Nurse Mommy Letter: Forgot the Cute Wittle Kitty Pic

Dear Nurse Mommy,

I was reading your story about your tiger incident at the Omaha zoo. Holy hairballs! That sounds terrifying. Thank goodness the glass that separated the big cat from you and your munchkins remained in tact. I can’t believe the woman next to you saw a crack in the glass. That doesn’t sound so great for the next squatter.

You said that you were clicking the camera as you fell backward from the window. Did you happen to get a photo of the attack? If so, could you please post it? I’d love to see what you experienced.

Concerned and cackling in Kentucky,
Royand Z. Igfread

Dear Mr. Igfread,

Thanks so much for being concerned about my family’s welfare recently. Even though the scream that came from the depths of my soul knocked me on my tush, I managed to push down on the button probably trying to grab onto anything to save my life. Since both the beauties and the beast were all falling away from each other the photo is fuzzy, but I do think you get a good idea of my view of the affair.

Best wishes,
Nurse Mommy

"I love me some fresh Kansas meat!"

“I love me some fresh Kansas meat!”

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Crouching Mama Hides From Tiger


Last month, my young grade school-aged daughters and I took a girl’s trip to Omaha, Nebraska. It was their first trip to this city; and essentially my first, since I don’t recollect mine (cough) years ago. Even though I could blame it on poor memory or age –it was just a classic college weekend, brimming with consumption activities and perhaps dancing on fixed furniture.

My girls and I stayed in the Old Market district, which was convenient for vacationing families since it’s near the children’s museum and the zoo. (I’m fairly certain I didn’t visit either of these attractions during my college stay.)

These were our main attractions, other than the hotel pool, which was a requirement for both girls. Yes, I was vetoed on this issue.

It was freezing the first day, and I wasn’t about to walk around Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo bundled up like a Sherpa scaling Mount Everest. So Day One was the museum, complete with controlled air temperature and vats of Purell . As long as we didn’t contract some flesh-eating bacteria in the ball pit, it would be a great day.

Day Two was forecasted as the most temperate day of the year – a perfect day for the zoo. We burst through the opening gates, thrilled to experience a new zoo. My girls are such animal lovers, but they prefer them to be behind thick glass.

“Oh, look at that gorilla. It’s so cute! Wait, it’s coming closer. Ack! I wanna see the baby monkeys now.”

“Mama, is that a peacock? It’s not in a cage. RUN!”

An hour into our adventure, they had shaken out their fears and were pressing up to the windows studying these amazing creatures.

We wanted to get our big cat and monkey fill. The Hatton gals have a strong tie to these animals and had agreed we needed to spend extra time in these areas.

After making one complete tour of the cats, we returned to the white tiger’s lair for a second time. Her markings were beautiful and now there was a full crowd peering in.

This female feline was no longer the “cute kitty” we had watched sleeping just moments before; she was an agitated, powerful machine.

Back and forth she paced from one end of the bay windows to the other. This continued for several minutes. Was she putting on a show for us? Showing her dominance?

Wanting to get the perfect photograph of this beauty’s face, I squatted down on my haunches and drew my young daughters close into my sides to share the view.

“If we come down to her eye level, we’ll get a great picture when she comes back this way,” I whispered posed behind the lens.

“Mama, she’s coming again!”

The cat’s enormous head was inches away from ours and only separated by glass.

I held my camera still. Click. Click.

Then out of the blue… THWAP!! The tiger performed a full-body slam into the glass before us with a noise that will haunt my dreams until I die. She was standing upright on her back two feet when she came crashing into the window to attack the three of us crouched below.

As you can imagine, the entire group of by-standers screamed like the Vienna boy’s choir, my one daughter ran half-way down the hall, the other froze like a cartoon character with her mouth open; and I fell backwards, screaming and luckily pushing down on the button on my camera.

The crowd quickly began gossiping of the event as if… a tiger had pounced on the lady next to them.

“That tiger was eight feet tall!”

“She would have eaten that gal.”

“Look, there’s a crack here in the glass!” cried out another woman down from us.

When my heart restarted after that last news, my inner tour guide took over. Scurrying along with daughters in tow, “The lemurs down the hall are charming and don’t let us forget about those baby monkeys? Wow! How about that tiger?”

Later when we returned to the hotel, my youngest daughter – a budding storyteller – told every stranger the tale of how a white Bengal tiger tried to eat her mother at the zoo.

Each audience member would nod, feign a smile and move away. It’s amazing how many people don’t believe a story like that. I guess my family is used to adventure and a crazy life with a mom like me.

I hope my girls don’t write their tell-all book until I’m gone.

Of course, no one will believe any of it!

previously printed in The Kansas City Star
April 12, 2014

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Dear Hubby, while I’m at the Erma Bombeck conference…


Dearest Hubby,

You know I have a list three pages long of things the kids need for school, homework, school drop off etiquette, medicines, lunches, snacks, those damn water bottles, and backpacks; but don’t let the size of the list overwhelm you.

I’m sure there are some moms who could just say, here are the kids, give you a kiss and jump on a plane to Ohio for the weekend – but that has never been my style. You knew this when you married my crazy self. Or maybe you didn’t, but you figured it out at least 8 years ago!

Call it my being a nurse, an overprotective mother or a hovercraft, but having an outline will save your butt. You really don’t want to mess with those women in the car pool lane, I promise!

So you can choose to read my list or ignore it, but if you do; please don’t tell me you did. I just want to give you the best opportunity to have an easy run of it while I’m gone since you don’t do all of this on a regular basis.

But truly…

I love you with all my heart, but if you lose the children or they accidentally die on your watch – I’m gonna be pissed.

Good luck, Hon!!

See you Sunday and make sure you’re ready for a LOT of great stories like 2012. I’m going to kick my heels up again!!


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KC Live’s! Mommy Panel Chats about Easter and Kids

Several readers have requested that I post the videos of my monthly appearances on morning television. I think they might be drunk or just trying to get on my good side, but I hate to disappoint my parents, so here is this month’s show.

Today I had the great pleasure of joining the talented and funny moms, Snarky in the Suburbs and Paige Kellerman,
on Kansas City Live!(KSHB-TV) to dish about Easter and how we will manage the great sugar rush without injuries.

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Keeping Your Family Connected

keepingyourfamilyconnectedOne of the most difficult parenting challenges in this century has to be the added stressors of parents traveling for work. In the past, a traveling salesman would go door-to-door or perhaps drive or fly overnight, but not nearly as frequent as today. Plus, the extended stays are becoming more common.

So how does a family successfully connect with a key family figure absent on a regular basis? Technology assists in this bonding, although it does take thought, effort and time; however, many families find it’s worth it!

Forms of Communication

Phone calls are the easiest way to get in touch with your traveler, since the pony express is so outdated and unreliable. Most families set up times in advance the next time they will talk, according to everyone’s schedule.

Texting is convenient and inexpensive for overseas communicating in comparison to most phone calls, unless you have a good plan or the traveling parent’s company pays for texts and calls. Unfortunately, this is only effective for the stay-at-home parent and older children.

Emailing is valuable; however, the sound of voices, inflections and tones can be misinterpreted and missed. This method won’t provide young children comfort unless a photo is attached. Even that can be scary for infants and toddlers who don’t understand why the parent’s face is on a computer screen instead of home cuddling with them.

Local Testimonies

Stephanie, from Overland Park, says her husband used to travel every 4-6 weeks. When asked about traditions she incorporated to keep her girls from missing their father, Stephanie said, “I would let my older girl sleep with me. Also, my husband would talk to them in the evening and we would go out to dinner or try something fun.”  She ended with, “The best tradition was when he got home we did the kid hand off and he would watch the kids. This HAS to happen!”

Rob, a Prairie Village father says his wife works 7 days a week, “The kids and I spend so much time together, but my favorite thing to do (with them) is cook. It’s the one thing that is age appropriate and age customizable for all of my kids’ ages, 6, 4, and 2. If we bake a cake, for example, (the youngest) bangs on the pots, (the middle child) cracks the eggs, and (the oldest) does everything else while dad watches them make my food. Win-win! We all share the kitchen-destruction, the process, and the eating. It really is a great way to get them all on the same page.”

A Kansas City mother, Jen, says her husband brings home magnets from different states he has traveled to. “The kids are anxious to see him and they also get a geography lesson.” Jen says when her husband is away for long periods of time, they use web conferencing to communicate. “It gives your child a ‘real time’ visual and the family can check in. This still gives the father the ability to parent so they can inquire about school, homework, their day, etc.”

Web Video Conferencing

Families didn’t have the luxury of video conferencing with the traveling parent until recently. Now it’s so easy, FREE, and should be used often to keep the family bond alive.

Skype video calls can be made with most computers which have web cameras installed. Go to: and sign-up for the free program on both computers – the family computer and the computer used by the traveling parent. Actually, you probably get better conversations doing this than if you all were at home!  If your computer doesn’t have a built-in web camera, a separate one can be purchased at any electronics store or department with computers.

Here are some web conferencing games to get your family started, if it at first feels awkward:  Stephanie, a mom of one preschool boy, from south Overland Park suggests, “You can have dinner with Dad.” Set up the laptop at the dinner table and pivot the computer to whoever is talking during dinner. Just like having Dad there for your family meal!  Or you can make dessert with the parent and eat it in front of the camera…teasing them, of course, on what they’re missing.

Have the traveling parent take one of the kid’s favorite bedtime stories with them on their trip. At bedtime, place the laptop on the foot of the bed or bed stand and have the parent read to the kids. With young ones, you can have them even hug the monitor goodnight and give smooches. This works especially well with toddlers and preschoolers since their imagination still allows this magic to occur.

My kids play a game they invented with their traveling Daddy, named “1-2-3-Funny Face!” All of them repeat the title and then they all look into the web cam with the craziest face they can make. The girls and their father get big laughs out of this – the kids ask for this game each trip.

Remember…any family communication is better than none at all. And the family that laughs together swaps better stories family reunions!

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