October 17 11

Every single morning, rain or shine, I apply eye shadow to my lids. It’s called All That Glitters and it’s made by MAC.

Call me predictable, I can take it.

There’s a reason I am telling you this, and as this story unfolds, you will see significance in this mildly uninteresting fact.

Yesterday morning I was woken by a first grader needing to be fed. I had it all planned in my head; this sleep-in, as the kids were up super late the night before. But, of course, Murphy arrives whenever I don’t want her (him?) and I’m forced to rise in my zombie-like state to feed a starving little beast. First, though, there is the matter of the minefield I must cross to reach my toilet. I’m not sure if you can decipher what it happening in this photo, but there is basically a lego village surrounding the place where I pee.

The pink monkey pants leads me to believe—and know, without a shadow of a doubt—that this here was built by the little wake-up monster. And, of course, it has me wondering just how long that child has been awake. We then proceed to unstick 48 stickers that she had stuck to various pieces of her bedroom furniture.

Isabella ice skates for exactly one hour every sunday morning. Since it’s not usually my job, I fumbled a bit. We forgot the snowpants, but managed to remember the waterproof gloves, so if she fell, her knees and tushie would be wet, but her fingers would be dry as a bone, so I guess that’s…something? After only twenty minutes on the ice, her teacher waves at me up in the peanut gallery. Even though I know better than to leave my house without forcing my younger two to just try even if you don’t have to potty, she just couldn’t hold it in anymore.

Emily has to have a feather put in her hair and I decided to run her over to the mall and pay the $25 to just have it done already so she’d just shut up about the damn feather. “But everyone has one. I absolutely need one. I will die if I don’t have one.” Now, lest you think that I give in to every demand, this is the same argument she pulled with the cell phone and that is a battle she will not win. But as a battle picker, and as someone who likens whining to what it must feel like you have your fingernails ripped off one at a time, this was a battle I was willing to lose, and so now my 5th grader has a feather in her hair. How very Cher in Half-Breed of her.

We have to swing by the Oppenheimers in the evening to return a shoe. When we left the party, Josh put on his crocs. He put on one of his and one that was not his. Of course he did. They aren’t even the same color. Later, as I’m finally in bed, trying to watch last week’s Dexter because I sadly haven’t touched my DVR for an entire week and am starting to worry that I’m going to run out of space—if I haven’t already—and I’m mentally trying to choose some shows that I’m ready to stop watching because of a lack of time (I’m looking at you, Terra Nova), Josh comes in for another dose of Buckley’s and to tell me just one more piece of information to share about Harry Potter and some song he learned that I really wish he’d unlearn.

Yesterday morning I was woken by a first grader.

“Mama, My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to feed me breakfast!”

The box of lego on my bathroom floor and the nightstand full of stickers lead me to believe that while Isabella was probably up at the butt-crack of dawn, the child was playing on her own. Instead of waking me up to put on another episode of Full House—which she does, often—she entertained herself. And built a goddamned boat in the process. Even though I had to drag the entire family out to early-morning skating lessons and I failed miserably to remember that ice rinks are cold and I forgot the snowpants and who knows if I laced her skates properly and we had to visit the bathroom mid-lesson, I got to watch my baby take command of the ice. She was pushed ahead two levels because she can skate backwards and jump on the ice and twirl. MY BABY. On the ice.

Emily is strong-headed. She is determined. Because of this, she gets good grades, she is well-liked, she is the student council president, and at the end of November she will be commanding a stage as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like. Sure, it can be more-than-mildly irritating, but she is discovering who she is. She is A PERSON.

My boy loves to read. He is only 8 years old and he is about twenty pages from the end of the entire Harry Potter series. I worked for years for a publishing company that worried so much about boys not wanting to read. Girls are readers, they said, and made books about babysitting clubs and horses and middle school drama. The books were pink and pale blue and had rainbows on them. But my son, he gets it. He gets lost in books, he gets transported to Hogwarts. He devours every word; every sentence.

So, about that eye shadow.

As I said, call me predictable, because, truly, I can take it.

But maybe it’s just a matter of perspective.

Maybe I can look at a single-mommy Sunday and complain to you about having to get up early and having to schlep to the ice arena and to Tim Hortons—twice—and to birthday parties. Maybe I can complain about my daughter wanting hair accoutrements and my son delaying my tv-watching. Maybe I can be tired, nay exhausted, and wonder how we can fast-forward to the day that I can sleep in on weekends and the kids can drive themselves to the arena.


Or maybe I can look at it from another perspective.

Maybe it’s MY PRIVILEGE to spend this time with these three fantastic, quirky, hilarious, amazing, ridiculous little people. It’s a good thing. A GOOD THING.

Maybe All That Glitters is predictable.

or maybe it just really makes my eyes pop and sparkle.


  1. Thanks for giving ME perspective!


    Comment by Tamara on October 17, 2011
  2. Both are GOOD THINGS. I’m in the same crazy routine as you, most days, but it’s a GOOD THING.

    And, your eyes DID pop and sparkle all weekend. I’m adding All That Glitters to my MAC shopping cart.


    Comment by Angella on October 17, 2011
  3. I step over a lot of things to get to the toilet. It totally is a privilege but I still complain a lot. :-)


    Comment by Capital Mom on October 17, 2011
  4. 1) I would wear eye shadow, but I have no idea how to even apply it. True story! I’m missing some major parts of the girl gene.

    2) Hopefully you didn’t step on any of those Legos, lest you get a, what was it? A bone bruise?


    Comment by Kristabella on October 17, 2011
  5. It’s ALL in the journey!


    Comment by Sarah on October 17, 2011
  6. I love this, this turning-things-around-to-see-the-positives thing. I can relate to your stories of Emily, as I have myself a 10-year-old who has a mind of her own. It’s a good thing. :)


    Comment by Mrs. Wilson on October 17, 2011
  7. I love, love, love this and can relate because I love being around my kids foibles and all, just like they love to be around me and all my schtick. If they tell you any differently, they’re not being entirely honest. ;)


    Comment by Eden Spodek on October 17, 2011
  8. This is very interesting.. Thanks for posting such a very interesting story.. I really enjoyed it!


    Comment by Nikea on October 18, 2011
  9. Great post Ali! Made me mist up even! One day when we are old ladies, we’ll miss the craziness of life. And the lego in the bathroom.


    Comment by Suzanne on October 18, 2011
  10. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog here, thanks for sharing your GOOD THING.


    Comment by Berna on October 21, 2011
  11. I had to laugh when I read your post because it is all too similar to me. Even though I was not a single mother while my children were that young, I can still relate to the lack of sleep, toys all over the floor, hair extensions and makeup on a child who wants to grow up way too fast, and the constant running around to everywhere and anywhere.

    But it is a privilege to be able to have these precious ones in our lives so, we take all the good with the bad. Good luck to you and your battle with chaos. I hope you show you’re the boss!


    Comment by Deb Loyd on November 16, 2011

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