BrundleElmo

Alex went to a birthday party yesterday and an incredibly talented balloon artist made her this Elmo.

One night in my house with my kids and Elmo looks like this:

It’s BrundleElmo. (Only a true horror fan will get that reference. If that’s not you, check out the 1980s re-make of The Fly where you can see Jeff Goldblum slowly transform into a hideous monster after stepping into a teleport machine with a house fly. Not only is it a great movie, but it also perfectly depicts what happens to you when you step into life with an infant and a toddler.)

(By the way, Ballon Elmo also has balls and what looks a whole bunch of red “lips.” But that’s a different movie…probably on TLC.)

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Mack N. Cheese

My 2 year-old Alexandra eats Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every single day of her life. Even if I offer her something else (like peanut butter cups and vodka) she’ll still drag herself across the floor and cry until I produce a plate of macaroni and cheese. She’s like a drunk college kid at 3Am.

As much as I hate to discourage her budding appreciation for one of life’s most exquisite dishes, someone’s gotta control this unhealthy obsession. And since I’m her mother, I suppose that someone is me, which is how this whole conversation I had with Tom started this morning. 

(If the words are in “A L L  C A P S,” it means I’m spelling it so Alex doesn’t catch on).

ME: I think we need to nix the M A C  N  C H E E S E for awhile.

TOM: (confused stare)

ME: We need to stop letting her eat M A C  A N D  C H E E S E  for a while. It’s too much.

TOM: (Still nothing)

ME:  M A C… K ? Does that help?

TOM: Ohhhhhh!

ME: Really?!

By a show of virtual hands, who besides my husband spells the abbreviated version of macaroni and cheese with a “K?” Does he think it’s a person–like Mack the Knife? Like there’s some dude running around named Mack N. Cheese who’s made of elbow macaroni and powdered cheese food and spends his life hiding from hungry toddlers and drunk college kids?

Actually, Mack N. Cheese sounds like a pretty awesome guy. But when you invite him over for dinner and he asks, “What can I bring?” do you say, “Dessert” or do you say, “Just bring yourself?” And then do you make something that goes with mac ‘n cheese? Like ribs? Or is it presumptuous to assume that he’ll just offer himself up for dinner?

What a confusing friendship. Well, at least I know that if we send him a Christmas card Tom will spell his name right on the envelope. I think it’s the least we can do after my daughter ate his face for dinner.

Wow. I really need to invest in a night nanny. I think I need sleep.

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What if God is a cod?

I’m a practicing “Bad Catholic.” That means the closest I come to going to mass is shouting, “Holy Shit! Learn how to drive, Jackass!” from my car window at churchgoers who don’t pay attention to traffic signals. I never know when lent is or if it’s capitalized (and even if I did, I would still order pepperoni pizza on Friday nights) and the only time I pray to God is when I’m trying to cram my fat ass into my jeans or when the room won’t stop spinning. But yet, this weekend, I baptized my daughter and two years ago I baptized the other one.

Both times, I insisted, and, not just because I wanted to collect money from my relatives. Sure, that was part of it. But the bigger reason is because every neck twisting, eye rolling, fucked up devil possession movie that ever kept me awake at night started with the words, “Based on a true story.”

I have no idea what guidelines evil-ass entities use to decide who’s worthy of demonic possession but I’m not taking any chances. I imagine they levitate through the streets at 3 am, swigging beers, smoking cigs and having conversations like: “Yo! Pazuzu,” (Evil entities always have Zs in their names) “I hear the Dunderman’s just had a baby. You should get on that!” Then Pazuzu says, “Nah, Captain Howdy’s got dibs on that one. I’ve got my eye on the Johnson kid—9 years old, avid Ouija board user, no religious affiliations. I’m excited. I already released the flies.”

Thanks to The Amityville Horror (also based on a true story) every time I see a fly in the house I make the sign of the cross, but not before I chase it around the bathroom with a shoe and a can of hairspray yelling, “Holy shit, just die already!”

So here’s the thing—no matter what you believe, do whatever your religion recommends you do to keep Pazuzu and his friends from creeping into your house and teaching your kids how walk on their hands and speak in tongues. Within reason of course! I mean the Catholics have way too many rules—don’t curse, don’t cheat, don’t have baptisms just to ward off evil entities and collect cash from relatives, don’t eat meat on Fridays…

Jesus Christ, Catholics! What happens if I follow all of those rules only to reach the pearly gates of Heaven and discover that God is a cod? How do I explain a lifetime of Friday night fish and chips to a giant codfish?

Pazuzu and his friends sound like way more fun. They probably order extra pepperoni on their Friday night pizza and curse at the delivery guy when it shows up cold and stuck to the lid. I’m sure they also understand that it’s not “drinking alone,” if the kids are home. They sound like my kind of Bad Catholics!

Crap. Am I an evil entity? I hate when my husband is right.

Anyway, just get a holy man to dip your kid in water and say little a prayer to protect them from…me, I guess. If you can’t find one, I’m sure that jackass who cut me off in front of my local church can find one for you. Anybody who drives like that and is still alive must have an in with God.

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The Spew Bib

Now your infant can tell the world she’s gonna spew (it’s the considerate thing to do) with the bib that will change your life forever (lies).

You’ll be revered for your impeccable taste in bibware (your husband will think it’s stupid).

It will teach your baby Cantonese (That’s impossible. No seriously, Cantonese is really, really hard.)

It will breastfeed your baby until she’s 12. (If your kid is old enough to wear braces, stop breastfeeding!)

And it will protect your baby’s shirt from food. (Duh.)

Buy one now (I’m not really selling these) and get a second one free (I just wanted to write this ridiculous ad so I had an excuse repost this adorable pic of my baby.)

The official Spew Bib (Come on! How cute is she? And you better not say she looks like my husband.)

Get yours today! (Really, I’m not selling these, Mom! I’ll just give you the one in the picture. And, no! Posting it on eBay will not make us millions of dollars.)

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy 2017! 

As you try to remember where you left your bra last night and start trying to redeem yourself by writing resolutions, remember that there’s nothing greater than the feeling of accomplishment.

So aim low. Really, really low and 2017 will be your best year yet.

If you need some inspiration, here’s a few of mine:

  • Stop dieting and start wearing jeans that are two sizes too big. Someone’s bound to say, “Did you lose weight? Your pants look huge.”
  • Stop buying wrinkle cream. Instead, look younger by hanging out with really, really old people.
  • Don’t smoke. (If you’re like me and you don’t smoke, this is a no-brainer.)
  • Don’t eat swiss cheese, meatloaf, truffles or anything else I hate.
  • Don’t watch, play or participate in any type of sport whatsoever.
  • Continually forget to fill the gas tank.
  • Complain incessantly.
  • Stay awake all night with two babies who refuse to sleep. 
  • And back on this list….Don’t get pregnant. 

Get the gist? Great! Now get started. I’ll even give you your first one: Read and share The Spew as much as possible so that in 2017 it can reach 1,000,000 followers. (Don’t worry there’s only like 999,359 to go!)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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What’s wrong with my kids?

I’ve heard rumors that babies are in the best mood when they first wake up in the morning. And that upon hearing a soft, sweet cooing coming from the nursery, the parents of these babies walk in and are greeted with big gummy smiles that say, Good morning adoring Parents!

Not my babies.

My babies open their eyes and let out an ear piercing screech as if they suddenly realized that they’re chained to a pipe in a dark bathroom and the only hope for freedom is to saw off their own foot.

What’s worse is that the older one screams for my mother the second she sees my face. I get it. The stress and exhaustion of having two babies less than two years apart has given me a sort of Lord of the Rings, Gollum-like glow. And it probably doesn’t help that I usually try to comfort her by stroking her hair and saying, “Don’t cry my precious little baby.”

But still, I’m starting to get a complex. So to make myself feel better I’ve composed this list of reasons my kids might be starting their day in such horror (other than the grim reality that I’m their biological mother).

  • It’s Tom. He’s responsible for everything including rain on the weekends and when the guy at the deli doesn’t put enough cream cheese on my bagel.
  • They discovered that there are people who work at delis that don’t understand that bagels only exist because it’s socially unacceptable to eat cream cheese with a spoon.
  • They have to endure another 18 to 20 more sober holiday seasons before the government says it’s OK for them carry a flask in their bra.
  • Based on genetics, they discovered they’ll probably never wear a bra big enough to successfully hide a flask.
  • Their grandmother and Connie are the only people who read The Spew.
  • Open-mouth chewers exist.
  • So do people who put their feet on my coffee table (if I had one).
  • We can’t afford a coffee table (because the state says babies need to eat food, not drink coffee at a really awesome Restoration Hardware coffee table…even if it’s on sale.)
  • People who constantly say, “No worries,” even when their is a clear reason to worry like there’s a huge tarantula in my car and I still have another 5 miles to drive.
  • If you Google “Tarantino” horrifying images of giant tarantulas will populate until you get to the “ino,” in his name.
  • Their father sometimes ends sentences with prepositions (like “What do you have to be so afraid of spiders for?”)
  • Grammar snobs that pick on their husbands.
  • Ivy League snobs that pick on grammar snobs.
  • Dumb people who think they’re smart
  • Smart people who think they’re dumb
  • People at Costco who stand in line for 20 minutes for a piece of cheese on a toothpick.

Wow! I think I hit the nail on the head. How about you? Oh, I also hate people who use cliches when they speak. (But this is about what my kids think…not me, right?)

Hm.

I guess there’s also a slight chance that they’re waking up in such horror because I constantly write about them on the Internet and sometimes use them as an excuse to make a long list of my pet peeves. But that’s just a guess, I don’t want to start any rumors…

 

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MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

It took me like 30+ years, four years of marriage and two babies but I finally did it! I made Christmas cards. 

How exciting. 

So what do you think it will take for me to actually send them? 

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I did send them to half of the people on my list. The other half is sitting at the bottom of my work bag (along with a beautiful Father’s Day card I bought for Tom when I was pregnant with our first child). 

Now if I send them it will just be weird because they won’t get them until after Christmas and maybe even New Year’s and nobody wants a Christmas card (or a Father’s Day card) while they’re packing away their Elf on a Shelf. Plus, it will call attention to my Christmas-card incompetence. 

I wonder what those people whose addresses I asked for are thinking now that they didn’t get anything from me. 

I hope they weren’t waiting for gingerbread cookies or a mistletoe scented Yankee candle. That would have been really nice of me. Way nicer than what they were really going to get–a Target-made collage of my kids with Merry Christmas written in a very uninteresting font. And it would have been even more disappointing for the handful of Jewish people I had on my list.

Hm. 

I wonder what it will take for me to bake Christmas cookies? Probably, like my dead body, or something. Wait, that’s gross and doesn’t make any sense. Nobody wants cookies made from my dead body. Though, imagine how nice it would be if I came back from the dead to bake them! 

God, I’m so fucking sweet. 

For now you’ll have to settle for this cell phone picture of a Christmas card I didn’t send you. 

Merry Christmas!

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A Pubic Service Announcement 

I Windex’d my magnifying mirror this morning. From now on I will only interact with cataracts and glaucoma patients. 

I’m also putting back the layer of dust I removed and adding an extra layer to all of my mirrors. Then I’m overloading the electrical system in my house with high- powered electronics because imagine how hot I’d look if the lights were in a perpetual state of brownout? And if the house burns down, who cares! I look even better in fire light. 

If you’re in your 30s and have two babies who refuse to let you sleep or wash your face or drink a hot cup of coffee and occasionally force-feed you stale goldfish they find in the couch, and if you work full time in an industry filled with 20-somethings, I recommend that you do the same thing. 

And maybe even strap a fog machine to your back–it’s your best chance at achieving that fuzzy, soft glow Cybil Shepard always had in Moonlighting


All the twenty-somethings just said, “What’s a Cybil Shepard? Is that an app for dogs?” 

No, my young, fresh-faced friend, it’s not. And, I hate you.

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My Childhood Summed Up Through a Bunch of Weird and Somewhat Offensive Shit I Was Told Before I was 12

****I’m re-blogging this old post in honor of my grandmother who spoke to me through a plate of lasagna in my dream last night.****

This list consists mostly of things that my grandmother or my mother told me. But if you ask my mother she will vehemently deny it and if you ask my grandmother, you’re probably a medium and that’s really awesome, but I bet she’ll still deny it. And if she doesn’t, she’s probably not really my grandmother and you should consult a priest as soon as possible because I’m pretty sure an evil entity is about to possess you.

Bleaching your mustache will make it invisible to the human eye.
I’m Italian but I’m like third or fourth generation Italian, which means that really I’m just an American with the ability to grow a freakishly awesome mustache, which wouldn’t be so bad if I owned a turkey farm or, you know, I was a guy.

By the time I was 10 I looked like Tom Selleck. And despite my grandmother’s best efforts, bleaching it did not make it invisible to the human eye. In fact, it made it glisten in the sun.

I’m not sure if she was trying to protect me from the pain of pouring hot wax on my face, or if we simply didn’t spend enough time outside together. Either way, I’d like to believe that she didn’t intentionally let me walk around looking like Magnum P.I. after he dipped his face in Sun-In.

Every time I mentioned waxing it, she’d wave her hand in the air, shoot cigarette smoke out of her nose and say, “It’ll grow in thicker!” Then coincidentally the Quaker Oats commercial would come on and I’d assume it was Wilfred Brimley’s mustache telling me to listen to my grandmother.

It wasn’t until a boy I liked asked me why my hair wasn’t as blonde as my mustache when I decided to risk it all. I started buying those at-home waxing kits that require a microwave, a popsicle-stick and an old sock. Though I’m pretty sure I didn’t read the directions because I can’t imagine any beauty product that would expect you to hot wax an old sock to your face. But that’s how I did it, every two weeks, until that one time when my mother found my sock and tossed it (probably because it was old and looked like a dead, balding rat). I ended up using a piece of gauze that I found at the bottom of the bathroom drawer. This was a terrible idea because it’s impossible to get gauze out of wax. For hours, hundreds of little three-inch threads clung to my lip and swung back and forth over my mouth. I looked like Confucius. By the time I chipped it all away, an allergic reaction formed under the wax and created a hivestache.

I probably should have listened to Wilfred Brimley’s mustache.

If your boobs itch it means they’re growing.
I swear my mom had me for entertainment purposes only. I can’t really blame her though because watching a tween-ager walk around in July wearing a wool sweater covered in itching powder and swearing that by tomorrow she’ll “definitely be a Double D” must be hours of fun.

Once, when I was eight, I became super obsessed with The Cosby Show and desperately wanted to be part of the family. So rather than disappointing me she assured me that I was really black and my freckles were just spots where the white paint wore off. I was oddly satisfied with that theory.

If pigeons poop on your roof, shoot them.
I think shooting at anything through an open apartment window in a crowded urban area as your five-year old begs you to “save the chickens,” would be considered a federal offense by today’s standards. But it was the 80s and my dad was a homicide detective with a totally legal gun so nobody had a problem with it—except my grandmother and probably the National Pigeon Association (it’s a real thing. Google it.)

I should probably mention that my parents got divorced when I was two so I spent a lot of weekends with my dad in his North Jersey bachelor pad. My grandmother hated it. In his defense, if you’re going to divorce a woman with an Italian mother and then expose her granddaughter to women, guns and dead pigeons you’re bound to spend eternity warding off the evil eye and trying to shake your reputation as the devil.

This must be how Luke Skywalker felt. I wonder if he had an Italian grandmother from Jersey.

People only drink iced tea in the summer.
My grandmother had a lot of crazy theories but this one made even less sense than the one about people with unibrows having some super ability to give people migraines because I imagine that if someone’s eyebrows are so thick that it’s hard to tell where their hairline begins you might stare until your head hurts.

In my house, it didn’t matter when summer actually began or when it ended or if we had a hot day in March. Iced tea was designated for June, July and August and I never questioned it. In fact, the first time I took a sip of iced tea in February I was almost 13! I remember how wrong and awkward it felt—like I was sneaking shots of Jack Daniels before Homeroom. Only it wasn’t Jack Daniels. It was iced tea and not even Long Island Iced Tea, which ironically may have been OK in my grandmother’s eyes and I wouldn’t have felt so guilty about it. Instead I probably would have just felt sick because Long Island Iced Tea is pretty disgusting. Especially when you down four of them before happy hour ends, then puke over a balcony onto some poor guy’s head and ruin your favorite shirt.

If you get your ears pierced on the Seaside Heights boardwalk you’ll get an STD.
Maybe my grandmother thought STD stood for something else like Sleazy Turd Danny because hooking up with a Sleazy Turd named Danny that I met while he pierced my ears on the boardwalk seemed way more likely than contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease in my ear hole. Or maybe STD was exactly what she meant and they just did things very differently in her day.

Either way, she really did have a way with words. Once she couldn’t wait to see that movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, Taking Miss Daisy for a Ride, which the rest of us know as Driving Miss Daisy.

When I was sick she’d take me to a walk-in clinic she called, “Doctors In Duty” which was really ironic because it seemed like there was a much greater risk of contracting an STD from a bunch of doctors with a penchant for sitting in doodie all day than by getting my ears pierced on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk.

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Here’s my grandmother, Jean, warding off the evil eye and drinking a mimosa.

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The Girls

I have two daughters— a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old and although their names are Alexandra (Alex) and Charlotte (Charley) everyone insists on referring to them as “the girls.”

While it’s a totally reasonable (and very accurate) description of them, no matter who says it (my mom, my boss, my husband, my priest, the guy who works the deli counter at the Acme) as soon as I hear it, I immediately think that they are talking about my boobs.

Awwwwwkward.

To illustrate this point, here’s a list of things people have said to me recently about the girls. (I mean my daughters. Not my boobs. See how confusing it can get?)

Anyway, as you read each quote, just replace “the girls” with “your boobs” and you’ll start to understand the gravity of the situation. 

“Wow! The girls are getting so big.”
“Saw a picture of the girls on Facebook. They’re almost the same size!”
“The girls are the spitting image of your husband.”
“I miss the girls so much. I just want to squeeze them!”
“The girls were amazing last night—they’re so well behaved!”
“You should feed the girls before we leave. They look hungry.”
“Let’s Facetime! I haven’t seen the girls in forever.”
“We should give the girls a bath tonight. We don’t want them to look sloppy for their Christmas photos.”
“Have you introduced the girls to Santa yet?”
“My parents can’t wait to play with the girls.”
“The girls are so snuggly.”
“You look exhausted. Let me handle the girls while you sleep.”

And, I wasn’t kidding about the deli worker at the Acme who knows my two-year old has an affinity for processed meat and said, “Where are the girls today? The salami is waiting!”

Yeah, like I said, awkward.

I’m just glad I’m not the father of two boys.

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