Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Alpha’s Sensitive Side

I thought I was good. Really good. After all, my track record speaks for itself. My old neighbor in Santa Barbara was despondent and helpless. Recently divorced, she felt like her life was over, that no one would ever find her attractive. So, one night, I grabbed a bottle of wine and we sat in front of her computer writing her profile. “I don’t think I would have done this without you,” she told me as I proofread my incredible write up. Day One on Match she went out on a date and game over. She is still with the same guy (who is amazing) eight years later.

Perfect record. One for one.

So when a friend of mine in Greenwich wondered out loud if she would be alone the rest of her life, I was all confidence. “I've got you covered. Let me write your Match profile,” I told her. “I am really, really good at this.” To ensure authenticity she invited friends that knew her well and over the course of two bottles of wine, a lot of laughter and chatter, I wrote something I was convinced would maintain my perfect record. It was perfect and certain to attract equally perfect men.

A few days later, I ran into her on the street.

“How are the pings? Do you have enough time to answer them all?” I asked her with a knowing smile.

“Nothing,” she replied.

“Nothing?” I looked at her in complete shock. That was not the answer I was even remotely anticipating. “Nothing at all?”

“A lot of hits on the page, so I know I'm getting looked at and they're reading the profile, but no, no pings.”

Hmm..not one ping means something is wrong and it can't be her looks. Her pictures are amazing, reflecting how beautiful she is. So clearly it has to be the write up. But we all approved it that night. Even clapped at the finish.  It's hard to admit but there's no other explanation, the writing isn't working.

It was time to call Mars. Venus needed some help, fast.

That night just after dinner, I hit on him. “Alpha, I know you are busy but I need you to look at this Match profile I wrote.  Can you give me the male perspective?  What do you think about this woman? Would you ask her out? Give her a ping?”   I watched intently as he read it, and then re-read it.  I didn't like the pursed lips on the re-read so I readied myself for the bad news.

“Yeah, no. I wouldn’t date her,” he said definitively.

“Why?” I asked. We wrote about being smart (educated at Harvard), and self-deprecating, and loved by her kids. All the stuff that makes a woman attractive.

“If she is so smart, why didn’t she see her marriage was falling apart? If she is self deprecating why is she telling me? She should make fun of herself about that. Plus she is really active and outside all the time, where is that in the profile? I never see her with makeup on, guys love that but the pictures don't show that side.”

Alpha rolled his sleeves up and went to work. In minutes, my soppy, negative, aloof victim tone was gone and what emerged was a happy, lively woman who was ready to have some fun with her life.

I sent it back to my friend noting, "Alpha thinks this is the way to go."

“OMG, this is me! How did he know?” she asked in the email.

It was a humbling moment. I looked at Alpha and he looked at me. I had been the writer when we first met 15 years ago. Now he writes all the time. And he has gotten good. Really good.

“You know what Alpha?”

“What?” he said.

“ Writing Match profiles for me really turns me on,” I told him. “Shows your sensitive side.”

“We make a good team.”

Even better the write up is working. My friend is getting pinged all the time. Team Peters is 2-2. I love that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

We Are Just Like Tom and Gisele

It’s always a mad rush to get dinner on the table. And to be honest, four kids (each in different activities) makes it pretty tough to pull off. Many times, dinner is started (but never finished) before jumping into the car racing to another activity. We are beyond rushed. It is mayhem. I consider it a major achievement, worthy of an MVP award, as I get the main course on the table, even if it is only lukewarm. If there are any side dishes, there is a victory celebration. Truly.

How many more excuses can I make for not putting a fully balanced meal on the dinner table??

“OMG, there’s broccoli?Charlie shouted  the other night. “HAND IT OVER!” With amazement, I watched him pile his plate with a mountain of the green stalks.

I’ll admit, I felt slightly guilty even while trying to justify my choices. We eat everything that Gisele and Tom have banned in their house. Pasta is most nights (it's quick and filling). Lots of creamy dairy sauces (high in calcium and protein). Waffles with chocolate chips in the morning (at least I use dark chocolate).

“Mom, could you please make some eggs with toast?” Jackson pleaded with me the other morning. “I am really tired of chocolate chip waffles.”

Really? A 14-year-old doesn’t want chocolate chip waffles?

My entire upbringing I was forced to eat sprouted avocado sandwiches on whole wheat bread. On special days, I might have found carrot sticks and hummus as a snack. I would do anything to trade for the salami sandwiches on white (the frito chips where a pretty awesome get as well) but nobody would trade with me because I had nothing. Nothing.

So, in some weird way, I have done everything to give my kids what I couldn’t have. Sugar cereal (at least it's all grain). Cookies (home made not store bought). Ice cream (made with organic, hormone free cream). Buttered noodles (butter is much better for you than the poly-unsaturated stuff).

And you know what I get back (talk about karma)?

“Mom, could you please make a salad tonight with some avocado?  Can I have some fruit with my waffle? Could we have those roasted bell peppers you made six moths ago? Can I have hummus and pita for lunch?”

Now, The Peters could be a freak of nature. But I think the small control group that I have assembled for the last 14 years proves a few things about teaching your kids to eat right.

Don’t make them choke down vegetables. In fact, do what I do, deprive them of that whole part of the food pyramid.  Never have a vegetable available. It becomes exotic. Overkill on sugar. A plate of cookies sits on our counter for weeks, I have to throw them out. That, never, ever, would have happened in my sugar free house growing up.

 I had the kids write their New Year's resolutions. Teddy wants to sleep more. Charlie wants to be a better person (). Jackson wants to be a better lacrosse player. Olivia wants to be a kick ass water polo goalie. I told the kids I would try to get healthier food on the table.

“Thank God Mom!” Jackson exclaimed. “But can you stick to it?” Teddy looked skeptical; Charlie hopeful and Olivia nodded her head in agreement.

I’ll try, even though it goes against my nature. Watch out Tom and Gisele. The Peters are going green.

Monday, November 23, 2015


I have football fatigue. Sure, you may say, that is the way it should feel at the end of a sports season. But I really, really have football fatigue.  It started at the beginning of the week. When I dropped Jackson off at practice, I was handed a fistful of markers, Championship Week! Lets show our Gator pride,the team mom told me. I was all in. This was our first season as a football family and we were going to the championship!?! I was ready to throw myself into the spirit.

We started off the week with gusto! 

That night Teddy and Charlie helped me turn our car into the Gator mobile. Fear the Swamp!we wrote on the back. Go Gators!and “Gator Nation” covered the sides. So fun. What was even better, my neighbor was going to pass our driveway every single day, and they were on the opposing team, the Generals. I couldnt help cracking myself up about it.

Nothing like a neighborhood rivalry.

Tuesday morning rolled around and I opened my front door to walk the kids to the bus. In the clear, bright morning light “GATOR NATION” was screaming at me. I felt like putting on sunglasses. Parking the car at the grocery store was worse. There was no hiding the Suburban there. “FEAR THE SWAMP” started  feeling slightly offensive.

By noon, I couldnt take it anymore. Katie, its Mara. Did you see my car this morning?I asked my neighbor.

Not a chance.  I was too busy screaming at the kids before school, why?she asked.

Okay, seriously? I am driving a car that says ‘Gator Nation’ on your behalf and you havent noticed?” I asked her.

I guess I haven’t.”

Wednesday was the worst. I tried to sit tall as Hasidic Jews stared at me in bewilderment as I drove through Brooklyn (of all places). I looked like a crazed Florida fan. Really, its normal, I wanted to say. My son is in the championship. But even that sounds kind of lame.

I'm not sure what balloons have to do with football
On Thursday, I was driving all over Cos Cob delivering the requisite orange & green balloons to tie on Gator players mailboxes.

Mom, what did you do today?the kids asked me at dinner. When I told them, they looked bewildered.

What do balloons have to do with football?my football player asked me.

I am not sure.

By Sunday, I was almost too emotionally spent to go to the game and cheer or do the gator chomping arm thing. I had read all the inspirational emails to gear up (there were at least nine a day over the course of the championship week). I had peaked early. I felt like the deflated balloons blowing in the wind of our mailbox.

So my moral? Dont get caught up? Paint your car? Tie balloons to mailboxes? Read inspiring emails? No, Id do it again. Id just wait until Friday before the game

Monday, November 9, 2015

Times With Teddy

Are we allowed to have favorites? I ask myself that sometimes as my kids grow up. Of course, it always changes – my favorite du jour. Depending on their age, what hormones might be kicking in, and mood that day. But is it so bad to harbor just a little more love in one direction for a period of time?

Alpha peeled out Friday night to take Teddy and Jackson to a lacrosse tournament. I was left with Olivia and Charlie, typically my favorites, for the weekend. But the house was so quiet and empty that I couldn’t take it. Where was the trumpet blaring? Where was the ridiculous laughter at the dinner table? Where were the stories as we walked the dog?
Please please be a Mama's boy forever
That’s when I realized Teddy is my favorite. The kid is on fire at the moment. Happy, helpful and hilarious.

As he packed to leave for lacrosse with Alpha, I doubled checked his piles.

“Don’t worry about me Mom,” he said stoically. “I got this whole lacrosse thing covered. And if I don’t, well, there are three more of us!”

But there is no one like Teddy. The kid is down right quirky. He tells me stories as I cook dinner or kiss him goodnight. They are often scary sometimes just funny but he talks and creates the characters at the same time. I have yet to scream at him about a hook, because there always is one.

Jackson is a different story. The other day he was looking out the window and I asked him what he was thinking. “Top shelf, left corner. Righty. That would be perfect.”

“You are looking out the window thinking about the perfect shot?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he answered, back to pondering.


And Olivia is too smart for everyone in the house. Ruffle her feathers and she will say something ridiculously sarcastic and then head to her room. Charlie, fighting chronic 1st grade exhaustion, is so cranky that after 3:00pm he totally loses it for no reason.

“I love you Mom,” Teddy whispers and then kisses me on the cheek, right in front of the school bus. In 5th grade. With all the kids looking out the windows. That takes a special kid.

“I love you too,” I reply, getting a little choked up. Because he will change too.

“That Teddy is going to be something great,” our neighbor across the way said the other day. Teddy chats with her every morning as he walks the dogs before school. And I have no doubts as well. No, he is not getting straight As in school. And the scattered behavior is a killer. But there is something about that kid, the smile, the humor, and the uniqueness.

Alpha finally brought them home Saturday night. “I missed you Teddy, seriously missed you,” I told him.

“Whoa Mom, I’m all lacrosse right now, you need to step away from the athlete,” he said wrapping his arms around my neck.

Just don’t start talking about the top shelf, I wanted to say. Just keep being you.