Monday, December 28, 2009
I wake up with a list of things that need to be done every day. You have the same list. My list varies depending upon the catastrophes de jour. Today's bonus items include:
(1) Microwave decontamination. Eldest wanted to know what would happen if you microwave an egg in its shell. [Sidebar: Her father seizes upon this as a teaching moment to show our daughter how pressure in a closed container changes with an increase in temperature. Personally, I would have thought the better lesson would have been to explain physics while CLEANING out the microwave. ]
(2) Bathroom floor decontamination. Other daughter had to pee but didn’t want to be bothered with trivial bodily functions so she waited until an explosion was imminent, peed through the toilet seats and onto the floor. Sadly, I have come to accept these things as normal.
As I clear six inches of powder, I notice my husband is in my kitchen. Yes, it is my kitchen because I am the one who cleans it. What is he doing? He appears to be eating the leftover pizza I was saving for myself and kegging his home brew. I have no ill will towards his hobby because he deserves it, and, let’s face it, I like beer. Perhaps he will clean up the kitchen as he is in there already?
I come in from yard work to find my husband has left for an afternoon of hunting, the equipment put away but the remnants of hops and yeast and barley and who knows what else scattered all over my kitchen, and, in yet another AMAZING home chemistry experiment, beginning to self-ferment on my counters. Really? Why must I do EVERYTHING?
So, just as I start to clean up the remains of his Pizza Crust Pilsner, and vindictively crack open his last cold beer, the idea hits me. I’m not going to do a damn thing … I wonder what will happen? Let's try an experiment...
Title: Controlled Abandonment as a Tool for Increasing Self-Sufficiency and Assistive Behaviors Among Ungrateful Subjects
Statement of the Problem: They are a bunch of ingrates who need to be taught a major Mommy-appreciation lesson.
Hypothesis: If I ignore my family’s needs, they will fend for themselves and begin to appreciate how much I do for them every day. Alternately, they will starve to death. In any either case, they will stop being a pain in my arse.
The Method: I will hide out in my bedroom (playing on the computer, napping and reading) and will totally ignore them all of them (unless intervention is required to prevent injury and/or death).
Procedure: I have a “discussion” with my children. I explain that I will be upstairs showering and resting and I do not wish to be disturbed. They can see that mommy is a little stressed and appear to be paying attention. After one of the most relaxing showers I have had in the last 10 years (probably because I just pounded hubby’s last beer on an empty stomach) I sit upstairs and observe, testing if my hypothesis is correct.
Data/Observations of Human Subjects:
5:15: Daughters (ages 11 and 9) are hungry. They are attempting to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I should stop them. But I don’t. I hear the click, click, click of the gas pilot, the WHOOSH of flames and then “Holy crap! I HATE when that happens” but, they seem unharmed and have learned a valuable lesson, so I continue to listen. They are getting along and they are actually having a good time.
5:21: Maybe too good a time. Sandwich #2 is burning. Subjects decide it is a good idea to time each side as it cooks. Remarkable!
5:30: The dog is begging for her dinner and I hear my eldest feed her, I have never seen such unprompted responsibility! The real test will be if they take it upon themselves to clean up.
5:40: Husband has returned and is playing video games with our son. Will he too will react to hunger pangs in the same way and fend for himself?
5:47: The girls leave the kitchen, having cleared dishes to the sink but without doing any actual cleaning.
6:03: I am hungry and would love to go get a glass of wine but I do not dare leave – I must observe what the male subject will do. Will he feed the young one? Or will he ask for assistance? 6:15: I fear I may have to ruin the integrity of the experiment for the health and well being of the child, and my Saturday night glass of vino.
6:25: It is unnaturally quiet. Could they be making dinner or cleaning up? False alarm; they must have changed video games – yelling and cheering commences.
6:35: My son and husband should be starving by now. I did not anticipate that the hypnotic power of mindless video gaming would over-ride their biological need for food.
6:40: I’m going in for my wine.
6:42: Mission accomplished – and just in time - subjects are entering the kitchen.
6:43: A minor miracle. My husband is making my son an omelet for dinner and surprisingly enough neither has come looking for me.
6:48: My son asks husband where I am but no one seems concerned that they have not seen me in hours – very interesting.
7:04: Son sits down to eat.
7:11 Hubby is making a salad. Will he find me to ask if I have eaten and if I would like one?? Apparently not.
7:30: Need more wine and something to eat – going downstairs. Hubby eating his salad. This act highlights the fact that I have not eaten and that the care and feeding of Mommy is not important to the test subjects. I make my own dinner.
7:47: Husband starts to do the dishes, cleans the sink and wipes down the counters. Kisses top of my head absently and goes upstairs. Children are quietly doing their own thing. House is peaceful.
Results: Children are fed and kitchen is clean and I did not have to do anything. Controlled Abandonment appears to be a successful technique
Conclusion: For the next three days, test subjects washed dishes after dinner. As this is the first time in 11 years that this has ever happened, it may be a miracle. Helping behaviors peaked and then declined. Results may have been due to concern that "Mommy is losing it" (overheard). Mommy has not lost "it". Mommy has lost her bikini. Mommy will need it as she plans to replicate experiment and see if results can be duplicated. She will observe the effects of controlled abandonment once more. This time, from the Bahamas.
Special Thanks to Sophia L. for this gem.
xo, Lydia and Kate
Monday, December 21, 2009
Unfortunately (for me), my kids are also debaters. They will argue any point to the death as long as it is my death and they are able to pronounce themselves the victors and I, the loser. They get it from their father, who argues with people and makes them mad for a living. And is very successful at it. Perhaps because of all the practice he gets at home inflicting his mad skills on me. I am not adequately prepared to deal with one of them, and now I have four of them. Awesome. And the small ones are gaining on me.
Need evidence? The following are some recent arguments I have had with my three children:
da Clown Wars toys. Dey look awesome.
Me: Ask Santa. And its CLONE Wars.
Hawk: No. You're wrong. It's CLOWN Wars.
Me: No. It's clone. Like all the soldiers who look exactly the same are actually clones. Clone Wars.
Hawk: You don't know what you're talking about.
Me: Dude, there are no clowns in Star Wars. Why would they call it CLOWN wars if there were no clowns in it?
Hawk: I'm just not going to argue with you. I'm out. (leaves the room)
Argument #2: You May Not Borrow the Car until 2019
6 yr old daughter: Mommy, can I please drive to school?
Me: Of course! Hop in your booster and get buckled!
6 yr old: No. I would like to drive.
Me: Honey. Don't be silly. You can't drive a car. To begin with, you don't have a license.
6 yr old: (earnestly) Yes, I know. I understand. And I'm way too young. But I've been watching you very carefully and I'm pretty sure I know how to do it. You don't even have to tell me what to do because I already know.
[Editor's Note: I call this little beauty Thumbelina... It's like every time she talks, butterflies come flying out of her mouth, she's that damn cute. But it's evil cute because she has an ABSOLUTE agenda and bends everyone to her will. Even me, and 1) I'm evil and 2)I don't bend. So it's weird. Have to say, I admire Lydia's restraint. If it was me, cops all over our city would be saying "WTF?! Is that a child driving?" And I'd be in the back seat drinking a cappuccino. She's a blond-hair, blue-eyed Mini Me. Adorable as all get-out but planning on annihilating all of us. She's awesome... --Kate]
Me: Um, wow. I'm sorry but no.
Thumbelina: (starting to get visibly upset) You're. Not. Listening. To. Me. I can do it. I know how to drive. I just need you to let me try.
Me: Well for starters, it's against the law. I would got to jail.
Thumbelina: (sobbing) You are not listening! I can do it! Please let me drive to school! Please! (anger and frustration coursing through every fiber of her small body)
Me: (stunned) No. I.... no.
Thumbelina: (eyes swell to ten times their normal size and glisten with extra large tears, heart-brokenly murmurs) Why don't you believe in me?
Her pain is so palpable that I nearly hand her the keys to the BWT. But I don't. But I actually thought about it.
Argument #4: Obviously, Mommy is Wrong (Also about Star Wars)
Me: STORM. Trooper.
Hawk: Dat's. Not. Right.
Me: Storm, not strange. Trooper.
Hawk: Mommy, sigh... One person in this house knows everything about Star Wars, OK? And that's me and Daddy.
Me: Fine. Ask Daddy then.
Hawk: DADDY! DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!! DADDY!!!
Hawk: Who in our house knows everything 'bout Star Wars?
Cap'n: We do.
Hawk: Right. So Mommy says it's not Strange Troopers. She says it's some other thing.
Hawk: So who's right?
Cap'n: Obviously Mommy is wrong. She knows nothing about Star Wars.
Hawk: (oozes smugness. says nothing. glances in my direction once with pity in his eyes and leaves the room with his father.)
Argument #4: With the Baby. Who is Essentially Non-Verbal.
Me: (holding 13 month-old bundle of cuteness) Sweet, sweet girl. I WUUUVVV you.
Baby: Momma! (peals in a sweet, clear voice of adorable-ness. Then out of nowhere, slaps me hard across the face. Makes a sound like 'FWAP'. Also, she scratches me a little.)
Me: SONOFA!! That hurt! No, no! That is NOT OK!
Me: Gentle, gentle, Baby. Be gentle!
Baby: (smiling, cooing) Aaahhhhhh... (FWAP! This time she drags her nails across my eye and cheek. Pretty sure I'm bleeding.)
Me: DAMN IT! Ow! Bad Baby! That really hurt!
Baby: Hee hee hee hee heee! (literally rolling around on my lap laughing uproariously. At me. At my expense.)
Cap'n: Why are you cursing at my baby? What happened to your face?
Me: (handing him the still laughing baby) She slapped me. Like a pimp. SLAPPED. And she needs her nails cut.
Cap'n: Aw... my sweet, sweet girl. Daddy wuvs you!
Baby: MMMMMMMmmm.... KISS! (plants huge kiss on her Daddy and laughs in my general direction as he carries her off).
Me: Oh yeah? Try biting his nipple at 4am. See what happens then, you little ingrate.
Baby: (throws fat, little arms around daddy's neck, stares into his eyes and calls him...) Momma.
So, basically. I can't win. I don't know why I bother to watch the Clown Wars. I'm clearly living the Clown Wars. At least those who will defeat me are cute.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
There is an amazing, award-winning parenting website called Radical Parenting and we have written a piece for them on Lydia's experiences parenting her teenage sister. We would like to thank Vanessa Van Petten for the chance to post on her website. She has done really incredible things and we are beyond excited to have this opportunity! At first we were confused, because Vanessa is an accomplished, published expert on teens, tweens and parenting. And well, you've read our stuff. We like to joke about poop and vodka. Thank you, Vanessa, you're awesome!
So, here's the first part of the post: "Teen House Rules, with Hindsight"
I’m not easy to live with. And this time last year, you could easily multiply that “not easy” by say… infinity. I was 7 months pregnant with the third little terror suspect. I was also working full time at a high stress job, as was my husband, whom we call the Cap’n. But there was a little problem, my 18-year-old sister, Lucy.
Lucy’s mom (my stepmother) had died six months prior. Lucy had never gotten along with our dad and their relationship had gone from bad to worse. Plus, she had come to the conclusion that feelings were bad. So she decided not to have them anymore. Beer - good. Drugs - good. Partying – good. School and feelings – bad. And though her friends were loyal and loved her, many of them were either junkies or on parole so it wasn’t exactly a wholesome environment, unless you’re Caligula.
Also, she wasn’t going to graduate. And she didn’t have a license. Or, health insurance. This girl was such a train wreck that actual train wrecks would see her and pause and be like, “That is such a shame.”
So the Cap’n and I thought – hey, we have a guest room. We have (almost) 3 small children and no money. Why doesn’t she move in with us? It will be like Teenager Spring Training, for when our little terror suspects are big. But…it was going to be a culture shock. When I say that my husband is old fashioned, I mean Victorian. My dad, on the other hand, is a Stalin-quoting, anti-establishment, former hippy. So let’s just say that the home environments were going to be a little different. (When the Cap’n learned that Lucy had been having sleepovers at her boyfriend’s house for two years, he promptly developed an eye twitch.)
But Lucy said she was serious about changing her life and we were serious about helping her do that. Which is how The House Rules were born. Together, we would create them, and then everyone would be on the same page and it would work out great. In fact, it was going to be awesome. Because I was a very naughty teenager. Therefore I was totally qualified to parent one. Yeah…
The rules are below. Following each one, in italics, are the things I would have added, had I known what I know now.
1) Treat everyone with respect (no matter how annoying they are currently behaving). Grown-ups and teenagers have extra responsibility here because the little terror suspects are watching and listening. (Respect includes property – like the fact that you stole my hair dryer. And my nail polish. And every CD from 1998-2005. And that you ate my $9 wedge of Brie as an after school snack. Also, you are not respecting me when you scream “YOU ARE NOT MY MOM!” because I grounded you for getting suspended. The point of this being; don’t eat my cheese. Oh, and if you could resist teaching my 6-year old the word ‘douche’ that would be great.)
2) No drinking, no smoking, no drugs. Drinking and drug use equals rehab or eviction. Not a nice rehab, either. (Do you recall the rehabs that are “exposed” on shows like Dateline? That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s put it this way: you’d prefer jail. )
3) 100% honesty - about classes, friends, boys, money, etc. You don't have to disclose everything but if asked - you must answer honestly. We promise to do the same. (Becoming a master of evasiveness does not really jibe with the 100% honesty policy. But I understand. Because sometimes I spend too much money at Target and then have to try make sure the Cap’n doesn’t realize it without actually lying. It’s hard. So I’m actually in awe of your mastery of the art of evasiveness. Do they teach that in high school now? Along with how to text 100 words per minute?)
4) Must help out around the house without anyone bugging you to do so. (That includes picking up after yourself. That means not leaving a trail of flip flops, hoodies, and books from English 12 that you are not reading in the family room so that by the end of the week it becomes an enormous pile of crap dubbed “Lucy North”)
5) You do chores. We pay you. (Garbage night is on Monday. Every Monday. Monday is the first day of the week. Every week. Should I text you the day of the week? Would that help you remember when Mondays occur?)
6) No friends over unless the Cap’n and Lydia a) know them and b) have given their permission in advance. Probably none until first set of grades show everything is going well and we have adjusted to having the new baby around. And absolutely no one in the house when the adults aren't home. (You see the baby is about to be born, and there’s going to be breastfeeding and that means boobies. Out. Where your friends can see them. So, our house isn’t going to be a good spot for entertaining. Also, your last set of friends were hooligans. Also, you don’t qualify as ‘the adults’.)
7) Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there. (When you move across the USA -- at great heart-ache and expense – and into your pregnant sister’s house so that you can focus on education and possibly even graduation, you might not want to cut class – or your pregnant sister may lose her Schmidt.)
You can find the entire post at: http://www.radicalparenting.com/2009/12/20/teen-house-rules-with-hindsight-guest-post/
Click on over! If she gets lots of great comments and click-overs, she may let us post again!
xo, Lydia & Kate
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
I am sharing just this one page of my truly horrifying holiday to-do list, as the entire thing would take too long for me to type. Because it is currently longer than Gone With The Wind and it is only December 18th. Every year I swear I'm going to take it easy and yet here I am, praying that I can make it through the season of Advent without killing someone with a hatchet. Or dissolving into a puddle of tears and scotch. My husband, the incomparable Captain Coupon, by his very name dislikes the frenzy of spending that accompanies the holidays. He is watchful and vigilant. Of his money. Also, I am very close to losing my schmidt as a result of the herd of idiots that appear magically in my way wherever I go, meandering slowly, oblivious to the fact that everyone else is in a stress-fueled frenzy. So, anyway, here is page 3. Enjoy.
19) De-clutter and deep clean entire house before guests arrive on Saturday. The Cap'n claims this is not possible. He says I should aim not for "deep clean" but rather "not embarrassing".
20) Crap! Girl Scout troop is having holiday party... tomorrow?! Oh no. OK, snacks and drinks for 25. Do I have to go to the store again? Yes. Dang it. Unless I am going to be serving them crackers and Pinot.
21) Reply to nasty-gram from daughter's school as apparently forgot to send in icing for class gingerbread project and as a result children had to use glue sticks and that is neither fun nor delicious.
22) Write, address and stamp 100 Christmas cards. Do not get submerged in the Blur, think you're done with cards once the stamps are on them, and then leave them on the passenger seat of the Big White Ford Tampon until December 26th like last year.
23) Finish Christmas shopping. Almost there... Still to need buy for all three kids, Cap'n, Mom, Step-dad, Dad, Sister, Brother, nephew, Mother-in-law, Sister-in-law, and self. Don't forget coupons. Nuts. Is 4 pm. Will have to buy everything at Target. Again.
24) Wrap and ship gifts. Tell Cap'n that is finally done and was
25) Gas station. Oh no. Where is my debt card? WHERE IS THE DEBIT CARD?? OK, slow down. Where is the last place I used it? Crap, crap, crap we are going to run out of gas and it's freezing... I am going to get divorced if it becomes known I have lost the debit card again. Try not scream. Try not scream. It's... oh. It's in my pocket.
26) Make honest effort to enjoy magic of Holiday and Santa Claus with children while they are still little and try to control urge to shriek at everyone and be raging B all day. Also will stop threatening to with-hold presents for misbehavior as they now just roll their eyes and say "Yeah. We know. Sticks, broken pencils and coal. Got it."
27) Lord. It's dinner time. What's in the fridge? Baby carrots, milk, nog, beer, 2 eggs, 3 pounds of butter for baking and 3 week old hot dogs. Expensive cheese. So... Wait. What's that noise?
28) Make appointment to take the dog to vet. Write thank you note to Aunt Jennifer for delicious but poorly wrapped fruit cake that dog has stolen from under the tree, eaten and regurgitated in his special place.
29) Prepare craft for preschool class. Have all components of festive holiday craft: Red and green Felt? check. Jingle bells? check. Pipe cleaners? check. Glue and scissors? check. Ok... where are the instructions. OF COURSE. I don't know where the instructions are. Honey, pour me another glass! Oh, yes, Santas! Little felt Santas, how darling... snip, snip, glue, glue... Oh NUTS. They were supposed to be stockings. Well, TFB preschool class. You are getting Santas.
30) Need to bake bread, cookies and dough for brie en croute, all from scratch for when family comes on Saturday. What? Saturday is not tomorrow. What are you talking about... Oh my God.
Honey, open another bottle. And then get me a straw.
Sigh, onto page 4...
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
But that was then.The last time I went to the Academy was a year ago, when my sons and I took a friend who was visiting from California. I was trying to get the toddler to finish his juice without getting half of it on me, and chasing down the five year old who was determined to scale a stately monument. A young cadet walked by, nodded his head, and said "Ma'am."
Motherhood is a wonderful thing. But sometimes, it's not so wonderful on the ego. And it isn't getting older that does it. The internet says Jennifer Anniston and Diane Lane are both older than I am, but I think the internet is broken. It's the mommy thing. I'm convinced that after you have spent nights trying to rock the baby back to sleep, and being covered in Elmer's Glue, that you have obtain a magical mommy aura. You give off some sort of vibe that says to men "I'd love to do your laundry", not "I'd love to do you".
(Editorial comment: Let me now share the truly horrifying story of why I can never return to Target. Last year they began selling wine at my Target. And every time I bought wine there, I got carded. It was bliss. I tossed my hair. I smirked. I made sure everyone within three aisles knew what was happening. Because obviously, I look really good for my age. I may have been wearing the Captain's old sweatshirt and the ubiquitous yoga pants, but obviously I MUST look like I'm in my twenties. But no. Settle down, Old One. Turns out, with every purchase of alcohol, cashiers are required to scan your driver's license. Even if you're 80. Do you have any idea what my face looked like when I was forced to go from gloating to humiliated in five seconds? Especially when the blow was casually delivered by an 18 year old, pimply cashier who has no idea of what he's just done to my ego. Or just how hard my husband was going to laugh at me. Where's the corkscrew!? - Lydia)
Still, on those rare occasions when you get to escape the home and go out to dinner with your husband, or meet the girls for drinks, you do your best to hide those dark under eye circles, put on something clean, fashionable and ever-so-slightly cleavage-y, and declare that, while you might not look like Carrie Bradshaw, you definitely don't look like Carrie. You're a mommy, you're not dead.
At least right up until the moment the bartender skips past you as he's checking IDs. And the 27-year old manager stops by your table and says "Moms Night Out, ladies?" And you (ok ME) bat your eyelashes and say "oh, what makes you think we're moms?" And he smiles at you, glances around the table, comes back to you and says "just a hunch" and you know he's thinking "you've got green paint in your hair, your earrings don't match, you obviously leaned up against a kid art project because there are stickers on your back, your boobs alone prove the laws of gravity -- who needs Newton? -- and you're drinking an Old Fashioned for crying out loud. We had to look up how to make that drink."
But if there's an upside, it's this: moms may go out into the world looking like unmitigated hell, but every once in a while, dad goes out with the young progeny and some perky 22-year old Swedish exchange student -- who doesn't know about Newton, therefore happily and obliviously defying all his laws -- at the grocery store says "Oh, zey are such leipshuns. You have many grandchildren?"
How 'bout them apples?
We saucily tip our hats and say a respectful "Ma'am" to our gorgeous and brilliant Special Guest Writer!
xo, Lydia and Kate
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Anyhow, my point was rather on the very large brain that I hope resides in that very roomy skull. And, with it, at the ripe old age of 6, Lefty is quickly learning to out-think me. Making counterarguments that are both logical and oddly compelling. And irritate the hell out of me, because, hello, I. Am not. Supposed. To lose. A debate. With my 6-year old. The fact that I see it as a debate (rather than a NON-debate) furthers that irritation. He's Clarence Darrow in feety-pajamas. And I am now forced to walk around my house carrying a turtleneck, just in case.
"Why do you use water?" "Did Jesus use water?" "Because it was like washing away sins?" "But he didn't hafta use water right?"
I knew it was coming. The clincher. The logic that defies expectation, that you never saw coming. The non-debate debate that leaves you dumbstruck and wishing for a turtleneck. I wanted to rescue our minister before the web Lefty weaved had caught him. But if he got trapped, that meant I wasn't a complete idiot all by myself. That I'd have idiot company.
Welcome to the club, padre, here it comes: "Well, he could cure people when they touched him right? Why did he need water? He was holy. He could just spit on them. Holy spit."
Which was almost exactly what I was thinking the instant he said it. Almost.
And Clarence Darrow left the room.
Our sweet, kind, bespectacled minister looked over at me. I shrugged my shoulders. He's totally not going to join my club.
And, I'm pretty sure there's a turtleneck in someone's future.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Lydia here. The other mommies have asked me to tell you a few things. And let me assure you, that while you will not like what I'm about to say - I am not a mean person. In fact, I abhor intentional meanness (yes, I was scarred by unpleasant high school experiences). I have basically three things to say to you:
- You are NOT perfect (and neither are your kids).
- Please chill out before you either give yourself a seizure or someone slaps you with a sandwich or whatever they happen to have handy.
- There may still be hope for you. Maybe.
First of all you, you spend far too much time trying to convince others of your superiority. Its starting to get a little scary. As a matter of fact, even the most understanding of us are starting to delight in your family's foibles. Because you make it far too fun to smirk: "He was potty trained at 18 months? Really? All your kids were? How fascinating... because he's 6 now and I understand he floated a turd in the pool that shut it down for three days."
epidurals didn't really experience childbirth, you know damn well your last baby was a c-section. That kid's head is so big that the necks of all his shirts are stretched out like he's auditioning for Flashdance. If you birthed that boy without drugs, you'd still be limping and hoarse from screaming for the anesthesiologist.
- When you "strongly advised" the preschool teacher about using your yoga breathing techniques (so that the three-year-olds would stop being so rowdy), she flipped you off when you turned around.
- Also, I don't need your counsel on how or when to wean the baby (and please stop discussing my boobs in public THIS MINUTE).
- Yes, that child over there is being a turd right now, and I feel bad for her clearly embarrassed mom. But you are being a dick by acting like it's a situation, when it's clearly not. And meanwhile your little darling is standing there, glassy-eyed, with her finger up her nose.
endeavor to do that for you.
- "Lord, is that a bagel? I haven't had carbs in three years. Gluten intolerance. Totally sucks. You are so lucky, because I would happily kill my grandmother for piece of Wonder Bread right now."
- "No, we don't have a tv. But it's because I'm a nerd. And a DVD freak. Did I mention that I watched Twilight for the eleventh time last night?"
- "Is that your kid having a hissy fit out there? Nice. Feels great, right? Mine pooped in the community pool last summer. On the fourth of July. Yeah - that was me."
- "Yoga? Love it. Because seriously, without it, I'd be popping Ambien with my chamomile by 5 am and still be a raging B all day."
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Puppet Lady: That's right! They each come with a cookie, but they can swallow pretty much anything.
McLovin: That is fantastic. Even this beaver one you're holding?
Puppet Lady: Yes. This is Barney. He's a very popular one.
McLovin: [completely straight faced] Oh I can imagine. I think it would have to be my favorite. Because, you know, it's a beaver. A swallowing beaver. What other ones are popular? [picks up snake puppet]
Puppet Lady: Well, the snake isn't as popular. But the dog, and the varmint. [McLovin picks up the varmit] Yes! Him! That's Vinnie. He's quite popular too. Excuse me, but is that your wife?
McLovin: [sighs] Yes. She's unstable. I like this giraffe.
Puppet Lady: He's very popular too. Children really like him, I think because he has such a long throat and can swallow so much more.
McLovin: [clears throat loudly] Mmm-hmm. [yells to me] Kate, the giraffe can swallow more!
Puppet Lady: You see, they have little tongues and throats, and you can even have them spit the cookie back out if you want. I can show you.
McLovin: I would love to see that. I'm sorry. Forgive me, what was your name?
Puppet Lady: I'm Doris.
McLovin: McLovin. My pleasure. Really. All of us -- Kate, my insane wife, our kids -- we're definitely going to be telling our friends about these. They're just. So. Great.
Puppet Lady: [laughs] Thank you! Let me get a cookie and show you how it works.
McLovin: Kate! Come watch. [pause] Oh, please, let's use the beaver. [watches the "demonstration" while looking over at me and raising his eyebrows like he's Groucho Marx. For the record, I'm still sitting on the ground, but have at least moved to the curb. I'm out of breath and I have mascara running down my face. My children are horrified. They've just found out their mother is a 17-year old boy.]
Puppet Lady: Of course! Though I'm not sure which ones are available there. It may be not as big a selection.
McLovin: That's what I needed to hear.
I'm expecting it to arrive any day now. It's going to be the best Christmas ever.
Friday, December 11, 2009
And now Lydia will discuss Hector Cabesa Del Toro...
Hector is a bleached longhorn skull. With horns that span about 4 feet across. He belongs to the Cap'n. We first came across Hector in a mercado in San Antonio, Texas many years ago. Before we had children, when we still went on exciting adventures (meaning that we could still afford to go on vacation). We were staying at the Menger Hotel, which is supposed to be haunted (sadly, our room was not haunted). It however, was the only room in the entire hotel that was not rented to someone attending the national conference for Mary Kay sales managers. Did you know that Mary Kay sales teams dress in identical outfits at their national conference? Well, they do. I would also like to add, to all of you observers of human nature, that you have not eavesdropped until you have overheard six women, dressed in identical leopard-print jeans and cowboy hats, discussing strategy in a bar. Their strategy to beat the bitches from Georgia once and for all. Sigh... Good times.
The next day we saw Hector. The Cap'n, he who hates to spend money, took one look and bought him. Didn't even ask how much. That should tell you something. We asked where Hector came from and we were told that he was very old and came from Mexico. Not knowing his given name and unwilling to let him suffer the indignity of anonymity, we christened him "Hector" - pronounced "ec-TOR" - about two minutes later. Did I mention that is Hector is huge and smells a little funny? Also, he barely fit in the car. And it was 900 miles home.
Just not into the baby's room.
And now Kate will describe the majesty of the Green F*cking Elephant...
I got him five birthdays ago. He was the first birthday present the children ever bought for me after we canceled Season One. I suppose the conversation with their dad went something like this:
Season One: What do you think mom would like for her birthday?
Son: Her favorite color is green.
Daughter: Her favorite animal is an elephant.
Season One: Excellent. Let's hurry to a tacky craft store. [my thoughts: or, street fair...or thrift shop...or, dumpster?]
They were giddy on my birthday. I open the box and discover a dark green, raffia wrapped elephant. Like a stuffed animal, but not cuddly or soft or cute or something I want to wake up next to. The kids were jumping up and down cheering. I looked over at McLovin just in time to see him fall off the couch....tears streaming down his face. Ass.
So I won't hurt the kids feelings, I whisper to him, "It's a green f*cking elephant." And he's like, "It could have been a severed arm." And I think to myself that an arm would be WAY cooler and what the f*ck am I supposed to do with this thing. Because I can't put the damn thing in the closet or the kids would be looking for it. And then Lefty is demanding to know if I just love it and what its name is and all I can think is Green F*cking Elephant. And I say of course I love him and his name is G-F-E. And then everyone stops cheering and tells me what a stupid name that is. So then I have to remind them it's my birthday and his name is G-F-E but if it makes them happy, I'll call him Jefe, and we can pretend we're Spanish.
Jefe is standing there. Like waiting. For me. Like some stalker mini-pachyderm who's come to live in my house.
Jefe has spent his past five years terrorizing the house. I found him one day in an orgy of stuffed animals and a headless Barbie. We have never found her head.
McLovin unknowingly took him to work in his briefcase one day. I think a meeting with a "senior government official" is the perfect place to yank out an illegal alien elefante.
One day I found him in the refrigerator with a jar of mayonnaise. I figured he needed his privacy and shut the door. We had take-out that night.
McLovin glanced into his rear view mirror to find Jefe looking back at him. His front leg wrap is starting to come undone. I think he was silently demanding a ride to the craft store for glue.
He's been wrapped and unwrapped so many times, you'd think he was a fruitcake.
I woke up the other morning to find Jefe standing on McLovin's pillow, staring at me. People, this is not a good way to wake up. Now I sweep my arm across the bed before I open my eyes, just to make sure he's not there.
He's waiting for me in the bathroom.
I'm totally packing him in McLovin's lunch tomorrow.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ellen: "There's an enormous dead crow in my yard. With his head shoved in the ground. Like in the ground. And his weird feet are sticking up. And there are like, thousands of crows circling overhead and sitting on tree branches staring at my house. What are they doing? Why is the front of my house like a Hitchcock movie?! Help!"
Me: "I think you need to call the Health Department or something. It could have West Nile."
Ellen: "Oh. Mah. Gawd. So, now I can't take the kids to school because I am pretty sure those other crows are going to attack us and give us West Nile."
Me: "They're not going to attack you. They're crows - not La Costra Nostra. It's not like they think you killed their brother and they're waiting to take revenge." [I peer outside the window.] "Um.. I could be wrong about that."
Me: "Do you need me to come down there and help?"
Ellen: "No. I can do this. But I'm probably going to throw up a little."
So about ten minutes later I hear a noise that sounds like tires squealing. Except that it gets louder and louder and seems to last for a while. Five minutes after that Ellen calls me back. And this is what happenned:
First, Ellen put on like three pairs of gloves and grabbed a big, black hefty bag and a rake. Then, she went outside and sort of poked the crow. And then she threw up in her mouth. This was followed by our other neighbor and dear friend, Mimi coming out of her house. And it was ON.
Ellen: "Help me! There's a dead bird right there and then all these other birds and I just had an issue with vomit."
Mimi: [Looks up and sees the swarm] "What the ...?!"
[Looks down and sees the enormous, upside-down crow corpse] "Oh my ...?!"
[Looks up and spots another neighbor's adult daughter sitting on her front porch smoking Newports in her pajamas and staring into space.] Whispers: "What is her name again?"
Ellen: Whispers back: "I have no idea. I always call her Boo Radley's sister."
Mimi: "EXCUSE ME! WE NEED HELP! WILL YOU PLEASE HELP US?"
[BRS nods. Gets up and walks over. Assesses situation. Takes rake and prods bird into the hefty bag. As the bird's head comes out of the ground there is a noise. A soft, swooshy sound. As if the bird's head might pop completely off and thousands of evil mini-crows might come flying out of the hole in his neck and begin attacking the neighborhood.]
Mimi: "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! GAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"
[Mimi then does what is described as a "Stuart" run and screams in high C for at least 30 seconds]
[BRS nods at crazy neighbors, drops hefty bag in trash can at the curb, walks back to her porch - all without taking the ciggarette out of her mouth. Sits back down, resumes staring into middle distance]
Ellen: Stunned. "Uhhhhhh....."
But the best part of the story as far as I'm concerned is that Ellen's husband walked right by all of it on his way to work that morning an hour before all this went down. And it was a trash day. So he would have stepped out of the house, noticed perhaps two hundred crows cawing and circling his house, then walked right by the huge dead bird, then three steps later walked by a trash can. And then he just kept walking to the train.
It should be clear to everyone that disposing of dead animals is a DADDY job and not a mommy job. And, Ellen's husband is like some sort of special forces, military ops badass dude who is scheduled to re-deploy in about five minutes. It's not like he's a florist. The freaking crows were practically spelling it out in formation in the sky: 'Come back and deal with this situation or your wife will throw up in her mouth'. But no. In Mommyland, all jobs - particularly the gross ones - fall squarely on one person's shoulder's. And I think we all know who that person is. Boo Radley's Sister.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I was taking my youngest out of his stroller, and as I'm getting ready to rip that obnoxious un-rippable tag off of it, I glance at the warning. I shit you not: "Remove child before folding stroller."
What stupid sack of hair tried that? And then sued the stroller-maker? And then made a ka-jillion dollars for willingly turning her kid into origami? And now they all have to put warnings to remove your offspring less some other dumb twat decides she wants her own brand new Honda a a paper-mache kid. [Editorial Comment: I once bought a hair dryer/curling iron that said "Do not operate while sleeping." - Lydia]
All right then, if that's how it's going to be, I have some warnings of my own.
CAR SEATS: This product is to be used INSIDE the vehicle. Not intended to be strapped to the luggage rack. Not equipped to be used as a tow device. Do not drag behind vehicle. Not intended to be installed in driver's seat. Please follow five-step process:
- Buckle seat into car.
- Buckle CHILD into seat.
- Close car door.
- Realize keys are inside vehicle with child.
- Contact automobile manufacturer. Who has entirely different set of warnings.
LEGOS: Warning. Manufacturer assumes no responsibility for structural integrity of Lego-created buildings, stairs, chairs, or any other weight bearing construction. Not intended to be used as flotation device, even when it really really looks like a floatie. Consumer assumes liability for injuries sustained when product punctures the bottom of your feet, particularly in the middle of the night. And really, how about NOT making kid snacks in the shape of Legos. If that's the new trend we're going with, how about snacks in the shape of, oh, you know, cyanide pills, bullets, matches (oh yeah, that'd be a good one) and mini cans of bug killer. You guys suck.
BRATZ Dolls: Original creator was a guy who wore those really thick glasses that make your eyes look freakishly huge, and assumed everyone looked like that. Clothing manufacturer was Lindsay Lohan. Or her mom. Either way. Manufacturer assumes no responsibility/liability for daughters who grow up to be NBA groupies. Or Lindsay Lohan. Or her mom.
BABY MOZART/BABY EINSTEIN: What can we say? We are complete morons. This product does nothing for kids. Manufacturer totally assumes all responsibility for complete and abject failure of this product. Product creator was last seen in her huge mansion laughing her ass off after selling product rights to a company headed by a fucking Mouse. Mouse now offering rebates. Please expect higher prices at eponymously named theme parks for the rest of time.
TeleTubbies: WARNING: We assume no responsibility whatsoever for any of this. Creators were completely tripping on acid and thought it was a brilliant idea. Apparently, some jackhole studio executive concurred the next day.
We have no idea what they're saying, we're pretty sure there's a gun in Tinky-Winky's purse (we may have come up with that idea too. Please sue Smith & Wesson instead) and, frankly, we are horrified every single time they come on TV. We can't believe that actual parents let their kids watch this shit. We are NOT actual parents. We are the people you warn your kids about.
Dora The Explorer: We take responsibility for nothing. Totally assume kids will venture off with rabid monkey to leap across rivers on the heads of alligators. We've gotten rich off parental inattention. In order to appeal to broader audience, manufacturers have tarted her up to look like a seven-year old hooker. Company has taken your comments regarding said changes under advisement. Suggest you go pound sand.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
To Captain Coupon. Let's start with you. I know that you just love to mess with me. Making me mad is a delightful sport to you. But here's a hint; when your baby wakes up every 45 minutes all night long because she is teething and you do NOTHING expect snore and roll over, it is inadvisable to wake up at 6:30am and stomp around our bedroom bemoaning the fact that your dress shirt has wrinkles. And fuss about "where are my cuff links?" I have no idea. Where are my black pearl earrings? You don't hear me asking you to keep track of my random crap. Also, it is a very bad idea to use a tone with your wife about said dress shirt and then coo to the baby: "Did my sweet girl have a rough night? Daddy's here, it's all ok." Really? Is it all ok? Because for your sake, I hope the gun is unloaded. And if your judgment is bad enough that you ask me to make you breakfast, I will stab you with a fork.
To four-year old son: I heard you the first fifteen times you asked me to wipe your bottom. I am pretty sure you already know that we keep extra toilet paper and toddler wipes under the sink so I see NO REASON why you chose to wipe your keister with my shower curtain. And yes, you do have to wash your hands. Oh, I see. There is no poop on your hands because you didn't use your hands to wipe. You used the shower curtain. Therefore you do not have to wash your hands. That is very interesting logic, my son. Ahem. WASH. THEM. RIGHT. NOW. And you will use soap or I will bathe you in the front yard with a hose.
Back again to Captain Coupon: Stop laughing this minute and go to work. I mean it. Wait, did you seriously change your suit so that she would stop crying? Do you have any idea what you have done? You look like you need a wine list.
To the baby: I love you. You're the only one in the whole house who is currently good. And I know your mouth hurts. But why? Why do you hate me? Why do you bite me while you are nursing? I don't want to scream like that, but you see, it's involuntary. Because you are biting my nipple and it hurts like a bastard. Also, could you please try sleeping? For more than an hour? At night, I mean? Pretty please?
I hear a small voice that sounds eerily like my own. It says: "I should not have to ask you ten times to get dressed. Please. Get. Dressed. Or. We. Will. Be. Late." It is my daughter. I think she is talking to her brother.
necessary for you to howl? Really? Wake up that baby ONE MORE TIME and you're sleeping in the basement. Also, I get it. The floor next to my side of the bed is your happy place. I understand that this is a great honor. But do NOT pilfer disgusting items from the trash can and then take them to your special place where I step on them in the dark. I do not enjoy wiping wet Ritz crackers (or "reprocessed" Kleenex) off my feet at 4am. I am talking to a dog.
Silence. I look up. They are all there, staring at me. They are all wearing black pants and white shirts. Oh no. The Blur is obscuring my vision. The Cap'n is holding out a white sweater. "Put it on. It's time to walk to school." He is trying not to laugh. Its over. The battle is lost, and the little terror suspects have won again. I lack the strength to fight so I put on the sweater. We are a family of professional caterers and we are now walking to school.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
You know what? There's no way that anyone you know has one of these:
I'll give you a minute. Take your time. Yes, you're reading it right.
What. The. F*ck.
McLovin and I were out this weekend with the Indoor Homeless People and froze in our tracks.
[Editor's Note: I've been Bogarting Lydia's Little Terror Suspects, but it dawned on me that my offspring are less terrorists, and more beggars. They beg me for food, they beg me for money, they're filthy and only occasionally brush their teeth, they don't have jobs and the don't do anything all day. They're homeless people living in my house. They're Indoor Homeless People. And, while I realize some of you will find this offensive, let me assure you, on occasion, my children are offensive. So, fitting.]
Lefty, who's just learning to read, sounds it out for us: "Pup - pup. Pets. Puppets! That. Swe - swa. Swall. Low. Swa-Low. Swallow! [then loudly] PUPPETS THAT SWALLOW! What do they swallow, mom?"
I had to sit down. Immediately. In the middle of the street. People stopped McLovin. They thought I was having a seizure. He says to me, "Stay here with the kids."
Like I was going anywhere.
Friday, December 4, 2009
It's your new BFFs Kate and Lydia again. Listen sweetie, we're a little concerned. Saw the news this morning. One report said you were renegotiating your pre-nup (which implies you totally read our last letter, which is awesome). You see to some people, your current $300 million divorce settlement might sound like a lot.
But then again to some people, getting paid to play golf, being a multi-millionaire and being married to a Swedish model who bears you beautiful children sounds like a lot. But I guess that it was just not enough. For him.
So. A couple more ideas for evening the score:
1) For every subsequent discovery of a new skank, you get to move up a golf club...we fear you will be swinging the driver by Christmas.
So, Josefin goes on the trips when you stay home...the world will never know if it's you or her. And neither will those "lovely" cocktail waitresses who patronize your husband.
3) The Tattoo we suggested yesterday- though our Patron Saint warns us that a "FLACCID" facial tattoo will only be seen by certain "ladies" (also, twats) as a challenge, we think abject humiliation for the tattoo-ee does wonders. There's no mulligans for permanent ink, jackass.
[Sidebar: A quick note to Tiger's "girlfriends" -- can you feel us rolling our eyes at you? A quick grammar lesson, just because you're a "cocktail" waitress doesn't mean you offer "tail" for his -- well, you get our drift. Maybe you should also reconsider your goal to become famous for your skanktitude. Was this part of your five year plan? Publicly "brand" self as nationally recognized punjana? Nice.]
Since we're your friends, we have your back no matter what you do. Oh, BTW, we think it was so awesome that your mom and Tiger's mom were both in the house when this happened? Was your mom cursing in Swedish and handing you ammunition? Forgive us, we're sure your mum is a lovely woman, but we sort of hear the Chef from the Muppets in our heads. Up the octave, add a little anger and have him hurling meatballs around, and mentally we have your awesome mother. We hope it was her who handed you the driver. "Ta det här min dotter. Slog honom!"
As for Tiger's mom... Well, what can you do? Say "Duck, Son"? Maybe they should have taken a couple of days during his childhood away from the links to teach him to play DodgeBall. DodgeClub. DodgeFireHydrant? DodgeTree? (you'd think that one would be easy...odd) Or, even better, DodgeO.P.P??
Lastly, Elin, you have so much going on, and we KNOW (Kate really really knows) that your phone is ringing off the hook, and everyone from Oprah to Ellen to the Today Show and Access Hollywood are all DYING to get your story. Ryan Seacrest is probably tunnelling under the Gulf Coast to get to you as we speak. (How is that guy famous, by the way? Three hundred MILLION people in this country, and we've decided that he should be famous? Sigh.)
XO, your BFFs,
Lydia & Kate
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