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Tag: parenting humor.

Who Wears the Bossy Pants in the Family?

Bossy Pants

As I was walking my four-year-old son to pre-school one morning, he started telling me about Natalie, his girlfriend, whom he described as beautiful with hair that shined “lellow” in the sun.

“Natalie says I can’t have Adam come to my birthday party,” he said as he dropped little black berries on the sidewalk, Hansel and Gretel style.

Oh really?!” I replied in the over-acted manner preferred by four out of five preschoolers.

He stopped at a bush, finding more berries to pick. “She says I can’t because I have to make her happy.”

BAM! Like a pack of dogs through a just-opened screen door, the next words bolted out of my mouth. I whistled helplessly for them to come back, but fast as the speed of sound, each word gonged themselves in succession against his tiny eardrums: Man. She. Sure. Is. Bossy.  Realizing this was the first time he’d heard his mother talk bad about one of his friends, he turned and looked up at me, his eyes widening.

Only one day earlier, a mother reminded me that kids blab to their friends and teachers everything their parents say to them. I was aware of this when dealing with older children but I hadn’t quite grasped that my own boys were at that age. Meaning, I had yet to be shamed.

Truthfully I felt pretty confident that my kids never listen to me. I had tried to peer deep into their eyes a few times to see if my words where getting through to them. All I saw was the swift glimmer of their brain as it galloped past on its way to the forest where the wild things are. Their complete lack of comprehension was the only way I could explain why I found myself repeating the most basic of instructions. Like: “You don’t need an entire roll of toilet paper every time you use the toilet.”

Or, “I know you are trying to help clean but don’t keep putting old bowls of spaghetti back into the cabinet.”

And, “I’ve told you before if you’re going to inspect mummified lizards with magnifying glasses in my bed, please remember to take them back outside when you’re done.”

Oh, and, “Stop coming up to me and wiping your nose on my sleeve.”

Knowing that I was about to learn my gossip lesson, I quickly back-tracked. I knelt down to my son’s level and spoke to him of mutual respect, the dynamics of a male/female relationships. I brought up Martians and Venusians, King Solomon and his tasty gossip morsels. I used fast speech to jab at his pre-frontal cortex. I dropped four syllable boulders in front of his neural pathways. To overload his optical nerve, I gesticulated like a juggler with Parkinson’s. Anything to distract the arrival of those first five words to his hippocampus. Like a UPS central processing center, it’s the part of the brain where items get sorted and some are sent off to become long-term memories. I even said hippocampus a few times, just in case it is the hidden lair of the id.

I talked the rest of the way to school. I talked until his eyes crossed and birds flew around his head. I talked so much I was confident that I had rendered his brain incapable of remembering that I had said: she sure is bossy.

I kissed him off to school.

Three short hours later I walked back to pick him up.

“How was your day?” I asked.

“Mama, you were right. Natalie is bossy,” he said. My heart became an anvil and clanked on the floor. Blind-sided, I realized that my babbling had succeeded only in confusing my hippocampus.

“You didn’t call her that, did you?” I asked.

His eyes got big. “No, Mama.”

I sighed with relief.

“No, Mama, I told her that you said she was bossy.”

Family Dog Intervention: A Fake Charity that Should be Real

Cruelty

 FAMILY DOG INTERVENTION.ORG

How am I supposed to protect them if I don't howl

They used to never leave the house without me

 

Nothing can compare to the cruelty and humiliation of a dog being demoted from a couple’s first child to just a family dog. 

 

 

Become a Sponsor with FAMILY DOG INTERVENTION.org

HOW WE HELP FAMILY DOGS

Each year millions of dogs go from top dog to sleeping in the doghouse because of the birth of an infant. 350,000 human babies are born into the world each day, and with 44% of American households owning at least one dog, this means about half[i] of those babies go home to a newly neglected dog.

The cruelty will shock you:

  • Many of these canines were accustomed to barking as often as they wanted and now they are nudged in the ribs when they bark at the mailman in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Their whole life they slept in bed with their owners, how are they to adjust to a thin dog bed with zero thread count?
  • They used to get cuddled on demand, now their only physical touch occurs as they are pushed behind baby gates.
  • They go from regular walks at the dog park to being shoved into the backyard where they must defecate in a confined space with no new smells.
  • They used to enjoy eating the highest quality dog food three times a day, followed by a dessert of fresh butcher shop bones. Now they are being fed a pile of Old Roy on a paper plate every other Thursday.
  • Accustomed to weekly swimming in the ocean or at a lake, the family dog now only gets wet when they are forgotten in the backyard during a rainstorm.

I was so hungry I had to eat a lizardI used to have my own bed, now I sleep on the bare floor

At Family Dog Intervention .org we try to prevent the neglect of family dogs by providing new parents with a dog sponsor. As a nonprofit canineitarian organization, we strive to help dogs overcome the burdens of being in a family with small children. Become a family dog sponsor today and fight back against the inevitable neglect that new human children create.

THE DOGS DID NOT CHOOSE THIS

Many of these dogs were adopted into childless families and became used to a life filled with rides in the car, daily walks, physical affection, routine vet care, grooming and regular feedings.

Luckily some dogs are freed from the entrapment of family life either because families claim their new children have allergies or because the dog’s “aggressive” reaction to their neglect.  Still a large percentage of dogs stay in the family household after being demoted to just a family dog. These animals are often forgotten for minutes at a time in crates, behind baby gates, and even horrifically, in the backyard.

How Sponsorship Helps

Your sponsorship ensures your sponsored dog receives support through every phase of his or her new human baby’s life:

  • the infant crying stage (also known as I get kicked a lot.)
  • the tail pulling stage
  • the trying to make the dog a horse stage
  • Finally the most insulting: “this dog is too old and doesn’t want to fetch with me. I want a puppy.” stage

Help me! They put me in the backyard during snack timeDo I look like a dog who should eat Old Roy generic dog foodWhat is Sponsorship?

Sponsorship is an incredibly powerful way to help one dog break the bonds of being a neglected family dog. It connects you with an individual dog that desperately needs your help, and lets you provide life-changing benefits to that dog for a low monthly contribution. Sponsorship is your chance to build a lifelong friendship with an impoverished dog, one that will alter the course of his or her final dog years.

Family dog sponsorship unites dogs in need with individual sponsors who wish to address the dog’s immediate and basic needs, and gives them the tools and opportunities necessary for success, like trips to the vet, regular walks, physical affection, and playing with toys.

Where Your Donation Goes

This sponsorship provides money that goes directly to the dogs so that they have groomers, walkers, petters, play mates and healthy food.

Don’t let another day go by where a family dog is forced to eat generic kibble. Become a sponsor today!

 


[i] Check our math. 44% of 350,000 is 154,000. 154,000 dogs become forgotten each day in America. That is 56,210,000 dogs a year, which is 75% of the entire American population of dogs in one year. So imagine in just 5 years, 281 million dogs will be neglected!  Unless you help now, that is a third of the whole world’s dog population that is at risk of neglect. 9677230218%^$#(*&)(&988-02e1241-0 (ß——-Look at these complicated numbers. We need your money! )

In Defense of a Little Ignorance

38 (2)

“All I know is that I don’t (want to) know” — misquote of Socrates, or possibly Operation Ivy

Before Conan O’Brien took over “The Tonight Show,” there was this guy named Jay Leno who hosted. … wait, my husband is trying to tell me something. … apparently, he says, Jay Leno is still hosting “The Tonight Show” and Conan O’Brien is … somewhere else.

Anyway, back to my point. Jay Leno had (has?) a bit on his show called “Jaywalking” where interns would go out to the streets of Los Angeles with portraits of government officials and other people who run the world. The interns show these photos to random pedestrians who hilariously can’t recognize pictures of the vice president or the secretary of state, but they can recognize a Kardashian (which, from what I understand, is a new Muppet).

Me, that’s who.

And you know what? It’s by choice.

A choice that started one day when I was driving home from work. I was getting myself worked up about an issue discussed on NPR, like people wanting to give fetuses the right to bear arms or something. (This was confusing because fetuses are usually born with arms already, but NPR explained it was about guns.Who would give a fetus a gun? I know, I agree. But in the other side’s defense, they said that fetuses could protect themselves against unwanted abortions. Pro-Baby Choicers.) My point is, listening to the fiery debate was making me upset.

And then, it hit me like a bat to the skull: I DO NOTHING. I do nothing to help these problems except know about them. I don’t contact my Congressman, Congresswoman, or Congress-others. I don’t picket, I don’t write letters. I don’t even virtually sign online petitions. I think I should. I think I might. I feel guilty for not. I hope I’ll do something tomorrow. But even though all that thinking and guilt-ing feels like I am doing A LOT, in actuality, I had to admit, I was doing nothing at all.

On that particular day, I had enough stuff in my real life to stress me out, so I couldn’t comprehend why I would add stress for no other reason than so I could feel informed.

I was in my first year as a high school math teacher, which can be pretty scary all by itself, but I was teaching at a transitional school for teens getting out of juvenile detention. This means I dealt with a group of kids who were often poor, abused, addicted and sometimes homeless. Kids who could break your heart in one second and terrify you the next. Kids who — as I realized when one of my sweet, chubby, smart students told me he was awaiting trial for armed robbery — were the faces that haunted someone else’s PTSD nightmares.

To make things worse my husband’s high-paying job — which we moved to Florida for, and on which we based our decision to buy a very expensive house — turned out to run by a con artist.

Then our car blew up.

I found out I was pregnant the fourth day of school by vomiting on the 5 a.m. drive to work. Something I would do every day for the next 11 weeks.

My mother-in-law, at age 62, was elated at the knowledge that she was finally going to become a grandmother. In order to ensure a long healthy life in which to enjoy her grandchild, she quit smoking. She died just eight days later.

In a matter of days we had gone from: double income, no kids, two cars, nice house, to: one income, kid on the way, one car, house poor and my husband, a 32-year-old orphan.

If all of this wasn’t enough to cause worry overload, six months prior, I had evilly taken a physiology class, in which I spent two weeks learning the 500,000 birth defects that are believed to be caused by maternal stress. At the time — knowing that I eventually wanted children and totally freaked out by the class — I asked my professor what advice he had for women who are thinking about having a baby. He replied, “Never take this class.”Great, now you tell me.

Never being one not to panic, I would imagine how my child’s DNA was unfolding in an acid bath of adrenaline. “This kid is growing in a rolling boil of cortisol!” I hyperventilated/screamed/cried to my husband. “Do you know what that can do to a fetus?”

Was my professor right? Was it better not to know all the possible dangers that could happen? I couldn’t unlearn the physiology, but I could choose to not know anything more. That day sitting in the car coming home from work I had an epiphany: I don’t need to know all this stuff. It is OK to not be informed.

And the truth is I don’t miss the important stuff. If it’s vital, someone tells me about it. What I do miss is all the stuff that never goes away, that stuff that never gets better and the stuff that doesn’t matter.

I felt pretty guilty about my ignorance for a long time (notice how guilt always stays, but its object changes). I couldn’t verbalize to others why I chose to be oblivious, but I knew it felt good not knowing. For a while I told myself I would go back to current events once my baby was born, but not knowing the murder report and the newest pedophile case brought a simple peace to my everyday life. I knew I was happier and less stressed. I knew it was the right thing to do. And I don’t want to go back.

There are a lot of other people out there who are passionate about politics and community, and I’m putting my country in their hands. Right now, in this part of my life, knowing is not my concern. In exchange, I am focusing on doing my job which is to raising two intelligent, kind boys who have been loved by their parents. My job is to provide a childhood with as much bliss, naivety and playfulness as possible.

Five years after that day in the car, I now feel very possessive over my emotions. I don’t want to feel sorry, or sad, or mad for people who I don’t know personally. It doesn’t help them. Those are my emotions to be used only when I need the energy to help people that I do know. I think we, as a society, feel so overwhelmed with the problems of the world that we can’t help the needy right in front of us.

So I choose not to know any details about Case E. Anthony (or whatever horrific event is currently occupying America’s interest) because my knowing about it doesn’t change what happened. And I would be proud to say I couldn’t pick Joe Biden out of a lineup, because I’ve realized that me knowing what he looks like doesn’t make him better at his job.

Knowing every issue and every danger doesn’t give us control over the world even though we want it to. Even if you read every article on the causes of accidental deaths in children from window blinds, or pools or sunflowers seeds, and even if you wrap your kids in bubble wrap when they skateboard, your son can still slip on a spoon in your kitchen right in front of you and break his leg.

For now I’m happy not being aware of current events. And if the world is going to end on Leap Day of the year 2012 like the Mayans, the Incas, or the Santa Marias predicted, then at least I’ll be blissfully unaware until it happens.

So keep me in the dark.

Potty Training Magic

Potty tilt“So how old were your kids when they were potty trained?” an elderly (are we still allowed to use that adjective?) lady asked me at the grocery store.

I can tell by her tone that my mothering will be judged by my answer.

“They were both out of diapers at 2,” I say.

“Oh wonderful,” she nods approvingly. “Yes, all the kids used to be potty trained by 2, but now everyone does it so late, up to 4 sometimes.”

Am I lying to her?

Yes and no.

Potty training is about 20 different skills: going No. 1 on the potty, going No. 2 on the potty, going without being prompted, stopping playing to go, not going in the bath tub, not going in the pool, using indoor plumbing instead of the grass, pulling up your pants, pulling down your pants, knowing where it is OK to pull down your pants, zipping a zipper, snapping a snap, wiping, actually being good at wiping, waking up at night to go, sleeping the whole night without going, sleeping the whole night without going when you are spending the night at a friend’s, not peeing your pants when you jump on the trampoline … wait, was that last one meant for me?

So what is potty trained? When kids have mastered all these skills? Some of them? One of them?

I don’t know. Both my boys were out of diapers at 2, but more because I am cheap and hope springs eternal than because I was so amazing at or diligent about potty training.

My oldest stopped wearing diapers during the day right at 25 months. (For anyone who does not have kids, 25 months is just a complicated way of saying that he had just turned 2.) He never had an accident and used the potty consistently to go No. 1, but for a full year (two or three times a day) he would go to his room, grab a diaper and have me put it on him so he could do his dootie-duty.

I was sick of this, so on his 3rd birthday I told him that he was too big for diapers and the diaper manufacturers didn’t make diapers to fit 3-year-olds.

This worked like a charm. And, like a charm, it also had an unforeseen evil consequence: no diapers at night. He so truly believed  my lie that he would not put on a diaper at bedtime. “Too big!” he screamed.

Dilemma.

I didn’t want to retract my lie; I couldn’t break the spell. I needed another charm to fix the first. So that night I went to my cauldron, I mixed up some Eye of Newt and Dragon’s Breath, poured a little gin in it and sat down on the couch to brainstorm what to do next.

Genius idea: I would sneak into his room after he was asleep and put a diaper on him.

This did not work. I could hear him in the middle of the night yell “Too big!” as he ripped his diaper off (duct tape and all).

From then on, he was not allowed any liquids after 6:30 p.m., and I woke him up every night at 10 to make him use the potty. This was not very efficient for myriad reasons:

  • I had to remember to do it every night.
  • His bedroom is upstairs, but there is no bathroom up there, so I would have to bring the kiddie potty upstairs.
  • It was dark and I could never see if the hose was pointed at the target, if you know what I mean.
  • Most nights he would scream like he was being attacked by a wild animal when I picked him up and he would fight against sitting on the potty.
  • I had to remember to do it. (Did I say that already?)

Finally we got into a routine. Pee before bed. Then make him use the downstairs potty at 10 p.m. This worked for about six weeks, and then he suddenly started wetting the bed every morning at 6 a.m.

I was losing my mind. He should not have to pee three times in 10 hours. I immediately knew that he had bladder cancer.

Turns out he was gulping down gallons of bath water every night in the tub. (Reread the 20 skills and then let that sink [or tub] in for awhile.)

So now I have an un-potty-trained kid and I am obviously a horrible parent because my poor child is dehydrated!

OK. Regroup. Now: lots of water during the day, no more drinking bath water, and continue no liquids after 6 p.m.

Success. He didn’t wet the bed for a month. Until we went out of town and he started wetting the bed again, every night for weeks.

Start again. Finally … success. I found a new magic trick: time. The day he turned 4 he never wet the bed again.*

He was out of diapers at 2, but was he potty trained at 2? A little bit. Was he potty trained at 3? A little bit more. Was he potty trained at 4? God knows. The newest thing I am learning is that you have to teach boys how to pee in the potty — not just in the immediate vicinity of it.

Some days I’ll think I hear the shower running and then realize: Oh, it’s just one of the kids overshooting the bowl and hitting the shower curtain.

So it seems there is still more potty training work to be done, but my cheapness and my ego feel great pride when I say both my boys were out of diapers at age 2. Who cares? (Besides that random inappropriate lady at the grocery store.) I assume the older your kids are when you potty train them, the more skills they can learn all at once.

There is no best time, or right time, or only way to potty train, and every magic trick has a consequence: whether it’s changing dirty diapers for three years, or prompting a 2-year-old to use the potty 10 times a day for 12 months. So pick the least offensive one to you, and then don’t think twice about what other people are doing.

They all get potty trained eventually. Right? Please tell me that’s true.

*Until we went out of town this Christmas.

Curse You, Grocery Store Checkout Line!

grocerySo you’re at the grocery store and you’ve made it.

You’ve been down ever aisle. You’ve completed your list.

Your kids screamed only a couple of times and at glass shattering decibels rather than earth shattering. You are rounding the final aisle and heading toward the checkout.

The dreaded checkout.

The Sirens’ Pass in your Odyssey.

Can your children resist their calls? Will the whole family be lured into crashing or will you pass through unharmed?

Like Ulysses himself, you clip your children down into the cart, hoping they won’t be driven crazy by the sweet Siren song:

M&M’s, and Snickers, cookies too.

Put us in your belly. We’re so good for you.  

Grab onto your mommy, tell her true:

‘Give me all that candy, or I’ll cry boo-hoo.’  

Put us in your pocket, mommy’s out of view.

You want us in your belly. We’re good for you. 

At this very moment:

  • How many kids are throwing themselves on the dirty floor of a supermarket over a candy bar?
  • Or how many children are committing their first crime by stealing a pack of gum in the chaos of the checkout?
  • How many parents are taking the Lord’s name in vain while envisioning strangling their kids as they slide their credit card through the machine?

I understand that grocery stores and Super-Cheap-But-Actually-More-Expensive-Because-You-Buy-Lots-Of-Unnecessary-Crap-Mega Marts sell more items because they put bunches and bunches of cheap plastic toys and yummy gummy sweets right at the height of little arms sticking out of grocery carts.

I understand that it is my choice to not buy this crap for my kids. And I don’t EVER EVER give in to my kids’ requests for treats and toys (except sometimes). Yet they are still tempted by everything whenever we go to the store.

I can deal with all the junk hanging from aisles — just asking for kids to pull them down — while I try to choose the healthiest jelly from my 900 options. Hmmm … do I want no corn syrup, sugar or artificial sweetener but with MSG, or do I want no MSG but some sugar and red Dye #666? Decisions, decisions.

I can deal with it because I am standing behind the cart, and I can whisper into my kids’ tiny ears, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it; so you better sit down right now, pull that candied sushi out from under your shirt and behave!”

But, come on grocery mart, please don’t tease them with goodies the whole store, and then right when I really need the kids to behave put a gazillion candy bars next to them while I attempt to check out. I’m lugging around a 15-pound book here with 1,973,472 expired coupons in it. I don’t have time to monitor if my kids are committing petty theft.

I want to throw all that stuff in the dumpster and blow it up.

Last week, my kids screamed (at earth shattering decibels) the entire way home because they did not get any cookies at the checkout line. When I opened the car door to get out it was like I was blasting a horror flick inside. (Of course my neighbors and their whole extended family were outside.)

Curse you grocery store!

And just today I saw a 6-year-old boy running around the checkout area, football clutching a large bag of candy, while dodging his grandmother who was whisper-shouting to him, “She has already checked out. She’s leaving. You need to put that down.”

*****

I want a kid-friendly checkout line. No cookies. No candies. No balloons. No toys begging to be bought. The only thing to grab would be baby carrots and apples.

I want mirrors so my little narcissistic kids can make funny faces at themselves while I unload the cart. I want propaganda photos of Elmo enjoying his broccoli. I want evil looking elves with red eyes chanting, “We’re watching you.” (OK, maybe not the last few.)

The checkout line feels like a big old F-U to parents. We like our profits over your health.

I’m mostly a libertarian, so I don’t want a stupid law saying you can’t try to lure kids into diabetes with brightly colored sugar, but I would like for the groceries stores to do it on their own — for the happiness of their customers and for the sanity and health of the kids.

Stop trying to impulse sell candy to little people who do not yet have impulse control.

But I know we are a nation of greed, so even with the obesity epidemic I bet no grocery store would ever look past the bottom line in order to make their customers happier.

Unless … it made them more money.

I would switch stores if they had a kid-friendly checkout line. Maybe you would too.

Attack of the 50ft. Shark Wrench

sharkI live with a couple of little make-believe micromanagers.

I look at my boys, age 3 and 4, and I envision them in tiny cheap suits, hair slicked back, dark-rimmed glasses, checklist in hand.

“Now Mom you sit here and say, ‘Aahhh the bulldozer is going to get me.’”

“Mom, I TOLD you to laugh when I put this drill in your back.”

This is tediously boring. I try to make it more interesting, but my son is never amused by my ad-libbing. Sometimes the boat crane will have mechanical issues and need oil (coffee) to be fixed, or other times the boat crane slips and a bunch of boats all fall onto the engineer’s head.

“NO MOM! You’re doing it wrong. Now pick up those boats.”

I’m sure part of the fun of make-believe is being able to boss your un-fun mother around, being able to have the roles reversed for awhile, but I feel like I am working with an ego-maniacal writer/actor/director who won’t let me bring anything to the table. I gotta make this boat crane my own, man.

I tried explaining to my boys that the first rule of improv is to always say yes to what your improv partner is bringing to the scene. We will be in the middle of a school of sharks (played by Legos) and I will pick up a certain shark and wrestle it, when one of my kids will say, “No, Mom. That’s not a shark. That’s a wrench.”

“Aghhhhh. I quit. This is no fun.  I’m going to go wash dishes,” I pout and kick the stupid shark-wrench.

Why can’t I just go with it?

Because there are always consequences to just having fun.Whether it is time wasted, getting injured, or bad habits that will generalize into the most annoying routines ever, there are always consequences.

For example every night the boys and I walk the dog. They ride on their tricycles and the dog and I walk behind them. Every couple of feet they will stop their bikes and ask me to sing, “I’m going to pass you. I’m going to pass you,” while I run past them.

As soon as I pass, they race up behind me, singing, “You can’t pass me!” And always, always, without fail in the chaos of two trikes, a pulling dog and me, one of them will accidentally slam their pedals into the back of my ankles.

It hurts sooooooooooo bad.

I have anxiety the whole walk about all the skin getting torn off my heels. I try to keep them in front of me at all times like they are two drunk drivers. I jump into the grass anytime they get near.

“KEEP MOVING!”  I scream now anytime they stop and try to get me to pass.

No fun task goes unpunished. Want to make bath time fun one night, as a special treat? Blow bubbles for them while they bathe and then plan on being harassed to do it again every night for the next five years!

Or want to make getting dressed fun by putting their pants on your head? “Oh, look how funny mommy is with your pants on her head.” Then for the next 12 months every time you turn your back your youngest is naked again and trying to sneak his pants onto your head.

I don’t want to have any fun. I don’t want to make this chore more enjoyable and therefore longer.

I know I should. I should enjoy this time with them when they still want to be with me and play with me. I should relish that they are enjoying the simple things in life.

But I just want to get it done!

Why? Where am I going so fast? Race, race, race so they can go to bed and I can have my wine? (YES!)

I wanted to do this, be with them, raise them. It was important to me. I don’t want to think I spent this precious time telling them to hurry up and get moving.

Do they micromanaging in play because that is what it feels like to be my kid: tediously boring and no fun?

Maybe I need to back off a little and let them do things the way they want to. Let them make the chore their own.

But if they got to do everything at their pace, I would have to wake up at 4 a.m. to get out of the house by 8:55 p.m. (and never get my wine).

So, “KEEP MOVING!”

The Land Before Kids

landI went to stay with my friend and her husband recently. I didn’t bring my kids. They have no children.

What a wonderful world to visit.

They have a French press that s l o w l y brews delicious Jacobs Krönung coffee.

They have a wine rack filled with expensive wine that they bought directly from their favorite winery in Napa that they visit twice a year.

I have a bike rack.

(What am I talking about? I still have a wine rack. It is just empty and whatever bottle (read: box) is cheapest and largest is sitting open on the counter begging me to take a sip at 11 a.m.)

They have a coffee table with expensive tiny breakable/choke-able baubles sitting out in the open.

Our coffee table was put away immediately after (the third time) my son fell backward off the couch and slammed the table with his skull.

They have no cheerios stuck to the backseat of their cars. You can walk through their house in the middle of the night and not step on painful, noisy toys. You can talk loudly, blast music and slam doors after 8 p.m. There are no baby gates or child locks. No moldy bath toys in the tub.

They can leave the house together at night. Just leave. Walk out of their house at 8 p.m. together. They can get a craving for pizza at 10 p.m. and go out and get some. Do you understand that it will be a decade before my husband and I are able to spontaneously leave our house together at night? (By then, will we even remember that we’re allowed to?)

I used to live there myself — the land before kids. It can’t really be appreciated until you’ve left.

I never (slight exaggeration) want to move back. Yet every once in a while, it sure is nice to visit. (And stay for a good cup of coffee.)

You: Old and Unimproved for the New Year

new years

And that’s just the way you should be

As January approaches and we are stuffed with regret from all the turkey and cookies and champagne that we overloaded on, we must be wary of the marketing of a “New You” that the month of elf improvement (oops, that is for the North Pole edition) I mean, that the month of self improvement brings.

Be suspicious of anything that says you will become “New and Improved” if you just buy this or just buy that — from a simple magazine full of organizational tips, to the famous Slim Thigh’sLippo Home Sippo Sucker DIY Liposuction machine (that can be yours for only 50 installments of $19.99).

I remember one New Year’s I decided to wean myself from the sugar in my coffee. This is so easy, I thought. I’m doing great.  It only took me three weeks to notice that I had suddenly started eating powdered sugar doughnuts for breakfast instead of my usual eggs and toast. Oh, this takes hard work.

If you are motivated to improve yourself in 2012 then I say go ahead, but if you are telling yourself: “If I buy this one thing then I will finally be happy, and/or I will finally be worthy of love,” then know this is a lie you are being told by someone who is probably trying to make a profit off of you.

So as New Year’s Day approaches and you sit down to come up with resolutions, maybe this year you can put away the fear, and the disappointment, and the inferiority complex that we get from not living up to impossible standards set on TV and just relax a little bit.

All I’m trying to say is … I think you’re OK just the way you are.

Happy New Year!

‘Twas a Very Germy Christmas

xmas

A sniffle, a sneeze, a kerchief, “Ah Choo!” — here are our germs, we’re spreading to you.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through your house,

Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept one single louse.

The children were snuggled all warm in their beds,

While the louse laid her eggs on all of their heads.

A gift to our cousins, we gave you our lice.

You’d think that’s enough, that that would suffice.

But a sniffle, a sneeze, a kerchief, “Ah Choo!”

Also our germs, we’re giving to you.

To Grandma, and Timmy, Delilah, Aunt Sue,

We’re goin’ back home but we’ve left you our flu.

Your throat feels a tickle and your nose starts to trickle.

Can it be true that your health is so fickle?

No relief to be found, no one symptom to tame.

You wince, and you shout, and call them by name!

“On NyQuil! On Tussin!, Oscillo, and Vicksen!”

You’re so full of drugs, you swear you be blitzen!

And into your room walks the great man in red,

Santa is here and he sits on your bed.

He waves to your germs tho’ they’re really quite small,

“Spread around! Spread around! Spread around all!”

Itchy scalp and a fever, the chills, you’re so sick,

“No more relatives EVER!” you moan to St. Nick.

He smiles and laughs and says, quite sincere,

“You’ll do it again and the very next year.”

As quick as he came now he says he must go.

You’re so happy to see him, you wish it weren’t so.

Did you hear him exclaim as he flew out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a flea bite”?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays! Stay healthy and wash your hands. Inspired by the famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” written in 1822 by Clement Moore.