Category Archives: Tried and Truth

Why Single Sex Education Rules the School

Girl Power
Girl Power

Planning and plotting the education of one’s offspring in the city of Los Angeles feels like navigating a dark labyrinth, filled with venomous snakes, deep ditches and fire bombs being tossed at you from unknown locations so you never know where you are supposed to be looking as to not die a firey death. Reggio, Montessori, Waldorf, Public, Private, Charter, Experimental, Progressive, Immersion, Preparatory, Jewish, Catholic, Methodist, predominantly White, predominately Black, predominately Asian and super-diverse are just some of the things you have to educate yourself on in order to understand what is right for your child.

As I reflect back on what was the insanity and ridiculousness I lived while being educated by nuns, I always come back to the one monumental positive I took away from my all-girls school, the positive that has made my life what it is today. And that is, no one ever said I couldn’t do something because I was a GIRL. In fact, no one ever mentioned any sort of limitations because of one’s sex ever because it was a non-issue. We did everything boys did, we just did them without them. We went to school makeup-less, with wet hair, in unflattering uniforms, eating cookies and laughing about things we probably wouldn’t have spoken about while walking in between buildings if boys had been around.

Here are my Top Seven Reasons Why Single Sex Education Rules the School –

  1. You can eat whatever you want

You can order cheese fries topped with bacon and literally talk with your mouth open while eating them and yes, it’s still gross but no one really gives two fecks. You could get pizza, fries, a salad, a chicken sandwich, ice cream and soda for lunch and no one was like, “Eww, you’re a cow”. My friend’s daughter told me she had friends in school who would barely eat because they were embarrassed to do so in front of boys. WTF is that? That ain’t right.

  1. Getting ready for school meant maybe showering

Hours of hair and makeup? I think not! A top knot and some Zinc Pink and I was on my way baby! I did spend quite a bit of time searching for one, matching regulatory knee sock every.stinking.morning. Which brings me to my next point.

  1. Uniforms

I know I grunted and groaned about this one because there was not much personal expression in green and blue plaid skirts and knee socks but seriously, no one was like, “Ugh, I wish my navy blue blazer was as nice as her navy blue blazer” because all of the navy blue blazers were equally ugly as shit. Also, no one got to dress slutty and isn’t that really what we all want for our girls? A place where you don’t feel like you have to dress in shorts shorter than your ass or don a tube top to go and learn Geometry? I know it’s all I can hope for.

  1. Dating

You dated after school and on weekends. There was no boy distraction in class, no breakups in the cafeteria, no lusting after Jake Ryan in study hall. Study Hall was time for us to discuss what boys’ penises looked like and maybe sometimes, just sometimes, we might have studied, but never in the Library because that’s where we planned our keggers and talked about what penises looked like while some of us gasped in horror.

  1. Conversation was not censored

We would discuss why our nipples got hard when it was cold outside while we tossed tampons between each other while pondering if pubic hair got gray when you got older. Do you think girls talk about this stuff in front of boys when they are fifteen? They don’t because after school when the boys came around, we talked about music and where we were gonna score some beer for the weekend. It was liberating to be able to be yourself and to talk about things that were on your mind and to know that you would all laugh hysterically and you never had to put the filter on except when a teacher passed you by.

  1. Boys Schools

When you attend an all-girl school, you usually have an all-boy school close by. When one of you has a dance, it’s like an explosion of wonder. All of these coeds in one place! It’s magical and special and fun! They’d have their proms and we’d have our prom and they’d have their games and we’d have ours and everything was done in multiples which meant for a robust social life, not gonna lie.

All Girls VMA
The sisterhood of the traveling pants…mine were pegged at the bottom if you are wondering. I am bottom right, sporting the ultra-fashionable straw “Boater”.

7.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

When we’d see a man or a boy on campus in Grade School we used whisper under our breath “Sound the alarm!” and it would really make us giggle. They looked funny, awkward, almost like intruders when they came around. Later, in High School they were allowed to visit us in the parking lot and in the cafeteria after school, so it became a lot more natural but if one stepped on campus before 2:30pm all hell would break loose. We’d run to the window like there was a fireworks display or a three-headed unicorn.

We were one thing and they were another but we were not inferior to them in any way, shape or form and the most important thing our all-female staff did was never mention that we might come across that notion in the outside world. I went to college where I learned about girls’ insecurities regarding participating in class and eating in front of the opposite sex or not studying something because “Engineering is for Boys”. I always grabbed these conversation bulls by the horns and I debated and lectured these young ladies as if I were Gloria Steinem on a hot day because I was given that foundation of being a secure, strong woman who did not doubt herself because she had a vagina. Also, I was able to school everyone in my dorm suite regarding aging pubic hair. That, if for nothing, is a great reason to consider an all-girls school.

Help Wanted – Turn My Fails into Wins

IMG_3583
Bell button fear be gone!

We all have a few tricks that we keep up our sleeves for when times get rough. I read about these all of the time and marvel at the success stories that these Moms are bragging about. Titles usually sound something like this “How to Get Your Child to Eat Beets with This Delicious Chocolate Smoothie” or “Never Lose a Toddler Sock Again with This Nifty Trick” or even “How Much to Medicate Your Kids for Peaceful Air Travel”.

I am here to share with you my own “Mom Tricks” that haven’t exactly gone viral. However, I am not a quitter. One success and several thousand subsequent fails does not have me throwing in the towel just yet. I aim to master at least one of the below before my child turns 10. I’ve got five years to figure this out, but I have a feeling that I need every minute I can get. Here are the stumpers.

Fake Sleeping

We co-sleep and shit I am tired sometimes. We have a lot of peaceful nights, but we also have plenty of nights where I am clinging to the edge of the mattress for dear life while my child flops all over the bed, arms flapping into my face unexpectedly, kicking me in the back, breathing one millimeter from my face while coughing directly into my mouth. When the early bird wakes up at 6:30am and wants to immediately start a full-blown conversation about why bird poop is white, I revert back to my old stand-by Mom Trick, fake sleeping. I have only been successful at this once, but the one time she actually fell back to sleep with me was so effin’ glorious that the possibility of it happening again keeps hope alive. My determination to get a few more minutes of sleep keeps me from fully accepting this as a FAIL.

The Bunny Bell

My daughter had a crazy fear of the “bell button” in elevators. It all started with a kid at the mall who insisted on pressing it about 40 times while we were in the elevator and the mom did nothing to stop him. Can you say traumatic? Afterwards, each time we got into an elevator, she would worry that someone would press the button and the loud bell would start ringing. At our lowest point, she would outright refuse to ride the elevator with any kid who may have that squirrelly “bell button presser” look in his eye. In an attempt to make the bell button a bit friendlier, we decided to take a picture of it, name it and decorate it with something she thought was nice. This turned out to be a bunny and his name was Daniel. We spent hours talking about the bell button, fielding hundreds of questions as to why it is there, why that kid wanted to press it, why his mom didn’t stop him. Either way, Daniel the Bunny Bell did zip to help the fear of the bell button. We still have to have the occasional agreement with friends about who will press the buttons before getting in and if your kid starts getting that squirrelly look – we will take the stairs. Bunny Bell, FAIL.

Wolfing Donuts

This particular activity is the ability to scarf a mini powdered donut in the amount of time it takes your kid to wash their hands (in my case this is equivalent to turning the water on and then off again without ever getting hands wet and definitely never using soap). Being able to swallow the donut whole earns bonus points. The timing of the donut wolf is typically around dinnertime while I am cooking and am super hungry myself. It’s RARE that we have things like mini donuts in the house so finding the sad and lonely donut that needs to be put out of its pathetic misery is always a special moment. Popping it into my mouth unnoticed is tricky if my child is home and likely to round the kitchen corner the moment it hits my lips. Sending her to wash her hands before dinner is an easy way to occupy her, even if for five seconds. The part that trips me up each time is the powdered sugar. No matter how hard I try, eating that mini donut will result in my looking like Al Pacino in Scarface when my kid inevitably barrels into the kitchen to show me how well she scrubbed her hands. This immediately results in her asking about what I am eating and demanding to smell my breath. FAIL.

Unwrapping the Secret Snack

You know the snack that you keep in your purse for emergencies or the random piece of Halloween candy you find in there while wildly searching for your keys? Try unwrapping that snack around your kids. I swear, children under the age of 10 have supersonic hearing and are able to detect the sound of crunchy snack wrappers from miles away. As soon as your eyes make contact with that wrapper, it sends a signal to the kids, “Alert! Alert! Mom found something in her purse. Looks to be a snack of sorts, has a crunchy wrapper and high calorie content. Prepare to launch the question!” We all know what question that is, “What are you eating and can I have some?” There are several ways that I have attempted to open one of these wrappers without being noticed. The loud cough and frantic unwrap, the turn up the music louder in the car and unwrap, and finally the slow and steady wins the race unwrap technique. Results tend to err on the FAIL side, especially when it happens to be a really good snack that I don’t want to share.

Here is where all of you come into play; I am accepting advice on how to turn these epic fails into wins. In the meantime, I will be exhausted, taking the stairs while looking like I just left a cocaine party while being questioned on what snack is in my purse by a firing squad of one (four year old).

Laguna Beach – A Review of Sorts

When the question arose as to where we could escape LA for a night and get a little well-deserved R&R, Susan Dearest jumped at the chance to suggest her old stomping ground, Laguna Beach. Perfect for families, perfect for Christmas shopping, lunching, hot tubing, day drinking, tide pool exploring and the like. Theresa and Susan Dearest packed up their families (Kelly Dearest was sadly being a solid professional and had to stay behind to make TV and stuff) and we headed down the 405 to the little paradise that is Laguna Beach.

We started off with a little lunch at The Hotel Laguna, where we were served-up some grub by a lovely waitress. We can attest that the best things about this restaurant are the service, the fries, the view and the wine. These are the only really important factors of any establishment, really.

Hotel Laguna, great views, even in the rain.
Hotel Laguna, great views, even in the rain.

After soaking up the rainy day view of the gorgeous coastline whilst sipping on some vino, the men folk decided to take the girls to explore the tide pools but not before Susan and Bram started arguing about the correct way to install a car seat…in the pouring rain. Note* Bram is Theresa Dearest’s husband, whom Susan Dearest adores but this just proves the fact that car seat installations are just fuel for any man and woman to get into it. Theresa and Susan were then off on their own, sans offspring, to shop, sip and get massages.

Now, as we were trotting up and down Forest Ave. doing a little shopping, we decided that we’d better find a place to book massages before the day got away from us. It was quickly agreed upon the best place to do this would be sitting down, discussing it over a glass of wine. We stopped in to the Watermarc and were served up a crisp glass of something by a wonderful young man named Brandon…or Dylan…or David Silver. Either way, the dude knows his way around olive stuffing (get your mind out of the gutter). He was great at small talk but we were left to wonder, when he left his job at the Watermarc a few years prior, he said he went to do other things but was very unspecific about what. Later that week we saw a man on Facebook who had gone missing and we could swear it was Brandon, Dylan, David Silver. He seemed wholesome and all-American but we believe there’s more to him and only time will tell…only time will tell.

Anyhoo, the only people who would take us for last minute massages were the fine folks down at Beach Feet Spaaahh. Yes, the name alone won us over. When we rolled into the establishment, we were greeted by a lovely woman and led into a room where we needed night vision goggles to see each other. We were told to undress and lay down in these BarcaLounger-type chairs. We hadn’t realized this was going to be a group massage. I asked if we could have private rooms and after some hysteria and some shuffling, we ended up in tiny little massage/storage rooms. Theresa with a man who had just finished-up eating his sandwich and Susan with a cute little woman whose fierceness and super-human strength were still yet to be discovered.

So dark you needed night goggles.
So dark you needed night vision goggles.

Theresa relives her experience. – “The massage room was as wide and as long as a Twinkie. After hopping on top of the bed with me, he was able to slide the door shut and his workspace became the empty inches on either side of my body. My massage began with this slight man walking up and down my back, kneeling on my ass while rubbing my shoulders and standing on my shoulder blades – all at once. Despite this barbaric-sounding rubdown, it was surprisingly relaxing once I got over the claustrophobia and fear that my ribcage would be crushed beneath his feet.”

In conclusion, we’d totally go back. The price was right, they were accommodating and they stomped on any stress we were holding onto prior to our visit.

After such an exhausting day, we decided the best thing to do was to swing by the ol’ Montage Resort and Spa for a little aperitif. As we stepped out of Theresa’s car, the Valet asked her how the surf was this morning. It was as if someone had asked her who the 35th President of Zimbabwe was despite the fact the roof rack was loaded to the gills with surfboards (her husband’s). She immediately stripped us of any cool I was clinging to by actually driving around with the boards to begin with. I’m a total poser. Ah well, let’s get a drink. The Montage Laguna Beach might just be one of the most relaxing places on the planet. It is gorgeous, has amazing views and the staff is never, ever pretentious there which makes the joint extra classy. It’s also one of the most festive places to hang and you can’t beat the free snacks when you order a drink. While we were sipping on our spirits and recapping our masaaggggghhh experiences, there was buzz about the lobby by some mature folk regarding some “Justin Beaver” kid who had jumped on the piano the night before. Right after we eavesdropped on this heart-racing piece of news, coming from the piano was the “Beave’s”, “What do you Mean?” The Dearests went ape shit like two tweens who just got their first bras. I jumped from my seat only to see the Montage Piano player, jamming with passion, creating a hole in my tiny, little heart. Later we found out that The Biebs had been at The Montage Beverly Hills the night before. Timing is everything, people.

Our happy place.
Our happy place.

After one of the loveliest restaurant owners in town at Alessa’s fit our party of six in on a Friday night, without a reservation and we chowed down on some delicious Italian treats, we headed back to the hotel with our exhausted four year olds in tow. We had decided to stay at The Ranch at Laguna Beach because they were throwing this pre-opening special. We paid in the $300’s and I am unsure what the post-opening prices will be but they really need to get their heating situation figured out before that. This is the text message chain that ensued between Susan and Theresa Dearest the morning after a not so restful evening.

IMG_6704

IMG_6708

IMG_6715

IMG_6716

IMG_6714

Nacho

*Nacho happens to be Susan Dearest’s cat – a sweet bundle of brown and white fuzz with a penchant for hauling ass out of the house whenever a loud and curious child appears. Unfortunately, for Nacho, her food and water are kept inside, so she can only take a sip of water or a bite of food when the coast is clear. Sometimes Nacho will silently appear in the kitchen, sneakily walking to the doorway, always listening, always on guard for that insane child to come darting out of the living room wielding a gymnastics ribbon wand and screaming the words to The Lion Guard – sending her flying back out of her cat door, starving and parched, once more. Sweet girl. So thirsty. All. Of. The. Time.

Sweaters back on after shutting the heat completely off.
Sweaters back on after waking up completely naked and delirious from the heat.

After a horrific night’s sleep, we gathered the troops and headed off to the Balboa Island Fun Zone. This place is always a good time with kids. We rented a little boat and toured around the harbor for an hour. We got to ogle some sea lions and watch the rich people cruise by on their Kardashian-like yachts while we were slumming it with the travel potty on deck in case of emergencies (which of course there were). Wealth is relative. Right before we took off for home, I volunteered to go on what was the longest Ferris Wheel ride of my life. I’m not sure why they keep it going so long but the girls were super jazzed while I was praying to keep my lunch down.

Here we gooooo...the 75th time around. HELP.
Here we gooooo…the 75th time around. HELP.

All in all, a fantastic time was had by everyone – hell, we may have even sweat off a few pounds overnight – and you can’t knock that! We are definitely excited to see what The Ranch will have to offer once they are completely up and running – it is sure to be an awesome place. So many fun places to visit in the Laguna Beach area – delicious food, fun shopping, beautiful hotels and family friendly activities. We are already looking forward to our next visit – although we may skip the Ferris Wheel ride next time, just sayin’.