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Just wondering what the thought process was behind the new McDonald’s frappé?

Not that I don’t understand why they’d make an icy creamy coffee drink in the summer?  That, I get.

But, why in the world did they decided to call it the frappé?  As in pronounce it  “frap-pay, preferably with a roll of your tongue and a tip of your beret.

Have you seen the ads?

Frappé.   All Day.

Well, I suppose they found a way to make it rhyme.

Let’s assume they’re simply trying to fancy the place up a bit.  Am I so dense as to actually feel better about myself when I order McDonald’s 4,392 calorie frap-PAY instead of the accent-less frappe at, say, Friendly’s?

Frappe rhymes with crap.  Frap-PAY?   French.  Skinny.  Ooooh.  I’ll take three, please.

I can’t wait to see the reaction next time I walk into the Lynnway McDonald’s and order myself a six-piece McNuggéts and a Coké.

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See this guy?  I think I may have married him.

Well, ok, so maybe he doesn’t look exactly like that.  Maybe more like THIS.

Yeah, that’s him.

For the most part, I’m pretty even-keeled.  I don’t get overly excited about good things nor do I get overly upset about not-so-good things.  I may raise my voice but I’m almost always tightly in control of my emotions.  This was actually a bit of a handicap when I was climbing the corporate ladder because, apparently, bosses need to see that you are enjoying yourself.   You can’t just do your job well.  You need to act like you love doing your job well.

When I was working at a PR firm, I placed a story about lightbulbs on the Today Show.  Freakin’ lightbulbs.  No joke.  It was a story I’d been pitching for months.  I’d worked hard on developing a relationship with a certain segment producer and all my work paid off.  When I got word that the story was a go, I sent my client and my boss a very matter of fact email letting them know.  I explained the story angle, the air date, the taping date and the travel arrangements.   Shortly after I sent the email, I received a phone call from my boss, asking that I come into her office.   She was amazed I hadn’t reacted more enthusiastically.  She was clearly bothered by the fact that I had scored such a HUGE placement for my client, on a top television show, and that my email could very well have been about placing a Public Service Announcement in the local weekly.   Where are the exclamation points?   The smiley emoticons?

Ridiculous.

A year or so later, I was working at a giant financial institution doing Event Planning.  It was a great job but a hard job full of travel and details and finicky clients.  I loved it and did well.  Well enough to eventually get a generous raise from my boss who called me into her office to give me the details.  She said very nice things about my work.  She said very nice things about my future within the group.  She presented me with a very nice salary increase.  I said “thank you very much” and smiled.  Then I was ready to return my desk.  She, apparently, wasn’t ready for me to return to my desk.   Because at my next review she brought up the fact that she was very disappointed by how I reacted to the raise.   That I didn’t turn cartwheels and sing “Happy Days Are Here Again” as I leaned over to kiss her fashionable shoes.

Whatever, lady.

I earned that raise.  I said “thank you”.  I’m just not the unbridled enthusiasm type.  Those that know me well, understand this trait.  I’m not a jump up and down, screechy, over-exciteable kind of girl.  I tend to be rationale and calm in most situations.  And while, surprisingly, this trait hurt me in the corporate world, it’s helpful to me in my role as a stay-at-home Mom.  Kids need an even keel to depend on as their own little ships toss about from one emotional outburst to the next.   We weather the storms nicely as a team, the three of us.  Most of the time.

But, sometimes, somedays…it’s the perfect storm.  And the seas have just tossed Mommy around a bit too much in too short an amount of time.  The screaming, the fighting, the whining, the gimmies, they all collide in one big ole’ tsunami.   (Alright, enough with the metaphor.) These are the days when I hear my own yucky Mommy voice in my head and I’m yelling and ranting and rapidly becoming that Mean Mommy.  The one who tells them they’re driving her crazy and doles out time-outs like popsicles on a summer day.

The one who can. not. wait. until. Daddy. comes. home.

Because I don’t often lose it.

But, when I lose it?  I really lose it.

“Losing it” this weekend occurred after a long day of what I viewed to be “Little Boys in Paradise” activities.   The beach, dinner out, playgrounds, sidewalk chalk, play dates and birthday parties.  They were back home and, with bottomless adrenaline tanks,  racing and chasing and screaming and throwing things around the living room.  Darting around the fireplace with its “you’re going to crack your head open on that thing” stone riser.   And, when I discovered Little Brother’s beloved “Bah” (a stuffed rabbit) flung between the fireplace and the screen for roughly the 900th time in the last two days, I snapped.

Without thinking, I rushed over to the fireplace, grabbed “Bah” and threw him as hard as I could across the room.

Which, of course, sent Little Brother into a frenzy of tears.

Stop crying!  Enough! Both of you!  Go to your rooms

And, then I may have heard the sound of angels.  Harps playing softly as the living room entryway came aglow.

Husband stepped in.

He doesn’t intervene in the true sense of the word, though.  He doesn’t swoop in and try to mediate.  Probably because he knows we’re beyond that point.  You know, what with me throwing stuffed bunnies and all.   No.   He doesn’t tell me I’m over-reacting (which of course…I am) and he doesn’t tell the kids that ignoring me countless times is ok.   He just…diffuses.   He steps in and gently takes the parenting reigns from my tightly clenched fists.   And I, gratefully, let him.

Not long afterwards, I hear them all reading a story in Little Brother’s room.   Calm.   A giggle here and there.

And they all eventually emerge.  Happy.

And find me sitting peacefully alone in the living room.  Happy.

I’m sorry, Mommy.

IsowwyMahmay.

Me too, guys.

Thanks, Husband.

Thanks for saving, if not the day, at least the moment.  For understanding me.   For caring for them, and for me, so well.   For recognizing that it was Mom, not the kids, in need of a little time out.

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My Husband grew up in Connecticut.  In the “closer to NY” part of Connecticut, not the “Red Sox Nation” part of Connecticut.   He’s a Yankees fan.  A big Yankees fan.  But, he’s a baseball fan in the larger sense as well, so while he knows and loves the Yankees more than other teams, he could probably give you the line up of many other teams in the league and certainly provide details on any other team in the Yankees division.   But, usually, he’s reasonable about it.  He can have an intelligent conversation with any good fan of another team in which he will happily discuss the merits and troubles of each other’s teams without animosity.  Simply, as fellow sports fans.

When our sons were born, I know that Husband looked forward to teaching them his beloved game.  Teaching them how to throw and hit and be good sports.  And, raising them to love the Yankees.  And, they do.   They wear #2 t-shirts with pride.  Big Brother knows all the ridiculous monikers shouted out after a home run by radio-guy John Sterling.  An A-bomb!  From A-rod!

But, it hasn’t been an easy path for Husband.   We live just north of Boston in what is clearly Red Sox territory.  When we lived here five years ago, before the Red Sox had won a World Series, Husband couldn’t wear his Yankees hat in public without having people make snide remarks as he walked by.  He’d grit his teeth and smile as a bartender made a crack about not wanting to serve him.  Our town Little League actually had to get rid of the “Yankees” name for one of the teams because 6 and 7-year-old kids were getting booed at the town parade.  Pretty childish behavior by Sox fans, of course.  But, maybe (maybe) a little understandable as the Sox had been thwarted by the Yankees countless times.  And, it hurt.

When we moved back here about a year and a half ago, the Red Sox had won not just one but two championships.   And, for the most part, it changed people around here.  Sure, Husband will still get the occasional comment but it’s nothing like it used to be.   The hat gets worn again, the boys wear their shirts and things are fine.  Mostly, people keep opinions to themselves.   I mean, it’s not like they’re wearing anti-Red Sox things, right?

And, it’s not like someone would verbally assault a child, with their anti-Yankees rage.  Right?

Wrong.

I’ve written before about how Little Brother and I take a twice-weekly pilgrimage to Dunkin’ Donuts after Big Brother is dropped at school.   Today, LB was wearing his Yankees sweatshirt.

He was also wearing light blue shorts and carrying a little plastic light-up cow on a key chain.  He was wearing his tiny Crocs with Tigger and Pooh Jibbitz on the toes.   He was clutching my hand because, although I would have carried him, he wanted to walk in on his own.   “I do it, Mommy.”

We were trying to work our way through the double doors.  Walking and weaving our way through bustling 8:45 am DD traffic.  Trying to politely hold open the first set of doors for an older woman before we made our way through the second set of doors.

That’s when we saw her.  She was behind that second set of doors.  She looked like she was about to charge out, which could have resulted in Little Brother getting clobbered by the swinging door before him.   I quickly pulled him back.   But, she stopped, looked at us and waited on the other side of the door.  I smiled gratefully through the glass.

Then she said, as we opened and began to walk through the door…

“I wouldn’t have hit him.  At least, I wouldn’t have hit him until I saw that Yankees sweatshirt.”

Um.

What?!  Did you seriously just say that?  You reconsidered hitting him?  He’s TWO, you ignorant moron.

I wish I’d said it.  Said something at least.

Because it’s one thing to act like a brainless, bitter idiot when you’re dealing with my Husband.

But, my kids?!    So. not. funny.

I’m still seething.

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Little Brother has developed a bit of a stutter.  At first I was completely freaked out by it.   Worried and sad and upset — concerned that he had been dealt some terribly unfair hand.   That my baby, who was so quick to speak as a toddler, would now need some help getting over a few tough hurdles down the road.

A few days into the stuttering, I did some reading and started to speak to other parents about the problem.  And, thankfully, I learned that a stutter is very common in kids between 2.5 and 3.5 years old.   And, that the stutter can last anywhere from a week to 6 months or more.  That it can even come and go for months at a time.   That it’s most often seen in children who have developed their little vocabularies so quickly that their speedy little brain is simply working much too fast for their tangled tongues.  And that, most likely, it really means nothing at all.

The counsel is to basically ignore it.  Don’t tease him about it (of course) or point out the problem.  Help with the word if he gets frustrated.   Settle him down.    Let him work through it.

We’re fine.  He’s fine.  I know it’s all good.

The thing about it, though, is that Little Brother, clearly frustrated with the situation, has figured out a couple ways to compensate for this little blip in his ability to communicate his needs.  First, he went with VOLUME.   Holy cow.

“I – I – I – I wa-wa-” (heavy sigh).   GET ME MILK, MOMMY!”

So, I was doing a lot of gentle shhhhush-ing for a week or so.

But, now he’s gone with a new tactic.  It appears that Little Brother now believes he can get the words out a little more easily by whispering them.  But, he doesn’t really get the whole spacial relations things yet so I’ll just happen to look up and notice he’s all the way across the room asking me for something.

Me:   Oh!  Did you need something, J?

LB:   wh-sh-shw-hshshshshws.

Me:  I’m sorry.  What?

LB:   wh-sh-shhs-hhw-hsmsmsshw.

Good lord.  It’s like I’m stay-at-home-Mom to Milton Waddams of Office Space.

Just trying to have a little sense of humor about it.

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Husband and I got a sitter on Saturday night and decided to go out for a pre-Mother’s Day dinner.   So, after going through the regular exchange:

Me:  Where should we go?

He:  I don’t know.  You pick.

How about x?

Nah.  Too dark.

How about y?

Tables are too close together.

How about z?

Annoying bartenders.

How about you pick?

There’s a storied spot here in Marblehead.   It’s both a bar and restaurant but it’s always been known for “wicked stiff drinks”.  I hadn’t darkened the door of the place since my bachelorette party (Don’t remind me…is that tequila I taste?)  when the food part of the building was really just considered a nice tack-on in case you actually wanted to have something in your stomach and, therefore, a better chance of actually leaving the bar standing upright.   But, we’d been hearing a lot of reports lately that they had a new chef and the food was good.   So, we decided to check it out and off we went.

We enjoyed some grown-up bar drinks (in pint glasses) at the bar downstairs, chatted with a great bartender, then headed up to the restaurant.  Sat at a high-top table, liked the looks of the menu, liked our server, liked the atmosphere.  Right up our alley, really.

And then…he arrived.

Jimmy.  Or Mickey.  Or Sully, perhaps.  Something like that, undoubtedly.

Whoever he was, he was the quintessential loudmouth.  Sitting with two other guys at the bar but his Boston-accent-laden side of the conversation was the only one anyone heard.  And it sounded something like this:

Did you see that f*ckin’ pitch? (pause so someone else could speak…briefly)   Oh, yeah, he got f*ckin’ crushed. (pause)  No f*ckin’ way that was a f*ckin’ out!  That guy needs f*ckin’ glasses.  Blah, blah, blah, f*ckin’, blah, blah, blah, f*ckin’, blah.

Grrrr.   It certainly didn’t ruin our meal but it was annoying and rude and I wish his knucklehead friends had just told him to pipe down.  But, they didn’t.  And on he went.

Husband often tells me I have “rabbit ears”.   That I basically choose to listen to annoying things that others could simply tune out.  For example, I can’t stop myself from listening intently to someone enjoying his gum a little too enthusiastically.  Or someone tapping a pen on a desk.  Or lightly snoring.  Or eating something while on the phone with me (“hey, you want to just call me back when you’re finished?”).

Or dropping the F-bomb loudly and repeatedly at a restaurant.  I mean, come on.

Yesterday, I was reading the blog of a woman whose posts I follow regularly.  She had gone to dinner with her sister and her sister’s new baby and, after the baby had spent some time fussing, a man seated nearby felt compelled to make a comment to them.  And, he wasn’t exactly delicate with his opinions of a crying baby in a restaurant.  It escalated.  I believe they finished their meal but the night was ruined for them.   She was more than a little irritated with the man’s gumption.

But, I had to admit that I sort of sided with the grumpy man in the restaurant.  I feel strongly that, when in a public place where a semblance of decorum is expected (like restaurants, retail stores, etc), it’s a parent’s responsibility to be aware and considerate of the people around them.  And to not allow your child to disrupt someone else’s evening.  Granted, some whining, some crying, some volume — all expected.  Kids are kids.  Kids are allowed at restaurants and allowed at retail stores.  Certainly.  Give ’em a chance.  But, if it gets to the point where the child is overtaking the atmosphere of the restaurant…it’s time to go.  Call it a night.  Get ’em out of there.  Run, Forrest, Run.  Your server and  your fellow patrons will thank you for it.   I know I would.

I’m sure many will disagree.   Like I said, just my opinion.

Anyway, this leads me back to that trash-mouth man in the restaurant Saturday night.  Sure, it wasn’t like we were dining at Le Cirque.  Of course, he had every right to be there enjoying himself with his buddies.  And, frankly, he probably spends a lot more money and certainly a lot more time at that establishment that I do.   It’s probably a heck of a lot more “his place” than mine.  But you know what I wish?

I wish his mother was there.  I wish she was there to hear his language.  That she was there to shush him politely a few times.  Then, to speak a little more sternly, maybe even firmly grabbing his forearm.   Then, that she was there to look him square in the eyes and say  “Stop it now.  I mean it.

And then, when he went on and on and on…?

I wish she’d been there to receive my high-five as she dragged him out by his ear.

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A rainy, cold spring Sunday.  Mom, Dad, boys all together in the playroom.  The Bouncy House has been inflated for the first time in almost two years — finally freed from its moving box prison.  PGA tournament on in the background.   Laughter, rough-housing, giggle fits, rosy-cheeked boys and lots and lots of jumping in the foreground.

Then.

Little Brother (from inside the House):   Oh.   Ahsuemay!

Big Brother:  What did you say?

Little Brother:   I say’d Ahsuemay!  Ahsuemay, Mommy.

Me:   What’s that, J.?

Little Brother (frustrated).  Yells out from Bouncy House door.

Ahsuemay, I say’d!

I tooted!

Me (laughing):     Oh!   You’re excused.


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