1

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

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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?

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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…

2

Don’t Fart in a Restaurant

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My kids need to learn about proper restaurant etiquette. I’m not talking about fork and knife placement, even though that is super important. Sort of. Well, I’m sure it might be important someday. Just not today. Today it’s more about teaching them the basics. Things that I THOUGHT were all pretty obvious and didn’t need to be taught. Things that other people’s kids seem to already know. I’m talking about the nitty-gritty, raw basics of human behavior…as it relates to restaurant conduct.

Let’s begin

  1. Your napkin is not a dew rag. Don’t tie it around your head and then pretend to be all gangsta. Just don’t. The napkin goes on your lap. If you can’t remember to put it there (because you are too busy kicking your brother under the table) then just leave it on the table. No dew rags. It also shouldn’t be tied around your face like you are a bank robber from the old west, as this can only lead to some poorly timed role-playing. Which can only lead to us getting kicked out of the restaurant. I get it. I do. If I had a napkin tied around my face I would also be compelled to try to tip the table over and hide behind it while I fake-gun battled the bad guys. Which is why I don’t tie napkins around my face. At least not in public.
  2. Your feet on the table is also something that is universally frowned upon. There is no restaurant, in any town, in any part of the world that accepts that atrocious act. Yes, I know you are just trying to show me that your second toe is taller than your big toe. But now is not the time, and the table is not the place. If you are going to make a huge scene then I will agree to, very discreetly, look at your freakish toes UNDER the table. But if anyone notices I’m going to have to pretend that we are not related and that you are just some strange kid I saw loitering outside the restaurant who needed a good meal. You cool with that? And to think, I was just about to teach you about keeping your elbows off the table. I can see that we are nowhere near ready for that lesson.
  3. You have an inside voice. Yes, I’m aware that you aren’t necessarily familiar with what that sounds like because we basically never use it at our house. BUT you have it. And if you dig waaaay deep down you can probably find it. It’s most likely tucked away between the “how we talk when we don’t want Mom to hear what we are saying” voice, and the “how we talk when we want to annoy each other” voice. Wedged right in that little space you will probably find the “how we talk in a restaurant so the table next to us can’t hear us talking about how we once ate our boogers” voice.
  4. A restaurant is a place where you go to eat so you can enjoy a meal that someone else cleans up. Well, at least that is how I describe it. You probably describe it as a place where someone cooks you food that you like, that you requested, and that is nice and warm. Either way, a restaurant is not your own personal comedy stage. It’s not open mic night at Bertucci’s. The other diner’s may not be as impressed with your particular brand of physical comedy. Pretending to walk into the table and then collapse to the floor in convulsions is NOT what we do at a restaurant. We sit there and pretend to be normal. You can have a fake seizure later in the car on the ride home. Where we can properly yell at you to cut the crap.
  5. Even though we aren’t talking about fork placement, or salad fork vs. dinner fork, I WOULD like to address the issue of the fork… in that I need you to use it. Mac and cheese is not finger food. Spaghetti is not to be eaten straight from the bowl like you are a dog. Your finger is not an appropriate way to get mashed potatoes from the plate to your mouth. You have a fork. Use it.
  6. But don’t use the knife. In fact, just give me all the knives the minute we sit down. The last thing I need is a “sword fight” breaking out and knocking over my glass of wine.
  7. You may visit the bathroom only once while we are out to dinner. ONCE. Not five times. Not one after the other. One time, as a group, walking quietly. And I’m only agreeing to take you that one time because you are holding yourself and starting to make a scene. You clearly have to go pretty badly so I’m willing to interrupt my meal to take you. That’s how I roll. But I gotta tell you, when we get to the loo you better run to the stall with the same urgency that you had while jumping up and down at the table. None of this leisurely walking all around the bathroom looking at the paper towel holder and exclaiming in delight over their choice of decor.
  8. Farting. Farting in a restaurant is right up there with shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. It’s not technically illegal, but it should be. Even if you forget everything else on this list, even if you break every single rule of restaurant etiquette, even if everything I’ve tried to teach you goes in one ear and out the other…I won’t care as long as you hold in your fart until after dinner. If you can do that, I will consider myself successful.
2

Jumping the Shark

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Okay, it’s official. I’m calling it, right here, right now. The Summer of 2015 has officially jumped the shark.

I’m not the only one who is dying a slow death at this point in the summer…am I? Because it kind of seems, from looking at your Facebook pages, that many of you are actually still enjoying this endless hell. Some of you are still posting pictures of your spectacularly fun adventures. And, if my eyes don’t deceive me, there is actual photographic evidence of your children smiling and getting along. There aren’t ANY pictures of them bickering. None at all.  According to Facebook you’re having the time of your life. You’re all like, “hashtag lovin summah vacay,” and I’m all, “hashtag will this madness never end.”

I don’t know how you’re managing to do what you’re doing over there…But over here we have become the Fonz.

Fonzie.

Arthur freakin’ Fonzerelli.

This summer has turned into Fonzie, wearing a cool leather jacket, a weird yellow life preserver, and being pulled behind a boat on a pair of water skis…

…as he jumped the shark, and officially signaled the end of all that was good.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the July portion of summer was even all that great. It’s just that for those first few weeks of summer I was riding the emotional high of not having to pack lunches and usher hostile, fake-sick children out the door every morning.  I internally celebrated that freedom with such gusto that for an entire, oh I don’t know, seven days, I just basked in the delight of our new, lavish, unscheduled lifestyle. Around the end of the second week I started to come down from my high…and by the end of week three I had fully crashed. The days were long and endless. And hot. But still, you know, whatever. It was summer so it still sort of felt better than school.

And then it didn’t.

I’m not sure of the exact moment when we jumped the shark over here. To give you a general time frame, I would have to say that it was sometime AFTER my car started to smell like sour milk, but BEFORE my 4-year-old started singing the Fuck You Thunder Song from Ted. Somewhere right around there. A simple 4-year-old flip of the bird and time came screeching to a halt. And now I still have the entire rest of the MONTH to get through. Practically an entire month of “What are we doing today? I’m bored! What day is it? There’s no food in this house. What time is Dad going to be home? Hey, mom, watch me! What are we doing tomorrow? Can we have a sleep over?”

Suddenly making lunches, packing backpacks, signing permission slips, and fighting about homework doesn’t seem so bad. It it actually feels like it would be sort of dreamy. Sort of like that magical feeling when Fonzie kicks the side of the jukebox and a Pinkie Tuscadero song comes on. Like a little piece heaven.

So Summer 2015 and “sit on it.” I’m so over it.

Hashtag bring on the big yellow school bus.

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0

Oh, No He Did NOT Just Say That…

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Forget about recording your children’s first words in their baby book, there should be a whole entire section dedicated to recording all the hair-raising things that come out of their mouths once they are old enough to form full sentences.

Below are 16 hair-raising, gross, & horrifying examples.

“Mom, is this a tick crawling on me? Never mind, I flicked it off.”
Said while sitting in the backseat of the car

“Mom! Joey made me spill my slush EVERYWHERE!!”
Also said while sitting in the backseat of the car

“Is Sharpie marker permanent?”
Said while sporting a drawn on uni-brow and goatee

“Don’t tell Mom, she’ll kill us!”
Murmured secretively behind a closed door

“Ooops, I thought that was a fart.”
Said while trying to prove to his brother that he can fart on command

“I have to poop.”
Said anytime that there is only a port-a-potty available

“I have a project due tomorrow.”
Said at 8:00 at night

“I don’t feel good.”
Said 10 minutes after you secured a babysitter for that evening and made plans for a date night with the hubster

“Fuck”
Said in front of the grandparents

“You promised we could get a dog when Cassidy turned 2!!!”
Said on Cassidy’s 4th birthday

“My dad spends a long time in the bathroom.”
Said in front of the entire Kindergarten class

“Mom! Mom! Mooooommmmmmm!!!”
Said late in the afternoon when I am hanging on by a thread

“I don’t have any clean underwear”
Said 10 minutes before you have to walk out the door for school

“So-and-so has strep throat.”
Said 24 hours after “so-and-so” has spent the night at your house

“ummm… so my dream was so weird last night…ummm…it was like, umm… we were at this place…ummm…wait, I’m trying to remember…ummmm…”
Said anytime you are in a huge rush

And last, but not least:
“What are we doing today?”
Said the first thing, on the first day of summer vacation…and every single morning of the summer thereafter.

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Chocolate Chips Don’t Belong in Your Nose…and other truths we hold to be self-evident, but aren’t

girls with choc chips and minions

We hold these seven truths to be self-evident…unfortunately the kids need a little reminder.

Chocolate chips don’t belong in your nose~ First of all, you shouldn’t be shoving anything up your nose. With that being said, if I had to put in order a list of things that you really really shouldn’t shove up your nose, chocolate chips would be at the top of that list. Chocolate chips are food. They are a delicacy. They are little droplets of pure perfection. But the minute they get shoved up your nose they lose all their hard-earned glory and become nothing more than just your average, no-good booger. And you shouldn’t eat your boogers. Even if they are chocolate flavored.

You need to use soap in the shower~ If you are in the shower for 20 minutes using up all the hot water, and then you come out and your hair is basically still dry and you still have dirt on your face…well…I’m sorry, but you have completely missed the point of taking a shower. A shower is meant to clean your body, with soap, from tip to tail. And it’s meant to clean it in such a way that you aren’t soaking in a tub full of your own filth. The shower is a rite of passage. When you’re old enough to take a shower, you are too old for me to come in and help you clean all your nooks and crannies. I shouldn’t have to tell you this. Turn around, get back into the shower, and wash yourself properly. For real.

It’s not a good idea to draw penises on every minion in your sister’s Despicable Me coloring book~ Even if one sister IS standing next to you chanting “Penis! Penis!” and the other sister has collapsed to the floor because she is laughing so hard. I get it, you got caught up in the moment. But EVERY page? Every single page in the coloring book is now x-rated. Throwing the book away doesn’t seem to be enough so I’m just going to burn it.

You can get your own glass of milk~ Oh no you did NOT just walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, see what we have to drink, and then go and sit down and ask me to get you a glass of milk. Uh Uh. I refuse to believe that just happened. This isn’t a restaurant. I’m not here to wait on you. I’m not working for tips. I’m not your slave. You are perfectly capable of getting your own drink. This is lunacy. Do you think I want to spend my days just fetching drinks and snacks at your command? I don’t care that you are so nice and comfy on the couch and that you said “please”…well, now that I look at you, you DO look awfully cozy. I would hate for you to have to get up. Okay, just this one time I will get you a glass of milk. Just this ONE time. Would you like a snack with that?

Cap the marker~ The cover is supposed to back on the marker when you are done with it. That’s how it works. You uncap the marker, use the marker, and recap the marker. Otherwise the marker dries out and it is rendered useless. It’s like the basic laws of physics. If you leave the cap off, you can kiss that marker good-bye. Adios. Sayonara. Ciao. Plus, dried out markers are a waste of money. Moolah. Dinero. Cha-ching. The markers aren’t supposed to be disposable. We live in a civilized society where people recap their markers when they are done with them. Get with the program.  I’m so passionately sick and tired of having to throw away dried out markers. I’m ready to pull the plug on the whole thing and just become a crayons-only household.

When you are at the pool, you’re going to get wet~ Why is it so shocking to everyone when they get splashed at the pool? Stop complaining about getting wet. The outrage coming from you is at such a fevered pitch that one would think you had just been splashed with someone’s vomit. It’s water. You’re at a pool. Why are you so bewildered?  Let’s just look at the facts. You’re in your bathing suit. You’re wearing goggles. You brought a towel to dry yourself off. You even brought a change of clothes for afterwards. It would appear to all involved that you are well aware that getting wet is a possible (and not necessarily shocking) consequence of going into a big giant man-made hole in the ground filled with water.

You need to wear shoes~ If we are going somewhere and I’m trying to get everyone out the door and into the car, I REALLY do think it is super awesome that you hustled and were the first one in the car. Hooray! What I DON’T think is super awesome, though, is when we arrive at our destination and I discover that you don’t have any shoes on. That is the opposite of hooray. How about you just tuck this little piece of advice into your back pocket: If you are leaving the house to go somewhere, put on shoes. You don’t even need to ask me if you need to wear shoes because the answer will always be yes. Even one shoe and one sock is better than nothing because you can just limp and I’ll tell everyone that you hurt your toe in a sky-diving accident and so you can’t wear shoes for a week. THAT I can groove to. Having to put my 9-year-old in the front seat thingy of the supermarket carriage because he is barefoot…not so much.

C’mon, man! Just, C’MON! I thought you knew all this already. Sure, I know I didn’t sit you down and actually tell you all of this stuff, but did I really have to? Isn’t it like how Windows 8 is already preloaded onto a computer…isn’t some of this vital info already preloaded into your brain? I take it, by the the chocolate snot running down your lip, that the answer is no.

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