Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Top 10: Universal Truths of Big Kids

We consider big kids to be kids who go to elementary school. So for the sake of convenience, let's say Kindergarten through fifth grade. Here they are.

10. Every one of them can negotiate better than a professional trial lawyer. Particularly where bedtime is concerned.

9. For some reason, there is some need to take Bakugans, hairbrushes, extra clothes, different shoes, unnecessary books, wallets, anything that's mine, or ginormous water bottles to school in their backpacks. Please stop. One, something is going to get lost or stolen. Two, it just makes it heavier, guaranteeing you come closer every day to resembling Quasimodo. And, three, you always hand it to me to carry. Just because I carried you for nearly an entire year at one point doesn't mean I want to be a pack mule for your crap now.

8. Erasers apparently serve as a snack while doing homework, leaving only the wet, mangled and masticated shreds of the metal ring as evidence of the crime.

7. Getting them out of bed Monday through Friday? We've turned on the lights, opened the curtains, blasted Lady Gaga, and ripped all the covers off them... and they still manage to turn over and go back to sleep. Yet, Saturday, up at 6am. Thank you. Lil' Wayne and I will be taking our revenge Monday morning.

6. "Take a shower" translates into "stand under running water and do nothing for 25 minutes, then dry off." A word of advice to perpetrators of this ruse: wet, unwashed hair smells even worse than dry, unwashed hair...which is why we told you to take a shower in the first place.

5. They are atrocious liars. Somehow, the answer they want to give seems to be hidden in the upper outside corner of one of their eyes. Another word of advice: Lie BIG. Even if we know that there's no way that Darth Sith and Luigi emptied out the Toy Closet and then self annihilated in a battle to the death, leaving you with the unfortunate mess, we'll appreciate the creativity. And imagine you'll make a great storyteller someday. Or very unsuccessful criminal.

4. At 10 years, 3 months and 18 days, boobs become a very big deal.

3. They can roll their eyes so hard we can hear it. We imagine it's the sound of tendons snapping.

2. If there is a particular behavior or characteristic that you can't stand and work very hard to discourage in your child, that is exactly what they will seek out in their brand new, very best friend. So whether it's a 6-year old dressing like a Bratz doll or an 8-year old who stays up 'til midnight on weekends watching "300" on cable, you lose. Because even if you win, you're now the bad guy. So you lose.

1. Best Part? They're not teenagers. Yet.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top 10: Universal Truths of Pre-Schoolers

The Top Ten Universal Truths of Parenting Preschoolers

10. If your preschooler is a great eater and happily gobbles up everything you put in front of them, it is obviously due to your excellent parenting. If the little ingrate refuses everything except nuggests and macaroni - it's just really bad luck.

9. They only need to walk past a room to mess it up.

8. You can give them napkins but they're still going to use their sleeves.

7. Just when you think diapers and potty training are all happily part of your past and you get all forgetful and complacent, somebody sh*ts in the tub. If you're unfortunate, there are bubbles. And you don't realize what's been lurking in there until it's far, far too late.

6. If they say something to you and you don't respond, they will only say it AGAIN and say it LOUDER. And if you still don't respond... Well, ignore them at your peril.

5. Now comes the really embarassing behavior in public. Like while checking out at the grocery store. Imagine a precocious three year old boy with the loudest voice in the world. He looks around and says: "That lady over there has a baby in her tummy... The doctor is going to have to take her panties off to get the baby out."

4. Preschoolers are tricky. You ask them to brush their teeth and they look at you like: what is this "brush" you speak of? What are these - how do you say -"teeth"? But at school, they can spell October, clear the table, make pancakes, and cooly inform their teacher that Jacob is the name of the good werewolf.

3. They mispronounce words and it is hillarious but you have to be careful not to laugh too hard or they will be emabrassed or intentionally say: "There goes the firefuck!" over and over. Hawk, for example, when he says "six year old" it sounds exactly like he's saying "sexual". Like his teacher helps him with sexual math and reading. Or his sister's Daisy Scout Troop is lame because it's filled with sexual girls.

2. Nothing is better than watching a 3 year old rock out in their carseat. I do not mean to "The Wheels on the Bus". I mean Lady GaGa or Queen or something completely awesome that they randomly decide that they love more than anything. Nothing that is, except their interpretation of song lyrics. Which are nothing short of genius.

1. Preschool Yoga: One hand down the pants; the other hand opened in the L shape, thumb in mouth, finger up nose. One of the more difficult positions to attain...and even harder to stop. We call it The Mommy Salutation.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Top 10: Universal Truths of Babies and Toddlers

Happy Spring Break! Which for us isn't really a break at all. It's all kids, all the damn time and all the teenage babysitters are in freakin' Florida or something. Getting my tan and drinking my fruity drinks in my former body. So, Lydia is off to the Gulag Farm Farm Farmity Farm and Kate is going to New York. Isn't that just so typical? Country girl, city girl. Digging in the dirt, shopping for shoes.
So, we happily present the Spring Not-A-Break Five Day Fiesta of Top Ten Lists. Starting, now:

There are some things that are Universal Truths of Parenting. I discussed one such truth in a recent post. Namely, that corn looks exactly the same coming out as it did going in.  Hey, I never said the Universal Truths were pleasant. Often they're pretty disgusting. And smelly.

Top Ten Universal Truths of Parenting Babies and Toddlers:

10. Changing your own baby's diaper? Yucky. Changing some other kid's diaper? The most disgusting, foul, vomit-inducing experience of your life.

9. Nursing means your baby gets nature's perfect food. It also means you get hunger cravings every two hours that threaten to turn you from a blissed-out new mom into an angry, rabid, fridge-emptying goblin.

8. No matter how many kids you have, you always forget that they understand English before they can speak and you accidentally say sh*t in front of them one time too many.

7. If your little biddy is a good sleeper, it's obviously due to your excellent parenting. If, however, your child is a horrible sleeper - it's just really bad luck.

6. Someone will attempt to touch, pick up, or snuggle your new baby without having washed their hands/used Purel. It is perfectly acceptable for you to scream at educate them.

5. Once you introduce solid food, at some point your child will become obsessed with noodles.

4. For every person who judges you for going back to work there is another judging you for staying home and they all can suck it suck it suck it.

3. Eventually, your kid will be the one with the nauseating green snail trails running from his nose to his mouth. It's unavoidable. That's what tissues and a gag reflex are for.

2. Your toddler will at some point turn into a screaming hell-spawn. Usually in public. If you're Lydia, during a baptism or wedding. It is the mark of a good mommy to shrug it off while stifling your own hysterical, embarrassed laughter.

1. You and husband may be forced to get into the very creepy habit of calling each other "mommy" and "daddy" so that the children don't end up screeching: "LYYYYYDDDDIIIAAAA! Wipe my BOTTOM!" while in public. It's much less horrifying when they call you mom. Trust me.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Oh Cap'n, my Cap'n

Hello Cap'n Coupon.

Today is your 40th Birthday.  I got you lots of presents but I also thought I would take this opportunity to express myself.  Stop cringing.  I'm not going to say anything embarassing.  About you.  The truth is, I am very happy to be your wife.  Notwithstanding the fact that starting next week, I will lose all authority over the remote control whenever your stupid baseball team is playing. And I swear, they are always playing (and sadly for you, not winning so much).  In any case, here are a couple of reasons why I think you're totally bad-a$$ and awesome. 

Reason 1: I know that I have a bad case of HTBS (Hair Trigger "B" Syndrome). And so sometimes when you say "I'm so tired" or ask me a totally innocuous question ("Is yesterday's newspaper on top of that pile?"), I lose my schmidt ("What do you mean that pile?! Like there are just piles and piles of crap all over the place? OK, maybe there are. But you have no right to judge me because I'm bad at housework. I am trying to be a good mom and not have them watch TV and play the dang Wii all day and that means I can't keep this place as clean as I want and don't even bring up the laundry because I am working on it, OK?!").

And you just smirk at me, while looking at me over your glasses, until I hang my head and say something like: "Umm... That may not have been a proportional reaction. I am sorry. Yesterday's paper is on top of the pile closest to the blue chair."

Reason 2: I never sleep and what must be worse (for you) is that I never shut up about how tired I am. I know you're tired, too. You work harder than anyone I've ever met. You never stop working (at your job or at home). But you're still not as tired as me.  You never really get any down time or a day off.  I know that you love to sleep in and that it stinks that you only get to do that maybe once every three months. What you don't know is how much I appreciate the fact that on Saturday mornings you let me catch up on my sleep and you wake up early with the kiddos and make a 900,000 calorie breakfast of awesomeness (with fresh coffee) and that is what I wake up to. At 11:00 am. 

Reason 3: I took a good look at you the other day and even though you are full-on salt and pepper (and the salt is winning)... Damn. You look like Cary Grant. You were cute as anything the day I met you, when I checked your ID to make sure you were 21 - but you look better now. 

(Quick sidebar - I was his waitress in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1995.  And maybe I looked veeerrrryyy carefully at his ID to find out, possibly his name or phone number.  Maybe.  But I did NOT pick him up in a bar, which is what he likes to tell people).

And the crazy part? You still love me. And it's fifteen (very unkind, female) years and three kids later. Female years involve scary things like aging and pounds and stretching abdominal skin like it's taffy.  There's probably some physics lab in Nevada that has figured it out into dog years divided by the gross national product times how many scales are in our house or something and the point is, I am so lucky.  LUCKY.

Reason 4: Even though you were extremely worried about our family's privacy - and seriously questioned my sanity - when I started writing this blog with Kate, there is no one who could be more supportive, honest and - let's face it - awesome. And those of you who think my posts are funny? A lot of it is due to the Cap'n. His suggestions and one-liners and edits make my posts.

Dude, you are the funniest, cleverest, wittiest person I have ever met. Please remember I said that the next time I succumb to HTBS or you come home to a scene of total chaos resembling what might happen if the monkeys were allowed to take over the zoo, complete with throwing brown matter at each other. Something which, I imagine, will happen in about 6 minutes... it's been a long day.

Reason 5: You are so old school. [Editor's Note: And, definitely NOT in the Will Ferrell running-naked-through-the-city "Old School" -- more like wearing-a-suit-and-tie-to-dinner-at-home old school.  So, just ever so slightly different. Sometimes I'm sad when he shows up to church and he's not wearing a fedora. Not that he ever has, but, I'm thinking he should. - Kate] And so awesome. I thought men like you only existed in movies and in the distant past. Sometimes I wonder if you're actually a TV dad. Then you accuse me of intentionally losing my last year's W-2 right before tax time or hiding your yellow tie where you can't find it and I think, "No. He's real".

Other men, when they turn 40, go to Las Vegas to party or to the Porsche dealership to have that lil' crisis (or just window shop for the lil' crisis -- you know, the economy and all). Not you. No no no. You can't wait to go to your Grandfather's farm - to clean and garden and scrub and work. Because, would John Wayne want to go to Vegas? No. He would go split wood and work the land. The only ones more excited than you? Our kids and the dog. All I hear about it is: "Farm! Farm! Farmitty Farm!" Other wives get European vacations. I get Cultural Revolution-style, Back to the Land, Blister Camp.  But I love it, because it means I'm your wife.

Reason Six: I know that the whole Cap'n Coupon thing has become kind of a punchline. But the truth is that you did not really become a crazy person about money until two things happened: I quit my job and my little sister moved in with us.

You totally supported my choice to quit my job. After two years of negotiating the nightmare of multiple day care providers, none of us could take it anymore. So I stopped getting paid. And then handing over my entire paycheck to the babysitter, who would them smile and hand me one of our children who had just acquired another charming strep infection or stomach bug.  I do not miss day care.

And it was you who said that my little sister needed to come live with us after breast cancer took her mom. And you were a father and big brother and confidant and driving instructor* to her. And the last thing must have been terrifying.

*The Cap'n taught Lucy to drive in character. He played a driving instructor named Field Marshal Randal Mantooth, who thought the track suit mimicked formal wear.  The Cap'n said the acting was involuntary and the only way to stifle the urge to flee - or vomit - as Lucy was destined to wreck whatever she was driving. And yes, she ended up totaling two cars in less than one calendar year, including an acrobatic car flip deserving of a medal.

And teenagers are really (f**ing) expensive and they eat a lot. (I still don't understand how she could consume 3 Dr. Peppers, an entire box of triscuits and a brick of cheddar as an after school snack and then two plates of pasta an hour later and still fit into skinny jeans that really ought to be called tights).

It meant you had to work extra hard, and brown-bag lunch, and cut coupons to provide for all six of us so that she she could save every penny of her survivor benefits to pay for a car and college.  And she made it to college, because of your support, encouragement, and Fred MacMurray-style lectures.

And this makes you unlike any man I have ever known. Because where I come from, men leave. And when they stay, they're often selfish jerks. And everyone, really, only cares about themselves. And you always do what's right, even when it's hard and sometimes awful, and it means you have to sacrifice what you want for what's best. And everyone in your family (and half of those in mine) now look to you to be the grown up and the Man (when no one else can muster the cojones to take care of business). 

I see now that being a great daddy may be the only job in the world harder than being a good mommy. Because it sometimes seems like the world is chock full 'o' d-bags... but men like you? One in a million.

Happy Birthday, Cap'n.  I Love you.

xo, Lydia

ps: Kate got you a Fedora. Wear it on Sunday or face her wrath.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

(Completely Imaginary) Celebrity Advice Column #6: How Do We Love Thee?

Dear Kate & Lydia,

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (oh, and a little bit you, right.)



We knew it was only a matter of time that you wrote us, Oprah. And you're just so -- concise and to the point, and exactly what we imagined a letter from you to be like.

We're ever-so-slightly hesitant to write about how we think we can fix you. After all, you're basically in charge of the universe, and you have jillions of fans who would probably kill us if you commanded them to. Umm, please don't...pretty pretty please?

OK, back to your "letter." Since we're not exactly sure how to interpret everything you inquired about -- again, it's amazing just how concise you can be -- we're going to take the proverbial stab in the dark and answer what we think you were asking.
  • Yes. We totally love your show. And your magazine. And your website, TV channel, production studio, the movies you're in, the movies you produced, the movies you voice-acted, your radio show, radio station, your books, your other television channel, your charities, the book club. We didn't miss anything, right? Because we totally love that thing too. Can we just say we're glad it's still called earth? We're pretty sure everything, everyone and everywhere could just be named Oprah if you wanted it that way. So, we love it all. Yeah.

  • Our favorite show? The one great. Yep. That was the best one. You were so awesome, and so so pretty and...funny. Right? Right! You were so funny. But not in the haha we're laughing at you, but that you totally wanted us to laugh because you were funny. We talk about it, like, every day. Best. Episode. Ever.

  • Oh, absolutely. You're totally relatable. I mean, you talked about your weight struggles, and, we have all totally been there, girlfriend. [Editor's Note: Kate, please stop doing that thing with your head and neck and fortheloveofPete, people don't do the snap Z thing anymore. And she can totally see you. STOP. -Lydia] Oh, and you told us about how our shoes can make us look fat -- and wow, thanks for that...because it used to be that we just worried about the fat making us look fat, and possibly the shoes distracting from it...and now we know better...and that's And you let us see your home(ssssss) and meet your designers and your chefs and your interior decorators and, gosh, don't we all get tired of seeing our own faces of the cover of our eponymously named magazine?

  • What do we love best about you? Clearly your ability to levitate. Because we [ok, Kate] notice your shoes and how you -- amazingly -- never have scuffs on those amazing red soles. Ever. So, either you're constantly walking on - oh, we don't know - cotton balls or the open palms of your hordes of fans, or you've learned to defy gravity. We're totally betting on the levitation thing. Mostly because, well, you're YOU. Laws of physics don't apply here. Duh.

We're really glad you mentioned this. It's not that we think you were wrong, per se. But, Oprah, that boy was jumping on your sofa! Umm, hello? His mom is probably still horrified. We really wish you would have gotten your B on and said something like, "HEY! Did your momma teach you nuthin' about puttin' your feet on the furniture?" Actually, we really wanted you to slap him. Hard. With a sandwich. I mean, you're Oprah. And this was the one moment when you could have spared all of America from "Valkyrie." Please. If you ever have him on again, before you do anything, just smack him first. The whole planet will thank you.

  • Dr. Oz? Fabulous! Nate Berkus, your super cute designer? *Awesome* But, Dr. Phil? Awww, hell no. He's we don't understand half the random crap he says and the good ol' boy thing just makes him sound stupid. Please, you can do anything. Please make Dr. Phil go away. Forever. Possibly with Tom Cruise. Because that's a cage match just waiting to happen.
We don't want to rush off, but you're just about to come on TV right now. And, we are scared to miss it don't want to miss it. And your magazine just showed up in the mail. Oops, and there's the other magazine. Oh, crap, and the thing on XM. And gosh, well, you're just...everywhere, aren't you?

We would say we're gonna miss you when you're gone...but we're pretty sure you won't be...which, again, just so we're clear, isgonnabesuperbecausewewouldtotallymissyouwethink.

In the meantime, can you totally teach us how to levitate?

xoxo Kate & Lydia

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top 10 Questions You Need Never Ask Lydia

A few weeks ago, my friend Ellen got a phone call.  The person on the other end of the phone said: "Ma'am, this is blahblahblah at SuperFancySpa.  You have a pre-paid one-hour massage.  Would you like to schedule it now?" 

After Maude-facing her, I was like: "Are you kidding me?  That is one question that you would never, ever have to ask me."  Then it ocurred to me that were a lot of questions that you need never ask me.  Because I am an ass.  So the answer is always, always yes.

The Top Ten Questions You Need Never Ask Lydia

10. Can I pour you another glass?

9. What do you want me to do with all the leftover pizza?

8. Is that funny to you?

7. Are those your kids? The ones that appear to be playing dodgeball? In the church sanctuary?

6. Is that a coffee stain on your boob?

5. Do you want to go to Cracker Barrel?

4. Those look like yoga pants - the same yoga pants - are they?

3. Was that a yawn? Are you tired or something?

2. Did your six old just tell me that my hair "looks fierce"?

1. Did you know that you have a dryer sheet stuck to your ass?

PS: Just realized that I spelled "appropriate" wrong in the wine glass picture.  Maybe I shouldn't be drinking a t-box while I'm joking about them. 


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Single Mom

McLovin is leaving for the next five days. It's not very long, but by the time he gets back, I will be gone with the IHPs for six days of Spring Break.

I've also been asked to come in to work for these same five days. Which is *awesome* because it's money and talking with adults and doing all that cool job stuff that I used to do. And, lest anyone ever forget, I get to wear real shoes. And it's spring and I have a pedicure, which means cute shoes with toe cut outs...really, this is pathetic, and I know my boss on occasion reads this, so....hi, yeah, please disregard this whole paragraph. However, I also figure if he read Lydia's Five Guys post, he'll never be back here again...

I mentioned this all to Lydia -- well, not the boss and the Five Guys part -- and said something like, "it'll be like being a Single Mom again." And then, after today's List of all the crazy stuff I have to get done just to go to work for five days, I'm exhausted and I haven't even worked yet.

And then I got to thinking about when I was the Single Mom. Most of you know that, at one time, there was Season One...and now there's McLovin. And what I've always sort of glossed over was that time in between.

In between was The Hibernation.

I think for about eighteen months I basically just crawled into the Single Mother Cave and hibernated for a while. Oh, no, not like I got to rest and rejuvenate for spring or anything. But more that I didn't see anyone, didn't do anything, didn't go anywhere...nothing...just pushed through that long dark cave of wake up / shower / kids up / breakfast / teeth / school / work / home / dinner / homework / kid shower / stories / clean up / bed routine that lasted forever.

And I had help. We had a nanny that was -- and still is -- wonderful and amazing and she teaches my kids Spanish so when they're irritated and in public the can mutter things in another language and people think they're precocious little bilingual savants and not mouthy little ingrates. Plus, I get to scold them in Spanish so no one knows that I'm actually threatening to lock them in a cabinet with a snake. In Spanish it's all sing-songy and rhyme-y. Gabinetes and serpientes...

And Season One was great too. As I may have mentioned, we live ridiculously close to each other. By choice. And I dig his company. And Lefty and McGee think he freakin' walks on water, which sometimes makes me jealous, but kids should think their parents are awesome. Even Happy digs him, and would rather sit with him in church than with McLovin' and me. [Yes, they all go to the same church, too. And we sit two rows behind them and watch the kids wander back and forth between all the parents. It's like watching a two-headed dog juggle or something. - Lydia]

Anyway, the Hibernation. Even with all the help, and the complete lack of animosity and a total willingness by both Season One and myself to help each other and make our schedules jive, the hibernation is hard. You're alone. It's a really long time and more work than you ever thought possible. Plus you're not sure you're doing the right thing. I mean, sometimes you're sure, like when the future ex is a douche or John Edwards or Jesse James or Tiger Woods.

And it's like it's dark or something. I tried not to think. Because thinking made me...think more. And, I'm no idiot, but that much thinking isn't good for me. It's those "I'm gonna be alone forever" and "Oh, right, I can totally compete with the still-single thirty-something career professional with the just-purchased BMW and condo in the city, perfect figure and the hoohah that wasn't used as a slip-n-slide..."

Oh, and my personal favorite, "Yes, me with my ex-husband and kids and the Louis Vuitton 9-piece Deluxe Edition set of emotional baggage, which would be awesome were it not for the fact that every suitcase, carryall, satchel, makeup bag and purse-size tote were all full of metaphorical used hankies of drama."

So when I hit these times when I'm by myself for a week or so and everything rests on me, it reminds me of when I was by myself all the time. And it's hard. And I think about you moms who still do it all the time, whether by choice or by fiat, and you step up and you do it. And you do it really, really well. Even on the days when you don't do it well. You know why, because while today they're being IHPs and LTSs and -- let's just say it -- little shits -- they still got dinner and a story and a roof and a kiss and a mom who would jump in front of a bus for them. And that means you did a great job.

I read this newspaper article a long time ago about a baby whose mom died in childbirth. And the mom's mom -- the grandmother -- somehow was at peace with the whole thing, even though she lost her daughter. And I had to tear it out of the paper because sometimes I think we forget how terrific we are at being moms because we're so busy being moms...anyway, just read it...

"The last full measure of devotion is that of a mother who gives her last breath for her child."

Shut up. You're totally crying too. Lydia is gonna square up on me for this one.

Point is: You're Mom. MOM. Which means that today, you did an awesome job. And anyone who says different can suck it.

I remember one day when spring had finally arrived, and I went outside and was like, "when did the leaves come out?" and McGee looked at me like I was an utter moron and said, "ummm, mom, you said that last's May."

But then one day something comes along that snaps you out of that Mrs.-to.-Ms. Funk and for me it was seeing a friend I hadn't seen since way before my hibernation. And she was jogging by my house, and stopped. She looked amazing, all rested and in shape and -- sorry, Becks, I'm gonna out you here -- she looked better than I had ever seen her. I can totally say this now because she was always awesome and now her looks matched her fierce personality. And I know I must have looked stunned, and she, being her amazing self, hand-hipped me and said, "yep, lost 185 pounds..."

Physics said that was impossible. You can't weigh a negative. I know. I've tried.

"Got rid of that @$$hole. Lost 185 pounds overnight...sorry I dropped off the planet, by the way."

So I told her about how I had been in hibernation. And she told me she had been blasted into outer space without, well, anything. Just floaty and dark. And no direction and no idea what happens next.

So, to my Single Moms. You are amazing women. You took a crappy thing and make it, every day, a great thing. And you deserve a freaking medal. But you're happy with a T-Box. And you need to know that someone has your back. And that person is me. And I'm kinda bad ass...

And now I'm going to go get a tissue because I have stupid mascara running down my face. But the best part? The IHPs still think I'm awesome.

And anyone who says different can go suck it.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Public Display of Morning Sickness

I was recently informed that people really enjoy reading about all the ways I make an ass of myself in public. Here's the good news: examples of me embarrassing myself spring from a well that will never run dry. Just ask my husband. Cap'n Coupon catalogues the stories of me being an idiot. Different categories exist based on if it was something I said or did or had done to me, or whether it was accidental or intentional. There's even a category en Espanol. If we had an SAP button, you could press it now. Anyway, there's a lot to choose from, but I decided to write down this little gem as Thumbelina enjoys telling people about it all the time anyway.

I should warn you that it's gross. Really gross. Even for a mommy. And Kate tells me constantly that I'm being gross (and I don't even realize it). I know this is bad. So, maybe put the coffee down. Fine, consider yourself warned. Cuidado!

A little less than two years ago, I was four months pregnant. At four months along, I don't really look pregnant. I just look . . . big. Tummy huge, boobies huge, cankles huge. The rest of me normal. Size and clothing-wise, it's the demilitarized zone of pregnancy. You're in the low rent side of limbo, where there's just nothing good to say. No regular clothes fit and maternity clothes look heinous. During the pregnancy DMZ, people don't look at me and say - "Oh, she's pregnant. How nice." They look at me and say: "My, she has gained weight. I had no idea suburban mothers could work as Sumo wrestlers. How very interesting!"

Also, keep in mind that I was walking with a limp because I was still recovering from a Barbaro-style broken leg. So I was pretty awesome all around. Like a gimpy hippo in tight pants and clogs. Just take a minute for all that to sink in.

The Cap'n decides one beautiful Saturday to take us all to lunch at Five Guys. Five Guys is a very yummy local burger chain (that's actually somewhat national, depending on where you live). They are not paying me to write this. As you will soon read, I am saying these nice things about their delicious burgers in order to do penance. So that maybe one day I go back.

But back to the Family Luncheon of Fun. Thumbelina and Hawk are delighted, and we all pile in the car (no van in those halcyon days of two kids). I was so insecure about my appearance that I had actually showered, blown out my hair, and put on make-up - in the hopes that even if my body could do nothing more than gimp-waddle-gimp, then at least my head could good. Think Shelly Winters in the Poseidon Adventure (hint: this is foreshadowing). Stupid Lydia. You should have known better.

So we get there and eat a great noontime meal and, for the first time in weeks, my Hell-spawned morning sickness abated with the actual morning. It was all very nice. And then the bad thing happened.

Hawk: "I haffa go to da bafwoom."
Cap'n: "What?"
Hawk: "I haffa go potty. In da bafwoom. And it's a pooper. So come on, Daddy, let's go."
Cap'n: (looks scared) "Maybe mommy could..."
Lydia and Hawk: "NO!"
Cap'n: (hangs head sadly in resignation, gets up) "Fine. Let's go."

Ten minutes later...

Cap'n: "We're back."
Hawk: "But I didn't go bafwoom because dere was dis big, fat guy and he was in dere a looooong time. And when he came out da bafwoom smelled soooo bad dat daddy said he wouldn't go in dere."
Cap'n: (Muttering under his breath as the big, fat guy in question was sitting at the next table and heard everything that Hawk said) "You don't even understand how bad it is. I'm not going in there. No. Don't look at me like that. Nothing you say or do will make me go in that room. I think that smell has killed men on the battlefield. Good men. . . "
Hawk: "I haffa poop. I really haffa poop."
Thumbelina: "I have to pee."
Lydia: (glaring at the Cap'n, hoping that lasers will shoot out and burn him for getting out of yet another disgusting kid-related chore) "Fine. Let's go."

We go the women's bathroom (which is also stinky). Thumbelina pees and flushes and starts to wash her hands. Hawk jumps on the potty and decides, while pooping, to flush it again right away. But the potty did not like that one little bit. So Hawk jumped off the potty, while still pooping.

This is where we need to pause for a moment. Mommies, you know there are several Universal Truths of Parenting Small Children. Here is one of them. Small children love to eat little, yellow corn niblets and corn on the cob. And we love for them to eat vegetables, so we feed them corn. That corn goes in and comes out looking exactly the same. Crooked accountants would call this a "round trip" transaction.

So while trying to pick up my wriggling, still pooping three-year-old and place him back on the potty (that was angrily threatening to overflow or possibly explode), a kernel of yellow (fecal) corn fell gently onto my foot. And I started screaming: "Gaaahhhhh! Corn! Gaaaahhhhhh!" Then came the gagging.

I pushed Thumbelina out of my way and started to projectile vomit into the sink. Meanwhile, both kids (one on the potty and one backed so far into the corner that she appeared to be trying to tunnel through it backwards) were simultaneously fascinated and completely horrified. I may have screamed at them to stop screaming for the love of God in between wretches. I don't know. Also, because I was pregnant (for the third time in five years), I may have peed a little.

After the retching subsided, I took a moment to take stock of the situation. The bathroom was trashed. Like really trashed. Like the day after Mardi Gras, public port-o-john, unparalleled nasty. Like don't even try to clean it, just get a hose and some bleach and hope there's a drain in the the floor. Karen Silkwood would've felt dirty. Then I looked in the mirror. Suddenly, the bathroom didn't look that bad.

Mascara was running everywhere, Alice Cooper-style. Skin was flushed, sweaty and blotchy. My hair was a crazed bird's nest flecked with . . . just imagine. My entire head (which ten minutes ago had been the one part of my body that wasn't totally embarrassing) was now like something out of a horror movie. I splashed cold water on my face, and it splashed all over the top of my shirt, soaking it. I went to reach for paper towels and there were none.

Then Hawk said: "Momma! Wipe my bottom!" Thumbelina and I looked at him incredulously. He shrugged and said: "OK. Fine. Wipe my bottom, please."

With that, I snapped out of it. I mean, who cares that I had just turned into Linda Blair from the Exorcist in front of my kids and now looked as if I were Scary The Clown. Mommies live to serve. And wipe. And clean. This day was a bridge too far.

Thus began five futile minutes of cleaning up myself, my son, and the bathroom with half a roll of industrial toilet paper. I will spare you the specifics, but it was bad. I gave up and just prayed that the next person who had to use that bathroom had a really strong stomach.

As we walked out of the women's hell-hole bathroom, I became aware of the fact that we had been gone a long time. I didn't recognize any of the faces at any of the tables near ours. In fact, I couldn't see my husband anywhere either. Thumbelina spotted him first and started running towards him. Everything went into slow motion like that scene in Saving Private Ryan.

Waiting by the door with the car keys in his hand, the Cap'n looked at me with the international "that took a while" expression. As I got closer, the expression on his face changed. First concern, then horror, then stifled laughter. Like I said, third pregnancy in five years. He knew exactly what had happened. I tried not to look at anyone else because I was scared to see their reaction to my truly frightening countenance. Hawk and I were limping slowly towards the door, holding hands like we'd just seen combat or escaped from the basement of a serial killer. Then Thumbelina started screaming in the high pitched shriek that only little girls can make. It was clear as a bell and impossible for anyone to ignore.

"Daddy! Hawk pooped on the floor and some of it got on mommy's shoe and then she screamed and started making weird noises and then DIARRHEA came out of her MOUTH! A lot of it! Most of it got in the sink!"

Stunned silence. Everyone put their delicious burgers down. And looked at me. Except for the people standing in line. Who seemed to be scanning the place for any possible exit and were seriously considering a leap through the plate glass window just to get away from me and my kids.

"DDDAAAAADDDY! Didn't you HEAR me?! Hawk pooped on the floor and DIARRHEA came out of mommy's MOUTH!"

The Cap'n then realized if he didn't say or do something, she was going to say it again and louder. He hesitated one second too long.


(Picture a man shaped like Dom DeLuise with an open mouth, dropping his burger, and glaring at the Coupon clan with the transcendent "Come on, you filthy carnies!" expression).

At that point, we were at the door. The Cap'n gallantly held it open for us, his charming family, firmly pushing Thumbelina through it so that the rest of her recital was projected into the parking lot. As he closed the door, he tipped an imaginary hat to the still silent, confused and nauseated dining room.

"Well," said the Cap'n looking at me with more than a little amusement in his eye, "The Coupons have left the building."

(Editor's note: You guys are a really professional family. - Kate)

It's been a long time, but some experiences just never leave you. In part because every time we drive anywhere near the Five Guys in question, Thumbelina starts in. "Remember that time at Five Guys when..." And I burn with embarrassment and think to myself: "I'm sorry Five Guys. We promise never to come back to your fine establishment. I'm so very, very sorry."

And that is but one of my finest Lydia moments. There are a lot more. And some of them are worse. So, please, don't judge me.
xo, Lydia, who clearly puts the "ass" in embarrassment, is out.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

(Completely Imaginary) Celebrity Advice Column: Just like Jesse James

Dear Kate and Lydia,

What the F*%K just happened to me?

Love, S


Dear Sandra Bullock,

We don't understand this any more than you do. No sane person gets it at all. We just want to say that we are so sorry. So sorry that your husband turned out to be a cheating, low-down, no account, nasty old d-bag. We're sorry for his children, who may now lose the only sane adult in their lives. We're sorry that this has to happen with everyone in the whole world watching. And sorry that 'The Blind Side' and your Oscar win are now linked with the "Best Actress Curse" and all this yuckiness. You don't deserve it.

But let's get down to business. We think we may have a clue as to why this happened. We have diagnosed your husband with "JFK Syndrome" and this deals with typical female archetypes, which is a little sexist, but we're trying to think like your prehistoric ape of a husband, so hear us out.

Jesse James wants to be married to Jackie (beautiful, intelligent, respectable) but Lil' Jesse James (and yes, we do mean little) wants to go to bed with Marilyn (hot, sexy, damaged, dangerous).

We mean no disrespect to Marilyn Monroe, because she's an icon and we love her. And because for Pete's sake, the c-bag your husband has been playing skank tag with for the past eleven months isn't even in the same league. This woman (Michelle "Bombshell" McGee) is horrific. She is described as a "tattooed fetish model and sometime stripper". Why not call her by her real name? The b*tch is a Smelly Pirate Hooker. And according to today's news reports, your husband took her out on the Queen Mary - perhaps in an effort to return to her home on Whore Island.

You see that we have a point, right? I mean his ex-wife is a porn star. His most recent girl friend is a slutty girl-version of Marilyn Manson. Actually, we haven't seen Marilyn Manson in a while. Maybe the descriptions of Ms. Bombshell as a "truckstop tranny" are actually accurate and "she" is in fact really a post-operative Marilyn Manson.

Wait a minute - Marilyn... We keep taking your name in vain and we're sorry about that.

But we digress. The point is you are in the middle of a dirty whore sandwich, with his porn star first wife and post-op Marilyn Manson as the bread. And you need to GET OUT of this dirty whore sandwich of a marriage. You are so much better than this.

And do you know why he is a really bad man? Because according to Marilyn Manson, he likes playing Russian Roulette with his wiener and never wore protection. I mean, what kind of JACKASS does that? Look at her. We're pretty sure one of the tattoos on her back says: "I have Hep C". If that hooker walked past my house, I would spray the whole thing down with Lysol. Seriously, there's not enough Purel in the world to make us shake hands with her.

He may love you, but he loves Lil' Jesse James more than you, more than his kids, and more than his own well being. The man is an idiot. And if he tries to pull a Tiger ("Oh poor me! I couldn't help it because I'm a sex addict!"), just give him the Maude face and walk away.

We read that you've moved out and while it is really sad, it's for the best. Go hang out with friends and family who love you. And we think it's time you learned how to square up. Because he will come back to you groveling, and when he does, put on a pair of motorcycle boots. The ones with steel toes. Then, Sandra, square up and kick that dirtbag's onions to Mars. You will feel so much better.

We're here if you need us.
xo, Kate & Lydia

PS: If you feel like getting your Cher on, sing it with us: "Tonight you're gonna go down in flames!!"
PPS: It's more fun to get your Cher on when you're really drunk.


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(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Open Letter: Kiss (My Ass) & Ride

Dear Mom in the Kiss 'n' Ride line at school today,

I'll start by confessing I've had a crappy two days. I got into an argument with McLovin yesterday, which I hate to do because it's always stupid; I am sick of Lent and my hardcore-ness about it because I really just want a huge piece of chocolate cake and bucket of Merlot and that's not going to happen for another 18 days or something; it's ugly and rainy out, which I hate; and I'm pretty sure I've surrendered so far that I haven't even brushed my teeth yet. And it's way past noon.

But here's the thing: Don't mouth off to me in the K'n'R line. You're lucky I didn't get out of the car. Even though I was barefoot. Because I'm sorta in the mood to pop someone in the mouth. I was feeling all benevolent a few weeks ago at Target, but you? Nah, you're ripe for a smackdown, and I bet if Lydia was in the car and totally willing to take my kids for the next 48 hours, I'd be sitting in a holding pen right now, not feeling bad at all.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I never do K'n'R. One, we like to walk to school. And home from school. And, my logic is, if you're too close to take the bus, you're close enough to walk. Two, unless you're bringing some school project, too many books, or you're running unbelievably late, you're just being lazy. And three, it takes forever. On any given day, I can drive to the other side of our neighborhood and then walk the last quarter mile or so, pick the IHPs up, leave the school and make it back to my car before you're even out of the line.

But today was crappy and rainy and I was barefoot -- which is so
gross and like I'm channelling Britney Spears or something and even writing it down now I'm like "ewwwww" -- and Happy was foul and screw it we did K'n'R. And there you were, like you are EVERY DAY, because I see your car EVERY DAY. And you're ALWAYS the first one in line, even though your kid doesn't make it out to the pick up lane until a good 20 minutes after school gets out, which I totally attribute to being in Bart Simpson detention. So, every other car has to wait behind you because there's No Passing in the K'n'R lane.

So there I sat, 14 cars behind you. (Yes, I counted.) Seething. For 33 minutes. And then your kid finally came out, and you. got. out. of. your. car. Which, any moron knows that's like prime Rule Number One. It's even written on the back of the little numbered tags that we have to hang on our rear view mirror. IN BOLD. But apparently the school, the parents and anyone else can kiss your ass because - what? - you're first in line?

And then you opened the trunk. And we were all very impressed with the hands-free trunk opening option on your fancy Lexus SUV. So you could put the one - ONE - backpack back there. And then stand by as you watched the trunk door s.l.o.w.l.y. close. And then you chatted up the teacher out there, who -- forgive me if I'm wrong -- is there to enforce the efficiency of K'n'R, right? Like telling you not to get out of your car? Or, apparently not.

I will say -- and yes, I am a bitch and nasty and foul -- the best part was watching you get back in the car and watch 3 tons of metal heave down on one side as you sat down. Boy, you're really testing the air pressure in those tires, aren't you? [Editor's note: Now, now Kate, play nice. Just because the woman is a damn heifer doesn't mean you get to make fun of her size. You love me don't you? And I've got the finest, flyest fat ass you ever saw. - Lydia]

When you finally did make it out of the way, and turned the corner to head out, you STOPPED! WHY?!?! It was like the guy behind you was thinking, "Finally, we can get the hell outta h -- what??" Here's a hint, this isn't Space Mountain. You don't just move forward 17 inches and then stop again. You get the ever lovin' f*ck outta the way. And you do it fast.

But, it's what brought me to you. And I scoot up so that my front left bumper is headed right toward your driver's door. Maybe slightly close, but hey, I was taught to drive by a dude, complete with learning how to do donuts and recover from a spinout. I know where the bumpers are, and I can parallel park my beastly Frank in a spot like he's no bigger than a SmartCar. [Editor's Note: So named because he's getting new parts here and there. Replace bumper one year. New door the next. He's Frankenstein + Volvo. He's Frankenvolvo. - Kate]

I had a good 18 inches between our cars. And then you honked at me. Oh, you silly woman.

So, because I love to toy with people - and augmented by the fact I'm in a foul mood - I rolled down the window like we were friends and you had something *awesome* to say.

Me: [all happy-like] What's up!
You: [through closed window, gesture palms up and out like WTF]
Me: I can't hear you!
You: [roll window down two inches -- look like you're trying to talk to the intercom at Burger King] What the hell! Don't hit my car! God...
Me: How about getting out of the way then?
You: Bitch.
Me: [moves Volvo forward that extra 17 inches]
You: HEY! Don't make me get outta this car.
Me: [laughs] What is this? West Side Story? OOH! Can I be Maria??
You: [roll up window and flip me off]

What have I learned?
  1. I need to brush my teeth. I think it improves my mood.

  2. I'm never doing Kiss 'n' Ride again.

  3. Wear shoes.

And, if you fail at 1, 2 and 3, make sure Lydia is in the car. She'll totally bail you out.

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(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The MommyLand Confessional: Welcome to the Little Box

Have you ever wondered if you're normal? If what you're doing as a mom is a little, well - out there? Think you need a reality check? Or maybe you just want to get something off your chest? Then welcome to the newest addition to Rants from MommyLand - The MommyLand Confessional! Send us your "mom confessions" and we'll give you our sage -- or more accurately, snarky -- wisdom. Then we'll tell you how awesome you are. Enjoy!


Dear Lydia and Kate,

Forgive me Mommies, I have sinned.

So, I often read your blog (okay, I'm addicted and read it everyday). I've been known to beg you for celebrity advice columns, such as John Mayer. I feel the need to give you this confession. I am dying to know that I'm not the only mom on the planet that does this.

I've been a SAHM for 10 years. Heaven help me. My kids are now all school aged. I say that loosely. My youngest is 6 and goes to Kindergarten in the afternoons only. So, this year I decided to get a part time job. And by part time, I mean that last month I logged 49 hours, total. Here's where the confession comes in to play. I had to find daycare for my daughter for mornings only. I had no idea how wonderful a daycare could be!! So, on the days I don't have to go to work (most days), I get up, get all dressed up in work clothes, take my older kids to school, take my daughter to daycare, come home, change back into my sweats, do my own thing, and then at around 11:45 I change BACK into my work clothes to go pick my daughter up from daycare to take her to school. I feel so much less guilty leaving her at daycare if the daycare lady and my daughter think I'm actually going to work. So, there's my confession.


First, a caveat. We're not Catholic. (Editor's note: Lydia claims to be part Catholic because her grandmother conditionally baptised her as a newborn. So she wouldn't go to hell. Also, she once worked for nuns at a Catholic hospital and they said they could tell by looking at her that she was Catholic. Also that she was "over-caffeinated". What does that even mean?) So our actual experience with confession rests solely in what we've seen in movies and on TV. And, we're pretty sure that no confession in the history of ever has offered absolution in the form of "Rock on with your bad self!"

But, here we go...

We sense that you feel guilty about your need for a few hours to do "my own thing". Woman, you've been a SAHM for ten freaking years! That's nearly four thousand days of doing everyone else's crap. We're going to delve even further into the math and discover it's more than 93,000 hours of NOT "doing my own thing." And you're feeling guilty about -- what? -- 10 hours a week? By our calculations, you can do "my own thing" without guilt, at the same rate for 178 years.

The above paragraph includes very important numbers and math and calculations and you know what they tell us? That you are long overdue for some time to yourself. Take it however you can get it, friend. And don't feel bad about it for one more minute.

Let us also point out that on top of all the SAHM stuff you do, you're still spending an additional 49 hours doing another job. One that pays you. Kate and Lydia have logged a total of about 7 minutes of paid time in the past year, and that's only because we found some cash under the seats when we were vacuuming out the car. One of us is totally going to declare it on our taxes.

Here's what we want you to do. And, bear in mind this comes with Kate's emphatic EVEN YESSER! You put on those sweats, coffee t-shirt, ponytail hair (but no clogs...Kate refuses to grant the clog allowance...b*tch) and take the kids to school, then take the little one to day care and say, LOUDLY, "yep, I'm goin' back home to sit in blissful silence and eat a box of Samoas!" And you know what, that lovely day care provider will think, "good for her, she deserves she's paying me, so giddyup!"

And then, when summer comes, say the same thing, but add " the pool" to the end. Kinda like with fortune cookies, when you add " bed" at the end and it always makes your fortune soooo much better. Even if totally unlikely. Because really, we're not sure that "You will find great fortune in your career" should really be followed up by "in bed." Mostly because we're not Heidi Fleiss.

Now, we absolve you. Go do one T-Box and fifteen Samoas. And, of course, Rock On With Your Bad Self!


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(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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