Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who am I fooling?

Imposture. Poser. Phony. As I have moved from an adolescent to an adult, and taken on the role of wife, mother and "senior" recruiter, I have continually felt as though I am simply faking it.

My first year of marriage, I loved the way the way the word "husband" felt in my mouth. I would let the phrase "my husband" roll off my tongue and hang in the air, announcing my grown up status to anyone who would listen. But even though people acknowledged me as a married woman and called me Ms. Kargas without flinching, I still felt like I was making believe, like I was playing a part. The part of spouse. The role of a woman who had a full set of matching dishes and and a joint checking account. Months after exchanging vows and wearing the white dress, I still felt the same. I still felt like a 21 year old kid who had just earned the right to order a glass of wine with dinner at Applebees.

I had a similar experience adjusting to motherhood. I remember scheduling Zachary's first appointment with the pediatrician. "Hello" I told the receptionist over the phone "I need to schedule an appointment for my son" The word sounded so foreign to me, and I half expected the woman on the other end of the line to object, "No, you could not possibly be the mom". And even though I often still feel like a child, nobody seems to look shocked or surprised when I tell them that I am the mother of two.

And today, as I headed to work on the BART, dressed in my stylish knee high boots and my trench coat, a newspaper tucked under my arm, I almost felt like I was the adult that I was trying to imposture. Then it happened. As I walked from the platform and onto the train , I scanned the car for a place to sit. With no available seats, I found a spot near the side where I thought I could lean my body into the wall for support and read my paper. I stood there, feeling like a true adult, opening up the business section of the San Francisco Chronicle when the train lurched ahead and gravity failed me. I pitched forward and fell into the lap of the man seated directly across from me, sending my smart newspaper into the air, and his laptop onto the floor. He grabbed for his computer and grumbled as I tried to compose myself. I apologized profusely, and he looked at me with a mix of empathy and disdain. Amateur, he must have thought. Silly girl, you have to hold on to the bar. What an idiot.

What a phony.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mama's Girl

My mom and stepfather, David just left after visiting us for eight days. I already miss them. It was a great visit. I won't be seeing them again until August and it seems too long.

My relationship with my mother is one of the reasons I craved having my own little girl. We are very close. Close enough that we are often at each other's throats, the woman knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else on this planet, and I know that I can throw a rather immature tantrum in her presence. But also close enough that she is a true friend. I love her company. We are two peas in a pod. We like shopping and drinking wine and gossiping. Best of all she likes listening to me. She wants to know every detail of my life. Who else but a mother would? She rarely talks about herself when we are together, instead she wants to hear about my kids, my friends, my job, my latest blog post, you get the idea. The woman actually accompanies me to watch me get my nails done. I am that interesting to her. I am not that interesting to anyone else in the world, not even my own husband.

But that is the way it is with parents. When they are around you get to be the kid, even when you are 35 and have two small children to care for. I remember when my grandfather passed away (in his nineties), my mother told me how much she missed that feeling, that feeling of being some one's child. I can imagine that.

I am a lucky woman, a grown mama of two who still who gets to be my mother's little girl.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sex in the city for the working mom

When I was 25 I worked for a very uncool company. They sold magazine subscriptions to club members who were interested in hunting and tools. There was a stuffed water buffalo in our front lobby and the staff was comprised of bland suburbanites who delighted in "hotdish" at our company potlucks. In order to assimilate, I began to dress the part. I bought a sweater from Talbot's that was decorated with embroidered cats. I looked like I was 65 years old. I got fat. I was a Minnesotan.

Today, at 35 I went to work at a very hip office in downtown San Francisco. There is a foosball table in the middle of the "open" cubicles. Everything is sleek and sterile. The staff is young, ambitious, bright and dressed in clothing I cannot afford on a mommy budget. They go out to lunch every day. I am sure there are many happy hours, that even if I were invited to, I could not attend. I have to catch the BART to get home to relieve the nanny by 6pm. No cocktails for this working gal. So I am thinking, why the hell didn't I do this when I was 25? Why did I wait until I was a truly responsible adult to make the move to the big city? If I were ten years younger I could be a glamorous rising start at a hip PR agency. I could buy designer shoes and work late, climbing the ladder, getting promotions. I could sip cosmopolitans with my colleagues at a posh martini bar on Market Street and get my clothes washed and folded at a downtown dry cleaners. I could live in a little San Francisco apartment and go jogging in Golden Gate Park every weekend.

But instead now the trip into the city is a hassle. I look at my watch and remember that the nanny's clock is ticking and the commute is costing me more than the BART ticket. My boys are at home, and waiting for their mommy. And every day when I am in the big city I'll think to myself, I left my heart in Berkeley.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The next six weeks

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to work I go.....

I got a job. The kind that pays money. I am pretty excited, particularly because it is only a six week contract for a full time position with a great company. This means that I get to try out the whole working-mommy thing and get a real taste for it. If it is too overwhelming, than I have an easy out. If I love it, then I have to pray that my contract is extended or that at least this job makes me more marketable for future work in the bay area.

In any case for six weeks I get to wear real grown-up clothes (the kind that are not stained and wrinkly), and head to the city daily with the rest of the commuters. I get to talk to grown ups all day, and activate the non-mommy side of my brain once again.

It also means stress. Because of the short-term nature of this contract I had to make myself available right away with little time to figure out the childcare situation or mentally prepare my kids for much less mommy time. I am interviewing a potential nanny tomorrow, and if that doesn't pan out I will need to rely on a fairly complicated combination of a known in-home daycare provider for Evan and after school care for Zack. Not ideal. But at least I am fairly confident that this scenario assures that I am not trusting my children to an axe murderer, whereas with a new nanny...just how do you know... for sure? There are reference checks, yes. Background checks too. But this woman would be a stranger and it is a bit unsettling.

Things will be hectic here. Two full time working parents means that the laundry and the grocery shopping are less likely to get done reliably. That play dates cannot easily be arranged, that there is less time to maintain a social life for the family. And less time for blogging. (Horrors!)

I will miss my boys. Well okay I will miss my boys sometimes, but lets be honest, in the past couple of weeks I have watched Evan transform from a cuddly agreeable bundle of joy to a moody teething toddler. I could use a little break from temper-tantrum central. Yet I know I will miss them none the less. I'll miss our sunny afternoons at the park and the trips to the library. I'll miss picking up Zack from preschool each afternoon and hanging out for "circle time". I'll miss my time at the Y, I had actually started working out regularly and I know I can kiss that goodbye.

But it's six weeks. Six weeks. You can do just about anything for six weeks right?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Company Website

All companies need a corporate website. As the CEO of Kargas Inc, I have been charged with creating the content of our yet to be created site. Here is a first draft. Be sure to let me know your thoughts.

About Us

Kargas Inc is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1999 by co-founders Rachel & David Kargas. The company has undergone outstanding growth in the past 4.5 years, doubling its size. Kargas Inc. recently relocated it's company headquarters from Denver, Colorado to Berkeley, California due to funding issues.

Our Mission:

Kargas Inc's current focus is to encourage the healthy development of young boys. (Two specific unnamed boys actually.) The organization strives to maintain its existence and avoid physical confrontation and interdepartmental dysfunction.

Staff Bios

Rachel Kargas Co-Founder/CEO

Ms. Kargas got her start at the prestigious Shaw & Daughters where she worked for many years before moving into a ten year career as a corporate recruiter. She joined forces with a fellow entrepreneur to form Kargas Inc in 1999. She started as the company's Chief Buyer and is credited for selecting the vast majority of the company's assets. Currently she oversees all of the company's strategic planning, purchasing, external communications and conflict resolution.

David Kargas Co-Founder/CFO

David has an extensive background in the field of public relations and has headed up many exciting programs, his most notable effort perhaps was the Kargapolis-Bring it Back campaign of 2005. Currently he oversees all of the companies investors (primarily Clorox), and spends a significant amount of time balancing the budget.

Zachary Kargas, Senior Staff Member

Zachary joined Kargas Inc in September of 2005. While in Denver he attended the exclusive Sandoval Dual-Language Montessori program where he was pursuing an education in geography. Currently he attends the JCC where he is researching the chemical properties of play dough. He plays an integral part in the company's social media programs, providing content for their blog.

Evan Kargas, Intern

Evan joined Kargas Inc in June of 2008. Evan is learning new things everyday, and has already taken over supervisory responsibility of some of the support staff (Wiggum, Flander's and Bascom). In 2011 Evan is hoping to take advantage of the company's tuition reimbursement plan and attend the JCC to further his education.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blogging about blogging

So I have been at this whole blog thing for a while now. Eight months actually, but who is counting? It started innocently. I got tired of reading other peoples chipper facebook postings and recipe blogs, so I decided to start my own. I thought it might be an outlet for all of my snarky, sarcastic comments about parenting.

Then I started reading other blogs. I found blogs that attract thousands of visitors. I found blogs with advertisements and big prize give aways. Mamas making money with their snarky, sarcastic comments, or their recipes for double chocolate dirt cake with gummy worms. I was intrigued. How did they become so popular?

Then a friend introduced me to Google Analytics. I discovered that it was possible to track exactly how many people visited your site everyday, and what part of the country they live in, and how long they spend reading your snarky, sarcastic comments.

I became obsessed. I checked my analytics daily with the morning coffee. How come nobody was reading? But then again, how did I get a reader in London? A real-live person in London reads my blog (Thank you by the way, you must know who you are!!) Pretty cool. So I now have 46 "followers", well actually 45, because somehow when my husband tried to sign up to follow me, he signed in under my name, so that doesn't really count. And now I want to know how to get from 46 readers to 1000. Why? Do I want to make a career out of blogging? Not particularly. Is it because I am reverting to my days of middle school where I desperately wanted to be popular? Maybe.

I am not sure. It's a strange thing, this bloggy culture. People are making careers of the trend. Social Media I believe they call net. Or social networking or whatever the buzz word of the day is. And it's funny because I am not exactly "cutting edge" when it comes to technology. Sure I am obsessed with Facebook, but this is a girl who sent her first text message only a year ago. I don't know how to download music to my ipod. Today during a phone interview for a position that I desperately want the hiring manager asked me "So do you Twitter?" Ummm.... no. I guess Twitter is the new secret recruiting weapon, and I have to get on the ball.

So I have a lot to learn. Apparently I'll never get to 1000 readers if I don't "Tweet". Apparently I might not be able to land a job either, but that is besides the point. I have my work cut out for me.

Stay tuned, I am just getting started.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Boys will be boys

So I was doing a little eavesdropping the other day while I was at the Y. I was trudging along on the elliptical machine and I was bored, because really all there is to do when you are on an elliptical machine is think about when you get to get off the elliptical machine. There were two high school aged boys working out besides me and yapping away. The conversation went something like this.

Boy 1: "Dude, I may or may not have made out with one of my best friends on Saturday. I can't remember for sure."

Boy 2: "No way. Do I know her?"

Boy 1: "Nah. She goes to another school. Her name is Ally"

Boy 2: "What is her last name? I might know her."

Boy 1: "I'm not saying"

Boy 2: "Come on man, what is her last name?"

Boy 1: "It starts with a's Peterson"

Boy 2: "Yeah, I have heard of her! She is totally hot"

Boy 1: "I know, but she is my friend"

Boy 2: "So what, she is stacked".

Boy 1: "At least I'm not like Thompson I heard he hooked up with Kayla Jones last weekend."

Boy 2: "No way! Man she is a mess and she isn't even cute."

Boy 1: " I know, he must have had beer goggles on!"

A total teenage cliche right? But for some reason I was particularly annoyed by these two snarky hormonal kids. I wanted to look them in the eye and tell them how ridiculous they sounded, and to inform them that perhaps Ms. Kayla Jones wasn't much to look at now, but in a couple of years she would likely blossom into a super hot sorority chick who wouldn't give those pimply snots a second look.

Then it hit me. I had the gut wrenching thought that in about 12 years, my kid might sound an awful lot like these boys. Oh no. Oh never. There will be no making out right? There will be no talking about the bust size of a classmate, right? There will be no wild underage drinking parties...right?

Wrong. I know I am wrong. At one time I fantasized about raising daughters, and I worried about how I would instill a strong sense of self-esteem in my girls, while protecting them from date rapists and teen pregnancy. Now it is fairly evident that I am not having daughters, and instead I have to worry about raising boys who respect women and don't get themselves killed by frat party alcohol poisoning. There is always something to worry about. Perhaps it gets easier with time, as my kids gradually get older, it won't seem so offensive that the boys will be sexual beings, and someday adults. But right now, I simply want to push those ugly thoughts away. I want to keep my boys innocent and pimple free.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sad on Saint Paddy's Day

It is a beautiful day here in Berkeley, sunny and warm , the playgrounds packed with toddlers in crisp new spring outfits. Tank top wearing college kids picnicking on park benches and happy dogs frolicking out in fresh air. Somehow, this makes me sad. Perhaps it is because today is also Saint Patrick's Day, and my mind can't help but wander back to Fado's in LoDo. All of the people in green out under the tents, drinking beer and wearing shiny mardes gras style beads, because nothing says "party" like a cheap plastic necklace. I miss it. Pre-children we were a part of the crowd, boozing it up at 11:30 am with our friends, hopping from Fados to whatever bar might pass as "Irish" and slamming car bombs down while bag pipe music whined loudly in the background.

After the kids arrived, we tried to keep the traditions alive. When Zack was about 1.5 I remember heading to "happy hour" on St. Paddy's day with a few other couples and their children. We went to a Mexican bar that was attached to an Irish bar. We sat and ate chips and salsa, drinking coronas, and wishing we were over on the other side, the side that was crowded with young people and full of celebration. In the years that followed we gave up on trying to join the throngs of partiers, and instead ventured downtown in the early morning by foot to watch the annual parade. It was a nice tradition.

Now I find myself in a new city, and there is no such thing as tradition anymore. Everything must be recreated, and while that can be refreshing and fun, I miss the comfort that "home" provided. And as the days get warmer I think of my favorite times in Denver. I think of evening walks to the Red Trolley for gelato, I think of the hot summer days I spent with my sister and our children at her pool, I think about drinking a cold Coors Light in my best friend's air conditioned kitchen while our husbands played guitar hero and our boys fought mercilessly over hot wheels. I miss the familiarity and the love that comes from family and old friends.

So here I am sad on Saint Patty's Day, and no green beer in sight to drown my sorrows.

I miss you Denver. More importantly, I miss you Denver people.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And the winner is.....

I know there are at least eleven of you who are anxiously awaiting the announcement of THE BIG WINNER of Anya Jane's CD (Lullabies by Anya Jane & Friends) here it is. Drum roll please.....The lucky recipient of my first ever blog contest is slandreth. I apologize, but I don't know your name! Please email me at with your mailing address so that we can send you the prize!

For those of you who participated, thank you, and please keep reading, because I hope to do more fabulous give-aways in the future! If you or someone you know is interested in having their product featured in a contest please have them contact me directly, because while I am sure you would all be super excited to win an original piece of artwork created by my four year old, I am guessing that I would get more interest if the prize was a bit more....enticing.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank each of you who read my silly little blog. This is the first real "hobby" I have had in a long time and I truly enjoy it. It gives me a creative outlet and a way to connect with the world outside of this little house on Sacramento Street. I know that there are a million and one mommy blogs out there, so I am touched that you take the time to read mine. Thank you, thank you. Please stick with me, and keep your comments coming.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Memo from the CEO

To: All Staff
Regarding: Company Policies

Dear Kargas Inc Staff,

I find it disappointing that I must draft this important memo. I feel however that I can no longer ignore the blatant disregard I have witnessed for our company policies. It is time that I address these issues head on.

Let me please remind you of the following Kargas Inc policies.

Confidentiality Agreement: At the time of hire each employee entered into a confidentiality agreement with Kargas Inc. This agreement protects the organization's trade secrets and must be adhered to. This agreement has been breached on several occasions over the past few months. One staff member disclosed to a subcontracting organization, The Jewish Community Center that his favorite pizza topping is sausage and that his father prepares bacon for breakfast on the weekends. Completely and totally inappropriate. This very employee has also exposed the assets of our private supply closets to visitors not employed by Kargas Inc, therefor embarrassing our janitorial staff.

Harassment Policy: Many companies claim to have a zero tolerance harassment policy. We feel that we are a little more realistic here at Kargas Inc. We expect the occasional taunt or wrestling match between staff members, but we simply must draw the line and ask that staff refrain from using blunt or sharp objects in such disputes. Additionally the verbal harassment has gotten out of hand, our Chef was very distraught after one staff member threw her chicken parmesean on the floor screaming "I don't like that". This type of abuse will no longer be tolerated. You will eat what is served, and you will like it. Period.

No Shedding Policy: As the months are getting warmer we have noticed that the support staff is having a much more difficult time adhering to our no shedding policy. It is extremely important that this policy is followed, for the unsightly fur reflects poorly on our company and might be considered a health hazard by some. For those of you who cannot refrain from shedding all together, we ask that you restrict such practice to a designated shedding area (the garage).

We value your employment here, we want to create an environment where all employees feel safe and appreciated. It is also critical that we maintain our good reputation and image in the business community. We need your cooperation to accomplish these goals. If you have any questions or concerns you can share them with your supervisor who will likely tell you... tough cookies.

Best Regards,

Kargas Inc Co-Founder & CEO

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh Blimey.

So here is one of those "Rachel being Rachel" posts. For those of you who are unsure, Rachel is not particularly funny. Rachel is not particularly positive. Rachel is sort of a whiny gal with a bad attitude, and tonight you are getting THE REAL DEAL. Ahhhh, lucky YOU.

First off, my pants are too tight. Now some would argue those pants were always too small. I had no business fitting into jeans that tiny. But I did, for a brief time before the breast milk dried up, and I lost the relatively effortless calorie sucking miracle scenario. Breastfeeding for me was like a diet pill or liposuction. The crazy synopsis of being naturally skinny. Today as I examined my muffin top in my once favorite pair of jeans, I realized that this denim dream would have to now be retired with the rest of my "skinny" paraphernalia. BOO.

Next up... I quit my little job. The 15-hour a week job I was excited to accept before I realized it would mean totally sacrificing my sanity. I couldn't do all. Meaning I couldn't work while at the VERY same time care for a couple of crabby noisy boys, who were busy "bonking" their heads or creating dirty diapers that had to be attended to. I was doing both jobs miserably and realized it wasn't sustainable. So I quit. Disappointed, yes, I enjoyed working. Disheartened yes, why oh why can't I land a "real" job? My husband keeps telling me it's the economy, but this is me, Rachel, and I take it personally.

And I had one to many glasses of wine tonight and I am tired, and not all that excited for the 5:30 am wake up call to come.

So there you have it folks. The real deal. The real Rachel. As Zack might say "Oh, Blimey".

Friday, March 12, 2010

Once Upon a Time

The honeymoon is over. It was a good run. He was a giggly baby content to sit still surrounded by a pile of toys, a sweetie pie, smiling at every stranger on the street, compelling those passing by to make spontaneous compliments "what an angel!", "he's a doll!". I should have known it couldn't last. I should have known it was too good to be true. Now here we sit a couple months shy of the big TWO, and I can see very clearly there is going to be a whole lot of trouble, a whole lot of....terrible.

Once a good eater, most food is now hurled from the high chair with an emphatic "I don't like that!"

Once easily tricked into giving up a favorite truck to his clever brother, his objections have become loud and fierce. "NO! MINE!"

Once a charming library date, he has turned into a one toddler -wrecking machine. Tearing books off every shelf and ripping the pages out of the Highlights for Children's magazines on display.

Once an agreeable companion for my daily errands, he now terrorizes our fellow consumers at Trader Joe's and Target, serving as a friendly little reminder to the childless folk we encounter "psst... take your pill today!"

Once my little baby, he is now a boy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


My child has taken to snorting. That's right, snorting. No not cocaine or glue, he is four after all, he is just....snorting. It started with the onset of an ear infection and I attributed it to the fluid in his ears, but the snorting, it is only getting worse. We are talking big thunderous rolling snorts. The kind that makes the person standing in front of you in the check out line turn around and and look. It is embarrassing.

It doesn't matter where we are. In the car, at the bank, in the grocery store, at school and perhaps the most unfortunate in his bed in the middle of the night. It's the middle of the night snorts that are the most offensive. Zack might wake up, pad down to the bathroom and then return to his bed and snort for a good five minutes before falling effortlessly back into slumber, leaving me wide awake and cursing the snorts.

I admit it. I am starting to snap. On more than one occasion I have whirled around to my snorting offspring and crossly demanded "what is that??? why do you do that?" But he just stares at me blankly as if the answer is obvious, as if we all go around announcing our presence with giant nasal noises.

Is it a nervous habit? If so, he had better grow out of it before middle school. I can see him now a pimply skinny adolescent sitting in math class...snorting. The girls all snicker and say "gross!" and the boys will tape a "kick me" sign to his back. I picture him being awarded the "most likely never to get married" title in his high school year book. His life doomed because of this relentless snorting.

So unless I want to end up an old lady with no grandchildren this snorting business has to stop. If only I knew how to snort it out.

Don't forget to enter my blog contest. Read instructions on how to win in my last post!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My First Ever Blog Contest. Win it!

One of my favorite childhood memories is that of listening to my mother sing me lullabies at bedtime. She would lie in bed with me and sing my favorite tune "Where have all the flowers gone". In reality it is a depressing anti-war song, but well, I don't recall noticing that. I remember relaxing into the melody, closing my eyes and feeling loved. I would tense up when she got to the last verse because it was almost over, and I knew she would disappear into the grown-up only world of night time. I might hear the tv softly humming the Hill Street Blues theme song, or the loud crunching of my father eating an after dinner bowl of grapenuts, but bedtime was always a little sad, a little lonely, I wanted my mother to sing to me forever.

When Zack was a toddler I started singing lullabies to him, it wasn't every night but it was frequent and over time it has become a mandatory part of the bed time routine. I am now never permitted to miss it. I have tried. There have been nights when my husband was on night-night duty and I have been happily yapping away on the phone. "Not tonight Zack, Daddy can sing to you" I call up the stairs. That hasn't been well received. So up I go to sing the songs. It's a sweet time. My kids have their favorites tunes. Zack requests "You are my Sunshine" every night while Evan chirps "Sea Shell!" from his crib, expressing his desire to hear a song from his music class. I sing for them, and stroke their heads and try to prolong the notes of the last verse making the song last just a bit longer.

But I have decided that I need some new material. I can only sing the same two songs over and over again for so long. So....ta da! It turns out that Anya Jane has her very own CD- Lullabies by Anya Jane & Friends, to help me broaden my horizons! Most of my Denver readers probably already know about Anya. She is a fabulous musician who also runs the "Music Train", fun music classes for the little ones. I took two sessions of The Music Train with Evan before we moved to Berkeley. Oh how I miss it! Anya has a gorgeous voice, and she makes kids music hip and fun, instead of hokey as we all know it can be. So for my FIRST EVER bloggy contest I am giving away her awesome CD!!!

How to win:

You must be a follower, if you are not already a follower-please sign up

Post a comment to this blog entry by March 14. Be clever if possible.

I will select a winner at random.

Good Luck!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Help Wanted:

Confidential search for small local company. We are seeking a new in-house chef to supply sophisticated staff with gourmet meals. Please note this position is not for the weak of heart. The right candidate will be an expert in creating staff's favorite foods, and has a minimum of 5 years experience preparing microwave waffles and buttered noodles. Bar tending skills are a plus, particularly if you can mix a good glass of chocolate milk. Staff has severe allergies to ingredients such as vegetables, fish, unsweetened cereals and other "healthy foods", some of your clients will also have a strong distaste for many textures so you must be flexible to adjust menus to their preferences.

Must be available at all meal times, and on call 24/7.

This is an unpaid position, however you will have the benefit of working for an extraordinary organization.

Serious inquires only. Please submit application to Evan or Zachary.

Just the weekend.

It's been a weekend. It could have been fun, but the husband is sick, the kiddos have been a little more monstrous than angelic, and I was feeling a wee bitty stressed-out.

Friday night we were suppose to go to the family Shabbat dinner at the preschool, but after a week of feeling under the weather I couldn't get my act together to bring a potluck dish and be perky-nice-to-meet-you-lets-make-small-talk mama. Not to mention I would need to spend the entire evening trying to avoid one of Zachary's (unnamed) teacher's who quite frankly frightens me by her ability to direct 35 year old parents around like they are a herd of four year olds. So we stayed in.

Saturday morning was the Dan Zanes concert. We booked this months ago. We anxiously anticipated rocking out with our kids at an 11am concert on campus. It sounded fun. Truth be told, it was only sort-of-okay. Dan Zanes remains a favorite of ours when it comes to kid-friendly music, but I am not sure if our children were up for the excitement of seeing him live and in-person. I say this with sarcasm. For the first twenty minutes Zack sat in his assigned seat with a vacant-I'm-bored look on his face, and Evan just tried to squirm off of Daddy's lap. Zack and I finally ventured down towards the stage where there was a preschool dance party in full swing. I sat and watched as Zack stood on the dance floor staring at the stage only to break out in an occasional spastic dance move. Unlike some of the other tots and children, Zack just seemed under-impressed. I wanted to shake him. Remember how for months you used to listen to "Catch That Train"every single night at bedtime? You should be in awe. Nope. The outing ended with an ill fated picnic lunch. Think melt downs on all fronts.
This morning started out with another heart to heart chat about the family finance situation, leaving me feeling depressed and wondering if I had any organs that I could sell on the black market. I then had a 9:45am conference call and worked for approximately 1.5 hours, which annoyed my husband who likes to remind me that I am working for peanuts. Which I am. I am well aware that I am making a small fraction of what I am worth. So why am I doing it? Well first off although I am not earning what I *could* be earning, it is something. It will pay for a few gallons of milk and a bonus latte every now and then. But there is more. I like it. I like working. It feels good. It reminds me that I am skilled and knowledgeable in my profession, even though I can't seem to nab one of those high-paying contracts. It helps me to feel more confident in my abilities. I can do more then sing nursery rhymes and arrange play dates, not that that isn't important work, but this way I get to use other talents as well. It has convinced me that when the time comes it won't be such a bad thing to re-enter the workplace more fully. I don't know if the husband quite gets all of that. (Hello husband, now you know.)

We managed to squeeze in some family time at the marina today, which was pleasant enough, but then it was on to the mundane tasks of grocery shopping and laundry, endless, endless laundry.

So it just wasn't one of those weekends that left me feeling...refreshed. It was just a weekend.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Workshop: "The Art of Tantrum Throwing"

My name is Zachary Kargas, and I used to be just like you. An average preschooler with the ability to annoy the parental figures in my life with an occasional "episode". But something inside of me just knew that I wasn't born to be average, and neither were you. Through serious meditation, study and networking I have learned the art, yes the art, of tantrum throwing. I have evolved from the mild, inconvenient fit thrower, to a true Master of the break down. Young and old are in awe of my performances. I have inspired many youngsters, such as yourself to take The Tantrum to the next level.

Please join me for a once and a life time opportunity. For a mere $1999.99 you could join me for my weekend retreat: "Find the beast within; throw The Tantrum of your life."

Your package will include:

  • Two nights stay at the fabulous "Playroom on Sacramento Street"*

  • Meals from top chef, my mommy. Sample meals include : Macaroni & Cheese with a hint of pureed vegetables of some sort (recipe a variation from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook), Frozen Waffles with a delicate smothering of Value Time "maple syrup-flavored" product, and her world famous "left over lasagna."

  • Workshops addressing the following key areas of tantrum throwing: "Timing is everything, catch them unaware", "Location, Location, Location, a public place should be your destination", and the "Martial arts of tantrum throwing" (learn techniques such as the back arch, and the windmill/spitting leg kick".

  • Network and share tips and stories with other local tantrum throwers!

This is a unique opportunity with limited space. Sign up today, you will not regret it!

*Visitors at the "Playroom on Sacramento Street" must supply their own bedding and supply of "pull ups", if required. Nightmare insurance is provided at an additonal cost.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Shot

Zack + ear infections = bff 4 ever. Well not really because, Zack certainly does not "heart" the ear infection, but the two seem to be stuck together. There we were on day six of antibiotics, round three, and Zack is holding ear in hand whimpering "owie". Ah man. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said "back to the office not to bed!" So we trek on over in the down pouring rain (it is March, in Berkeley after all) to the pediatrician. Dr. King checks Zack's ears and confirms the obvious, ear infection still alive and kicking. Now what? I ask. The doctor suggests a shot of antibiotics to "knock out" the infection. "Sure!" I agree too fast. He then raises his eyebrows and mouths "it's a bad one". No problem, I think Zack is a brave trooper. Yeah. I might have re-thought that one.

The nurse comes in with not one, but two shots and a worried look on her face. The shots are to be given in his behind. Zack lies face down on his tummy and pulls his spider man underwear down exposing his tush. He does not appear worried, the kid has had shots before, and shots usually bring good things like stickers and lollipops. As the nurse brings the needle close to his flesh, she motions to me to grab his hands. I oblige. The shot is administered and the wails begin. Frantic tears. Scampering to get off the table, but wait there is still one more shot. Holy hell.

"Zack" I say into his ear, holding his arms down, trying to sound soothing, "It will be over soon, you are so brave!" Zack responds with a heartbreaking "mommy, don't let her hurt me again...please!"

After the second shot, the very loud crying continued, for thirty five minutes. We had to wait in the lobby for fifteen of those minutes to make sure that Zack did not have an allergic reaction. During our stay, Zack stood in the crowded waiting room with his pants at his knees exposing his bare, sore bottom and refusing to pull up his undergarments because it "HURT!" He wailed. The nurse brought juice... for one. But there were two. There was also a 20 month old brother who wants whatever the senior sibling has, and Zack was not sharing. So now we have two kids sobbing and a room full of strangers staring at us. As we leave the office Zack waddles behind me, I cannot pick him up because I have Evan in my arms and I honestly cannot carry both boys. We are standing in the parking lot in the rain and Zack won't budge. His arms reach for me. I come to him and kneel down looking into his sad eyes. "Mommy" he says looking at me for some sort of reassurance, some form of protection, "that shot hurt my feelings". I hug him and say the first thing that comes to my mind "Oh sweetie, that shot hurt my feelings too". Because it did.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Possible Nightmares

Last night while laying awake at midnight, feverish and unable to sleep, I heard Zack stir. He started mumbling and whimpering, almost crying. A nightmare. My husband, also unable to sleep turned to me and said "Poor guy. He is having a nightmare. What do you think he dreams about? I bet being lost". Nah, I told him, my guess is that the terrible dream entails him receiving a bowl of cereal that is (HORRORS) smaller than his brothers. David laughed, but I wasn't kidding.

Zack's nightmares, three possible scenarios.

Scenario #1:

Zack is hiking Tanzanian mountains with his beloved Mr. Brown Doggie. (For those of you who are not aware, Mr. Brown Doggie originates from this African country). The two are having a grand old time, walking, waving at fellow hikers (all superheros of course) and munching an endless supply of goldfish crackers. All of the sudden BAM! They are no longer in Tanzania but they are instead, in a WOMAN'S CLOTHING STORE! And BAM! Mr. Brown Doggie transforms from a floppy old stuffed dog into a plastic BABY DOLL!!! Whaaaaa!

Scenario #2

Zack stumbles down to the breakfast table anxiously awaiting his daily bowl of honey nut cheeerios (well Tastee o's if we are going to be specific). He sits down in his usual spot and Daddy comes to the table with a heaping bowl of... da da dah.....SCRAMBLED EGGS. Whaaaa!

Scenario #3

It's playgroup day. Hurray! Zachary cannot wait to see his best friend Eli. We arrive at playgroup to find.....da da dah......all girls! But it gets worse. Mommy promised snacks, but all the treats are (you guessed it), SCRAMBLED EGGS! Whaaaaaa!

It ain't easy being a kid.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sick for real

A few days ago I posted "Sick Day" a make believe call into my make-believe boss because I wanted a break. Well folks now I really am sick. And I am a big ol' baby about the whole thing.

You know what I want? I want to lie on the sofa with a pile of Kleenex watching a marathon of The Real Housewives while sipping hot tea. I want someone to come over and pat me on the head saying "poor lamby-pie, I am so sorry your sick. You just relax. I am running to the store to pick you up the latest copy of People Magazine and some chicken soup." And while we are fantasizing,that person would be John Kransinski (The Office-sorry Dave!) and he would have a dozen get-well roses for me and a little blue box from Tiffany's, but any-who....

I wish there were some compromise between fantasy and reality, but alas tomorrow will be the same old same old, demanding kiddos who don't understand nor care if I am not feeling up to snuff... cereal must be served promptly at 7am and a temper tantrum is schedule for precisely 20 minutes later. Life goes on....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Maybe it was lucky

I was reading a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Ann's Rants. She is someone that I attended Sunday school and later high school with. She was always prettier, more popular, and a way better performer than I, but the problem was, she was actually nice. So I could never hate her. And now here she is. A better BLOGGER than me. Figures. Yet, I am going to go ahead and give her a shout out, and reference her blog because she has inspired me as a blogger and my latest topic: WHY I AM GLAD I HAD BOYS. Ann's post was about the cattiness of the 5th grade female. Oh good Lord can I relate.

I was never, never a cool kid. I had an awkward vulnerability about me and I wore my little heart out on my sleeve. Adolescent girls knew just how to prey on that weakness. I was always getting kicked out of the "group", or blatantly made fun of in front of my fellow classmates. I remember some of my predators vividly. The comments;"Your hair is too greasy", "Your chest is too flat", "Your personality could be better" are still stuck in some part of my sub-conscious. Today I am Facebook "Friends" with some of these tormentors. Really don't you remember? You hated me! Now we are trading quirky remarks about the latest episode of The Office?

Okay, okay, even I can accept that we were children then and we have grown up, but I have to admit that if I really start to think about it I want to pass those girls a grown up note with all of the come backs that I have dreamed up over the past 20 years. They are good.

To be perfectly honest, I was also not exempt from the mean streak of the pre-teen. I could dish it out as well. One of my most horrifying moments was a cruel note a friend and I wrote and placed in a locker of an overweight classmate. It haunts me to this day. In my defense I was so plagued with guilt after the note incident that I turned myself in to my teacher and apologized profusely to the victim. But the damage was done.

To the best of my knowledge boys are different. They do not establish their dominance and self-worth the same way that girls do. There is less struggle over social status, and males simply don't thrust words around like swords the way that we "ladies" do. I realize that there are different battles to be won amongst the opposite sex. I worry because my boys have as much of a chance at being tall and athletic as I do of winning a contract with the Ford Modeling Agency. But somehow I feel that it will be easier and kinder.

I dreamed and dreamed about having a daughter to dress in frills and tea party with, but perhaps I am lucky that my offspring are sons instead. Time will tell.