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.”


posted by Momo Fali on March 4, 2009

If you are not a viewer of American Idol, let me introduce to you Tatiana. Some of us are hoping Tatiana gets sent home soon…

…and some of us aren’t. Here is my son’s take on it. Also, you get a look at his OCD flavor of the month. Not long ago, he swiped his forehead a thousand times a day, then he moved on to scratching his arms and legs incessantly, then to pulling up his pants over, and over, and over. See if you can guess what he does obsessively now.


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.

Hear Me, Touch Me

posted by Momo Fali on February 27, 2009

My six year old son has always dealt with sensory issues. He was in occupational therapy for years because of problems eating foods with certain textures and for his mental battle with being touched. As far as touch goes, he’s now on the opposite end of the sensory spectrum and can’t seem to keep his hands off anyone showing bare skin.

But there is another issue that the therapists don’t know how to deal with. He gags. A lot.

Now I’m not talking about gagging when he doesn’t like how mashed potatoes feel in his mouth. We’ve moved past that. I’m talking about gagging when a bike helmet strap rests under his chin, or when he’s wearing a turtleneck, or when he’s in a wedding and is supposed to wear a bow-tie. One time he was a ring bearer and wouldn’t wear the tuxedo tie, jacket OR vest. We couldn’t even button up his shirt. He came down the aisle resembling Eric Estrada, minus the chest hair.

When he has a cold it’s even worse, as he proved the other day during his quarterly hearing test.

At the ENT’s office, the audiologist had put my son in a sound-proof room and placed large headphones on his ears. These were the same headphones he’s worn many times before…but, the other times he didn’t have a cold.

Never mind that it was Fat Tuesday and my kid arrived at the doctor’s office wearing FIVE beaded necklaces around his neck. He likes to keep me guessing about what will really bother him, so I didn’t see it coming when the pressure from the headphones made him start gagging.

I could see him through a window and I quickly ran into the room and took the headphones off, as he began pulling on the collars of his shirt and undershirt, trying hard to get them away from his neck. I started unbuttoning his oxford to remove it as I explained to the audiologist what was going on.

We then tried putting the headphones on and letting the wires run down his back, thinking it could’ve been those wires touching his chin or neck that bothered him. No go. He gagged again and pulled on his undershirt collar, so I took that off too.

We finally figured out that he was okay doing a test with ear buds instead of the big headphones, but I had to hold all the wires behind his head so they weren’ t touching him in any way.

And in the middle of the hearing test his other sensory issue…his love of bare skin…reared its ugly head.

There I was with my hands full of wires, staring down at my half-naked kid who couldn’t hear a word I said…as I helplessly watched him rub his own nipples.