Two sisters and
their friends, share the joys of Larchmont motherhood
by Val Estabrook
Column 2: Are we laughing enough?
Column 1: 'Eng' at breakfast
Send To: Val
From : Kim
Subject: Are we laughing enough?
my breakfasts were as hilarious (see previous
message re 'Eng'). Maybe they are and I just don’t
see it. My mother-in-law tells me I don’t
laugh enough. Well, she didn’t actually say that…she
did send me an article. Says children laugh 455 times
a day. Adults just 15 times daily.
Today I kept a tally:
2am…Rose has the croup and can’t breathe
and I’m holding her close to a steaming shower.
I’m smiling on the outside but scared to death
inside. Then she starts laughing! Her face is all wet
and she thinks it's funny. I don’t.
Laugh tally: Rose 6, Mom
7am…Rose, as six year olds tend to do, spills
her vitamins. Kitchen is covered with tiny dinosaurs.
Laugh tally: Rose 16,
9am…Rose watches Scooby Doo video. She loves
that show. Meanwhile I talk with the doctor, pry sticky
medicine spoons off the counter, take my baby’s
Laugh tally: Rose 186,
10am…Want Rose to rest so I let her watch Scooby
two more times.
Laugh tally: Rose 360, Mom 5 (O.K…Scooby can be
12Noon…Rose taps out patty-cake on my behind
as I stir her soup on the stove.
Laugh Tally: Rose 376,
My mother-in-law was right. I need to lighten up. Digging
into the pantry, I pull out the famous singing fish,
complete with batteries, there under the 30 lb Costco
box of garbage bags. Right where I had hidden it. Pushing
the ‘on’ button and asking Rose to count,
I listen to the stupid fish’s endless song: here’s
a little song I wrote, might want to sing it note for
note. Don’t worry…be happy. I manage
20 laughs. Now she’s laughing, spotted something
yellow stuck in my teeth. On the floor, holding her
Laugh Tally: Rose 690,
So what’s tickled your funny bone lately? I’ve
got a mammogram next week. That’ll be a real knee
slapper. Got to go…Rose is screaming that her
tooth brush just went down the toilet…don’t
even want to know how that happened. There must be something
funny about this.
Subject: Smile, though your toilet’s breaking
So try that smiling thing where you play a trick on
your mind. You know, I told you about this…when
you’re feeling anything but happy…force
your lips into a smile. That familiar muscle contraction,
i.e., the smile, makes your mind think you’re
happy and voila…you actually feel better.
Sooooooooooooo…you got that go’n for ya.
Look for more response in future
Dear_Sis columns. Share your experiences with me by
by Val Estabrook
Send To: Kim
Subject: ‘Eng’ at Breakfast
to tell you bout this morning’s conversation before
losing more brain cells and forgetting everything by
the time I see you. NEWS FLASH…we’re a bilingual
family. We speak English to the outside world and ‘Eng’
within our abode. For example…yesterday AM begins
without words. Spoon, bowl, glass of OJ and incomplete
homework neatly laid out w/sharpened pencil and half
a napkin (I’ve taken to ripping paper napkins
in half…they go further and the kids don’t
use them anyway.) Here is our conversation, word for
word, complete w/ (translation):
James,” I sing out, “healthy!”
(“James, you’ve eaten
sugar cereals for three days running. Pick out something
healthy to eat.”)
“Pop Tart,” he responds dangling the toaster
by its electric cord.
(“Pop Tarts offer both vitamin
rich fruit and high fiber bread, Mom.”)
“Blueberry?” I offer.
(“While I’ll accept
fruit and toast in the guise of a pop tart, we must
draw the line at the strawberry tart with frosting!”)
(“I cannot possibly eat
the blueberry Pop Tart.”)
(“I must hold firm, my darling.
I am however comfortable with Wheaties as an alternative.”)
“Fine. Ed, Mom.”
(“I can see your point,
Mother. And while I pour my fortified breakfast, please
turn on the television and I’ll flip to the Ed,
Ed & Eddy show.”)
(“Sweetie, you love that
show don’t you? Perhaps you’ve forgotten
your promise, made just last night, to complete those
last two math problems this AM?”)
“Friday” James says through Wheaties and
(“Perhaps I misspoke. True,
I did not complete the assignment. However it is not
due for three more days.”)
“New one!” I shout.
(“In that case, I’ll
be happy to turn on the three Eddie’s show. I
too love this production. Look! It’s a new episode.”)
“Face! Hair! Teeth!”
(“But let’s keep ourselves
moving, shall we? During this commercial break, James,
run up and clean that handsome face.”)
(“Mama, I washed my face
yesterday. However, while this is not my priority as
a thirteen-year-old adolescent, I respect your interest
in my health and well-being. I’m off!”)
“He rises.” I toast Kyle with my gallon
(“Good morning, Kyle. Your
wide-eyed, cheerful attitude is so different from the
typical 17 year olds I’ve been reading about.
How about some cereal and juice?”)
(“And good morning to you,
Mamacita. Thank you for the kind offer, but we are running
late. May I please have the car keys? I’ll be
sure to eat a well balanced breakfast at the MHS cafeteria
before classes…want to be at my best!”)
“Casual day?” I’m stunned to see Joe
ready to pour coffee directly from the French press
into his mouth.
(“And here’s your
father, looking very sexy in his red w/ black Scotty
puppies print flannel night shirt.”)
“Gmhmphlnsss…” he gurgles.
(“You’re so funny,
darling. A delight! Actually I’m catching a later
train, but first I must have a cup of your delicious
(“Mater et Pater! We’ll
be late for school if we don’t leave immediately.
We realize that meaningful time for just the two of
you is elusive at best, but just know that we truly
appreciate your sacrifices and we will do our best to
make you proud today.”)
PS: Want to meet @ Sherwood’s later? Feel like
Look for my sister Kim's response
in future Dear_Sis columns. Share your experiences with
me by e-mailing email@example.com.
Illustration by Larchmont artist Sue Girardi
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