Category Archives: Anxious Mama

Spelling B-e-e

When I was in the first grade, I was the only kid in my class who spelled “horse” correctly on a spelling test.  Everyone else spelled it like “house” so it came out like this: “hourse.”  As a result of this early (and brief) spelling brilliance, I was selected to represent my class in the school-wide spelling bee.

On the day of the spelling bee, I stood on stage in the auditorium/gym/cafeteria in front of the entire school, including students, teachers, administrators, janitors, the Mayor (well, maybe not the mayor), and the local media (well, maybe not them either).  In any case, there were a lot of people from my six-year-old vantage point.  I don’t remember if I was nervous, but if I were asked to participate in a spelling bee today I’d be petrified, so I’m guessing I had a few butterflies in my stomach.

When it was my turn, I stepped up to the microphone and the judges gave me my first word: “I.”  Yes, that’s right.  My word was “I.”  My word had one letter.  I don’t recall how they used “I” in a sentence, but it was probably something like this: “I like ice cream.”  Or, “I can spell.”

I took a deep breath and said, “I,” and then – are you sitting down? – I was eliminated from the spelling bee.  Why, you ask?  Because I didn’t say “Capital I.”  I quickly left the stage, sat down on the auditorium/gym/cafeteria floor surrounded by my “hourse” spelling classmates, and felt like a hourse’s ass for getting eliminated from a spelling bee for misspelling “I.”  It’s quite possible that this singular mortifying moment in my childhood caused the future emergence of Nervous, Anxious, Crazy Mama.

Flash forward to today.  Dylan is teetering on the edge of reading! He recognizes words!  He reads signs!  He puts easy words together in sentences!  Every time he reads a word, his eyes twinkle with pride!  I can see his confidence building right before me!  It’s amazing!

But, he’s making me spell everything.

Cat.  Hat.  Mat.  Bat.  Yogurt.  Hannah (a girl in his class…makes me want to say “Hannah Banana” every time!).  Lynn (my middle name).  Nathan (Riley’s middle name).  Purple.  Airplane.  Television.  Okay.  3D.  Ice cream.  M&M’s (not an easy word to spell!).  Nalyd (Dylan backwards).  Yelir (Riley backwards).  For the love of God, he’s making me spell backwards!  Anakin.  Obi-Wan.  Hondo.  Bumblebee. Optimus Prime.  My friends, the spelling doesn’t stop.  It’s not that any of these words are difficult to spell (except Optimus, which took me a few extra seconds), but I feel a little bit like a hourse’s ass every time I do it.

On Monday, we reached a high point (or a low point depending on your viewpoint).  “How do you spell pain?”  “P-a-i-n.”  Then, “How do you spell ass?”  Pain in the ass.  My son wanted me to spell pain in the ass.  I didn’t want to do it, I really didn’t.  But, in the end, I did, because according to, an ass (noun) is: a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden.  And if Dylan is ever called to service as a representative of his class in a school spelling bee, I want him to be better prepared than I was when I had the great misfortune of having my hourse’s a-s-s kicked out of the spelling bee for not saying “Capital (b-l-e-e-p-i-n-g) I.”  Sigh…deep breath…sip of w-i-n-e.

Editor’s note:  After spelling this inappropriate idiom for Dylan, I told him not to say it again.  Except in a spelling b-e-e. 

1 Comment

Filed under Anxious Mama, Crazy Mama, Nervous Mama, spelling


For the past two days, I’ve been agonizing over a blog post about Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Politics aside, I can’t imagine there was anyone who wasn’t affected by what she said about motherhood, family, opportunity, and the American dream.

Suffice it to say, I was moved.  I was moved to tears.  I was moved to give more of myself.  I was moved to accept people for who they are rather than what they do or don’t have.  I was moved to ensure that my boys grow up to be courageous, giving, compassionate, and kind men.  I was moved to be grateful for the lens of motherhood through which I see the world.  I was moved to tone my arms and be bold with fashion (rhubarb J. Crew pumps!), but I digress.

I was particularly moved by her line about motherhood toward the end:

You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still mom-in-chief.

Then I became obsessed with an earlier passage in the speech that had nothing but everything to do with motherhood.  Read this paragraph and replace President with mother.  You’ll be floored.  Go on…

You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.  And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.  And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.  But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

And this line:

 …I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.

See?  Amazing!  Then I moved into a severe case of writer’s block.  I was overcome with thoughts and ideas yet paralyzed at the keyboard. So, I did what any Anxious Mama would do under that kind of stress.  I went shopping.

I’m running a 5K tomorrow morning.  It’s the first one I’ve done in almost two years.  I’m not really nervous about finishing the race (well, maybe a little bit), but I’m shaking in my boots about the course, which includes a really big hill.  Years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, I ran in Prospect Park, which also had an enormous hill.  Every time I ran up that damn hill, I chanted “sweet potato fries, sweet potato fries” over and over again.  That was always my culinary reward for finishing that beast of a run every Saturday morning.  My retail reward for finishing a race was always a pair of new shoes (prelude to a Shopaholic Mama).

Today, I put the cart before the horse.  I bought a new pair of running shoes when I picked up my race packet.  That’s right.  I bought a new pair of shoes before I finished the race.  I’m not a superstitious person, but I admit I’m a little bit concerned that a sinkhole will open up on the course tomorrow and swallow me whole because of this premature shoe purchase.

But aren’t they beautiful!  My reasoning (besides the Shopaholic Mama defense) is that my current sneakers are almost a year old and my knees ache when I run longer distances.  Shouldn’t I have the best shot possible to run this race and get up that monster hill?

In any case, anyone who runs near me tomorrow morning will no doubt hear my Crazy Mama sweet potato mantra.  Let’s just hope it moves me – like Michelle Obama’s speech – up that bleeping hill.

Wish me luck!

p.s. You can read a full transcript of Michelle Obama’s speech here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxious Mama, motherhood, running, Shopaholic Mama