All Eyes on the iPad

I am way too plugged in. I know that. We have Apple TV,  iPods, an iPad and multiple Macs. I sleep with my iPhone next to my bed, kinda like I did with my diary when I was a kid. I’ve been known to take and make calls while undergoing unpleasant ER procedures.

That was way back when I was crazy.  Now I just use it to Google the doctor’s name to make sure nothing creepy comes up on a cursory search.

So it’s not like I can cast cyber stones at my kids for being iPeople. But this morning we plugged an additional set of eyes into the matrix.Image

Yes, even the cat is now hooked. He saw the kids slack-jawed and clustered around the small screen like they were being programmed a la “A Clockwork Orange,” and he joined in. He even started batting at the screen and paused the cartoon. Then he smacked it and got it going again.

I’ve been clicker training Loco for such impressive feats as “up,” “down” and “sit.” Now my ambitions are reaching Apple-sized proportions. I think the next command he learns will be “Download-me-a-new-workout-playlist-lots-of-P!nk-and-Katy-Perry-maybe-a-little-Taylor-Swift-but-make-sure-it’s-upbeat-none-of-that-sappy-crap.”

Wish me luck. I see an iPad commercial in our future.


As If

A lovely bunch of fat flakes had just started to fall yesterday afternoon. For the Wee Man, that meant the start of winter Olympics.

He dressed himself to sled: ski jacket, dinosaur skull cap, helmet, goggles and sandals. I pointed out that there was not actually any snow on the ground, so it was not yet prime sledding time.

Here’s what the ‘hood looked like yesterday when Wee Man first tried to sled. He’s not one to be deterred by a minor detail like a complete lack of snow.

He didn’t care. He marched out there with his bright green slider and slowly scratched down the driveway twice. Then he came back in.

“You were wight, Mom.”

I thought that was a pretty impressive admission, especially from a male member of my family. I told him it was supposed to snow more tonight. Maybe he’d have better luck tomorrow.

It did snow, just enough to leave a crystalline dusting and a narrow, millimeter-thin track of snow on the driveway. So this morning, Sled Boy was back in action.

He was so proud — utterly delighted with his sledding. I was so proud to see him living the “Act As If” principle I’ve been reading about in my latest Wayne Dyer book, “Wishes Fulfilled.” Dyer says one of the keys to creating the life you want is to act as if you already have it. When he’s writing, Dyer has a copy of the cover for the book in progress to reinforce the concept.

So Wee Man — ever proof that reality is relative — happily skidded down the driveway this morning acting as if he were on the tubing hill at Beaver Creek. I captured the magic moment on video  with my iPhone, because I was acting as if his moment of glory would last forever and he won’t be grown all too soon.

Happy Trails

Hi, my name is Kerry. I’m a horseaholic.

My earliest memories are of wanting to ride horses. It’s a passion that’s hardwired into my mainframe. It’s one I try to not push on my kids, but they do happen to take riding lessons and seem to enjoy it immensely.

Thank God. I’d hate to have to go all “Toddlers & Tiaras” on my little Honey Boo Boos.

To make myself even stranger, my very favorite flavor of equine is the Peruvian, a rare breed with a super-smooth gait. They’re not known for their cattle work, their jumping ability or their rodeo tricks. They’re known for going tirelessly over all kinds of terrain with nary a bounce.

There are only about 20,000 in the United States, compared to about 2.5 million quarter horses. So kid-sized Peruvian gear is hard to come by. For the past year, I’ve been searching for a saddle that would fit Things 1 and 2 with no luck. I finally found a friend who was willing to part with hers, and it arrived today.

The kids are thrilled with their new saddle. They started dancing when they opened the box.

On top of it being in perfect condition, this saddle has history. It was brought to the U.S. to fit the narrow rear of a dear friend’s daughter, who’s now well out of college. It then went to another fabulous friend whose granddaughters learned to ride in it.

Now it’s made another lap in the circle of friends to land in McGinleyville and help my kids steal my favorite horse from me. I can’t wait to slip it on Wonder Pony’s back and hoist up this next generation of riders.

Do Not Desterv

It was a rough day before a long trip out of town. I was not at my best. The kids were not at their best. We’d run around all day trying to get last-minute things done. I forgot more than I actually accomplished. By the time we got home after 5, I was ready to huff, puff and blow the house down.

So I asked the kids to give me a few minutes by myself. While I was curled up in the fetal position rocking and moaning, The Roo got back to her normal sweet self. To ensure privacy during my mental meltdown, she posted a sign on my bedroom door:

This picture is worth a thousand misspelled words.

I love the spelling, despite my hyper-editing proclivities that often drive me to lectures on the difference between “further” and “farther” or explain to friends that their holiday letters are not from the Smith’s but the Smiths. I love that she used a paper towel, red marker and x.

But most of all, I love that she tried to help her poor crazy mom rebound from a meltdown.  I hope I can remember to do the same the next time she’s feeling desterved.




Pr0n-igal Son

It’s what parents says in every news story where they screw up and something horrible happens to a child:

“I just turned my back for five minutes.”

Jesus is watching (and plotting his revenge for all those jokes I make about him), so I’ll fess up that it was actually more like 15 or 20. I was in the next room on a phone interview for Thursday’s deadline. I was doing that thing I do where I suck as a mother so I can rub a couple of  coins together. To give myself credit, I’m not nearly as nuts with the freelance as I was when The Roo was a baby. At one point in her infancy, I found myself talking on a headset (another phone interview) and typing on the laptop as I bounced on an exercise ball to keep her quiet while I nursed her in a sling.

True story.

Yes, my very next call was to a therapist. Thanks.

But yesterday’s Joan Crawford Award moment resulted in a 4-year-old downloading an adult movie because Mom wasn’t there to get another on-demand Dora rolling. I’d asked him to not interrupt me while I was talking to my “work friend,” so he did his best to figure out the remote on his own to comply with my request.

But I hadn’t considered how hard that can be when you can’t read. And he just assumes that if you push enough buttons, Nick Jr. comes back.

But what he got was more along the lines of “Dora Does Dallas.” Thankfully, I got there at the beginning and it wasn’t anything too creepy, but it was yet another wakeup call that I need to focus more on him and less on deadlines.

And call the cable company to ask them to credit us that $9.99.

When Dear John got home, he asked the important questions:

“Is it still there, and can I still watch it?”

Time for me to turn my back for another five minutes.


In honor of Labor Day, my small people are working hard at one of those priorities that make sense only to people under 48 inches tall. They’re tag-teaming to build the perfect cat trap out of laundry baskets and beads.

Today’s cat trap, complete with doll blanket and kitchen towel.

“Put him in the wound pen!” the Wee Man just yelled.

Clearly the kitten needs more ground work. He’s only 3 months old, so he isn’t fully trained. Plus, he’s a Bengal cat, so he’ll never be fully trained. But I think Vetericyn, Ritchie Waterers and the whole Downunder Horsemanship gang would be proud that my 4-year-old wants to get the cat’s feet moving to engage his brain. He never even watches Clinton Anderson’s horse training videos with me (his sister does) so he’s clearly picking up THE METHOD by osmosis. If only he’d apply it to horses.

But for now, it’s all about cat-astrophes. Since this kitten came home last week, he’s been swaddled in blankets and deposited in various American Girl Doll accessories, added to Bat Cave adventures (luckily he seems to like lattes), nearly refrigerated, pillow-trapped into toy cubbies, pulled into the bathtub, and latched into plastic tool boxes. (That last one prompted an informative and overdue lesson on carbon-based life forms and their need for oxygen.)

But he’s also been cuddled, kissed, hugged, cradled, sweet-talked and universally adored.

This kitten is clearly a masochist. Here he is cuddled up in the arm of his oppressor. He was purring when I took this photo.

And now that Wee Man has taken a cat-catching break to tan under a reading light (That’s his story. I’ve mentioned before he’s weird.), Loco is watching with great interest from his perch just inches out of the range of the fluorescent light bulb.

There are many great things about our new kitten, but the best is he seems to love every minute of the constant and bizarre ways my kids try to show him the love.

There’s got to be a pithy parenting lesson in there. I guess I need to be more like the cat. I need to look past the discomfort of laundry bag traps and doll clothes and appreciate the fact that there are two hysterical kids sharing their love in crazy ways that makes perfect sense to them and no one else.

It’s enough to make me purr.

Holy Half-Caff Skim Cinna-Mochaccino Hold the Whip, Batman!

My son’s weirdness is hardly a new topic. The Wee Man’s bizarro take on life and the universe he lives in give me more fodder for writing, discussion and therapy than just about anything else I’ve got going on.

His favorite toy these days is an elaborate bat cave my mom got him for Christmas. He fills it with super heroes, Littlest Pet Shop creatures he steals from his sister, the occasional Breyer horse and a scattering of utensils that I’ve obviously been looking for in all the wrong places. Much like I once did for love.

This boy is batty for the cave.

He frequently asks me to come play Bat Cave with him. This means I join him on the basement floor and under his careful direction, our various “players” have strange adventures.

They teach dogs how to fly. They go on hay rides. They remind The Joker that he shouldn’t rob banks. And they go out for lattes.

For real. I had to ask him to repeat that one a couple of times, because he’s still got that adorable 4-year-old lisp and slurred rs.

He didn’t specify that they go to Starbucks, which is of some comfort to me. But I’m quite puzzled over how he entered the coffee bar scene. It’s hardly a family ritual. I’ve been caffeine-free for months, but even before that, I was too cheap to pay for unhealthy and overpriced coffee drinks.

Not that it matters. There’s really not a logic train to follow on this one. It’s what I’ve come to expect and cherish about this magical little man who keeps me scratching my head, laughing my ass off and counting my blessings.