Tuesday, March 31, 2015

“Can’t”: The Worst Four-Letter Word You Can Use Around Your Kids*

*Although I don’t condone the use of f*** around them either, which isn't to say that I'm not often tempted.

The tenacity of toddlers never ceases to amaze me.

I took the boys to the playground today, and Trystan was in a particularly fearless mood, swinging from the monkey bars without me standing nearby to catch him, sprinting up the slides, tip-toeing down the ladders. (I've told him, repeatedly, that the playground has the same rules as the board game: UP the ladders, DOWN the slides. He’s not one to stick to convention.) At one point, he even had the nerve to approach an adorable curly-haired little girl and initiate a little play-date of sorts. I mean, the kid’s got swag.

Ed Sheeran's Lego House ain't got shit
on this Mega Bloks tower.

After about fifteen minutes of this playground bravado, he decided he wanted to take things a step further (literally) and traverse The Stairway of Death. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, I mention it here, about halfway through the post. Essentially, it is a treacherously steep staircase, constructed on the local playground premises, presumably to keep moms on their toes and off their iPhones, since it follows The Universal Toddler Law of  x10 = y, where x is the likelihood of death a given situation presents, and y is its corresponding level of appeal. I suppose you could also refer to it as The Stairway to Heaven, depending on how dark your sense of humor is.

Trystan is well aware of my feelings toward TSoD. I've pretty much brainwashed him with warnings about it. Whenever we’re near the thing, he looks at me; points his typically-toddleresque, dirt-encrusted fingernail at it; and parrots “Doo deep! Doo deep!” (Too steep! Too steep!)

Today, however, on this ballsiest of mid-mornings, he decided nothing was “doo deep” for his bad-ass, three-foot self.

There is more than one path that leads to the top of TSoD (doesn't that sound philosophical?). Besides the obvious one (scaling it like a rock climber), you can also take a less-lethal staircase, followed by a benevolently-inclined ramp that winds around to the top. Trystan took this amiable route, looked down at the challenge before him, and gingerly lifted his Planes light-up sneaker, allowing it to hover over the top step. He then proceeded to look at me expectantly—a mischievous, challenging glint in his perfectly-hazel eyes—and waited for the words he knew I was about to spew in his direction.

“Trystan, you can’t walk down that. It’s too steep.”

I moved to stop him, but he started whining and stomping his feet in that comical, quintessentially tantrumming-toddler fashion. So I backed away but told him, again, “Honey, you can’t use those stairs."

He just grinned that impish little grin of his and slowly began making his way down. Instead of fighting him on it, I stood at the bottom, waiting to catch his tumbling little toddler body. I thought that maybe if he fell once, he’d be more inclined (pun intended) to heed my warnings in the future. And when that little toddler body did, inevitably, tumble into my arms, it began shaking with—what I presumed to be—frightened sobs.

But it turns out, I was wrong. He wasn't afraid; he was disappointed. He had set his mind on walking down that staircase and failed. I'd barely had the chance to console him before he was sprinting his way back to the top of the staircase—tears still fresh on his cheeks—and once again embarking on the perilous journey down.

This time, he made it without so much as a stumble.

This time, once he'd reached the bottom, his eyes didn't glisten with tears; they glistened with pride.

As I embraced him and congratulated him on his achievement, I felt his little heart beating rapidly against my own, still racing with the exhilaration and adrenaline of his feat. It dawned on me that my “can’t” had almost cost him that moment: That sense of accomplishment. That look of pride. That exuberant grin. That exhilarated little heart and that elated hug.

Why are adults so eager to put limits on what kids “can” do?

This wasn't the first time that I’d been humbled by my kids’ unwavering determination. I once observed Ollie stabbing at his Cheerios with a fork during breakfast, and instinctively told him, “You can’t eat Cheerios with a fork, honey.” I didn't give his endeavor a second thought as I turned my back on him to resume doing the dishes. Shortly after, I felt a gentle tug on the back of my pajama pants and turned around to see him grinning up at me, his crooked little teeth jutting out beyond his lower lip, holding this up proudly, as if it were the Olympic torch, and he’d just carried it all the way from Greece:

I had to steal it from him to get a decent picture 
because he wouldn't stop slashing it through the 
air, as if it were a sword, forged in a plastic toddler 
bowl, ready to slice my closed-mindedness in half, 
to the tune of  its maker's defiant battle cry: 

Although it certainly comes with its frustrations (trying to brush their teeth comes to mind), I’m glad that my kids are so stubborn—that they don’t automatically accept an adult’s words as universal truth. Like Trystan on the staircase, Oliver refused to take my “can’t” to heart. He learned to be creative. He learned not to give up. He learned that Cheerios taste so much sweeter when they're eaten off the prongs of a kiddie fork.

We could learn a thing or two from our kids about the value of perseverance.

How many other “can’t”s have I committed as a parent? How many other times have I deprived myself or my children of a poignant moment, a beautiful memory, or a personal triumph by using that restrictive four-letter word? How many times could I—like my children—have found a way?

We can’t go outside right now because it’s raining.

So let’s run around barefoot and build a mudman. Let’s do the Hot Dog dance in the puddles. Let’s make mudcakes and hunt for worms and paint each other’s arms with dirty rainwater.

We can’t go for a walk; it’s bedtime.

Let’s say our prayers outside and marvel at the moon. Let’s make wishes on stars, chirp along with the crickets, and laugh at the fireflies winking at us through the darkness.

You can’t play that board game; it’s too complicated.

So let’s make up our own rules. Let’s make the game pieces talk to one another, stage a Candyland battle, and point out all of our favorite colors on the game board.

I can’t read to you until I finish cleaning the kitchen.

Why don’t I do the dishes in the morning, while you’re eating breakfast? I can splash you with dishwater and talk to you in my Skippyjon Jones voice—the one I used last night, while you were curled in my lap, shaking with giggles at my horrendous attempt at a Spanish-kitty accent.

I can’t sit with you all night until you fall asleep.

Why not? There will come a day when you don’t want me to anymore. I can spend the night reveling in the sounds of your gentle breathing, basking in the softness of your baby-skinned hand in mine, and drifting to sleep with my lips pressed gently against your forehead.

I can’t hold you right now.

Yes, I can. But I won’t be able to when you’re 18.

You can’t have those M&Ms; they’re Mama’s.

(Okay, maybe there's just no way around this one.)

There is something heartrendingly beautiful in a child’s belief that he can do anything. As adults, we become complacent. We stick to what we know, what is comfortable, what is easy, and what is safe. We shy away from things that we might fail, because we know how much failure can hurt. We allow that fear to staunch the flow of passion that is born of our hearts—to choke it off before it even has the chance to reach our heads and compel us to act. We settle.

I don’t want my children to settle.

I wish they could feel invincible forever. But we live in an often unforgiving world, a world where people are ready to spew out the word “can’t,” where people use the failures of others to justify their own, where it is the norm to allow the fear of disappointment to dictate our actions.

I hope that as they grow older, and other people scoff when they stumble, they maintain the resiliency that I see in them now. I hope that they remember all the times they proved Mama wrong, and how good it felt. I hope they keep braving steep stairways and garnering stray cheerios.

If there’s one thing I “can’t” do, it’s protect them from the cruelty of others.

But for now, I can teach them that it is better to try and be laughed at than to not try at all.

I can support them. 

I can encourage them to test their limits and push beyond the edges of their potential.

I can applaud their efforts, even when they're futile.

I can allow them to try and fail, and try again, and grow.

I can be there to watch them fork a cheerio.

I can be there to catch them when things are “doo deep.”

I’m not naive. I know that when you’re raising young children, your first priority is to keep them safe. There are times for “shouldn't.” There are times for “won’t.” There are definitely times for “I really don’t feel like it right now.”

But there is never a good time for “can’t.”

Friday, March 27, 2015

MF, Reincarnated

Loyal Followers of Da Blog:

There is an MF3.

If you are NOT an LFoDB and have no idea WTF I’m talking about, you can read about my experience with MF1 and MF2 here.

(I apologize for all the initials, but I’m super tired of having to spell things out for people. Like how NOT EVERYBODY can get pregnant by dipping her pinky finger in a used condom.)

This woman—MF3—like her predecessors, thought the middle of a crowded playground was the ideal place to flaunt both her fertility and her total disregard for what a gift it is. Why is it that these ungrateful baby-factories tend to flock to the playground like vultures, waiting to pick away at what little patience and self-control I have left? I swear, one of these days, someone's gonna get titty-twistered.

I first overheard MF3 talking to a group of ladies about her affinity for energy drinks (red flag #1), how she actually enjoyed living in Texas (red flag #2), and her sincere hope that her husband would get her pregnant and then deploy (red f***ing parachute).

I’ll spare you all the infuriating niceties of the conversation and skip straight to the kicker—that made me want to kick-HER. In the ovaries:

“The last thing I want is to get pregnant with a boy.”

Cue my jaw dropping to the rubber surface of the playground, bouncing back up, and knocking me unconscious.

Seriously? That is the LAST THING you want? Look, I understand that some people who are trying to get pregnant are kind of hoping for a specific gender, but to say that a baby boy is the LAST THING you want? I’d come up with a proper insult, but my brain cells are too busy taking kamikaze dives at the temporal bones of my skull to form one befitting the asininity of that remark (which would also explain the migraine).

Look, lady, I’m pretty sure there are worse things in life than having a boy. If you ask me, there really isn’t anything better in life than having a boy (except maybe having two). I don’t presume to know you, so maybe I’m off-base here. But just to give you some perspective, here are 15 things I’m pretty sure you want to do LESS than “get pregnant with a boy”:

1. Cuddle with a box jellyfish.

2. Spend the night in a port-a-potty outside of a taco convention.

3. Share a few eskimo kisses with a star-nosed mole.

4. Mistake the dead fly that landed in your cookie dough for a raisin.

5. Give yourself a hydrochloric acid enema. Oh yeah, feel the burn!

6. Use a leech as a makeshift tampon.

7. Have sex with Beldar Conehead.

8. Have your eyeballs gouged out and eaten by a naked mole rat, and then be forced to watch as they pass through its anal sphincter.

9. Make out with a coprophagiac.

10. Get pregnant with a girl
      …sea urchin. Have fun pushing that out of your vagina.

11. Kiss a cockroach.

12. Eat a cockroach.

13. Poop out a cockroach.

14. Be a cockroach and have cockroach sex with another cockroach.

It's a cockrORGY!
[via Pixabay]

Oh, yeah, and, umm…

15. Deal with infertility issues.

Oh! Bonus! Set off a woman with infertility issues. I may just sick my demon male spawn on you.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Toddlers Plot Elaborate Easter Bunny Takeover

Dear Grown Ups,

We have hijacked kindly volunteered to take over for the Easter Bunny this year. Below, you will find a list of changes that can be expected this April. 

We feel our plan is of mutual benefit to everyone. And by “everyone,” we do, of course, mean ourselves.

Because making toddlers happy is what Easter’s all about, yo.

1. Instead of hanging out at the mall in all of our mutated, freakishly-large bunny glory, we will be dressing up as moving vehicles and roaming the streets.

Look, we all know how kids feel about that anthropomorphic, unblinking rabbit that tries to lure us into his lap with promises of chocolate and jelly beans. We never understood why you grown ups expect us to just go running into its open (probably clawed) paws.

We once heard of a little boy who sat on an Easter Bunny's lap at the mall, only to have it whisper in his ear, "I eat all da peeps. Especially da little ones dey call da toddlers." True story.

This dated misconception regarding what appeals to kids must die...before we children do (at the paws of the long-eared monstrosity you call a "bunny"). So we'll be renting semi-truck costumes and running up and down busy highways. That's clearly a more logical and appealing option for anyone under the age of 10. After all, what child doesn't feel compelled to sprint towards a speeding vehicle? 

Kids love it when Mama chases them, especially if she makes that really funny, high-pitched shrieking noise while doing it. 

2. All the plastic eggs that we hide will be blue.

Or green. Or purple. Or Razzle Dazzle Rose. Or whatever our favorite color of the day is. Because if they’re not, the world will obviously explode.

3. These plastic eggs will not be filled with candy.

Hiding candy is a cruel, cruel thing to do. We hate it when Mama puts her special dark chocolate in that "secret hiding place" we're not supposed to know about. It's hard work climbing all the way to the top shelf of the pantry to grab the box of "Wheat Thins."

We’ll just leave the candy in a big bowl right next to the kids’ beds, already unwrapped, for easy access. Then we’ll fill the plastic eggs with dirt. That way, when the kids bring them inside to open them, they can sprinkle soil all over the floor that Mama just finished vacuuming in preparation for the big family Easter brunch.

4. In addition to filth-filled, monochromatic plastic eggs, we will also hide real, cooked eggs.

Or, rather, tiny pieces of cooked eggs. In very strategic locations, such as those neat little crevices between the back of the sofa and the cushions, or the various heating vents throughout the house. We want to ensure that the stench of rotting food permeates every room of the house year-round, and that Mama drives herself loony trying to figure out where it's coming from.

Oh, and any leftover egg bits will obviously be ground into the living room carpet or smeared across the kitchen floor, because everyone knows that’s where food belongs.

5. No more chocolate bunnies.

While we are not above biting into something modeled in our own likeness (like a younger sibling), we find the whole bunny-delivering-bunnies thing a little creepy. Besides, bunnies are just so cuuuuuuuuuuuuute (barring, of course, the aberrational freaks discussed in #1)! There are so many of them that we've grown to love: Peter Cottontail, the Velveteen Rabbit, Pat the Bunny, Rabbit from Winnie-the-Pooh. We don’t want people thinking that it’s okay to just chomp the head off of Bugs Bunny. He's got enough on his plate with that right-winged, trigger-happy Elmer Fudd constantly on his tail.

Although...we have heard a few of Daddy's friends say they wouldn't mind taking a bite out of some bunny named Jessica Rabbit. We'd never heard of her until someone showed us a movie clip, and we didn't think she was cute at all. And she wasn't very good at hiding Easter eggs. We could see two huge ones in the front of her dress.

We also heard them saying how much they enjoy reading magazine articles about how to "play" with "Boy Bunny." Or something like that.

Anyway, how about we leave a big basket of “M”s instead? No worries, we’ll be sure to pick out all of the brown ones first. On second thought, maybe it would be better to just leave them in the mix. Then Mama will have something to keep her busy on Easter morning. We know she probably has nothing better to do than color code an entire basket of M&Ms for irrationally demanding toddlers. You know, since she doesn't have a “job” or anything.

6. We’ll be sure to clear up any confusion regarding what Easter is really all about.

Namely, us. And candy. Lots of candy. We will leave a detailed letter to Mama and Daddy, explaining that church is super boring and a waste of time. Well, we can’t really write yet, nor are we very proficient at articulating our feelings verbally, so we’ll just scream at Mama a lot while she's trying to squeeze her squirmy toddlers into cutesy Easter outfits before mass. 

We love Jesus and all, but he doesn't bring us candy. Besides, it’s confusing for kids: The guy at church in the funny looking dress always says that “Jesus delivers us,” but we don’t recall ever receiving any special deliveries from him. The Easter Bunny delivers candy. CANDY. candycandycandy!

7. Speaking of “deliveries,” we will be expecting milk and cookies as compensation for our services.

After all, Santa gets them every year for delivering toys, and, really, eggs require more work, considering how fragile they are. Plus, we have to hide them. Santa doesn't hide anything, except maybe his stress level (via the emotional eating of mass quantities of baked goods). It’s really not fair that he gets cookies every year. The Easter Bunny deserves some, too.

Just nothing with nuts. Or oatmeal. Or chunks. Or crunchies. Actually, maybe you should just stick with Oreos. But please be sure to remove the cookie part.

8. While we’re on the topic of food, let’s get real about that “food” you call carrots.

You expect us to eat that stuff? Yeah. Right. We really don’t care if “all the other bunnies” eat their carrots. The only way we’d even consider carrot consumption is in cake form. And you better not put any of that cream cheese icing crap on it. You know where that stuff will end up? On the floor, with the tiny cooked egg bits.

What is this shit? Vitamin A, huh? "A" for Appalling.

A final note on Peeps:

We understand that there is a lot of controversy surrounding those colorful, chick shaped marshmallows. Apparently they can be a “choking hazard” if consumed in the typical toddler fashion: quickly, and in exorbitant amounts. In the interest of safety, we will agree to deliver these with the understanding that instead of being eaten, they will be comically blown up in the microwave.

Bonus! If Mama finishes sorting the M&Ms sooner than expected, she'll have the task of Peep Guts Removal to fill all those lonely, empty hours. We know. We're so thoughtful.


TBC (Toddler Bunny Crew), out!

Have a Happy Easter, blogophiles! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Things I’ve Heard on Kids Shows That I Just Can’t Even

1. “Elmo has mail! Elmo loves his blankie! Elmo this! Elmo that!” (Virtually every “Elmo’s World” segment on Sesame Street)

Elmo is all about freaking Elmo. I suppose it’s not all that surprising that he thinks he’s the center of the universe, considering he has a whole damn world named after him. To be fair, he is gracious enough to occasionally permit others a little screen time, namely a goldfish named Dorothy and a pedophiliacally* mustached man named Mr. Noodle. Note that neither of these characters has the ability to speak.

I just don’t want my sons growing up to be narcissistic pricks because some furry red talking carpet with a nitrous oxide addiction made it look cool on TV.

*How ‘bout that for a “word of the day,” Sesame Street?

2. “We found ten gold doubloons! Let’s grab ‘em and GO!” (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)

Okay, WTF is a gold doubloon, and why are we finding them everywhere, every ten seconds? Hey, Disney Jr., let’s teach kids that if they find someone else’s money lying around, the honorable thing to do is snatch it up and run off.

3. “WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! More Mee-Mee! More Mee-Mee!”

Right, so that’s not technically the TV. It’s the sound my kids make when I refuse to let them watch Mater’s Tall Tales for the eleventy billionth time. But it still annoys the crap out of me.

Redneck tow trucks are my reason for living!
Why are you trying to kill me?

4. The theme song from Little Einsteins.

I sing this in the shower so frequently that I often find myself wishing I’d brought a hairdryer with me. That opening violin staccato is so damn catchy, it’s dangerous: I have, on occasion, used my razor as a makeshift bow and my overgrown leg hair as strings, pretending to be an orchestral prodigy (in a rocket ship, of course). The scars on my knees are testimony to a few times that I've really gotten into it.

5. “Hot Dog!” (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)

Mostly because I hate hot dogs. And I’m still suffering PTHDD symptoms as a result of the summer that my best friend and I relied on microwaved hot dogs for every meal because they were cheap, and we were too lazy to make anything else.

6. “Let it go.” (Frozen)

Trust me, I wish I could. But that ice bitch has practically freeze-rayed the lyrics of that song directly into the crevices of my brain. Hopefully they’ll disappear when the mental reiteration of Idina Menzel’s belting leads to my inevitable meltdown.

7. “Swiper, no swiping.” (Dora the Explorer)

Look, if you don’t want him swiping shit, stop calling him Swiper. What the bloody hell do you expect? It’s confusing. As the great T-Swift once said, “Players gonna play. Haters gonna hate. Swipers gonna swipe.” What? She never said that last bit? Oh, probs because that animated fox is so stressed out from the nomenclatural niche he’s been shoved into that he acted out by swiping the lyrics right out of her mouth.

And while we’re on the topic of Dora the Explorer:

8. Dora’s creepy blank stare and slow blink.

Holy mierda, Dora. Stop trying to incinerate my soul with your eerie death glare.

9. Any cartoon that asks my kid a question. (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go; I could go on longer than the brain-cell-killing, all-day reruns of any of the aforementioned shows)

Look, I get the whole push for intellectual interaction, but I've never heard my kids respond to questions posed by an animated mutant mouse. I’m not sure I want them getting in the habit of talking to over-sized rodents that don’t really exist. Plus, it confuses them. Mickey’s always asking them questions, and they don’t respond because they know (thank God) that he’s not real. But then when Grandma and Grandpa ask them how they’re doing on Skype, my kids just stare at them blankly, expecting them to break into the Hot Dog dance (OH GOD, refer back to #5).

10. “Little Engines can do big things, especially when they have nice blue paint like me!” (Thomas and The Magic Railroad)

Holy Viagra ad, Batman. I don’t care who funds PBS. I’m not ready to have that talk with my kids just yet, and I don’t need them developing “engine envy” at age two. So stop it with the not-so-subtle sexual subliminal messaging and advertising agenda.


Clearly, I just need to get my kids hooked on The Vampire Diaries. That would solve all our problems.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Make Toast for Toddlers (In 14 “Easy” Steps)

Anyone who’s attempted to properly toast bread for someone under the age of three will tell you it can be tricky. If you don’t get it exactly right, the ravenous tot in front of you will have a meltdown faster than that pat of butter you incorrectly spread on his breakfast. (You know, the one that elicited a temper tantrum because it wasn't swiped over the toast in a meticulously executed counterclockwise motion?)

Here are some tips for first-timers, or infinity²-timers, just hoping to finally throw down a toddler-approved breakfast:

1. Select the proper bread. It should be of a soft wheat variety, but it can’t have any seeds or visible “dirt” (grains) on it. Also, make sure it is closer to the burnt-sienna end of the brown spectrum than it is to sepia. Kids are all about colors. Plus, if the bread is too dark, they will assume that it’s burnt when it comes out of the toaster: And then there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Don’t even think about touching that butt piece. You thought about it, didn't you? Great, now look what you—(thought interrupted by wailing toddler and shrieks of “Yuck-bread! Yuck-bread!”)

And now we must go on hunger strike until
we get M&Ms as compensation for the trauma
we just endured.
[via Giphy]

2. Carefully place bread in the toaster and position the toasting nob. Make sure you don’t accidentally “squish” the bread as you’re positioning it. Squished bread will lead to tears; you might as well squish their tiny toddler hearts while you’re at it. Turn the nob so that the little arrow is pointing precisely ¾ of the way between “light” and “dark.” Or between “1” and “5.” Or whatever the hell scale of toastiness your appliance utilizes. Just point it somewhere in a direction between here (↗) and here (↘).

3. Go change a poopy diaper. Because surely one of them has shit his pants by now. After all, it’s been, like, three and a half minutes since you changed their diapers.

4. Once toast has “popped,” remove it carefully. Again, NO SQUISHING. If it’s been a really rough morning, use a metal fork. Make sure the toaster is still plugged in.

5. Remove crusts. It should go without saying that crusts are unacceptable. 

[via Giphy]
You’ll need to use a knife, preferably a sharp one. Butter knives tend to leave little ridges on the toast, and you can’t have irregular edges tainting their breakfast plates. Do not attempt to merely rip off the crusts with your hands. This will detract from the toast’s symmetry. Symmetry is vital. Without symmetry, their toddler world goes to shit. Feet will be kicked. Fists will be pounded. Ear drums will be brutally assaulted.

Whatever you do, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT eat the crust off the toast. Even if your kids aren't in the room, THEY WILL KNOW. And the second they find out that you ate it, they’ll decide that toast crust is their “Fay-rit Food” and proceed to throw a massive fit.

6. Go change a poopy diaper. If you’re feeling particularly irritated, don’t wash your hands before resuming toast preparation.

7. Determine the least despised toast spread for your tot. Here’s where things get a little tricky. In my experience, there are two camps of toddlers: (1) The Plain Janes, and (2) The Helly Jellies.

The Plain Janes have a particular affinity for things that taste like cardboard. PUT NOTHING ON THEIR TOAST. Don’t even breathe on it. In fact, if these steps fail you, and you are a parent to a Plain Jane, you could probably get by with just providing an old Cheerios box to gnaw on.

The Helly Jellies tend to be of the artistic variety, and enjoy any colorful, sticky substance that they can smear on the walls, a sibling, or your pants. I generally get the best response from my own Helly Jelly if I opt for honey, grape jelly, or peanut butter. BUT OH GOD DON’T USE CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER.

OMG, it has da crunchies in it! I must now
have an irrational freak out!
[via Giphy]
If your kid wants vegemite or seeded strawberry jam, then you have a true toddler anomaly on your hands, and I can be of no further help to you.

8. Cut toast into approximately 45,390,285 identical pieces. For suitable cutting tool options, see #5, above. If you accidentally cut it into 45,390,286 pieces, toss it and start back at step #1.

9. Place toast on shatterproof toddler plate. Make sure you use the green one. No, the blue one. No, the one with cars on it. Actually, put it in a bowl. But not the red bowl. The orange bowl. Is there such thing as a sparkle bowl? Use the sparkle bowl. You don’t have a sparkle bowl? GO GET A SPARKLE BOWL.

10. Go change a poopy diaper. And then ask the universe how so much shit can fit inside such a small person. Seriously. It’s like your kid is a clown car for the Poop Parade.

11. Let down the baby gate. And discover what Mufasa felt like when he met his demise at the feet of that wildebeest stampede. A fair (as if any of this is fair) warning: You’ll likely suffer PTSD symptoms every time you watch The Lion King from here on out.

12. Watch your child scrupulously inspect your masterpiece before finally taking a bite. Remember to breathe while all of this (including—fingers crossed—the toast) is going down.

13. . . .

14. Pick toast up off the floor and give your kid a damn Oreo. And then go change a poopy diaper.


Speaking of poopy diapers, if you've not yet checked out my shitty guest post over at BLUNTmoms, please do so! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ten Foolproof* Ways to Charm** Your Woman***

A How-To for Husbands in Need

Those are some pretty crucial asterisks, so you best check out the footnotes at the bottom of the page.

You know that quote that pops up all over those “positive thinking” sites?

Things like, "It's the little things that make life wonderful"?

(Like chocolate chips. And Xanax. Those are pretty little, right?)

Well, we women eat that shit up almost as ravenously as we do a box of Cosmic Brownies while riding the crimson wave. (Side note: Cosmic Brownies are, after all, a “Little Debbie” product, and they certainly make life wonderful.) 

Sometimes a thoughtful gesture is worth more than jewelry or a box of chocolates (unless, as just discussed, we’re squirtin’ Sriracha; then you can never go wrong with chocolate). I don’t presume to speak for all womankind, but most of the females I know would agree that when their significant others go out of their way to make them feel appreciated, it makes them feel…well…appreciated. And besides the obvious benefit of making your lady feel loved, it might even get you laid. What can I say? It’s hard to resist a thoughtful man.

You know: Throw me a bone, and I might toss you one back. Amirite?

Too far? Probably too far. 

Anyway, even though it really shouldn't be that hard to grasp (well, at least not while holding up your end of the deal...dammit...sorry), I've found that sometimes the “little acts of kindness” concept can be a bit lost on the male species.

Therefore, to help a fella out, I've taken the time to compose a list of Ten Foolproof* Ways to Charm** Your Woman*** (as noted earlier, pay attention to those damn asterisks): 

1. Use her morning coffee cup as a vessel in which to scramble your eggs before cooking them. And don’t wash it out afterward. Then put it back exactly where you found it. You know—that spot on the counter, next to the coffee maker, where she keeps it for easy access in order to expedite the process of getting her morning caffeine fix as she braces herself for a day of tantrums, time-outs, and toddler turds. Really, you're doing a her a favor: She can use that extra protein to sustain her while single-handedly taking care of the kids. I mean, who needs creamer when you've got all that eggy goodness?

2. Give her the gift that keeps on giving: annoying fruit stickers. You know those little stickers that get slapped on a lot of produce? Like apples? Well, after she takes the time to meticulously pack you a well-balanced lunch—mindful to include your apple-a-day to keep the doctor away—make sure you put that sticker on the Tupperware lid that contained your WBJ*. Because she really loves trying to peel that shit off, especially when she doesn't notice it until after the lid has run through the dishwasher, melting the adhesive onto the plastic and requiring a butter knife for total-sticker-removal.

Please don’t be reckless by just carelessly tossing that singularly fascinating food label in the trash. Because then what will she have to do once the kids are in bed?

Genesis 3:6.5: "And after Adam had eaten the apple, he considerately returned the sticker to Eve. And then blamed her for everything."

*Walnut-Butter and Jelly sandwich. Yup. HOMEMADE WALNUT BUTTER. She can’t have that obviously over-sized heart of yours seizing up on her due to an Omega-3-deficiency.

2.1 While you’re at it, bring the apple core back home, too. That way she can just wave her magic wand and turn it back into a full apple while cleaning out your lunchbox and repacking it for the next day. After all, you know how much she loves Harry Potter, so what better way to say “I support you” than by helping her hone her wizarding skills? 

Oh, and then for good measure, tell her she looks a lot like Voldemort. He was super good at magic. She’ll be flattered.

3. Make sure she knows exactly how you take your coffee. This will simplify things the next time you’re staying at a hotel with your toddlers, and she gets up at the ass crack of dawn to get her workout in before they wake up. If she knows your coffee order by heart, there will be no need to remind her that you actually take two honeys when she brings you some on her way back from the workout room. (Obviously, the gesture itself isn't sweet enough.) You don’t want her making the same mistake twice. This will spare her future humiliation. She’s probably already embarrassed about parading around the communal breakfast area in a sweaty, hot pink running skirt. You don’t want to add another layer of indignity.

And just think how happy she’ll be to bring you sufficiently-sweetened coffee on her first try next time! She’ll be beaming with pride! And you know what they say about a confident woman...maybe she’ll offer to put that hotel bed to good use!

4. When she asks for a leg rub, whine about it and tell her that her legs are like big fat tree roots. Yup. Make sure you use those exact words: Big. FAT. Tree roots. A woman loves to hear the words “big” and “fat” in an adjectival phrase alluding to any part of her body.

5. Eat whatever the hell you want and still look more ripped than a current off the coast of Zipolite Beach. She loves watching you inhale an entire frozen pizza in one sitting and then chasing it down with a couple of candy bars, your six pack flexing through your shirt with the effort of your shameless chewing. Not everyone gets her own live-version mash-up of Man vs Food and The Bachelor. It will give her something to do while she curls up on the couch and crunches her way through that plate of carrot sticks. In addition to providing hours of entertainment, you'll also be doing her a favor by eliminating all of the chocolate in the house: You both know that if she took a bite of that candy bar, she’d look like she had a fetal Baby Ruth in her stomach.

6. This one goes without saying, but it’s so crucial that I’ll say it anyway: Never, ever, under any circumstances, change the toilet paper roll. Make sure you always leave just one square left on it, because that’s obviously more than she could ever need to wipe her ass. You know, since:

Besides, you want your wife to be prepared in case there comes a day when you’re not around. She’s been asking you to teach her how to back up the computer files, and this really isn't all that different. There are some things she needs to know how to do herself. Make sure you tell her that. And then say you're supporting her feminazism.

If circumstances are dire, and you absolutely must change the roll yourself, make sure to position it in the under orientation. Women love it when the men in their lives spice things up a bit. She wants excitement? She wants topsy-turvy? Mind-blowingly wild? BAM! That oughta do it. 

7. When the kids are finally quiet and occupied, and she uses that rare moment to kindly offer you sex, jut your pelvis back and forth seductively and say, “You mean…rock and roll?” Because, really, there is nothing in the world more appealing than the prospect of making love to a horny teenager trapped in a full-grown man’s body. Remember Big? That wasn't awkward at all.

This is what you feel like:


This is what you look like:

While you’re at it, please get the bowl cut, too. SOFREAKINGHOT.

8. Don't compliment her baking. After she dedicates the afternoon to making brownies from scratch while the kids run around her feet, repeatedly pulling her pants down and begging for more batter, don’t mention how delicious they are. In fact, don't mention them at all. There’s no need for coddling.

Then buy one of those instant microwaveable brownies next time you’re at the grocery store. Make sure you tell her how “delectable” it is when you eat it.

9. When she tells you that she’s been having trouble sleeping, revamp your diet to include a lot of garlicky foods. Or use your lunch hour to go try out that new taco place everyone’s been raving about. She needs help falling asleep? What could be more effective than turning the bedroom into her own private gas chamber?

Bonus: Your scent is so overpowering that she'll no longer need to waste money on those stupid Yankee candles. You know the ones I'm talking about. They make your house smell like she kidnapped Little Debbie and is holding her hostage somewhere in the ventilation system. 

10. When you shower, point the shower head all the way up, and make sure you leave it in that position when you’re done. That way, when she turns the shower on, the water will spray all over the opposite wall and flood the bathroom floor. I mean, she shrieks withwhat you presume to bedelight whenever the kids splash water out of the bathtub, so why wouldn't she be thrilled when her "grown-up" of a husband does it, too? You both know the floor needs a good cleaning anyway. This will help her conquer the art of multitasking: She’s getting a shower and washing the bathroom floor, all in one fell swoop!

Bonus tip for "that time of the month": If she turns you down in the bedroom because she’s on her period, thoughtfully offer to “lay down some newspaper.” Seriously. How freaking considerate of you! There’s nothing she loves more than feeling like your actual little bitch.

Whatever you do, don't take the "easy" way out by just going to the store and buying her that damn box of Cosmic Brownies she's been asking for.


*Foolproof: as in, proof that you are a fool. A complete and utter foolishly foolish fool. That’s right fool³, baby.

**To be fair, if my husband were to make a list like this about me, a “top ten” format probably wouldn't cut it.

***Also, I could just as easily have written a real list of ways for a man to charm his woman (from personal experience): It likely would have been much longer. And much less entertaining. Possibly a little vomit-inducing, like how you feel after eating too many peeps (as in, the Easter candy, not the colloquial term for "people"; this blog does not endorse the practice of cannibalism).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Things That Make Me Want to Eat My Own Face

Sometimes I allow little annoyances to fester far too long, and they end up surfacing in a bitchy eruption of irrational agitation. And today, I'm feeling particularly volcano-esque. So in order to keep Mount St. All-Hell’s-Broke-Loose dormant a little longer (for the sake of my family), I've decided to let off a bit of steam here. 

Hence, loyal readers (if there are any of you out there), I have decided to share with you a list of Things That Make Me Want to Eat My Own Face, the abridged version:

1. The onion smell in the cutting board. You use it to chop an onion once, and the smell never goes away. It’s like the board is imbibed with the same cutting-edge (ha!) technology that allows Playtex to boast "maximum absorbency" on its products. No matter how hard you scrub, the onion juice lingers, biding its time, preparing to taint every other fruit or vegetable you ever chop. I mean, who doesn't love a good onion melon? Yum!

2. “Easy Open” snack bags. Yeah. Easy. For a pair of freaking scissors. "Tear here," my ass.

3. Girls in booty shorts at the gym. Look, I’m all for girl power. But I don’t care if you’re fat, skinny, an undercover spy, or a well-groomed wombat: I don’t want to see your uterus when I’m working out.

4. Anyone who smokes within a one mile radius of my kids. Really, as much as my kids love running around in their Darth Vader masks, I’m not too keen on the idea of them relying on them for breath support when they're 18.

5. People who use the “word” “irregardless.” Regardless of your nincompoopish beliefs, there is no such thing.

6. Those stupid little plastic T-shaped things that attach tags to clothing. The half on the inner part of the clothing always gets lost on the inside of the garment and ends up scratching your arm/leg/stomach/boob later. Or it falls out, and you find it in the cat puke you have to scrub out of the carpet because your dimwitted feline ate it. Or you have to fish it out of your toddler's mouth because, I mean, hey, who wouldn't find plastic appetizing?

7. Clicky pens that unclick the second you start writing with them. Seriously makes me want to pierce my coratid with a sharp object. Oh wait—Click!—no can do.

8. People who try to tell me that “coffee is bad for your health.” You know what else is bad for your health? An un-caffeinated Mama of twins listening to your unsubstantiated lecture regarding the "dangers of coffee." Now fetch me a Starbucks, bitch!

9. Perpendicular parking spaces. Because life is not a game of Tetris.

10. Accidentally buying the saltines with unsalted tops. How are these even a thing? They’re not called plaintines. Oh, that reminds me:

11. Plantains. Omg, just call it what it is. A banana. A Big. Freaking. Banana.

12. The added scene in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 where Harry dances with Hermione. If you have to ask WTF I’m talking about, you wouldn’t get it anyway. And you probably belong on my list.

13. Whoever decided to replace lemon Jolly Ranchers with that blue raspberry shit. Go suck a lemon, dude.

14. Shaving my ankles. And knees. And armpits. Really, just shaving in general.

15. Finally getting my hair up in a perfectly groomed bun/braid/ponytail, only to find three or four loose strands hanging down the back of my neck. And then,

16. Yanking them bitches out.

17. The misuse of the word “Oops” in Blue Hat, Green Hat. A quick crash course for people without toddlers: Blue Hat, Green Hat is a board book by Sandra Boynton, intended, I assume, to teach kids about colors and how to get dressed. The problem with the story is the damn turkey. It’s always putting clothing on the wrong body part and saying “Oops.” At the end of the book, it dives into a pool while fully-clothed, and the word “Oops” again appears on the page:

This is no “oops,” folks. “Oops” indicates something unintentional. That stupid turkey had to deliberately climb all the way up the ladder, walk to the end of the diving board, and propel itself into the water. Also note the pointed toes and hands (wings?): quintessential diving form. That turkey knew exactly what it was getting itself into.

18. Cockroaches. Because…cockroaches.

19. Unintentionally putting a half-full coffee mug in the dishwasher. I do this all the freaking time: assume the cup is empty, hastily flip it upside down as I move it toward the dishwasher, and splash coffee all over the floor. If I’m lucky, I get it on my socks, too. If I’m REALLY lucky, it’s still scalding when all of this goes down.

20. Writing sticky note reminders to myself and then losing the sticky notes. Maybe I need to just start taking a Sharpie to my forearm.

21. Assholes who don’t use their turn signals. Please, pull out right in front of me without any warning, especially if my kids are in the car. At least it gives me a clear view of your awesome Calvin-Pissing-on-Various-Sports-Teams-and-Political-Agendas bumper sticker collection.

22. When pretentious people say that some random exotic dish “tastes like chicken.” Then go eat a freaking chicken. Seriously. Direct your high horse to the nearest McDonald’s drive thru, get yourself some McNuggets, and shut up about your toasted brioche rounds, gruyere-and-parmesan beignets, and crab cake canap├ęs (I had to Google all that crap just to spell it correctly; don’t even ask me to try pronouncing it). You know what I hear when you talk about that shit? “Oh, you must try the Hundred Dollar Bill, it really is divine. Especially if you dip it in the Your-Child’s-College-Tuition Sauce.”

23. Anything that costs 99 cents. It’s a dollar. A freaking DOLLAR.

24. The series finale of The Secret Life of The American Teenager. Also the fact that I watched it.

25. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream that has ant-turd-sized chunks of cookie dough in it. If you’re gonna advertise a product as “cookie dough ice cream,” I better be able to bake a whole damn cookie out of one freaking scoop. Let’s be real here: That crap you just sold me? Plain ol’ chocolate chip ice cream. And now I have to go blow more money on a roll of Pillsbury Slice and Bake to satisfy my cookie dough craving.

And there you have it. If you have any of your own grievances you’d like to share, or you want to tell me how bad my 99 cent Dunkin' Donut coffee is for my health, feel free to comment below. 

Just be sure to contact me for an “accident” waiver and release of liability first.