What is the world coming to?

Parents can’t beat their children anymore, Ebay won’t let you auction them off anymore, Craigslist has a very strict “no humans allowed for sale” policy, so what’s a parent to do?

I pondered this after my seven-year-old was overheard teaching his older brother how to whip a stuffed rabbit at the dog, without Mom noticing. My thoughts turned borderline criminal when I tried to discipline him, and in turn he announced that whatever I do to him, he will record on his iPod and post it on YouTube for all to see.

I do vaguely remember a much simpler time when parents disciplined their bratty children without outside consequences, however it’s viewed as “child abuse” now.

Note to self: research other means of punishment that don’t leave marks or evidence.

Outside suggestions are always welcomed!

From the mouths of the babes…

Somehow I’ve known all along that kids don’t stay kids for long (I know I’m a genius), but I didn’t expect to get ‘educated’ about various sexual subjects by a twelve-year-old boy.  More importantly… my twelve-year-old boy.  When this school year started, so did the questions, comments and many many talks about girls.  And recently he started to offer his version of what sex is, how and why it’s done.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that he is talking about it at all and especially with me, however he seems to be not only extremely opinionated but also very confident in his understanding of sexual activities…  Today he announced that he understands why boys are always supposed to do nice things for girls, but you never see girls doing anything nice for the boys.  When I asked why that is he whispered: “Girls do nice things for the boys in the bedroom, Mom!”

Not only did I throw up in my mouth a little upon hearing this, I also decided that as much as I wanted to know where, how and who told him that, I probably should end the conversation instead…  Unfortunately for me, my son was not about to let it go as he continued to inform me that he is about to be a man (with his impending Bar Mitzvah coming up), and therefore has the right to talk about sex!  God help me.  So, I went ahead against my better judgement and asked where he heard that, to which he immediately replied: “My friend Michael!  He knows everything Mom”.

Oh well, when you got a friend like Michael… who needs proper sex education?

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…


Holiday Card Etiquette!

When you receive your first holiday card, you realize that you’re officially in the holiday season, or as I like to call it, “The Holiday card nightmare”.  As we enter the holidays, we also enter the awkward holiday greeting card etiquette.  The other day a long-time friend asked me if I get offended when people send me “Merry Christmas” cards, instead of the obvious Hanukkah cards.  Well – I replied, do you like getting “Happy Hanukkah” cards instead of “Merry Christmas” cards?  No need for explanation here…

If you don’t know someone well, I understand the general “Merry Christmas” statement, but if you know that person is anything but a Christian, why not order an extra set of plain “Happy Holiday” cards?  My friend’s reaction was, so am I supposed to order separate Hanukkah cards even though I don’t celebrate it?  No, I like getting the ones with Merry Christmas crossed out and Happy Hanukkah hand-written on them, right next to the baby Jesus and folk chanting: Our savior has been born, let’s rejoice!  But Happy Hanukkah anyway, you sad, sad Jew who’s missing out on all the saving and rejoicing that’s about to go on in here!

We (and by we, I mean the Jews) get that unless you live in Israel, are in the minority in this country and throughout the world, however that does not mean that all Gentiles have to completely ignore the fact that there are millions of people that don’t celebrate Christmas.  Anywhere you go its an automatic “Merry Christmas” greeting; from grocery stores to workplaces.  Do we (the Jews) go around saying “Happy Hanukkah” to strangers and store workers?  Can you imagine checking out at the local supermarket and just as you are about to leave announce: Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, may the spirit of Hanukkah light up your Menorah!  Actually, I have done that last week to a store clerk, just so I could beat her before the usual “Merry Christmas”.  You know the reaction I received?  A blank stare followed by an awkward “I am not Jewish” statement.  Doesn’t feel so good, store clerk, does it? Didn’t think so.

My parents on the other hand take a very different approach to all of this; they just accept and deal with it.  That’s their advice to me as well, just deal with it like all the Jews have dealt with it for thousands of years.  Then they proceed to remind me how we used to “deal” with it back home in Russia: walk home fast during the holidays, making sure that the Menorah you have wrapped in newspaper is tucked far enough into your coat that it doesn’t resemble anything “Jewish”, if anyone asks what you have under there simply reply with a “Oh, this?  It’s just a dead chicken I was able to find at the store on Minskaya and Leningradskaya street.  You might want to hurry, I heard they were about to run out of them!”  Then you proceed to distract the gentile with something as you reposition the Menorah and walk briskly towards home.  Usually the whole ‘they-are-selling-chickens’ routine gets people distracted enough to make them forget they might be talking to a Jew, since chicken was comparable to a diamond in those days.  Another way how the Jews have been so-called dealing with it, mainly in the former Soviet Union is to pretend they are not Jewish or have ever been one.  It’s a very common practice, which many families still participate in to this day…  Our family however did not, only for the simple fact that there was no getting around ‘looking Jewish’ as my Father put it.

As much as I appreciate my parents input on how to deal with the holidays, they very well know I am not the one to ‘just deal’ with anything.  My approach is more of a head-on-attack kind of way, which usually means pissing off a lot of neighbors, friends, strangers and parents in the schools that my kids belong to…  People seem to forget that World War 2 started because people chose to ignore, and deal with the way things were changing in Europe.  Even the Jews went along with what they were told to do by the Nazis, only because they were afraid to rock the boat, and in a way they didn’t want to think that something so awful would ever be allowed to happen to them.  But it did happen, and in a way because people ‘just went along’ with every change that was happening.  That’s part of the reason I refuse to go along with this whole ‘do as you are told, say Merry Christmas and blend in’ routine.  Sorry, but if you send me a Christmas card with baby Jesus on it, you bet I am sending back a Hanukkah card that may say something like this:

” Happy Hannukkah, let’s celebrate our people’s battle from oppression and genocide, after the Greek-Syrians destroyed our Temple for the second time, massacring thousands of Jews, desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls, making the Jewish people pray to the Greek Gods and outlawing Judaism.  But thanks to Judah Macabbee and his brave army of twelve little Jews (all proudly under 5 feet 4 inches), who drove the Greek army (of 1,000 mind you) and finally rebuild the Temple. Let’s celebrate the many failed attempts of trying to wipe out the whole species of Jews – 5772 years later, somehow we are still here!  Happy Hanukkah!  We are still here, Biatches!  Not going anywhere, so stop trying!”

Well, maybe I’d leave out the ‘biatches’ part, but either way you get the point.  So, to quote Adam Sandler: drink your ginatonica, and smoke your marijuanica, and have a happy, happy Hanukkah!