The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Posts Tagged ‘parenting’


We braced ourselves for the start of kinder this year. After all, we knew how pre-school had gone two years prior. She only cried every day for 1.5 years of pre-school.

M likes to stay home. She likes to stay inside and play, color and read books. But with M turning six in late Sept. it really seems it’s time to get moving!

The day before school M, B and I made identical rainbow loom bracelets.

The school counselor gave me this strategy to help M adjust. Whenever she got sad she could look at the bracelet and think of Bea and me wearing them. (Big thanks to our neighbors who taught Maddie how to make them!)

M was in high spirits on the walk over.

Still smiling outside her classroom.

We stepped out quietly after she sat on the rug. I thought about her all day. All the kindergarteners looked shell-shocked at pickup.

I took M to get her toenails painted and for a hotdog.

When we got home there was a huge package awaiting us from Valerie!

Blurry but you get the idea…

Talk about timing.

We all survived the first week.

Day 2 – walking home

Day 3 – walking home

Day 4 – pickup

If you ask her if she likes school the answer is, “No.”

3 Reasons Not to Judge Your Friend’s (i.e. my) Parenting

In my late 20′s I remember watching my friend’s sister feed her kids a huge plate of raviolis (previously frozen in a large Sam’s Club bag) with jar sauce and thinking, “She really should serve them some vegetables or salad with that. Also, they don’t even have napkins.” and probably 3 or 4 even more helpful thoughts. That was at a time I happened to live alone and, after yoga class would make myself adorable little salads with shaved fennel & homemade dressing which I dabbed off my lips with cloth napkins. This woman, however, had 3 small kids and her bedridden mother living in her dining room. Our realities were different.

Before we had kids G and I agreed they wouldn’t watch TV until they were two, and then they’d watch only educational shows for limited amounts of time, that we weren’t going to let the kids take over our lives (that they’d have to adhere to OUR schedules) and that we would never let them interrupt us, that they’d be eating sushi, jalapeƱos & whatever else we were into at the time. We also promised each other never to argue, to let each other have free time for exercise or socializing, to have “date night” once a week, not to buy too much kid gear and probably 100 other well-intentioned thoughts.

Now that I’m in the meat of it with two daughters who’ll be 4 and 2 in September, I really have to laugh (and cry) at myself: the Ghost of Christina Past. After a week’s “vacation” with the whole family (read: poor or no sleep, 2 hour flights that felt like trans-Atlantic ones & a lengthy hike at altitude with a 35 lb kid backpack) including upon return: 1 solid day of prolific toddler vomiting followed by three days of 5:30AM wakeup calls, this (short) list, along with a chorus of heavenly angels, appeared like an apparition in my crazy head during a much-needed SOLO shower. G had to lock the door & carry Bea shrieking into another room to get her away from me for 10 minutes.

In the shower I came up with a short list (it was a short shower) of three reasons why I shouldn’t judge anyone else’s parenting (unless of course, they are injuring their child.)

(Next blog posting: 1 Reason Not to Judge your Friend’s Over-use of Parentheticals)

Here they go.

1. You don’t have the whole picture.

Let’s use the example of my friend’s sister serving ONLY tortellinis for dinner. Yes, moms “should” serve fresh fruits & veggies often. But I was only over there at her house for about an hour. I had no idea what had been going on before then. For all I know they placed in a swiss chard-eating competition that morning!

In my case, my kids will eat piles of fruit all day long. By dinner time, I’ll either make something with veggies in it OR depending on what else they’ve eaten over the past day or so, or how tired I am, will resort to some form of pasta. Dry pasta, fresh tortellinis, raviolis. I’ll use homemade tomato sauce, jarred tomato sauce, fresh pesto, jar pesto, or just olive oil & parmesan cheese. I used to try to make EVERYTHING from scratch but I was getting so stressed out and exhausted that I was yelling at everyone and just generally miserable. Not to mention the dishes facing me later. If someone showed up at dinner, it wouldn’t “Look” like a balanced dinner but that is only a snapshot of a second of that day. They’d really need to see the film version…

2. Parents are always changing.

After the school year (I taught 6th grade) ended in 2010, I faced what felt like a long very pregnant summer home alone with my almost 2 year old, Maddie. Since she had been in daycare full time that year, I really had no idea what to do with her. I was tired during the day. One day we sat together on the couch watching Sesame Street and eating Trader Joe’s Veggie Chips (read: green, orange & tan potato chips).

[photo from

Photo from Trimble Crafts on Etsy

Why did I write this post? Do I sound defensive? I really don’t have the clarity of mind right now to know. Have I been judged unfairly by anyone? I don’t know – I doubt anyone’s going to say something to me directly. My purpose for this posting was twofold:

1. You know how you sort of wish that someone you know who has died would come back & let you know what it’s like “over there?” Since my single self has “died” I thought I could come back and share the “other side” with “living” i.e. others who either aren’t going to have kids or are but not right away. It’s not about the kids – it’s about the friendships that strain due to the new demands and an opportunity for understanding.

2. To quiet the critical voices in my own head (that are judging me.) I need 3 reasons not to judge my own parenting too harshly.

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