Posts Filed Under Family Life

Cheese Puffs

posted by Momo Fali on March 9, 2009

Last week, we were playing a board game together as a family when my husband blocked our six year old son’s next move. Our boy saw his dad’s defensive strategy and proclaimed, “Damn it, Daddy!”

He didn’t realize he had said anything wrong, so we explained that it was bad, and he need not ever say it again. We didn’t need to ask him where he learned it. We knew he had picked it up while playing games with his dad. My husband’s competitive nature has also been responsible for teaching our son the words, “sucker” and “crap”.

My husband, the sailor, also taught our daughter her first curse word. When she was about two years old we were driving in the car when, out-of-the-blue, we heard the “F” word come from the back seat. Before we had a chance to stop her, she had said it about ten times in a row. At least she used it in the proper venue. Clearly, she had heard that while driving in the car with her dad.

But, I can not blame my husband for the time my daughter did not fling curse words, but instead assaulted us with attitude.

I was extremely hormonal tired, and had been working all day while my husband played with our daughter, who was just a toddler at the time. They sat down to have a snack together as I flopped my exhausted body onto the couch. No sooner had I sat down, than my daughter asked, “Mom, can you get us some napkins?”

Irritated that she asked me, instead of her father, I angrily said, “Oh, sure! Dad’s been playing all day while I’ve been working, but I’ll get up to get the FREAKING napkins!”

I returned to the room and tossed them a couple of paper towels before falling back into my seat.

Then I watched as my daughter climbed onto her dad’s lap and put her face a mere inch from his. She held that position as she stuck her hand into their snack bag, then glared at him and yelled, “Dad! These are FREAKING cheese puffs!”

But all things considered, I don’t think my “F” word is nearly as bad as his.

Picky

posted by Momo Fali on March 6, 2009

My ten year old daughter has always battled me at mealtime. She was born 10 weeks early and was fed through a tube for two weeks before I begged the doctors to let us try bottle feeding her. I have a home video of that first bottle and halfway through you can hear the monitor sound an alarm to let us know her heart rate was dropping dangerously low. Things have only gone downhill from there.

If she was permitted to exist on popcorn, chicken nuggets and Ho Hos there would be no problem at all. The girl is totally doomed when she gets to college. Let’s hope she continues to play three sports.

When she was a toddler she would pick at her plate and it would take her an hour-and-a-half to eat a meal. People thought I was kidding until they saw it for themselves.

After Thanksgiving one year, we even received a note from a dear great-aunt who told us how impressed she was with the way our daughter sat at her seat and ate her food, while her cousins left the table and played all around her. For an hour. We didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was only because there was turkey and, for crying out loud, she has to chew turkey 136 times before she would swallow a bite. At least it made us look like good parents. For once.

She was so picky in kindergarten, that she would come home with one quarter of her sandwich eaten, and nothing else. I could hear her stomach growling from three blocks away.

Now that she’s been around for over a decade, I have learned to work with it.

Tonight I made salmon, which is one of her favorite things to eat. As we always do, we went over our best and worst parts of our day.

And darn if I don’t have to work a little harder, because when I asked my daughter to tell us the worst part of her day, she didn’t hesitate in saying, “That this salmon has no flavor.”

Bessie

posted by Momo Fali on March 2, 2009

When I turned 16 years old, my mom bought me a used car from one of her co-workers. After she brought it home, I gleefully jumped inside to go for my first solo ride.

I went exactly two blocks before the power steering went out as I was turning a corner. All you modern youngsters may not know what I’m talking about, but when the power steering went out on a car made in the mid-seventies, you were no longer trying to drive an automobile. I would compare it to a cruise ship…or maybe a planet. A planet whose orbit you are trying to control with only the power of your biceps.

I got my second car a couple of weeks later (yet, for all intents and purposes it was really my first…two blocks does not a first car make). It was a hand-me-down from my pregnant sister, who could no longer climb over the center console to get to the driver’s seat. Why didn’t she just open the driver-side door? Because it didn’t open. At all.

It was a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and that door wasn’t the only thing that malfunctioned. One time, I went to make a left-hand turn and the entire turn signal stick broke off and fell to the floor. I couldn’t drive over 55 mph without the tape cassette ejecting and flying into the back seat, and once when I was unlocking the only working door, the entire lock mechanism came out with my key.

My mom often tells stories about her first car. She had three young kids when some people from her work felt sorry for her and gave her a very old, very used jalopy. There were no seats in the back so my sisters had to stand, which had an added hazard because there was also a hole in the floor. And, and those three young kids could often be seen giving the car a push to get it started.

Speaking of pushing…my cousin’s first car had a broken gas gauge. Since she was old enough to drive, and I wasn’t, guess who got to push it every time it ran out of gas?

I went through three other used cars before, in 1997, I bought my first new car and have been driving it ever since. It’s the only car my kids have ever known me to drive and they have affectionately named her, “Bessie”.

Coming home from school the other day, Bessie was making some strange sounds when I looked in the rear-view mirror and said to the kids, “Bessie is getting old. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be running.”

My 10 year old daughter matter-of-factly said, “Well, when we get a new car we still have to keep this one.”

I laughed. “No. We won’t be keeping this one. Why would we do that?”

“I don’t know. Just so we could look at it, I guess. Can’t we keep it in the driveway?”

I replied, “No. We can’t keep it in the driveway. We don’t have room in the driveway to keep cars just so we can look at them.”

She said, “Aw! That really stinks!” She was genuinely upset about it.

But, what she doesn’t know is that I’m planning to drive Bessie for five-and-a-half more years…so it will be in perfect condition to hand over to my daughter as her very first car.

Time Me

posted by Momo Fali on February 20, 2009

I was born long after my siblings. By the time I came into this world, my three older sisters were just starting to explore it. It was 1971 and they were 16, 15 and 13. Can you say, “Hippies”? Good. They had a terrarium in their bedroom and I’m pretty sure they weren’t growing ferns.

Thankfully I had cousins who were older than me, but not so much older that they wouldn’t engage in games of kickball, tag, and my personal favorite…”football, football, who’s got the football?” We made that one up. Don’t ask.

We all gathered together at my Grandma’s house at least three times a week. There were Nerf-basketball tournaments, endless games of Monopoly, and one heck of a lot of laughs. And every single Thursday my Grandma let us order pizza. Need I even say it? Thursdays at Gram’s house were the best.

There were usually seven cousins there on various days throughout the week, but one of us never had to leave when it was time to go home.

My cousin, Kevin, had a form of muscular dystrophy and he lived at my Grandma’s house so she could take care of him while his mom worked. We never really noticed Kevin’s disability. I mean, there was the whole thing about him not walking…but if it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t have been able to have wheelchair races in the backyard.

Kevin was a sports enthusiast like none I have ever known. He knew every player and their stats, on every team, college or professional, in every sport. He also had an incredible sense of humor.

The combination of the two would reveal itself once in a while and he would ask his sister and me to run up the street to a market and buy baseball cards for him. Those were the Pete Rose years, so we made a lot of trips.

We never wanted to go though. So Kevin would bribe us by giving us the bubble gum that came with the cards. When we tired of that, he tried something different.

Knowing how competitive we were, he would tell us that he would time us to see if we could get there and back within 10 minutes. He would start counting backward and we would fly up the street.

It never failed that as we were breathlessly running back in the front door of Gram’s house, baseball cards in hand, he would say, “…three, two…Oh! You guys just made it!” It took us a long time to figure out his scam. We were some smart kids.

Last night when I was tucking my son in bed he asked me to get a toy he had left downstairs. He said, “Let’s see if you can get it in three seconds.”

Now we don’t live in a mansion, but I am also not the Bionic Woman. I replied, “I can’t go downstairs to get your toy and be back up here in three seconds.”

He smiled and said, “Let’s see.”

As I started to descend the steps I heard him say, “Three, two…”. I grabbed his toy, went back upstairs and walked into his room just as he said, “…one. You did it!”

Kevin died in 1991, not long after his 29th birthday. But, darn if he isn’t still scamming me.