The Word Eight

Today was our first official day of homeschool. I have three children–Isabella is almost 7 doing first grader stuff, Anya is 3 1/2 doing pre-school related activities and Roman is one; he is watching his sisters and, well, being a one-year old. I’m 31 and my plan is to learn and relearn absolutely anything I can during this process. Today, after it was all said and done–after the princess counting game, after the fairy tales and the trampoline time and the water play, after we explored the natural environment in our backyard and made homemade macaroni and cheese, my favorite lesson was the least intentional of all.

I asked Isabella if she would write out the words for the numbers as high as she could go. Confidently she began her assignment. Meanwhile, I began unloading the dishwasher as I did not want to hover. I could hear her pencil squeaking and sliding across the paper, occasionally stopping and flipping for some erasing action. Then the pencil stopped all together. I could feel her–stumped–so, I turned around to face her.

“Mom,” she said without glancing up, “how do you spell ‘eight’? Does it start with an ‘E’ or an ‘A’?”

“That’s a great question, but I want you to do this part all on your own.” I already knew what was coming next. Isabella has perfectionist tendencies and she can not stand to knowingly do things incorrectly.

“But Mom…I can’t do it. I just don’t know. I don’t know the right way.” Her frustration was building.

I smiled. “Just write what makes sense to you. There is no wrong or right right now. Just do your best–that’s all that matters today.” I hoped that would satisfy her, but it didn’t.

Her pencil fell from her fingers as she stared at her paper; her chin landed in her hands, squishing her cheeks up which, in turn, made her eyes all squinty. I think she did this intentionally trying to control the tears that were on their way.

“Oh! I can’t do it I just don’t know! It’s so confusing!” She was sobbing at this point.

I walked over and sat next to her. I felt for her. She had been labeled a “perfect student” at school by the time she finished kindergarten. She was used as an example for good behavior and outstanding academics. It had become her student identity–such a heavy load for a 6-year old and seeing her sob at the kitchen table over possibly writing the word “eight” incorrectly reconfirmed how utterly important it was for her relearn how to learn–really learn.

“Isabella,” I said lifting her chin up with my index finger so I could look into her eyes, “I’m not testing you. I’m not judging you–no one is. You are welcome to make mistakes at this school. How can you expect to learn new things if you don’t allow yourself not to know it in the first place?” Her eyes softened, she gave a little sniff and picked up her pencil. Still you would have thought that if she spelled “eight” incorrectly the house was going to blow up or something.

I turned away and felt her just go for it.

“Is this how you spell it?” She said timidly.

I turned as she held her paper out for me.


“No. That’s not how I spell it. In fact I don’t think anyone has ever spelled it quite like that.”
“Ooooohhhhh–” her worst fear had come true. She misspelled the word “eight”!

“Wait, wait, wait!” I said, “I’m not finished! Do you know that the English language is one of the most ridiculous things in the world?” Of course she had no idea what on Earth I was talking about in that moment. “Here, I’m going to show you something.” I took a piece of paper and wrote E-I-G-H-T.

“Look at this mess!” I said. She started cracking up. “THIS is how some genius decided to spell the word ‘eight’!

“Oh, brother!” She said smiling.

“I mean how would you read this word phonetically? ‘eh-i-guh-huh-tuh’?” That really got her cracking up! “Now read your word phonetically– ‘eh-ay-eet’ Did we get a vote in this? No! If we did, I would have voted for yours, but it’s just the way it is and the only way to know it is to learn it–or memorize it at this point!”

She smiled and nodded like she got it! I knew she got it.

“When you don’t know something, Bella, own it! Then you’ll be completely open to learn it.”

I stood up and walked back to the dishwasher kind of proudly–like, wow–way to go Mom! But the best part was yet to come.

I heard her pick up her pencil and let out a sigh. Then before she launched into the word ‘nine’ she blurted out “I am Isabella Tarasova and I embrace the fact that I don’t know how to spell the word ‘eight’!” And off she went!










and of course



August 14, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Don’t forget to call your mother!

You know what I just did that I haven’t done in WAY too long???  I realized that my mother sees me the same way I see my daughters!  The bond between mother and daughter is intense and it’s crazy how it flips from one perspective to the other–first from the perspective of a daughter and then from the perspective of a mother of a daughter.  It’s breathtaking to realize that the immeasurable love you feel for your child, is how your mother felt about you.  Damn!  If only we knew how much our mothers loved us and went crazy over us, and thought about us, and felt our every moment with us!  It makes me feel like such an asshole for ever hating my mother.  It makes me dread the day my daughter first hates me.  It makes me want to call my mother and thank her for her awesomeness and love.  I will do that.  What about you?

August 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Scatter-Brained Mama-To-Be

I’ve been neglecting my blog…probably because I got preoccupied with other areas of my life recently.  I mean isn’t that the nature of The Scatter-Brained Mama after all!  I’m 11 weeks pregnant with number three and the only things that have really had my attention are my morning sickness and remembering to put one foot in front of the other when I walk.  It’s bad.  This whole time, as I’ve been curled up in the fetal position, stuffing my face with ginger, and begging my 20 month old to go watch cartoons for just a little bit longer, I’ve thought “How in the world can I write my blog like this?” And then after yesterday I realized, how can I NOT write my blog right now?

Do you know how to make a Scatter-Brained Mama even more scatter-brained?  Get her pregnant.  Oh, man!  Talk about good material!

Back to yesterday.  (This is just a funny little story that promises lots more funny little stories to come!)  I work part-time at a health food store and yesterday as I was checking out a customer, he asked me about one of the fliers we had on the front counter.  I gave him his total, he handed me his credit card, and then I answered his question.  I bagged up his things and handed them to him but he was still standing there with his pen out ready to sign his receipt.

“Don’t I need to sign something?”  But there was no credit card receipt to be found.  I thought he must have already signed it, so I opened the register and pulled out the top credit card receipt.  Sure enough it had been signed, but not by the customer.  Instead, yours truly had signed “Susan Tarasova” across the dotted line.  And you know, I don’t even remember doing it.

It was a little awkward, I have to admit, so I smiled at him and said, “Now that’s service, huh?”  I could tell he seriously questioned the presence of anyone home in my upstairs.  “Have a great afternoon,” I beamed.  He ‘s not too far from the truth!


November 11, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Scatter-Brained Mama Moments, Scatter-Brained Pregnancy. 2 comments.

Say What?!

If you recorded all that you said during the course of a day with the kids I guarantee when you went back and listened to it you would laugh like never before!  Here’s a sample from today that made me laugh until I peed after I realized what I had just said:

I noticed my naked 19 month old messing with her butt so I asked her what she was doing.  She held up a little pretend bottle of nail polish for me to see.  I walked over to her to check things out and when I looked at her bottom I noticed she had stuck a crayon in her butt crack.

“Anya,” I said very matter-of-factly, “that is your butt crack, not your pocket.  Please do not put your toys in there.”

And you know, it didn’t even occur to me what I had said until I walked away.

September 21, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Say What?!, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

My Favorite Minute

There is a magical moment that, in my opinion, is not given the credit it SO deserves.  Not only that, some people think of it as a bad thing while I, on the other hand, find it to be one one life’s greatest and most valuable gifts.

I am, of course, referring to the Last Minute–figuratively speaking as well as quite literally.  My mother used to always point out how I wait until the Last Minute to do everything.  When I was younger I saw this as a bad thing.  Whenever the Last Minute was mentioned there was usually a finger waving in my direction with some sort of lecture attached to it.  The Last Minute was always presented as a place which only led to failure and should be avoided at all costs–like an ally of mildewy darkness off of the bright, cheery main drag of Plan Ahead Avenue.


Stop and think about it!  I know I have had days during which I struggle for hours to get just one thing done.  And then comes the Last Minute, in which I can accomplish the impossible as I run around frantically getting myself and the kids dressed; serve lunch at the speed of light; remember that I need a birthday present for the party we’re rushing off to; come up with the present; wrap the present; take everyone to the potty; get shoes on all of our feet; look for my keys; find my keys; grab my purse and GO!

If we could figure out a way to convert and store all of the energy generated in the Last Minute we’d have ourselves the solution to the energy crisis!

And think of all of the magical times that have come out of making plans at the Last Minute.  I can plan a playdate a week in advance and it will either not happen at all or it will be a total dud.  However, make a plan thirty minutes before we agree to meet and not only does it actually happen, but it usually turns out to be among the most fun of our activities.

Now you do have to be careful not to totally overbook the Last Minute.  This is when people run into trouble.  Although it has the potential to be a powerful tool, the Last Minute is also very fragile–sort of like the atomic bomb–so use it wisely.

In my opinion, we should practice saving time during all of the other minutes throughout the day by realizing and utilizing the full potential of the magical and wonderful Last Minute.

Now that’s what I call time management!

September 10, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Life Observations, Scatter-Brained Mama Moments, Uncategorized. 2 comments.

The Scatter-Brained Mama’s Tip #3- Walking instead of running

Yesterday was from hell!  All I wanted to do was run away from everything: whiny kids, messy husband, annoying bills, cooking yet another meal…

Since running away was not an option (and anyway what’s the use, I’d miss home too badly to stay away) I listen to the advice of my own mother and went for a walk.  So simple, yet SO transforming!  A mile later I was a new woman.

So, when you are faced with a day that makes you want to pack your bags and hit the road; throw the kids in the stroller (if there is no other option), put on your walkin’ shoes, and hit the pavement instead!  If you can get out the door I guarantee a positive outcome (just be sure to look both ways before crossing the street!).

Check out more tips from the Scatter-Brained Mama here.

August 24, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Life Observations, Scatter-Brained Mama Moments, Tips, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


I want to run away.  Just for a little while.  My destination: a land far far away, where everyone is capable of pouring their own juice and there are no babies who think they own my breasts.  No poopy diapers, no little hands unfolding my just-folded laundry–hell, how about no laundry period!  While I’m at it, can I add no bills, no grocery shopping, no remembering to get the oil changed,  no weeding the garden, no cooking, no cleaning, and no being told “NO” by my 18 month old.

Really, I’d take a white, padded room at this point.

You want to know what I’ve done today?  I’ve waited for my children to take naps.  I knew nap time was as close to running away as I was going to get, so I couldn’t wait!

And then the most disappointing thing happened.  After rocking and bouncing my sleepy baby for what felt like an eternity, her nap lasted no longer than 15-20 minutes.

I’m exhausted and I want to cry.

August 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Life Observations, Scatter-Brained Mama Moments, Uncategorized. 3 comments.

The School Bus

My kid started pre-K last week…and if that wasn’t enough she woke up with a loose tooth the day before!  It was almost too much to handle.  I mean what next?  Boobs…her period…boyfriends…college…I guess it’s all inevitable and I knew that going into this parenting thing.  We all did, but nonetheless, when one of these milestones is reached someone may as well have stuck their hand in our chest and given our heart a good, painful squeeze.

Take this morning for instance.  Today my daughter rode the bus to school for the first time.  It’s something she has been dying to do and something that I have been doing my best to put off.

5:45 AM I woke up to her poking and staring at me.  “Mommy!  Wake up!  I don’t want to miss the bus!.”  Oh, man!  She remembered.  But the bus didn’t come  until 7:45 AM so I told her to go back to sleep for a little while longer.  Maybe she wouldn’t remember in an hour.

6:17 AM “Mommy!” she whispered as she poked me again.  “I’m gonna miss the bus if we don’t get ready NOW!”  I guess she still remembered.

So I got out of bed and went into the kitchen to make coffee.  Bella followed me.  I flipped on the light switch and immediately she started singing “I’m riding the bus today!  I’m riding the bus today!”

There went the invisible hand into my chest.  SQUEEZE!

I just didn’t want her to get on that bus and then get so sad as she watched me get smaller and smaller as she rode away that she would cry in front of the other kids.  What if they made fun of her, hurt her feelings, called her a baby.  How would she know where to sit?  What if she trips and falls down while getting on the bus or walking to her seat or getting off of the bus.  What if she doesn’t know where to go when she gets to school.  I won’t be with her.  How could she possibly figure it out all on her own?!

I got her dressed.  I made sure she looked extra cute for her big bus debut.

I fed her a hard boiled egg and gave her some vitamins.  I wanted to make sure she had some good brain power and strength going into it.

7:40 AM It was time to go.  Before I loaded the baby into the stroller I knelt down and looked Bella in the eyes.  “You’re sure you still want to do this?  You don’t have to, you know.  Mommy would be more than happy to drive you to school.”

“Mom, I want to ride the bus!”

Hand back in chest.  SQUEEZE AND TWIST.

So we began our block and a half walk to the bus stop. The butterflies were so intense in my stomach that I thought I was going to throw up.

I made one final attempt.  “Bella, if at any point you change your mind, you just let me know and I’ll drive you to school.  No problem! Even if the bus is there with the door open, it’s not too late.  Just say the word!”

“I’ll be fine, Mom!  I want to ride the bus!”

We got to her stop and began our wait.  I wondered which direction it would be coming from.  What side of the street should we be waiting on?  Is she at the beginning of the route or near the end?  Did they have seat belts on buses these days?

Just then a little boy walked up. “You waiting for bus 418?” he asked.  I nodded.  “It’ll be here about eight o’clock.  I ride that bus too.  I’m in third grade. My name is Chris.  What grade are you in?”  He looked at Bella.

“She’s in pre-K.” I quickly came to her rescue, saving her from having to answer the question herself.

She looked sharply at me.  “I’m in pre-K,” she told the boy.

“Oh.  I had to take some pills this morning,” the boy said almost proudly.  “You know, you go to the therapist and they give you pills.  Those kind of pills.”

Oh, those kind of pills, I thought.  This kid better not sit next to my daughter!  But who knows, maybe all of the kids on her bus take those kind of pills!

Just then the big, yellow school bus rounded the corner a couple of blocks up and headed our direction.

“Alright, Bella.  Here it comes!” I pushed the stroller into the grass so I could give my full attention to Bella.  “You’re going to be fine, honey.  Don’t you worry about a thing.  Here you go on your first bus ride.”

The bus pulled up to us and stopped.

“The bus driver is going to take good care of you.  Don’t worry, sweet girl.  Everthing is going to be great.”  I put my hand on her shoulder and tried to give her a hug just as the door was opening.

Hand in chest.  SQUEEZE.  TWIST.  PULL

“Bye, Mom,” she said and totally left me hanging as she gracefully flew up the steps into the bus.  I stood there and watched as it passed and drove away.  I then turned and before I could take my first step, I burst into tears. And cried and cried and cried the whole way home.

8:35 AM Oh yeah, I did it.  I called the bus driver to make sure it went okay using the excuse that I didn’t know what time to pick her up at the bus stop.  I guess I wasn’t the first mom to call because even without my asking he told me that it went great and she made it to school safely and soundly.

Dang it’s hard.  Letting them grow up.  We can do everthing in our power to try and stop it from happening, but it won’t do any good.  I’m crying again as I type this.  My little girl is growing up and today she proved that if anyone is still a baby, it’s me!

God, I’m proud of her!

August 19, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Favorite Posts, Humor, Life Observations, My Children, My Teachers, Scatter-Brained Mama Moments, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Domestic Goddess

The life of a Domestic Goddess is a glamorous one!

Now why do you seem so surprised?

Sure the hours are long and the work’s never done,

But there are many benefits I’ve realized.

The uniform, for example, is always one-of-a-kind,

Though the materials and accessories are quite common.

With a diaper for a bra and dirty laundry for a skirt,

Our belts have bottles of cleaner hangin’ on ‘em.

We carry wands resembling spatulas,

And our hands have built-in phones.

We rule from a stool in our kitchen,

As our palace is our home.

When we walk, we jingle—a magical sound!

The car keys must be near when a Domestic Goddess is around,

For our magical carriages must travel far and wide,

To drop off one kid at practice and another to a party at the water slide.

We have mastered the impossible in an hour’s time.

Our mysterious super powers allow us to do it with ease.

We can make thirty phone calls while balancing our checkbook,

And shop for a week’s worth of groceries.

Our charming husbands kiss us upon their return,

As we pull a casserole from the oven.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,

Then the Domestic Goddess is guaranteed some lovin’.

We’re  paid with pictures colored outside of the lines,

Which we hang on the fridge for all to admire,

And though we can’t call in sick or clock out early,

Chances are we’ll never get fired.

The Domestic Goddess has good days and bad,

She can most certainly be a Scatter-Brained Mama!

There are definitely times where she cups her chin in her hands,

And sighs, “Today I really don’t wanna!”

Our glamor may seem a little unconventional to you,

But I assure you it’s quite a life for us!

Our homes are our kingdoms and our children are our jewels,

So bow down to the Domestic Goddess.

July 24, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Multi-Media, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

A Scatter-Brained Mama’s Dream

As I began to wake up this morning to my one-year old (yes she spends half of the night in bed with us) tugging at my shirt (yes she’s still breastfeeding), I realized that I had been experiencing this deep sense of relief which seemed to be curdling due to the guilt that was mixing in with it.  For a split second the dream from which I had awoken came back to me.  As the baby had her morning “nurnie” I allowed the pure joy and ecstasy generated by my dream to come to a head with a satisfied smile on my face.  Sure there was also that feeling of disappointment upon the realization that it had only been a dream, but that was soon overshadowed by the guilt-inspired relief that THANK GOD it had only been a dream.

The beginning of my dream was a pretty accurate representation of my life.  I was home with the kids, cleaning up one baby-disaster while on watch for the next one.  Pouring endless cups of juice and milk for my older one while making endless phone calls to the mortgage and electric company with the same result in both scenarios: no one’s ever satisfied, no matter how much I dish out, they always want more.  I intended to take the kids to the park, but there was always one more thing I had to clean up or take care of before we could go.  The baby was the primary instigator of the chaos which surrounded me.  Whether she was spilling the juice that I had just poured for her sister, or taking off a poopy diaper while running across the carpeted floor in the living room, the end result was the inevitable temper tantrum due to inconsolable frustration–and I’m not supposed to be having temper tantrums anymore!  I mean I’m going on thirty for Christ’s sake and anyway it only further exacerbates the baby’s hyperactivity.  But I had had it in my dream.  I could not take the insatiable appetite my youngest child has for destruction and mischief for one second more.

Suddenly (in my dream) I decided to make one of my greatest fantasies a reality.  I went to the utility closet and collected all of the hooks I had on hand and then walked from room to room in my house strategically installing them all over the walls.  Within moments of completing my home improvement project I had my first opportunity to try it out.  I found the baby in the bathroom feeding the toilet giant wads of toilet paper and whatever else she could get her little hands on (an all-too-common occurrence at my house no matter how I try to prevent it).  So, I calmly picked her up, and hung her on the hook in the hallway directly across from the bathroom.  As I turned away from her I sighed the most satisfying sigh ever.  I was so relieved I almost cried.  If my life was a musical, this would be the part where life couldn’t get any better and the joyful music would carry me away to a land far far away where I would skip through fields of flowers and sip expensive champagne from overflowing fountains.

“Mama…MAma…MAAAAMMAAA!” I was pulled back to reality by my one-year old who was done with her “nurnie” and was now ready to go get started on her morning havoc-reaking.  As I began to sit up she hugged my arm and giggled so cutely that the guilt began to take over again.

“Yeah, yeah,” I said as I hugged her back, “No hooks for you!”

At least not today.

Ahhh!  A girl can dream, can’t she?

Note to the Reader: Let it be made clear that the above was a dream and that no child of mine was ever or will ever be in danger of being mistreated.  The Scatter-Brained Mama does not support or promote the practice of hanging  one’s children on hooks no matter how frustrated or desperate one becomes.

July 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Scatter-Brained Mama Moments. 1 comment.

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