Friday, October 23, 2015

How to Take a Toddler Trick-or-Treating in 52 Easy Steps

Halloween is almost upon us, folks. As it gets increasingly closer, I've noticed a lot of fellow toddler mamas*  discussing the night's events in the telltale tones of trepidation and—occasionally—downright horror. 

*That is, mamas-of-toddlers, not toddler-aged mamas. Just to be clear. I'm not sure on proper terminology here. Although, these days, WHO FREAKING KNOWS, amirite? Maybe I just gave MTV an idea for their next hit reality show. 

I mean, these ladies sound exhausted just talking about tot-or-treating. Er...trick-or-treating. (Although, if you ask most toddler moms, "tot" and "trick" tend to be interchangeable most of the time. Little rascals always keep you guessing.)

Anyway, I guess I just can't relate to the stress and/or pressure these mamas are apparently under. TRICK-OR-TREATING WITH TODDLERS IS A PIECE OF CAKE! (Mmmm...cake. Why isn't Halloween cake a thing? Don't get me wrong, I love me some Snickers, but I could also really go for some devil's food cake this season. Ha...see what I did there?)

Worried about taking your tots out this October 31st? Worry no more! All you have to do is follow these 52 EASY steps, and you and your little monster will have a grand ol' time!

Part I: Preparation

1. Ask Toddler what he would like to be this year for Halloween.

2. Explain to Toddler that “Hungry” is a feeling, not something he can really dress up as.

3. Get Toddler a Nutri-Grain bar to stop consequent screaming before asking again.

4. Explain to Toddler that “More” isn’t a viable costume option either.

5. Give up on soliciting Toddler’s input.

6. Peruse Pinterest for a creative DIY costume. Little Zephyr Basil’s mom isn’t the only crafty parent on the block. You got this.

7. Click on costume that seems fairly straightforward, involves no sewing, and has the word “easy” in the title.

8. Check Facebook and see that little Zephyr Basil’s mom has already uploaded 124,842 photos of him in a homemade Gandhi costume (made from all natural materials, of course), meditating in his Feng Shui’d bedroom and munching on homemade granola.

9. Throw pack of fruit snacks toward couch, where Toddler is screaming in front of the TV, and compose list of materials required to make “easy” Pinterest costume.

10. Wrestle Toddler into car seat and drive to Walmart. Be sure to bring more fruit snacks for the ten minute drive, or there will be literal wailing and gnashing of teeth.

11. Locate and purchase costume materials*.

*Note: This is an “umbrella” step for the six trillion actual steps involved, which may include: saying “no” to every (toy, book, goldfish, random piece of crap) that Toddler sees at the store; taking multiple potty breaks, none of which will actually involve Toddler peeing or pooping on the toilet; picking up the contents of your purse after Toddler upturns it in Aisle Five; and scouring the parking lot for Blankie when it turns up missing (only to find it stuck in the back of Toddler's pants when you finally give up and return to your vehicle).

12. Don’t forget to grab a couple bags of Halloween candy for Trick-or-Treaters.

13. Drive home, put Toddler back in front of TV, and attempt to make “easy” costume.

14. Easy my flabby, postpartum ass.

15. When it turns out nothing like the picture, bury feelings of inadequacy in the jumbo bag of Snickers you just bought. Don’t let Toddler see you.

16. HAHAHA. Bitch, please: Toddler always knows. Throw a Snickers his way to stop the screaming. Be careful not to *accidentally* hit him in the head with it.

17. Return to Walmart. Bring suckers for the car this time. They last longer than fruit snacks.

18. Hit up the Halloween section and allow Toddler to select outrageously priced, cheaply-made costume.

19. Check out. And remember to get more candy to replace the stuff you inhaled at your costume-fail pity party.

Part II: The Main Event

20. On Halloween, dress Toddler in Walmart costume. When he starts crying because it’s too (hot, itchy, blue, not-Batman), remind him that HE’s the one who picked it out.

21. Attempt to take picture of Toddler.

22. Send pic of the back of Toddler’s head to everyone on your contact list on your way out the door.

23. When Toddler gets tired of walking after approximately two minutes, pick him up and carry him door-to-freaking-door like a haggard, overgrown Girl Scout hauling around a carton of Tagalongs.

24. Remove Toddler’s (cape, monkey ears, wig, eyepatch) because it’s too (hot, itchy, blue, not-a-Batman-mask).

25. Approach house and allow Toddler to ring doorbell.

26. Tell Toddler to stop ringing doorbell.

27. Tell Toddler to stop crying just because he can’t keep ringing doorbell.

28. Try to get Toddler to say “Trick-or-Treat” when masked stranger opens door.

29. Who the actual f**k dresses up like a demented clown while handing out candy to little kids?
Oh, right. Daddy. Daddy does.
Way to go, Daddy.

30. Say “Trick-or-Treat” for Toddler while he cries and screams into your shoulder.

31. When Bozo the Toddler-Traumatizer reaches into candy bowl for an Airhead, tell him that Toddler is allergic to red dye 40…

32. …but really loves Snickers.

33. Try to get Toddler to say “Thank you.”

34. When Toddler starts whining for the “big red candy,” say “Thank you” for him and walk away. Quickly.

35. Point out little Zephyr Basil across the street, in all his miniature Gandhi glory, and use Toddler’s momentary distraction to scarf down Snickers bar. You need the energy more than he does right now.

36. Continue to lug 35lbs of squirmy Toddler—plus awkwardly shaped pumpkin pail—past five houses with unlit porch lights.

37. Stingy bastards.

38. When you finally find a house giving out candy, haul Toddler up driveway resembling Olympic ski jump.

39. Repeat steps #25 – 38 for the next 90 minutes.

Part III: The Spoils of Victory

40. At home, dump Toddler’s candy on kitchen counter for inspection.

41. Repeatedly pull pants up while Toddler tugs at them, begging for candy.

42. Once you’ve deemed candy safe, allow Toddler just two pieces before bedtime.

43. *Incoherent wailing*

44. Attempt to brush caramel and cement-like taffy from Toddler’s gnashing teeth.

45. Wrangle Toddler into pajamas, shove tuck him into bed, and listen to screams of “More candy!” until he passes out.

46. Contemplate ways a serial-child-killer might open a candy wrapper, lace its contents with rat poison, and seamlessly repackage it.

47. Go check on Toddler.

48. Once assured that Toddler is indeed breathing, pour a glass of wine and raid pumpkin pail for any remaining Snickers bars.

49. Plop on couch, turn on TV, and try to relax.

50. Watch breaking story about poisoned Halloween candy.

51. Neurotically repeat step #47 for the rest of the night.

52. Wake up the next morning to Toddler’s screams for “more candy” and your hair glued to the couch upholstery with caramel.

Happy Halloween, from all of us at Between the Monkey Bars!

Also, if you like what you read, do a Mama blogger a solid and consider sharing!*

*Or I will intentionally deprive my toddlers of sugar, hunt you down, and tell them you have tons of chocolate in your pockets.**

**I won't really do this.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Call a Girl Pretty, and 15 Other Things Boys Shouldn’t Do

Raising boys isn’t as simple as it used to be. Look around you—online, at the playground, in the newly-neutralized toy aisles of Target—and you’ll notice that traditional gender lines are becoming blurrier by the second.

You’ll also notice people getting their panties (or jockstraps, since we’re all about equality now) in a wad about some pretty stupid shit.

Feminism is spreading, folks. It’s spreading faster than the legs of Cersei Lannister when her brother walks into the room.

(Was that offensive? It’s so hard to differentiate between humor and tactlessness these days).

I’m all for equal rights. I think women deserve equal pay. Because duh. I think all parents should be given paid maternity/paternity leave. I think athletes like Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi are EQUALLY freaking BADASS, because they're fast as f***, not because they're male or female. I think ladies can be scientists, and dudes can be homemakers.

But I also think people are getting a wee bit nuts when it comes to kids, gender roles, and the "sexual" implications of innocent childhood behaviors. Sometimes we need to just let kids be kids.

Now, if a toy is labeled a “boy” or a “girl” toy, it’s seen as regressive to the feminist movement. Disney movies are picked apart and scrutinized for being “sexist.” (I’m sorry, but what little kid watches Tangled and analyzes the relative hand sizes of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider? I think they’re probably more fascinated by the fact that Rapunzel has hair she could wipe her own butt with.) And is it just me, or does it seem like society is reading just a little too much into things, like calling your kid a “flirt”?

Now, if I offhandedly say that one of my kids is acting like "such a boy," the online gender role patrol is ready to get all up on me like white on rice (or brown on rice...I'd hate to be accused of racism in addition to sexism).

Now, if I buy my boys toy cars, I'm shoving them into a gender niche. And if I buy them dolls, I'm shoving my own feminist agenda down their throats. WHY CAN'T KIDS JUST PICK OUT THEIR OWN TOYS AND PLAY WITH WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT WITHOUT BEING PSYCHOANALYZED FOR IT?

I mean, when I found out I was pregnant with TWO PENISED CREATURES, my primary concern was potty training. Because obviously. How the hell was I going to teach them to use equipment I didn’t have?

Now I’ve got to worry about all this politically correct bullshit.

(Side note: Still not much progress on the potty training front, but they do know how to do burpees and utilize proper running form, because those are things I can actually demonstrate...without purchasing some really awkward items from an adult toy store.)

Seriously though, the gender thing: It’s hard to teach your sons to both respect and ignore gender lines, which seems to be what the world expects them to do: You should treat girls the same way you treat boys. BUT! Boys and girls are not the same, so while it might be okay to chest bump Billy Bob on the playground, it might be frowned upon if you rub up against Susie Q.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way implying that only boys can be named Billy or that only girls can be named Susie. I’d hate for the Target mom to read this and demand a retraction.*  

Mixed messages, people. It’s confusing for me, and I’m a grown-up (sort of...I did just picture Rapunzel flossing her butt crack with that golden mane of hers).

LUCKILY* FOR ME, I’ve read/heard/been offered a TON of advice on the subject, and I’ve managed to weed out the helpful stuff from the poppycock poppytwat. (See? I’m learning. YAY for equality!)

*Unfortunately and annoyingly

Anyway, here are 16 things you should NOT allow your son to do*, according to certain people on the internet, individuals who don't understand the real definition of "feminism," and random nitwits:

*Note: If you have no sense of sarcasm, please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD (or GODDESS), STOP READING.

1. Play with dolls. WOMEN ARE NOT A MAN’S PLAY THINGS.

2. Think there’s anything wrong with playing with dolls. But wait, you also want your son to learn how to be a loving, nurturing father. Playing with dolls will facilitate that. This is the 21st century: Women aren’t responsible for all the child-rearing anymore.


4. Believe there is such a thing as “boy” and “girl” toys. Shit. I hope Target didn’t hear me.

5. Watch Disney movies. Those animated monstrosities are rife with degrading gender stereotypes. Way too many damsels in distress. You don’t want him thinking the right thing to do is help a girl out when she’s in trouble. Best to leave her passed out in a tower (like Sleeping Beauty) or at the mercy of a pedophiliacally-goateed maniac (like Jasmine).

I’d stick with A League of Their Own. Just be sure to stress that Tom Hanks has nothing to do with the team’s success.

6. Play tag (with girls). WHOA, INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING. (Girls are not made to be manhandled.)

7. Play tag (with boys). WHOA, INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING. (Neither are boys. But make sure he knows you’re okay with him being gay. But you probably shouldn’t use the word “gay,” because “gay” is a label, and LABELS ARE BAD.)

8. Play tag (period). It’s really kind of dangerous, and it reinforces the stereotype that men are always on the prowl and live for the thrill of the chase.

9. Play with water guns. *Sigh* Another male stereotype. Besides, playing with water guns will inevitably turn him into a psychotic serial killer. Might as well just buy him an AK47 for Christmas and let him use the cat for target practice.

*Note: If he has a sister, you can definitely let her play with toy guns. I mean, girls that play with toy guns are cute tomboys, fiercely expressing their burgeoning feminism. Boys who do it are just deranged sociopaths in the making.

10. Play video games. Yeeeeaaahhh…those will also turn him into a psychotic serial killer.

Yes, even the ones that don’t involve guns. Pac-Man is just too damn aggressive, the way he darts around, taking whatever he wants. Not a good male role model.

And don’t even get me STARTED on Mario. Psshh. Always there to “save” the “princess.” That anti-feminist asshole belongs in a Disney movie.

11. Climb up the slide at the playground. Again, this encourages aggressive behavior. And, seriously, are you TRYING to turn him into a psychoticserial killer?

12. Be chastised for climbing up the slide. I mean, after all, boys will be boys…

13. Hear you say things like, “Boys will be boys.” Shhh…Target shoppers might hear you.


15. Let him see you packing his (or Daddy’s) lunch. Holy shit, what do you think this is, 1950? Step away from the peanut butter jar, Mama! You should be spreading your feminist views in front of your impressionable son, not that PBJ.

Next thing you know, he’ll be waltzing up to little Susie at playgroup, yelling, “MAKE ME A SAMMICH, WOMAN!”

16. Just be a kid. From the moment he comes tearing through your vagina (or C-section incision), he needs to be aware of the possible political and social implications of everything he does.

In fact, if you nurse him, be sure to do it in public, show lots of boob, take a ton of pictures, and create a PowerPoint for him to use in any future 4H projects on women’s rights. Because what little boy wouldn’t be proud to show THAT to his peers?

For real though, you’d hate to see him actually enjoying his childhood.

Careful, boys. That "big stick" you're so sweetly playing with 
might be misconstrued as some sort of phallic symbol.