Peace and Love

For Valentine’s Day this year, I finally got the gift I had been dreaming of for years. That’s right, ladies. I got myself some Howard Stern. Because if I have to spend half of my life in a fucking minivan, I want to be able to listen to the one person who really and truly tells it like it is.

Howard is blunt and honest. He does not feel the need to impress anyone. He asks celebrities the exact questions that I would ask if I could. If he says something that he know will be unpopular, he tops it off by pointing out that he is only saying it “with peace and love.” (ie “If you are an adult, please don’t ask me for my autograph. I won’t sign it. It’s ridiculous for me to write my name down on a napkin for a 50 year old man. And I say this with peace and love. Peace and love.) I think he got this from a rap star or something, but I am not hip enough to know where it came from. I just think it’s awesome.

My closest friends know one thing to be true about me: do not ask me for advice unless you want to know exactly how I feel. There was a point that I told you that I liked your boyfriend because I didn’t want you to be mad at me if I said anything else. But now, if you call me to complain about your husband, I’m going to tell you that I think he’s being an asshole. Or that I think it’s all your fault and that you are the one being ridiculous.

I have always been unafraid to speak my mind, but as I get older I realize there is no use in trying to sugarcoat anything. Not only do I not care about being falsely polite, but I don’t think I am genetically able to filter out my true feelings. (Anyone who has ever met my father will understand. He made no secret of the fact that he wished my sister Emily and I were boys growing up. He renamed us “Albert” and “Edward” and would greet us by saying “Hello boys!” He is also no longer allowed to hang out with my children unless he agrees in advance not to discuss politics around them.)

I am here this summer in my childhood home state of Michigan. I have not spent more than a weekend here in almost 20 years. In a town in which I used to make a point of being seen at every hip venue in town, I am finding that I am trying to make myself less and less visible. The best part about this is that I now travel around the state with a built-in disguise all day long: my older, wrinkled, tired face. When I want to say hello to someone who appears to be squinting at me trying to place who I am, I can choose to symbolically lift my “42 year old Allyson Primack” mask and say, “It’s me! Allyson Ochs! From your childhood!”

The best part of this experience is that with Sam & Lauren both away at camp, I’m spending enormous amounts of alone time with Aidan. What I have realized is that he is more like me than any of my kids. The only problem is that he is exactly like I am today at 42. Not me as a kid. He cannot stand people who are happy twirling around and playing. He likes his friends to have serious interests. Like the Roman Empire or the Revolutionary War. He has no interest in hanging out with anyone unless they “get” his humor. (He was introduced to a kid at camp today named Dakota. Aidan said, “Which one are you, North or South?” And when the kid looked at him with a blank stare, he stormed away, mad that Dakota didn’t get the joke.) He has no patience for stupidity, and I totally get that. I just don’t think I got it at age 6.

But this past week, he found a connection with the one person in particular. A female. And when I say female, I mean an 18 year old counselor, not a 6 year old girl (because they are only interested in coloring.) But Aidan and his counselor got onto the topic of musicals, and she told him her favorite was Les Mis. He was so excited that he wrote her a note and put it in her counselor cubby. You can read it below. Now he chooses to hang with the staff, and I suppose that’s fine. They “get” him in a way that the other kids don’t. He is not into being someone he is not & that makes me proud.

While researching the best way to turn a blog into a book, I came upon an article that suggested the blogging author begin by writing something they feel they know a lot about. The article suggested it is a great precursor to your memoir, and will help set up the topic you have been blogging about. And so, I have spent the last week writing my very first “E-Book.” It’s tentatively titled “Everything you ever wanted to know about show business for your child but had no one to ask (because all the other stage moms are too competitive.)” The other working title is “What to Expect When You Expect Your Child Will Be Famous.”

In any case, I have spent 5 hours a day for the last 2 weeks writing down what I have learned over the last 9 years as a non-show business person in a show-business world. It has been the easiest thing I have ever written, and I have surprised even myself as to how much I have learned. I do not understand my laptop, but if I had to guess, I think it’s about 40 pages long. It will be ready for purchase within the next week, and I think everyone will like it. It is honest, real, and I don’t sugarcoat a thing. It may not be exactly what you want to hear, but it’s all true.

And if you read something in there that may sound harsh or too brutally honest for you, remember: I say it all with Peace and Love. Peace and Love.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.



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The Confrontation

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Confrontation from Les Miserables.

Primack style.

Starring Sam and Aidan, filmed by Lauren. With special guest, making her video debut, our dog Zoey as Fontine.

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The Surgery

“It’s time” the man said.
“But I’m not ready!” I said.
“Yes you are,” said the man, “and so is he. It’s just neither of you know it yet.”
The man grabbed him from me and headed down the hall into surgery.

I lay down in the hallway, sobbing. He is my everything. I don’t know what I would do without him.

What if I don’t recognize him when it’s over? Worse, what if I don’t like what I see? His new world, his new outlook on life. What if I don’t understand him
anymore? What if I can’t figure out how he operates, what makes him function. What if I simply can’t make him happy? Will he shut down? What if he no longer responds to my touch the way he used to?

We are such a team, he and I. He helps me with my work, he helps tell me what to eat, who to call, where to go when I’m lost.

I paced nervously, staring down the hall at the man’s office.

Maybe I should have taken him to a more professional place. What qualifications does this man have, this doctor? Medical school does not train you for this. It does not tell you what to do when things in the operating room go bad. It can’t help you revive him if he starts to die. I will lose my link to the world, and this man will never be able to replace the lost information. The pictures, the memories, the videos, the games. They will be lost forever. This is agony.

The man returns after what seems like hours. I slowly rise. “Is he ok? Did he make it?” The man nods. “When can I see him?” The man slowly, gently hands him to me. “Don’t expect too much, too soon. It will take a little while for both of you to adjust. But you are both going to be fine.”

And as the man walked down the hall, he paused and then turned to look at me. “Congrats, Allyson. You did it. The entire world was waiting for you two to do this. You were literally the only ones left on this planet to not do it. You were living in ancient times.”

“Thanks Craig.” I said. Thank you for helping convince me to do this. I know I have waited far too long.”

And then Craig, my husband, my doctor, my disapproving, mocking partner, walked slowly over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. “You have finally switched your phone to IOS7. Good for you. It only took you a million years. Guess what? In September you will have to switch again to IOS8. Please don’t be such a pussy the next time.”

I fell to the floor in tears.

Nooooooooooo!!!!! Not again!! Please not again!!!!


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Which of the following statements has never been used about me:

A. Wow, she sure loves Swedish fish!

B. She takes on way too much at one time. She’s crazy.

C. She is really horrible at parking.  Did you notice how her car has been keyed so many times? 

D. She sure is skinny.  Do you think everything is ok?

If you guessed D, you would be correct. 

You see, my dear readers, I have never ever lost weight because of stress or illness (although I did have a partially blocked bowel after Lauren was born and could drink liquids only.  That was awesome until I realized liquids includes vanilla shakes.) I love me some candy and ice cream, and it makes perfect sense that after a fundraiser/bar mitzvah/house on market few months, no one will be confusing me with the emaciated Hazel from Fault in Our Stars (I KNOW!  It was so SAD!  I LOVE to pay money to cry.  I can’t do that for FREE in my own home while watching the news so I’m glad I can pay to do it at the movies.)

This week, cheerleading was officially declared a sport by the AMA, which is awesome for my daughter the flyer who, like many 11 year old girls her age, seems to glory in the possibility of being injured. 

Sam opened up a production of “Peter Pan” this past weekend, which most people in the theatre world know is also an Olympic sport.  The first time we saw him in a professional production of Peter Pan in 2009, on opening night, the actor playing the crocodile chased Captain Hook right down the stage and then fell, face first, into the orchestra pit eight feet below.  The violin player broke his bow, but this young actor was thankfully o.k.  The most infamous video of a Peter Pan catastrophe in a town called Greenport at a school play is on YouTube and I have attached it for your enjoyment. 

When you see Peter Pan as many times as I have, you start overanalyzing it like a coach watching playbacks of the same game over and over in their mind.  Seriously, why is Nana the dog the only security system/babysitter that they have?  Those Darlings seem to be quite wealthy, surely they could have afforded more.  Why does John sleep in a nightgown and a giant top hat?  I would be so pissed if my kids disappeared for weeks and then returned with 10 more kids to raise.  And what the hell is Wendy saying at the end: “I’m so old now, Peter.  I’m ever so much more than twenty.”  What the hell?  Could they edit that script to maybe say 30? 

Next week, I am packing up and moving my kids and I to Detroit because my husband Ben Affleck is filming “Batman vs. Superman” there.  Oh, wait.  That’s not me.  But I am moving there for the month to send Lauren to overnight camp and to hopefully send Aidan to day camp with his future best friend: Seraphina Affleck.  (I may or may not have requested at said day camp to “place Aidan in a group with other children his own age who are in Detroit temporarily from the West Coast, just like him.”) 

I have decided that in order to properly write my “Momontour” book, I need to go back to the place where I grew up to gain the proper perspective on all that’s happened in my life so far.  Yes, just like Stephen King, I will be secluding myself in the woods to write novels.  Except that the woods are Huntington Woods which is actually a suburb and not a forest, but I digress.  I do think that I need to go to the place where I believed I would never grow up to reflect on what happens when you actually leave Neverland.  I did learn to fly, but I also realized that you have to battle Pirates and Indians along the way. 

On opening night this past weekend, the crowd was packed with over 400 theatre loving fans.  Every time Peter flew into the air or Wendy, John and Michael thought lovely thoughts and flew as well, the crowd erupted in cheers.  Every magical stunt that went off without a hitch received the roar of an audience that I haven’t heard since, well, being at a sports event.  When I watch my daughter get thrown into the air and land into the arms of the bases that await her without dropping her on her head, I love to hear the crowd go wild.  Theatre and sports are very, very similar.  You just have to know what’s at stake to really feel how much is on the line.

And so, when you watch the video below, remember it’s not when the set falls onto Wendy’s head that is the funniest or scariest moment for that cast.  It’s the next scene, when Wendy, who is tucked into bed for the scene, suddenly and without warning, gets yanked into the air by a stage hand who pulled her wire instead of Peter Pan’s.  And as young Wendy goes flying into the air, smack dab into a wall, you hear her shout “Oh, God!” and go running off stage in horror.  And when I stop hysterically laughing each time I watch it, it reminds me of my life.

Sometimes you have to be yanked out of your comfortable existence and hit a wall before realizing you just can’t take this shit anymore.

Peter Pan Greenport Fiasco:



**For more laughs at some other actor’s expense, may I also recommend The Miracle Worker in which Hellen Keller falls off the stage:



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A Little More Homework

About a month ago, Craig tried on his favorite suit. The pants were too tight, so he said he would just go on a diet and they would fit by the bar mitzvah. I tried on my famous blue dress from the Katie Couric show last fall and it was also too tight. So, I went on the same diet as Craig. You will be happy to know that the suit fit Craig just fine in time for Sam’s big day. I still can’t zip up that fucking dress.

Yes, the joy of female metabolism over age 40 is one of the many life lessons I have learned recently. I am constantly learning new things. Like, Kimye has taught us that it’s ok to wear a white wedding dress after 2 marriages and a leaked sex tape. I did not know that.

I learned that I am too old to go on most rides at amusement parks. I am nauseous and dizzy for hours after a roller coaster. I cannot swing on a swing or sit in the backseat of a car without needing Dramamine. I learned that sometimes you throw away candy so that you are not tempted to eat it, but then you end up going through the garbage in the middle of the night looking for said candy.

I’ve learned that my late night fantasies are including less and less sexy famous men dancing with just me at some really cool club, and more and more look like a scene from “Little House On the Prairie.” I am now fantasizing about me sitting on the porch, rocking in a chair, with no one around. Just me and a field and some fucking peace and quiet.

I still don’t know everything: I ponder the world every day. What happened to the Entertainment Book? I think they would still really come in handy. Why are guns legal in every state, but gay marriage and marijuana are only legal in a few states? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that I’m pretty sure stoned lesbians will not be used as an instrument for mass murder to kill college students. If anything, they would buy everyone ice cream and listen to the Indigo Girls.

Sometimes I know the answer for sure: when the kids wanted to know if they could make a Javert Build A Bear, I said I didn’t think there was a Les Mis section in the store. But when Aidan asked me if someone was going to burn down our house like they burned down his school recently, I didn’t know how to answer him.

I do know that in this crazy competitive world, you need your friends by your side more than ever. And even though it’s wonderful to have people who stand by you when things are bad, it’s even more important to have them around when things are good. It’s easy to stand by a friend and tell them that everything is going to get better, but it takes a lot more character to cheer on a friend’s success while you are still waiting for your own. I’ve learned that just because you are related to someone, it does not make you family. Family is a term to describe the people around you who make you feel safe and loved.

At the bar mitzvah service, Craig stood up in front of our family and friends and bemoaned the fact that I made him trim down his 3 page speech to Sam, leaving him with only a few paragraphs to share with the crowd. There were sounds of shock from the audience, and perhaps some felt pity for poor Craig. Little did anyone know, but his original speech included fun tidbits on Sam’s wacky breastfeeding habits, and a comprehensive analysis of what Craig learned from being a parent the past 13 years. To our family & friends: you are welcome.

At the party that night, we surprised Sam with a flash mob to the song “A Little More Homework” from the Broadway musical 13. Our 3 secret rehearsals paid off, even if my promised appearance on Ellen following the release of said video onto Youtube did not. (Perhaps we needed to hire Hooters waitresses to dance along with us. That was apparently the key to Sam Horowitz’s bar mitzvah video success.)

The song explains that, even when you become an adult, you never stop learning. We continue to learn new things every day. We are constantly doing “a little more homework” to try to cope with the world around us. And, I think that that’s ok. I really wouldn’t want to know everything there is to know about life, ever. The people that drive me the craziest are the ones that act like they do, in fact, know everything. I hope that I never stop discovering new things. The world can be wonderful, and it can be downright unfair. But sometimes, it is through these lessons, that we can learn new ways to improve the world around us and to make it better for the next generation. The minute we stop learning, we stop growing. And when we stop growing, we die.

“And I’ve been looking in the back of the book for the answers, hoping the bell wouldn’t chime… but I’m not ready to put down my pencil just yet, there are too many answers that I didn’t get…I need a little less pressure, and a little more time. I’ve been trying to follow, trying to lead, trying to learn what is true….. day turns to day turns to day… you gotta hang in there ’til the whole story ends, ’cause we all have a little more homework to do.” Jason Robert Brown, 13 the Musical.

In case you would like to send the flash mob video to Ellen (or, you know, just enjoy it for yourself):


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How Deep Is Your Love

I have a small issue with change. The summer after high school graduation, after the first of our friends left for college, I got into bed and watched Saturday Night Fever over and over. When “How Deep Is Your Love” came on at the end, it would set me off on a crying spree that was only calmed by my re-starting the movie. I’m not sure of the correlation between graduating and this movie, although after years of analyzing it, I think it’s because John Travolta’s character Tony Manero reluctantly realizes throughout the movie that he is growing up. He has to face the fact that there may be more to life than disco dancin’ in a white suit with fabulous hair. He may actually be in love the mature lady who likes hot tea. With lemon.

I still hate change. I am not sure why Seinfeld had to end. It would still be relevant today. I also feel that way about Cheers, Family Ties, Party of Five and Six Feet Under. I have still not updated to IOS7.

This week The Addams Family took their final bows after 18 months on the road. Sam and I have been gone since July but we still feel like we are part of the family, so all weekend I felt sad that it was ending. I would cry at various odd moments and felt like E.T, who could feel Elliott’s pain even though he was at school and E.T. was home playing with the See & Spell.

This week, my firstborn son turns into a teenager, my baby girl graduates elementary school and heads to middle school, and Aidan will be done with Kindergarten. (btw he’s NOT graduating Kindergarten. He isn’t LEAVING the school. It’s a CULMINATION. Aidan wants you to understand that.)

I like things to stay as they are. I don’t want to move forward. If anything, I want to go back. The cashier at lunch this week after ringing up my food said “It’s 1986″ and I was so happy for a minute until I realized she was talking about the total for my lunch and not that I had been zapped back in time in a Delorean.

But then this week I found a letter I had written in college to a friend who was doing a semester in Europe. I was discussing my summer plans after college graduation, which included either traveling Europe or a trip to NYC. Little did I know that my summer vacation actually turned out to be reluctantly helping my parents move across the country from Michigan to Arizona after they suddenly decided to move at the end of that year. Things changed, my life changed, and all in all, I think it turned out to be ok for me.

Life can be full of twists and turns and change can be scary and exciting. You never know what’s coming next. If you don’t embrace change, you can’t fully experience the joys of life.

So, Addams Fam, go out and conquer the world. It’s your time to shine. You are all stars. Things will fall into place for each of you, even if it takes time to figure out where you will land.

And Sam, my teenager, Mommy will be going away for awhile. I am too young to have a teenage child. In my head, I am still a teenager. I will leave no forwarding address, so best of luck to you. Lauren, I’ll contact you once you are 22. I hear that’s the age girls like their moms again once they start puberty. And Aidan, I believe I have run out of all the answers to your presidential and government history questions. You don’t need me anymore. You just need Google.

And so, I’m off to an undisclosed location, to mourn the loss of my buddies on the road and my youthful creatures at home. I’m taking to my bed again. To watch Tony and to learn again from his disco journey. Will he win the dance contest? Will his friend fall off the bridge and die? And will he finally stand up to his dad for messing up his hair after he works really hard to look like Al Pacino?

Change is good and necessary, I know. But so is feeling scared about all of it.

**This blog dedicated to the girl I wrote the letter to in college: Suzanne. Suzanne was a bright, beautiful light who passed away way too young from cancer leaving 2 little girls behind. As long as I knew her, she always embraced change and the unknown, up until the very end.



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If You Give A Mom A Cookie

If you give a mom a cookie, she’s going to ask for a can of Diet Coke so she can feel better about the calories she just consumed.
When you give her the Diet Coke, she’ll probably ask you for a straw. So she can enjoy it longer and it will last her until the next meal. Plus, she needs the caffeine.

When she’s finished, she’ll ask you for a napkin. Because she won’t want her family or her friends to know that she just ate a cookie.

Then she’ll want to look in a mirror to make sure she didn’t get fat in the 10 minutes since she ate the cookie.
When she looks in the mirror, she will decide that she does, in fact, look fatter. Also, she will notice grey hairs and wrinkles that she never noticed before.

So, she’ll probably call the salon and make a hair appointment. And she will also schedule Botox.

When she’s finished making her appointments, she will get on the treadmill. So she will burn off the calories from the cookie.
She’ll start running. She might get even carried away and do sit-ups too.
She may even end up trying that yoga video that she bought from Target two years ago!
When she’s done, she’ll probably want to take a nap.

She’ll have to make the bed that her husband forgot to make this morning because he was too busy yelling that he couldn’t find his socks. Or his keys.
She’ll crawl in, make herself comfortable and fluff the pillow a few
times. She’ll think about the fact that they have had this same comforter since they got married. And that she doesn’t like it anymore. And that they should get a new one.

She’ll probably want to read one of her books she has been wanting to read but never gets around to because someone always wants something from her once she finally lies down to relax.

So she’ll start to read one of her books, and then her mind will wander. She will start thinking about all the errands she has to do before the kids get home from school. And all of the paperwork she has to go through that is sitting on the kitchen counter.

When she starts thinking about all of the things she has to do, she’ll get very stressed out. She will start making a to-do list so that she remembers all of the things she needs to do. And all of the things she needs to get from the grocery store.

When she looks around her nightstand for a pen and paper, she realizes they are all in the kitchen. And that the only things on her nightstand are used Kleenex and notes from her children about how she’s the worst mommy ever for making them go to bed.

Then she’ll have to get out of bed and shlep to the kitchen to find a pen and paper. When she gets there, she can’t find one fucking pen that works.

Which means she’ll need to add pens to her shopping list.

She’ll stand in the kitchen for a minute and forgot why she came in there in the first place. And then she’ll remember the pen. And the list of things she has to do. And she will get stressed out. And she will look at the refrigerator and wonder what’s in it.

Looking at the refrigerator will remind her that she’s hungry and thirsty.

So… she’ll take out another can of Diet Coke. And once she remembers that Diet Coke does not fill her up and it actually makes her jittery & hungry….

…..she’s going to want a cookie to go with it.”


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