Anti-Valentines: My Latest Million Dollar Idea

While I am taking an unwilling  break from blogging, please enjoy this festive Valentine’s post that originally ran last year.  


Sadly, after the kids left preschool, these adorable anthropomorphic plums were never able to find work again.

Sadly, after the kids left preschool, these adorable anthropomorphic plums were never able to find work again.


Apparently, sixth grade is the cut-off for school Valentines. Lucy told me, in no uncertain terms, “Bleccchh. No way am I bringing Valentine cards to school.” No ambiguity there. She wanted to bring candy, though. Apparently that is still within the realm of social acceptability for kids her age. So we trotted out yesterday in search of lollipops. She selected a box from the conveniently located Valentines display at the front of the store, we paid, and headed for home. We were halfway home when she ripped  open the box and was horrified to find out that the lollipops all had messages on them.

And not just any messages. These were emblazoned with gems such as “I Love You” Kiss me” Be mine” You’re Hot” You’re Cute” “Date me” “Totally Yours”, among others.

“Gaaahhh! What am I gonna do? I can’t hand these out, I’ll never live it down!”  she yelled, fully aware of the social devastation that would most certainly occur. Serious business, apparently, to send the wrong message.

I, of course, was laughing too hard to be of any help.

Industrious girl that she is, when we got home she grabbed a Sharpie and blacked out all unacceptable messages. Y’all, she was as efficient as CBS blacking out Katy Perry’s cleavage at the Grammys. Problem solved.

Note to the Valentines Candy People: You are leaving money on the table! Because unless you’re making expensive, exquisite artisan chocolates, most of your market is elementary school children. And children of this age? Mostly think the opposite sex is “meh”, if not downright yucky.

In that light, might I suggest a different marketing strategy, geared specifically for the 2nd through 6th grade buyer?We’ll call them Anti-Valentines.

Here are my ideas for alternative messages:

“You’re not totally gross.”

“You’re okay, I guess.”

“I’ll sit next to you because I have to. Just don’t talk.”

“Best Friends Forever. Or at least until next week.”

“I like you, but I don’t “like you” like you.”

“You could be worse.”

“You have Cheetos stuck in your braces.”

“Kiss me and I’ll slug you and then tell the teacher.”

“I guess you’d be cute if you weren’t so short.”

“Dad says I’m not allowed to date until I’m 30.” “

“You have nice handwriting.”

“Sometimes you can be kinda funny I guess.”

“You are okay at square dancing. Just try not to touch me.”


These will fly off the shelves, I guarantee it. You’re welcome, Candy Manufacturers. You get working on this right away, and I’ll see you next year.


Oops! I Accidentally Got Us Kicked Out of School: Part II

Oops! I Accidentally Got Us Kicked Out of School: Part II

“In the final stages of their evil plan to break her spirit, she was forced to wear a cardboard Christmas tree. Note the dead eyes and glazed expression.”


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In case you’re wondering how my first day as the new kid went, here’s a hint. It was probably The Worst First Day of School Ever. There was humiliation.  There was danger. Then some more humiliation.

In short? Not exactly a dream scenario for a timid child.

My new teacher (who, to my eyes was so old she was practically mummified) gave the class a spelling test. Even though it was my first day, and I hadn’t yet studied the words, she had me take the test too. To gauge my level of knowledge? To humiliate me? I suspect the latter.

Well, I took the test. Imagine my horror when she called me up to the front of the class shortly afterward and said the following:

“Now, class. This is our new student Lisa.” (Cue looks of expectant curiosity from the class) “And I just want everyone to know that out of the entire class, Lisa was the only one to get a 100% on the spelling test.” (Cue looks of sheer burning hatred from the class). “You all should be ashamed of yourselves for not doing better!”  And then she turned to me, smiled with satisfaction, and sent me back to my seat, where I was now persona non grata. As if I had any farther to fall.

But wait… this was wrong! Teachers were supposed to be like Miss Beadle on Little House on the Prairie! They were supposed to be warm and full of hard-earned Prairie Wisdom! They weren’t supposed to drag you up to the front of class and slap a bull’s eye on you.   Even at that age, I knew I was in trouble.

At some point, one girl in particular decided to exact her revenge on me for daring to show up the class on my first day.  When it was time for music class, we trooped down to the underbelly of the school single file.  As we traversed a long hallway,  a girl I’ll call “Karen”, whose pink puffy overalls  belied her obvious future in a juvenile detention facility , turned to me and pointed to  another hallway off of the one we were in.

“Oh, new kids don’t go to music class,” she said sweetly. “They just go outside and play on the playground until class is over. You go that way.” And then she gave me a shove to point me up the hallway and out the door.

Figuring she must know what she was talking about (even I want to go back and slap myself for stupidity) I exited the double doors to find… a completely empty playground. Sensing something wasn’t right (Um, ya think?) I tried to open the doors to get back in, but they were locked.

Realizing my predicament, I did the sensible thing. I sat down on a bench and cried.

I don’t know how long I was out there before some teacher found me and brought me, all snotty and puffy-eyed, to music class. I remember walking in and locking eyes with Karen, who smirked at me and went back to singing Michael Row Your Boat Ashore.

Oh, but my humiliation wasn’t complete yet. Because the last class of the day? Was gym class. Kickball.  We didn’t play it at my old school. I’d never played kickball in my life, as a matter of fact.  Nor any organized sport whatsoever, unlike my new classmates who were all already entrenched in soccer leagues.

No one asked me if I knew how to play; I guess they just assumed I did. I didn’t get that whole running of the bases thing.  So I kicked the ball, and I understood that I was supposed to run to first, but that was where my knowledge ended. What I didn’t understand was that I was also supposed to run when the next person kicked the ball. And so this kid I’ll call “Mark” kicked the ball and came flying toward first base, where I was still standing like a dumbass. He must have been looking the other way, because POW!  He smacked into me full force like an eight year old Lawrence Taylor, knocking me flat. Result? A bloody nose, bloody lip, and a knot on my head.

As I was escorted, sobbing, to the nurse, I couldn’t help wondering what the hell kind of place my parents had dropped me into. It was like being dropped off in Dodge City with a deck of Old Maid cards and a squirt gun.

And that, friends, was just my first day.

I made it through that month, somehow, and entered third grade in the fall with a teacher who asked me if my family was “poor”, and made us sing show tunes at indoor recess. So, no, it didn’t get much better.

But for the rest of my school career, I continued to kick everyone’s ass in spelling. Because it was really the only weapon I had.

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Notes from the Shallow End


Enjoy Your New Car! Um, Just Don’t Look Too Closely At That Bumper



Unable to contain herself any longer, Gladys made the tragic mistake to join in the bouncy little  number instead of keeping her eyes on the road.


Last Friday, I was scrambling around getting ready to leave on a girls’ getaway weekend with my friends. Lest you think it was all sunshine and roses and pretty matching luggage, all assembled by a worshiping household staff, waiting for me to swan out to my chauffeured car, let me tell you something. Getting the family and house ready for me to leave for a couple of days is like preparing for battle. Schedules are written. Maps are drawn (well, map quested). Rations are assembled.  I have to go through several days of stress so I can leave for a couple of days to de-stress. Irony, she’s a bitch.

Because I just can’t leave town without knowing everything is covered at home. It’s like along with the epidural they injected me with some sort of obsessive-compulsive gene, because I swear I wasn’t like this before I had kids.

The two days leading up to my trip were a hailstorm of unexpected events, one of which was yet another trip to the ER with my daughter.  (Don’t worry, she’s going to be fine, but let’s just say Ghost in the Graveyard has claimed another victim.)  So, my planning and preparations didn’t go as expected, and I was running… a bit behind.

To top it all off, the kids’ teachers and class lists were due to be posted at exactly 3:00 on the day I was to leave. I had promised the kids I would take them to see the lists before I left for the weekend.

So we got in the car, and we were driving down the road, and one minute my oldest was talking about a bumper sticker she noticed on an SUV, and for some reason I glanced sort of sideways, and then…


Or maybe it was more like


Or, you know, just insert whatever sound you feel is appropriate FOR HITTING ANOTHER CAR!

Oh yes. I had plowed right into the car in front of me. I sat there for a few seconds, a sick feeling in my stomach, to process what had just happened.  Because the car in question? The one I just rammed into? Was a BMW. A sleek, shiny, black, extremely new looking one. Yeah. The day I’m supposed to leave on a mini-vacation with my friends, not only do I hit a car, it’s a really nice one.  Oh, I don’t do “small”, people.

My kids, of course, were losing their minds. Helpful comments rang out, such as, “OMG Mom, you just hit someone!” Observant, that one. Like the Hubble Telescope of seventh graders.

“Yes, I’m aware of that,” I said through clenched teeth, as I watched the other driver climb out of her car. I got out and immediately started falling all over myself and apologizing, as you do, only I was flapping my hands and my voice was strangely panicky and high-pitched.

“OHMYGODIAMSO SORRY! ISERIOUSLYCANNOTBELIVETHATJUST HAPPENED!” Flap flap flap. Squeak squeak squeak. Instantly I had become a thirteen year old girl, of the kind usually found on Disney sitcoms.

Silently, she bent over to inspect the damage. I was still babbling apologies sprinkled with the occasional “ohmygodohmgodIcan’tbeliveIdidthis” when suddenly she stood up.

“You know what’s ironic about this?” She said.

“What?” I said miserably.

“I’m on my way to the bank to sign over the title to someone else. We just sold it.”

Whaaaaaa?! This just kept getting worse by the minute. At that point? I was pretty sure I was going to upchuck right there in the middle of the road.  I bent down to look for damage, which, ya know, I had trouble seeing anyway probably because my eyes were blurry with tears,   when the other driver said this:

“There’s a small dent, but you know what? Let’s just forget about it. I just won’t let ‘em look too close at the back bumper before I sign it over!” And then she laughed. And she told me to have a great day. And she got in her car and drove away.

Lessons learned? Other than watch the road while you’re driving, dumbass?  Sometimes when you need it most, an angel appears. And sometimes angels drive BMWs.

Enjoy your new car!

I’m a Lot Less Stabby: 11 Reasons Why My Husband Traveling Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

I'm a Lot Less Stabby: 11 Reasons Why My Husband Traveling isn't Always a Bad Thing

If you have read this blog before, you know I have a husband that travels a lot for work, and that it’s no picnic. Well, it could be a picnic, I suppose, but the mosquito-ey kind where Cousin Rita brings her suspect potato salad again and Paul’s future third ex-wife Denise runs around asking everyone to guess “real or fake” before getting drunk on Goebel and trying to dirty dance with a Parks Service employee.

In other words, it makes life briefly interesting but then you kind of want it to be over so you can get back to normal.

We’ve been married for almost fourteen years, and he has always traveled. Sometimes once a month, sometimes a few times a month. It sucks, but you kind of get used to it. Over the years, I’ve learned to look for the silver lining. There is one, if you squint, and kind of tilt your head that way. No, the other way. There. See it?  Some perks of temporarily going it alone include:

I get the whole bed to myself.  I like my space, and it’s kind of nice once in a while to sleep without getting whacked by an errant elbow or knee. And, bonus, I get the middle.

I have full control over the air conditioning. VP didn’t grow up with air conditioning. I did. He doesn’t find it necessary. I do. The temperature of the house will be an ongoing disagreement until the day I can outrace him on my Rascal.

I order a lot more takeout without getting the stink-eye. I enjoy cooking, but somehow cooking for a family of five has taken a wee bit of that joy away. Wheedling complaints along the lines of, “Is there pepper in this? I thought I saw a flake of pepper! I hate pepperrrrr!”  tend to make me stabby. (Please note, this is the children I am quoting. Not my husband. Who incidentally loves pepper.) So when he’s away, and I’m super busy with the kids, ta-da! Look kids, we’re having Indian food!  Everybody wins.

I can have the TV in the bedroom on without VP complaining that it’s keeping him awake. Sleep is very, very important to him. He counts it to the minute. So out of courtesy to Princess Beauty Sleep my husband, I usually don’t have the TV on. When he’s away, however, I catch up on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, or any other late night shows that I usually don’t get to see.

I can do the laundry. I know, I know, that whole sentence looks like a mistake. But when VP is home, he’s like some kind of laundry ninja. He sneaks upstairs when he knows I’m distracted and grabs the laundry, and before I can stop him he’s already thrown a load in.  “But Lisa”, you say, “Why is that a bad thing? For I would consider it a privilege, lo, a delight, to have a husband that does laundry unbidden!”   My answer is this:  Due to countless past laundry disasters wherein everything was turned pink, the man should never be allowed near a laundering machine of any kind, not even a couple of rocks and a stream.

I know where everything is. Oh yes, he’s quite helpful when it comes to putting stuff away. Just not where anyone can actually find it. (Darling, I love you however the cleats that the Boy needs for his game tomorrow do not go on the basement workbench.)

I can skip showering for a day. I try not to do this when he’s around. Illusion or no, VP seems to be under the impression that I’m some delicately scented flower blossom.  He actually said once, in an amazed sort of way (I assume attempting to be complimentary), “You know something? You never stink.” I didn’t really know what to say to that except, “Uh, thanks, I… guess?” I don’t know what kind of girlfriends he had before me, but by his statement I can only assume that they set a low bar for personal hygiene.  So now, dammit, I have to maintain the aura of non-stinkiness because obviously I am better than all of those other skanks women.

It gives us a chance to miss each other. You know that whole absence makes the heart grow fonder thing? Totally true. The rough edges of those day to day annoyances are smoothed out and blurred, and the petty little squabble that seemed so important a couple of days ago is forgotten.

It means we have new things to talk about. I work from home. VP works from home sometimes too.We know all of the details of what went on during the day, from what we ate for lunch to whether the dishwasher is still making that weird noise. So at the end of the day sometimes we have nothing to tell each other.  When he travels, we catch up with each other on the day’s happenings right before we both turn in for the night. And there are always stories to tell each other when he gets home. And he loves my stories. (Don’t you, Honey. That’s right, nod and smile.)

I can go to Target without getting the third degree.  He wants to know why I am going, what I am going to buy, how much I am planning on spending. Silly, silly man. No woman on the planet sticks to a budget when she goes into Target. That popcorn smell is actually infused with brain-addling chemicals that make you want to spend all of the monies.

Sometimes, I need a reminder that I was once a strong, independent woman.  Before I was married, if something in the house needed to be fixed, I fixed it. If the credit card company made a billing error, I fixed it.  If the car died or got a flat, I… well, I called Triple A. But you get the idea.  Now, I feel like I rely too much on my husband to do things that I can clearly take care of myself. So when he’s away, I’m reminded how capable I really am.  And that is a good thing.

Do you have a husband that travels on a regular basis? I’d love to hear about your silver linings. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to crank the AC down to the “Meat Locker” setting.  Happy weekend, everyone!


Spring Break by the Numbers

I-75 sign

Our 900 mile yellow brick road to warmth and sunshine.


The little cast of Notes from the Shallow End escaped frigid Ohio temperatures and  headed south  last week, just in the nick of time as we were all on the verge of turning into the Donner party. Great fun was had by all. Here’s a summary of our trip, by the numbers:


Number of Miles Traveled: 1800

Number of electronic devices brought on trip: 10

Number of DVDs brought: 12

Number of minutes the DVD player actually worked: 2

Number of times I was asked “Can I use your Nook?”: 56

Number of times phrase “How many more hours until we get there?” was uttered: 6,418

Number of sibling squabbles: 446

Number of times “He’s/She’s touching me!” was yelled: 209

Number of times Taylor Swift cd listened to: 6

Number of times VP thought it was okay to stop: 1

Number of actual stops: 9

Number of bags of snacks eaten: 10

Number of different hotels stayed in: 4

Number  of times my sandal-clad toes were stepped on by my children while waiting in line for rides at a theme park: 32

Number of tween girls at theme parks spotted wearing  t-shirts with inappropriate slogans: countless (These were t-shirts that said things like “I Got Crabs from Dirty Dick’s” and “It’s Not a Party Until the Sausage Comes Out”.  Um, darlings, did no one check to see that you were appropriately dressed before you left the house? I suppose not. See you on the cast of Teen Mom Season 9.)

Number of water slides I went on: 2

Approximate decibel level of my screams on said water slides: 125

Number of water slides I will go on in the future: 0

Number of times my son was told not to run around the pool: 5

Number of band-aids used on my son after he fell as a result of running around the pool: 5


Make no mistake,  in case you think I didn’t have a good time, I did. More importantly, my kids had a great time, and seeing their joy at going on  roller coasters, eating cotton candy, and playing in the ocean more than makes up for some of the minor headaches of traveling with children.  So in that vein I’d like to add…

Number of vacation days I was blessed to enjoy with my family: 10

And I’d do it again tomorrow if I could. Happy Spring, everyone!


Maybe He Was Waiting for the Throw Up Fairies


"Psst... so you know, when you get home from this business trip I'm leaving for Hawaii for two weeks."

“Psst… so you know, when you get home from this business trip I’m leaving for Hawaii for two weeks.”

Hi. You might want to finish whatever you’re eating before you read this. That looks delicious, by the way.

All set? Good. As a blogger, sometimes I am stuck for ideas in terms of what to write about. And sometimes, like last night? The posts practically write themselves.

The VP has been out of town on business, and by last night I felt wrung out. So to try to make things easier, instead of cooking I took the kids to a Chinese restaurant to get take-out. Because when he’s away, I am all about making my path easier. So far so good, right?

But… while I was paying, my five year old son came running up to me with tears streaming down his face. When I asked him what was wrong,  he said he had choked on a piece of candy.

Unbeknownst to me, he had grabbed a peppermint out of the dish while on his way over to look at the fish in the tank. He’s not supposed to eat hard candies, due to his horrific gag reflex that, on a regular basis,  makes me think he’s going to choke to death. One of my biggest fears, but I digress.

He was talking, which I knew meant he wasn’t in imminent danger, but he was still crying and saying “It’s still in there!” and was in a panic, and I didn’t really know what was going on. I tried to figure out how to help him while comforting him at the same time, because he was really upset, when all of a sudden, his eyes got wide and this happened:


Yep. The kid upchucked all over the carpet.

Not a little bit. A lot. As in, the entire contents of his stomach. Oh, hello, gag reflex. Nice to see you too.

So now I was trying to comfort my son while apologizing to the manager for the copious pile of barf he had just deposited. And the unholy mess was right in front of the door to the restaurant. I was concerned for my son, and now I was dreadfully embarrassed. I of course offered to clean up the throw-up. As you do.

The manager said no. He was very polite about it. “No, no. That’s okay. Don’t worry about it”, he said, smiling.

My son was starting to feel better. The nice manager brought him some water.

And the vomit still sat in the entryway.

Again I offered to clean it up, and again the manager said no, and waved it off.

Surely if the manager wasn’t going to let me clean it up,  that meant he was planning on doing it, right? He was going to run get some of that sawdust stuff like they use in schools, or maybe some carpet cleaner? Some paper towels? Anything?

No. The vomit continued to sit right where my son left it. Was the guy waiting for fairies to come clean it up?

Customers came in, and I held my son with one arm while I weakly gestured toward the mess with the other, indicating that they should go around. I didn’t feel comfortable articulating it, though. I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear “Hey! Watch out for the vomit!” when they arrive at a restaurant for dinner.

Mmm. Who wants egg-drop soup?

My son was  feeling better, even giggling with his sister, and we should have been leaving, but I just couldn’t. There had to be something I could do, so I started surreptitiously checking the counter and our bag of take-out for napkins. But there was nothing.

The vomit was still in the entryway. At this point it had been almost ten minutes.

And the manager just continued to sit behind the desk, smiling beatifically.

I tried one more time. “Are you sure you don’t want me to take care of this? If you can just bring me a rag or some napkins, I can clean it up…”

And then the manager said this:

“No, no. You don’t have to clean it. They clean every night when we close.” And he smiled some more.

Um, what?

I pray that I am wrong, but it sounded to me like the vomit was going to stay in the entryway for the next four hours, until the cleaning crew took care of it.

In the end, we finally left, leaving an unfortunate pile of throw-up in the doorway during the dinner rush.

The good news is, my son is fine. He’s not allowed to eat peppermints until he’s 21, but he’s fine. And I still can’t figure out why the guy wouldn’t let me clean it up, or didn’t clean it up himself.

So to anyone who lives in our area and might have gone out for Chinese food last night:  my sincerest apologies. It was us. I hope it didn’t get on your shoes. And from now on I promise I’m keeping a roll of paper towels and a bottle of carpet cleaner in the car.

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Notes from the Shallow End


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: What’s Your Parenting Style?


Pauilne waited eagerly for the day when this would become the latest trend in parenting.

Pauline waited eagerly for the day when this would become the latest trend in parenting.

Well readers, another day, another parenting label. The latest to hit the lexicon? Apparently it’s “Snow Plow Parenting”. I hadn’t heard of it before yesterday – apparently it’s the kind of parenting where you remove obstacles from your child’s path to make things easier for them. So, Snow Plow parent,   Helicopter parent, Bulldozer parent… is this what we’re doing now? Giving parents labels based on modes of transportation? Because I can totally do that. Here are some others that haven’t quite caught on yet, but are certain, certain I tell you, to be the next big thing. Look for them  on a segment of the Today Show in the near future, featuring a very concerned looking Savannah Guthrie.

*note – the reason all of the following are references to moms is that any time a new parenting label comes out it never ever seems to reference dads. Dads have no labels. I don’t know why. Send all of your complaints to Savannah Guthrie.      

Sanitation Truck Parenting– Follows behind her child and cleans up messes, literally and figuratively.  Despite her better judgment, often seen in restaurants. She’s the one asking for paper towels or extra napkins.  At the park, she’s the mom whose kid just punched your kid or stole his shovel.  Distinctive characteristics include a harried expression,   and an apology always on her lips.

Acela Train Parenting – A type of parenting based on efficiency, organization, and a strict schedule. Seen in parking lots trailing many kids behind, hands linked. Half of them aren’t hers, but she damn sure has juice boxes and snacks for all of them.  Distinctive characteristics: a shame inducing fully stocked first aid kit from which she is able to produce the exact right size of Princess or Batman Band-Aid at a moment’s notice. You, however, will be lucky to produce a used Kleenex to staunch blood flow.

Flatbed Trailer Parenting – Often seen loaded down with all of her kids’ stuff. While her kids skip happily ahead, she struggles to balance the cooler, pool bag, floatie toys, and towels.  If you get behind her in line at the pool sign-in desk, you’re likely to help her pick her shit up that she drops while searching for her passes.  Distinctive characteristics:  Two different shoes.

Taxi Cab Parenting: This type of parenting is based entirely on dropping their kids off at other people’s houses. They will drop their kid off at your house on Friday afternoon, and won’t come back until you finally reach them sometime Sunday after dinner. Distinctive characteristics: Disappearing taillights, unanswered cell phones.

United Van Lines Parenting – A parenting style based on hauling her kids and their stuff all over the country. (Also known as Dance moms, Select sports moms, or Pageant moms) Distinctive characteristic: Mini-van loaded with stickers touting her kids’ activities, iPhone embedded into hand. Caution: May or may not have reality show cameras trailing behind.

Fed-Ex Parenting – A parenting style based entirely on delivering her children places on time. She is constantly overscheduled, especially around the holidays. Distinctive characteristics: A well-used minivan, an ever-present diet soda, and a tendency to never shut up about how busy she is.

Tandem Bicycle Parenting – Parenting style  based on arrangements with other parents. Without her co-mom to drive half of the carpool days, take her kids so she can get a manicure,  or watch her kids for the weekend so she can have some “me time”, her world will fall to pieces faster than dried out Play dough.  Unfortunately, this parenting style is often out of balance.  Distinctive characteristics:  one of the moms is pedaling way more than the other.

Carnival Cruise Ship Parenting – A parenting style based entirely on fun but without a plan or a regard to safety. (See “It’s always funny until Johnny loses an eye” for reference) Spending time with this parent starts off well, but is likely to end with someone crying, injured, or covered in throw-up. Distinctive characteristics include ATVs, rented bouncy castles, and margarita machines.

 Canoe Parenting – A precarious type of parenting based on “not rocking the boat”, but often one tantrum away from flipping over and sinking.  Also seen among parents of newborns whose parents haven’t moved a muscle in three hours because the baby is asleep on their chest and they don’t want to wake him up for god’s sake. Characteristics: Large, frightened eyes and a finger to the lips.

Clown Car Parenting – Often the result of suspected but undiagnosed ADD, this mom parents based on whatever shiny object attracts her. Life with this mom is unpredictable. You never know what will come next. Is she doing an art project? Is she letting her kids make cupcakes? Is she taking a nap? Is dinner at 5:30 or 7:30? You just never know.  Note: This type of mom is often a blogger. Distinctive characteristics:  A house full of kids. Oh, and yoga pants and wine, of course, what else?



Please Send Clorox

Darla was dismayed to learn her future would mostly  consist of many hours of bathroom cleaning.

Darla was dismayed to learn her future would  consist of many hours of bathroom cleaning.


I ran across an article this morning about the Texas woman who just gave birth to two sets of twin boys. You read that right. Not one, but two. For those of you who haven’t had enough coffee today, that’s four total. In addition to the newborns, she has a 2 year old at home. Again, I’ll be helpful and spell it out for you. That’s five boys ages two and under.

Now, I only have the one boy. He’s a great kid, don’t get me wrong. He’s cute as a button, keeps me on my toes and offers boatloads of blog material.  (What? I’m being honest. Anyway, I’d keep him around even if he didn’t. Probably.)

But, five? Like, mostly at once? That poor woman has no idea what she has in store for her.

And I’m not talking about noise, activity level, or general rambunctiousness. I’m talking about pee.

My advice to her: Delay potty training for a while.  Really, you have no idea how good you have it right now. Cause after the diapers come off? So much pee. Pee everywhere.

Seriously, I had no idea about the pee thing. Why didn’t someone tell me? I would have liked to be prepared. I had girls first, and they’re not nearly as messy. With the girls, we could call it “tinkle” or “piddle” and it was all cute and fine. I didn’t even use the word “pee” because, frankly, I thought of it as a vulgar word. But with the boy, all of the cuteness has left the building, people. No more adorable euphemisms. It’s. Just. Pee. And it’s kind of nasty.

Because it turns out boys can go just about anywhere. While this can be handy at certain times, such as on long car trips, other times? Not so much. Sometimes they revel in exercising that ability exactly where and when they shouldn’t.  Everywhere but in the neat and handy receptacle we call a toilet. And even when they do shoot for the toilet, they have an uncanny knack for  missing from a foot away.

It’s why when the VP heads out the door for Costco on a Saturday morning, it’s a rare occurence if I don’t tell him to pick up a multi-pack of disinfecting wipes and/or  toilet cleaner.  The wipes in the canister are my version of the “mother’s little helper”, to quote the Rolling Stones. And that tells you how far away from edgy my life is. “Didn’t I just buy those a couple of weeks ago?” VP asks.

“What are you, monitoring my Lysol usage?” I snap. “So you know, I can quite any time I WANT.  Now, be quick about it, and while you’re there pick up some Glade air freshener too. The six pack.”

You often hear about companies  donating diapers, baby equipment, etc. to parents of multiples. I get that, and I’m sure it’s very helpful. But might I seriously suggest that the Clorox or Lysol Company make a charitable donation to this family, in the form of hundreds of canisters of disinfecting wipes?  Because unless she wants her house to smell like Eau d’ Urine in a few years, she’s going to need lots and lots of them.

And the funniest part of the article, at least to me, was the quote by the husband saying they ”aren’t done”, because he “wants to try for a girl”. Dude, what? What are you going to do next week, surprise her with a puppy? I notice the woman who just gave birth to four boys wasn’t quoted as offering her opinion. Probably because “Are you out of your #%&*^* mind?!” followed by a bunch more swearing (and then a description of her throwing something at his head) does not make for an uplifting article.

In the meantime, while they work out what their reproductive future entails,  help the family out. Send them  as many wipes as you can. And while you’re at it, would you mind sending some my way too?  Thanks a bunch.


The Fears of a Clown

Well, now I know what we won't be doing for his birthday.

Well, now I know what we won’t be doing for his birthday party.


My five year old son, like a lot of kids his age, has some fears and anxieties. He doesn’t have too many, and for the most part, his fears are ones I am fairly certain he will grow out of in time. So I don’t push him into situations I know he will be uncomfortable with. What would be the point? He doesn’t do heights, so he’ll skip the three-story climbing apparatus with the “mesh net of death” suspended precariously high above the cement floor, thank you very much.  Ditto large, animatronic dinosaurs.  And he will literally run the other way from anyone in a costume that includes a large head. (Hello, Mickey Mouse, I’m looking at you. Sorry my kid wanted nothing to do with you when we were at Disney.)

As well as I thought I knew his few minor fear triggers, I was still caught off guard the other night when the subject of Lent came up at dinner. VP asked our girls what they would be giving up for Lent. To no one’s  surprise, they both said “school”.  Eye roll, sarcastic laugh.

But, because he’s five, Lent is a whole new concept for my son.

“What’s Lent?” he asked.

To which I answered, “well, it’s a short period of time where you  give something up.”

My son thought for a moment, his brow furrowed, before he replied evenly, “Well, then, I’m giving up… anything related to clowns.”

So, yeah, we can add that one to the list. But, just think of all the money we’ll save by not buying circus tickets.


Stay Humble, My Friends

Me, apparently.

Me, apparently.


The following story is a reminder to stay humble. Because if you don’t, there darn sure is a classroom full of kids waiting to bring you down.

Yesterday, I  got to be the art assistant at my kids’school. So I had to look a bit more presentable than I usually do on a Monday morning, you know, project an air of confidence, and all that. Which meant  I actually had to shower, get dressed, and put makeup on, instead of just rolling out the door in yoga pants, sneakers, and a fleece. Trust me when I say that for me, doing this  prior to 11:00 a.m. is quite an accomplishment.

Perusing my closet, thinking about the morning ahead, I selected a pair of J Crew jeans, not too mom-ish,  and a cute cotton Tea -n- Rose top. I was trying for stylish, yet comfortable and also washable because, you know, art. Small silver hoops, plus my wedding ring, would be all the jewelry I would need today. I slipped  into my Naots, the most comfortable shoes I own. While they weren’t high fashion,  I was going to be on my feet, and these shoes would be the perfect choice.

After finishing my make-up with a touch  of Stila Lip Glaze in Fawn, and I was ready. I gave myself the once over in the mirror on the way out the door, happy that I can still look cute and convinced I looked at least a few years younger than my real age.  No schlumpy “mom” look for me! No sir!

I walked into the classroom, me and my air of confidence,  and the kids, already assembled on the carpet, started to murmur. There was a buzz of excitement, and one of the boys shouted out, “Hey! I saw you on TV!”

Several other kids chimed in as well. “Yeah, you’re on TV!” and “I saw you too!”

Well, now, what was this? I suppressed a smile, glad that I made an effort to look nice this morning.

I was flattered, but a bit confused.  To my knowledge I haven’t been on TV since I was about six and I was one of the kids in the “audience” on Clubhouse 22. (Note: I spent the whole time staring at myself on the monitor and my dream of being discovered and  whisked off to join the Mouseketeers was over in a flash.)

These kids must have been confusing me with some no doubt very attractive local newscaster.  I smoothed my hair, made a mental note of which lip gloss I chose that morning, and waited for further compliments explanation.

And then, the same boy that piped up when I first walked into the room said, “You’re on Dr. Pol!”

Hmmm. I was now slightly more confused. I’ve seen The Incredible Dr. Pol a few times. It’s a reality show about a country veterinarian that deals with mostly large animals and there is much birthing, and goo,  and sticking of entire arms up the aforementioned  animals’ hoo-hahs. There are several regulars on the show, but I couldn’t remember anyone on the show  that looks anything like me.

I reasoned that there must have been a veterinary assistant on one episode. Probably a young pretty one. Of course! That must be who they think I am. Precious little dears.

But then, out of nowhere,  came the icy jab that brought me hurtling back to reality.

“You’re Dr. Pol’s mom!”

Um, what the what?

Have you ever seen Dr. Pol, you guys? Dr. Pol is in his seventies. Which would make his mom, oh, I don’t know, around one-hundred.

Desperate for an explanation, I reasoned that maybe they just got mixed up. They must have thought I resembled his wife, not his mom. Who, by the way, is probably not even still alive God rest her soul. But that actually didn’t make me feel any better, because his wife is in her seventies. And then, to add insult to injury, several kids began to clap and chant in unison, “You’re on  TV! You’re on TV! You’re on TV!”,until the teacher quieted them down so they could listen to the project instructions.

Humbled, I finished up the morning  with the little monsters kids, no longer feeling like the adorable, well-put together  young thing  I was when I left the house. The art projects turned out cute, anyhow.So there’s that.

And after I was done in the classroom, I drove home going about twenty miles per hour with my left turn signal on the whole way. Because that’s how we roll.