Been Around the World and I-I-I …

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Friday, August 29, 2014

OK, so it’s not quite the world. More like the world wide web, but let’s not quibble, friends. Anyway, with the  holiday weekend here (already?? I know!) I figured I should use the “quieter” time to promote a few of the more popular posts I’ve written around the web lately. A Long Weekend Reader of sorts.

Sunflower | Ms. Mary Mack

So, I was over on Cool Mom Tech, pitching in on the grand Back to School Tech Guide 2014 with:

Also on CMT, I offered up 6 smart tips to help teach kids about photography. Maybe you can help the young’uns get in a few snaps before we blink and it’s time to for winter holiday displays. Speaking of youngsters, there was also this roundup of the 10 best apps for new moms and parents.

Then hop over to for this piece about My Cringe-Filled Experiences Around Other People’s Kids and this fun one that spells out the 7 Hardened Rules of Little Kid Fashion.

Plus, there are lots of good bits on MMM itself. So, poke around, read up on some posts from earlier in August, like this guest post by my elementary school friend Donna, who went from honor student to teen mom to a restored, shame-free woman and a badass nurse.

All right! That’s enough plugging for now. Enjoy the last bits of summer, good people, and we’ll seeee youuuuu in Septemberrrr.


It’s Kindergarten (Or, Where’d the Time Go?!)

Life As Mom Thursday, August 28, 2014

It just didn’t register. When people would ask me whether I was emotional or excited it, I kept saying the same thing: I’m in a state of disbelief. I repeated this line because it was the truth.

That The Youngster was heading off to kindergarten this school year simply didn’t seem real to me. It was just March yesterday. How is it we’re talking about fall and big-kid school and the riding the bus and packed lunch today? I know we grown-ups say it a lot, but, seriously, where did the time go??!

Welcome to Kindergarten | Ms. Mary Mack

A few other parent friends sending their young’uns into this new world for the first time told me that they expected to be a complete mess on that First Day. Some got teary just talking about getting teary. I didn’t, though. And it’s not because I’m some hardened Hulk. (Listen, a well-placed iPhone TV commercial can get me a little verklempt in seconds. Since becoming a mother, I think the volume has been jacked up to 20 on all things sweet and sentimental.) For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling the swell of bittersweet about this big transition in my kid’s young life.

I was definitely proud and excited for him. He’d been going to preschool and Pre-K over the last couple of years, and moving on up to the real deal with lockers and a cafeteria and school supplies and other big kids felt like progress.

Back to School | Ms. Mary Mack

Then late last night, I figured I should make the guy’s lunch in case we’re rushing around in the morning, trying to make the school bus on time.

Uh … wait. The school bus.


This is when it hit me. It all started to come into focus: my little guy, who was just a sweet little cinnamon bun a few weeks ago, is growing up. And it’s happening so very fast.

As I made his sandwich and sliced up his apple, I started wondering what I should do about the big bus moment going down the next morning. I wondered out loud on Facebook, as one does. I asked: Should I follow the bus to school or wave goodbye and let go? I already knew which way I was leaning, but it’s always interesting to hear from other mothers — moms who are old-hat about the whole school bus thing, after doing it for five, six years now, like my older sister Yvette who said, plainly, “Do NOT follow that bus.” Ha!

So I finished making the lunch, went to bed and had a good sleep. I wasn’t anxious or frazzled. This morning, we all woke in good time and had a smooth start to the day. The Youngster was clearly excited, and chatted his way through breakfast. We did a quick review of what’s what: the bus trip, what goes in his locker, making sure his listening ears were on and secure, etc.

We did the photos on the front step, with the fun “First Day of Kindergarten” sign. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up — a tradition I’d like to continue on the first day — and wrote it on the sign for our family pictures. (He said he wants to be an astronaut-construction worker, which means he’ll “build things in space.” Make room, Neil deGrasse Tyson!)

Then we walked to the corner to wait for the bus.

First Days | Ms. Mary Mack

Two neighborhood kids, 5th graders, were as sweet as can be to my son, with the young girl asking if he wanted her to sit with him. The bus arrived. I introduced myself to the driver, snapped even more photos, gave The Youngster a hug and a kiss … and then waved goodbye.

That’s when I felt the squeeze on my heart and my throat got scratchy. My eyes were welling up and I was going to let it all happen.

But then a new neighbor, who had just moved in a month ago, re-introduced himself to my husband and me, and like that, we were pulled into a nice conversation with him, and away from staring at the tail lights of the bus with out wet eyes.

When we got back into the house, my husband and I hugged and congratulated ourselves on the nice-and-easy morning and for raising ourselves a delightful little kindergartener. Hand-claps all around, I say.

But I wanted more. I wanted to see more. I didn’t follow the bus, Yvette, but before I went off on my morning run, I passed by the school, staying far enough in the back of the parking lot that I couldn’t be seen. Fine! I was totally lurking. I saw him stride off the bus and into the line-up with other tiny people and then into his new domain.

And I said it out loud, there by myself: Wow. Look at my big boy. There were tears gathering in the corners of my eyes and my lip did that quiver thing, but I was happy, smiling through this incredible memory in the making.

The 7 Indisputable Rules of Little Kid Fashion

MMM Showcase, Parental Intel Friday, August 22, 2014

Good news! I’ve been asked to join’s writers’ circle. This means I’ll be posting more regularly on that lovely site. I dipped my toes back in those waters last month when I wrote about my daily morning debate between motherhood and runner. Then I got into talking about my recent awkward encounters with other people’s kids (and the parents, too!). This time around, it’s all about the “rules” of dressing them kids! Have a read, and let me know what you think. And, if you feel so moved, please share the link in your circles. Thanks!


Balance | Ms. Mary Mack

The days of dressing my 5-year-old son are over. Actually, they came to an end a few years ago, when speaking in full and clear sentences was no longer a mountain he needed to climb. He was there, at the summit, expressing how he really felt about the clothing choices I’d been making for him. No more cute, fly-guy fashions and themed outfits, like super-mini skater kid, tiny Harvard preppy, or the “Mad Men” Casual Beach thing I was getting away with for a stretch. Once this kid was able to express his likes and — as was often the case — staunch dislikes, the couture was cut down to a set of very basic rules. Rules that may not be bent or broken, for the retribution would be steep … and bloody annoying.

I learned the hard way and endured the battle of the morning get-dressed scene, and have come out on the other side. So, in the interest of each one teach one, I present to you the 7 Rules of Little Kid Fashion, as told to me by my son — who, for this exercise, we’ll call Maester ICanDoItMyself.

1. Band-Aids Take Priority. If there is ever a bandage covering a bump, scrape or cut [Parent edit: real or imagined ones], be sure that socks and sleeves do not cover this important plaster. Unless, of course, these things bring added protection to this most necessary tourniquet. In that case, pull the socks up all the way to the knee, making doubly sure they stay up, and drag those sleeves or pant legs carefully over the important bandage. Failure to comply will result in certain grumpiness and more than a few Band-Aids wasted in the “reapplication” process.

2. Tag, You’re Not It! No matter how much I claim to like a shirt, if the tag scrapes or tickles the back of my neck, even just a little, we will have a problem. I will not think twice to demand that the offending tag be completely removed. It’s lay flat or go home. (Home being the garbage bin here.) And, Parent, it’s probably a safer bet that you memorize the wash and care instructions of all my shirts, as I have a zero-tolerance policy about tags that don’t follow the clear rules.

Read all 7 rules here on

Unplugged and Gone Fishin’

Life As Mom Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hi there! Guess what? I’m on vacation.

Go-Gos Vacation | Ms. Mary Mack

Well, staycation, to be more precise. Taking some time to enjoy summer as it runs on out the door. So, in order to do the staycay right, I’m unplugged and offline and singing this song all week.

Back soon.

Until then, enjoy this, because owls don’t play (but careful, some spicy language at the end):

And this, because #thembabies will figure it all out:

And this, because it’s old school YouTube and never fails to make my Mum laugh:

Take care of yourselves, friends.

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