comfortable” during the doctor visit. Eh. Maybe that’s true. But really, doc, my kid isn’t upset hearing people call me by my real name. In fact, she’s quite used to it. And no amount of familiarity is gonna make her less likely to climb under that chair when it’s time for her flu shot.

Another excuse reason for this mommy calling is supposedly because pediatricians can’t assume that a mother’s last name is the same as her kid’s, what with divorces and remarriages, cultural practices and hyphenating (I am still regretting that one). This I can buy a little more. Of course, the doc could just ASK. But then that would eat into the 8 minutes they’ve allotted to see your child before they move on to the next child, collect another co-pay and ring up the office visit fee they’ve negotiated with an insurance giant. And we don’t want that.

Look, the easy thing would be just to complain about it. If you don’t like it, speak up. It’s your right as a patient. Or, rather, as the “mom” of a patient.

Me? Well, I’m one to complain if complaining seems in order. Really I am. But good and, well, geographically desirable pediatricians are hard to find. I mean. Why rock the boat? Especially if that boat is the one that notifies you when the flu vaccine finally comes in. So for now, they can call me “mom” and I’m gonna call it good.

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Author: toni

~ 10/23/09


It’s Fall! Well, actually it’s going to be 90 degrees today in my neck of the woods. But I still proclaim it Fall because I’m feeling Fall-ish. And there are so many Fall-like activities afoot.

And Fall is my absolute FAVORITE! That’s because it features my favorite holiday. Halloween. Not sure why I’m so attracted to it. Probably that undercurrent of a brackish soul that flows beneath my Martha Stewart-esque facade.  Hee Hee.

Anyway, my mommy blunders this week included accidentally letting my daughter overhear part of that Nine Inch Nails song that features the lyrics, ” I want to BLEEP! you like an animal. ” I know, right? But it’s not all my fault. Who knew an adult contemporary rock station would play that? I mean John Mayer and Tori Amos maybe…Oh wait. She’s probably too young for Tori too. What with all that date rape themage.

Okay. I guess it’s back to KIDZ BOP. At least Kidz Bop Gold has some decent oldies. Even if they are sung by low-rent vocal versions of the original singers and constantly punctuated by a chorus of kids shouting “YEAH!” and “WOW!” and “WOO!”.

I think I’m gonna need a cocktail…



2 oz whiskey or apple brandy
1 tsp sugar
hot apple cider
lemon wedge for garnish
cinnamon stick for garnish
2-3 whole cloves for garnish

Coat the bottom of an Irish coffee glass with honey.
Add the whiskey or apple brandy.
Fill with hot apple cider.
Stir well.
Garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick and cloves.



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