Category Archives: Jillian

Pink stuff

The Jillian turned six last week. I’m not sure how that happened, since I am still rocking baby weight, but there it is. She is six years old.

For her birthday, we threw the now-annual raging backyard bash, and of course there were gifts because I forgot (no, really – I actually forgot) to put “no gifts” on her invitations. I wrestled with the etiquette of that for a long time, too.

So, gifts happened. And I have to say, our friends and Jillian’s friends really came through with some awesome stuff. Crafty stuff and some Transformers and a metric ton of Hello Kitty things, an Easy-Bake Oven thingy (not an actual Easy-Bake oven, however. I fear those are going extinct for real now because where can you get a 100-watt bulb that’s not a CFL?) and the ever-popular gift cards.

I am a huge fan of gift cards, as it happens. Some folks say they show a lack of thought or creativity in gift-giving, but I say bring ’em on! I am totally cool with the gift cards, man!

With gift cards in hand, we went to our local Backwards Letter Toy Store (are there any others anymore?) and made our way directly to…


The Barbie Aisle.

I know. I am deeply conflicted about it. On the one hand, gender stereotypes blahblah body image blah blah unrealistic bling doo dee girly girly girly blerg. I get it. I took way more than my fair share of Womyn’s Studies courses in college and I know allllll about the whole “Barbie Thing.” On the other hand, I had what can only be described as a shit-ton of Barbie stuff when I was a kid. Including the mega-awesome Town House (with an elevator!!!) and I spent days and days dressing and undressing Barbie and her friends and coming up with ever more outlandish outfits for them. And I’m mostly okay. So IIIIII GETTTTT ITTTTTT.



I managed to avoid it for awhile, I must say. I know of little girls who were gnawing on their Barbies before they could even walk and that is something I worked diligently to AVOID. I wanted Jillian to be able to develop her creativity and all that jazz without this blonde mutant overshadowing it. For the most part, I think I succeeded.

This past week, I sent Jillian and What’s-His-Name down to the beach with What’s-His-Name’s brother and family. Longtime readers of my various blogs (especially the previous incarnation) will understand why I didn’t go along. Anyway, What’s-His-Name’s SIL gave Jillian a Cinderella Barbie, and the rest, as they say, is becoming history.

Cinderella and Barbie in the same toy? Might was well just shoot me in the face (which I’m sure is the dearest wish of some)!

“We can make this work,” I thought to myself. There are ways around it! With that in mind, we wandered up and down The Barbie Aisle, and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with the offerings. There are lots of different dolls, but they all seem pretty specialized as to what they can wear or do. The plastic seems a little more flimsy than what my Barbies were made out of, and I’ll tell you right now that the Barbie dolls of today would never hold up to the abuse we inflicted on mine back in the day. Did you know Barbie was a high-jumper? Over electrical wires? She was.

The clothing selection is equally disappointing. Everything is very pretty, but the “fabrics” that the clothes are made from seem a little shoddy and cheap. THIS MAKES ME SAD because my Barbie’s clothes were really rad. I had Golden Dream Barbie who dressed like a Soul Train dancer but had hair like Raquel Welch. I had Crystal Barbie, who had the absolute best irridescent dress ever, and if I get married again I’d like to reproduce that. In fact, I might attempt that dress anyway and wear it everywhere, all the time.

The Barbies now seem so… lame. And I’m trying very hard to look at them as objectively as I can (if that’s even possible – can one look at Barbie objectively?) and I’m saddened by the fact that the quality is rather terrible. If you’re going to perpetuate gender stereotypes, at least do it with some attention to quality! Go big or go home!!

The thing is, Jillian doesn’t give a shit about any of that. She doesn’t care if Barbie’s body is impossible in real life. She doesn’t know or care about any of the controversy that has surrounded Her Blondeness over the years. She just sees a doll with outfits that she can change and mix and match and OMG SHOES and and and and and!!!! AND!! For a budding “fashion star,” this might be a good toy to have.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go braid Barbie’s hair.

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Yesterday was spent basically freaking out all over the place, so I didn’t write. That means today you get two posts, even though this one is going to be pretty short.

Here is a small glimpse into what I’m dealing with here:

Jillian: Mama, you know what my favorite thing is about Valentine’s Day?

Me: No, what is it?

Jillian: I like all the hearts because they mean love and we should love everybody in the world.

Me: Everybody? Wow, that’s really nice.

Jillian: Well, not bad guys.

Me: Why not?

Jillian: They’re bad guys! You can’t love them.

Me: Maybe if you tried to love them, they wouldn’t be bad guys anymore.

Jillian: No, we should just shoot them. With guns.

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Jillian’s art has really improved a lot lately, and she’s better able to explain the things she creates. Right now we’re in the middle of a flag-making phase and they’re all Thanksgiving-themed.

J: Mama, this one is your flag.

Me: Ohhhhhkay, what did you draw on it?

J: It’s a turkey but just the body and tail because they cut the head off of it and ate it.

Me: Uh. Well. Okay then.

J: They’re gonna eat the rest of it too, but I had to draw it first. I put a dragon on it, though.

Me: What about the other flags you made?

J: Oh, we aren’t going to eat those turkeys. They’re going to be part of my Turkey Ninja Army.

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It’s no secret that Jillian is totally my kid. She’s strange and loud and stubborn and loves office supplies and now, it appears that she is a list-maker.

The parents used to make us make lists for Xmas every year. We’d get out the BEST catalog and page through the toy section, marking down what toy we wanted along with which page it was on. Things got really detailed at our house, but hindsight shows me that it was my stoner parents’ way of making sure they got the right things.

This is the first year that we really have to deal with Jillian having opinions on things. She doesn’t watch a lot of TV with commercials, so there’s not too much “BUY ME THAT” going on, but she does have things that she sees in stores or wherever that she thinks she wants. My job is to figure out what to get her that she will actually spend some time playing with.

Last year was easy – she got crayons and art stuff and a box of computer paper. This year is going to be tricky. I’m looking at the beginning of her list and it says “Ponies” and “Dog.” Uh oh.

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One Bad Mother

I am a very lazy mom. It stands to reason that this would be the case, given that I am just a lazy bastard in general.

But I think being a lazy mom makes me a much better mom than I otherwise might be. You see, by not being scheduled and structured out the yin-yang, The Jillian and I are much better suited to disruptions in the routine.

I’ve seen it on Facebook, where there’s no school and all of a sudden, moms are freaking out, going “What am I going to do all day?” This is why there are so many indoor germ farms play spaces in my part of New Jersey. This explains why Chuck E Cheese exists. It sure as hell isn’t because these kinds of places are SO SUPER AWESOME, it’s because PARENTS ARE UNIMAGINATIVE. Or they hate their children. Either one is equally possible.

It takes A LOT to get me into one of those indoor play spaces. If it’s a kid’s birthday, fine. I will probably roll my eyes and complain and make bitchy comments under my breath and coat both Jillian and myself in Purell before and afterwards, but I will probably go.

So far in my five years of parenting, I have managed to avoid the Chuck E Cheese. There was a birthday party there but as luck would have it, Freddie and I were gallivanting around Scotland at the time so my poor mother had to go in my stead. I’m only a tiny bit sorry about that, mostly because I probably would have twisted Freddie’s arm and made HIM go, had we been in the country.

So what DO we do on days like this?

Well. We watch too much TV, for starters. 2 hours of My Little Pony, to be exact. Then we color. And have a snack. And chase the cat around the house. Then we have lunch. After lunch we went to the park, and while at the park we decided that there just wasn’t enough cake in the world, so we went to the grocery store for cake supplies. Right now, we’re making a cake and having a dance party. Tomorrow we might go to the park again, or maybe we’ll go to the pool and splash the old ladies doing their aquaerobics! Maybe we’ll go to the yarn store and hug the yarn. We will definitely watch Spinal Tap.

We SHOULD be folding laundry, but that’s too much like work.

I love my kid. I don’t find her boring. I do occasionally want to duct-tape her mouth shut, but that’s usually because she won’t stop singing. I don’t resent the days off school because we have more fun together than anybody I know. Between coloring and putting stickers on the cat and costume changes, there are very few dull moments in our life that would require a trip to one of those god-awful play spaces that so many suburban parents seem to love. I get it, but then again, I don’t. Have some imagination, people. Try a little harder.

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Giving Thanks – Day 2

Today I am giving thanks for the second-best person I know: The Jillian. She makes me laugh every single day and amazes me constantly. Whether she’s busily cutting out a crown for every member of the family or doing her Sprockets-style dance moves, she is a joy to watch.

She has taught me more about patience and happiness than anyone or anything ever. She saved my life.

I was pretty lost before she arrived. I hated my job and it was taking me to dark places. When I got knocked up, I had to quit my anti-depressants cold-turkey so I spent that first month being nauseated and having the weird electrical pulse feelings of SSRI withdrawal going through my head. That was honestly as uncomfortable as my pregnancy got.

She was a great baby, a hilarious toddler, a challenging pre-schooler and has turned into quite the kindergartener. I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring until she becomes a teenager and starts to hate me. Until then, this is what my life is like:

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Everywhere, all the time

Weekends, man. They ain’t what they used to be. Time was, we’d get off work (sneaking out early) on Friday, close down the damn bar, get up on Saturday to have brunch at the diner and then head back to the bar. Sundays were strictly for hangovers and laundry and the occasional grocery run.

Then we went and had a kid, and it busted our whole routine. I can’t remember the last time I was at a bar for last call. Oh wait – London 2009, we closed down the pub and stayed for a good three hours afterwards, shooting the shit with the owner. But that was vacation, and thus does not count. I still have almost zero recollection of how we got back to our hotel that night.

Anyway, weekends are precious gems these days, moreso now that Jillian has started school. We try to do Shabbat on Friday night, with candles and challah and whatnot, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. We’ll have to start going to services every now and again, though. It’s required for Hebrew school.

Saturdays are for errand running and lawn mowing (and grass clipping dropping offing), mostly. Sundays are now a shitshow of Hebrew school and whatever didn’t get done on Saturday. No rest, bitches!

Today, especially. We got up later than I’d hoped and so instead of having Jillian go to the early session of Hebrew school, she went to the regular time but only for an hour. I dropped her off, hit up the bookstore for coffee, and planned to get a bagel but the line was too long and I was running late already. Picked up the kid, and had to drive around the whole damn universe to get home because the town was closed for the parade. We pulled into the driveway, I dashed inside to grab a piece of bread to feed the child for lunch (mother of the year, is what I am) and we headed over to the train station to meet up with the rest of the Daisy troop for parade line-up.

Then we waited. And waited. And waaaaaaaited. Finally, almost two hours after we got there, we stepped off and paraded our way through town. Luckily, the parade ended on our side of town, so we said our goodbyes and Jillian and I dragged ourselves home. I had planned to do the grocery shopping AND the laundry today but those things will have to wait until tomorrow. I’m going to take a nap.

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School Daze

Two and a half days of school are in the books. The first day was deemed “boring,” the second day was “much more funner,” and today was “super fun!”

That whooshing sound you might be hearing is my gigantic sigh of relief. I have been stressing about this milestone for a good two weeks now, mostly because My Special Snowflake is starting her journey in a much different world than the one I grew up in. She’s on a path that I can only follow so far, and all those things I haven’t had to worry about yet are closer on the horizon than they were a week ago. Will she like school? Will she make friends? Will she get the attention she needs when she needs it? Will the school tell me if she’s struggling? So many questions, starting with “What door do we go in?”

So far, so good. Based on what we learned in orientation (way back in May), the half-day is just jam-packed. I worry that it’s almost *too* packed and that in order to hit whatever benchmarks they need to hit, they’re throwing too much at the kids. I worry that I won’t be able to find videos of The Letter People on YouTube (I haven’t looked yet) to show Jillian the utter insanity that was kindergarten in the 80s.

But it’s all fine. The pendulum has swung from “I don’t think we’re doing enough this summer” to “oh, wow, we have SO MUCH STUFF going on.” School, Daisy Troop, Hebrew School, swimming lessons, and piano (later this year when we, you know, acquire a piano). In order to really keep up with the suburbs, we should probably add Thai cooking, Japanese lessons, ballet, and watercolor.


Anyway, school is finally happening. After I dropped her off today, I went out to pick up her Daisy uniform stuff and it felt weird to be in the car without my sidekick, chattering away behind me, or singing along to Editors songs and demanding Kings of Leon. There was that moment of total freakout “WHERE IS THE KID” followed by “ohhhhh. Right.”

2024 is going to be here before I know it.

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First day of Pre-K!


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So, it turns out that the kid needed to get glasses. She went for her 4-year well-child visit and they did the hearing and vision screen and went, “Um, whoa.” So off to the eye doctor we went. The eye doctor also went, “um, whoa.” But the result is SO FREAKING CUTE! I DIE!

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