Hooters, children and me being the greatest parent that ever lived…

Yesterday was the last day of my children’s freedom, and incidentally the last day of my imprisonment.  As I counted down the dwindling hours of winter break, I was also counting down the hours till my head was going to stop throbbing and my voice would sound human again (oppose to a hissing, barking, and squealing-female version of a prison guard type of a voice).

So, I decided to reward my boys with a lunch at Red Robin (mainly because I had a coupon) to celebrate their last day of vacation!  Even though they didn’t seem to appreciate my goodwill and sarcasm about the whole thing, they still agreed to go.  What a tough life!  Poor little children being taken out to lunch after having endured two weeks of fancy shmancy activities, trips, restaurants and who could forget not one but eight nights of Hanukkah.  Next year, I already told them that they will be taking a little trip to Skid Row for the holidays; and later I will re-wrap their already played and forgotten toys for Hanukkah.

After being seated along with the many other Moms who had the same exact idea, I tried making conversation in between Atari’s Breakout and NimbleBit’s Tiny Tower; yes they are over Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies or whatever the hell their names are.  Let me tell you, it requires some serious mad skills to be able to carry on a conversation with your Mother while building a whole condominium at the same time, and don’t get me started on those pesty little people walking around needing something every ten minutes, the alarm on Tiny Tower is the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard in my life, right next to a child crying and whining at the table next to me while I’m trying to enjoy an ‘Adults Only’ dinner.  Why is it that its perfectly alright for the child to throw a fit in a public place, but it is NOT alright for me to come over to it and smack it on the head?  My theory is if the child’s parent isn’t going to do anything about it, that clearly means they want other adults to do something about their annoying child’s behavior.  You with me on this?  Good, moving on.  Oh wait, one more thing before moving on…  As my Father likes to say quite often, “When I was a little boy in Lithuania (FYI, we lived in Latvia, but that’s not the point) if a child ever talked or cried in public, any adult was allowed to come up and shut that bastard up!  End of story.”  Alright, so I added the last part from myself but you get the point here.

Somehow I managed to get my kids’ little eyes away from their iPods long enough to have a five-minute dialogue about our adventures in Florida back in the day.  Specifically, my oldest wanted to know why I took him to a ‘HOOTERS’ restaurant in Orlando one day.  His words: “Mom, I just don’t understand.  I was only like 7 or 8 at the time!  Why would you think it was appropriate for me to see girls in very short shorts and boobs everywhere serving me food?  If I wanted to see that, I’d stay at home and look at you.”  First of all let’s get something straight, I’ve never in my whole life worn short shorts or shorts of any kind.  My idea of shorts are pants that come up to my calf, I believe they are called ‘Mom shorts’ a.k.a. Capris.  Second of all, I have never until that day been to a Hooters restaurant, nor have I heard much about it.  Sure I’ve heard the name, but didn’t know what it was about.  Believe me, as soon as we walked in I realized it was not your typical place to eat.  Maybe we stayed because I was curious, and maybe it was because we were both starving and the other closest restaurant was not close by.  After explaining such to my twelve-year-old, he seemed pretty satisfied with the answer and immediately after went back to destroying aliens, or building a house for them, not quite sure which one.  After a minute, he looked up and added this interesting fact: “It’s OK Mom, I am not mad at you.  Turns out most of my friends have been to Hooters with their Dads anyway, so it wasn’t just me that was put through that torture.  And to tell the truth, I like girls now so its OK.  Let me know if you’d like to go there again.”  Oh thanks son, make me feel like the worst parent ever, then reward me with that little announcement…

My six-year-old caught wind of ‘boob talk’ and decided to chime in, specifically wanting to know where there’s such a place with girls in short shorts and boobs everywhere, and more importantly why I’ve never taken HIM there?  Oye, how can one brother be so different from the other?  One is all about the rules and structure, and the other only wants to have a good time.  Boy I sure hope the older one doesn’t find out about my new tattoos, there is a lecture I’d like to avoid.  Last time it only lasted a week, who knows how long this one will take…  I plan on keeping a shirt on whenever taking him to the pool, beach and anywhere else that requires a swimsuit.  Stay tuned for that conversation, I am planning on recording it…


Voicemail and My Father’s Outgoing Message…

The other day a friend of mine told me that I am the only person she knows that still owns an answering machine…  Apparently, everyone else in the world has long done away with those and only using electronic voice-mail now.  I’m a bit slow with technology, I admit.  However, I refuse to give my phone provider an extra $12 per month for voice-mail when I have a perfectly good answering machine!  Who cares anyway, not a soul calls my land-line and they haven’t since 2008.  The only reason I still have a land-line is because I get a huge package discount for having cable, internet and phone service.  A whole 10 Bucks!

My pre-historic answering machine reminded me of my parents outgoing message back in the day.  Our first answering machine in this country was a memory I will not easily forget.  My Father had to record the outgoing message, being the man of the house and all.  However, after months of listening to one hang up after another we finally decided that my Dad’s threatening  and a bit disturbing message had to go…  This is what he recorded (now do this with a very heavy Russian accent): “You have reached the Beynarts, WE NO HOME.  WE COME BACK AND FIND YOU!”  For the audio version, CLICK HERE   Would anyone leave their name and number on this machine?

I always wondered why my friends NEVER left messages.  The next day at school they’d say: “Hey Julia I called you and called you all night.  I think I got the wrong number, it was some KGB hotline.”  Um, no its my Dad.

My brother and I pleaded with him to let us record a new message, “Dad, you are scaring off all our friends.  Can’t we just record a Normal message?”  Here is how that conversation went (again, do this with a heavy Russian accent):

Dad:  Are their parents lawyers? 

My Brother and I:  No. 

Dad:  Are their parents Doctors? 

My Brother and I:  No, I don’t think so. 

Dad:  Are they engineers? 

My Brother and I:  Not sure Dad.

Dad:  Are their parents FBI?

My Brother and I:  No, we are pretty sure they are not.  

Dad:  You NOT need any friends. 

Case closed.

Chicken nuggets vs. my kids school lunches, oye vay…

Today my 11-year-old son, Tyler shared a very interesting conversation that he had with his classmates.  It started during lunch time when he pulled out a peanut butter with bananas, and honey sandwich on whole grain bread.  After Tyler was done with it, he pulled out carrots, apples, and a low-fat yogurt.  Do you see where I am going with this yet?

As he finished devouring my creation, he looked up and saw his friends watching him.  One of his friends wanted to know why I am always packing him such healthy lunches, and I quote: “There are never any cookies or chips or anything in your lunch!”  Tyler’s reaction was simple: “Because she loves me, and I will always be healthy.”  I was beyond thrilled to hear his response, and it validated every ounce of guilt I have had by not allowing junk food in the house.  Yes, I admit I actually have felt guilty for not buying my kids chips, sodas and other junk food items.  But today I got over it…

Its not to say that when we go out for dinner, my boys don’t get to have a soda or chicken nuggets.  Of course they do, but at home we limit the amount of processed and sugary foods.  The way I look at it is this, my brother and I grew up with nothing but meat and potatoes, and an occasional apple that we picked from a tree on our way to Grandma’s house, only to find a worm in it when bitten, spit out the worm and keep eating.  We didn’t have chocolate chip cookies or Frito-Lay chips after school, we had stale bread with some jam on it, hand-made by my grandparents the summer before.  Sure there was some mold on the bread, but you pick it out, throw it away and eat the rest of your delicious treat.

Furthermore, not only did we not know about junk food, we also didn’t put ice in every drink.  One of the great memories I have is walking to a nearby store with my brother to buy Coca-Cola, one of those old-fashioned glass bottles that you just don’t see anymore.  There was only one store that carried them, and once in a while my parents would leave some change to treat ourselves to a bottle.  I clearly remember a clerk handing us each a warm bottle of Coca-Cola, and we gulped them down on the spot.  It was such a rare treat for us, which is what made it so extraordinary.  Sure it would have tasted a little better if it was colder or had ice in it, but we didn’t know any better.

My point here is that if you don’t buy junk food, your kid won’t be overweight.  The whole country is fighting with childhood obesity, parents not knowing what to do with their fat-ass children, but yet they keep buying all the greasy foods their kids want, sending them to school with sodas and chips in their lunches, and then wondering why the hell their kid is fat.  How about buying less junk food, going outside with your child and playing ball?  How about you stop blaming the schools for their fatty school lunches, and get off your lazy ass to make a healthy one?

In the meantime, my kids seem like aliens with their humus and whole wheat crackers lunches.  But you know what?  I am alright with that because they are alright with that.


Super Bowl XLV

As we all sat around watching Super Bowl last Sunday, and I watched the commercials, I couldn’t help but cringe every time an inappropriate commercial came on.  I wouldn’t even care so much if the kids around the country weren’t watching it, including my 5 and 11-year-olds.  The occasional skin-clad twenty-year-old models, and sexual references are nothing new to advertising, and as the parents we expect it by now, and try to shield our children as best as we can.  But when you are raising boys who want to watch the Super Bowl with their Dad, how do you protect them from watching other things that are projected on the screen?

I am not even talking about the commercials, since we are all used to the negative images in them.  I’m sure I am not the only parent that have had to explain to my 5-year-old what an Erectile Dysfunction is, and why its so bad if you have an Erection that lasts for more than 4 hours.  (He knows that he needs to call 911 or get to a hospital immediately).  But what do I tell both of my kids when the announcer on Fox Sports starts talking about Ben Roethlisberger raping a girl last summer?  Why do they need to talk about that during the game?  And what do I tell my boys?

“Kids, see that giant, steroid-driven, scary-looking number 7 Quarterback?  Well, what the announcer was trying to say is that he “ALLEGEDLY” raped a girl in a bar.  Oh, you don’t know what rape means, or the word ‘allegedly’?  I am so glad that  Troy Aikman decided to bring that up during the Super Bowl game when kids are watching it too!  Let’s thank Mr. Aikman, kids.  Rape means that a person is forcing you to have sex with them.  Oh, that’s right you are just starting to learn about sex.  Are you confused?  Don’t get upset because you don’t understand why a person would force a woman to have sex with them.  I know its hard to enjoy the game now, and you keep thinking about that poor woman.  But, she is alright now, she is very rich after the incident.”

I would personally like to thank Troy Aikman and Joe Buck for not only educating my kids about the immoral football players, as well as opening a can of worms that I was hoping not to have to deal with until my boys were mentally capable of dealing with it when they were much older, but also teaching my kids a very valuable lesson:

All you have to do is throw money at it, and your wrongs become rights!