Sunday, July 31, 2011

You Answered the RFML BatCall: And It TOTALLY Worked!

First we want to say Thank You Thank You Thank You for all your awesome advice, virtual hugs [Editor's Note: Kate loooooves the virtual hug. Because it's sweet and kind, yes. But mostly because it means you're not actually touching her. -Lydia] and for answering the MommyLand Distress Call from MB earlier this week. As you probably remember, MB's son was a chomper, and the day care was *super understanding* about it, to the degree that they said her 15-month old teething child maybe shouldn't come back to their day care. That's nice.

We also need to say we're super proud of you guys. Kate was all, "let's go to that Day Care and set it on fire and then dance in the parking lot." Kate said that would be equally nice. But Lydia didn't feel like going to jail and, well, we couldn't find a babysitter.

AND, we wanted to share this awesome follow-up letter from MB.

MB here!

OMG - I cannot believe the wonderful responses to my letter!  I wasn't sure of the best way to make sure that all the mommies saw my reply - so I'm sending it via you gals.
Thank you, thank you, thank you wonderful mommies of MommyLand!  Your messages have wiped away the evil twins of guilt and shame and made me 
feel like "one of the gang."

You girls are the best...just please don't hug me.
A quick update - DC will start a new daycare on Monday.  We visited yesterday and loved it.  He walked right in, had snack with the kids, and stayed to play for half-an-hour perfectly happily.  We're going back for a visit this afternoon, too.  The main teacher has been there for 15 years and I loved her right away.  Confident, caring, and highly knowledgeable.

I talked over the biting issues with the teacher and director and they were not even phased.  They have dealt with it before and know how to (and want to!) help DC work through this rough patch.  BTW, he's got 5 teeth coming in right now :(

And, my husband told someone we know at the not-good daycare what happened and the friend's first response was "Huh, I've been hearing some rumblings of problems with that teacher."  His kid is in a different class and has been happy, though.  Fair enough. 

The more my husband and I talked and put together the pieces of what we both had seen over the past couple of weeks, the more it all added up to "get the heck out of there!"  So, expulsion was a blessing in disguise after all.

I just can't say thank you enough for all the love and support.  I am overwhelmed.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!


MB, we love you. Kate even said she could hug you. But, just in case, she still has those matches handy. We're just sayin'.

xoxo Kate and Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Top Ten Worst Smells of Summer

We blame the heat. Only a hot, humid, windless day in the city that was built on a swamp can be the reason that smells that would maybe be only mildly offensive have taken on an eye-slamming, almost corporeal form that we can't seem to escape.

10. Thank you, son, for telling me you peed on my lily plants. After I cut the flowers and brought them into the house. And smelled them. 

9. At one point, it was probably something nutritious, yet delicious that I packed for your lunch. When you were still in school. Now I think we need to get it a collar and name it Zool.

8. A wet towel inside a damp pool bag left in the backseat of the car...discovered the next morning.

7. No no no no no no NOOOOOOOOOOO. When I said we'd fertilize the gardens, I meant with stuff you buy at the garden store. What is that on my tomato plants? What dog?

Wow that smell is LOUD.
6. OK. It's awesome that your pre-teen girlfriends all got you different varieties of body sprays and body gels and body lotions and hair fragrance and body fragrance and perfume and gosh even your lipglosses have scents...but the smell is so overpowering that I can hear it.

5. Please. For the love of Maude. Flush. And, what in the name of all that's holy in this world did you eat?

4. McLovin opened his trunk the last Thursday to find the cooler from the previous Sunday still filled with: Strawberries. Prosciutto. Canteloupe. Goat Cheese. It would have been more pleasant to have opened the trunk and found a dead body in there. At least then the authorities would have been called in to handle the mess.

3. Your sneakers + the creek behind our house + "I might have stepped in something squishy" = fire.

2. Children? Who put wet swimsuits, karate uniforms and little league uniforms in the washing machine? Did you also remember to put in soap? No? So, we have Kid Sweat Soup then, do we? Yummy.

1. "A bath? Awwww. But Mom, it's summer."

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Help This Woman: This Bites

You know the phone call. We've ALL gotten it..."Ummm, hello Mrs. BadMommy [Editor's Note: OK, so they don't actually call us Mrs. BadMommy, but they don't have to say it. Their voices just drip with it. Right? Kate] "You're going to need to come pick up your little one from school. Right now. He decided that he wanted to hit/bite/punch/kick/spit/Chuck Norris another child today. Oh, and he can't come back. Ever."

And somewhere between the pit in your stomach and rage and wondering whuck just happened, you meet the evil twins of motherhood: The Shame and The Guilt.

MB wrote us yesterday. She had THAT DAY. She needs the awesome power of MommyLand to help her throat punch The Shame and The Guilt. So grab your capes and tiaras ladies. There's a Mom who needs your help. [Editor's Note: Kate, please leave your whip and stilettos -- OK that is just wrong. Go change. This is a rescue mission; not a...a...whatever it is where you wear that. Gah. -Lydia]


Dearest Ladies,

I am so mired in The Shame and The Guilt today I think I will never get out.  I thought maybe if I wrote it all out I would feel better.  So, ignore this email, or answer it, or put it in the pile of crazy letters.  I don't care.  The catharsis is in the writing.

My not-quite-15-month-old Devil Cupcake just got kicked out of daycare for biting.  He just started this new daycare 2 weeks ago because the new place has more flexible hours and is both less expensive and less snooty than the old place.  He was the youngest in his class by a month or so.  And, it seems he was dealing with his frustration by biting.

Yesterday was the fourth time he's bitten in two weeks.  And they apparently have a 3-bite limit.  Which I did not know about, BTW, until this morning.

Intellectually, I know that biting is a very common, normal thing for Devil Cupcakes to do.  But, besides that very small, rational part of my brain, every other internal message is telling me that I've done something awful to raise an aggressive, mean kid.  Why couldn't I help him control his impulses?  Or, that I've damaged him in some way by switching daycares (out of my selfish need for just a little more kid-free time everyday).  What kind of mother lets her kid go to a place that makes him so stressed that he bites other kids?

I'm not terribly impressed with how the daycare dealt with the issue (for example, his teacher told my husband that DC was sort of a crybaby!!).  He's an active kid who seems to need a lot of structure - and that didn't seem to be happening in the new school.  But, somehow, even the rational explanation that this was not a good fit for him does not override the horrible Shame and Guilt.  I feel like I should wear a big red B on my shirt - or maybe MB for Mother-of-Biter.

Our friends and work colleagues go to this daycare.  How am I going to explain why we're gone after only 2 weeks?

Plus, there's the whole how-the-heck-are-we-supposed-to-find-a-new-daycare-on really-short-notice problem.  Or, maybe I just go back to the old place, where he seemed happy. I was miserable with the schedule, but what the heck.

Thank you for listening,
xo, MB  (Mother of Biter)

p.s.  I also feel completely awful about my kid hurting another kid. Like truly sick about it.

And one more, p.p.s  I'm a little afraid all of this might be because I re-watched all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I was home with the DC last summer.


So, MommyLand...send MB your best ideas, your creative solutions, and your big puffy hearts of support and girl-we-totally-been-there-too's. We all know the suck suck suckitty part of this is when we think we're the only ones in the whole history of ever that feel like this. If you remember, Kate's charming little man, Happy, also loves to nosh on other children, and Lydia's boy Hawk came thisclose to getting booted from school. So we've definitely been there before.

And it bites.

xoxo Kate and Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Sibling Rivalry Scoresheet

Two of my three kids (the 8 year old and the 6 year old) fight with each other constantly. It's actually more than that.  They compete with each other over everything.  And the appear to be keeping score. 

It never, ever stops. If one of them gets a glass of water, the other one has to get one too and it has to be bigger. If one of them brushes their teeth, they are sure to announce in their loudest voice: "Mommy! Why am I the only kid who's brushing their teeth right now?" And then the other kid gets all stabby and stomps down the hall, pushes their sibling out of the way and commencing to brush only out of the urge to best their competition, with no thought whatsoever to proper oral hygiene.  It is all more annoying than anything in the history of the world, except maybe for headlice.

The worst part is – I don’t even know what they’re competing for. I'm the oldest in my family and my closest sibling is 13 years younger than I am.  So I don't get the rivalry thing at all.  I adore my brother and sister and have since the day they were born. Sure, sometimes we get on each other's nerves but we always love each other.  And I can't tell you how much I have always wanted to have had a brother or sister my own age, my whole entire life.  I truly don't understand why they don't appreciate how lucky they are to have each other. 

Why is it always a contest?  That would get exhausting. I already find it pretty tedious and I'm not even competing.  I mean - are they playing some of kind of game that I don’t understand? Do you get points for being the first kid in the car? Is that why they race and shove each other like there are rabid wolves chasing them?

It would be very helpful for everyone if there was some sort of scoresheet. That way I would know what was going on and they would know exactly where they were in the family standings.  Once they knew for sure what the score was, maybe the game would get less interesting.  Maybe they would get distracted and move onto something else, like becoming lifelong friends and learning valuable lessons about how important family is. 

So I decided to make a scoresheet.  Sort of like baseball, which my husband very snottily informed me is all about understanding statistics.  As we all know I'm practically a rocket scientist, so I don't know why he was acting all superior when he said that.  Because with my handy-dandy scoresheet, we can all be clear on how everyone is doing in this bizarre game we joking call: "Our Normal Happy Family".

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the StepMom

We've been waiting for this post for a you know, Kate is part of a blended family, and McLovin has jumped into that icy cold water that is called StepParentHood. It's one of the hardest juggling acts in the world -- get along with the other parent, raise a couple of awesome inherited kids, but have very little power and decision making abilities for these kids.

So when Christie sent us this, we knew we had struck gold...


I'm Evil Stepmother, and I'm very new to the blogging world -- as in my blog, Confessions of an Evil Stepmother, is literally weeks old -- So, needless to say, I am thrilled to be on MommyLand, which just happens to be my favorite blog.

I'm just your typical, boring Midwestern soccer mom. With one exception. I didn't give birth to my little soccer stars. No, I inherited a ready-made family when I moved to Iowa to be with my now husband. We share 50/50 custody and live within one mile of the kids' mom, First Wife. On purpose.

My stepdaughter, Skinny Minnie, is just about to turn eleven, and is so much like me that we defy the laws of genetics. Then there's Quiz, my 5-year old stepson. He makes me laugh and exhausts me with his energy and never-ending questions.

We don't pay much attention to biology and legalities in our house. We are a family, and I am just as frustrated, tired, buried in laundry, and in love with my kids as any other mom.

So I face all the normal Domestic Enemies, along with a few others.

The Question

"When are you going to have your own kids?" I hear it All. The. Time. From family, friends, the photographer at Sears, you name it. I have lived with my 2 stepmonkeys since May 2007, so it irritates me when someone asks me when I'm going to have "my own" kids. I've been helping to raise them since they were 6 and 18 months old. How long did it take you to fall in love with your kids? Less than 4 years? More like, in an instant, right? That's what I thought. Same for me.

I go to every play/soccer game/swim lesson. I've been cried on, bled on, thrown up on. I've stayed home with them when they're sick. To me, they ARE my kids. So if you need to ask something that's none of your business, ask me when I'm going to have MORE kids.

The Schedule

We live by The Schedule. No one messes with The Schedule. I'm pretty sure Maude herself set The Schedule. But, The Schedule is also a pain in my you-know-what.Want to take the kids to the fireworks for the 4th of July? Wait, whose year is it? Did we take them last year? Let me check The Schedule. Everything we do requires coordinating, emailing, and negotiating.

The Family

These kids are loved. By a LOT of people. Given that they have two sets of parents, that means four sets of grandparents, three sets of great grandparents, and more aunts and uncles and cousins than I care to count. And they ALL want to see the kids for birthdays, holidays, special family events, Arbor Day and all summer long.

This is great, and I love that the kids have people who will literally FIGHT for them, but it reeks havoc on The Schedule. Christmas? Forget it. The poor kids spend more time in the car than they do enjoying the holiday. "Oh, I'm glad you got that Transformer you wanted, but no you can't open it because we have to get going to the next place." On Christmas, we are a traveling circus complete with frustrated, tired, and over stimulated kids.

Maybe the stepmonkeys should get a booking agent.

The Limitations

Being a Stepparent is fairly limiting. Even though I take care of these kids 50% of the time and love them 100% of the time, there are certain things about their lives that I can't control. Some things, like choosing a daycare, making medical decisions, and deciding if ten is too young for a cell phone just fall outside of my jurisdiction. And I understand why. But it is still frustrating. First Wife and I once had words because I let Minnie get a shorter haircut. Now, in my opinion, ten is old enough to decide for yourself which hairstyle to get. But I should have checked. This is a team effort, and everything is voted on by committee. Lesson learned.

The Fear

The Fear is something else to us stepmoms. Yes, I constantly worry about food poisoning, sunburns, jungle gyms set over concrete, and run away school buses, but there is something much scarier. You see, if anything ever happens to my husband (God forbid) or if we ever split up, I lose my. entire. family. I have no rights. My rights to my kids are dependent upon being married to my husband. So when he and I fight, even if I KNOW everything will eventually work out, The Fear is there. Lurking.

The Fear is big. The Fear never leaves. The Fear makes me grateful for every moment with my kids.

The Stereotypes

Damn Cinderella and her Evil Stepmother for giving us such a bad rap. Apparently, I should have been issued a Regulation Hairy Wart to wear the day I married my husband. Here's the thing. I'm (mostly) not evil, and I don't ever want to replace the stepmonkeys' mom. They love her and always will. I just want to love them too.

Hairy warts and all...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

The T-Box Taste Test: We Have A Winner! And a Hangover...

Kate and Lydia, as you well know, are fans of the wine in a box. Last year we discovered that our most favorite and magical store, Target, carried their very own line of boxed wine, which we happily named a T-Box. It comes in a lovely array of delicious colors, and at our Inaugural T-Box Taste Test held last spring, we crowned Purple the winner.

Well, over the past year, a flurry of boxed wines have entered the arena, determined to take down our beloved T-Box. We were skeptical. But, because we love science, and research and drinking with friends, we thought that it was only fair to conduct a highly scientific study to determine just who is the T-Box Champion.

Plus, it totally gave us the chance to buy a dizzying array of wines, delicious snacks and convince McLovin to go out on a guys night so we could giggle on the driveway. Guys night, by the way, was taking Happy to see Winnie the Pooh and teaching him how to play a bugle.

And, after a night of careful research, the MommyLand team of crackpot wine connoisseurs have found the victor and champion
The Venue: Kate's Porte Cochere. Which is outside. Where it was ten thousand degrees.Because that's what you want to do when you're drinking too much. Sweat. On the other hand, it totally counts as exercise, right?

The Participants

Lydia: She brought what she calls the Waldonnay boxes. They're from WalMart. Yes, you heard it right. WalMart is now selling boxed wine. We're really hoping that Home Depot is gonna get in on this action too, mostly because Kate wants to hear McLovin say things, "I'm going to pick up some wine and a hoe..."

Kate: She's the only one of the five who actually has furniture on the driveway. She's expecting a tireless car and an old washing machine to show up any day now. Possibly a three-legged dog.

Guru Louise: Guru flew in from Boston for the event. Mostly because Kate bullied her to do it. Guru's husband thinks Kate is a serial killer and kept sending Guru text messages. Things that said, "you ARE still alive, right?" "What is Kate's last name?" Guru wrote back, "McLovin" and then there was a very long pause and he wrote, "Can you just call me please?"

Dagney: At the last T-Box Taste Test, Dagney fell down. Not from drinking. Or tripping. Merely because Dagney and the ground and gravity have a strange non-symbiotic relationship and Ground and Gravity just like to be jackholes to her. This year, despite the full-length dress she was wearing, she remained upright. She did, however, spill a half a t-box all over herself, Kate's rug and a very sweet pair of shoes. She was sitting down when all this happened. Yes. Dagney is very, very blonde.

Laila: She is the anti-Dagney. In that she's brunette and graceful and had on the most miniest of minidresses and it only improves on things that she is married to Dagney's brother. Oh, and while Dagney and Laila were hanging with us, their husbands were on a playdate.

The Contenders:

Fish Eye Chardonnay: Clever of bottle wine people to just take that same product and put it in a box. Odd, however that it doesn't quite taste the same when you do that. We're guessing vitner's don't have any ideas of writing things like, "Aged for four months in cardboard..."
  • Kate: "Whoa. It kinda makes you give the fish-eye when you drink it."
  • Laila: "It's warm white wine out of a box. [pause] Not so bad."
  • Dagney: "It's not too think. And it goes down easy."
  • Lydia: "That's What She Said."

Target T-Box Reisling: We met Reisling last year, and thought that he'd make a decent contender to represent the T-Box squad in the Box, were we wrong:
  • Guru: "I like it. But I'll drink anything."
  • Kate: "Gah. It crawls right into your cavities."
  • Dagney: "Uhhh..." then she dumped it out.
  • And then Lydia told a story about spilling conditioner on her lap and not noticing until she saw this glob of white goo in her lap area and that, since she didn't know what it was, "I smelled it before I tasted it..." and now we'll never drink this wine again without thinking of this story.
Ciao Bella Pinot Grigio: The packaging was super cute on this one. But then Dagney tried to pour some and it splashed out all over the place and then she said, "Wow. It's like it's been a week for this one..." and then we all giggled like teenagers and maybe forgot to taste it and talked instead True Blood.

WalMart Chardonnay: We were skeptical of the Waldonnay. For good reason. Guru Louise was pouring this one. She might have been a little stingy with the amounts. 
  • Laila: "Umm, I'm gonna need a little more here. Are we drinking at some point in this drinking party?"
  • Lydia: "Oh, this is thick." And then we all watered Kate's forsythia with the rest. Thick Wine. Gross.

Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon: Ahhh, we finally got to the reds. Lydia, being the designated driver and needing to get back to the Cap'n and the LTSs at a reasonable hour, was being careful with her wine consumption. Then she got this in her glass, downed it, and whispered to herself, "Oh, I wasn't supposed to do that..." It was awesome.
  • Dagney: "I love it! But I also just sprayed myself with bug spray, including up my dress, and so maybe my taste buds are off..."
  • Guru Louise: "I liked whatever was in my box. What?"
  • Kate: "I think I mixed mine with the Waldonnay. And it's still good. Which wine gets credit for that?"

Target T-Box Malbec: The newest release from the T-Box collection, Malbec, also known as the Light Purple Flavor, was seemingly a hit, not because we had any actual critiques, but because when we were putting everything away this morning, we found it on Kate's desk, and it was almost empty. Huh? We totally blame McLovin. During the actual tasting, at this point we were talking about home improvements, and how we liked short men to do drywall work, because they get to wear Drywalling Strap-On Shoes. Annnnnd, that's what she said.

JP Cheney Cabernet Sauvignon: Quickly became renamed JP Shitter, because it *prematurely ewinolated* all over Dagney's dress. And now it's the Bad Boy of Wines. You know, like the guys you dated in high school?
  • Dagney: "This wine is a bitch."
  • Lydia: "Like those guys that #$%^ all over you and you still come back for more."
  • Laila: "Can I have some more? What is it with you guys and these tiny little tastes?"
  • Kate: [spits out wine all over the back of the sofa] 
  • Guru Louise: "You ARE seventeen, aren't you?"

WalMart Cabernet Sauvignon: Let's face it, we're on our eighth glass - or, semi-glass if you're Laila - of wine at this point. This could have been blackberry Kool-Aid at this point.
  • Guru Louise: "I like this wine best. Because I'm drunk."
  • Lydia: "I just want to do it."
  • Kate: "Is this the Waldonnay?"
  • Lydia: "It's the Walbernet. That's an important distinction."
  • Laila: "I'm pouring a glass. A glass. That's an important distinction too."

and finally...the Target T-Box Red Sangria
We're not sure what happened here. Kate and Guru Louise were putting everything away this morning and we were under the impression that not only did we like the Red Sangria, but that we had some rather witty and poignant things to say about it. Turns out the tiny little foil stopper thingy was still in it. So, congratulations Target. We totally loved your wine without even tasting it. That's how good it is. We think it's a new marketing scheme: "Enjoy the new Target Red Sangria T-Box. So delicious, you don't even have to drink it!"

The Post Party Analysis: Guru Louise and Kate were tidying up after everyone left. And then we had a post to write. Which means we needed to pour a glass of wine. Shut up. It's research. 

Guru Louise: "What are you drinking?"
Kate: "The red one."
Guru Louise: "Which red one?"
Kate: "The red one that's good."
Guru Louise: Can you be more specific? [pours a glass, drinks, makes a horrible face, walks outside, waters the forsythia]
Kate: "Yeah. Not that one."

So, the winner??

Well, accounting for diminishing taste buds, the fact that we may have actually burned away vital brain cells by sitting in an outdoor sauna for three hours, the 2011 T-Box Taste Test Champion is......

Honorable Mention goes to the T-Box Malbec, for mysteriously emptying itself, thereby providing credible, if not convincing, evidence that we drink it when we've already had a lot to drink.

Finally, as a postscript to the evening's events, Happy woke up Guru Louise at 7:15 this morning. With his bugle.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The T-Box Challenge: My Box is Better Than Your Box

I like this tastes like my old handbag...
The t-box is about to meet its the past year since Kate and Lydia concocted the brilliant T-Box Taste Test, every store on earth has come up with some form of wine in a box...we're totally waiting for the day when Chuck E. thinks its time to get in on this action. 

There were nine -- NINE -- boxes of wine.  Each box holds between two and four-and-a-half bottles of wine. So we have between 18 and 30 1/2 bottles of wine on the wall. Oh, wait, that's about beers, isn't it? Anyway, there were five of us. Do the math. No really, please, do the math. I have no idea how much that means per person, but Guru Louise has sampled all of them and is now praising the feeling of Kate's carpet on her bare feet. Apparently, it's like butter. Kate is going to find her a pair of shoes. Like, immediately.

We're anticipating a rough night....but this is science, y'all. And there has to be a winner. Can a box from a big box store, or Trader Joe's or somewhere else knock the Target T-Box off its pedestal??

We'll have a complete write up for you on Monday...mostly because the keyboard keeps moving around when Kate is trying to type...but here are the highlights:

There were four whites and five reds, of which we learned three things:
  1. Drink the reds first; they make it easier to tolerate the whites. Most of the whites were used to water Kate's forsythia. Dagney -- who is now a nurse -- will be stopping by to monitor its vitals over the next week, but we imagine the prognosis isn't good. Or, that maybe the plant is an alcoholic.
  2. Choice comments: The pinot grigio was in a really adorably designed box, which prompted Lydia to say, "If I like the package, I usually like the juice inside." To which Dagney said, "I really like a well manicured package." 
  3. At some point, we think Target will give up calling their t-boxes by those pretentious names like *Cabernet Sauvignon* or *Reisling* and just call them what they really are. That being *Purple* and *Light Green* and *Ooh, the Dark Red* which apparently is the class favorite.
Finally...this was Kate's porte cochere before the festivities...and that's Dagney's ass.

And, this is after...

And, this would be Guru Louise....

Kate totally had the guest room cleaned for her...what. a. waste. Yes, she's sleeping on the "driveway"

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Hot As Balls

We're having a heat wave and it sucks monkey balls.  There's just no getting around how hot it is.  It's the fourth day in a row with temperatures over 100 degrees.  It's HIDEOUS.  According to the news, the air quality is a Code Red.  No big deal... It just means that the very air we breathe has turned into poison.  So, I mean, whatever...

And I would like to remind everyone that Code Red is never, ever a good thing in MommyLand.  Ever.  I mean, just look at our Schmidt Advisory System (thanks Pregnant Chicken).  Being in the rojo is no bueno.

The last time it got this hot, our air conditioning went out and I just about lost my mind.  But it taught me something really, really important.  There is a market for an effective and affordable anti-perspirant for cleavage.  You know I'm right.

It also taught that me that the the most powerful person in the entire world is not in fact an elected official or Bill Gates or the awesome bearded dude from the Dos Equis commercials, but rather the receptionist at Freezy's Heating and Cooling Repair.  Do not doubt the veracity of that last statement, my friends. 

When I was lucky enough to get her on the phone, I turned on every ounce of charm and mojo I had.  I used all the funny material in my arsenal to make that woman like me and put my humble home on the top of their repair list.  And then, just when I had made a little progress, my kids started brawling like it was UFC Night at a frat house.  All she could hear was screaming and thumps.  Then the baby started crying. 

Aww... furckitty furck wad.  But all was not lost.  For then, a miracle occurred.

The receptionist at Freezy's, the most powerful woman on earth, said: "Jeez honey, you got your hands full, dontcha?  Hose 'em down or something.  I'll get somebody right over there."  Thank you children, for that five minutes unbridled mayhem and brattiness.  For once, your misbehavior has actually helped improve an already bad situation. 

But it took 24 hours to get it fixed.  In that time, I also learned another important life lesson.  I learned that I hate and despise the neighborhood teenagers and their incessant need to drive around late at night blasting music.  It made me want to turn into Rita Delvecchio from mid-90's SNL and start screaming at them in my housecoat and slippers.  "You kids! You come back here and I'm gonna get my bat!  You scum-suckin' maggots! Turn down that damn music!  It sounds like cats in a trashcan, you dirty sons of bastards!"

Ok, maybe I don't have a housecoat.  Not yet.

But I digress.  Back to the hotness,  The mid-numbing, stomach-aching, lung-collapsing heat that never ends.  I really don't think there's a silver lining to this situation.  The situation that has effectively trapped me in my house with my kids with no hope of escape.  Because its not like we can go outside, what with the 100+ degree temperatures and the air being poison and all. 

There are only a couple of things you can do when it's this hot out.  All of them involve being wet.  One involves the purchase  or rental of a costly beach house.  Another involves a sprinkler. And the last involves going to the pool. 
But hell's bells, the pool is nasty, too.  It's as warm as bathwater (which is super nasty) and it smells like a toilet recently cleaned with bleach.  And it's basically turned into a huge petri dish (pee being the operative word).  You can actually see the protozoa swimming around all tadpoley and spermy.  In a few more days, they're going to grow spines and legs and crawl out of the pool to start a new species.

So the pool is not my favorite option.  And let's not skip over the fact that the sun will scorch your sanity and blister yer britches in about ten minutes flat, even if you slather yourself in SPF 50 and its 9:30 in the damn morning. 

You can't win.

You can't beat the heat.  You can't turn on your oven.  You can't limit your kids to less than 2 hours of screen time per day.  You can only hope for one of those mind-blowing thunder storms when the sky turns black and the heavens open up and lightning strikes and Highlanders appear out of nowhere and do battle while solemnly screaming; "There can be ONLY ONE." 

And then the temperature drops 20 degrees and things start to feel better again.  I'm praying for a thunderstorm, people.  I'm begging for one.  Because I can't take much more of this...


Until then, bring on the Freezy's guys. Or, that cleavage stuff. That would be awesome.

xo, Lydia

Please note: This post has spiffed up and improved from when it was orginally run last summer.  Just for you.

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(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Helpful Tip for Sharpie Junkies

Yesterday we got this email and we just had to share it with you, because we actually learned something. As you know, Kate is addicted to Sharpies, and apparently that addiction is contagious because now I am, too.  But the problem with having Sharpies and having kids is that they end up all over each other.  Now we know what to do about it. 

Hello beautifuls!

I just read your "Top 10 Things That Really Don't Go Together" post and I'm happy to say that I have an easy solution to problem #10 - Sharpie.

My son is a year round competitive swimmer, at age 9. Let's just say the time he spends in the pool helps me survive his ADHD, but I digress. At the meets we write his events on his hand with a Sharpie so that, in theory, he can keep track of when he needs to get ready to race. (A woman can dream, right?) Anyway, here in California there is no such thing as an indoor pool, so swim meets also equal large amounts of sun screen. If we're not careful, the sun screen, especially the creamy type, will wipe that list of events right off.

At first, this annoyed me. But then I realized I had a solution that many mothers would like to know, especially when their beau
tiful toddler puts Harry Potter glasses on herself, with Sharpie, the day before she's supposed to be a flower girl at your cousin's wedding. Creamy sunscreen removes Sharpie off in a second.

Keep making us laugh - it keeps me sane.

---Elizabeth in California

Thank YOU, Elizabeth. You're a bad ass.  If anyone else has any useful tips for us, please feel free to share. As you've probably figured out we could use all the help we can get.

xo, Kate & Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Few More Things No One Told Me About Parenting

Before you become a parent, people just love to offer you unsolicited advice. They want to help prepare you for what’s to come. They want to share their wisdom.  A lot of what they said to me was pretty valuable and important stuff, but I just wasn’t ready to hear it.  Mostly, I was like “Yeah, I totally appreciate that. Thank you for sharing.” Inwardly, I was thinking: "I already read a whole entire book about that. That a doctor wrote. So thanks for nothing." And then I would stifle a yawn and go about the business of being clueless. 

But here's the thing: I should have listened.  And I should have asked questions.  But I would've asked the wrong ones.  And then there's the BIG issue.  The fact that there’s a lot about becoming a parent that people don’t tell you.  Here’s five things no one told me and I sort of wish they had.

That smug feeling? Enjoy it while you can, hotshot.
Every time you start to think you have things figured out, savor the flavor. Because it usually lasts about five seconds. Baby sleeping through the night? Congratulating yourself and possibly bragging that you don’t understand why it's so hard for other people? That maybe they just need to try a schedule? Well here come some new teeth, Gwyneth. Plan the perfect family vacation? The stomach flu is really fun in a hotel. Did your kid test off the charts awesome? That’ll be the same one who can’t stop eating his boogers in public.

The Guilt is terrible but The Shame is worse.
Everyone talks about maternal guilt. Everyone knows moms both inflict it and suffer from it in equal measure. But you know what? When you really have a major parenting fail? The Shame is the worse. The knowledge that your mistake has possibly hurt or saddened or contributed to another future therapy issue for your precious offspring... It feels worse than anything in the history of ever. Don’t believe me? Just wait until the baby rolls off the changing table and is totally fine two minutes later but you’re a shaking, sobbing mess who’s now scarred for life.

They’re born and you think you have all this time to fix all the things about yourself that are effed up.
There is no greater motivating factor for getting your schmidt together than a sweet smelling bundle of baby. And you may be under the illusion that you have until your kids are bigger or mobile or sentient or . . . something to become this whole new person that is grown up and together and really awesome. But let me tell you the truth; you have no time, hooker. All that stuff you hate about yourself? If it’s not fixed by now, it may just stay broken. Whatever your issues are, they get harder to solve – not easier. Maybe though, it can be a good time to start accepting things for what they are. Maybe you’re already really awesome.

You resolve to break the cycle.
No, not that cycle.  You clearly broke it for nine months straight on your way to laboring stirrups.  No, I'm talking about breaking the cycle of seasonal madness, also known as the Cycle Of Chaotic Klusterfarks (I won't add the acronym, but it sucks, well. . . you get it.).  Example: it is not going to be like it was when I was growing up. The holidays will not be a gigantic mess of grouchiness, disorganization and Jerry Springer-style familial fighting. It’s going to be different! And better! And we’re going to make memories and laugh and wear festive holiday sweaters and play board games and It! Will! Be! Amazing! Then you find yourself slamming things and saying "GAHDAMNIT!" and stomping around the kitchen swearing because no one is helping you and all the pies just burned.

I love you, bedtime!
You will love their bedtime like a junkie loves smack.
I never thought I could love anything as much as I love my kids.  As a stay at home mom, I'm with them all the time.  Before I became a mom, I thought those parents who complained about their kids and joked about loving them best when they were sleeping were sort of douchey.  Horrible really.

But now... There are nights – OK, I’ll be honest - pretty much every night, where I am counting the minutes to their bedtime like the closing minutes of a hockey game while praying for the second when they’re finally asleep. You do not want to come between me and my kids' bedtime. I will cut someone if they knock on my front door at 8:30pm.  Because those few, precious moments between their bedtime and mine are the best part of the day.  These are moments where I am off.  Where I can do things like fold laundry or pay Verizon or sit on the couch in a stupor with the TV on. 

Yet did anyone ever tell you that you would come to value twenty minutes alone, sitting slack-jawed on the couch in a quiet room, above rubies?  Me neither.  But since rubies are now choking hazards, maybe I'm better off sitting here zoning out in silence.  Oh the sweet, sweet silen. . . . Oh schmidt, was that the baby?

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Special Needs Mommy

This post is brought to you by our very good friend Stark.Raving.Mad.Mommy who is awesome and amazing except sometimes she seems to share a brain with Lydia.  Her blog is incredible and hilarious and if you haven't read it, you really should. She is one of our very best bloggy friends and we're thrilled to share this with you.

 I wrote about my little corner of Mommyland (which is called either Special Needsville or Yes My Child Rides the Short Bus Damnit) last year in a post called A Rant from Special Needs Mommyland. However, I am still fielding jackhole questions from random muttonheads, so apparently I need to be even more specific about the Domestic Enemies of the SPECIAL NEEDS Mom. Do you know some of these people? Feel free to share this post with them. If we all work together, we can cure Jackhole Comment Disorder in 2011!

The Nosy Parkers
I was well-familiar with the Nosy Parkers before I even had Little Dude. My first two babies are twins, and believe me, people have no qualms about asking questions like "Do twins run in your family?" when what they really mean is "Did you do fertility treatments?" Which, in turn, actually means "please tell me about the most emotionally difficult time in your life so I can compare you to Octomom later when I tell my friends about it." (For more about jackholes and multiples, see the excellent post Domestic Enemies of the Multiples Mom.
Now that we have Little Dude (and now that my twins look so different that no one thinks they're twins), the questions have changed.

How about I just answer all the questions right now?
  • No, he is not "just like" Rain Man.
  • Yes, I know he doesn't "look" autistic. (I'm not sure what people think autism looks like. They seem to think this is some kind of compliment. It's actually just confusing.)
  • No, praying really, really hard will probably not "cure" him.
  • Yes, I know he's really cute. It turns out the Special Needs Fairy doesn't care.
  • Yes, we do discipline him. But no, we're not going to "spank the autism right out of him."
  • Also, please know that if you ask me if I took antidepressants while I was pregnant, I may punch in you in the throat.
The Parenting Experts
Little Dude is five, and not toilet-trained. He often needs to be carried; usually this is because he's overwhelmed by his surroundings. The Parenting Experts like to ask back-handed "helpful" questions, like "Isn't he getting a little big for Pull-Ups / being carried / having a meltdown on the floor of Target?" The thing is, he's autistic, not deaf. And while he's emotionally 36 months old, academically he's seven years old. So he knows what you're saying, jackhole. And you putting pressure on him to change things he has no control over? Does not help us one bit.

Here's a pro tip: If you see a kid who looks "too big" for diapers, believe me, the parent a) already knows his/her child is in diapers; b) is not lazy (it's actually a lot of work to change diapers year after year); and c) has already tried every suggestion you have. Telling us your 18-month-old child potty-trained in two days because you used a sticker chart is not helpful advice; it's showing off. Shut. Up.

Then someone says, for example, "Isn't he getting a little big to be carried?" they're actually saying "put that kid down and stop spoiling your child." The thing is, when I'm holding my freaked-out, 50-pound child while simultaneously pushing a grocery cart, it's not really the best time for me to stop and explain about autism, sensory integration, frustration tolerance and how overwhelmed and terrified he is right now. I'd hand out little cards to explain it, but I'd need a third hand for that.

I honestly don't understand why anyone gives a crap if, when, why, or how long I carry him. It's not like I'm asking the Random Muttonheads to lug him around. It's also an excellent upper-body workout for me, and Maude knows I don't have time/money to go to a gym. And yet, it inexplicably bothers some people tremendously to see me comforting my child in this way.

A family we're friends with has a son with microcephaly and ataxia (loss of motor function). Because he's obviously profoundly disabled, most people have the good sense to just shut the hell up. On the other hand, because he's obviously profoundly disabled, sometimes people think he has no idea what's going on around him, which isn't true. It would be awesome if you didn't ask about his life expectancy in front of him.

Speaking of horrifying comments, I also have friends with a daughter with both autism and a degenerative mitochondrial disease. They have been asked, "So how long are you going to let her live like this?" By actual nurses. Um, holy crap. On a less chilling note, these parents also constantly get the "isn't she getting a little big for pacifiers?" Really? You want to take away the one thing that, oh I don't know ... pacifies a child who's in almost constant pain? Bite me.

The Medical Experts
Autism is in the news a lot. Sometimes it's in the news because a celebrity has written a book about their autistic child and how he or she was "cured" through the use of prayer / ABA Therapy / chelation / organic zucchini / oxygen chambers / leeches / Eye of Newt imported from Transylvania.

The one thing scientists know for sure about autism is that it can't be cured. There are therapies that help, but no one therapy helps all autistic people. Lots of kids feel (and behave) differently depending on their diet; going gluten-free, for example, seems to help some families. The important take-home message here is that reading a review of a celebrity book in People does not actually qualify you to give me advice.

The Actual Medical Experts
Sometimes the actual medical experts are more annoying than the faux medical experts. I've read enough studies on things that might cause an increased risk of autism, thanks. Also, we've had enough studies that conclude that girls are slipping through the cracks of autism diagnosis. How about you get back to me when you've figured out a better way to diagnose them?

Also, a lot of medical specialists like to play a little game called Pass the Annoying Incurable Buck. Neurology would like you to see Orthopedics, who sends you to Psychology, who tells you to see the Feeding Clinic, where they tell you to see Gastroenterology, which sends you to Allergy, which recommends Neurology. By this time, Mommy needs to see both Psychology and a Financial Advisor.

The Starers
When Little Dude has a public meltdown, it's a spectacle. I get it. And if you're under the age of, say, ten, go ahead and stare. I'll just smile weakly and wave. But if you're a grown adult, you don't get to just stand there, mouth agape, and stare at my son. Yes, I know he's kicking the floor, crying, and screaming incoherently. The starers are thinking either "get control of your child" or "just go ahead and buy him the Snickers bar already." You know what those thoughts get you? A sure bet that your next child or grandchild will be the meltdown-havin'est baby evah. So good luck with that.

 "There's nothing to see here, folks. 
 Just a child having a meltdown.  Move along."

Next time you see a mom at Target with a melting-down child, here are some alternatives to staring: Smile. Nod knowingly. Offer the "we've all been there" commiseration. (On the other hand, if you see a child with a melting-down mom, you should do what Kate did.


Don't forget to check out Stark.Raving.Mad.Mommy - she's awesome! 

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Fire Drill

Two weeks ago was Fire Drill Week for the boys at camp.They both came home with little red plastic fireman hats and eleven more pounds of paperwork and brochures and diagrams on fire safety and fire precautions and that we need to change the batteries on the smoke detectors and hey! wouldn't it be great if we had a fire drill?

I thought it seemed like a good idea...after all, we all need to know how to get out of the house just in case something horrible happened.We spent a couple days talking about how it's really, really important that they get their own little bodies outside. Not toys, not DSIs or favorite t-shirts or that awesome bat. Just yourself.

Simple, right?

Fire Drill #1:

After days of bugging me every ten minutes about "when are you gonna do the fire alarm, Mom? Now? How NOW! Or, now? Or, now? Or, now? Or, now? Or, now? Or, now? Or, now? Or, now?" they finally gave up. At one point, the boys were playing Wii, and I overheard Happy say to Lefty, "We're never gonna have fire..." and Lefty responded with, "I know. It's no fair."

So I did it. I grabbed the big bell and started ringing it and yelling, "FIRE DRILL! FIRE DRILL! Get out!!" which was immediately followed by screaming and frenetic running through the house, as the children celebrated the fact that there was, indeed, a fire drill happening. It! Was! All! So! Exciting! and Happy ran up to McGee and screamed, "McGee! We getta havva FIRE!" and then there was a lot of whooping and hunting for toys and bouncing on beds as we waited for windows to be opened so they could find sheets and try to parachute out the windows that are. on. the. first. floor.

All in all, it took us seventeen minutes to get out of the house. And once we were there, the children happily informed our nearest neighbors that our house was on fire.

Conclusion: We spent a lot of time in the days after Fire Drill #1 re-learning about calmly walking out of the house, possibly maybe using a door? You know, those eight hinged things scattered around the house that you leave open all the time so we can air condition the neighborhood? [Editor's Note: Gah. I just turned into my Scottish grandmother. -Kate] The IHPs thought they deserved credit for finding each other, which - yes - was an important thing to do, but maybe after you find each other, you need to get out of the burning home rather than turning into the Flying Wallendas between my sofa and the armoire to celebrate that you found each other in the middle of a practice house fire.

Fire Drill #2

Several days later the kids were huddled down in the play room with the Wii. It had rained all day and they always feel conspired against when it rains in the summer, like God owes them an extra warm October day for depriving them of the pool. I was making dinner and watching Law & Order and drinking a glass of wine and since I was doing much more of the second and the third rather than the first, it was pretty handy that something on the stove boiled over onto the burner and by the time it got my attention, I knew I was only a few seconds away from the smoke alarm going off. HEY! Let's have a fire drill, with actual real fire drill-y sounds.

So I stood there, watching the stove. As it turns out, a watched pot never does boil, it smokes. Awesome. Cue smoke alarm.

Good Maude those things are LOUD! It goes off, I start ringing the bell. "FIRE DRILL! FIRE DRILL!" and as I get downstairs after smashing the smoke alarm out of the ceiling with the broom handle, the kids have managed to...not move an inch.

Lefty: "Mom...we're playing Wii."
Me: "But, it's a fire drill! We have to get out of the house!"
Happy: "Mommy, it's the seventh inning...and it smells yucky. Did you burn dinner? I'm not hungry anymore."
Me: "HEY! Fire drill, remember?"
Lefty: "The door is right there. We would have made it."
McGee: "Yeah. Plus, it's raining outside. That would've put out the fire."
Happy: "And we want pizza."

Conclusion: Fire Drill FAIL. Also, we had burned dinner for dinner. And S'mores without melty marshmallows, because you need a fire for that, and I told them the rain put it out. Ingrates.

Fire Drill #3

This time I pull out the big guns. After a lovely conversation with the neighborhood fire men at our grocery store, the next fire drill was going to be the fire drill to end all fire drills. A few days later, the kids were in the house getting ready to jump into the shower after the pool, when Happy heard the sound of a fire engine. He ran to his room, jumped onto his bed and peered out his window to see a big red fire engine coming down our street.

I grab the bell..."FIRE DRILL FIRE DRILL!! (Please Maude don't f**k this up, there are actual firemen here) GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!"

Lefty ran into Happy's room to retrieve his brother, saw him on the bed, and, rather than hightailing it out the door, he joined him in the stare-out-the-window-while-the-house-burned-down festivities. By the the fire engine is in front of my house, the neighbors are coming outside, and the IHPs are -- yes -- all in the bedroom. Watching.

Me: HEY! Get outside! Fire drill!
Lefty: [elated] MOM! There's a fire engine! Look!
Happy: [so so very happy] "AHHHH It's a fire engine. Wooo-wooo-wooo-wooo-wooo! Come see!"
Me: "Let's get outside and go see it. Show them that you learned a fire drill. C'mon!"
Happy: [mouth hanging open] "There are the firemen!"
Me: "Boys! Get down!"
Lefty: "But they might leave before we get outside."

WHUCK?! We don't live in a hotel, dude. It'll take all of eight seconds to get outside. I finally had to grab one, bribe McGee to grab the other, and drag them outside. When we walked out, we had to attend remedial fire drill classes. In front of our neighbors.

Conclusion: We're improving? The first drill took us seventeen minutes to get out the door. The second - we never left. You know, because fires don't happen in bad weather. And the third took us eleven minutes, a terrible record by any standards.

At one point, the fireman asked Lefty why he didn't just go out the window since he was already standing on the bed. As it turned out, Lefty didn't have his parachute. It's a long way down from the first floor.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Neville Longbottom is Bringing the Hawtness

Hello! It's time for the requisite Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows post.

Kate and I are insanely into these books and movies and worship JK Rowling like the goddess she is.  Little Miss Fancy-Pants-I-Wear-Jimmy-Choos-to-the-Grocery-Store Kate and her daughter McGee went to go see it in costume at midnight the night it opened.  I'm waiting til next week when I get a sitter and the crowds have died down but I can not wait.  Kate has been to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios. I have loaned out my HP library to all the neighbor kids but then I make them have really long conversations about it with me.  About why certain spells only work on objects and not people and how Draco has it really hard and most people don't get that...

Bottom line? We are dorks and we own it.

Bearing that in mind you will understand why we both squealed like a couple of 11 year olds at a Bieber concert when we saw this picture this week:

(Taken from NY Magazine)

I could look at this frigging picture all day long.  These guys were photographed supporting Daniel Radcliffe at a performance of his play "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying".  Oh my goodness! They are so awesome and they look so genuinely happy for him and to be together and they're all so grown up and cute and holy mother of mercy is that Neville Longbottom on the left??!!

Oh even yesser. 

Let's take a little trip down memory lane:

and then there's this...

We have no idea why his transition from sweet, chubby little guy to total heartthrob makes us so happy but it just does.  Maybe its because we love the character of Neville so much.  Maybe because Neville epitomizes the idea that no matter how weak or chubby or ridiculed or discounted you are, the potential to do amazing things is always there if you're just brave enough to try.  And this actor's transformation from boy to man just makes that magic seem all the more real.  And we need all the magic we can get.

Rock on, Neville.

xo, Kate & Lydia


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Five Universal Laws of Summer

It's only four weeks into summer vacation and we've already entered a realm of whacktacularness so vast and expansive, there's a good chance we'll never escape. What is it about the twelve weeks between school and school that goes from being lazy and hazy to crazy and stabby? 

Rule #1: The Vocational Expansion/Explosion
Let's see. I don't have to keep a schedule anymore. I don't need to spend hours of my afternoon on homework, multiplication tables, or spelling words. And meals are generally anytime I manage to throw random things on the table. So why is it that I'm suddenly doing so much more work? The laundry?? What are you guys doing? Summer is supposed to be shorts, t-shirts and swimsuits...are you changing clothes every 18 minutes? Why are there sixteen pairs of underwear in the laundry bin? You don't go through sixteen pairs in an entire school year. And any time I'm not spending in the laundry room, I'm spending in the kitchen. There's a bowl of fruit and a bowl of already cut vegetables that you can have anytime, all day long. Why does that entail six plates, eleven different pieces of silverware and chopsticks? And I have no idea what happened to all the Ranch dressing, but I fear that has something to do with why you were asking me for cleaning rags and why I now have sixteen pairs of underwear in the laundry bin. Sadly, it might also explain why the dog smells oddly like buttermilk.

Rule #2: The Intellectual Deviation
I'm pretty sure your brains are leeching out of your skulls. There is nothing else to explain the phenomenon that, over the past month, that makes you forget how to make your beds, brush your teeth, use a fork, insisting on saying things like "me 'n' Lefty...", be completely unable to tell time and, while trying to write a thank you note to GrandMere for your birthday present, ask me, " know the big D? Not a little "D"..yeah, how do you write that letter?" I think it's time for me to take this seriously. I'm calling Mulder and Scully.

Rule #3: The Foliage Encounter
At some point, the three of you will decide that a stroll through the woods behind our house is a good idea. And you'll set off with walking sticks and three flashlights and my water bottle and fifty-eight snacks even though you're actually only gone for twelve minutes [Editor's Note: And yet, the snacks are all gone...odd. -Kate] And when you come back, you're mysteriously devoid of any of the flashlights and my water bottle, but you've managed to pick up a nice big case of poison oak. One that not only runs up your arms and down the side of your face, but also inside your socks and on your butt. Which only leads me to wonder what in the name of Maude were you doing out there and why your socks are gone? And then you spend the next 8 days looking like a naked human Peep what with all the pink calamine lotion and threatening your siblings with "The Creeeeeeeeeeeep" by rubbing your hands all over your face and then chasing them down the hall. Which of course turns into you splatting on the floor because -- hey guess what genius? -- calamine lotion is slippery on your feet and now you're crying and ohgodpleasedon'thugme--crap.

Rule #4: The Daddy Variable

Dear My Spouse, While we would all very much enjoy a summer vacation, be it at the
beach, mountains, a large lake or an amusement park, let me make one thing very clear. While this looks like a vacation -- and for you and the children, it IS a vacation - for me it's just work someplace else. Please don't ask me if *we* remembered to pack sunscreen. "We" is either a French term of agreement, or something very small and Scottish. I know you think you're helping the morning we set off...but getting yourself up and dressed and fed and then announcing that you will be "getting out of the way" so that I can bathe, clothe and feed everyone else, sitting out on the porch with the New York Times and a Starbucks might not be your best course of action. Particularly if you're hoping that *we* remembered to pack my diaphragm.

Rule #5: The Stimulus Annihilation
I should have expected this. We were 19 days into summer vacation when you annoyingly sighed out that, "I'm soooooooooooo booooooooooooooooooored. There's nothing for me tooooooooo dooooooooooo."And then the three of you look at me expectantly. What? Do I look like Julie McCoy to you? I am not your activities director. How's this? Go. Outside. And. Play. And then you roll your eyes and sigh and stomp away wondering how you wound up with the worst mother in the world.
Think of it this way, my beloved children. In just 55 more days, I'll be leading the Snoopy Vulture parade back to school, and you'll say things like, "But, summer just started..." and try to convince me that I'll be desperately lonely without you and just so bored, and that's when I'll look at you with all the love in my heart and say, "Yes, and about ten minutes after that bell rings, for the next seven hours, there's nothing for me tooooooooo dooooooooooo."

Well, maybe I'll go buy more Ranch dressing...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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