I am such a moron mommy

By Mir
February 20, 2006

How very fitting that on a day like today, a day when I’m JUST SO EXCITED to tell you WHAT A FANTABULOUS MOM I AM, BlogHer decides to finally publish the Day Two schedule of events. You may happen to notice yours truly scheduled along with Alice and Tracey to talk about why Mommyblogging is a radical act.

Hell, voluntarily deciding to be responsible for another human is radical. Blogging about it is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, methinks. ANYWAY, the bottom line is that I am thrilled to be headed to San Jose this summer, and I hope to see you (yes, YOU) there. I will be the one who trips into the pool, tipsy on half a glass of wine, and then flails through a couple of laps while insisting that I meant to do that. Woo!

So. Wanna hear about my day? OF COURSE YOU DO. Why, it was a veritable exemplification of parenting at its finest. I couldn’t be more proud. Though I sort of wish I had that wine right now.

It all started out well enough. We slept late, the children piled into bed with me and turned on the Cartoon Network around 7:30 or so. Chickadee and I went over all we needed to get done today to finish up her invention project for tomorrow. She commented that she sure was glad it was President’s Day and we’d have plenty of time. I agreed.

[Sidebar: After packing the children off to their father’s this weekend with several hours worth of work/creation and instructions to finish the project, four phone calls (“We’re at Home Depot”… “We’re thinking of trying this thing now”… “We’re looking for supplies again”… etc.) and two days later Chickadee returned with… exactly what she’d had when she left. Well, not EXACTLY. Her father was kind enough to cut several holes in fabric that I’d spent an hour sewing together the previous Friday. As for the rest? “Well, we tried a bunch of different things, but none of them worked.” Oh, OKAY then. I may have gotten a wee bit snippy.]

So, we’re lolling about in our jammies this morning, and around about 10:30 I say okay, we’ve got a LOT to get done today… I’m going to take a shower and then we’re going to get to work. Okay, Mama, both kids responded immediately. I headed upstairs confident that we were in great shape.

Raise your hand if you know where this is going! (I certainly didn’t, but then again, I’m a moron!)

I turned on the water in the shower, stripped naked, and was one leg into the stall when the phone rang. I considered letting it go, and then decided I’d better pick up rather than risk Chickadee doing me the favor of answering. (“Mama, someone called. I think they wanted to talk to you.”)

Me: Hello?
Perky Voice: Hello, Mrs. Lastname?
Me: Yes…?
PV: This is the office at Sticks Elementary. I’m calling to confirm Chickadee’s absence?
Me: You’re calling to… wait… it’s a holiday….
PV: So you’ve elected to keep her home today?
Me: I thought… but it’s… oh SHIT. Sorry. There’s school today???
PV: Yes…?
Me: I’m a moron.
PV: … uhhhh…
Me: I cannot believe I thought there was no school today. Oh my GOD. I’m so embarrassed.
PV: … uhhhh…
Me: WAIT! What time is it? I can bring her in! Can I bring her in? To finish the day? It’s not even lunchtime yet! I can, right?
PV: Well, she’ll be tardy, but yes.
Me: Okay! I’ll do that! I’ll leave right now! Except not really, because she’s not dressed yet OH MY GOD I have to go and get her ready. I’m a moron. We’ll be there in a little bit. Thank you.
PV: Don’t forget to come sign her in when you get here.
Me: I promise to sign her in if you promise not to call DCFS.
PV: Uhh.. haha… hrm…
Me: Okay well we’ll be there soon! THANKS AGAIN!
*hanging up phone*

It wasn’t really what I’d planned for our morning. Whoops.

Chickadee was thrilled that our predicament meant I let her buy lunch. At Monkey’s school, purchasing lunch isn’t an option. I grabbed up his lunchbag in a whirlwind and threw in the first few things my hand encountered inside the fridge. I believe he had a juice box, a cup of yogurt, an apple, and a jar of mustard. Lucky boy.

I was somewhat comforted to discover that several other children on the tardy roster were marked as “vacation confusion” as the reason. I may be a moron, but I’m not the only one!

And really, you would THINK that after a start to the day like that, it would get better afterwards. But you would be OH SO WRONG. Because now, our “entire day” to work on that infernal project was now back to just the evening after school. And I’d already messed up one thing, and had no intention of this project–already on its eleventh hour–being screwed up as well.

I headed out to Home Depot, a mom on a mission. Really, I’d been puzzling out the problems with Chickadee’s contraption since she’d returned home Sunday night, and I thought I might have a solution. We’d been wanting something to act like a swing-arm, and her father had reasoned that a cheap lamp could be dissected (but then he’d failed to find a cheap lamp of appropriate size for this purpose). I was sure I could make something that would work just fine. For just a few dollars, even.

(Remember how I’d said I wasn’t going to do her project? Apparently guilt overrides my common sense, sometimes.)

I snagged a sales associate and asked for help finding the type of wire I was seeking. He led me to a display of various gauge wires, and the one I wanted came on an ENORMOUS spool. I explained that I didn’t need that much. We looked for a smaller spool without much luck, and I mused aloud that if I got the larger one, I’d still have plenty left over with which to strangle my daughter. He looked a little frightened. But as soon as I said the magic words “Invention Convention” he laughed and said, “Oh YEAH… had a LOT of those the last few days. I’m so glad I don’t have kids.” HA. Finally I settled for a thinner wire on a smaller spool, vowing to make do.

At home I doubled up the wire. It didn’t feel strong enough. I wrapped a third strand around. Still not enough. On the fourth strand, I had to fetch my gloves, as my thumbs were starting to blister. After the FIFTH strand I was certain my resultant cord would serve the needed purpose. I jammed my quintuple wire strand through some rubber tubing (that took… nearly another hour. shut up) and triumphantly tested what I was sure would now be a flexible yet strong “neck” for our contraption.

It didn’t work. I set the entire thing on fire and stoked the flames with my left leg, which I’d ripped off in a fit of pique.

Or maybe I just went and picked up the kids, because I’d spent THE ENTIRE DAY (well, what there was of it, once I packed them off to school late) giving myself blisters by playing with wires.

Back home again, Chickadee commenced with the melting down and the fresh mouth and I placed her in front of the television while I retreated to the other end of the house to call a friend. “I can’t do this,” I told her. “What happens if she just doesn’t enter her project? Because I am DONE. Do you hear me? DONE. This is INSANE. We have spent hours on this thing and it’s not even close to being an actual project. And she doesn’t seem to care. And I am about to lose my mind.” Fortunately, my friend has been through this circle of hell with all three of her children, before, and she gave me great advice. She talked me off the ledge and I returned to my daughter with A Plan.

“Hi!” I said brightly, as I separated Chickadee from the television. She regarded me with suspicion. “Here’s the plan! You have exactly 10 minutes to come up with how’re we’re going to do this. And whatever you come up with has to be something we can DO in 15 minutes. Otherwise we are done and not entering. Got it?” I have to say… she looked relieved.

We chucked out all of our previous attempts and started over. Twenty minutes later we had something–designed and more or less executed by my not-quite-eight-year-old, rather than overthought and overwrought by either myself or her dad. Finally. The angels sang and the earth rejoiced and I decided to let her live.

Sure, we spent another hour on the accompanying poster, but now Chickadee was actually thinking and working and OWNING it, and I didn’t mind that part at all. “It’s good you did this, honey,” I told her, towards the end. “Because the last thing you want is for someone who… I dunno, say, someone who doesn’t even know if it’s a school day or not, designing your project! I mean REALLY!” She giggled and rolled her eyes at me.

So, yes, I’ve got all the bases covered. Mother… moron… radical. It’s not easy being me, but somebody has to do it.


  1. margalit

    I can’t believe you had school today. Isn’t President’s Day a national holiday? We don’t even have mail. So I guess you also don’t have vacation week this week? Interesting. Kinda sucks, but interesting.

    Glad you got that project done. It sounds worse than the Intel Science Fair!

  2. DebR

    I would totally have thought there was no school today. Go figure!!

  3. buffi

    Okay, I have to admit, you made me run to the kitchen and check the school calendar. WHEW! Yes, indeed, we DID have a holiday today. SHEESH!

  4. chris

    Can’t wait to meet you at Blogher. You’ll know it’s me because I’ll already have fallen in the pool when you do. Just pretend you are trying to save me, or drown me… either one will work ;-)

  5. David

    Monday was President’s Day? Huh. How ’bout that? But today’s just plain ol’ Tuesday, right? *smiling the smile of schoolchildrenless bliss*

  6. Jenn

    You know I will be in the front row with my foam finger and poster saying “Go Mir!” ;-)

    Meet you in the pool, sweetie! lol

  7. Mom101

    I only just found your blog, which, as I understand it, is like saying I only just discovered velcro. Consider yourself blogrolled in a list so elite, only celebrities have the secret reservation number to get on it.

    Glad you let your daughter live. That’s always a good thing.

  8. dad

    I, for one, are glad you are you!

  9. ben

    Oh, man.

    We had school, too. (Here in Texas? “Presidents Day” just doesn’t mean that much. But we do get a day off to go to the State Fair!) But the bank was closed, which meant I went out of my way to cash a check for precisely nothing, and my ATM card was deactivated after I was part of a scam from Russia where they took money out of my account entirely without my permission.

    But this is about you, isn’t it? Oops. Getting back to that:

    I think it is cool that you worked so hard to help Chickadee with her project, and equally as hard to preserve life and limb. Also, I need the number for where to buy the “BlogHERS Gone Wild – Girls in the Pool” video this summer. Seriously.

  10. ben

    Oh, and I have to add that for me, personally? The Poster was always the hardest part. It didn’t help that my mom was an artist.

  11. Amy-GO

    I worship at the feet of your parenting skills…I would have 1)not answered the phone, leading to 2)not taken the child to school (it IS a national holiday, what is your school district THINKING) 3)worked myself into a frenzy doing the project myself and 4)burnt the house down in a fit of rage. I think your way was better. Pat yourself on the back and buy something pretty! ;)

  12. Lena

    We’re headed to BlogHer too! I cannot wait to hear you speak – so exciting.

    Prez Day is so confusing! My daughter was off school LAST Monday and I convinced my husband he was too…until his boss called. Ooops. He actually had this Monday off. What the…?

    Also, congrats! You’re a finalist! Well deserved. :)

  13. Melanie Lynne Hauser

    Ugh – I can’t believe you didn’t have school! I hate it when I get all mixed up like that. Reminds me of the time when the school bus didn’t come, and I packed up my oldest (in kindergarten at the time), dropped him off at school, went back home (still in my PJ’s) – only to get a phone call from the janitor telling me that school was cancelled due to fog, and perhaps I’d like to come pick up my son? I totally didn’t notice the fog, until that very moment. Come to think of it, I totally didn’t notice that the parking lot was empty when I dropped the child off. It took me quite a while to get over the guilt of that day!

  14. CharlestonGirl

    Will you adopt me and be my mommy?
    I mean, I am 41 and I just started back to college. I have lots of projects to do all the time. I promise I won’t smart mouth you….unless I have had a few glasses of wine and then I can’t promise anything! :) You are hilarious. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your writing. You are an incredibly talented writer. And despite what you may think, an inspiring mother too! Hope the rest of your week goes great!

  15. RockStar Mommy

    Damn! You’re going to Blogher, too? I’m officially pissed. Well, more pissed than I already was.

  16. Ei

    I don’t know why but I lost it at the mustard. Choked on my green tea, have mascara running down my face.

    You are very good at this. You probably figured that out already. Just sayin’…

  17. Melissa

    Oh My God. I had to come out of lurkdom to say, that’s was too funny. My baby isn’t in school yet, but I’m definetly going to have to keep track when is a holiday after reading this!!!

  18. Brenda

    Congratulations on getting Chickadee to actually do her project and not having a meltdown. Huzzah!

    Honestly, I would not have taken the children to school. I would have explained the situation to the kids and then used the fact that they got a free day off from school to guilt them into something in the future.

    Yummy guilt!

  19. Susan

    The public schools here were closed yesterday for a snow day, but because my sons go to private schools (yes, two different schools! how fun!) I called no less than FOUR other mothers to be SURE their schools were REALLY closed and this wasn’t some trick the public school parents were playing on the private school parents, you know, taking President’s Day off and then making it snow so our spoiled kids would miss school.

    By 9:00 am I was in dire need of a drink.

  20. Contrary

    Why did no one ever give me that so simple bit of advice?? I have GOT to get better (or smarter) friends.

    I’m glad y’all got it worked out and the day ended on a positive note!

  21. InterstellarLass

    HA HA! I did that once. Thought the kids had a day off. Yeah. And projects SUCK. I always get roped in to doing work on my son’s projects. Bah. Sounds like you had a great solution though! Not such a moron after all!

  22. Mr. Fabulous

    I thought President’s Day was a national holiday. Hmm.

    I think you did a great job!

  23. NattyChick

    I wish I could get to blogher. I, however, need about 3 weeks off work, a $2000 plane ticket, plus expenses for accomodation and food etc. I kinda wish we had a blog convention/seminar/thingie over here. Perhaps someone will hear my plea and organise one!

  24. sweetney

    i may still be drunk from the previous evening’s festivities at our 2nd day AM panel. i’m going to consider the whole affair a personal success so long as i don’t, you know, hurl.

  25. Sarcastic Journalist

    Damn, I’m jealous you get to talk! I’d love to do that and go on and on about “mommy blogging.”

    Do you get to go for free?

    I recently got called a great insult: “Another stupid mommyblogger with a broken template.”

  26. Y

    Ok. So. I was just going to buy the tickets to the Cocktail parties.

    Cock. Tails.


    Because, you know, I just want to get drunk and hug wimmins, but now I’m tempted to buy the day two pass because, well, I want to hear you talk. (And MAYBE, PERHAPS, I kinda wanna flash you to see if you’re easily distracted.)

  27. Belinda

    I. Am. SO. There! Radical Mommyblogging! I will be the one with the thick Southern accent, which you most likely will not hear because I will be staring, slack-jawed, in wonder at seeing my blogging friends and heroes IN PERSON. Oh, and…my husband is coming with me! If he says anything that makes us look like hillbillies…well, HA HA, that’s a JOKE! He is just kidding!

    Oh, and the next time you need wire without buying a whole spool, head to the Tractor Supply Company. Unless you live in an actual city, and they don’t have those there.

  28. Suzanne

    Hi Mir,
    You might want to send your peeps over to my site. I’m trying to help aquire sponsorship from the Ellen Degeneres show for BlogHer and we could use the comments, and help spreading the word.

    Hope to see you there!


  29. Mary

    I remember when Alice made that “mommyblogging is a radical act” comment at last year’s BlogHer. Hoot! That was awesome.

    Looking forward to meeting you and getting radical. Should be a fun time.

    Oh, and now I understand why my mom never helped me with my school projects.

  30. Shari

    I am so there with the streaming mascara! But all through the post, I kept wondering why it was so important to take the kids to school that day. They’re in elementary school, right? I would have just told the kids about my mistake, laughed about it, and stayed with the day’s plans.

    But then I read the story at the link Wendy C posted. Eep! I suspect Americans might be a lot more strict about this school thing than Canadians. Get it right or LOSE THE KID! Whew!

    Which is why I’ll be homeschooling when the time comes. I couldn’t take the pressure! Glad it worked out well in the end for you. :)

  31. Mike

    This Mir-speaking-at-Blogher thingie is the best thing that’s hit San Jose since 75 degree weather in February! And if you’re still talking to me after _that_ jab, I can’t wait ’til summertime! Wahoooo!!

  32. GraceD

    Hot diggity dawgies, grrl. We’re all gonna throw roses and those little airplane drink cart size bottles o’Jose Cuervo at your feetz.

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