Secret Porn

 

imgresI resent Victoria Secret. I really do. I didn’t used to. I mean all the time I was single and even when my kids were little I enjoyed voyeuristically paging through my VS catalogues and imagining myself lounging in soft silk pajamas or underdressed in a matching fuchsia lace bra and panties. But suddenly the catalogue looks very different to me and I’m not sure what to do about it.

Yesterday I went to the mailbox to pick up the usual suspects; bills, bills, and more bills.
I admit I haven’t looked through the catalogue in years. As a working parent it’s hard to find the time to indulge in perusing anything that doesn’t have an immediate need or pose some kind of an instant threat. But dazed by the 110 degree heat, I melted into my car and paged through the VS book with the AC blasting.

After a few pages of scantily clad blonde bombshells I realized that my old friend was no longer welcome in the confines of my home. My once enjoyed bathtub soaking companion, dear readers, is pornography at this particular juncture. The sexy undergarments, the bare backs and shoulders, the frolicking fresh-faced, barely teenage youngsters who populate the pages, these images are woefully inappropriate for the 14 year old young man I have living under my roof.

Suddenly I wonder if my husband enjoys looking through the catalogue. I have to inquire, I think, although not entirely certain I am ready for the answer. But other questions race through my mind. Maybe I should openly give the book to my son. Maybe this offers a healthy way to explore his budding sexuality. There are no hidden PlayBoy magazines under a bed in my house, no dog-eared Hustlers hiding in linen cabinets. Maybe the Victoria Secret catalogue is today’s version of acceptable pornography where young men learn to yearn for unrealistic objects of desire with Barbie-like bosoms, rock-hard abs and lengthy, lean, airbrushed legs. Maybe I should walk into the house and hand over the VS catalogue as if it were a right of passage, an appropriate learning tool, a sexuality text book of sorts. Or perhaps I should just leave it lying around somewhere, half hidden, half in plain sight. Allow my son to discover the visual contraband by himself. After all, that seems less…weird. I mean mom-sanctioned porn is just…icky. Right?

Or maybe I should just shred the darn book and allow my son to grow into the man he’s going to be without having to aid and abet the situation. I mean, surely he will find his own images to gawk over without me having to provide the pleasurable materials. Maybe I should casually toss it into the recycle bin, all the while knowing that it will be hunted out and removed from the refuse pile and relocated to my son’s messy bedroom for timely usage.

Why is sexuality such a weird subject for parents to talk about? I feel awkward just bringing it up. I wouldn’t go out and buy pornography for my kid. But here it is, tasteful, marketable, enticing, boldly just waltzing into my home via the front door. Do I destroy it? Share it openly? Discuss it’s attraction and fairly unrealistic images of the female body?

I thought being a parent was supposed to get easier as kids get older. I don’t know where I got that. Maybe I’ve just been telling myself that to get through it. It surely isn’t the case. Bigger kids, bigger problems. Once again, I find myself wondering if I’m even up for the task.

Chiropractic Care…well, sort of

Okay, so I broke down and went to a Chiropractor. Now I’ve been to Chiropractors before. In fact, I believe they do good work and can heal certain muscular, joint and alignment issues. But after my husband’s constant barrage of scientific studies citing all kinds of devastating chiropractic mishaps, I’d pretty much sworn off them entirely.

Until last week, when my writing partner practically insisted I go see his Chiropractor or else stop bitching about my constant back pain. I succumbed to the not so subtle peer pressure and made the appointment.

The Doctor had asked me to bring my MRI films, X-rays of my back, and any doctors’ records I might have about my herniated disc (L5 S1 in case you were wondering.) This sent me into a slight panic since I am, without doubt, the least organized woman on the planet. I spent the next two days dismantling my house in search of those damn films and records.

Miraculously, I found a thick, overstuffed manilla folder labeled “Healthcare – Debra” crammed into my disorderly file cabinet. A cursory perusal of the folder showed various films, radiology reports, and several detailed drawings of recommended physical therapy exercises. I proudly tucked the folder into my tote and headed out apprehensively to meet the bone-cracking doctor.

After a lengthy interview, during which Doctor John, as he’s called, took a lengthy history from me and explained why chiropractic care could help me enormously, he asked to see the films. I happily complied and turned over the entire packet.

He paged through the documents carefully, offering a few compulsory, “mmm hmms,” and nodding thoughtfully. Then he pulled out the stack of films and began to inspect them one by one. I admit that his befuddled look was slightly alarming to me. I worried that perhaps he’d discovered something even more serious as he examined the magnetic images of my spine. Too fearful to ask, I simply sat, perched on the edge of my chair, awaiting his assessment.

He held up the final film, looked at me directly and said with a delivery as deadpan as Bob Newhart’s, “Thank you for bringing me your mammogram pictures. But I don’t think they’re going to be terribly helpful in relieving your back pain.”

I was mortified. OMG, how did I do that? What an idiot! He offered a few comic, yet tasteful comments about how we women always seem to work our mammary glands into any situation. But even his lighthearted, affable tone couldn’t minimize my embarrassment. After a while, I did regain my composure and we moved through the exam and treatment uneventfully.

I like this Doctor. I do. And I’m going back. Despite the fact that I’m certain to be the butt of humor at his next Chiropractic convention, and will forevermore be shorthanded in the office as the “breast lady.” I suppose it could be worse. I could have brought him a colonoscopy report.

Turkey sex

They're real and they're spectacular!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard this interview on NPR the other day with Stephen Dubner, the author of Freakonomics, and I just can’t get it out of my mind. He asked Kai Ryssdal what percentage of the 40 million Thanksgiving turkeys Americans will eat this year are products of artificial insemination. Ryssdal made a few guesses and then Dubner amazed him with the answer; 100%.

Although I didn’t quite understand why, I found that factoid moderately disturbing. Then, Dubner went on to explain why our friendly fowl aren’t doing it anymore these day. This put me over the edge.

As is usually the case with sex, it’s all about appetite. Only in this case, it’s more about human appetite than turkey hunger. You see, Americans have an overwhelming preference for breast meat. (I’ll leave you to unravel the psychology behind that.) So to meet the demand for that most sumptuous body part, the turkey industry turned their backs on traditional turkeys in favor of breeding the broad-breasted white turkey which has been selectively bred to have the largest breasts possible.

The caveat to messing with mother nature, however, is that sometimes there are serious repercussions. According to this chick from the USDA, the turkey breasts are now so large that they actually get in the way and make old-fashioned turkey sex impossible.

Isn’t that…ironic…and…weird? So to satisfy our appetites for breast meat, we’ve done away with turkey coitus. Somehow that just doesn’t seem right to me.

I was explaining this to my dancer friend the other night and she said it sounded a lot like what happened in her burlesque dance class this week. For anyone who doesn’t know, Burlesque is a form of dance designed to allure and tease men sexually. She usually draws a big crowd on Wednesday nights. But this week a couple of the regulars were missing. When she inquired as to their whereabouts, she learned that one of the women couldn’t dance for a few weeks due to breast enhancement surgery. The other was out because she had had to schedule her quarterly Botox treatment that day. (Apparently, you cannot dance the same day you inject.)

At first I didn’t make the connection. But after a moment, I realized how frightfully similar these human behaviors were to our abstinent avians. The truth is, we spend so much time trying to force our bodies to look sexually appealing that we skip the act that might really lead us to sexual fulfillment. The women in the dance class spent time, energy and wads of cash to look alluring in order to attract romantic (or sexual) partners.

The turkeys were being designed with ever-increasing sexual organs, only to be unable to actually follow through with the act. The only difference I can see here is that, unlike the turkeys, the women actually chose their bodily disfigurement. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not slamming anyone for choosing cosmetic surgery. I’m just pointing out that there’s often a price to pay for messing with what nature gave us.

So think twice before ingesting that hormone bloated turkey breast this Thanksgiving. Maybe a good ol’ drumstick will do the trick instead.

Addicted to…what?

Sidore and Dave, what a beautiful couple.

Do you need to feel better about yourself? Seriously, I watched a tv show the other night and I realized that whatever problems I have, they are MINUSCULE compared to problems out there in the world.

I hate to sound like an old fart, but tv has really sunken to a new low. I watched this show called “Strange Addictions” on TLC because my only other viable options were the Kardashians and Bill O’Reily. I couldn’t stomach either of those. Not surprisingly, this show deals with people who have strange addictions. They basically define an addiction as something that distracts a person from the real pain in his/her life. Last night they profiled 4 addicts.

The first was a man addicted to his “synthetic partner.” Basically, this odd little guy was living with a human size (quite beautiful) doll with whom he was deeply in love. He spent all of his time with her. He loved conversing with her and described her as open, loquacious and clever. He was rather shocked though, by her surprising bashfulness during the television interview. He ate every meal with her. Fortunately her dietary needs were negligible. He even slept with her, and yes, I mean that in every sense of the word.

I felt badly for this man. But he kept insisting that he was perfectly happy this way, that his “girlfriend” kept his loneliness at bay, and that there are hordes of other people out there enjoying the benefits of “synthetic relationships.” Really? That’s kind of alarming.

Next up was a woman addicted to her blow dryer. (I’m not making this up.) She needed to have it with her as some type of security blanket. But the key component to this addiction was her inability to fall asleep and stay asleep without having the dryer turned on and lying next to her in her bed. I’ve done a bit of research and there are actually a lot of people who suffer from this addiction. There have even been documented tragedies of fatal house fires that began due to blow dryers catching fire in beds or on carpets. But even this dangerous reality could not sway this woman from sleeping with her nighttime hot air machine.

There was a young woman addicted to tanning. It was scary and sad, but not all that uncommon. But the final segment featured a woman who was addicted to eating coach foam. This was truly tragic because the synthetic fibers were poisoning her insides. But all I kept wondering was, “How does an addiction like this start?” I mean, what prompts someone to begin chowing down on her sofa? I’ll admit I often find myself too tired to meander over to the fridge during Jimmy Kimmel Live. But I’ve never even contemplated digging into the couch for sustenance. Frankly it sounds kind of primitive and cannibalistic to me. I mean, my couch is like part of my family.

Anyway, the point here is that you may be suffering. You may battle depression, feel enraged by society, yearn at times to strangle your two small children, but in reality, there are people out there eating couch foam, sleeping with their hair dryers and having sex with mannequins. Come on, how bad is your life really?

Go live with a car battery…

I love you...I love you not.

My husband is moody. This bothers me a great deal; especially because his darker moods are the ones that often accompany him home after a hard day of pleasantries and professionalism. But I’ve realized something huge about this. You see, my husband was raised in a loving, nurturing environment. His parents loved him unconditionally. But this, I’ve come to realize, is the crux of the problem.

You see, unconditional love is a crock of shit, and I want to officially declare: it doesn’t work. In fact, it accomplishes the exact opposite of what it promises to deliver. Which poses a substantial problem for those of us raising little ones today.

Think about this: my son is loved unconditionally by me and his father. We love him when he’s kind. We love him when he’s cruel. We love every inch of him, even when he’s at his worst. If he grows up believing that he is, and always will be, 100% lovable, how, I ask you, is he going to treat the people who are unlucky enough to end up living with him?

Unconditional love is the culprit of all rotten behavior. Do you think your husband would yell at you for spending too much money if he thought you might just pack a bag and exit the premises the next time his voice raised to a certain decibel? Would he really forget to bring you flowers on Valentine’s day if the possibility existed that he’d be spending all future cherub-related holidays on his own, taking care of the kids, or nursing a Stella all by his lonesome self on a bar stool in a smokey gin joint? Of course not.

But instead we parents lavish our children with so much unconditional love it’s like a recipe for future marital disaster. We’re practically asking our kids to treat the people they love with disdain. The message is crystal. No matter how thoughtless, insensitive, moody or just plain mean you are, those closest to you will love you unconditionally so don’t bother putting any effort at all into those relationships.

Sure people get divorced. But most marrieds don’t walk around thinking that each day may be the last day of blissful couplehood. However, if they did, they might end up treating each other a whole lot better. Husbands might choose not to expend an audible sigh coupled with that ever annoying eye roll when asked to take out the garbage, for instance. Wives might decide that continued nagging over the unseparated whites and colors might not be worth spending eternity with a naked ring finger and sole custody of three hormonal teenagers.

The truth is, we need to impart a bit of fear and insecurity into the hearts of our children. “No, Johnny, mommy might not love you if you don’t eat all your vegetables.” Keep them on their toes. Reward good behavior with overflowing amounts of love, warmth and admiration. But we must stop reinforcing their vicious tantrums, irrational melt-downs and mean-spirited remarks with the promise to love them, warts and all, for all eternity.

Only by refusing to love without question will we raise children who can be civil to their spouses, gentle with their own children and careful with all the people in their lives. So I urge you to stop loving your kids absolutely. Instead, teach them to treat those around them with kindness, honor and respect by instilling a sense of insecurity and fearfulness. If they are not loving, you may not stick around. That’s the message you want to impart. It may sound cruel, but it’s really the best way to prepare them for a happy, fulfilling life with a partner. Just like the wise and thoughtful Erma Bombeck once said, “Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.”

Honesty is…usually the best policy

Telling your kids the truth is essential. O.K., not including conversations about recreational drug usage, alcohol, premarital sex or cigarettes.

My two closest friends happen to be married to men whose names rhyme. It’s a weird coincidence that I didn’t really even notice until this morning in the car, when my 10-year-old son Levi, for no apparent reason, said, “It’s too bad you aren’t still married to Uncle Larry, mom. Because then there’d be Cathy and Barry, Helen and Jerry, and Debra and Larry. Wouldn’t that be funny?”

Besides the shocking randomness of this observation, I was struck with the realization that my 6-year-old son, also in the car, had never been told that his mother had in fact been married prior to wedding his father and that this might come as a rather profound shock to him. I paused for a moment to regroup.

“Thank you for sharing that,” I said with a forced sort of politeness. Then I addressed my youngest and as simply and directly as possible said, “Eli, did you know that when mommy lived in Chicago, many many years ago, mommy was actually married to Uncle Larry?” I suddenly understood why calling my ex “uncle” was probably as bad an idea as my current hubbie had argued.

Dead silence.

“Do you remember Uncle Larry, honey?” I pushed onward.

“No,” he said, “Not really.”

Not sure how to proceed, I prayed for a sign from the parenting gods. Maybe I shouldn’t have told him. But he clearly heard what his brother had said. They say kids know everything, especially the stuff you avoid telling them. I had no choice. I had to say something. Of course I didn’t tell the older one until he was at least 8, and I only gave up the info when a gal pal innocently inquired about my first husband during an outing with our kids at Starbucks.

“Is Uncle Larry the chef guy, mommy?” my littlest inquired.

“Yes sweetie, he is. So you remember him?”

“Kind of, I guess.”

More silence.

“You were married to him?”

“Just for a short time. When I was very, very young.”

“Do I have any brothers or sisters?”

“No, honey. Just your big brother, Levi.”

“Has Uncle Larry ever been on ‘Chopped?’ ”

“I don’t think so, love.”

“If he was, do you think he would win?”

“Hmmm…that’s a good question. I’m not sure. He’s a really great chef though. He might.”

“Mom, will you ever marry anybody else?”

“No, sweetheart. I’m done marrying people. Daddy’s the one I was looking for and now that I found him, I’m never going to marry anyone else.”

“Okay. Mom, can we stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a cinnamon raisin twist on the way to school?”

I chuckled. “Yes, sweetie, we can.”

And with that our conversation came to a close. Was I right to share the info at this still tender young age? I’m not certain. But once the cat was out of the proverbial bag, I felt like I had no choice in the matter.

The good news is, there are no more secrets to burden my motherly soul. I don’t have any LSD-laced skeletons in my closet or arrest records I need to expunge. I am pretty much what I appear to be. I think that’s good for kids. It can’t be easy to learn that your cherished mother was once a toothless carnie or a handsomely paid exotic dancer. Luckily, I only had to tarnish my maternal image with a failed first marriage. In the scheme of things, that’s not so terrible.

But how do you explain to your kids the mistakes and failures of your past? Do you sugar-coat them? Exaggerate them to scare your kids into submission? Brush them off as merely the foolishness of youth? It’s hard to know what’s right.

Personally, I believe that telling your kids the truth is essential. Okay, not including conversations about recreational drug usage, alcohol, premarital sex or cigarettes. But as far as almost everything else goes, honesty is…usually the best policy.

What would you do for $33,000

 

Ms. Hawkenson, proudly showing her ASU student ID card.

 

Granted, nobody wants their 18 year old daughter having live sex on camera in exchange for $2000. But, honestly, is it that big a deal?

The news sources have landed on this loopy tale about Elizabeth Hawkenson, the ASU geology student, who appeared in a video for the porn Web site Backroom Casting Couch and allegedly lost her $33,000 ASU scholarship.

Well, first of all, the whole kerfuffle about the scholarship is a hoax. Apparently there was no irate alumnus who wrote to the board of regents insisting the scholarship be revoked. The video itself; however, does exist. Ms. Hawkenson, finding herself a few thousand dollars short of tuition, (and apparently a few cards short of a full deck), made the unwise decision to appear in a “reality porn” video about a young student who innocently ends up copulating for a promise of 5 grand that never materializes. The “reality” is that Ms. Hawkenson knew exactly what she was doing and chose to have sex on camera supposedly believing that the tape’s distribution would be limited to pay per view websites.

Okay, naivete is one thing. But let’s examine the idiocy of this young woman’s choices. First of all, no matter what part of Texas you’re from, you ought to know that sex videos go viral. And if not right away, 20 years later when you actually have a family, career or husband who might really be humiliated by them. Sex on camera, nude photos, and compromising voice-mail messages all fall into the category of idiotic mistakes that even a country rube just off the turnip truck shouldn’t make. Can you say “Dr. Laura?” But there’s an even more asinine choice that Ms. Hawkenson made and that one really baffles me. At one point in the video, she proudly displays her drivers license and ASU student ID card. I’m sorry. But that takes the cake for stupidity. I mean, if you’re gonna have sex with strangers for money, at least pretend you’re from U of A, or Oregon, or USC for that matter.

Now I actually get that people sometimes do foolish things when finances are waining. I, for one, remember a time, eons ago, when a starving actor in Chicago, posed nude for a high class shoe advertisement that turned out, luckily enough, to only expose the scaly skin of a pair of crocodile leather Jimmy Choo stilettos. I was fortunate. A lot of young women aren’t.

Ms. Hawkenson is quoted in several articles saying that her dorm life has become treacherous since the viral video hit the web. No kidding. It’s gotta be rough fielding all those late night “study” invitations she’s no doubt been receiving. But what did she expect? If you’re gonna have sex on camera, you need to realize that someone is going to see that. That’s the whole bloody point of it, you dodo. I mean, they’re not capturing the act on film in order to bury it in the backyard.

I’m glad Ms. Hawkenson didn’t lose her ASU scholarship on account of her poor choices. I can even argue that it’s partly her parents fault for not finding the cash to fund tuition. She did what she had to do to make some much needed dinero. If she’d founded an internet start-up, we’d all be praising her independence and entrepreneurial spirit.

But instead, she used her God given gifts to up her bottom line (if you’ll excuse the expression). And that, my friends, is considered a no-no in our culture. But perhaps we all ought to just drop the “holier than thou” attitude and look within to see how we may have contributed to this sad scene of juvenile delinquency

Maybe there aren’t enough legitimate work-study options at ASU. Maybe sky-rocketing tuition costs for out-of-staters need to be re-evaluated. Or maybe, we all need to step back and stop reveling in the juicy details of this poor woman’s misfortune and focus on earning a few extra bucks ourselves, so that by the time our kids need to pay tuition, we’ll actually be able to cover it. I mean, given the choice, wouldn’t you rather spend a few extra years with your nose to the grindstone, so that your poverty stricken youth don’t end up hocking their wares in today’s equivalent of the world’s oldest profession?

He’s driving me crazy!!!

 

Driving him away

 

I am an enabler. Really, I am. I’m like the classic example of someone stuck in a destructive relationship. I make excuses for indefensible actions. I forgive innumerable disappointments. I turn the other cheek so often, I’ve developed chronic whiplash and need to see a chiropractor on a regular basis. This abuse has got to stop.

You see, it started innocently enough back in ’05. I needed new wheels. So I went out looking. I never expected to fall in love with a Rover. It just happened. It was like…destiny.

From the moment we hooked up, I knew he was trouble. Sure he was handsome, in a different sort of way. He wasn’t like all the others. His unique, boxy shape made him stand out in a crowd. I loved the way I could always single him out in a busy parking lot. He was powerful and rugged and I felt safe in his charge.

But the honeymoon was short-lived. Soon he started to have all kinds of “issues.” That’s when he began having an intense relationship with our service technician. At first it was once a month. Then weekly visits. Their connection seemed unusually close to me. But I ignored the looming sense of danger. What a fool I was.

We stumbled through a rocky five years together until I hit rock bottom and kicked him to the curb. I believed I was on a path to wellness. But I was merely fooling myself. This spring I met his brother. I was definitely on the rebound. I fell instantly in love, and I fell hard. But I told myself I knew what I was doing. Sure, there was a striking family resemblance. He had the same strong features, the same well-defined body, the same rugged exterior. But I believed the hype — that he was fitter, tougher, lower maintenance. Oh, how we deceive ourselves under the guise of loving.

I leased the 2010 model in March convincing myself that it was only 36 months, that it would be over in no time. “Besides,” I reasoned, “With such a clear-cut ending in sight, I could surely keep my attachment in check.”

But here I am. Summer vacation in California, and he did it to me again. He started having electrical “difficulties” on the drive over. I figured it was just another ploy for attention, a clumsy attempt to steal focus from my kids. I tried to ignore the warning signs, the flashing orange lights, the minor inconveniences. But then this morning, he wouldn’t even turn over. He just sat there silently, brooding, while I raged and cursed and swore I’d leave him forever.

Now we’re stuck. After an interminable wait for a tow truck and another excruciating intake interview with an out-of-state service tech, I’m back in my all too familiar state of profound disillusionment, waiting for this week’s diagnosis. What could it be now? A faulty computer glitch? A loose radiator cap? A fuel injection hiccup? Does it even matter anymore? I feel hopelessly trapped in a dangerously addictive dance of deception and doom.

Where can I turn for help? I need to break this sick pattern of attachment. I need a ride that wont let me down, that will be there for me in good times and bad, that wont leave me stranded in strange cities, with unfamiliar mechanics and coffee machines so advanced I can’t even figure out how to brew hot water for tea.

Please, someone help me. I admit my powerlessness over my addiction and am ready to turn my life over to a power greater than myself. But who could that be? Do you think “Motor Trend” might qualify?

Watch out, those birds and bees can sting!

As you’ve heard me say numerous times, my 9-year-old son, Levi, is one of the most giving, thoughtful, compassionate individuals I’ve ever known. He wants to help, to rescue, to take care of people. He is also fully versed in the academics of sexual reproduction. Now who’d have thunk those two characteristics could create such an incendiary combination.

Here’s the thing about sex; my husband Mark and I are very open about the reproductive process with our kids. We’ve always taken the approach that they will ask for as much information as they’re ready to handle. When they were younger, the simple explanation that mommies and daddies decide to have babies and then the baby grows inside the mommy’s tummy, easily sufficed. As time went on, however, more in depth answers were required. (Ironically, as things got more detailed and specific, the questions always seemed to come when my husband was working, at a meeting or out of town for a few days.) But I carried the torch and explained the mechanics of sexual reproduction using the correct anatomical names of all body parts. I never stammered or stuttered so as to suggest any amount of nervousness or discomfort. I simply told my son how babies were made in as much detail as his curious mind was ready to digest.

Flash forward to a few nights ago. Mark and I got home from our weekly date night and found our regular babysitter a bit undone. Reluctant to share the reason for her discomfort, we assumed that the boys had behaved poorly or that she’d gotten a bad grade on a final or something along those lines. But as she started to leave, she turned back and said, “I think I need to tell you something.”

We were concerned. We sat down expecting the worst. A few words of background here; this young woman has worked with us for nearly two years. We love her as if she’s a part of our family. The boys treat her with love, admiration and respect. She is a smart, thoughtful, religious young woman who wants to be a mother in the worst way. But she’s careful and responsible and is waiting to find someone to share her life with. So in the meantime, she mothers my kids and everyone wins.

She doesn’t hide her maternal longings, and her desire to have a baby had come up in conversation that evening while we were out. Eager to please, and now fully cognizant of the process, Levi leapt at the opportunity saying, “I can make a baby with you!” When she politely declined, he pressed on and said that it was really no big deal. His mom had told him how to do it, and he’d be more than happy to give her the baby she longed for.

It’s moments like these that make me really thankful for people who possess a sense of humor. Our sitter smiled as she watched our horrified expressions. Then she giggled a little. My husband and I both sighed in relief and started giggling too. We all knew that Levi’s offer had been completely innocent. But we’d both still shared a moment of panicked hysteria imagining our 9 year old offering his “services” for hire.

There are innumerous blessings in having smart, curious kids who want desperately to make others happy. But every once in a while, those kids get a little too knowledgeable and a little too helpful. As Confucius once said, “he who possesses the answers is sometimes better off holding them back.” Okay, I said that. But I think that’s the next lesson we’ll work on at home.

What’s in a name? Everything!

Serious question: Is it okay to call your spouse “mom” or “dad” or any derivation thereof? I’m not judging. It just seems weird to me. I admit that sometimes I refer to myself as “mommy.” Like when I say to my kids, “Mommy is tired right now and needs a few more sips of her Grey Goose Martini. I’ll join you in a few minutes…” And there are plenty of times when I say things like, “Why don’t you go and ask Daddy to help you open that ridiculously packaged toy that even a safe-cracker would have trouble unhinging.”

But I consciously try very hard not to call my husband “daddy.” That just seems so…so…Oedipal or Electra or whatever you call it. But I’ve noticed that lots of parents do that. So I’m wondering, is it just me or is this a little demented? I mean, are there statistics on couples who call each other parental names? Do they end up divorced more frequently? Or more likely, do they find themselves in safe but frigid marriages that are more based on codependency than mutual respect and attraction?

Every once in a while my husband will slip and call me “mom.” Boy does my ire-o-meter go off. “First of all, I am not your mother,” I immediately bite back, “I don’t want that job and frankly you couldn’t pay me enough to take on that responsibility.” (Note to readers, my hubbie’s mom is a lovely woman whom I happen to adore. Still, I don’t really know how she managed to allow my husband to grow into adulthood without turning to drugs, alcohol or cutting out his tongue.)

But the bigger question is, “Doesn’t calling your wife ‘mommy’ somehow destroy the passion in your physical relationship?” I mean the connotations are just…just…icky. I can’t be the only person who notes this and is bothered by it. Can I?

Please, tell me the truth. If you call your husband “daddy,” are you secretly wishing he’d pull you into his strong arms and tickle you till you puked as opposed to enfolding you into a romantic embrace that leads to a different kind of ecstasy? Is the whole “mommy” thing proof that you no longer see your wife as the lustful, erotic goddess she once was, and have now relegated her to the lowly position of chief cook, laundress and child-care provider?

I am troubled by this. Set me straight.