1

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

snob

Dear mom who sent her kid to school sick: you suck. That’s right. You are a horrible person. Just because you had no idea that your kid was sick and contagious is no excuse to have sent him to school. Just because he seemed okay all yesterday afternoon, AND overnight, AND woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed… still not okay. You should have known better. You should have taken a day off of work with no pay just to be safe.  Just in case. What the hell is wrong with you? Now MY kid is sick. Sure, I know that my kid and your kid are not in the same class. And my kid and your kid are not in the same grade. And my kid and your kid basically never see each other except maybe once a week while passing each other in the hallway with their respective classes in a straight line with everyone holding up the peace sign as a visual reminder that passing in the halls is a quiet activity. I know that in order for your kid to have gotten MY kid sick, the sick germ would have had to have leaped off your kid and done a triple flip, quadruple lutz, flying scissor kick to land on my son’s body at just the exact right time. But that is precisely what must have happened because no matter how you slice it, YOUR kid got MY kid sick. And you should feel horrible shame.

Oh, and to the mom who kept her kid home from school. What are you some kind of overprotective helicopter mom? So your son was sick the other day. So what? He seems better now. Toughen up, sweets! Your kid was fine ALL yesterday afternoon, AND overnight. He even woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. But you kept him home anyways?? Just in case? You actually took another day off of work with no pay for this nonsense? This is exactly what is wrong with society today. Back in the day, our parents would have sent us to school with a bucket in case we needed to throw up on the mile walk to our school. We were tough. Our parents didn’t keep us home all the time. You’re a terrible mom. You’re doing a terrible job.

And while we are on the subject of how much better you could be doing… you really should care more about your kid’s homework. And less. Stop helping him so much with his projects, he is never going to learn how to do them on his own if you keep helping him. Oh, and if you were a good parent you would help him with his projects more. Why don’t you know that? You have all the passwords to all your kids’ electronic devices, right? You check every text, and each Instagram post, and you try to figure out what the hell is going on with his Snapchat account. Right? It’s either that or you are basically just pushing him into a life of drugs and crime. But, my God, please tell me you are not one of those people who checks every text, Instagram post, and Snapchat situation. Get a life. Just the occasional electronic device check will do. Don’t check it every day. Just check it all the time. Otherwise you are doing it wrong. Something tells me you aren’t all sitting down to gluten-free family dinners every night. Am I right? Yes, I can tell. Wait, are you letting your kid go to school dressed in shorts? It’s 63 degrees out! That is too cold for shorts. And it is too warm for pants. Why are you letting him wear pants? It’s 63 degrees out. He is going to be sweating. And freezing. What is wrong with you? Oh, and before I forget, I saw your kid in the center of town with a bunch of friends the other day. You actually let him just go roam around? What kind of mother lets her kid roam around town with his friends on the half day of school? An inattentive mother, that is who. A mother who clearly does NOT care about her child. You really need to cut those apron strings because a good mother would trust her child and his friends and would be comfortable with him walking uptown after the half day of school. Your over-bearing, over-protective, over-controlling parenting style is going to give your child an anxiety and depression disorder. Just ask the experts…which would be easier for you to do if you weren’t working. Outside the home. Child-neglect, much? You should be a stay-at-home mom. Except you should be working. Except you shouldn’t.

blah blah blah

Enough!

Trying to be the perfect parent is confusing and exhausting and impossible. How about less bashing and more support? How about less judging and more “I got your back, sista!”?

How about moms shouldn’t be so quick to tear apart other moms? (Even when the other mom makes it so easy to pass judgement on her because her kid launched himself into the gorilla pit at the zoo.)

I mean, really, for the most part, aren’t we all just trying our best to raise good kids? And isn’t that really what it is all about?

0

Bathtime Should Be Easy

There are certain parts of parenthood that should be easy, but they’re not. Because there are a million components to every event that you don’t even think of, and that no one could possibly tell you to expect.

Things like bathtime, which should be effortless and relatively quick. Except that it’s not.

Like, ever.

The other night I wasn’t even planning to give anyone a bath, preferring instead to keep them as dirty as possible (or at least their hair as dirty as possible, because, remember, lice like clean hair) but they were rolling around in the leaves in the front yard and so, just, you know, there could have been a spider or something in their hair. I had to wash it. Plus, I kind of felt like it might be weird to send them to school the next day with little pieces of leaves and twigs and stuff tangled up in their hair. So fine. Up to the tub for a “quick” bath.

First things first, though, the obligatory fight over who “gets” to sit in the front of the tub and who “has” to sit in the back. (Somehow bathtime seating location is, apparently, a fight to-the-death, life-altering event.)

On the bright side, the laundry is in the bathroom with the tub so I was planning to bang out two birds with one stone. Except while I was paying attention to folding someone’s skivvies, my 4-year-old dumped the entire bottle of kid soap into the tub. The bottle that I just bought the day before. Sure the overflowing bubbles were kind of cool, but I knew that trying to rinse their bodies and hair clean was going to be a nightmare of epic proportions (like it was the last time she dumped the entire bottle into the tub.) Nightmare. But whatever. Wash, wash, wash. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Done. Quick fight over who gets the “good” towel and who gets the “crappy” towel. A little crying thrown in there for good measure…and MISSION COMPLETION. The quick 15 minute bath took 45 minutes, there is water everywhere, and removing the soap scum that is left over in the tub is most likely going to be the death of me.  But they are clean. Their hair is dry, their jammies are on, and they smell yummy. Except…except…wait…what was that? What did I just hear a little voice say down the hall? Did I just hear the words “hair” and “gel” in the same sentence? Oh hell no. No. Nooooo! Run back to the bathroom, but too late. The 4-year-old, who is usually quite normal when she isn’t dumping entire bottles of soap into the tub, and who was JUST standing on the stool admiring herself in the mirror, has decided that a little hair gel might be the way to go 5 minutes before bedtime. And if a little is good, a lot is GREAT. I’m talking a handful of hair gel in the front of her hair (just the front), which is parted in a weird way (and will now be shellacked in that wierdly parted way probably forever.) And just like that, the 45 minute bath was all for nothing. There is nothing to show for it except one clean 6-year-old in the other room, a trashed bathroom, and soap scum.  Tons of soap scum. Somehow bathtime has made even more work for me to do. Because EVERYTHING makes more work in the end. That’s the part of parenthood that no one tells you. *sigh* I should have just let her go to school with sticks in her hair.

Here she is in all her gelled-up glory. I assure you, she really is quite normal…

 

No, seriously. She is. Oh, and did I mention that she put eye black tattoos under her eyes? And I can’t get it off?

DSC_0442

2

Lice

horrified1
Lice.

My head is itchy just writing the word.

Lice is going around my kids’ elementary school. Like wildfire. It goes around every year, it’s sorta par for the course. But this year seems worse. This year there are so many letters coming home. This year my kindergartner has to put her stuff into a plastic bag when she gets to school. I’m dying at the thought of lice hitching a ride on one of my kids’ heads and coming to my house. I’m taking measures to make sure that doesn’t happen. First of all, I heard that lice prefers clean hair. Done. No more screaming into the bathroom to make sure they wash their hair when they are in the shower. Now it’ll be like, “scrub your body from the neck down! Do NOT wash that hair! I’m going to smell it to make sure it is not clean!” My little ones will be happy because every time I try to wash their hair in the tub they act like I am trying to waterboard them. So at least bath time will be a little less stressful. Also, no one is leaving this house without their hair up in some sort of french braid, or french twist, or top knot, or chignon, or corn row. And then hairsprayed until it is a shellacked coat of armor. Sort of like an anti-lice hair helmet.

It’s not even having to delouse the kids that has me shaking in my boots. I actually love gross stuff, so that won’t be any problem. It’s having to delouse my entire house and everything in it that makes my heart pound and has me pacing the floors at night.

And with the amount of warning letters that are coming home from the school, it feels like it is only a matter of time. Dead men walking. Sitting ducks. And all that.

We haven’t had it yet. But if we do get it, I imagine that it will go down something like this:

From first letter home…to full blown lice infestation

FIRST LICE LETTER COMES HOME. NO BIGGIE.

first letter

SECOND LICE LETTER COMES HOME. OKAY.

second letter

THIRD LETTER COMES HOME. SHIT JUST GOT REAL.

okay Ill do it

CHECK WHOLE FAMILY FOR LICE

nit picking

SPOT POSSIBLE LOUSE

see the lice

A CONFIRMED CASE OF LICE. DIE A LITTLE INSIDE.

noooo

DELOUSE THE CHILDREN

delouse

DELOUSE THE HOUSE

cleaning2

DONE! LICE FREE!

kristen-wiig-really-really-happy

EXCEPT THERE IS ONE NIT THAT WAS MISSED

kristen-wiig-dead

AND YOU HAVE TO START AGAIN

it isnt fair

SO YOU GO THROUGH THE WHOLE HOUSE AGAIN

cleaning3

AND YOU STERILIZE ALL THE LAUNDRY AGAIN

laundry2

UNTIL YOU THINK YOU’RE DONE AGAIN

done cleaning

BUT THEN…

janis from friends

SO THIS…

wine

BECAUSE OTHERWISE, THIS…

padded_room

BECAUSE I SIMPLY CAN’T MAINTAIN THIS…

white room

Not hard to see why the horror of a lice infestation scares me like nothing else, right? If this were the year 2027 and we had smell-a-vision you would be able to smell my fear. But until then, just take my word for it. I’m fucking petrified.

2

Things That Sound Better in My Head, Part I

Halloween is in a few days, which marks the unofficial start to the season of Things That Sound Better on Paper. I’m talking things that sound really awesome and fun and “these are the things memories are made of” type of things…but that actually suck in real life.

Case in point: Coming up with, creating, and buying Halloween costumes. I’m going to call this post: Things that suck in real life but that sounded really good in my head, Part I.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Halloween. It’s so fun. I sort of have a running list of potential Halloween costumes in the back of my head all throughout the entire year. Which served me well for a while, until other people in my house started needing me to put all my Halloween costume energy into their Halloween costumes. Don’t even make me tell you about the time that my husband and I were going to a Halloween costume party and we spent every free minute for an entire WEEK creating his costume (which involved pvc pipe and expensively overnighted FedEx’d items) so that when it came time to create my own costume I had about four minutes to come up with something because the babysitter was already there and my husband was trying to hurry me up and so I had to go dressed like Charlie Chaplin.

Halloween 2012

See?! He looks like he is being carried around in a box by a butler and I look scarily like an actual man.

But I digress.

So now we have kids who are old enough to think about their Halloween costumes and I’m on the back burner. Whatever. I’m good with it. Because these are the things that memories are made of. Right? And it’s just so fun that the kids are all excited to pick out their Halloween costumes. So, yay! And I get completely caught up in the moment, and I totally lose my mind and (omigod) I decide to take them to Party City. Because for some weirdly bizarre reason, taking 4 of my 5 kids to Party City one week before Halloween sounds like an awesome idea. It really does. Not like in a sarcastic way, but really and truly. I actually really think that things are going to be great. So we go to Party City for a quick happy trip. Quick and happy. Happy and quick. Until this…

IMAG0326

Holy hell! There are HOW many choices of Halloween costumes to overwhelm my kids with? And with 57,000 choices you would think that they would have at least one if not two Peppa Pig costumes to choose from. But nope. Not a one. Luckily they DID have the Monster High costume that my other daughter has been talking about since August.

IMAG0327

Luckily it is only $34.99. (THAT was sarcastic) $34.99. Thirty. Four. Ninety. Nine.

And are those FISH NET STOCKINGS?

IMAG0328

This costume is under the 3-6 year old section. We won’t be getting the fish net stocking accessory. Thanks anyways.

The boys decide they want Morph suits. Okay, what are those, like $7? $10? Nope. $24.99. I shit you not. We need a blue size large and a red size large. They have blue. No red. Okay, we’ll take a large in green. No green large. How about a large in purple? Nope. White (shudder)? No. (phew) The only one that they have in large is tie-dye. Great. It’s $10 more. Of course it is.

A quick peruse around the store and I see that Party City isn’t just for kids. A sparkly Ninja Turtle bustier…

IMAG0330

Oh God, I am already shuddering to imagine my girls trying to find Halloween costumes when they are older.

IMAG0334

What the heck store am I in? They should have adult only shopping times because some of this stuff could be cute… if given the right situation. But no sparkly corset with booty pants and thigh highs will be purchased here today with my children in tow. Even if I wanted to, I can barely afford the costumes that we are already getting. Bread and water for dinner for the rest of the week kids…but you’ll look sooo cute in your $5,000 costumes so it will all be worth it.

And maybe this little number will be on sale when Halloween is over.

IMAG0333

Winning!

1

Nicely Played, Karma

Karma is a bitch.

A real byatch.

And it always comes at you when you least expect it. Right now karma is all over my ass in the form of TRESemme hairspray. Tres Two Spray #4 Extra Hold hairspray, to be precise. The one with the superior hold and touchable feel. That one.  That’s my middle schooler’s hair spray of choice. My middle school boy. BOY! I didn’t know boys even cared about their hair, let alone set their alarm clocks to wake up early for the specific reason that they wanted enough time to actually “do” their hair. Did 12 year old boys care this much about their hair when I was in middle school? I always thought that the boys just woke up, towel dried their mullets, and went off to school looking naturally good (“Good” being a relative term.) Is that NOT how it went down? Don’t even tell me that they styled their hair. Do NOT tell me that they looked in the mirror and gelled and hairsprayed it. Just don’t. I thought it was only us girls who paid attention to their middle school hair. After all, we were the ones with the banana clips, the side ponies, the scrunchies and the spiral perms. We had a lot going on. And what we had going on took time and skill to accomplish.

So the other day when I yelled (Screamed? Shrieked? Call it what you will.) up the stairs to my son that he better not be late for school because he was doing his hair, I knew that life had come full circle and was now laughing in my face. Because I can remember, like it was literally yesterday, my mother yelling (Screaming? Shrieking?) the exact same thing up the stairs to me when I would be getting ready for school. My mother was the master of wanting to kill me if I missed the bus because I was doing my hair. And I was the master of missing it anyways because I was trying to make my hair look hugely fabulous. I knew where my priorities lay.

And then there was this one day.

I’ll never forget it.

I was a sophmore in high school. It was drizzly outside. Not raining (which would have been okay), just a warm misty drizzle. Basically the worst weather ever for a girl with curly hair. So I’m in my room and I’m doing my hair and it’s getting to be later and later…and I hear my mother yell down the stairs “The bus will be here is 5 minutes, and you better not miss it just because you are doing your hair!” Yipes! 5 measly minutes. I start going for it with gusto. I’m brushing, and spraying, and teasing, and lifting, and flipping, and scrunching, and spraying some more, and then some more, and then some more just for good measure (because, like I said, it was all misty out so my hair needed to be like a shellacked coat of armour) and finally I was done and my hair looked perfect. (Seriously, it looked so good.) So I jumped up, grabbed my bag, and booked it to the front door…just in time to see the bus pull away. Shit! Shit! Shitshitshit!! Sure I probably could have run outside and chased the bus and it most likely would have stopped to pick me up…but, as I mentioned before, it was drizzly. And warm. And my hair looked too fab to ruin. So I decided to take my chances and just risk the wrath of my mother.

She was bull.

But, you know, whatever because my hair still looked so good that it was totally worth it. We rode to school in silence. When we took the left turn to drive up the LONG driveway to the school she most likely laid into me about my lack of respect for other people’s time. (Okay! Geez, don’t have a cow.) I can’t remember exactly, but all I know is that from the beginning of the long driveway to the end of the long driveway things went south fast. When she stopped the car in front of the school I attempted to get out in a huff (that would show her!) but she stopped me and said something along the lines of “What about a thank you for driving you to school?!” And I, in all my adolescent stupidity, looked at her and said,

“Thanks for NOTHING!” (cringe!!!)

And I got out of the car and started to walk away leaving the passenger side door open. OPEN! (OMG! I shudder to think about it now, because I don’t know how she didn’t jump out of the car and full body tackle me right there on the sidewalk.) But she didn’t. Do you know what she did? She laid on the horn. That’s right. My God! It was such a brilliant, bad ass move. She laid on the horn and one whole class full of kids ran to the window to see what the ruckus was. “Get back in the car” she said in a dangerously quiet voice. (Crap! I’m dead!!) So I got back in the car and she started to drive away. (What is this?) She drove away from the school and allllll the way down the looooong driveway (Is she taking me home?), and she stopped the car, turned to me and said, “Now get out and walk back.”

Mary and Joseph!!!

Was she kidding me? What was this madness?! It was clearly drizzly and misty and warm outside! Anyone could tell that my hair would be ruined if I had to walk up that long driveway! There was no amount of Aquanet in the world that could have saved me. Oh man oh man oh man!!! It was genius!!! My adult self wants to go back to that moment and high-five her. It was simply the most brilliant move any mother anywhere ever in the history of the world has ever done.

So it is pretty much a no-brainer why I am now being tortured in such a merciless way by my OWN child who drives me to the brink of madness almost every single day with his hair styling absurdity.

Nicely played, karma. Nicely played indeed.

karma

3

Where Were the Lazy Days of Summer?

that was summer vacation

The kids started school on Wednesday. A moment that I had been waiting for for quite some time. Yes, that’s right, I had a countdown going. 5 more days…4 more days… As the big day got closer I would find myself smiling for no reason. Little bursts of hysterical laughter would escape me as I imagined the joy of the big yellow school bus arriving. My kids thought I was going mental. “Why do you keep giggling?” they would innocently ask me. “No reason. No reason at all.” Suckas. The end of their summer vacation marked the end of my busy season. It marked the end of the every day craziness. It marked the end of the shit show. School starting meant I finally had a minute to breathe. And I couldn’t wait.

So the big day comes and I was up early with excited butterflies in my stomach and so much pent up nervous energy bursting out of me that I was practically walking into walls. It’s the big day. The BIG DAY! One by one the kids got ready for the day. One by one they gathered their things to walk out the door. One by one they got on the school bus. And one by one they drove away. (except for the youngest two, but whatevs. I can handle two measly kids with one hand tied behind my back. Easy.) I headed home from the bus stop humming a happy tune and waiting for the feelings of joy to wash over me. I got home, flopped on the couch and waited to be bombarded with all the amazing feelings I had anticipated feeling for so long. Freedom. Exhilaration. Relief. Delight. I could feel them all bubbling up inside me. Which one would make it to the surface first? Probably Delight. No, maybe joy. Oooh, I wonder if it will be exhilaration! That’d be nice. Here we go…I feel so…I feel so…I feel so crappy? Wait, what?! Oh my god, why do I feel crappy? What the heck? Why do I feel bad?

Am I sad that summer is over?

Can it be?

Oh no. I am. I’m sad that summer is over. Who am I? I don’t even like summer all that much. It’s too hot, and there are bugs everywhere, and my hair looks weird. But, still. Can it really be that summer is OVER? That was IT?  Where were the lazy days of summer that everybody talks about? Where was the lying on the grass and looking at the clouds? Where was catching dragonflies and fireflies? Where were s’mores over the firepit every night, drippy ice cream cones, and sitting in rockers on the front porch drinking lemonade? In the movies they make it look so nice and relaxing. And easy. And smiley and happy. That’s the summer vacation I wanted. Not the shit show that it actually was. I guess I just pictured the whole thing so much differently in my head. Next year we are going to do it right. Next year we are going to be relaxed and spontaneous and everyone is going to get along and no one is going to try to kill each other and we are going to make gimp bracelets. Sure, it’s going to take a lot of planning to be that easy breezy, but I’m up to the challenge. Next summer is going to be amazing! And I have a whole entire Pinterest-filled year to plan it out.

In the meantime, we are almost upon my absolute fave season: Hallothanksmas. I love it. Now THIS is a season of fabulousness. I can envision it now. There will be pumpkins being carved, pumpkin bread being made, perfect Halloween costumes created, turkeys being eaten, thanks being given, and Christmas presents bought early and on sale and without any of the crazy stress of last year’s holiday season. I’m pretty sure that it is all going to be exactly as I have it pictured in my head…

4

Let’s Fight

Kids-Fighting2

I am happy to report that, after much careful (forced) observation this summer, I have come to the conclusion that there is not, and most likely never will be, any limit to the things that my kids will fight about. No limit. None. Phew, right?!  I mean, for a second you may have been thinking,  “What if they run out of things to argue about?” So you will sleep easy as you realize that their ability to bicker about anything and everything is limitless.

They will literally fight about anything.

Even a box of munchkins that I so lovingly bought for them as we were driving somewhere the other day. I can’t even remember where we were going, I’m so traumatized. But they all wanted munchkins so I bought a big box for them. (I know, awesome, right?) Then I told them to pass the box around, take the munchkins they wanted, and then pass the box back up. Easy. Except, not. I handed the box back into enemy territory, and immediately I realized my mistake. The one who got the box became the “one in charge of the box.” Pass it around? No chance. He was just going to hold onto the box and hand out the munchkins to each person with his (and I quote) dirty, disgusting hands. Oh, hell to the no. Chaos erupts. People start flinging themselves bodily over the back of seats in an attempt to pick their own munchkins out of the box (with their own dirty, disgusting hands). There’s screaming. There’s fighting. They are going for blood. When they FINALLY each have their own munchkins in their own hands, and they FINALLY are all sitting back in their seats, and they FINALLY have stopped threatening to lock each other out of the house when we get home… the 6-year-old discovers that in the scuffle somehow some powdered sugar has gotten on her glazed munchkin. I thought this would be cause for celebration (it is in my book) but it is only cause for a new, an quite impassioned, fight. Round 2 here we go.

The pet store can also cause an all out war. First, it should be noted that we don’t have a pet. We went to the pet store because some of the kids wanted to see the tarantulas. Cool. Whatevs. At this point in the summer I’m just trying to kill time anyways, so if you want to go to the pet store to see the tarantulas and the disgusting ferrets I’m all for it. What I’m not all for is when you get into a screaming match in the store because one of you says that she wants to get a tarantula as a pet someday. No, not just WANTS to get it, is GOING to get it. Somehow, and for some reason, in the mind of a 6-year-old when a 4-year-old says she is going to get a tarantula as a pet that makes it real. It’s really going to happen. Like, right now. And, as a 6-year-old, you have to stop this from happening in anyway possible. If that means going freaking nuts in the pet store, then so be it. And the 4-year-old, who loves a good challenge, is going to go right back at you to prove to you and the world that yes, she is, in fact, getting a tarantula as a pet. And soon.

The fights over Minecraft can get intense. My kids have set the computers up on the kitchen table like it is command central. Then they all log onto Minecraft and, I guess, can all go into the same world or something. I have no idea. All I know is that they build stuff. And they make levers and buttons, and there are cows and villagers, and once one of them made a roller coaster. Lots of times, they can co-exsist in these lands peacefully. But, apparently when you are in the same land together you can go into each others houses. And visit each others carefully built master pieces. And you can, if you are in the mood to drive your brother insane, knock each others stuff down. And steal each others treasures.  And, oh my GOD, now they are fighting virtually. Who knew that some day I would be standing in my kitchen screaming at them to “put the diamonds back into the chest that you stole them out of!” It’s completely absurd.

Its ALL completely absurd.

All of it.

Including, but not limited to:

  • Fights about who gets to open the door at Barnes & Nobles (the world’ heaviest doors)
  • Who gets sunscreen put on first when we get to the beach
  • Who stepped on your foot “by mistake”
  • Who gets to put the chocolate chips in the batter when you’re all making cookies
  • It’s also fun to fight about how someone kicked you in the head when they were climbing into the backseat (under duress, because it was NOT their turn to sit in the way back)
  • And about who gets to use the “good” cup (we have a good cup?) for their chocolate milk
  • The TV show to watch
  • The volume of said TV show
  • Who unplugged someone’s charger and plugged their own electronic into that outlet (because we only have one outlet in the house I guess)
  • Fights about someone sneezing on you (this is actually a valid fight)
  • Someone splashing water on you in the tub
  • Someone hogging the coveted goggles at the pool
  • Fights about who gets to use the only working xbox controller left in the house
  • Accusations about who drank the last of the milk
  • And who left the caps off the markers and dried them all up
  • Fights about anything and everything…and absolutely nothing at all.

Which is why I am in favor of year-round boarding school. Preferably far away. With no vacations.