Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've read/watched enough end-of-the-world books/movies/shows to know that people with small children generally do not survive.

I blame the children.

I've got two tiny ones myself: the Juban Princeling, who is 3 1/2, and the Duke of Juban, who is four months. When - NOT IF! - the Zombiepocalypse happens, we are goners. 

And the Zombiepocalypse is going to happen. I know this because just a few blocks from my house is a cemetery next to a power plant. Do the math, people. I don't know what bureaucratic asshat allowed this zoning debacle, but I'm going to go on record this election year and say that I fully support any candidate with an anti-zombie platform. I know that's a harsh thing to say, but even we Liberals have to draw the line somewhere.

Lately I've been watching "The Walking Dead," and I have no doubt my kids and I will not survive when that power plant goes all melty and zaps those pissed off Confederate soldiers back to life. There's a reason why there are no babies or preschoolers running around with Rick & the Gang: they've all been eaten. Probably the parents, too. 

The South rises again.
(Photo from http://familyhalloweenhorror.tripod.com/id1.html)

Why People With Small Children Will Not Survive the Zombiepocalypse:

1. Children Are Slow, and They Slow You Down
Have you ever tried to go anywhere with a baby? Or a toddler? Or preschooler? Or multiple children at once? It's Sisyphean. Here's how a typical morning in our house goes on, say a random Sunday when we try to go out for breakfast:

Me: "Princeling, get your shoes on."
Princeling: "No! I don't want to go out!"
Me: "Don't you want pancakes?"
Princeling: "No! Pancakes are stupid! You're poop!"
Husband: "You can have bacon, too. And bring a toy."
Princeling: "No! I hate you! Go away!"
Duke: "Waaaaah!"
Me: "You work on getting the Princeling's shoes on while I give this one a bottle."
Princeling: "NOOOO!!!!!" *kicks off shoes*
Duke: *poops*

Forty-five minutes later we may be out the door. Or we may have given up, sent the Princeling to his room, and already be one finger into two tumblers of Scotch at 8:45 in the morning.

And it's not like we can pick the children up and run away from the zombies, either. At least, not run far, or fast, or for too long. The Princeling weighs around 35 pounds and the Duke is clocking in at a healthy 15 pounds. Even if my husband, who is strong, carried the Princeling on his back and I took the baby in the Ergo, how far could we realistically get while running for our lives? And what about supplies? 

As my friend Cali, whose two daughters are the same ages as my sons, explained the other day: "My step-father told me about this ridiculous compound he has in Tennessee and said if anything happens we should make our way there, and we'll be fine. But it takes me two hours just to get out the door to walk across Park Slope. How the hell am I supposed to make it all the way to Tennessee in an emergency?"

Me: "You know, those of us with small children are going to be the first to go in any kind of apocalyptic event. Like zombies."

Cali: "Well, we all have to go sometime. When you number's up, your number's up."

2. Children Cannot Sit Still. Or Be Quiet.
As anyone who has ever left their home, ever, can tell you: children are loud and they run around a lot. 

Even my kids, who are relatively well-behaved, have only so much quiet and stillness inside them. If we have to hide from zombies there is no way I can make the Princeling stay silent long enough to let a herd pass us by. Like most kids his age, the Princeling enjoys doing the opposite of what we say. If we said, "Princeling! You MUST be silent and NOT MOVE until we say so, or else zombies will eat us alive!" He will shout "NO!" and run away just to prove we're not the boss of him. 

And forget the Duke. He's just a baby. Babies are cute, but they are also kind of dumb and lack any sense of self-preservation. If he can't even figure out not to roll off the changing table, there is just no way he's going to survive a zombie attack.

3. Children Are Delicious. SO I'VE BEEN TOLD.
At least twice that I can remember, "True Blood" - which is nothing if not realistic - has referenced how delicious little kids are. There was that one time Eric and Pam babysat for Arlene's kids, and commented about how much they wished they could eat them; and in a recent episode a guy had been thrown into Authority prison for eating newborns.

And at least once in "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer" a reference is made to finding a nice, tasty toddler for Spike.

Now, zombies aren't the most practical of creatures, but even zombies have to have enough of a sense of smell to be able to pick out a succulent baby over, say, a stringy old person who reeks of hemorrhoid ointment and denture cream.

And no, that was not a suggestion to slather your children in hemorrhoid ointment and denture cream. 

How about you all? What are your strategies for the imminent zombiepocalypse? Besides grabbing your neighbors' babies and throwing them at the zombie masses while you make your escape YOU SICK PUPPIES.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My husband and I do not consider ourselves helicopter parents. We're too lazy for that. If a reality show were to spontaneously appear in our home, my soundbite would be, "Get off your ass and get it yourself." 

And yes, I do speak to my 3 1/2-year old, the Juban Princeling, that way, and no, I don't care what you think about that.

Even if we wanted to be helicopter parents, he wouldn't let us. The Princeling is so independent-minded he would have gotten his own apartment when we brought him home from the hospital if he didn't absolutely need us to change his diapers and feed him. And even then we suspect he was just humoring us.

We're fine with that. We're not the type of parents to encourage our kids to depend on us because it's just so sweet and we need to be needed or something like that. We love our children, and we love them more when they do shit themselves and leave us alone.

So I signed the Princeling up for swim classes every Saturday this summer. Because knowing how to swim is important, especially for us, because we're from Florida and my parents have a pool and my mother-in-law's condo development has a pool and my husband and I would rather splash about than hold our children so they don't drown.

We had the choice of signing up for one of three levels of "Angelfish" classes: Angelfish Plus, for 3-5 year olds who can swim without an adult; Angelfish, for 3-5 year olds who can't swim but can go in the water without a parent or guardian (...I don't know, either, so don't ask me); and Angelfish with Caregiver, for 3-5 year olds with their parent or guardian. I let the Princeling choose which one he wanted, and to my utter shock he said he wanted me in the water with him. 

Oh, yay. Because if there's one thing a 36-year old mother of two, with hypothyroidism, who has had three major abdominal surgeries in the past three years, wants, it is to wear a bathing suit in public.

But I love my son. Angelfish with Caregiver it was.

Photo by Heinz Albers

(Note to the mom in the class after us: just because you have the body for it does not make it appropriate to wear a skimpy string bikini to your child's swim class. Save that shit for "MILFs Gone Wild" or whatever.)

For class, the kids have to wear a floatation device that sort of makes them look like tiny Transformers. I think this is because the instructors realize they are in Park Slope and probably most of us parents are too drunk at 11am on a Saturday morning to keep our kids' heads above water for half an hour.

Despite having part of Optimus Prime strapped to his back, at his first lesson the Princeling would bob under water every time I let him go, sputtering back up and grasping for me with this look on his face that can only be described as a combination of terror and amazement. (AKA "Roller Coaster Face.")

At his second lesson we did something called floating airplanes, and somehow the Princeling actually managed to hold still and be a kick-ass floating airplane. And I told him so. He was the best damn floating airplane in the 11am Saturday Angelfish with Caregiver class, y'all. I'm not saying he's the next Michael Phelps...but I bet Michael Phelps didn't suck at floating airplane, you know?

Then we played a game where the parents had to keep throwing little rubber duckies ahead of our kids and let the kids do their "reach and pulls" to "swim" to them. And I held tight to the Princeling while he did his reach and pulls and kicked me under water. Finally he turned around and said, "Mommy! Let! Me! Go!"

And I protested, because, sputtering and grasping. But he fought me and pushed at me until I had no choice but to let him go.

And he swam.

Not well, and not far. But he swam. My little angelfish. 

All I had to do was let go.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ghost Mommy

My 3 1/2-month old baby, the Duke of Juban, has a Ghost Mommy.

I don't really believe in ghosts. When I told my Harry Potter Wife a few years ago that I want to do a "haunted castles of Europe" tour for our honeymoon, it was with the idea (at least on my part) that we'd get a good laugh. I believe in creaky floorboards, howling winds, and overactive imaginations, but I don't believe in ghosts.

I also don't believe in angels, or guardian angels, or things like that. I'm a sort of Buddhist/Jewish/non-theist/none of your damn business. (A non-theist is not the same as an atheist. But, again, none of your damn business.)

Still. I freely admit I could be wrong about pretty much everything in life, including the existence or not of ghosts and angels. 

And I think the Duke might have a Ghost Mommy, or guardian angel, or something.

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star..."
By Gallowglass (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday morning the husband told me he heard the Duke chatting to himself - not crying, but chatting happily in that cute baby way - around 5am, roughly two hours before he wakes up for the day. (Yes, we do know how lucky we are, not to rub it in or anything.) When he flicked on the video monitor he saw the Duke chatting and staring at something OR SOMEONE! outside his crib, which is highly unusual since the Duke usually sleeps (and dream chats) facing the wall. He's a baby, and babies like walls. At least, my babies like walls. My older child, the now 3 1/2-year old Juban Princeling, had an entire relationship with a brick wall in the apartment we lived in when he was born, two moves ago. So when we watch the Duke on the video monitor in a totally non-creepy or helicopter way, we've noticed he generally favors the wall next to his crib and not the entire rest of his room, including the corner with the monkey nightlight. Who needs a monkey nightlight when you have a bare wall? Certainly not MY son! Monkey nightlights are for assholes, not for the youngest child of Brooklyn's favorite wino!

So when my husband saw the Duke cooing happily with the air, that was strange enough. 

Stranger, still, was my husband swearing he heard a woman humming to the Duke, and the Duke going quietly back to sleep.

Now, I've gone over before how no one has their best brains on in the wee hours of the morn, and my wonderful husband is no exception. We live in an apartment in New York City - the humming could have been anything.


Why not?

Later that same day I left the Duke happily napping in his room, with the door closed, when I took the Princeling and his friend downstairs to play. YES, I TOOK THE VIDEO MONITOR, STOP NAGGING ME YOU JUDGEY MCJUDGERSONS. I didn't hear anything on the monitor, but when I checked it I noticed the Duke was awake. Awake and happy and quiet. We went upstairs...and his door was open. I didn't open it. No one else was home.

Since there is no way even the most gifted of 3 1/2-month olds (of which mine certainly qualifies) can climb out of their cribs, get to their bedrooms doors, open the doors, and then climb back into their cribs I have to assume it was Ghost Mommy.

Am I jealous? No. As any normal mother will tell you, every child needs at least four parents, maybe more. I would not mind a few extra parents living in my house, helping with the kids, not getting paid, and certainly not having sex with my husband. So if Ghost Mommy can soothe my baby at 5am and make him go back to sleep, and she forgets to shut the door every now and then, I can live with that. 

If she wants to change poopy diapers and watch both kids while I make a Tasti-D-Lite run, that would be cool, too. 

Do you believe in ghosts and/or guardian angels? Why or why not?