10 Secret Perks of Parenthood

by Jessie K on November 10, 2014


Search Pinterest for “mom inspiration” and the first thing you’ll see is a whole bunch of quotes about why it’s wonderful to be a parent: You become more patient, less selfish, your heart grows by leaps and bounds, you strengthen your family bonds, blah, blah, blah.

Those are all well and good, but they don’t portray the whole story. There are a lot of other parenthood perks that never make their way into artfully framed wall art. Since Pinterest and its platitudes won’t provide this insight, I will. Here are ten bonus reasons why it really rules to hear yourself called Mom or Dad.

Continue reading here. 


I thought repairing it would make it look better

by Jessie K on October 30, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith Jake gone, I’m Mrs. Fix-It. When something in this house breaks, I attempt to repair it, “attempt” being the crucial word. Our house is strewn with all sorts of little objects in need of mend. I can’t fix anything except dinner, and even that lately has been Tator Tots.

The other night, one of the jewels on June’s Elsa crown for Halloween fell off. I attempted to glue it back on. I used Gorilla Glue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis turned out to be a big mistake. It appears that Gorilla Glue foams. A lot. June is going to have the only foaming crown out there on the streets of Elsa of Arendelle tomorrow night.

I relay this little story for your own knowledge — in the event you find yourself in a similar situation: Don’t use Gorilla Glue for mending crowns. June will just have to deal with it. I couldn’t pry that sucker off if I tried.


Halloween treat

by Jessie K on October 29, 2014

IMG_8514This is the second time I’ve made these Surprise Pumpkin Treats for Halloween. They’re pretty gross — food dye, Walmart “Crisp Rice” cereal, green frosting, green gum drop, wrapped around a chocolate-y center — yet I’ve managed to polish off two. I’m thinking about a third.

IMG_8512The under 5 crowd love ‘em.

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It’s not you, it’s just your face

by Jessie K on October 28, 2014


A perfect Halloween cocktail for a bigger town

by Jessie K on October 28, 2014


My friend Accacia just emailed me a most enticing cocktail recipe from Bon Appetit to try for Halloween: The Melting Olaf. It’s billed as a libation for parents who’ve seen “Frozen precisely 14 times too many.” Ding! Ding! Ding!

Like countless other little ladies this Halloween, June will be going as her guide in all matters magical, Elsa of Arendelle. I picked up the last itchy, scratchy remnant of flammable tulle otherwise known as an Elsa dress at Walmart for $19. For another $10, I ordered an Elsa scepter and crown. The gloves, we will have to improvise.

How I would love to take her Trick Or Treating quaffing this cocktail yet I have a feeling Aquavit and St. Germain are not available within 30 miles of this here town.

Figures. I suppose I can settle for a  more regional sip. 

(Photography: Andrew Lau for Bon Appetit.)


October beach weekend

by Jessie K on October 28, 2014

IMG_8498I had a revelation over the weekend. Going to the beach in October is the best. I took the girls to Virginia Beach over the weekend with some friends and had a great time. Clear skies, hot weather, cold beer, tepid water, zero crowds and a crazy affordable Airbnb. I highly recommend it. The area to stay, according to those in the know, is Sandbridge.

P.S. Some of you have mentioned you can no longer read the comments. My technical wizard, my Father,  is working on that. Hope to have it fixed soon.

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No, thank you

by Jessie K on October 24, 2014


Yesterday while walking the dog, I came upon a woman in a field. Her husband was up the hill, chain sawing fire wood. She sat down at the fence line and between spits of sunflower seeds and sips of Diet Mountain Dew, proceeded to tell me a story about one of her coworkers at the interstate rest area where she works. The coworker, a guy who had just turned 26, had been making crystal meth in the maintenance shed at the rest area. She said he’d come to work, clock in, then disappear in the shed for hours. She thought this was suspicious, but didn’t concern herself with it.

The discovery of his illicit side business was made after he’d inadvertently caused a chemical explosion during the cook and burnt to death in the most horrific way imaginable: on fire, covered in acid and locked inside the maintenance shed at a public rest area.

She said she got a glimpse of the inside of the shed after the incident, littered with charred Draino bottles and cold medicine containers, smears of blood on the walls.

As she told me this story, she sat in the dirt and grasped the fence. The whine of her husband’s chain saw could be heard 50 yards away. Her husband called to her. She had to go. Before she got up, she told me she couldn’t stop thinking about the fate of the man’s two little girls, both under the age of 5.

There are a lot of reasons for not doing crystal meth, but this one ranks high. Not only is this drug being made by bathroom attendants at public rest areas (I’m going to guess his sanitary standards were not exceedingly high), but two little girls are left without a father. Such a travesty.


Does anyone else do this?

by Jessie K on October 23, 2014

I rarely use the mailbox at my house anymore because I’m too embarrassed that Netflix envelopes are the only things I seem to put into it. I now drop envelopes into the public mailbox near Tractor Supply on my way home from picking up June from preschool. Not that there’s anything shameful about Netflix, it’s more about the existential shame of having the sort of life requiring almost zero paper correspondence.



by Jessie K on October 22, 2014

The root canal I had been dreading for weeks somehow exceeded my capacity for sorrow and anxiety yesterday. (What do you call a mix of sorrow and anxiety? Hysteria? Sanxiety? Aorrow? I’ll go with sanxiety.)

At precisely 9:30 a.m. yesterday morning, my friend Susan arrives at my house to pick me up to take to the endotontist. Into her Passat, I load the Pack and Play, the car seat, a bag of baby toys, a bottle, a diaper bag, my purse and little Katie. I slump into the passenger seat, show Susan my 10 mg Valium as it disappears down my throat.

I’m a pretty calm person, but I have unrealistic, stupid anxiety about root canals. I hate them. I fear them. The sounds. The smells. The instruments. The strange gloved hands in my face. I’ve already had two root canals, and each left me traumatized in this weird, irrational way that is entirely foreign to my being. I shed tears throughout the procedure.

“Oh, you’re going to be feeling fine in about an hour,” Susan, a nurse, tells me. “You’re going to be singing a happy song.”

Great, I think. Anything to get through this.

Susan drops me off at the dental office. We unload all the gear including the baby and bring it into the quiet waiting room. The nurse at the front desk takes one look at all my gear and I can immediately tell this is not going to go over well. Her face says, does this look like a Montessori play room to you? But part of me doesn’t care because it’s my mouth, my procedure, my hell, I’m paying for it, and I don’t have childcare. My husband is gone for a year and this is the type of stuff solo parents occasionally have to do in a pinch. We all have to suck it up. It takes a village, right?  (By the way, I couldn’t ask Susan to watch Katie because Susan already has a newborn of her own). Besides, Katie comes with me to my normal dentist appointments, and it’s never been a problem. The nurses make googley eyes at her, sometimes they even hold her — I don’t ask or expect them to, they’re just lovable like that.  For for the most part, Katie sits strapped into her car seat on the floor, sucks her Pacifier and stares at me. She’s a pretty chill baby.

I can tell it’s a different story at this office. The endodontist comes out — a man — and proceeds to tell me that his staff are not babysitters, they are not allowed to touch the baby, this is a very delicate procedure, there is no room in the operating room for a Pack and Play, he can’t have his other patients distracted, etc., etc., — and he’s absolutely correct in all of these points but the overall effect is that he makes me feel like a terrible person for having the audacity to bring a child with me to a root canal.

I’m already a wreck. I’m already stressed and annoyed. The 10 mg of Valium — the palliative that was supposed to have me dancing an Irish jig on the ceiling by this point — was like chewing a child’s Flinstone vitamin; it didn’t work. At all.

I burst into tears and turned to face the wall. One of the attendants proceeds — I guess in some Becky Crocker-like impulse to try to smooth things over — to make small talk: “How old is your baby? Where did you get your Pack and Play?” I look at her with red eyes and tell her I can’t talk right now. I turn back to the endo and tell him I can’t go through with the appointment. It’s too much. I’m too stressed. I don’t have anyone to watch Katie. All my friends are busy. My husband is gone. The Valium doesn’t work and can someone please hit me in the face with a frying pan.

“No, no, we can still do it!” He says, his eyes and body language telling a different story.

“Hold on,” I say. “I need to make one phone call.”

I rush outside, make a call to the one friend who has always been there for me during Jake’s deployments. Naturally, I’m blubbering like an idiot when she answers. Naturally, she thinks someone has been murdered. But no, it’s just me. I’m at the dentist’s office and I don’t have a babysitter. And my Valium doesn’t work. How you say, First World Problem? My friend is out of town. But she rushes into action anyway — because that’s the kind of person she is — and makes a couple of phone calls.  “Don’t you worry,” she says. “We’ll get someone there!”

I proceed with the root canal. The attendants leave the door open so I can at least listen for Katie babbling in her Pack and Play in the reception area while a hole is drilled into my brain. I don’t really hear much. Maybe the Valium is working. Just a little. My jaw throbs. I have to go to the bathroom. I excuse myself to go to the ladies room. I walk out into the hall with my jaw jacked open and the dental equivalent of one of those disposable paper toilet liners sticking out of my mouth, and I see Trudy, the loveliest woman you would ever hope to see looking at you on your way out of water boarding session, the kind of person who radiates happiness and good cheer, sitting in the lobby area with smiling Katie in her lap.

I die from happiness. I can’t physically express any of this because of the horrifying state of my face, so I extend my thumb in the universal language of Fonzie. “Thank you, Trudy,” my thumb says. I feel infinitesimally better when I return to the torture chair. Yet I still weep like a child through the remainder of the procedure because my jaw kills so bad.

I spend the rest of the afternoon in a daze. That evening, I watch Brave with June and Katie, nursing a stiff rum cocktail. I swear the Valium never worked.


Tomorrow should be an interesting day

by Jessie K on October 20, 2014

Tomorrow I go in for a root canal. My third. I suffer from what I like to call “acute mouth trauma” so I have been prescribed a single Valium to get me through it. One lousy Valium. A ride to and from the endodontist has been secured. Katie is coming with me. I couldn’t find child care. I’m bringing a Pack and Play. The endodontist doesn’t know about the Pack and Play yet. I’m hoping the sight of it, and the squealing 10 month old trapped inside it, on the floor next to me will incentivize the staff to hurry things along.  That is my plan.