Posts Tagged ‘great advice’
It all felt very right, very – “communicative.” In the car last week, when my 6 year old daughter asked me a really thoughtful question, “Are all girls born with a teeny tiny baby in their tummy?” I was excited at the prospect of helping her to understand – just a little – about the biological beginnings of a baby.
She already understood that only women get pregnant, and so by extension, it made sense that she would imagine all girls would hold the teeniest, microscopic baby in their tummies until they were finally old enough and ready enough to be Mommies and really ‘grow the babies.’
I told her she was very close in her guess – that when girls go through the process called ‘puberty’ – when a girl’s body goes through many changes and becomes a woman’s body – one of those changes is that she gets ‘eggs’ in a special part of her body called the ‘womb,’ – eggs that are basically “half a baby” only super teeny tiny. (No, I didn’t elaborate, nor did I explain anything about the ‘1 egg per month/period’ thing. Let’s let the child live in a blood-free fantasy world just a bit longer, shan’t we?)
At the same time, I added, boys’ bodies go through puberty and when THEIR bodies change from boys to men, they get these things called ‘sperm’ which also have all the ingredients for half a baby. In this way, when the Mommy and Daddy are finally ready to ‘make a baby,’ the baby is made from the ½ baby in the dad and the ½ baby in the mom, and becomes a ‘whole baby seed’ that grows inside the mom.
The few questions that followed were lively and logical, and didn’t lead us down any paths I couldn’t answer for her 6 year old capacity to understand. (She didn’t wonder too deeply when I contradicted her claim that “that’s why babies can ONLY come when a Mom and Dad get MARRIED” – I did tell her it can happen other ways but that, bottom line, there has to be the ½ from the boy & the ½ from the girl to get the whole things started.
I was faintly glowing all evening from having such a successful ‘mother-daughter’ talk – and then forgot mostly about it until the next evening, when Rachel announced knowingly to her older brother: “Did you know you are pregnant with half a baby? It’s true! Ima told me!”
I think I should have just changed the subject back when I had the chance.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Can I talk to you for a second?
I know, I know – I haven’t written – blogged – for like seventeen years. And I’m telling you, I had my First Blog Back alllll planned. It was gonna reveal why I went dark for so long, and why I’m back now, and so on and so on…
But all that’s now gotta wait till next blog.
Cause right now????
The other night I got home from a late movie which followed a dinner with friends at the Gordon Ramsey-owned restaurant Fat Cow. You know, that celebrity Hell’s Kitchen 4 Michelin Star chef guy, Gordon Ramsey? Well, here’s a hint:
DO NOT EVER GO TO FAT COW.
Yes the Vodka pizza was yummy. But what is up with charging 15 dollars for a pizza and then serving it on a plate that would be dwarfed by my 3 year old’s doll dishes?
And yes the fish and chips was delicious – but also, outrageous – $20 for 2 small pieces of (yes, delicious) fish. Oh right, and about 2 gazillion skinny fries. Speaking of fries -
We ordered fries as an $8 side dish and when about 12 fries came out in a tiny tin pail, I KNEW that place was really shitty. It was like they had taken a pack of MacDonald’s fries, gave us about ½ of the pack and then charged us $8 for it.
But THAT is not even why I’m telling you not to go there. Because – although by the grace of God we had a really sweet, honest, wonderful waitress, Dara… I think seriously they’ve got something on her that forces her to work in that den of Satan’s spawn.
Because this OTHER guy who works there? (Yes, there were more than just 2 employees but the rest were just wussies who hid behind the talking head that was this other guy, Mr. Satan’s Spawn)…
Okay, I already gave it away. This guy was Evil Satan Spawn. In the flesh.
Or he was just a complete asshole.
Either way, it was late – 12:45am – when our movie let out. (Silver Linings Playbook – don’t get me started – the happy ending rocked but come on, this movie is not the best thing since sliced bread) – I was in the 5th floor of the parking garage with my 2 friends who were driving me home (my hubby had gone home after dinner), when the husband-½ of my friends realized he no longer had their car key in his pocket.
We quickly went down to Fat Cow, which was closing, and looked around. ESS (Evil Satan Spawn) and 2 other minions told my friend no key had been found, and my friend went to look in the movie theatre while the wife-½ of my friends and I entered Fat Cow and asked about a missing key.
After some hushed talk, we heard our waitress say that yes, a key had been found and they’d go look for it up in the office because she wasn’t sure where it had been left.
This blog is getting too long (I know, I know, I’m completely out of practice, I suck!) so I’m not going to really get into all the details about how ESS then came back forever later from the office to tell us “there was a key that had been found the day before and it was a rental car key so he’d just take our name, make of our car, and information, and they’d call us if anything turned up” – and then, stunned, how I asked Dara again if a key had been found THAT night and she was like, “yeah, right after you left, under your table, I knew it had to be yours, let me look for it,” and then ESS was like, after I accused him of lying to us about the key and told him we weren’t leaving since we couldn’t leave our car just parked up in the lot and he answered, “well, yeah, that’s why you usually want to take those things with you” in this horribly snarky tone of voice that made me want to strangle him, and I was like WHAT??? And my friend was like, WHAT??? And while he backed off that assholic comment, he then proceeded to say, “well, we have your information, so you know, tomorrow we can ‘shake some people down’ and if anything turns up we’ll call you” and I was now ready to become an ax murderer and chop this guy up but instead I chose to open up a Pinchas Book (go, Kabbalah) and as SOON as we opened the book Dara came to us with the key that “miraculously” had just been located.
I’m telling you. This place is evil. Except Dara. She’s probably being kept against her will.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
PS Something is up and WordPress (my blog platform) isn’t letting me pirate images from the internet anymore. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT!!??? So in the meantime, I have no choice but to resort to creating my own images. Don’t get mad at me, get mad at copyright infringement policing!
PPS Wait… um… maybe I didn’t mean that, quite how I wrote it…
PPPS ARGHHHH I’m just a terrible artist, can’t a sister catch a break??? Here goes nothing:
Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!
And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:
What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!
If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.
Remember how I said I only like movies with Happy Endings? (My blog, last week. It’s okay, I’ll wait – go ahead, read it. Seriously. It’s short, just do it. Ok great, back?) Anway, I should have been more specific. I do hate movies that don’t have happy endings. However, just because a movie has a happy ending, doesn’t mean I’ll like it.
Case in point: While You Were Sleeping. This movie had all the elements of a GrownupGirl Fave: Sandra Bullock. By-the-numbers romantic comedy. Sandra Bullock.
But I didn’t get swept away – maybe it’s the fact that I’ve never found Bill Pullman or Peter Gallagher even slightly sexy.
So when I talked to my childhood friend on the phone and told him I didn’t like the movie, I was surprised when he retorted, “Sheva, that movie made 43 million at the box office last weekend.”
Wait – did I mention he was also the movie’s producer?
“I don’t care if the movie made 20 billion,” I continued. “It sucked.”
His furious reply: “It’s not called Show Fun, Sheva. It’s called Show Business.”
Ooooohhhhhh…. He got me there!
Ever heard of the term “failing upwards?” In showbiz, this is when a person produces a terrible movie, then gets promoted. Like, for example, my friend – who had impressed his bosses as an intern by producing an unwatchable comedy feature which lost money, and then promptly got promoted to junior executive status, with an assistant and all.
Maybe there is a good long term reason for allowing someone to fail upwards – in fairness, my friend has gone on to produces MANY amazing & awesome movies, as well as more crappy ones, each of which I’m sure made at least 43 million each weekend at the box office…
Still, it all kind of depresses me. I’m an artist: A writer. A singer. A Capricorn moon. Which all means I’d prefer things to be FAIR.
Of course the entertainment industry doesn’t care what I’d prefer. It exists to be a source of money, an outlet for talent & ambition, and a place for creative suckers like me to get stomped on by those with more connections and less fear.
Still, a girl can always dream, can’t she?
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
First, cry. Okay, just kidding. I didn’t cry. But when my husband and I decided that we couldn’t afford our twice-a-week housekeeper (who was our kids’ nanny for the past few years, too) I did feel like I had just been punched in the gut. Okay, fine, punched myself in the gut. You see, we don’t have our parents or close family in town, so when it comes to ‘family’ help with the kids, our maid/nanny was as good as it got.
Um… honesty check. My ‘punched in the gut’ feeling had nothing to do with the fact that she was close to our kids. After all, she’s still in town and is still available to babysit here or there for them.
No – My gut was twisted because now I would be responsible for our entire house staying clean.
Alrighty, then! Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’d like to share with you penny-pinchers out there some fantastic tips for making the most out of a housekeeper-less house.
- 1. Choose your children’s dresses wisely. As in, don’t let your girls wear the fancy dry cleaning/hand-wash ones. And as you bring that cotton stretchy dress towards your youngest and her face screws up and she cries, “NO! I want to wear a DRESS!” you just flash that Stepford Wife smile, shove it over her head and shout, “Where’s the baby, where did she go?!”
- 2. Who even looks at your son’s school pants or your daughter’s school skirts? No one will notice they aren’t ironed, right? As long as you iron their shirts! Right? RIGHT?
- 3. Give your kids extra “Light bucks” (earn 26 and they get a free dinner out with mom or dad) for every time they go out of their way to help clean. Strip them of a Light buck every time they refuse to clean up their mess.
- 4. Don’t sweat. (Seriously. Because if you sweat, you can’t wear it again.)
- 5. Use paper plates and bowls. Consider calculating the money you are spending on paper plates and bowls, but then – quick! – go check your email! (So all you really had time to consider was how much you hate doing dishes.)
- 6. Notice how dirty every surface of your house is, start cleaning it all, get overwhelmed, get attacked by killer worms, then go to your computer. You will succeed to apply to 100x more jobs in just one sitting than ever before!
So there you have it, Readers. I don’t recommend quitting (like I did recently) or being fired (like I’ve done in the past) when you don’t have another job lined up. But it happens (or – um – you make it happen, if you are the one who quits), and when it does… now you’re prepared.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Where’s the Baby, where did he go…
…to the movies?
Safehouse: (n) The R-Rated moving starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds that I spent 2+ hours gripping my husbands arm, wringing it out like a wet towel and slapping his shoulder just so he could UNDERSTAND how exciting and scary and adrenaline-fueled this movie was.
Safehouse: (n) The movie where I saw a mother take her THREE YEAR OLD SON.
Pardon my French, folks, but that is some fucked up shit.
Maybe I should be grateful that it wasn’t Halloween 3? Then again, I don’t ever go to horror movies, so for all I know, there are whole Kindergartens taking field trips to those types of movies.
My husband tried to give the mother the benefit of the doubt – he told me maybe the kid was four. I said, yeah – or, maybe he was two, since our two year old is about his height. (Granted, our 2 year old is an Amazon.)
Either way – WTF??????
It took ME a good 5-10 minutes after the movie just to calm down and remind myself that the movie was a movie and reality is reality. Our subconscious minds don’t know the difference. The subconscious mind of a 3 or 4 year old is about 1000 times more malleable.
And I promise you, I’m really not the kind of mother who rides around on her high horse all day, judging other parents. Granted, I USED to be that person… BEFORE I actually had my own kids.
I’d be at the grocery store or whatever, and when I’d see a mom wailing on her kid – screaming at them or even landing a solid whack on their behinds… And I would be SO self righteous and judgmental of that mom (in my head). Like, “I would NEVER lay a finger on my child!”
Cause then I had a child.
And then I had another child.
And, parents – you know that feeling, how you want to physically hurt any child who dares to lay a finger on your precious child? Yeah… now, imagine seeing your older child wail on your younger child. Suddenly, you want to go crazy on the child who hurt your child… but that is ALSO your child.
Uh-oh…. Exactly. My internal wires get all messed up and yes, I have wound up on more than one occasion (even in public) screaming at my kids or even giving one of them a pretty solid whack.
So it is from down here… very low to the ground, not anywhere NEAR a high horse, where I kneel down and plead to the mamas and papas taking their babies to R-Rated films…
Leave the baby home.
Enough with Grey’s Anatomy and party girl days of yore! (for today) It’s time to take this wisdom I have painstakingly acquired over all these thirty-COUGH years of my life, and the decade (minus-two years) of marriage, and pay forward the incredible wisdom I have hard-earned as the mother of four kids I mean three kids and one husband. Wife of one husband. You know what I mean.
So here it is, folks – for all you new parents, soon-to-be new parents, old parents who like a good laugh, and never-will-be-parents who enjoy a good laugh at someone else’s expense:
THE BE-ALL-END-ALL LIST OF WHAT EVERY NEW PARENT MUST HAVE:
1. Towels. Because kids spill shit. My parents still remember the song I made up when I was about 4 or 5, the chorus of which went something like, “and I SPILL my apple juice…” Spilling our apple juice was a fact of life when we were children, and your kid will be no different. Suck it up. Or rather, wipe it up. Have that towel on hand – always.
2. Wipes. Because you never want to be stuck like I was, in a mall in Israel, surrounded by disapproving Israeli mothers (who are WAY better mothers than we are, by they way, just ask them) as you wash your child’s poopey bum in the sink because you FORGOT THE DAMN WIPES.
a. Yes, the obvious corollary is “Diapers”… but actually, it is MORE important to have wipes. Think about it.
b. Plus, wipes are better at cleaning stains than Tide or Oxy Clean, and they take off boogers from a wall in a pinch. Trust me on that one.
3. Patience. Duh.
4. Peek-a-boo. Moms, dads – get that shit wired. Because there will come a time – usually about every twenty minutes, give or take, every day of every week, until your child is around 10, you will need to use Peek-a-Boo. When your child is in a terrible mood, often the ONLY thing that will distract him or her (without the long-term teeth-rotting effects of candy or brain-rotting effects of TV) is Peek-a-boo. It’s genius.
a. Don’t limit yourself to hiding the eyes, by the way. Peek-a-boo is the ONLY way my Racheli would allow me to dress her from age 2, and it STILL works (she is five and a half). When dressing them (in something they don’t want to wear, like “pants” or a “shirt,” or anything non-princessy/fashion-y/high heels-y/S.W.A.T.-team-y for the boys), here’s what you do: jam the shirt on as fast as humanly possible over their head and then before they have a chance to scream, you shout, “Where’d Racheli go?? Where did she go???!!!” (Silence. You will have peaked the kid’s interest. Trust me.)
When their head pops through the neck hole, cry with real surprise: “Racheli!? Where did you come from?!” Then after they finish laughing and before they realize what has happened and start to scream, you jam a hand in the sleeve and shout, “Where’s Racheli’s hand? Oh my goodness, where in the world did her fingers GO??”
And so on.
You are welcome.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
This past week I got a really bad cold, so naturally I felt like I was dying. For some reason, I’ve become a healthy purist in recent years, and I no longer take pain medication or over the counter cold remedies. I rely solely on homeopathy and my own immune system to bounce back from illness.
I’m not against western medicine – I’d take antibiotics or whatever was necessary if it was the only way I could get better – but I’ve learned over the past 7-8 years that I really don’t need as many meds as doctors (and my own hypochondriac mind) would lead me to believe. This system of not over-medicating has paid off – the fewer meds I take, the less sick I get. But once in a blue moon, I still get knocked down by a virus, and last week was such a moon.
In the absence of mind-altering and/or sleep-inducing meds, I had to come up with other ways to pass the couple of days I was out of commission. I came up with a few great ideas, which I thought I’d pass along to you in case you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.
WHEN YOU ARE SICK IT’S REALLY FUN TO:
1. Throw up! What better way to prove to your spouse, kids, and self that you are REALLY sick and not just faking it so you can have a day off from dealing with work and kids? Barfing. I did it, and it was awesome.
2. Never get out of bed, for over 24 hours! This one is especially fun when you’ve got three kids. Just look at Dad getting them all dressed for school! Fed and clothed! Bathed and brushed! Okay, maybe not brushed. And maybe not bathed… but they’re alive! Driven to Karate class on time! Hey honey, can you get me some tea while you’re at it? And more tissues? Love you!
3. Let go! Okay, so my son’s English homework didn’t get done for two days and I don’t think the kids brushed their teeth in two days and Esther’s diaper didn’t get changed before bed and the house still looks like a small tribe of Indians took over and then left suddenly when the winter downpour started, but it’ll all work out, somehow, right? Right?? RIGHT??
4. Stay in your pajamas for two days! Wear your husband’s favorite warm sweater, sweat profusely in it, then crank the heat some more, it’s freezing!
5. Test the limits of your hair! No hairbrush, no shampoo, no grooming. Never mind that my hair looked like a wind-swept collection of winter leaves. Think of it like a science experiment mixed with a preschool art experiment. In your hair.
6. Test the limits of your feeble illness-inflicted brain! Don’t venture outside for two days, and when you finally take the plunge, realize you have no idea where your purse is. Almost give up on your outing and then realize your purse is already on your shoulder. How did it get there? Magic.
My husband did an excellent job taking care of our 3 kids for two days while I languished in bed sick and watching half of season 7 of Grey’s Anatomy. (Leave me alone – I said I was sick, not blind.) Still, even with all my fun new activities, it’s good to be back among the living.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Remember waaaaaay back in that blog I wrote about driving thru the empty streets of Los Angeles during rush hour on Halloween? Holidays are the best times to drive in LA, since usually they are the only times the city empties out a bit and/or people go home early or stay home from work to prepare for the evening’s festivities.
A glaring exception to this rule is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which skips around on the calendar depending on when God wants it to be (either that, or according to the lunar calendar, I can’t remember which). But generally falls sometime between August and Thanksgiving.
The reason this holiday can be a true Los Angeles traffic nightmare can be summed up in two sentences:
JEWISH PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT OR DRINK FOR ONE WHOLE DAY ON THIS HOLIDAY.
AND WHEN IT’S OVER, THEY ARE RELEASED FROM SYNAGOGUE AND LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES TO DRIVE TO THE “BREAK THE FAST” PARTY THAT WILL FINALLY AFFORD THEM SOME NOURISHMENT.
The key phrase in that last part is the “left to their own devices” bit. By the time most Jews are done with Yom Kippur, they are so hungry, and so cranky, that they can’t see straight. Their blood sugar is low, their emotions high, and that is the exact moment when they…
…take to the streets.
See where I’m going with this?
I remember once, I went to Yom Kippur services at a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills at the Synagogue of the Performing Arts. (No, I’m not kidding. It is not an accident that our city’s nickname is “la la land.”) When it was over, I was stuck in my car, in the midst of thousands of other cars, trying to get out of the garage for thirty minutes.
Do you understand what that translates to in Yom Kippur Years?
In a word: come the hour when Yom Kippur is over, do not walk - RUN! – off the streets of LA entirely, into a secure building with strong walls (preferably one that is miles off the street, in the case of wildly veering SUVs).
If you are not Jewish, let me take this opportunity to educate you: A Jew does not like to be parted from his food. If you need to entertain some Jews, or impress some Jews, or simply not make an enemy out of some Jews, YOU WILL DO WELL TO FEED THEM.
And feed them well.
And get out of their way.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Okay, boys, as promised, I’m writing a blog just for you. About your favorite subjects: penises and mustaches.
Those are your favorite topics, right? Penises and Mustaches?
Hey, mustaches are cool… in theory. I can’t actually tell you if they are cool in reality, because no one I know under the age of 60 has a mustache (and everyone knows that no one older than 60 is eligible to be called “cool” – they can, however, be called ‘spiffy’ or ‘nifty’ or even ‘sexy,’ especially if you are Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood or Mick Jagger).
So, guys, why don’t you all start growing mustaches? Seriously. It’s like the iPhone or the iPad – we need some “early adapters” here. Once the first few hundred of you start to grow them, the rest will jump on the bandwagon, and we’ll have brought the look back from the dead (where Burt Reynolds left it back in the 80’s) for all to enjoy!
And to be clear, I’m not talking about beards or goatees. Been there, done that. I’m talking a mustache. Not an overgrown, fu-manchu, or “look how retro hippie cool I am with little beads threaded into my mustache locks” mustache. Boy, please. Just a mustache, a simple, plain, trimmed mustache.
Picture it – Leonardo Di Caprio… with a mustache. Or even better, Ryan Gosling. With a Mustache.
Okay, now that we’ve covered that topic, let’s move on to penises. Now, arguably, I’ve already covered this subject – when I wrote about how men in Spain took secret pictures of their penises on mine and my friend’s cameras, something we discovered only when we got back to the states & developed our pictures.
But there is more to penises than the fact that they are dazzlingly photogenic! (According to their owners.) One not-so-well-known fact about penises is that in the olden days, penises were opposable -until God realized that men didn’t need them to draw sketches on cave walls, and via evolution, He took away that functionality over decades of generations.
Wait. I may be mixing penises up with pinky toes. And God with Natural Selection.
In any case, I hope this manly blog has inspired all of you manly readers to please grow a penis and to quit secretly photographing your mustache while the girls are out of the room.
You know what I mean.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
AKA, the scene at Trader Joes at 10pm. Seriously. I’m always racing in there at like 9:45pm, 15 minutes before closing time, because that’s how I roll. Or, more specifically, that’s how I roll when I work full time, help kids with homework and dinner and bed, and/or go to classes and/or the gym during the week.
The weird thing about Trader Joe’s at that hour is that there are, like, tons of hot chicks strolling around doing their shopping. But the guys – they all looked kind of drunk, or “off.” What’s up with that?
SO – my advice to you, young bucks who read my blog, is: get thyself to a Trader Joe’s, late night, and meet your destiny! Or at least your next possible girlfriend.
Don’t worry, ladies, I haven’t forgotten about you. Yes, I know plenty of my readers already are married with kids, but even you have single friends who need sage advice, right? Tell those sexy singles to – #1: get OUT of Trader Joe’s at 10pm (too much competition!), and #2: get IN to an Apple store during normal business hours! (Preferably the one in the Beverly Centre, Los Angeles.)
Seriously – I went there the other day with an iPhone emergency, and I was SHOCKED by how many cute boys were milling around. Some worked there, some were shopping… what a find!! Sure, there were some hot chicks at the Genius bar too, but ladies, I’m telling you, you will be way outnumbered at the Apple Store.
So get out there, drop your iPhone into a toilet, and get thee a new boyfriend!
Yo, Bravo Network? You should so give me my own reality show.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)