Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Art Fail, We Love You...Part 4

Happy once made a drawing for me that looked eerily like a part of his anatomy. Being that he was only four, I said, "oh, I love it baby! Is it an airplane?" He looked disappointed and said no. Then I asked him, in descending order, if it was a car, a dinosaur or a bird. He grabbed it away from me and said, "No, Mommy. It's a penis. You can't have it anymore." We mailed it to GrandMere. She thinks it's a plane. It's better that way.

xoxo Kate

 "Mommy I drew you and me. You have big boobies and I have little boobies" - Cass age 4

tooth paste art by my recently turned 3 yr old....caught him as he was 'cleaning' (aka rubbing it in) up his mess =((

My then preschooler's " I'm thankful" poster - look closely at the pictures he cut out!  

My 7 year old son wanted to make sure I picked up some DRINKS on my shopping trip

This beautiful masterpiece was created by my 10 year old son.  It was presented to me wrapped in a protective layer of tissue paper.  I was afraid to touch it when I opened it.  Even more disturbing, he was "recreating" his favorite food.. A kit kat bar and recess peanut butter cup.  I like to leave it lying around for my guests to examine.  :)

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Rant about Being Honest with Children

This post was written by our brilliant and wonderful friend in real life, Mrs. Darling.  She's written about books for us, and last year's summer vacation and lots of other things. We sort of worship her because she's someone who totally GETS IT.  She's a loving, caring, hands on mother who adores her kids (who, by the way - are amazing) but will totally send you an IM on Facebook very late at night that says something like: "I've had three glasses of wine because I think I lost my mind. Is it at your house? No? OK. Pretend you never saw this when I see you at preschool tomorrow."


Let me first start by saying that for three weeks this summer my Darling family went on a cross country vacation in our minivan. I’ll let you take a moment and use your imagination.

Done? Good. Now that you’ve filled in your own blanks I don’t need to ruminate on the actual trip itself. Everyone has taken a vacation with their family - and there are any number of far better written accounts of the family jaunt - so I need not bore you with our details.

Except one - because I feel it is my duty as a cautionary tale.

You see, if my husband and I were asked to produce a Darling family motto (which would be a pretty weird request unless you were planning to put it on a pillow for us) it would have to be “The Kids Don’t Need to Know Everything”. You, complete stranger who does not know me, are free to chide me on my love of half-truths or even outright lying. But I myself have found that my Darling children’s delicate sensibilities are pretty pleased to live in a world where your lost dog definitely found another happy home but will always love you best and the firm belief that a shot more than likely won’t hurt after the first minute.

We were totally expecting this.
It was this handy skill that allowed us to tell the children that going across the country for three weeks in a minivan was a wise and prudent move. We excitedly laid out the itinerary whereby we would see friends that we hadn’t seen for years and visit awesome works of natural wonder. The Darling children’s beloved parents, we smartly assured them, knew exactly what we were doing and there was not a thing in the world that could go wrong.

Mr. Darling and I knew it would be tough, but we also knew from the bottom of our resilient little parent hearts that our kids are pretty well behaved and are more than occasionally an utter joy to travel with. Even in a minivan.  What we didn’t realized until it was far too late, is that all of that careful couching of a truth, so easy in every day home life, can get exhausting if you are driving across the country in a minivan.

We tried at first to make a good stab at deflecting what was literally staring at me and our youngest offspring in the skeeviest bathroom stall in the world (“F_U_C_..... Yes that’s good honey you know all the letters and I think it spells the name of a special kind of dinosaur"). But when we passed yet another fire in Oklahoma (“I think that will be dying out any second now”) a funnel shaped cloud in Iowa (“well yes it does look something like that but I know for a fact that it isn’t…Who wants to watch a movie?”). Before Mr. Darling and I were even aware of what was fully happening, we had sunk ourselves into full blown honesty and began trotting out the absolute ugly truth even before the poor children asked.

Not too bad you say? Every child needs to grow up and accept some hard won honesty? Especially while you drive through the country in a minivan? Maybe a brief (and by no means complete) list of complete and utter truths we saw fit to fling at the Darling children will change your mind.

A quick note- although all of these brutal truths were borne of stressed induced traveling hysteria, they were also delivered calmly and in a pleasant cheerful tone... I‘m pretty sure the psychic scars will heal right quick.
  • “Buffaloes are wild animals. That is why you can’t go out of the car and pet it and have me take a picture. If you’d like to see a picture here is one the ranger gave me. This is also why we are not going to ‘shoo’ the buffalos away from our car, we will just wait till they move and then we will drive quickly away.”
  • “It’s called a gentleman’s club because it’s a place where women take of their clothes and dance for money that’s why we can’t go there for dinner.”
  • “We aren’t driving through a lake. This is what is called massive flooding- see the people in the orange jackets putting up sandbags? This is why we can’t go to the playground- the playground is under water.”
  • “Those people are screaming because they are drunk. They have ingested too much alcohol and when you do this you become stupidly drunk and don’t use your best words. Let’s keep walking.”
  • “Our car sounds funny because there is something wrong with the car. We cannot ask anyone to fix it because, in your parents’ smart choice to see the real off-the-interstate America, we have yet to see another living soul for the past two hours. Our only hope is to drive as fast as we can for as long as we can until we find a place that has a repair shop and a hotel.”
  • “Cooking meth means making drugs that will make you even more stupid than being drunk. We are not coming back to this hotel because this is where some not nice people were cooking meth. This has nothing to do with food. Get in the car now.”
  • “People are talking about a grizzly attacking a camper because a grizzly did attack a camper yesterday. They say the best thing to do it not to startle a bear by quietly coming upon it - so let’s keep being LOUD.”
Last parting honesty shot the evening we got home: “Your stomach is cramping because I have given a lovely dinner of whole wheat pasta, a salad, and strawberries for dessert. About 17 days ago I discovered that there was nothing to offer you for lunch in the middle of nowhere but cheese sticks, a banana from yesterdays’ free breakfast and a crumpled bag of goldfish dug out from under the car seat washed down with a lukewarm cherry coke. It was then I realized that there was no going back and we were going to have to pray that the hiking will counteract the deep fried crunchy goodness that would be your diet until we lit on for home. In an ideal situation, you will always remember this feeling of tummy war and will thank me then next time we bypass a happy meal and offer an apple with hummus as an alternative.”

But you won’t. That’s ok. The truth is that if we ever again have to drive across the country in a minivan I know it will be worth it because I’m with you.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh Art Fail, We Love You...Part 3

 Are giant penises just that easy to make? We think the answer to that is yes...


My then 3-year-old daughter created this masterpiece at her preschool. I felt like I should call her teacher and explain that my daughter just really loves to do "dot-dots" when she colors, and I actually do not let her watch CSI marathons in her downtime. The color choice was particularly unfortunate.

Yes.  Those are purple penises that my five year old drew on him, my younger son, and our male dog. Very large penises.

Check out my daughter's "hula girl"   It's a little blurry because my entire body was shaking from trying to control my laughter.

I don't know if this needs an explanation, but here it is: my son (who, poor thing, has three sisters) handed me this watercolor sometime last summer (so he was about six).  He said, "Mama, could you please give this to Daddy when he gets home?" I glanced at it, and then said, "Sure, I will...did you make it just for him?" He replied solemnly, "Yes, it makes me think of him."  And in case you couldn't tell, the title is "World's Biggest Pansy". 

My five year old and I picked up an "easy" balloon animal kit at the store to fill up a summer afternoon. After following the directions step by step to make a puppy dog this is what we ended up with. It is definitely not a puppy but might pass as an x-rated balloon man. My child has been carrying it all around the neighborhood proudly!

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mom Takes A Vacation...No, Really.

Ladies, today I’m delivering a special Mom Public Service Announcement. After 46 months of continuous
pregnancy or nursing (or both) I took a vacation from my kids! I ditched them with my husband for a whole weekend and my mom-friend, Lisa, and I hit the road! My husband asked me which of us was Thelma and which was Louise. *Obviously* I’m Louise. Wait, which one got to sleep with Brad Pitt? I wanna be that one. Anyway, I’m here to tell you that a Mom’s Vacation DOES EXIST. I still can’t believe I actually got away with it. I feel like I just saw a Pegasus or a Unicorn or some other fangled thing that you think couldn’t possibly exist. But I did it does! WOOT!

I should back up and clarify that this weekend away was well overdue. I’m a stay-at-home mom whose
husband works insane hours six days/week…so for the last three years I have been on-duty with my two kids from sun-up to the last bedtime story with no relief pitcher. When my husband is around on the weekends he pretty much just follows my lead and relies on me to take the initiative with the kids because I’m the boss, applesauce.

I can’t tell you exactly what set me over the edge. Maybe it was that spring didn’t reach Massachusetts until June and then it was suddenly 95 degrees. Or maybe it was that my adorable, plump baby stood up and ran away from me a week after his birthday in March and I haven’t stopped chasing since. In any case, I realized I was pissy, exhausted, and totally losing my schmidt. There were a couple warning signs that I was becoming unhinged: 1) I poured myself a 10oz glass of white grape juice at 4pm and my mother-in-law just assumed it was white wine and 2) I caught myself regularly pulling into our driveway and just…sitting there with my head on the steering wheel. I couldn’t help it--turning off the engine would mean unbuckling the kids and releasing two honey badgers back into the wild. I honestly didn’t even realize I was doing this until one day my three year-old’s voice reached me from the back seat: “Mommy? Can we go in the house now? I have to pee. Are you OK?”

I was losing it. My husband could see the wild look in my eye. My kids were always all up in my grill. I never had a chance to miss them, which I know is a blessing, but it also means I was taking their awesomeness for granted. My daughter’s hilarious questions became annoying and my son’s needy cries for me sounded like nails on a chalkboard. I started to resent them instead of cherish them. I emailed Lisa and told her to pick a weekend in June and make sure her mom or husband could take her kids for one night…I had to get away.

My friends, you can do this, too! Here are the key components to a successful Mom’s Vacation:

1. You don’t have to pick a fancy location or an expensive hotel. The point is to spend one night outside of your house where you don’t have to share a bed with a sweating toddler or a snoring, flatulent husband. You get to go to sleep when you want and wake up when you want. It is bliss.
2. Do choose a hotel that has a restaurant within walking distance because you must…
3. Go out for a nice dinner and order a bottle of wine. Maaaaaybe one bottle for each mom. Revel
in that fact that you did not shop for the groceries, prepare the meal, beg anyone to finish their
food, and you don’t have to do the freakin’ dishes.
4. Do at least one fun, silly, or frivolous thing that you never get to do with your kids or husband around.

You’ve earned it. Go get a manicure, buy a trashy magazine and sit at Starbucks for three hours, or go see a movie. Lisa and I decided to visit a psychic and have a Tarot Card reading—something I’ve always wanted to do but my husband regularly told me was a waste of time and money. Suck it, hubby! I make the rules on Mom’s Vacation! [Editor's Note: The psychic could see in the cards that I have two kids and then told me, without hesitation, I’m going to have a third in three years. I almost passed out.]

Now that I’m back I can tell you that it may be one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. My daughter came down with the stomach flu about four hours after I left (puke pyrotechnics) and my husband got a true glimpse of how my toughest days can feel. When I walked in the door on Sunday the smiles on those
three faces made me feel like a goddess. My little guy didn’t let go of me for 15 minutes. My daughter detailed the travails of her vomiting with pride before declaring, “Mommy is home now and she always takes care of me!” And my husband, that wonderful, tired man, pulled me aside and told me he was so
glad I was home. I know he has a new appreciation for my job. He actually said, “My God! Taking care of
them with no break is like Chinese water torture! It just.never.stops.”

Ah, but it does. Mom’s Vacation, anyone?

PSA, over and out. Brad's waiting...

xoxo, Guru Louise

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh Art Fail, We Love You...Part 2

 Just put the glass down. Stay away from any beverages...because when you get to Ken and Barbie, and if you're not careful, something is coming out of your nose.

We totally warned you...


Pulled this out of my 6 year old daughter's backpack last week.  Um... YEA.  Apparently, the black uh...  "scribble" is an egg.  HI-larious!  :D

 My kids, whom I refer to as Pinky and the Brain, were drawing in the driveway today. My oldest at 6 years old tells me he wants me to look at his picture. It's supposed to be a "stranger" and the line through the circle emphasizes that you shouldn't talk to strangers. If I ever see a stranger like this I will most likely RUN LIKE HELL in the other direction! 

 Hello ladies! [Hello!] I'm not sure if you are still collecting artwork for your Kid's Art Fail feature [We totally are!] but I thought I'd share this one with you because it makes me laugh. This is a drawing my little sister drew of herself, me and my daughter while I was pregnant with #2. I love how happy my fetus is! And she totally called that it was a boy, we didn't know yet when she drew this. And she was SO sure his name was Otis :)

Yes, that is Ken, trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, surrounded by...dare I say a coven...of Barbies.  Yes, his junk is colored blue, and yes, those are tiger stripes on his face.  The only explanation I got from my 5 and 7 year old girls was that he was "a mean crazy boy" and that the queen (that would be the lovely vision in white with pink hair) insisted he be tied up.  I just closed the playroom door again and let them sort it out.

We totally just died again...K&L

  You could probably do a whole section on *mushrooms* alone. [Yes. Yes we could. Starting with this one. Epic. - K&L] 

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Would Julia Sugarbaker Do? Or Maude?

This post was written by our incredibly dear and close friend C. We adore her, even though technically we've never met her. Isn't the interweb awesome? And don't get us started C's sister - we want her to move in with us.  Anyway, C sent us this rant and it invokes two of our favorite TV ladies so we had to post it.


As a tv-aholic, I have devoted considerable time and attention to female characters on television, from the early days of Lucy Ricardo and Edith Bunker to the present day of Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson. I really admire several characters, but two of my absolute favorite characters are Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women and Maude, the title character in the show Maude. I like their wit and the way they used words to cut down shortsighted, narrow-minded bigots. I was thinking of them today as I encountered a fellow moviegoer when my autistic son was having meltdown in the theater.

I was leaving the theater for the final time after failed attempts to calm my son. Smurfs on the big screen freaked him out. I saw a woman with “The Look” on her face. I know The Look. It smacks of supreme frustration and fatigue. I wear it every day, especially now that we are trying to discover whether or not my son’s behavior medicine is causing a re-emergence of his severe reflux. I smiled at her and said sympathetically (and NICELY), “Are you having a tough day, too?” She said, “No, I’m not, but YOUR SON is RUINING THE MOVIE.” I was so stunned by her flat out rudeness that I just said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. C’mon, Buddy, let’s get out of here.”

As I prepared to circle the parking lot while waiting for my twelve year old and her friend (still inside the movie), I wondered what my heroes Julia and Maude would have said.

I think Julia would have said something like this:

"Lady, and I use that term as LOOSELY as possible, I do apologize that my son’s outbursts have disrupted your afternoon here at the cinema. I know how difficult it is to capture the nuanced dialogue and subtle humor of the Smurfs when a frightened child who has no functional language is screaming in distress and discomfort. I know how difficult it is because I deal with his screaming and his pain I know how difficult it is because I watch him longing to be like your little angels, who are kicking the seats of the children in front of them and loudly asking “When is this over? I hafta go to the bathroom.” He cannot even tell me that. I know how difficult it is because for the past eight and a half years of his life I have dealt with people like you who jump to conclusions about him and my parenting without any compassion or empathy whatsoever. I know how difficult it is because day and night I wrestle with the worry about the day that is coming- the day when I can no longer care for him in my home and have to turn him over to the kindness of strangers in a group home. If there’s one thing I appreciate, it’s difficulty. So, madam, you have my undying sympathy and my most profound apologies. Now go SMURF yourself!”

Maude, bless her, would have undoubtedly been more succinct. She would have squared up, GLARED at the stupid shrew and said, “God will get you for that, Lady!” Maybe someday I’ll have bracelets made up for moments like this”WWJSS?” “WWMD?” (What would Julia Sugarbaker Say? What would Maude do?”)

As I drove home, the skies opened and there was literally a tornado watch in our area. I thought to myself, “That lady better watch out for a flying house. Karma (and Maude) would have it heading straight toward her."

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Sports Mom

Kate and I are accidental sports moms. We always swore that we would never, ever be THAT mom. The one whose whole life revolved around practices and games and clinics every single day.  Who had no weekends.  How stupid are they?!

Now we know.

Because our kids fell in love with sports (collectively, baseball, karate, swimming and tennis) and so we found ourselves spending all our time and money doing exactly that and being THOSE moms. 

As much as we hate to admit it, being a Sports Mom is sort of like driving a mini-van.  It's freeing. It's sort of fun. Once you've given up the idea of having free time or disposable income, it becomes kind of great. But there are enemies. Oh yes... There are.  Our pal Sheri explains it all...
I am a Sports Mom. I had no idea how easy my parents had it because they only had one child (me) who played sports. I have 3. And I’m a single mom. So…it’s just…me. HOLY COW. Whuck was I thinking when we first enrolled Speedy (my oldest) in soccer when he was 4 ½? Here is the mantra I have lived by during my kids childhood. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Who knew that the entire family would take to sports like ducks take to water. Only in our house, the sports.never.end.

  • Speedy, my 17 year old son, during the course of his lifetime, has played soccer, indoor soccer, baseball, basketball, and has now settled on running cross country and track.
  • MonsterMe (my 13-year old daughter and so named because she is taller than me) has tried and rejected dance (there are videos that I plan to release should she ever attempt to put me in a nursing home or run for Congress), gymnastics, soccer, and has settled on softball and a never-ending basketball season (Seriously. We go from August-May).
  • Muddy Waters (my 10-year old son and so named because if there is a mud puddle within 50 yards, he will find it and jump in it) has played soccer, baseball, hip hop dance, and has now decided that football is his sport. Someone send aspirin.
Being a dedicated sports mom is more difficult than it sounds. I keep a calendar, as most moms do. I plugged in all of the various sporting activities. Each child gets a different color. When I counted the number of sporting activities I was due to attend in a 30 day period last spring, there were 26. Twenty. Six. This didn’t count practices, dance, or other school-related activities or family-related activities.

Or, by the way, work.

I’ve been known to show up to sporting events in work clothes. Do you have any idea how little fun it is to walk out onto a soccer field in 3 inch high heels because you forgot you were going to soccer (outdoors) instead of basketball (indoors)? I do. My butt is permanently bleacher shaped and I have no feeling in my legs for 11 months out of the year. The other mothers think I’m unfriendly because my favorite saying is “Did my kid just score that goal/basket/hit? NO? Good. I didn’t miss anything.” I don’t mean it in a bad way, but I was waiting on a text from someone I sent to a different game to see if one of my other kids did something spectacular that I’m missing.

Here are my enemies:

"Moooooom. Where is my uniform?" Why am I constantly asked this question? Was I the last person to wear said uniform? No. Yet for some reason, all three of them think that I hide it the minute it comes into the house. It would be different if I coveted a stinky, sweaty track uniform or if I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a muddy soccer uniform, but the only thing I want to do is get them in the washer. Many of our conversations the night before a game/tournament go like this:

Random Heathen: “Moooooom. What did you do with my uniform?”
Me: “I gave it to homeless people.”
Random Heathen: “That’s not funny. Seriously. It’s not where I left it.”
Me: (curious now) “ Which was….?”
Random Heathen: “In my bag. (Suspiciously). Did you take it out to WASH it?”
Me: “You’ve caught me. Check the dryer.”
Random Heathen: “Great. Now it will be all clean and stuff.”

Indeed. What on earth was *I* thinking?

Packing the bag:
Seriously. Have we not done this before? About a hundred times before? This season alone? What do you need? Uniform. Shoes. Glove. Ha.t Cup. (No, not you, MonsterMe, the boys.) Snacks for the bus. What do you mean it is a home game? I’m pretty sure it is an away game. Check the schedule. See, I’m right. And it goes on, and on, and on.

And you know what? They still forget something. Every.single.time.

The Schedule
Good lord people. Focus. We have a schedule. Particularly on tournament days for MonsterMe. She plays AAU Basketball where they do NOT mess.around. We play 3 games per day and they are intensely focused on the matter at hand. So throw in the uniform and the packing of the bag and add in the packing of Muddy Waters for a day of fun (Nintendo DS plus a day full of snacks PLUS mom and her assorted crap and we need to be OUT THE DOOR RIGHT THIS MINUTE because we have to drive for an hour and I don’t want to be yelled at by the coach for being late AGAIN). Did I mention this is how I spend my LEISURE time on the weekends?

MonsterMe plays AAU basketball. Last year alone we played 140 games. Speedy runs. He runs a lot. Muddy Waters plays soccer. In some of these events, the parents act like their child is the second coming of Michael Jordan/Steve Prefontaine/David Beckham. Perhaps it is that I just do not care anymore (having 3 kids do as many sports as mine do will wear you down a bit) but seriously…unless my kid is jumping over someone’s shoulders to do a complete 360 dunk or breaking the record for the 3 mile, I’m not getting too excited anymore. If we win, we win. If we lose, we have 139 games left to play.

So guess what, crazy sports parent? STOP YELLING at your kid, at my kid, at the coaches, the referees, the guy selling concessions, and the parking attendant. It just embarrasses your kid and makes you look like a loon. Speedy runs like the wind. I couldn’t keep up with him if I had a bike sometimes. All I yell is “Go!” Muddy Waters is happiest when his uniform is the dirtiest. I’ve learned just to take pictures and bring a towel.

Suck it, 8 year old losers. We just WON.
Just because your kid PLAYS sports does not necessarily mean that your kid is going to be GOOD at sports. Enjoyment does not equal mastery. Screaming at your child from the sidelines is not going to help the kid learn to love the sport any more or be any better at it. It may even make the kid hate it and take up chess (not that there is anything wrong with chess. Hey…maybe my kids could play chess?? I’ll bet there isn’t a lot of travel involved there. Note to self: buy a chess board.). My point is that kids play sports for all kinds of reasons and they have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. If YOU want to play whatever sport again…go do it. Let your kid enjoy his/her childhood.

So..there you have it. Enemies of a sports mom. If you see me out, looking slightly confused, please tell me to check my calendar to figure out what sporting event I’m supposed to be at now. I’m probably in the wrong spot.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh Art Fail, We Love You...Part 1

Can we say how awesome these Art Fails are? Well, technically we can't right now because we're dead. Lydia laughed so hard she fell out of her chair dead, and Kate took one look at the soccer ball penis and now she's dead too. We'll miss us...


I giggled when I saw this on the wall at my daughter's Catholic preschool....  and was speechless when I realized it was hers.....  and those of course are leg bones!!

I hope it isn't too late to share this with you.

Yesterday my 4yo daughter had her very 1st dance recital.  When it was over, she received her very 1st trophy.  She is so proud of it, that this morning she drew a picture of it, then insisted on bringing it to school to show the rest of the class.

Then she is sent it home with her boyfriend.

Not sure who will enjoy this artist's rending more: the class of 4yo kids or the parents of the 4yo boy she is trying to woo.

I have attached both a photo of the actual trophy and my daughter's drawing of it:

 My son did this when he was about 5. I'm so proud :D
Came across this today cleaning out the vast teetering pile of schoolwork brought home by my 7-yo. On the left she is eating dinner with her family, and on the right she is on the torture rack. Oh, wait. That's her practicing backbends for gymnastics. Silly me! We save the torture rack for weekends. :)
My son proudly brought home this painted clay version of himself. I was nervous asking what "the green thing" was.....he's sitting on a soccer ball!

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why True Blood is Porn for Moms

You guys know that I'm obsessed with vampires, right? And that I love the show (and the books behind) True Blood? Because it's awesome. Not because it's momporn - as some people claim.  Entertainment Weekly, I'm totally looking at you.

Don’t be silly, you moderators of pop culture. True Blood is definitely not momporn. You see, porn is for people who want to have sex.

Ooh goody! It’s on! Let's watch.

Top Ten Reasons Why True Blood is Definitely Not Mom Porn
(sequentially captured while watching the show)

1. Oh dear Maude. It's ERIC. MOTHERCRUNKING. NORTHMAN. Can I get a drink please?

2. Did you know that when vampires and humans have sex they can’t make babies. That’s good because a vampire probably couldn’t handle four months of colic and reflux without an unfortunate incident taking place. I am not overthinking this, shut the hell up. I know vampires aren't real. Probably.

3. Sookie lives alone. In a quiet house. All by herself. MMMMMMmmmmm. That’s nice.

4. My heavens. What happened to their clothes?! What happened to my glass?! It's empty.

5. Jason Stackhouse, put your shirt back on. Actually, wait. You’re good.

6. Who is that ginormous, dark, hairy dude? A werewolf? Wow. Honey, is it a full moon tonight?

It's right here, La La!
7. Oh Lafayette, I want to hang out with you and be best friends and have you call me hooker.

8. I would totally go to Fangtasia, baby. I WOULD GO THERE. That’s actually a lot less disgusting than it sounds.

9. What on earth is he doing to her right now? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in 12 states. Or at least not allowed on TV. Can you pause it for a sec?

10. You know, you look very handsome tonight. And I’m not that tired…

Sigh... OK fine. It's momporn. YOU WIN, Entertainment Weekly. You win.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Note from Offspring #1

Many of you have asked about Offspring #1, and that you miss the sound of a swarm of bees buzzing in your head. For those of you who haven't met Offspring, she is a lovely teenager from England -- which she calls Ingerland -- who wrote us about a year ago. The moment we opened her letter, we immediately realized that she is exactly what would happen if Kate and Lydia were able to have their own child. Later, she wrote us this letter, which was the literary equivalent of taking some awesome drugs left over from Haight-Ashbury, and then we e-mailed her, which is like mainlining rabid bees...and finally, received this awesome letter, because so many of you were asking, "Wait! We want to know about the Badger..." And then it takes us about two weeks for the buzzy-buzzy-ness to leave our brains...

We hadn't heard from Offspring in a while, and we started to get worried...

And, then we got this letter. Three things about this: One, it's long and still super buzzy, so prepare yourself. Two, it's a little sad; so while it's still Offspring, it's a different version of her. Three, after we read this, we wanted to hop on a plane and go over the pond so we could hug Offspring and make her tea and knit her some slippers. Please feel free to send her big hugs in the comments section...

xoxo Kate and Lydia

Just a note. A huge one. That involves stuff that is not funny and you do not have to post ever or at all. You don't have to post this. It is not exactly lighthearted.

I've been meaning to write to you about this for a while (because I think it's important, you have a lot of readers and you're awesome) but... well, it's not funny. So I've been a bit... well, the brain gerbils went on strike every time I tried to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or note to flaming arrow. (well, if it's called the pond it can't be THAT big, really. Besides, ducks are awesome! I'm sure duckmail will catch on. More awesome and quacky than email, and probably faster (and cheaper, dammit) than using 'conventional' systems that involve planes and whatnot. Ooh! Did you know all the royal mail planes are red? Isn't that awesome? I bet it's so birds will see it and help pull the plane along like a turbo boost or something. That's how they do their priority mail anyway. Isn't it weird that in Americaland you have the postal service and get mail, and here we have the royal mail and get post? I think that's funny, and I bet it's because ACTUALLY we swap systems. So all the Ingerland post goes to Americaland for the POSTAL service, and all the Americaland mail comes here for the royal MAIL. It would also explain exactly why your post cards always arrive after you do. And why every time you get all excited because amazon have dispatched something you really really want (such as my latest book about knitting without wool) (I'm allergic to wool. Or maybe the lanolin in the wool., Or maybe it's one of my arsenal of skin issues, either way the outcome is the same: I touch wool, I itch for weeks. Which sucks because I am into knitting in a big way and everyone's all NATURAL FIBERS WOO and I can't USE most of them. What's weird is I picked up the softest merino wool in a shop the other day by accident (OK, no, I was checking to see if soft wool would not make me want to de-skin myself) and while I could feel it being the softest thing on earth, I could also feel it like little pinpricks of acid at the same time. Which is weird.)


What I wanted to email you about is not my various skin issues. It was the mental issues. Which are kinda unfunny and awkward and nobody likes to talk about (or at least they don't here, in Ingerland. But then we don't talk about a lot of things. I watched DIY SOS the other day and when these people saw their house (which had basically been rebuilt and extended and generally made fabulous) they were just staring in awe and saying things like "I can't believe... it's so... the mould has completely gone...") And then I watched some of the extreme home makeover thing where they essentially did the same thing, only without the 'Holy Maude we have exactly three plasterers and we need to get this done YESTERDAY so we can paint and put up wallpaper and make it look non-buildingsitey'" and telling Billy off for breaking all the electrics for the eleventieth time. These are all staples of DIY SOS. And there was so much screaming in the one that wasn't DIY SOS it was incredible! I love to see all this different joy going on. Happy people are awesome. And it cracked me up at just how different everything was, not cos anything was ridiculous, but more cos things on two different continents that are actually very close can react to more or less the same thing in totally different but totally awesome ways. I love to see people happy. It's like a tiny sprinkle of glitter upon life. Especially when you smile at a random stranger in the street and then they smile back and it's like the most minute friendship in the entire world, including those made by molecules, and electrons and whatnot. (The only way I could understand chemistry and physics was if I slotted it into my own terms. As such, I learned how to balance equations using fruit salad and particle-ish-ness with friendship groups. So while the rest of the class were working on ionic bonding, I was naming electrons. I named one Arthur, after the hitchiker's guide. I was going to call one Ford, but I didn't want to sound silly or anything.)

Um, so yes. The point.

The point is, right now I have not spoken in five weeks. I have not taken a vow of silence, or been threatened and nothing bad (well... aside from other mental issues) has ever happened to me. But I can't speak. I don't have a cold, or laryngitis, or some kind of throat cancer thing, I just can't speak. All the words are lodged in my chest, and I can feel them there but I can't persuade my vocal cords and lips and tongue and teeth and throat to all cooperate to say things. It sucks. Really. Especially in places where a waitress, who is clearly a lovely person but very stressed out, tries to take my order and all hell breaks loose because she's already taken away the menu and playing charades to say "I'd like some apple juice, please," because I've forgotten my pencil or nobody can decipher my handwriting because I'm shaking too much because we're out in public and there are people, and oh, dear Maude, it's just too much.

I have a condition called selective mutism. I've lived with it for as long as I can remember and it's only in the past few weeks we realised it was A Thing. Which is sort of weird, because suddenly... well, as soon as I read about it it was like the moment when the optician slides all the right lenses home and all of a sudden everything is perfectly clear and you discover that that thing you thought was an E was actually a Q and you're left wondering how in the name of sanity did I ever think that was normal? And (just in case it helps) I've been diagnosed by a real proper psychiatrist who didn't get his doctorishness from a cereal packet. He is awesome, by the way. And he has many, many books in his office. SO he either reads a lot OR he's a spy with lots of cool things hidden in books. Either way he's totally awesome. Although every time I go and see him he tells me many, many things I really, really don't want to hear. So there you go.

Just to give you the basic facts, selective mutism is when someone (usually a small child - most common onset is between four and seven years old, although it's possible to develop it before or after those ages too,) can speak just fine in some situations where they're comfortable, such as at home, might even say too much and accidentally tell daddy that mummy said the F-word and the B-word and the K-word at that man who very very nearly hit the car when he didn't effing indicate on a roundabout today, leaving you wondering what the K-word is and deciding it's a spelling thing.

In other situations they may be completely silent.

Most commonly it's first noticed at school. Many children find settling into school hard. I mean, you're thrown into a place where, for eight hours every day, the rules are all different and you have to ask permission to do anything and you have to learn seemingly random stuff for some reason you have no idea about... well, it sound pretty disconcerting to me. The first month of school doesn't count for selective mutism as a diagnosis, because of the weird. But after that, it's not good. Well, before that isn't good, but you know what I mean. There is simple shyness, that loads of kids grow out of, and some don't, and it can be debilitating. But selective mutism is not shyness. It's an anxiety disorder that might not go away on it's own. Many kids who have selective mutsim are also very shy. I know, I've been there. But shy children might talk to people after a period of time. Selectively mute children might never do that. It's a very hard distinction to make sometimes.

Some kids will only talk at home, some kids will only talk to other kids at school, some kids will talk to no one at school. Maybe they can't talk at the park, but they are happy to say thank you to the nice checkout lady in the supermarket. It differs for everyone. Some people find it easier to talk in an anonymous place, where no one is going to make a big fuss about you talking, like Starbucks. (You might need to take a trip to Starbucks to check. You know, for experimental purposes. Better safe than sorry! Or should that be better safe with soy latte?)

Sometimes it's written off as rudeness, that the child is too stubborn to even have the common decency to say hello. Other times the child is said to be shy, or that they're difficult or have problems with authority. I heard of one extreme case where a kid was diagnosed with autism because they could not speak, despite there being no other symptoms.

I was weird. (As always. I'm good at weird. Maybe I could go on Britain's got talent and just be weird at them! That would be awesome. It'd probably branch out the range of talents from singing, dancing and dancing with dogs to other, more obscure talents. Like being able to sleep through practically anything, like my sister. Seriously. We had the loudest thunderstorm we'd ever had one night and she slept straight through. There could be an explosion down the road and she wouldn't even roll over. If that's not a talent I don't know what is.) I could talk to teachers just fine, but other kids were hard. Very hard. In primary school it was there, but less noticeably. I've always been the kid in the kitchen at parties, practically begging to be allowed to wrap cake or clear up or set out the party food. Anything to stop me having to try and fail to talk to other children. Children I liked just fine, very much in some cases. But I couldn't speak. And because I was little I couldn't really express this to anyone. And also because the not talking kinda makes communication a bit tricky, especially if your writing isn't good. (I might have mentioned before: My handwriting looks like it belongs to someone who is not only writing with their wrong hand, but is also attempting hieroglyphs. While being attacked by a swarm of killer bees.) (They actually thought I was dyslexic for a while, until they realised my handwriting just looks like I have letters in the wrong place or missing altogether. The fact I wasn't being attacked by killer bees at the time was helpful.)

There is an idea that kids grow out of this. Let me just say this: while some kids

might learn to manage the anxiety on their own (because it's an anxiety disorder, whoopdeedo) others don't. I am case and point on that. It just got worse as I got older until in high school there are classmates who have never heard me speak. I didn't go to my prom, I didn't go to any parties, and I was awfully lonely.

I'm not saying your child might have the same experiences as me if you don't check this out. I've always been a bit odd, and I don't doubt that if the selective mutism was taken out of the equation (there go the bananas!) I would have probably been lonely as well. I'm not saying we should label kids left right and center, or medicate them if it's not absolutely necessary, but early intervention is important. I'm 18. I'm technically an adult (although Maude only knows I don't feel it) and as such I need to go to the adult services. Who are amazing and awesome and everything, but they haven't the faintest idea what to do with me. So we're making our way through various antidepressants and anti anxiety things (with some surprisingly hilarious side effects -- one of them made me walk like a drunk person. A SERIOUSLY drunk person. Holding on to walls, falling up stairs... at 10am in the morning. Oh, the stares! The bemused looks! I could just feel my mother restraining herself from saying "Why yes, that is my daughter. No, she is not drunk. She is just having... balance.. issues. No. NO. It is not an excuse!")

There's a whole awareness movement going on. And I don't know how it is in America, maybe this whole entire thing is irrelevant, but over here it is moving like a tortoise in treacle. Nobody can decide how very rare, or very common this is, because there are not enough studies. And there seem to be no studies on adults with selective mutism. At all. Which is peculiar, seeing as the adults are the ones who are most likely to be able to convey the information they need.

I don't want to worry you. I don't want to freak anyone out. If your child doesn't speak at school or at parties, by all means give it a while to see how things pan out. I'm not trying to make anyone diagnose children with conditions if that's unhelpful to them. But from the point of view of somebody who has battled with this her entire life, not knowing what it was, thinking I was broken, I would rather know it had a name and that help is there than have to go it alone.

I want to help. I want to try and maybe keep another kid from having to wrap cake at parties while everyone else is playing because they can't talk. As much as possible I want to prevent someone else from feeling the enormous anxiety I did, and still do. Like I said, Kate and Lydia don't have to post this. It's not amusing, it's rambling and it's completely born of this feeling of a hole in my heart because I cannot ask someone to pass the salt, much less tell my family I love them. The huge anxiety that something could happen to my mother when we're alone in the house and my family won't be back for a week and I won't be able to pick up the phone and call for an ambulance or explain what's wrong. (Although I also won't be able to accidentally say JUST the wrong thing. There are upsides to every story, silver linings to every cloud, hilariousity to every... incident.)

I'm sorry for any worry I might have caused. I just feel it's important. Thanks for reading this. It means a lot, even if none of it applies to you. Even if you're rolling your eyes at it. Even if you think I'm scaremongering. If you think the last, I assure you, I never meant it that way. Also sorry. In the time it's taken you to read this there may well have been an incident involving a blancmange, a giraffe, and sixteen double pointed knitting needles. (which, might I say, is a surprisingly ninjaish thing to have around in case of shark attacks.)

Offspring #1

P.S Also: This is awesome and you may like it.

Yes, Offspring, it is AWESOME! Just like you...We love you.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why Kids and Movie Theaters Don't Go Together

When it's hot out and the kids are bored, sometimes you think - "HEY! Why not go to a movie?"  This is why.

10. I just spent more on candy/popcorn/soda than I earned last year.  The previews are over, the movie is just starting and I am being asked for a sip of my drink because yours is already gone. How is that EVEN possible?

9. I know you're cold.  That's why we brought your sweatshirt.  Oh. It's in the car? Of course it is.

8. Right about the part when all the awesome stuff is about to happen, someone has to poo.

7. "Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking. Pleasestoptalking."

6. Turns out our movie wasn't just 3D, it was 4D. How can I tell? Well, let's see. In the scene with the water, my lap was suddenly soaked [Editor's Note: I would like to think it was a spilled soda, but it was warm, and my toddler was in my lap. Super.] Every thud, smack, hit, and loud sound I felt via some strange piercing kick coming from the back of my chair. And, at the part when Mater makes a farting sound, I could actually smell it.

5. Oddly enough, movie theater movies don't pause. My kids were about seven seconds behind the actual movie. Why? Because we started the game of "what did he just say?" and never, ever caught up. It was like bad Japanese dubbing. But with children. In English. 

4. You may not switch seats in the middle of the movie. You may not play with my cell phone because you're bored.  You may not WHISPER THIS LOUD that you want to go home.

3. I spent $26 on movie tickets, $84 on food and we lasted all of 17 minutes before they were all bored and wanted to go home and watch TV.

2. Me: "Get up off the floor!"  IHP: [chewing]
Me: "Oh, gross. Don't eat the popcorn we dropped. Ewww."  
OH YES. This was totally worth $100.
IHP: "I'm not eating popcorn."
Me: "Then what are you doing?" 
IHP: "Eating these chocolate things."
Me: "Oh god...we didn't buy any chocolate things..."

1. Best case scenario? One of them falls asleep. Oh wait did I say best? Because that's exactly when one of the other ones will need to go to the bathroom.  And its so much fun  - and so quiet - waking up a toddler prematurely from a nap. Oh goody. This is awesome. Let's do it again tomorrow.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Mommyland Baby Registry

Remember the awesome post our friend Lainey wrote for us about the Domestic Enemies of ADHD Mom?  Well she's back!  This time writing about what should really go on a baby registry (hint: it's not a diaper genie).  To read more from Lainey, check out her blog Crazy Momma Talking.


Not having been to a baby shower in a while….and delighted that my time in that particular baby mega-market has come and gone….I was excited to revisit a place I had once known so well. I got the registry and ran down the list of items the mother-to-be had chosen and thought awwwww….how sweet. But my brain, having been damaged beyond repair by the screaming of newborns past, began to formulate a more practical and less obvious list of items that SHOULD go on a baby registry:

King size bed that is also totally covered in plastic for easy wipe down.
Even if you choose not to co-sleep….the baby may have other plans. It will also put you in another zip code from your partner who you may want a little distance from. Not that the **love** isn’t there, you just may choose to express it in ways that minimize physical proximity….or eye contact. A side of disposable bedding (with bio-hazard bags) would be a nice add on.

A hockey mask.
That little cherub with the (hopefully) small melon is going to grow. Is going to grow in to a wrecking ball with your face as its favorite point of impact. Those lessons about mummification that used to keep me up at night….well….they just needed a toddler’s hooked little finger to get the same results.

Also, it can protect you from projectiles.  And with infants, projectiles come out of both ends.

A gift card to Home Depot.
My needs changed with each of my children. With ADHD Girl it would have all been spent on drop cloths and industrial grade cleaners. With Pouty, carpet cleaner, touch up paint and a belt sander. With Evel, lots of locks and a security system…like one of those Catherine Zeta Jones numbers with the lasers.

A gift card to the Old Lady Undergarment Store.
Post delivery and nursing there is just no other choice. I now live for being felt up ladies who look like my mother in a store that smell like Jean Nate. It is the only way to get things where they once were…or nearly there. The underwear sold there also helps eliminate my favorite morning question….waist band over or under where I vaguely recall my belly button to be.

A home medical guide.
This will help you sort through the strange illnesses and codes that will be presented to you. Seriously. Coxsackie what? Rota virus who? The book is a little scary but less annoying than those What To Expect books (aka What to Expect While You’re F-ing up your kid…or The First Three Years of Doing It All Wrong). A medical guide will also allow a new mother to narrow down any medications she may need, such as Prozac that really can be such a life saver that first year.

A Red Cross Grade disaster kit.
At some point a germ-a-gedon is going to come home from preschool. Scenes from The Exorcist will be reenacted. Any mother that was given a Hazmat suit with bucket, mop and box of gloves will be sending a second thank you note. If you’re feeling extra generous, add a gift card to a cleaning service one of those CSI shows would recommend. Let them deal with q-tip cleaning the DVD player…or the grills of the baseboard heater….just saying….

Night lights.
This is my hallway at 3am.
Just after I had ADHD Girl a woman with two grown children asked me if I had any night lights in my own bedroom...I did not.  Her cautionary tale was this: "Line your house with night a flight path. I woke at 3am to both my children calling for me and plainly being very ill. I was so disoriented, I sprung out of bed and ran straight in to the wall. I knocked myself out, broke my nose and ended up with two black eyes." I went straight to BJs and got a 8 pack of night lights.

A power washer.
Just about the only way to really wash a high chair, car seat or other seating station where food has been allowed. A tempting way to deal with the baby after a Mount Vesuvius style blow out....but not recommended.

Home made meals.
Food for the new family is sure to go over well....but there is something better. Snacks and meals for the new mother that can be grabbed and eaten with one hand. The first week of ADHD Girl's life, I personally survived on a cookie bouquet sent to me by friends. As I was trapped for one of our daily marathon nursing sessions I could reach over and pluck a cookie off a stick and stave of famine for at least 20 minutes. Every cookie and muffin given to me vanished. The fab chicken dish that required heating and spooning out of it's massive cooking pan....well...that seemed too time consuming and frankly too hot to eat over my I-will-not-allow-you-to-put-me-down-until-I-am-21 infant.

I am not sure any new mother would be all that super excited with what I now see to be totally awesome gifts. I’ll break this particular new mother in gently. Maybe with some carefully selected gift cards presented in a bucket. I’ll get her the Hazmat suit and a discount coupon for a tummy-tuck for Christmas.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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