I’m a humor columnist, on-air lifestyle expert, Host of The Jenny Isenman Show on Cafe Mom, and a proud mama of two. I’m also a cellulite/wrinkle obsessed, pop-culture junkie and card carrying Gen Xer (oh, they have cards). I’m known as Jenny from the Blog at my site The Suburban Jungle. I guarantee that reading it will make you tanner, smarter, and reduces cellulite. Well, at the very least, it’ll make you more literate.
Venti Non-Fat Latte ... oh, and an Iced Green Tea (to negate the bad effects of the coffee)
Growing up, my mom constantly warned me to be careful or I'd crack my head open.Yes, I learned, that nearly everything could end with me accidentally being maimed or killed. "Don't go too high on the swings, you'll fall and crack your head open." "Be careful playing on that icy sidewalk, you don't wanna slip and break your neck." "Stop leaning back in your chair, you'll..." "Don't run by the pool… Don't hang upside down from the monkey bars…"Though few, if any, of those things ever happened, I'm pretty sure the fear of these catastrophes scarred me for life. Which is why I swore not to sound so fatalistic with my own kids.
Oh sorry, that was me laughing because, well, the best laid plans ... and all.Now that my kids have a bit of independence, I've realized I rely on scare tactics and maybe some exaggeration to get many a point across. So, here's just a few things I've caught myself saying that will most likely send them to therapy later in life.
When Mark and I moved into our home, I was obsessed with making it fabulous. I painted it myself in hip hues. I placed unread books on bookshelves and organized them by color simply for the aesthetic. I set up little vignettes on counters in groups of three to make my home seem chic, yet warm, you know, a cross between make yourself comfortable and maybe you shouldn't touch that?
Yes, one day our home would be the perfect blend of comfy/zen/chic and people would gush upon entering and then complement it with gusto and envy. (At the very least it would be clean and organized.)
HA ha ha ha ha ha haaaa.
I'm sorry, did I do that out loud? I was just remembering what I envisioned, you know before my kids and pets ... and husband ruined, stained, chipped, wrote on, or buried (under toys) everything I owned. Oh, and I had the time or energy to care.
We all had idealistic visions (do these sound familiar):
It appears I have many many flaws. Flaws that my well-meaning children (a boy and a girl) have brought to my attention over the last 11 years.
For instance, I remember my daughter asking if a dark freckle on my back was a mole. I said, "It's not a mole, it's a beauty mark," to which she innocently replied, "Why would they call it a beauty mark, when it's so ugly?" I guess I never realized the beauty mark I once thought was kinda sexy was such an eyesore. Thank you, my child, for enlightening me.
Yes, one of the joys of parenthood is having your children point out your imperfections with brutal honesty. Some days your kids can unwittingly rival the meanest playground bully.
So children, I say thank you for being seen in public with me and for putting up with my numerous shortcomings, which you made me aware of when you uttered phrases like these:
As a Gen Xer, I recall baby-proofing not being quite what it is today. In fact, we were given green Mr. Yuk stickers (which were basically like yellow happy face stickers that had just thrown up) to put on anything that was toxic: chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc. I recall showing my mom the stickers and her telling me to go for it (yes, I was to baby-proof my own house).
So, I searched my house for toxins. I checked cabinets that I'd never thought to open before, climbed on the sinks to get to all the medicines. It was like anti-baby proofing. I slapped the stickers on all my new found poisons and added one to the vegetable crisper, for good measure.
Now, as a parent myself, my own parents like to tell me I'm too overprotective.
"Well, you survived," they say.
"Yep, but it seems like the odds were against me."
When I had my first child, I wanted to do everything by the book. I was so nervous that the tiniest misstep would somehow break the baby. In fact, one of my first pieces was about how shocked I was that they just let me leave the hospital with this little being (it was tougher to get a library card), and frankly I didn't feel ready.
But I was determined to rise to the challenge -- All toys were sanitized before they came within 10ft of my child. People were sanitized too, they were also grilled as to when they were last sick, if they knew proper baby handling techniques, and the date of their most recent TB test.
Then came child number two, and I was racing to get her home ... it's amazing how much changes between your first and second. You can blame it on the lack of time needed to be as anal, ahem, meticulous as you were with the first, or maybe it's simply a gain in experience and confidence, but the differences are undeniable. Here are just a few of them ...