The Paris Broke Mommy Show

My husband Michael is leaving today. Last night I was crying on his shoulder saying, 

"Don't leave me alone with these mean people!"

Now, that was after I was almost arrested in the Paris Metro, because I couldn't produce my used ticket. Or rather, I gave the ticket in my back pocket to the Metro Policeman, he said something I didn’t understand and pulled me aside, asking me to pay 35 Euros for not having a ticket. 

Paris Needs a Xanax

Within just a few hours of being in Paris, everything changed – and I don't mean just the language and the landscape. Once off the train, a surprisingly relaxing six and a half hour TGV to Gare de Lyon, we all went from being peaceful to on edge almost instantly.

In the taxi, where the unfriendly driver didn't warm to me despite my grammatically correct statements about the weather and the traffic, the boys were making up jokes and laughing. They suddenly sounded very loud. When I told them to keep it down, I noticed that it was the first time I had hushed them in days.

Metallic Barcelona Nights

We walked home tonight after schlepping through the city in search of a kids official Barcelona team travel jersey in a medium (sold out everywhere), and I saw a band setting up at the mouth of the Passeig del Born near our apartment. We heard the familiar baseline to Rock Lobster as the band warmed up, and Maxon got excited to hear one of his favorite songs.

And while I prepared dinner, the band started playing. Heavy Metal. Why, Barcelona Committee of Block Parties, did you choose a metal band? And why, Barcelona Metal Band, are you playing a set longer than Springsteen's?

Camp Europe

School is out and the boys aren't at camp.

I know a few things: The boys don't really love camp – especially Maxon, who requested a camp-free summer. Neither want overnight camp, and we're in no hurry to send them (yes I'm sure we're Jewish). Ezra enjoys a sports-specialized week here and there, but they don't dig on the general day camp, which makes paying for it especially painful. For the past few years I've scheduled, coordinated and chauffeured week-long camps for each kid during the months of June and July, and found that there isn't enough Xanax in the tri-state area to make that tolerable.

Free Range in the City

Since the weather broke, we've been allowing Maxon, who is 11, and Ezra, who is 8, to ride their bikes and scooters around our neighborhood just south of Center City. I set boundaries, which includes the playground up the street. In the afternoons I can see them see them whiz past the kitchen windows as I'm cooking dinner, a blur of hoodies and hair, and I remember what it was like to speed through my mother's suburban neighborhood unsupervised, as I often did because helicopter parents didn't yet exist.

Getting Carried Away

Last night, Ezra stood on the sofa, arms outstretched for what he calls his Carry. He asked me which one was my bad shoulder, and he settled into my arms for his nightly ride up the stairs. Every night I carry his 62-pound, giraffe-limbed body up the one flight of stairs to his bedroom.

One of these nights – maybe even tonight – will be the last time we do The Carry.

The Bedtime Lie

Let's discuss the lie of bedtime.

The tranquil still-life of aGoodnight Moon lie.

The sweet-faced babe nodding off as you close the bedroom door while tiptoeing lie.

The child who moves from the car to the bed without waking up lie.

Because we all know what really happens at bedtime. There are no hushes or whispers or kittens or crickets, and there is nothing tranquil or sweet or still life about it.

A Lesson in Lashon Hara

Maxon came home from school one day with a tale of a fight between some kids in his class. He told me what he heard happened, who was injured and how badly, who was punished and how severely. 

The next day, Maxon learned the truth from the teachers, and it wasn't a surprise to me that the two stories didn't match up.

"It didn't happen the way everyone said it did, huh?" I asked Maxon.


"That is gossip," I said (sadly not in an Irish accent like Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt"). "In Hebrew we call it lashon hara."

Lashon hara, the evil tongue, is considered a weighty sin in Judaism – bad enough for God to saddle you with a nasty skin disease and banish you for a week, which is what happened to Miriam when she dissed her brother for marrying a Cushite. 

Cursed Childhood

For the third night of Chanukah, I took Maxon to see one of his favorite comedians, John Mulaney. I would say that Mulaney is rated PG-13 for mild language and mature situations. But the comedian who opened for him, Seaton Smith, was definitely rated R.

Now, just like I don't expect to see Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Dracula Untold movie trailers before Guardians of the Galaxy (I'd like to have a word with you, Walt Disney Studios), I don't expect the opener for a PG-13 comedian to tell jokes about tuchus schtupping.