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!!!!

 

2

If You Need Me, I’ll Be In My Shell

turtle selfie

Its amazing the amount of noise and chaos I can tune out when it comes to my kids. For example, I should legit have PTSD from the car ride to the beach on Mother’s Day. But I don’t. The yelling, complaining, and Are we there yet? all just float past me, barely even making it into my ears and to my brain. I’m so good at the tune out that during the whole ENTIRE trip there was only ONE time that I felt the urge to full-body launch myself from the passenger seat directly into the backseat intent on performing a leaping scissor kick while screaming, “That’s right, you BETTER hide!” But luckily I managed to get myself back to a state of calm until the urge passed (Serenity now. Serenity now.) During most car trips I can even let the occasional physical brawl just ride itself out. The way I see it, if you try to give “dead leg” to the person sitting next to you because they are “breathing too loud on purpose”, you’re probably going to get kicked in the head. And that is just a lesson you have to learn on your own. That is NOT something I can teach you.

I can tune out lots of other things, too. Take for instance the cabinets in my kitchen. The other day my husband looked closely at them and he was like, “Gross. The cabinets need to be cleaned.” And I was like, “Huh? What cabinets?” while leaning against the very cabinets of which he spoke. Gunk building up on the cabinets is something that I can tune out (ignore?) pretty easily. Very easily. Okay, maybe way too easily. But really, I have laundry that is begging to be folded, bums that need to be wiped at various times throughout the day, and dinner that is somehow supposed to miraculously cook itself. Am I really supposed to pay attention to the dirt on the cabinets? Plus, I find that if I walk through the kitchen really quickly and kind of blur my eyes a little I hardly notice the dirty cabinets at all. That works for other parts of the house as well, by the way. It’s kind of like a life hack.

I’m just now trying my hand at tuning out my middle schooler’s newly acquired “I know more than you. You may have walked the earth for 44 years, but I am nearly 12 and therefore I know everything” attitude. That one is giving me a run for my money. But I’m no quitter. I’ll tune that noise out sooner or later.

The way I see it, my ability to tune out the unsavory parts of my life makes me sort of like a reverse Ninja Turtle. Instead of jumping into action to fight the bad guy and restore calm and order to the masses, I see the chaos and annoyance increasing and I ever so slowly retreat into my shell. First one foot, then the other… slowly I start scrunching my head backwards until I am safe inside my nice quiet shell, where all the cabinets are self-cleaning, and all the children are pleasant and well-behaved. My shell is the best. I love it in here. It’s so fab that one of these days I may never come out.

14

Let’s Share, Shall We?

sharing-is-caring

You know how someone tells you a story about their kids and you are like, “oh thank God it is not just me”? Let’s do that. Let’s share. I’ll start…

I’m not the only one whose morning routine is basically just a routine of complete chaos, right? No one can ever find their shoes or sweatshirts for some reason. EVER. And I don’t know why it doesn’t occur to me to locate the missing, but necessary, items until we are literally walking out the door. That is like, practically, EVERY day of our lives. (Except Saturdays when we don’t have to be anywhere, and Sundays when CCD is cancelled.)

Oh, and it’s not just me who will drive back through the McDonald’s drive-thru to ask for a different prize in my kids’ Happy Meal, right? I did this yesterday. I had two of the kids in the car, ordered two Happy Meals, got two DIFFERENT prizes. What the heck?! I had to loop around and go back to the window. It sounds mental, I know…but it was so much easier than listening to my 5-year old throw a fit.

Tell me I’m not the only one who will resort to giving the little ones Cheez-its for breakfast as we are rushing out the door to be fashionably late for preschool. It’s either that or grab a donut on the way…and somehow the Cheez-its seem like a better choice. You know, because Cheez-its have cheese (flavoring) and cheese has calcium, and calcium gives you strong bones and teeth. Score.

And speaking of food, I’m sure it’s not just in my house that everyone devours the bananas like they are going out of style, and then begs me to buy more bananas because they LOOOVE them. Which I’m happy to do because, well, they’re bananas. But also because bananas are the best kept secret in the supermarket. You can buy a zillion bananas and it will only cost you about 2 bucks. So I do just that. I buy a zillion bananas for my banana-loving kids. I now have a zillion brown/turning black bananas on my counter because, yea, they’re all set with bananas.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who uses paper plates, paper cups, and plastic utensils because it cuts down on how many dishes I have to actually wash. I know, I know, it’s bad for the environment. But you wouldn’t be judging me if you knew how much I truly hate doing the dishes.

I also hate cleaning the bathrooms. It’s not just my boys who can’t aim, right? I’m talking, can’t aim to the point that I’m pretty sure they are peeing with their eyes closed. Sometimes I make them clean it themselves, which grosses them out. But it doesn’t gross them out enough to open their eyes the next time they pee.

Ummmmm, it’s not just in my car where someone will yell “food fight!” and suddenly a corn muffin will go whizzing past your head, right? Right? Okay, that may just be my car.

But I know that it’s not just me who goes grocery shopping and then two days later has no food left in the house because the kids have gone on an all-you-can-eat bender. I know that happens in your house, too because you’ve told me.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who screams “WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP!!!” silently in my head while my nine-year-old follows me all around the house talking and talking and talking. Oh, and he’s a low-talker so sometimes I can’t even hear what he’s saying, but I know he’s talking because his lips are moving and I can hear a faint murmuring sound coming from them. Wait, I just re-read that and it sounds mean so I would like to clarify that for the first hour of our one-sided conversation I am fully engaged. But eventually someone else needs attention and the nine-year-old just keeps on talking/murmuring with no end in sight. So that is when I begin my silent screaming.

Oh, and you know how I mentioned above that we are fashionably late for preschool (every day)? Well that is because my 5-year-old spends so much time standing in front of the mirror and making up songs about how pretty she is. That happens in your house, too, right?

How about one of my sons who will risk being late and getting detention because his gelled hair isn’t flipping just right? My house only?

I can’t possibly be the only one who buys the kids boatloads of socks, only to have them completely disappear into thin air, right? Does that happen at your house? I can’t understand it. I will go thru the entire house and find every single sock and I will do a socks only wash. I will wash them, dry them, match them, fold them, and huck them into the sock basket. And still there will only be like 5 pair in there. Five. I just bought three 8-packs. And now we have 5 matching socks.

Speaking of laundry, am I the only one who smells clothes to determine if they are clean or dirty? Just because it’s on the floor doesn’t mean that it is dirty. Sometimes it means that it was tried on, determined to be unsatisfactory, and discarded onto the rug. I’m not doing any more laundry than I have to, and I’m not about to rewash clean clothes. So I smell them. Big whiff. Yup, dirty. Gag. (It should be noted that I draw the line at underwear. If underwear is on the floor it goes in the wash. Clean, dirty, I don’t care. I’m not smelling it.)

Okay, it’s your turn. See the little comment section below? Drop me a line and share a story. It’ll make us all feel so much better to know that we are not living in Crazytown alone. And…..GO!

PS~ Check me out on ScaryMommy.com on Friday! Yay!!

3

What the Black Light Revealed

invisible ink2

I have some wicked important information for you. Kind of like a life lesson. I’ve posted about life lessons before, but this very important life lesson hadn’t happened yet or else I would have included it. In fact, it would have been first on the list. It’s a real doozy. This life lesson involves a microwave, an egg, an invisible ink spy pen, and an unexpected encounter with a black light. Let me begin…

On Sunday, my eight-year-old got two invisible ink spy pens as one of his birthday presents. (You know the kind that you use write stuff, but you can’t see what you’ve written until you shine a special black light onto it.) All five kids immediately got work using the pens to write all over everything, including themselves and each other (one of them claims to have also written on the wall…but I still can’t find it.) The girls drew invisible ink mustaches on themselves, invisible ink hearts on their arms, and invisible ink squiggle lines all over their legs. The boys went in a different direction with their art work. In typical boy fashion, they decided to tackle each other and then write words on each others’ faces. If they could hold the other person down long enough to draw a picture on their cheek…all the better. It was all such great fun, and at no time was I screaming at them to cut the crap.

Shortly after they decided to heed my warning and to cut the crap, my nine-year old was cooking an egg in the microwave by cracking it into a cup of water and cooking it on high for 2 ½ minutes. He learned this trick on the internet. You shouldn’t necessarily always do tricks that you learn on the internet. That is a good life lesson…but it is not the life lesson that I am talking about.

When he took the cup out of the microwave he tried to scoop the egg out with a fork, which pierced the cooked yolk and caused the egg to explode and boiling water and burning egg to burst out right at his eyes. None of us knew that could happen. We obviously never would have let him cook an egg that way if we knew. Apparently you’re supposed to pierce the yolk when it is still raw to break the membrane so the steam can escape while it is cooking. That is actually very good information, and a key life lesson. But it is not the life lesson that I am talking about.

So we rush him to the ER where they take him right in to be checked. Did you know that there is a really cool dye that they can put in your eyes that will make your eyeballs glow in the dark? Well, there is. And the doctor puts it in your eyes, turns off the light, and then uses a big ol’ black light to illuminate your eyes. A black light. Which not only illuminates your eyes, but (much to my horror) your cheeks…and your forehead.

Now pay attention, because here is the part with the wicked important life lesson: Do NOT, under any circumstance, EVER let your brothers write a word or draw a picture across your forehead in invisible ink. Just don’t. Because you have no idea how absolutely mortified your mother will be as she is standing nervously beside your bed in the pediatric wing of the ER, when suddenly the black light is switched on, and there, written across your cute little innocent forehead, in big block letters, lit up for all the world to see, is the word PENIS.

*For info on safely cooking eggs in the microwave click here

*My nine-year-old suffered 2nd degree burns around his eyes and on his wrist, but is healing up remarkably fast. He claims he will never eat an egg again.

3

The Making of a Mad-Woman

I have for you here a perfect recipe.

A recipe so perfect that, when followed precisely, will transform you from a normal, well-adjusted, mentally-sound person into an absolute raving lunatic. A lunatic who says such things as, “Because I said so!” and “I’m a grown-up so I’ve earned the right to swear.” A Mad-woman.

 

Here we go:

A Recipe for Disaster

In a large bowl, add the following ingredients:

1 potentially historic blizzard

1 kinda sorta blizzard (depends on who you talk to)

2-3 major snow storms

6  “no school” calls from the Superintendent

2 big handfuls of below zero temps

Mix the above ingredients together with a dash of cabin fever, a little bit of “she won’t stop breathing on me”, and cup of “if you need me I’ll be outside shoveling off the roof.” Cover the bowl with an ill-timed February vacation, and set aside.

 

In a separate bowl, combine the following ingredients:

(NOTE: these ingredients are to be handled with care. They are highly explosive and have a way of getting under your skin. You must resist the urge to run away screaming when faced with these ingredients. Stand your ground.)

One 11-year-old boy who takes a break from his computer and his phone only long enough to aggravate each of his siblings to the point of tears

One 9-year-old boy who decides to get sick the Sunday night before the first Monday the kids have been in school in a month. You thought you were going to get a break at last. You thought wrong.

One 7-year-old boy whose favorite phrase is “I know you are, but what am I?” (Which for some reason drives the 9-year-old crazy.) *Don’t do the whole “I am rubber you are glue…” thing. It won’t help.

One 5-year-old girl who said no to the only bagel in the house FIVE times when you asked her if she wanted a bagel with cream cheese for lunch. Five times you asked. Five. All five times she said “No” like you were some sort of crazy person offering her a worm sandwich. So you offered the bagel to her brother and he said “Yes” like you were Willy Wonka offering him the golden ticket. Which prompted the 5-year-old to suddenly decide that yes, in fact she does want the bagel and cream cheese after all. In fact she wants it more than she’s ever wanted anything ever before in her whole entire life.

One 3-year-old girl pitching a major fit, screaming and crying because you flushed her poop before she could show it to her brothers.

poop show and tell meltdown

Now here is where it gets tricky. You need to combine the ingredients from both bowls into one big massive bowl. The key is to add them in the right amounts at the right time. Add them too slowly and you run the risk of being able to handle it all easy breezy. Add them too quickly and you’ll become a mental-case waaay too fast, which is no good. You’ve got a rep to protect. So easy does it. You’ll know you have it correct because you will feel yourself s-l-o-w-l-y losing your mind. Little by little losing your grip on the “normal you” whose kids used to go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays.

When you start fantasizing about being trapped alone in an elevator you will know that you have followed the Recipe for Disaster perfectly and you are now officially a Mad-Woman.

1

It’s Just a 20 Dollar Piece of Crap

the bear

I just spent 20 bucks on the world’s crappiest stuffed animal. It’s gross. A gross stuffed bear made of gross material and stuffed with (highly flammable?) gross stuffing. I shouldn’t even know what the inside stuffing looks like because, well, it’s supposed to be on the INSIDE. But it’s not. It’s coming out thru the shoddy stitching around the neck. We’ve only had the thing for 30 minutes and its practically disintegrating in my daughter’s hands. And, ugh, she’s all jazzed up to sleep next to the nasty thing. She keeps kissing it! (Don’t put it near your mouth!) I’m just biding my time over here, waiting for her to turn her head so I can huck the offending stuffed animal into the trash. Oh, and I’m pretty sure this thing was made in a sweat shop. So now my $20 has gone to support a back alley sweat shop in the dredges of some third world country where women have no rights. I’m not down with that. So how did we end up with a highly flammable, piece of crap, stuffed bear in our possession? Two words:

Claw Machine

That’s right. We were away with the kids, and in the hotel there was an arcade. You can pretty much walk into any family-friendly hotel in the entire world and there will be a dreaded, money-sucking arcade somewhere in the building. And, of course, in any respectable money-sucking arcade there will always be at least one claw machine sitting there just waiting to torture some poor sucker. I hate claw machines. My kids love them. I seriously think they should be against the law since they are basically just a big racket. My kids think they are the best invention since the dawn of time. I may be a dreamer about a lot of things. But when it comes to the claw machine I am a realist. A very mean realist.

Me: You’re not going to win anything.

Them: Yes I am. I want to win that stuffed animal right there (pointing to the gross stuffed animal jammed under 3 layers of other gross stuffed animals.)

Me: I know you WANT to win it…but you’re not GOING to win it. There’s no way for the claw to get that far down. And even if it does get that far down, it won’t be able to pick up that toy. You’re not going to win anything. You’re just not.

Them: Yes, I am. Can I have a dollar?

Me: I hate to be a dream-crusher, but it’s rigged. I’ll give you a dollar, you can put it into the machine, move the claw around, and then drop it when you think it is over the toy you want. But you won’t win. As long as you know that going in, I’m fine with it.

Them: Okay, can I have a dollar?

Me: No crying and complaining after.

Them: Can I have a dollar?

Me: You’re not going to get that toy.

Them: Yup, can I have a dollar?

I handed over one of the two dollars she was allotted. She put it in the machine, strategically moved the claw, and pushed the red button. She was surprisingly shocked that the claw didn’t pick up and deliver the prize she wanted. She was also surprisingly confident that with her next (and “last”) dollar the bear would be hers. I handed it over (you’re not going to win) and she fed it into the machine. This time when the claw went down it actually grabbed the bear by the head and managed to lift it up an inch or two before dropping it. Huh, interesting. She wanted another dollar. I should have said no. But, I mean, she ALMOST had it the last time. One more dollar. That’s it. I mean it this time. I handed over the George Washington and we all gathered around. This time the claw picked up the bear and carried it almost all the way to the drop area. Almost ALL the way! I drank the Kool-aid. One more dollar. Another pick up, another drop…even closer to the drop area. This damn thing is rigged! (Can anyone break a $20?)  Time to call in the big guns: her 11 year old brother, Harry. Another dollar. Another drop. Another dollar. ANOTHER drop. So close. I’m all in now. Fully invested. I don’t even care what the cost is…we are getting that bear. That bear is ours. Maybe this time…nope. Maybe this time…nope. And then, just when I thought I’d be breaking another $20. The claw picked up that freaking bear and managed to hold onto it all the way to the drop area! No one was more surprised than me! WE WON! We won the bear! We won the bear! We won the… wait, ewwww, we won the bear. And I paid HOW much money to win it? 20  bucks? I paid 20 bucks for that piece of crap?

So even though we won, we lost. We are now stuck with an extremely expensive, totally gross, stuffed bear that I am going to have to sneak into the trash under the cover of darkness some night. Claw machines are like War Games (starring the great Matthew Broderick). The only way to win is not to play.

the bear we want 2          first grab

first drop         another drop

more money                big guns

we got it