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

Blood

We had an adventure at the doctor’s office yesterday. It went down like this:

All the kids had to get their blood taken, except “the one who is afraid of needles” because he had a soccer game.

I only told the two older boys that they were getting blood taken. I didn’t tell the two younger girls because I didn’t want them to panic. I told the two older boys not to say anything to the two younger girls because, you know, I didn’t want them to panic.

But by the time I got all of them in the car to drop off “the one who is afraid of needles” at his soccer game, “the one who cries” was in the backseat hysterically crying about getting a shot. “The one who is easily aggravated” had clued her in about where we were going and why. (Upon interrogation, “the one who is easily aggravated” said he told “the one who cries” about the needle because, and I quote, he “just felt like telling her.” Nice. I have failed as a mother.) We dropped off “the one who is afraid of needles” at his game, and as he was gloating about being the only one not having to get blood taken I explained that he wasn’t getting blood taken TODAY but I’m just rescheduling his appointment because of his game. His face turned pale. (Which gave me a weird sense of satisfaction.) I smiled, gave him a little wave goodbye, and off we went.

The endless drive to the doctors was spent with “the one who cries” crying, “the one who can roll with the punches” saying that she didn’t care about the needle and she’d go first, “the one who thinks he is funny” trying to make everyone more nervous than they already were, and me giving “the one who is easily aggravated” the stink eye.

Somehow we made it there in one piece. Somehow we got everyone in the elevator (good thing “the one who is afraid of needles” wasn’t there because he is also afraid of elevators.) Somehow we made it into the little room where the blood was to be drawn.

And, oh my God, we did it!

I can’t believe that “the one who cries”actually got her blood taken without having to be strapped to the bed. I was seriously impressed. “The one who can roll with the punches” got her blood taken like it was a walk in the park (naturally). “The one who is easily aggravated” had a rough time of it because he has skinny veins or something. (They had to stick him a gazillion times in both arms before they actually could draw blood. It was ugly.) “The one who thinks he’s funny” was next, and he’s up there joking with the nurse that he might cry and that this is a judgement free zone, right? And just as I’m about to cue the laugh track, “the one who is easily aggravated” faints!! One minute he is up, the next minute he is down.

THAT was unexpected. We have a man down!

elmo faints.gif

A half hour later everyone was conscious and alert and we headed home. (Stopping at McDonald’s of course, as promised.) As we were going thru the drive-thru and ordering our food, “the one who thinks he’s funny” was yelling into the speaker that his brother had passed out earlier (in hopes that they would give us free food. They didn’t.) “The one who cries” cried the whole time about how she was afraid to bend her (left) arm because she was afraid it was going to hurt so she couldn’t get the food to her mouth (she’s right-handed.) “The one who can roll with the punches” announced that HER left arm also hurt to bend, so she decided to eat with her right hand instead (naturally.) And “the one who is easily aggravated and who also apparently faints when he gets blood taken” talked the ENTIRE time about how he should get to skip school the next day because he fainted.

The night ended with nothing out of the ordinary. It only took “the one who cries” a half hour of hysterical crying to get her band-aid off. But then once it came off she was so excited to see that there was a little drop of blood on the gauze thingy, and she immediately made plans to hang the gauze thingy up in her room to show all her friends. Then she started crying again because she was afraid her arm might start to bleed. “The one who can roll with the punches” told me she needed some Advil (only I couldn’t understand her, so it was like: Can you get me some oval? Oval? No, oval. Oval? No, oval. Oval? She wants Advil. Oh, you want Advil? Yes. Okay. Naturally.) “The one who thinks he’s funny” spent way too much time re-enacting the fainting scene (his version included life saving CPR, and me screaming “live, damn you!”) “The one who is easily aggravated and who also apparently faints when he gets blood taken” laid on the couch and kept on talking about skipping school the next day. (Interspersed with asking me if I could please write in his baby book that he had fainted at the doctor’s today.) “The one who is afraid of needles and elevators” was squirreled up in the corner of the couch on his phone as if the rest of us didn’t exist (because, in his mind, we don’t.)

So, you know, just an ordinary day.

Oh my God, I’m so tired!!!

 

 

0

The Fart in the Jar

For some reason I’m obsessed with collecting jars.

I don’t know why.

I just have this feeling that I may need a jar some day to do a Pinterest craft. That day hasn’t come up yet, so I keep adding to my collection of empty olive jars, and pasta sauce jars, and baby food jars, etc. Something is clearly wrong with me and I will most likely be getting an official diagnosis soon. But in the meantime…

There is this one jar.

the jar

It looks like any other jar in my collection under the sink. If you didn’t know it was different, you wouldn’t know. But it is different. It’s very different. Because my 9-year-old son farted in it. So now it is no longer a jar sitting under my sink waiting to be turned into a snazzy Pinterest craft. Now it is a fart jar.

A simple, no good, fart jar.

My 9-year-old spent the better part of New Year’s Eve day chasing various family members around the house trying to force them to smell the fart jar. He almost got himself killed. A couple of times he was wrestled to the ground and had to “tap out” to save himself. When forcing people to take a whiff didn’t work, he decided to change his tactic…he  started daring people to take a whiff. Not many of us fell for it. Most of us know better than to accept a dare. Except my 4-year-old daughter. For her there was something oddly intriguing about being dared to smell a fart in a jar. I kept trying to save her from her brother’s dares by yelling various empty threats at them. But in the end she just couldn’t help herself. In the end she dared HERSELF to smell it, and so smell it she did.

cassie smelling jar

Omigod! Look at her little smile of satisfaction. She is really getting her nose right in there.

And so that is my parenting lesson for today. You can try to protect your kids as best you can. But you simply cannot save them from themselves. If they want to smell the fart in the jar, they are going to smell the fart in the jar. It’s as simple as that. The best you can do is warn them of the dangers of smelling farts in jars. And explain to them that even if all their friends are smelling farts in jars they shouldn’t smell them, too. But then, you just have to step back and let them face these situations themselves, and just hope that you’ve raised them with enough smarts not to smell farts in jars. Which, clearly, I have not.

2

Elf on the F’ing Shelf

So I consider myself a bit of an expert on the Elf on the Shelf. After all, he has been a seasonal part of our family for about 7 years now. Based on my expertise I have a few changes that I think would make the Elf, and the whole Elf experience, a little easier to manage.

First, an example of what I am trying to avoid:

sleeping elves

Two elves (yes, two) snuggled up with Sensei from Club Penguin, being serenaded by a pink monkey Beanie Boo and her side kick the tiger striped rubber ducky.

Things would just be a lot easier if we made the following changes…

There should be a rule that no one in the family can make stuff for the elf. There can be no tie-dye shirts made out of paper that the elf is expected to wear for the remainder of his time here. (See above picture.) No capes that anyone has to try not to rip every time they move the elf from point A to point B. The creating of little elfin accoutrement needs to stop immediately.

There should be a hotline that you can call 24/7 that will give you some reasonable and quick ideas about where to hide the elf so that at midnight when you are wandering around the house trying to come up with a creative way to hide the idiotic thing (while your husband is snoring loudly from the bedroom) you can just call and get a bunch of easy ideas. Note: Yes, I know that Pinterest has a million creative ideas. But I’m not talking about anything fancy like the elf “pooping” out chocolate chips, or making snow angels out of flour. I need basic boring “have you tried hiding him on the branches of the Christmas tree, yet?” And then maybe the operator could tell me that I’m awesome…but that would just be a little extra something special.

There should be a support group for all the elf movers. At the end of the elf-moving season all members of the group should get together and help each other as we transition back into the real world where we are no longer expected to lurk around the house under the cover of night hiding a creepy little toy. And there should be an open bar at each gathering. And taxis to cart all of our asses home.

The part of the story where it says that you can’t touch the elf or he’ll lose his magic should be revised slightly. It should also include a few sentences about how you also can’t leave the elf questionnaires that he is expected to fill out and then leave behind with the answers. The dead of night is not a good time to be trying to write (in disguised handwriting) a good answer as to why Santa isn’t getting them a dog for Christmas.

The elf’s body should be manufactured using a completely different material. The body should be made of that gooey stuff that you whip at the wall and it splats and stays there until you take it off and whip it at something else. Tell me that wouldn’t come in handy as you are trying to get down the stairs before the kids. All you would have to do is grab the elf off of one wall, and then quickly huck it across the room at another wall. And it would just stick there in some weird, but funny, position. It would take, like, three seconds to move the elf. (This is my favorite idea so far.)

Barring the above suggestion, all elves should come with an emergency remote that lets you suspend time. So when your darling little child comes in your room and says that he is going downstairs to find the elf (at 5:00 in the morning) you can just push the suspend time button and leisurely head down the stairs to find the elf a new hiding spot. Important to note that this emergency-suspend-time remote could come in handy in many other situations as well.

Depending on your sense of humor, perhaps the elf’s body could be hollow so you can fill it with with slim jims. Then you could “hide” the poor little sucker next to the dog’s dish. The kids will be sure to always remember the morning when they woke up to find that the family dog ate their little elfin friend, leaving behind only the head. You could even squirt a little ketchup around the head to make it look like blood. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud…

And lastly, 2016 should mark the end of the elf era. On Christmas Eve all elves should disappear into thin air, never to be seen again. And all children should have their memory erased so it is as if the crazy elf fad never, ever even happened.

Going forward, the Elf on the Shelf madness should be replaced by a new and improved tradition that I like to call, “The Alcohol on the Shelf”. Each night the other adult in your house should have to buy you a bottle of your favorite wine. Then when they are sure that you are fast asleep they will need to pry themselves out from under the toasty warm covers of the bed, and slink through the cold house to hide the bottle of wine somewhere fun and entertaining for you to find each morning. They should also be required to take pictures of the hidden/disguised wine each night to post on Facebook to show all their friends how clever they are. Good idea, right?? I’m confident that it will become a fine tradition in no time…

p.s. Christmas Eve is in 14 days. Help!!!!

 

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.

0

He. Could. Go. All. The. Way!

Your son is not going to play in the NFL. He’s not. I know you think he is great and all…and I don’t want to burst your bubble, but your son in NOT going pro. I know it for almost an absolute fact. I’ve done a little research. Let me break it down for you: over a million kids play high school football, of those million kids there are approximately only 80,000 that go on to play college football, and of that 80,000 only 1 out of every 325 kids will get drafted to the NFL. Which means that basically only about 250 will even get the chance to TRY to be in the NFL. Those are some odds. Now just imagine the statistical improbability of two kids from the same town playing on the same youth football team BOTH getting drafted into the NFL…basically not going to happen. Right? Right. So, how do I know that your kid isn’t going pro? Because he is on the same team as my kid…and I think it’s pretty obvious that my extremely talented (not to mention, well-behaved) child most likely IS going pro. They can’t both go pro, now can they? Don’t be sad, this is actually good news for you. Now, instead of watching your kid play the game with stars in your eyes and grandiose ideas in your head about his “future professional football career” you can just relax and enjoy the game…just for the love of the game.

You’re welcome.

Like I said, I’ve done a bit of research. Here is how I know that my little pumpkin is going to make it to the big time.

First of all, he’s wicked cute. That right there should be all the proof that you need. I mean, look at Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Brett Favre (hubba hubba). All of them were cute kids, and grew up to be delightful eye candy. So my scrumptious little nugget is practically a shoe-in, based solely on his undeniable cuteness.

He also has an amazing arm. Seriously. He throws the football so straight and there’s a ton of power behind it. I should know because the other day he was like, “Think fast!” and he threw the ball at me. I didn’t think fast enough and the ball beaned me off the head. It was a real doozie. Ouch. I was so proud. Oh, and not only is his throwing impressive, but the ball practically spirals every single time. Every single time. Practically. QB 101 right there. You probably think your kid has a good arm, too. But…no.

My little dreamboat is also a good catcher. And kicker. And runner. And blocker. If we can get him to run a little faster he could just throw to himself. I’m pretty sure that the reason he isn’t in for every single solitary play during the game is because the coaches don’t want the other kids to feel bad when they watch him and his magical moves. So they just have him in there a regular amount, same as all the other kids, so as not to draw attention. (Big shout out to the coaches for that one. Way to go guys. We are clearly on the same page.)

Oh, and another reason why it is clear that he is going to the NFL is that all he thinks about is football. All the time. Except when he is thinking about Minecraft. And except when he is thinking about how to get out of doing his homework. And except when he is thinking about food, and riding his bike, and playing on his ipad, and watching silly video’s on YouTube. Other than that I am very certain that the only thing that is on his mind is football. I think. He says it’s not. But he’s probably just saying that. You know kids.

Listen, I’m not saying that my kid is better than your kid, because in all fairness I’ve never actually paid attention to your kid. I’m just saying that I’m pretty sure that my son is the best ever. I think if you watched him you would agree. How could you not? He is the fruit of my loins for god’s sake. I know extraordinary fabulousness when I see it, and this kid is truly extraordinarily fab.

And I do have to tell you that I find it to be a little creepy that you think that your OWN kid is so fantastic and perfect. Puh-leeze. Don’t tell me you are one of THOSE parents. Come on. Get a grip.