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Author: toni

~ 02/04/11


What is it with kids and their infinite ability to annoy their parents? Why do they do it? Is it learned behavior? Are they hard-wired? Is it part of nature’s evolutionary drive to prepare parents for the eventual empty nest? You know, so that we feel relief rather than grief when they finally leave home?

Whatever the reasons. It’s FREAKING ANNOYING!

Just today Julia – who is rapidly approaching age 9 which seems to have kicked her annoyance creativity into high gear – was repeatedly rubbing the flat side of an emery board against a blank 3×5 notecard!

How she came to be in possession of these two seemingly disparate and unrelated items is a mystery. What compelled her to continually rub that card with the board resulting in one of the most  irritating sounds since fingernails on a chalkboard or metal pans scraping together  – is also a mystery. The end result, my heightening irritability – was a foregone conclusion.

And it’s not just this. It’s a series of things. Why, just last week I was made to repeatedly listen for the almost imperceptible squeak of air exiting her tear duct as she held her nose and blew.

Again and again she wanted me to hear it. Not because she was proud of it or fascinated at discovering new things her body could do…. No. I’m convinced it was simply to annoy me.

A few weeks back it was the DORKY FACE. This was where she would contort her face into a really dweeby expression and do a thumbs up gesture. Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I mean, it’s a free country. Look like a dork to your heart’s desire. It’s what the founding fathers intended. HOWEVER….  

 How many times I had to LOOK MOM LOOK! I can’t even tell you. But if I had a nickel for every time. Well, I’m sure I could have purchased a $20 Starbucks card…minimum.

Yes, I tried the “your face will freeze like that.” I’m not opposed to lying in dire situations. Like when irritating behavior (hers) meets hormonal fluctuations (mine) in what could potentially be a China Syndrome situation. But she’s too smart for that. She would only smile and do the dork. AGAIN! Thumbs up for the try, mom!

Sometimes the torture takes the form of Britney Spears. Yeah, I know. Horrifying, huh? But it gets worse. Julia actually shrieks the words to “Toxic” at the highest range of her vocal chords while I’m drying her hair. To make matters worse, this usually occurs around 8 pm after 12 hours of cumulative small annoyances. As you can imagine my tolerance by then has worn thin… very thin.

Am I a bad mom because I  don’t find absolutely everything my child does to be delightful and worthy of kudos? Am I a bad mom that sometimes I want to yell at the top of my lungs STOP IT! YOU’RE DRIVING ME FREAKING INSANE!

I don’t do it. Know why? Because I remember that in college I was famous for a little thing called THE SAILOR CHICKEN FACE. So famous in fact that I almost did it on live TV once… But I begged out.

And when I look at my kid, contorting the left side of her mouth so that it almost touches her ear, sticking out her tongue in an attempt to reach her nose, crossing her eyes in opposite directions while making a sort of  “bastard child of a thousand maniacs” sound — ALL AT THE SAME TIME… I remember, I was like that too. And it didn’t stop until I was WAAAAY past legal drinking age. In fact, I think it got worse around that time.

So maybe she’s doing it to annoy me. Or maybe it’s genetic. From her mamma. Like her astygmatic brown eyes and her love of carbs. And well, I can’t blame her for being who she is… can I? Then I WOULD BE a bad mom.


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Author: toni

~ 01/07/11



MOM #1: Want to go for a cup of coffee after drop-off?

MOM #2: Can’t. Got to get home and clean. My cleaning lady is coming today.


Bizarre but true. Most women I know who have someone come and clean their home feel compelled to actually CLEAN before the cleaning person comes. Why you ask?

Well, after talking to many moms and doing a little much-needed soul searching, I have found that there is more than one reason for this.  And sometimes, these reasons work in tandem to create this bizarre and, yes I’ll say it, ridiculous behavior.


1) We’re hard-wired to please.

2) We don’t want the cleaning person to think we’re dirty.

3) We have to get rid of the mess on top of the dirt so they can actually get to the dirt to clean it.

4) We don’t want to seem rude.

5) We live in mortal fear that they will discuss our personal dirt with one of our neighbors for whom they also do housework.


This strange pre-cleaning cleaning is not only exhibited in stay-at-home moms who, arguably, have a more flexible schedule that allows them to more easily engage in this baffling ritual. Nope, it is also a common phenomenon displayed in even the most haggard, overly-booked and stretched beyond her limits working mother who barely has time to shave her legs in the shower let alone pick up for someone whom she is specifically paying to pick up.

Even I, a working mom who works out of my home, have been guilty of this. Because it mortifies me to think that, while I am typing away at my computer, my cleaning person  is in the bathroom next to my office quietly judging the condition of my toilet. Or that she shares the details of my family’s personal hygiene with friends over margaritas. Ew.

I mean, how can I look her in the eye knowing that behind  her smile she is secretly replused by the little hair clippings I may have neglected to brush out of the corner of my countertop last time I got too impatient to wait for my next hair appointment and took my dull scissors to my bangs. (Sorry Patrice, but yes, you’re going to have to fix those….AGAIN.)

I don’t know what the solution is. Meditation. Xanax. Growing out my bangs.

Until I figure it out, I will continue my pre-cleaning cleaning compulsion. And continue to wish that the complusion manifested itself WITHOUT the impending visit from my cleaning person. It’d sure save me a few bucks. Sigh.

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Author: toni

~ 12/28/10



Okay. Last year we bought this advent calendar in the shape of a Santa at Target’s after Christmas clearance. And this year we began a “tradition”  where every night on the 25 days of December leading up to Christmas, the elves come and bring Julia a little something.

I know I know. Over-indulgence.  Believe you me, I wouldn’t have started this lovely tradition except my friend JENNIE does this every year with her two boys JAKE and ZACH. And last Christmas every day on the way to school Julia was privvy to their excited ramblings about what the elves brought them the night before. Naturally, she wanted to know why the heck the elves came to them but not to such a nice, well-behaved young lady as herself. Being a tale-spinner from way back, I tried to spin some tale about different families and different holiday traditions starting hundreds of years ago. But she wasn’t having any of it. And thus, a tradition was born.

As if I didn’t have enough to do prepping for the holidays. Now I also have to come up with something clever every night for 25 nights for the elves to bring! And since Julia is up at the crack of dawn and sometimes she falls asleep AFTER me, I’ve often had to tip-toe downstairs at 4 am to put something in the #$%@# calendar.

Anyway, one of the things the elves bring is money. Coins. Quarters, dimes, nickels. And since we have started this tradition (three weeks ago now)  Julia has been like a magpie and squirreled away everything she’s gotten from the elves in a shoebox that she calls her “trinket box”. Even the chocolates. Don’t ask me why. It’s probably that same gene that (when I was a kid) made my Halloween candy last from October until May (much to the dismay of my brothers who downed theirs in a day).

That was a whole big preface to what happened this weekend.

So we got back from errands and while I went to wrap gifts with my newly acquired wrapping paper, Julia made a beeline for the potty. Right on schedule as she’d had her Saturday morning donut and milk just an hour before. She’s nothing if not regular.

Anyway. suddenly, mid-wrap I hear a blood-curdling SCREAM come from the bathroom. My mommy mind immediately went to all manner of horrific scenarios including one in which she somehow managed to slip off the potty into the tub, cracking her head on the faucet. “I knew it was too soon to take the rubber polar bear faucet cover off!” I thought as I raced to the bathroom.

I FLUNG open the door. She stood there, bare butted, in front of the toilet SOBBING.

ME: Jules! What’s wrong?!

JULIA: My nickel. It fell in the toilet!

ME: What are you talking about? What nickel?

JULIA: My nickel from the elves!

Sure enough, she was holding her “trinket box” full of chocolates and coins and wind-up Santas.

TONI: What were you doing looking at your trinket box while you were going potty?

JULIA: I don’t know. I just was. Mom! You HAVE to get it!

ME: Honey. It’s just a nickel.

JULIA: No. The ELVES brought it! It’s special!

Ah yes. The “special” nickel. What have I wrought?

I looked down in the toilet. I saw a LOT of stuff but no nickel.

ME: Uh, I don’t see it. Maybe it didn’t fall in there.

JULIA: It did! It did! Get it mamma! Pleeeeeease!

I love my kid. And I’ll do almost anything for her. And I have gone through great lengths to impress upon her the importance of saving money and not being wasteful. But there’s waste and then there’s WASTE.

I drew the line. And by drawing the line, I mean I lied.

ME:  Julia. I’m sure you didn’t lose a nickel in there.  I’m sure it’s on the floor.

JULIA: (calming down) Really?

ME: I’m positive.

Knowing it probably wasn’t on the floor, I planned on planting a substitute somewhere on the floor when she wasn’t looking.

ME: Now pull up your pants and then I’ll help you look.

JULIA: Okay.

As she pulled up her pants, I flushed the toilet. And as I did… the loud CLINK CLINK CLINKING of metal being swished around the porcelain bowl could distinctly be heard. And we both saw a flash of silver just before the bowl emptied with a rush of water.


Sigh. Guess tomorrow calls for an extra  special gift from the elves. Maybe a Webkinz? Thanks a lot Jennie.

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Author: toni

~ 11/21/10


Okay, let’s dispense with the reality up front. Yes, of course I am most thankful for my family, our good health, the fortunate life we lead, yadda yadda yadda. That goes without saying, well except that I felt I had to say it. You know, to make sure you all know that I’m not a complete, superficial jerk.

However, I am woman enough to admit that there are some things, yes….some superficial things, for which I am also grateful.

Oh come on. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  You have them too. Well, here are mine. Not in any particular order because, well, that takes too much thought.  And the holidays are coming and you’re lucky I’m posting anything at all!


1. Hair color.

2. Friends who are professional hair stylists and work out of their garage so they have no overhead and can therefore cover my grays add shine and shimmer to my locks at a discounted rate (thanks Patrice!)

3. Simply put… Coffee

4. Two-ply toilet paper that doesn’t pill – yeah, you ladies know what I’m talkin’ about.

5. The REMOVE button on Facebook

6. Trader Joes – healthy food, not much thinking, ‘nuf said.

7. Juice It Up Smoothies – the only way I can get fruit into my kid.  Thanks Terry and Zorka!

8. Digital cameras with endless memory so I can chronicle every second of my kid’s existence without paying the big $$$$$$$ on developing like we did the generation before us did in the stone ages.

9. Flip Flops – Like Linus on “Peanuts” who goes crazy when he becomes aware of his tongue, I LOATHE the “awareness” of my toes jammed into dark, cramped spaces.

10. All those studies that say dark chocolate is good for you.

11. Waxed dental floss

12. Molded bras – Man, the twins get cold! Also, a good solution for assymetry, uh, not that I need it.

13. Netflix on demand – A nice way to immediately satisfy my jones for “Zombieland” and “The Young Victoria” in one sitting!

14. Sting/ Sheryl Crow and that Train song about the lipstick stain on the front lobe of his left side brain.

15. The pitch shifter on the karaoke machine – my family and neighbors… also thankful.

16. Those Mr. Clean Magic sponges. They’re freaking magic!

17. Kids Eat Free coupons.

18. Caller ID… I won’t go into details on whom I am screening… in case they’re reading this…

19. A husband in the bedroom with bad eyesight… until he gets lasik in which case I am now grateful for….

20.  ….the lowest setting on the three-way bulb in the bedside table lamp.



And there you have it. And now you know what zombies and Queen Victoria have in common. Me!

Wishing all you MAMMAKAZES a wonderful and warm Thanksgiving filled with love and family and kids and all the good things in life.

And thank you for your continued support of my website.


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Author: toni

~ 10/07/10


I have been sooooo bad about posting lately. Was a time I’d compulsively post everyday, whether I had anything relevant to say or not – which of course I ALWAYS did.

But it’s hard now what with a PAYING WRITING JOB that I am obligated to complete on a timely basis. Oh, and did I mention I have also been working on a tween novel with my writing partner? Don’t be too impressed. It hasn’t been published yet.

Bottom line, I’m feel GUILT! Duh, what a surprise since it’s the second most common emotion I feel  after PASSION – you know, for those tortilla chips sitting in the pantry calling my name.

So as a fun filler, until I can complete the epic post I’m working on about bullies, thieves and cliques in grade school – here’s a little something something.

It’s ALICE COOPER on SESAME STREET! Yep, it’s him singing WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE from his first solo album back in the day.

It seemed an appropriate choice given that Halloween is coming and what with the whole Katy Perry/Sesame Street  scandal from last week. 

Only, know what?  No one complained about this! In spite of the fact that it was the introductory song on a album full of songs about prostitution, spousal abuse, necrophilia, serial killing and even a little thing called rape.

Ah, times how they have changed. Enjoy. There are actually two performances by Alice on here, if you’re in the mood.

Alice Cooper singing Welcome to My Nightmare on Sesame Street!

Shout out to MAMMAKAZE Babette for bringing this clip to my attention.

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Author: toni

~ 08/16/10


Let me begin by apologizing for my sporadic posting on MAMMAKAZE of late.

As a freelance blogger who gets paid the grand total of nil, I am at the mercy of other pressing issues that also don’t pay but make Randy the perfekt husband very happy when I deal with them. For example, the leaking dishwasher that damaged the hardwood floor near the fridge, caused mold all over the drywall beneath the center island and required the shopping around for the best deal on a dishwasher that matched our other appliances (Lowe’s NOT Sears by the way – who knew?).  Finding plumbers, drywallers, and painters (that was me) — all major but necessary life time sucks.  

Then there was the back-to-school prep which required marathon shopping to find the ideal lunchbox, first day outfit, and an entire restock of socks and undies. You MAMMAKAZES know the drama involved in that. If you have a girl there’s endless perusing and comparing and deciding. If you have a boy, well, they couldn’t care less about shopping and endlessly complain that they’d rather be home playing their Wii.

Finally, however, and the biggest reason I have been missing from the blogosphere –

I had LASIK  surgery done to both my eyes!

How was it, you ask? Well, there are a lot of fabulous things about it –  like the fact that I can see for the first time since I was 8. Unfortunately, the downside is the fact that I can see for the first time since I was 8.


10.     Seeing how much body hair I have previously overlooked during the shaving process (sorry Randy)

9.      Big ol’ bags under the eyes (not as a result of the Lasik, but formally hidden by glasses).

8.      The ability to  see gray hairs = more frequent visits to the salon = more money

7.      Two vacations we won’t be having

6.      Constant (and pointless) poking at the bridge of my nose with my right index finger!

5.      The fact that I don’t look as good without my glasses as Angelina Jolie (whom my doc also zapped)*

4.      That’s what I look like in a compromising position?!?!  (again, my apologies Randy)

3.      My kid feels self-conscious that she’s the only one in the family wearing glasses (yet another thing mommy can feel guilty about!)

2.      Now I look as smart as Kim Kardashian (whom my doctor did too)

1.       Holy #!%*! Is the shower really that  dirty?


Well, there you have it. Hey,  if you can’t find humor in having a thin layer of your cornea slit off and folded back while the remainder of your cornea is ablated, well, then what’s the point of anything?

In a few days I’ll do a post about the whole experience for those of you who may be considering it.  Stayed tuned!

* I re-read the fine print of the pre-op form and nowhere does it guarantee that I will look as good as Angelina Jolie without my glasses.  Therefore, I will not be pursuing the lawsuit.

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