Category Archives: I’m No June Cleaver

The First Rule of Hiking is “Stay on the Trail”

“Stay on the trail, kids! The first rule of hiking is ‘Stay on the Trail’.”

“You’ll know it because it’s been cleared of brush.”

“Isn’t it beautiful here, guys? Just imagine! This is what Ohio looked like when only the Native Americans lived here.”

“Wait up.”


“Look at that tree.”

“Watch out for poison ivy.”

“Stop waving those sticks around. It’s always funny until someone loses an eye.”

“JONAS, GET AWAY FROM THAT LEDGE! Do you want to fall and crack your head open?”

“Wait up.”

“Wait up.”

“Wait up!”

“Don’t touch that. It could be poison ivy.”

“Let’s stop here for a rest and to look at the beauty of nature.”

“Seriously, guys, what did I tell you about those sticks?”

“No, no snacks.”

“Because we just ate breakfast. Besides, it’s not like we’re climbing Mount Everest.”

“Wait up.”

“You think the Native Americans had juice boxes and granola bars? If a Native American got hungry, he would just go down to the lake and scoop out a fish with his bare hands.”


“Because we’re not Native Americans.”

“Are you kidding me? We’ve only been out here for like twenty minutes.”

“JONAS STAY AWAY FROM THE LEDGE. What do I have to do, get you a collar?”

“Look at those huge boulders, kids. That right there is what the Native American kids called a ‘playground’.”

“Don’t climb on that.”

“Wait up.”

“Leaves of three, let them be.”

“No, I don’t actually know what poison ivy looks like. Ask Daddy to Google it on his phone.”

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The Hidden Hazards of Housewifery

I hate it when people assume I have it easy as a homemaker. Because just this morning, I got hit by a motorized scooter at the grocery store.

I should have known the little old lady with the tight perm and polyester pant suit was trouble when I saw her weaving in and out of lanes in produce. I should have kept my distance, but I had other things on my mind. Things like, “How can I tell if this eggplant is ripe?” and “Did my son really just put a twist tie in his left nostril?”

It happened while I was in the freezer section. One minute I’m trying to decide between Butter Pecan and Mint Chocolate Chip, the next I’m pinned between the freezer door and my own organic produce and Greek yogurt-laden grocery cart by a limited mobility vehicle.

After she figured out how to remove her foot from the gas pedal, the driver was very apologetic.

“I’m so sorry! Are you okay?” she croaked as I extricated myself from the wreckage. But thanks to an extra layer of abdominal padding I wear as a proud badge of having survived two pregnancies, I was no worse for the wear. I could think of only one thing as scooter lady put her cart into reverse and began navigating a three-point turn: my little son, Jonas. Last I’d seen him, he was standing a few feet away from me and nibbling on a  cookie.

“Watch out!” I warned him.

But he was way ahead of me, and had been spared. “I saw her coming,” he said. This from a kid who normally looks both ways only after he’s darted headlong into traffic.

The grocery store is not the only place where hidden dangers lurk. Many times have I become light-headed after breathing shower cleaner fumes in an unventilated bathroom, and not a day goes by when I’m not impaled by an errant Lego. I’ve pulled my back hefting a fifty pound bag of play sand from my car to the backyard, fallen off the counter whilst trying to change a light bulb, and somehow given my own self an electric shock just by flipping the switch on the garbage disposal. I’ve watched in amazement as things have caught fire inside my oven and once, when the P-Dawg was working late, I had to kill a spider.

Maybe I’m in the wrong profession.

But wait! Before you go, can I ask you to do me a big favor and “Like” my Facebook page? Just click the Facebook icon under “Subscription Options” in the right margin and it will take you to my FB page, where you can “Like” me. Or, you can click this link to go to straight to the page. I’d really appreciate it! (I like you, too.) 

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The Depth of my Depravity

The problem with having young children is you just can’t devour a chocolate bar without being noticed.

The other day, I gave my kids a healthy after school snack of apples and wheat germ. Then I planted them in front of an educational television program and scurried back to the kitchen, whereupon I opened the pantry and proceeded to stare inside.

I noticed a chocolate bar.

I took that chocolate bar and began to unwrap it with the stealth of a sniper. I even paused my breathing. The first velvet bite was mere inches away from my mouth when two small humans, about yea big, materialized behind me.


Lickety-split, I tucked that chocolate bar into the elastic waistband of my yoga pants.

“Oh, just some raw almonds. Would you like one?”

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We’ll Probably Give Her Some Ice Cream, Too. And Maybe a Steak with a Side of Formula

With my birthday just around the corner, (*cough* Saturday *cough*), I’ve been thinking about my own mortality.  Specifically, what it might be like to have grandchildren.

Of course, I’m still up to my eyeballs in children of my own, but earlier today I had a sudden vision of a grown and happily married V-meister dropping her firstborn off for the P-Dawg and me to babysit. (I’m not saying that I don’t expect Jonas to get married and have kids, only that I’m placing all the pressure squarely on the V-meister.)

In my vision, the V-meister comes over with an adorable baby who looks just like me and she’s toting an enormous bag containing a year’s supply of diapers, three changes of clothing, diaper creme, cloth wipes, toys (3), bibs (2), pacifiers (2), a laminated index card with emergency phone numbers and instructions, and one measly little baby bottle with like three (3) ounces of breastmilk in it.

Like I used to.

I immediately grab my grandchild from the V-meister and take off her socks.

And the V-meister is like, “Mom, I just put those socks on her!”

And I’m like, “Nonsense! Babies don’t need socks. And when is the last time you fed her? She looks like she’s about to gnaw off her own hand.”

“I just fed her ten minutes ago, so she probably won’t even need to eat until I get back. There’s a bottle of breast milk in the bag, but don’t give it to her unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“You don’t have to worry, I know when a baby’s hungry.”

“You can just give it to her at room temperature, you don’t even need to heat it up.”

(Me, examining the bottle.) “Where’s the rest of it? This isn’t even enough to feed a hamster.”



“Remember not to microwave it.”

“Of course not.”

“And when you change her diaper, make sure the fringy little elastic thingies are flipped outwards because last time her clothes got wet.”

“Really? I don’t remember that. But don’t worry, sweetie, I got it. Hey, P-Dawg! (yelling in direction of home office where the retired P-Dawg is in his underwear, playing poker online) HOW MANY KIDS DID WE RAISE?”

(P-Dawg, from office) “Two.”

“Your father and I raised two children. We know what we’re doing.”

“Okay, Mom. Thanks so much for watching her for me. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“Don’t rush sweetie. It’s my pleasure.”

“Okay. Don’t put her carrier on the kitchen table.”

“She will be safe in my arms the whole time.”

“Well. I guess that’s it. Did I forget anything?”

“I doubt it. Just go! (pushing V-meister out the door) Enjoy yourself!”

“Ok, Mama. Bye. And don’t forget – only use the breast milk in case of emergency!”

“No worries, sweetie! Bye-bye!”

As soon as the V-meister takes off in her solar powered SUV, I’ll go ahead and warm up that breast milk in the microwave. I’ll probably add a little goat’s milk into the mix, too.  The poor baby’s starving, for cryin’ out loud.

Next, I’ll remove about three extra layers of clothing (from the baby), and then the P-Dawg and I will go outside and sit with her on a blanket under a tree. We will let her go diaperless and eat some dirt.  And I’m going to be really honest with you: we’ll probably let her stay outside for 20 minutes with no sunblock on.

It’s going to be great.

Vija with my beautiful mother, who always put up with and followed my childcare instructions, even when I typed them up.

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