Yesterday at the gym I came upon four women seated neatly in the "lounge" area of the daycare. They looked nice enough. Khaki pants up to their armpits. Mom-dos. Four thousand pounds of crap at their ankles. Typical garden-variety "lounge-mamas."

So, typically I listened in on their conversation-- Slowly unpacking Archer's red blankie from my diaper bag and stowing it away in the cubbie hole. Sloooooowly passing Archer to Harriet, our favorite daycare-lady. Slooooowly making my way to the door so I could eavesdrop properly.

And this is what I heard:

"WELL, That's fine and everything but the PTA at Primrose's school has a PTA of thirty-three and they're all lovely ladies. I've met four of them so far."

"Thirty-three? HA! My son Pinkerton's PTA has forty-four members and it's really so great because some are black and some are white and some are Mexican and its just a really fabulous smorgesbord* of folk!"

"Well I don't see the need for a PTA when your child is in private school and .... pstpstpst-whisperwhisper-pst. "

I didn't catch the rest. Maybe they noticed that it was taking me an insane amount of time to unload a magazine and my IPOD.

So I walked out.

An hour later I came back to find the Mommy-Posse still seated neatly on the couch. And I KID YOU NOT, they were STILL talking about the fucking PTA.

"I think I'll wait until Mozart is a little older before I run for PTA office. I want to REALLY be involved when it counts."

"I ran for PTA Secretary and lost. It was horrible."




Maybe I'm just the mother of a toddler and don't get the whole PTA-Parent situation. Maybe I'm being a bitch or a snob or a snarky-snark-snark but these women made me want to vomit into one or more of the Dixie cups on display.

Because ONE HOUR, ladies. ONE HOUR! About the PTA!

And you know what? I bet they're still talking. In the lounge of something else. In lounges around the world with their "my child was student of the month at Get-Over-Yourself Elementary" bumper-stickers.

Other People's Parents, man. Giving parenthood (and the PTA) a bad name. All. Over. Town.


*one of my top three favorite words. (Others include Doppelganger and Heliotrope.)

1 & 1/2

Archer turned eighteen-months on Thanksgiving and although I realize that 1/2 is only 1/2 as meaningful as a 1/whole, I have a soft spot for half-birthdays as it doesn't feel like so long ago that I introduced myself in halves and three quarters and thirds.

"How old are you?"
"I'm ten and a half. How old are you?"
"Eight and three quarters."

And as children we understood perfectly.

And as adults, or shall I say, parents, we still do:

"How old is your child?"
"Sixteen weeks" or "Seventeen months" or "forty-seven months..." (which is when I have to do the math on my fingers.)

Before I had a child I was always annoyed with the parents who rattled off their children's ages in months like I was supposed to know the difference between thirteen months and twenty-six months and thirty-three months and so on. Why couldn't she just say my kid is three and three quarters?" I always found it to be some strange parent-language but now that I have a child, I get it. I do.

Because when you have a baby, ever day counts. Ever week matters. Every month is a revelation, a collection of milestones so vast, it is easy to forget that they have even happened.

Archer, now eighteen months, has suddenly over the course of several weeks,turned into a little boy. And sometimes when I look at him, my heart melts. I fall between the floor cracks in gooey strands. Those eyes. That little belly-laugh. Those ever-cold hands and toes like chubby berries. Can I eat them? Delicious!

Today I was describing Archer to an old friend on the phone and I got teary-eyed trying to explain the emotion I felt looking at this photo.

How in the hell could something so perfect come from me? How is it possible that this tiny beam of light didn't used to exist?

And I felt suddenly blindsided by love. Bumping into everything and skipping down the sidewalk and over-tipping the hostess who isn't even allowed to accept tips in love.

And so I went to him, asleep in his crib, with his legs tucked up under his chest and I just stood there like a fool, staring with mouth agape, shaking my head like, "who are you?"

Seriously. Who are you?

Who is this little boy walking across the street, in the cold, with his hands outstretched for balance. How is that he can be walking toward me, with his little shadow tripping beside him? He wants ME to pick him up. He wants ME to love him and hold him and pick the boogers from his nose. He wants ME to fall asleep on in the shower, with water in our faces and rubber duckies on our heads. Me. ME? But I'm just me.

But to him I'm me x infinity. Super-me. Like my mother was to me and hers to her and so on.

And sometimes I watch him for clues. For expressions that look like mine, dirty looks, cockeyed glances, crooked smiles.

When I saw this photo I thought. "Yup, he's mine."

The posed look I always have in photographs, and his face making the same expression. I laughed. And then I cried because it's hard to believe he is my baby sometimes.

There are times when I don't believe it and I seriously think Archer can't be mine, that he has somehow come from a distant planet and is some kind of alien messiah sent for the greater good of earth. (It makes more sense in my head. I swear.)

Then of course there are the days when parenthood is like trying to rescue bees from a swimming pool (knowing right well you'll probably get stung) but that's for another day.

Parenthood. Bees. Little boys with great big eyes who walk on two feet and fall down and laugh and scream and wipe their eyes when they're sleepy and lie down on their blankies in the middle of the cement and play peek-a-boo.

A half birthday may not be much, but to me, the mother of a 1.5 year old, a half birthday is huge. Eighteen months. So fast.

One day I won't count months anymore. Soon it will be years. Something I can't even begin to imagine. But even as the months fly by and the weeks and the days practically disintegrate, I am grateful. And thankful. And in love. More in love than ever. Looking forward to tomorrow morning when I get to wake up to Archer's open-mouthed kiss on my cheek and fingernails clawing at my face like stingers. Always my little bumble bee.


GGC Rapz Presents: OPP

Apologies for ditching my "MCdom" for a few months but Yo GGC Rapz are back! (And a little angrier than usual.)

Here's a little rap for all my playground haters. Because unless it's just me, 93% of parents I meet are wack-jobs. (Word?)

For those of you sick & tired of the haters in the 'hood... This one's for you...

Othere People's Parents
(Who's Down with OPP? Hell no. Not me.)
Original O.P.P. By: Naughty By Nature

Army with harmony
GGC drop a load on 'em

OPP how can I explain them
I'll take you frame by frame then
To have y'all jumpin' shall we singin' it
O is for Other P is for People scratchin' temple
The last P...well...that's not that simple
Another way to call compet-i-moms on all their bullshit
Seven little letters equal one big 'ol conniption fit...

(Hit me with it, parents.)
(Yeah, yeah...)
(Let's put the parent in parenthesis.)
(Say, Word.)

..You ever had a Mom and met her on a nice hello
You get her name and number and then right before you have to go
She gets all crazy-bitch-ass and decides to call your shit
Because her kid has better manners and knows better than to hit.
Yo, why you gotta go there? Who said you knew what was best?
Just because you have your kid on every preschool waiting list?
Just because your kid is five years old, still drinkin' from your breast?

It's OPP, who think it's their place to defeat.
There's no room for relationship there's just room to compete!
How many parents out there know just what I'm gettin' at?
Who thinks it's wrong 'cos I'm splittin' and co-hittin' at?
Well if you do, that's OPP and you're not down with it.
But if you don't, here's your membership...

You down with OPP (Oh no,not me) 3X
Who's down with OPP (Not usually!)
You down with OPP (Pulease, spare me!) 3X
Who's down with GGC (All the homies!)

As for all the Diaper Dudes, OPP means something different
The first two letters are the same but the last is something
The hypocrisy of parents who rebel against the mod
Then decorate the family van with flames like some hot rod

Have you ever known a Daddy who talks shit about your life?
Who has the nerve to say, "You should be more like my wife."
Who glares at your kid's paci and makes a snide remark like so:
"Binkies aren't for little boys and you need to tell him, no!"
Or who just because he's older thinks he has the nerve to say
"When I was your age" (dot dot dot)"Well, you see, back in MY day..."
And "My pediatrician this" and "My pediatrician that."
And "90 percentile for weight means your child is getting fat."
How much you wanna bet that he's the one with issues
His baby boy's on Zoloft and his daughter's eating tissues.

Who really cares if you're "Queen Bee" of your Mommy and me group?
PTA President and Soccer Coach and lead the Girlscout Troup
You'll talk shit when I turn my back and think you have me duped.
You're poodle perm and overalls (no offense) are so not cute.
You rock your Baby on Board sticker and think you rule the ring
You flaunt your Zales #1 Mom Pendent like its pure suburban bling.

This new mom tried to OPP me with her internet IQ
With her Child Magazine Q&A and "What kind of mom are you?"
She read it in a magazine that "stay at home is so much better."
And then she saw it on Dr. Phil that working Moms bring home more cheddar.
She said she was confused, but it was pretty clear to me
That she was just another lemming 'bout to fall into the sea.
I said, "Yo I gotta go. I don't like you. You're a jerk."
"If you want to "Mommy War" with me, I stay at home AND work."
The bitch was so confused she nearly fell back on her fanny.
And saved was she, by the grace of God (or in other words, her nanny.)

You down with OPP (Say no, oh please!) 3X
Who's down with OPP (Not you! Not me!)
You down with OPP (But seriously?) 3X
Who's down with...


Related: More Yo GGC Rapz:

(Word to the Mothaz and the Baby's Daddies.)

In Arch We Trust

Sometimes I underestimate my child. I forget that in eighteen-months Hal and I have been blessed with a very easy, mild-mannered, low-maintenance little dude. Archer sleeps through the night, twelve hours like clockwork and seldom has temper tantrum, happily goes down for a three-hour nap every afternoon, puts up with my health food like a champion and kisses me on the eyeball every eighteen minutes.

He also looks exactly like Paddington Bear in his Pea Coat. But cuter.

... And so I have to take a minute to salute his trooperdom with this delicious batch of Boulder-photos.

I'm not looking at the camera, Mom.
Archer loved the airplane. He laughed during take-off and flirted with the cute girls in the isle over. He chomped Pirates Bootie and crackers and played with the air-conditioner and we read the AA Emergency pamphlet over and over (and over). During landing, he stared curiously out the window and shrieked in delight when we hit the runway with a jolt.

I was so thrilled with his ability to travel I nearly burst into tears for I have fantasized in secret to one day afford to travel the world with the child(ren), living out of suitcases and hotel rooms and various haunted mansions, crashing with friends and strangers-- Pensions and fancy-shmancy hotels and Winebaggos (Oh My!)...

Don't step on the crack or I'll break my Momma's back and she will cry.

I've always thought "putting down roots" was overrated. I have no desire to own a house or a car or expectations. I don't want to grow out of the constant need for adventure and spontaneity and curiosity and the itch to get up and go somewhere. See something. Mingle with strangers in strange lands. Get lost and struggle to find the way, speak in code/learn the languages of distant and obscure lands. And now I know that Archer's up for it. My darling little Paddington Bear, who sat happily on busses and trains and fell face-first in the snow (we went to Rocky Mountain Park to hang out with snow. And yes, I was happy.)

Tolstoy, eat your heart out.

On our flight back to L.A, Archer slept the entire time. The only casualty was my arm, which also fell asleep and didn't wake up until we reached Baggage Claim A. Hardly worth complaining about, though.

And so I continue to fantasize about my further adventures, traveling the world with a passport and no agenda, some cash and a very little, very curious, sleeps-with-his-butt-in-the-air, very airplane-saavy little fishy-fins.

zzzzzzzzzzzz. plth. zzzzzzzzzzzz. fin.

The boy is magic ...And nothing's gonna stop us now.



For all of you wonderful men and women and friends and family who come and read this blog. For all of your amazing children who inspire you to be brilliant writers and thinkers and humans. For all you feminists and masculists and Barbie haters and cynics and optimists and assholes and activists and hotties and preggos and single parents and happily married family types and grandmothers and great-grandmothers (Hi Grandma!!) and internet google-perverts who found this site by googling "poop on my mom" and the prudes who curse sex and anything mildly orgasmic and the pubescent teens looking for tampon-inserting diagrams and writers and readers and conservatives and liberals and lovers and fighters and protestors and soldiers and people who hug really tight without pulling away immediately. And people who don't vote but like to complain about the government, the fearless and the scared out of their minds.

Because like it or not, all of our differences create a dialogue and awareness and give us the room to grow as people and parents, to create opinions and movements and revolutions.

When I think of Thanksgiving I think of people opening up their doors, families putting the past behind them and loving each other despite the broken promises, missed opportunities, "disfunction".

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. And for those of you who do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm flat-out grateful for you, too, and wish you all a lovey-dovey-life-is-goody weekend full of joy.

Off to Colorado.


Flying With a Child 101

Tomorrow I take "the test" for the first time, and/or I join the mile-high-club (the non-sexual, more nerve-wracking one.)

And as someone who has never taken a child on an airplane I have several questions for you, my superiors:

1. What is your secret to a fulfilled flight? (If there even is such a thing.)

2. How do you occupy your child (at 18 months.) DVD's? Firecrackers? Beer?

3. What about the ear-popping? Does Wrigleys make Baby gum?

4. How does one watch a DVD on a tray-table WITH a baby on her lap. Isn't that squishy?

5. How much money does one bring to pay off the grouch baby-hater that I am assuming will be sitting right next to me?

6. Does Alaskan Airlines boycott breastfeeding and if so, should I fake like I'm nursing Archer to get a rise?

7. Am I freaking out for nothing or is flying-with-child as scary as it sounds?

8. Please don't answer the above question honestly. Lie, people. Tell me I have nothing to worry about.

Thank you in advance,

The Momagement


'Tis the Season?

I didn't grow up in the snow and I can't even remember a measly rainstorm on either Christmas or Thanksgiving my entire youth. Maybe that's me just projecting, though. It must have rained at least once.

Born in New Jersey I resented (a little bit) my parents for moving me to San Diego when I was two and depriving me of snow and autumn leaves and weather. And to this day, I have a bitter taste in my mouth when I hear the words:

"'Tis the season"

Because "season" assumes that there are indeed seasons to speak of. Weather change. A sudden nip in the air.

But for native Southern Californians, our idea of "snow" is the frosting on the windows of fast-food restaurants. Our seasons defined by the assortment of Hallmark cards featured in the holiday isle.

Some nights it was cold enough for a fire but usually it was only because we begged for one. The winter lows in San Diego mean low 60's and on Christmas Eve, we paraded around the house in boxer shorts and t-shirts, instead of the fuzzy pajamas and and scarves so publicized on TV commercials.

Fast forward to present day. Still rooted in So-Cal and Hi, how ya doing...

I always promised myself that as an adult (which I suppose it's time to call myself) I would be living somewhere with seasons. Southern California is not romantic. It's pleasant and temperate and the weather is always the same, but for a writer, a romantic, someone who is happiest in the rain, I always thought I would end up somewhere with a rusty-hinged window sill and plenty of blankets in the closet. Somewhere by a fireplace. With snow-boots by the door.

I own nearly three-dozen coats and close to a dozen pairs of boots, many of which I have never worn before. When I moved to London for a few months I brought most of them with me. It snowed there for two days and although I complained of cold to the locals, I was secretly smiling inside and hoping the snow wouldn't melt so fast.

Because there is no such thing as seasons in Southern California. There is no such thing as snow and leaves that change color and crunch under your flip-flops, which is what I am wearing as I type this. Flip-flops and a wife-beater in late November. At 10pm at night.

Today the thermostat read 93 degrees and after about twenty minutes of running around outside with Archer we had to rest our sweaty selves under the ceiling fan where we panted like dogs until cool down. Sweating our asses off were we. In mid-November. Four days before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday afternoon we leave for Boulder, CO, where my Aunt and Uncle own a condo and where we will be staying for Thanksgiving and through the weekend. I have been checking the weather every day, keeping my fingers crossed for snow, or if nothing else: cold. Something other than this. So I can justify my scarves and the Dolce and Gabbana gloves I bought on a whim years ago and have thus far only worn driving my ex boyfriend's convertible. (I once insisted we drive all the way home from Vegas with the top down in the middle of winter, just to feel the chill.)

The other day, I almost bought snow from a "snow-vendor" at The Grove. He was selling synthetic snow, non-toxic for the holidays.

"Feel it!" He said. "It even feels cold to the touch!"

"Wow! It DOES feel cold to the touch! What a wonderful invention!"

I was sold. I held my snowy-hand out to Archer who grabbed its contents and poured it in his mouth.

"Oh shit!"

I tried to get as much as I could out of his mouth. He smiled.

"No snow for you, ma'am. Your kid's a liability. No snow for you."

"But? But!? He's fine, sir! Please? Just one bag of snow?"

"No. Please leave ma'am. Please just leave."

You probably think I'm crazy. Unless you're from here. Unless you've been born and raised and spent many an hour with Bing Crosby on repeat. "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas..." and then gone to sleep to really dream it.

Because I have never had one. And it always made me sad, resentful of Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving afternoons trying to bundle up against the chill of air-conditioning and lemonade. And now that I am a mother there is a small part of me that feels sad for Archer, that maybe he won't get to experience the seasons. Leaf-crunching and snow-angels and the like.

I digress. It isn't snowing in Boulder, Colorado and the forecast suggests highs in the 60's which although feels more like Fall than our endless summer, isn't exactly the snow-garden I imagined it would be.

"I wish it could snow here one day," I say to Hal.
"No you don't. The snow sucks," he says back. "It gets in the way and you have to shovel every morning just to get your car out of the driveway and it's a real pain in the ass."

But he grew up in New York, a stone's throw from where I was born in New Jersey. Where it snowed all winter long. Where I pined to be.

Of course I had a wonderful childhood and loved growing up in a So-Cal beach town and wouldn't trade it in for the world, except that every year, around this time I wish that I had some memory of this:

And so I make a pact to myself that even if it doesn't snow in Colorado. Or in Los Angeles (because seriously, who am I kidding, right?) that one day I will be able to bring snow home to my family. Somehow. Some way. Snow.


Fear Will Tear Us Apart... Again.

Edited with an addendum below

Tonight I read a fantastic post on Sweet Juniper and after reading through some of the comments I got angry. I know. Anger is bad. Anger is something I try very hard not to possess. But tonight I can't help it. I'm angry.

I know these people are good parents. They are doing their best and trying to protect their children from all the evil in the world. And I know worrying comes with the territory. And I respect that. To a point.

But as a woman who loves men and boys and has a son, I want to scream in the faces of parents who are teaching their daughters to fear boys. To fear "the evil penis". To fear themselves and their bodies.

There are bad guys out there. Tonight I busted one of them who found his way into my chatroom and tried to come on to several of my girls. This makes me angry and sad and after dealing with the situation, we discussed it and then moved on.

There have been bad guys in my life, men who have compromised me sexually and otherwise. Men who embarrass themselves with their shameful harassment. But that is not an excuse. That is not a reason to be afraid...

We must deal with it and move on.

I don't want to hear your excuses for why you shoo boys from your daughters, from yourselves. Because we all have a reason to belittle the opposite sex, and in my opinion men have just as much clearance to do as women do. We are a bunch of fearful neurotic crazy-paths, after all. We're hormonal and we're complete and utter hypocrites.

How does a women who calls herself a "feminist" fear that her daughter will be victimized? Doesn't "feminism" rally behind the strength of women? Doesn't a feminist believe in her own strength as a woman? And that of her daughter as well?

It all goes back to fear. And fear is the sword that separates us. Men from women. Woman from herself.

And maybe I'm the crazy one. (It wouldn't be the first time.) Maybe my being fearless is being naive. And stupid. But more than that I think it has to do with my parents who taught me never to be afraid. And who gave me the greatest gift by doing so. They raised me to feel empowered as opposed to victimized. To face life and not to hide from it, or hide my children. Who are we to tame our children before they even understand what it means to be wild? Who are we to limit their experience with our own closed-minds? Why must our own experience foreshadow what may come of our children's? And don't we remember what it felt like to be a child? Please tell me we do. Because if I'm not mistaken, every single thing my mother told me not to do I did. Twice.

The most fulfilled life is a life lived. A child who is prepared not by fear but by trust. Love. Openness.

I DO NOT want Archer to be afraid. Of himself and of boogie-men and strangers with candy. And if I ever have a daughter I do not want her to be afraid of her body. Or of the "penis." Or growing up. And I want to scream because I know their are parents who are using fear as a way to manipulate their children, because they think that's what is best for them. AND THAT IS SO FUCKING BACKWARDS!

Because Barbie is THE BITCH!

Because a little boy flirted with my little girl. And he was seven-years-old and my daughter is five! FIVE!

Because penises belong to men and men are BAD and they do bad things and objectify women.

Because little boys grow into big-bad-men

Because I was molested as a child and I don't want it to happen to my children.

Well you know what? Fear is the worst kind of molester. Fear rapes the spirit. And the mind.

Little girls are not victims. And little boys who turn their heads when little girls walk by are not evil or perverted or bad. And shame on our society for saying so. Shame on our society for its political correctness and obsessive fear.

A while ago I wrote about going home to San Diego and how two children were expelled for kissing on the playground. In Kindergarten.

Welcome to today-- where being afraid is the only way to make it through elementary school.

Fear is the enemy. And it's trite and cliched but it's true. We are fucking our children up. We are cutting their spirits with our scissors. We are binding them with Caution Tape. With our fears and our lists and our 10 o'clock news. With our horror stories and nightmares and jaded self-importance.

And if this should fall on deaf ears than I'm taking my child and I'm moving us to France or the Moon or someplace other than here... Where little girls aren't being raised in cages. And little boys are allowed to be HUMAN.

The world is not a terrible place. It is only a victim of bad publicity. Protection is our duty as parents but fearlessness is our greatest gift.


Edited to add, in response of comments: If I see another statistic I'm going to be ill. Can anyone name ONE positive stat off the top of their heads? 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce. 1 in 4 women will be raped. Etc. Etc. Infinity.

Please! Tell me one of you knows a positive stat, because I sure as hell can't think of one. And THAT makes me sad.

It makes me sad that we go around throwing statistics to back-up our philosophies instead of opening up our eyes and examining all angles. Everything is relative.

Fear perpetuates itself and statistics are catalysts for negativity and fear. When you go into a marriage knowing you have a 50/50 shot, does that help your marriage? As a woman, knowing you have a 1 in 4 chance of being raped, does that help you? Does it help you understand men? Or fear them? Does it help you love yourself? Or feel weakened? For me, it makes me feel weak and spiteful.

Weakness and spite are not qualities I want for myself or for the people I love, especially not my children.

My point is that, fearlessness is not pushing your child in the lion's cage or into oncoming traffic. It is not showing a child he/she the roof and saying "jump." It is merely educating the child that lions may bite, that cars may speed, but that not ALL cars will hit you. Not all lions will eat you alive. This to me is fearlessness, FACING the issue, instead of being afraid of it.

And The Award For Worst Pick-Up Line EVER Goes To...

Today some old-and-hairy dude pulled over while I was taking a stroll with Archer and the dogs and asked me if I wanted another.

"Huh? Another?"

"Another baby," he said. "I would be happy to give you one." *WINK*WINK*

Unfortunately he drove off before I had the chance to laugh in his face for being such an assfarm*.

Do old-fogie-perverts think women like them to pull over and offer their sad-shriveled-sperm? I mean? What's even the point?

Let's just say hypothetically speaking I said:

"Why yes, sir! I would love to have your baby! In fact, hold these baggies of dog-poop for me while I strip naked right here in the middle of the street!"

I have a feeling he would have driven away even faster, which could only mean, Poopmonkey wanted to either: A. Pay me a compliment (seriously doubt it) or B. Make me feel like a victim. Unfortunately for him he C. Embarrassed himself.

Now I will feel sorry for him for .02 seconds.

Okay, I'm done.

...Oh and speaking of men who embarrass themselves (And yes, this is real):


*Assfarm (adj) -- A person BIGGER than an asshole, and completely full of shit. Horseshit and cowshit and sheepshit and chickenshit. And rotten eggs. And other stuff that stinks.

My Heart (Looks a Little Like Nicole Richie)

If you ripped open my chest to look in at my heart, this is what you would see :

A tiny-little boy's face with giant sunglasses, smiling at the ceiling fan. A drooly-chinned Archer clad in striped pajama jumpsuit laughing away behind the largest sunglasses five bucks at the Melrose Trading Post could buy. I have come to the conclusion that one, if not THE greatest part about being a parent is being able to dress your child up like the the anorexic celebrity of your choice. Today I chose you-know-who.

But seriously, if I had it my way, every day would be baby-in-large-plastic-sunglasses-day.

And so it's like this. Instead of crying over my hipsterectomy, I will rejoice in the cool that exudes from my heart-- striped, sunglass-ed and smiling.

Single hipsters that rock the newest hot-spots may *appear cooler* but my heart wears bigger sunglasses. And they're red, too. With a little gold thing on the sides.


Holy Kratt.

I have a two-part confession to make.

1. Sometimes I let Archer watch TV -- When Archer is a grumpy bat-out-of-hell SOMETIMES I turn on one of eight zillion TiVo'd Sesame Streets or Zoboomafoo(s) and try and distract him with animals and puppets and the overpriced LCD television I have no idea how to even use correctly. (Men and their TV's, eh?)

"Look, Archer! It's a leaping lemur!"
"Eh!" which means "I don't give a shit."

If you aren't familiar with Zoboomafoo it's on before Sesame Street and it's about two hunky, strong, powerful, animal-loving brothers who run around in cargo shorts and talk to animals.

For many weeks I thought they were the "Crap Brothers" which I thought was a funny name for a couple of television personalities for kids. But it's Kratt. Kratt. (I'm sorry but every time they say "We're the Kratt brothers" I hear "Crap." And then I laugh. And then I remember I am not 7 years-old anymore. And then I feel a little sad. )

2. He Never Watches It But I Do -- I love animal-loving hunks. Like Bill Maher for instance? Any time he says anything about PETA or about animal friendliness I salivate. And now I have a special place in my heart for the Kratt brothers. And I watch them. Sometimes all alone. Running around, chasing lemurs and scrubbing elephant trunks. I laugh at their jokes and I shake my head.

"Oh, brothers. You really did it this time," I say, chuckling. "You crazy Kratts."

Sometimes they trek through the jungle and right into my dreams. Sometimes I can't wait for Archer to misbehave just so I can justify watching them dance with snow leopards.

So strong. So smart. So talented. So my favorite show:

And you know what else? Chris and Martin Kratt are not only teaching children how to love animals but they're teaching mothers like me how to love Cargo shorts. I mean... Who knew my fantasies would be cloaked in khaki?


GGC + The Kratt Brothers = Love

GGC Weekend Recs

*With bonus Family & Friends Edition Below!!!

1. Book: The History of Love , By: Nicole Krauss -- A fantastic book, both insightful and beautifully written. One of the great new books to hit shelves. Krauss is the "it girl" of the book world, in my opinion and this book proves why. A New York Bestseller that deserves to be. Buy it if you haven't and prepare to cry, laugh, become green with envy over Krauss' talent.

2. Shopping: Estate Sales -- Last week I went to an estate sale and got some serious loot. I almost forgot how much fun it is to rummage through dead people's closets for their prized possessions.

3. Product: L'Oreal Lash Architect-- Just because I'm a label whore doesn't mean I enjoy and recommend the occasional bargain. Remember Tyra? The. Best. Mascara. Ever. AHHHHHH!!!! OH YEAH! YEAH!

4. Film: Stranger Than Fiction -- I also got to see Borat this week. Genius, of course BUT the real film of the season is Stranger Than Fiction. I left the theatre elated. I can't remember the last time that happened. (Eternal Sunshine?) A perfect film. Well acted. Well written. Perfect.

5. Book (Update): People of Paper (Now OUT in paperback c/or Harcourt) -- Remember when I was super-duper pissed when I found out that McSweeneys wasn't going to print a second edition? Well... Thankfully Harcourt decided to take it on.

I got the chance to meet the author, Salvador Plascencia, Saturday Night @ Book Soup. The fact that there were not thousands of people there for the reading was shocking to me as I believe Plascencia to be the most original literary voice alive. Not only that but Sal-P is undeniably cool in person. (I kind of want to be him, is that wrong?).

If you do not read this book you are doing yourself a disservice. You can read the first few pages, here.

Bonus Family & Friends Edition

1. Cause: Sponsor Russell's Mo: See above photo of Russell's Mo/Mustache. (Yes, it seems we are all a little mustache-obsessed in the GGC familia.) My BIL, Russell, is growing a mustache for a good cause. (How cool is that?) To sponsor Russell's Mo, go here. His registration # is 21539. Support Men's health.

P.S. It seems my brother has ALSO grown a Mo for fun. Oh, boys. Crazy, crazy, boys.

2. Gossip: Hollywood Heartbreaker -- My lovely friend, Chrystie, formerly of Hot Momma Gossip (the lady-mama sold the site and thankfully started a new one.) The lady is a gossip-QUEEN and the interweb is so happy to have her back.

3. Debate: Kristen's radio show. The lovely Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored will be hosting a debate on Blog Talk Radio about parent's issues. Tuesday, November 14th, 7pm. PST.

4. Art: My Mom's Painting Blog -- My Mom has launched her own blog featuring her artwork for sale. Check her out! And tell her HELLO! She's new to the blogosphere and a teensy-bit shy.

5. Taste: My friend and BRILLIANT Children's Chef, Jenifer who's blog features AMAZING recipes for your little person/people.


Changing of the Guard

It was time to change the GGC Blogger icon. The bed-head was cute for a while but Archer has since grown a handsome mustache, and I felt the need to respect his newfound facial hair:

Farewell old icon. Farewell...


Back When We Were Cooler

I used to be a lot cooler. I studied obscure bands and had a vested interest in all things rock. I wiggled my way into conversations with wacked-out people who might enlighten me with original life-experience. I made their stories my own. I knew the back-doors of the right bars. I knew how to crash Oscar parties and get in to sold out shows. My hair was always black or red or platinum blonde. Always short and styled in some kind of sideways-headband concoction. I spent every night at live-music venues and dive bars, tipping back vodka tonics, shooting pool. I made mix CD's for all my friends, introducing them to the hottest new bands. I went to all of the festivals in Europe and America. I spent much of my time becoming familiar with international indie-rock. I made friends with the bands and even went on tour with some rockers I met while traveling. From Bristol to Newcastle, tagging along in the back of the van, straddling an amp, hair tangled in the plug-in wires, like some kind of Medusaesque roadie. (Better than hitchhiking, no?)

My wardrobe was made up of band tees and jeans, big earrings and heavy eye-makeup. I was a groupie, but not in the obvious sense. I liked to watch from the back of the room, the back of the bus, the back of the venue. I was cooler that way.

My friends and I took road trips to San Francisco and the dessert and to secret shows. We'd go and sing along to all the songs. Sometimes when a band was really good, we'd even cry. (*cough* Low *cough*)

When I met my husband I was a little sad we didn't have the same/similar taste in music. He's a trained classical musician and always thought my "three-chord-rock" was well, "three chord rock."

He was never into my music collection or knowledge or dresser-drawer of ticket-stubs.

But it didn't matter. I had always listened to the music that moved me. Made me feel. Think. Dance. And some of the greatest moments in my life have been slathered in "three-chord" indie-rock ballads and "three chord" feel-good dance-tunes.

Saturday night I went out with some friends. Dinner and drinks. Chatter. People watching. My cousin was visiting from San Francisco and we met up with some other old friends who just moved to L.A.

"Let's go somewhere cool, Bec!"

"Okay! I'd love to!"

It was silent.

"Oh. I don't know what's cool anymore," I said.

"Hmm. Well we can go somewhere uncool, too. That's fine."

"Okay, good. I'm clueless these days. I don't really go out anymore, you know.

As the only person in my group of friends (and family) with a child, this is often shocking to hear and I have to admit, sometimes shocking to say. If you would have quoted my now-self to my four-years-ago self (when all of these photos were taken) I would have laughed, rolled my eyes and then gone back to digging through bargain bins at Amoeba.

Today I realized that the last time I even purchased an album was over a year ago. The new Cat Power in support of my wacked-out girl-crush.

While out on the town with my people I was approached by an old friend.


"Hey Jen!"

"It's been FOREVER!"

"I know it!"

"How's the baby."

"He's good. And you?"

"Good! Very good! This is my boyfriend so-and-so and we're just about to go see The So-And-So Band at the El Rey."

"The So-And-So-Band?"

"Yeah. You know... The So-And-So?"

I shook my head. "I've never heard of them."

Her eyes went wide and then she shrugged. Her boyfriend gave me the "you're so not cool" eyes and I felt myself curling at the edges like an old photograph.

"I haven't really kept up with the music scene. I'm super busy and..."

"Well, they're really good. You should check them out. You know, if you have time or whatever."

"Yeah. Okay. Have a fun show."

They turned and walked off in their skinny jeans and skinny ties and tapered jackets and visible tattoos, leaving me alone on the pavement wrapped in my pashima. I felt like a hipster bomb exploded, leaving me, a sore-thumb IN A FREAKING pashima on Sunset amidst the ashes of Parliament Lights and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I may as well have tattooed MOM on my forehead. I was a tourist in my own town. I was on the outside. And even if I wanted to back into a corner with my cigarettes and my sunglasses, it was too dark, too late, too different.

Eventually the student becomes the teacher. The cool kids sell-out, or settle down or don't have time for their old lives, but I don't want to end up alone without my soundtrack. I don't want to end up one of the people who don't have time so just this morning, I tuned in to Pandora. I revisited Sunny Say Real Estate and Tindersticks and Stratford 4 and Matt Pond PA and Looper and Mojave 3 and The Delgados and all of my favorite bands and let Pandora introduce me to the new stuff I've been missing out on over the past three years. (Thanks for the reminder, David and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my brilliant, beautiful brother.)

Because regardless if I'll ever be as cool as I used to (think) I was, there is always time for record stores and college radio. Because it's important to me. Music isn't just something else to hear. Music is a big part of my life, er it was, I should say, BUT I'm ready to rock again. I may have grown out my hair and outgrown my party-girl days but not my boombox taped with band stickers.

Just because I have a child doesn't mean I can't be independent. Just because I'm a mother doesn't mean I should hide my favorite punk-rock CD's from the stereo and tune in to Classical KUSC every single-dingle day. It's all about the mix and what sounds good.

Growing up doesn't mean growing out of your favorite shoes, not if they make you happy, not if they're good for dancing.

I may not have the hair or the wardrobe or know where the back-door bars are or have insider information anymore, but I still want to rock out. With my tattooed kid as my dance-partner and my decaf coffee and the uncensored content of life.

Because life is all about the mix. The deleted tracks and the B-sides and the occasional cover. The remixes and the imports and the bootleg tracks you have to really hunt for.

Go ahead and take my cool, but please let me keep my music.


The Curious Incident With the Dead Cats Every Morning

Updated with crime notes below:

Lordy knows I'm not a cat person. At all. In fact I am borderline hateful of all things feline. I would rather mourn an ant, a spider or even a scorpion than a cat BUT I am in fact human, and after a week of dead cats on our street I am beginning to think I should do something. (The current damage = six dead cats in seven days.)

Our neighborhood is overrun with stray cats, you see. Cats that poop in our teensy-yard (not pleasant), cats that poop in everyone's teensy yards and they seem to have multiplied recently. (I'm guessing in one block we have nearly two dozen strays, not including those who have perished. RIP.)

I'm not sad that they're dead. I'm just a little grossed out. And afraid. For my own animals. No one fucks with my family and someone fucking with the neighborhood cats is getting a little too close to home j'aheard? (I know the sanitation dude by name now. It's Chuck.)

I have become somewhat of a detective and have three such theories of who is responsible for this strange and freaky incident.

1. My neighbor, who is currently a nervous wreck over the whole thing, might just be bluffing -- They are, after all, dying in her front yard, under her car, on the front steps. Her yard is very well-manicured and her entire extended family was up in arms today questioning me among other neighbors. It seems a little fishy, don't you think? Her perfectly manicured yard going to hell and a litterbox?

2. The nudist who lives behind us was a former catlady who's collection got out of control -- She's notorious for picking up the newspaper naked in the mornings and has one of those houses that reeks of patchouli and cheap scented candles (she keeps the doors open for some reason and is easy to spy on.) She has recently gone from cat person to dog person and is perhaps replacing the cats with, well, dead cats. She also lives directly behind the deadzone. Coincidence?

3. I am a witch-- I have said more than once, "Darn cats! Why don't you DIE ALREADY!" Maybe I accidentally killed them with my so-secret-I-don't-know-about-them-powers. Now I will experiment with certain violent thoughts about certain U.S. leaders.

I would have called some sort of authority by now but I have instead decided to solve the murder mystery myself. I have a camo-suit and some black paint. I'm not afraid to sleep-out in Archer's sailboat-sandbox. I also have rigged a motion detective system and a booby trap with a garden hose and two stepping-stones.

Time will tell, people. I will be updating this post with new news as soon as it comes. Viva la Junior Detective-ing!

11:22am Update: Thus far, no cats have been found dead, at least none that I have seen (I have gone on two stealth missions with my associate, Archer. Will be making the rounds again later this afternoon...)

7:03 Update: Today has been a slow day on the case. Archer and I hid out in the backyard for several hours but no suspicious behavior was seen or overheard. Our trusty dog, Watsoncooper didn't smell anything fishy besides Zadie's breath and the street was as quiet as a mouse. In fact, all through the day not a single cat was seen. Perhaps they decided to hide out? Either that or it' is indeed true what Junior Detective CryitOut said about the cat-cult. Why is it that the damn suicidal cults follow me around? (The Heaven's Gate creepy suicide-hale bob mission-thing happened not even a mile from where I grew up.) Regardless, this is my current theory but it could all change by morning. That is... If there IS a morning.

And now I shall smoke my pipe by the fireplace...


Maybe it's True What They Say About Angelenos...

... They're not the sharpest tools in the shed.

The remain of Archer's Halloween Costume are still in full force. One would think I do not bathe my child but on the contrary. The only place I can control Archer's chaos is in the tub, where we read and sing songs and he poops on my lap at least twice a day. I digress, the tattoos have not rubbed away and some of them look just as they did the day I applied them with water and washcloth. (For some reason the pacifiers with flames will NOT rub off. Neither will the various anchors and nautical stars. Neither will the sparrow on his face).

I kind of like it. It's cute and I'm definitely a fan of GOOD tattoos in their various shapes and forms and Archer's temp tats are Retro-fabulous. You will see no butterflies. No Japanese characters of hope/faith/love and/or astrological signs. (And yes I have all of the aforementioned on my body. And yes I was 16. And yes I'm aware that they are about as original as a bad tribal-tattoo on a porn-star in the Valley. And yes you can talk shit all you want but I DO have some tasteful tattoos. Several, actually. In fact my entire coming of age is mapped out permanently for all to see.)

But once again, I digress... The point that I have been TRYING to get at is this: Some people believe it when I tell them Archer's tattoos are real. Some people aren't as stupid as others. Others are... um... well... not well.

"Does your baby have tattoos?"

"Yeah. Aren't they sweet?"

"Wait. Those aren't real are they?"

"Actually, yeah they are."

"Get out! Seriously? Wow! How did you even get him to hold still for all that work? He must have an INSANE threshold for pain."

"Totally he does. You should have seen him during his circumcision? He was like, Psh. Is that all you got?"

Sometimes they know I'm joking of course. Sometimes they truly believe I am swear-to-heyzues-serious. (Help.)

I'm either an exceptionally good liar or THEY are just dumb as shit.

"But aren't they cool!? Tattoos are cool. And my son is cool. Maybe you should get your kid sleeved up. I mean... If YOU were cool you would. Oh and P.S. He also smokes cigarettes. Unfiltered. And he rolls them himself. Can you say, triple-cool?"

And they believe me. The blondes with their Kitson bags and the Grandma-mas at the playground think I'm some sort of DIY tattoo artist for toddlers. No dirty looks, only puzzled tilts of the head.

How so-very alternative."

Thanks. It's REALLY super-important for my kid to stick out in the YMCA daycare-crowd."

Sometimes I love Los Angeles. Truly, anything here goes. Tattooed toddlers are not beyond the realms of reality, and in this wondrous city of actors, professional liars, fakers and phonies, I get to hide behind Archer's faux-ink and say with the straightest face possible, "Yes, bitches. They ARE real... High time you had your toddler sleeved up."

Because seriously, people. What are you waiting for?


When the Children Disappear

The Original Perfect Post Awards

I seldom talk about my job here or anywhere else, probably because there is so much to say. Words hard to hold back. Moments impossible to ignore, children so inspiring it is hard not to get emotionally carried away.

For the past three years I have hosted an online chatroom five nights a week where I get to hang out and talk to children and teenagers with terminal and chronic illness. Some of them live in the hospital. Some of them live at home. Some of them have a limited time to live. Some have forever, but must live their lives in terrible pain and/or discomfort. In and out of hospitals. In and out of comas. In and out of labs and testing facilities. In and out of, what we might call "a normal life."

And yet they are happy. They are seldom afraid. They are positive and thoughtful and loving. They hug one another with their words. They LOL. They joke about death like it's some kind of punchline and have in three years taught me how to laugh with them. How to be unafraid of death, and more importantly, of life. Living wholeheartedly. Pedal to the metal. They have taught me not to fear illness, no matter how hopeless the odds seem, and not to pity those who I once called "less fortunate." They have taught me not to be afraid for Archer but to enjoy him. They have taught me not to fear giving birth to a child who needs special care. They have turned me into someone who can mourn a death and move on.

This is one of the greatest gifts a person could receive, I think. Not to be afraid. A mother especially.

When Archer was born healthy, I was almost shocked. As a young mother with no parents as friends, all I had known were sick children. I felt like I had won the lottery having a healthy baby. I wondered, "why me?" Why am I so lucky? Because I was. I am. So lucky.

Quite often there are children in the chatroom who disappear. I like to think that maybe they healed miraculously and no longer need us. I like to imagine their tumors shriveling, their cancer cells blowing away like dried leaves. I often pretend that Pediatric HIV and Muscular Dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis are like colds, soon to pass after some rest and chicken soup. That when the children disappear from the chatroom they will reappear in school, Jansport backpacks and books under their arms. Back to health. Back to normalcy. Back to cute boys and baseball and Winter Formals. Back to childhood.

One of my favorite children recently disappeared. She has stage four Leukemia but we don't talk about that. For the past two months she has logged on when I work and we have talked. About everything. About cupcakes and cute boys and riding horses. We've danced and played games and wrote silly raps. We made-believe I could bust her out of the hospital so we could spend a day at the beach. She hadn't been to the beach in two years. She hadn't been out of her hospital room in months. At age 13, the last time we spoke she was 48 pounds. Part of her brain was missing and even still, she was brilliant. Her heart had been replaced and yet she had more love inside of her than almost anyone. Her legs were too weak to walk on, yet she had the power to move everyone around her.

Wherever she is, I am at peace. If she does not come back, I am at peace.

Before I was a mother I wished with all my might that the children would survive so they could have lives of their own. Now, as a mother I wish for their parents. I wish for their strength and for their ability to reach beyond the fear and to know how lucky they are to have known and birthed such extraordinary human beings.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had the same fears all mothers have. Will he be healthy? Will everything end up okay?

A mother's worst fear is of course that he will not be okay. It is unnatural for a parent to bury their child and yet women have been doing so from the beginning of time, finding the strength to move on because we have the capacity to do so. We do. The reality is that there are many children in pain. That they suffer, that they die.

And yet we keep turning away when we see it walking down the street. It keeps us safe and our children and our families. Ignore the symptoms. The sick belong in the hospital. Wear a mask.

Every time a head is turned, a child feels more isolated. It isn't real. Like the monster under the bed. I need a nightlight and a pillow for my eyes. Mommy? Make it go away.

Disease is all around us. Children are dying. Don't look away. Don't pretend it isn't so. Don't hide the truth from your children.

When you hide the truth from your children, they think its okay to turn away.

The organization I work for was launched so that sick children could interact with other children like them and feel less alone. It's very common for a sick child's friends to abandon him because they are afraid of what they don't understand. This is natural. A child cannot be faulted for being afraid of chemotherapy or paralysis or losing a friend. It is up to the parents to educate the children. This is not something they teach in school.

Ignorance keeps inspiration from happening. Ignorance separates the sick from the healthy when there is so much to learn from either side. The sick depend on the healthy for physical survival but the healthy do not look to the sick for emotional healing. And we should. It is impossible to be depressed around a beaming child who, unafraid and uninhibited will ask you to dance with her in her hospital gown. It is hard to be afraid when those we expect to tremble take our hands to hold us in place.

"Everything is going to be okay, I promise." Sometimes the children say this to each other. Sometimes they say it to me.

Their screen names are livelife and allsmiles and sunshine14. They do not take life too seriously. They do not point fingers or put blame on things like adults do. It is not anyone’s fault that a child is born with HIV. She does not think so. She thinks she is lucky for having the strength to take on such a challenge.

Children are not jaded. They do not live in denial. Never once has a child said "why me?" Never once has a child wished he/she had never been sick. Not in three years.

"I am not afraid to die. I am afraid for those I will leave behind."

"Because my mother's in denial."

"My father's in denial."

"My parents and grandparents are in denial."

Turn away, toward the light, where everyone is healthy and alive and enjoying their macaroni & cheese. Where children live to become adults and mothers give birth effortlessly to healthy babies. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Turn away from the bald child in the supermarket. You don't want to stare. You don't want to know. Wait, you looked. You shouldn't have looked.

Sometimes it's better to stare than to ignore.

Because every day, there are children disappearing. They disappear from our chatrooms, passing from one world to another. They disappear in the grocery store when we pretend we don't see them out of the corner of our eye. They disappear when we cannot bear to look the truth in the face and see that sickness is everywhere. That even when our children are healthy, there are parents who aren't so lucky.

We can prepare ourselves for cancer in adults. Wear bracelets. Create Cancer Awareness months, but what of the children? Why can't we be just as aware that there is such a thing as Hepablastoma? Why can't we talk about it openly? Like we do with Breast Cancer and MS and Parkinsons? Why must we turn away instead of discussing the tremendous grief we feel when a friend's newborn child is diagnosed with a chronic illness, when God forbid the baby does not have ten fingers and ten toes? But I don't know what to say. Only because you don't want to know. Because it can be hard to know. Because it is a parent's worst nightmare...

But what if we discussed it openly? Perhaps if we weren't so afraid. Think positive! Think positive! It won't happen to me, or my child, or my child's friends...

Open your eyes. There are children who are sick and different and in pain. There are children in need of heart-transplants and kidneys and hugs from their peers who turn away, unable to handle the truth. Here. It is happening now! In your own neighborhood.

Please don't let the children disappear without acknowledging them first. Please don't hide the truth from your own kids. Please don't tell them to look away, from Leukemia and Pediatric HIV and Sickle-Cell Anemia. From Cystic Fibrosis and Crohns disease and Muscular Dystrophy, Lymphoma and Neuroblastoma and the countless other pediatric diseases.

Every time you look away, the children disappear.

We will always be afraid of what we don't know or can't understand so we must educate ourselves and try to be more understanding, so we can pass that on to our children, children who right now are turning away at the sight of a bald child in a wheelchair, because it isn't nice to stare.

I am the luckiest woman in the world to have been able to meet the children I have met. I am so lucky to have the perspective. To have been given the gift of reality. Of seeing sickness every day.
Because it's everywhere. Because we should not be afraid of what we do not understand. Just because there are shark attacks, does not mean we shouldn't go night-swimming. Just because there are plane crashes doesn't mean we should not see the world. Just because there is illness and sickness and children born with health problems does not mean we should be afraid for our futures. Just because there is death does not mean we should turn away from life...
These are the words of the children I have met, children who aren't afraid of death, but are afraid of disappearing, children who have more strength than we can possibly imagine and who, if given the chance, can tell us, "everything is going to be okay."

Let us open our eyes for them. And let us open our eyes for our sakes as well, because they're right, everything is going to be okay.


Our Little Freak Show

The mustache ended up looking a little like Salvador Dali, but other than that...

I think the costume came out pretty good... Now presenting, The World Famous Illustrated man!!!

And his Mom, The Bearded Biotch:

(The Bearded Biotch lost most of her beard when the double-sided tape started to peel in the car on the way to our party. I swear it was a REALLY good beard at one point complete with a mustache, even!)

The Illustrated Man has a world famous blue ball:

"Give me back my blue ball, Bearded Biotch!"

Halloween happened to be the bearded biotch's favorite holiday:

Maybe Halloween will be his favorite holiday, too.

Adorable tattoo pants made by our friends @ babyfairies. (Thank you!)

More freaky photos here.

Happy Halloween!